Today, I’m excited to welcome Gail Z. Martin, author of such fan favorites as The Chronicles of the Necromancer, The Fallen Kings Cycle, Ascendant Kingdoms, The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures, Deadly Curiosities, and (together with Larry N. Martin) The Jake Desmet Adventures.    And while I could written pages and pages about my love of her amazing stories, I believe everyone would rather I just turn the blog over to Gail Z. Martin.  Which is exactly what I am now doing.

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It’s always a challenge, when I start writing a new series, to set things up differently from the way I’ve handled things before. That keeps it fresh for me and provides surprises for the readers.

That means starting from the ground up for world building–politics, religion, geography, climate, economics and magic.

In the new Darkhurst series (with the first book, Scourge, launching July 15), I picked a different inspiration for the medieval society from what I’d done in the past, looking at the Hanseatic League and the heyday of the Italian city-states of Venice and the Medici era. It’s not the initially stable and prosperous kingdom like we had in Margolan in the beginning of the Chronicles of the Necromancer series, nor the post-apocalyptic ruins of Donderath that we survived in the Ascendant Kingdoms.

Instead, the kingdom of Darkhurst and its ten constituent city-states are a squabbling economic ‘family’ ripe with ambitions, jealousy, old grudges, backstabbing, seduction and betrayal. Prosperity and power come at a bloody cost for those at the very top of society. Our heroes, Corran, Rigan and Kell Valmonde, are undertakers, far removed from the halls of the ruling class. Even so, magic and monsters turn their lives upside-down and plunge them into intrigue and danger.

Scourge features several different types of magic. The economy is set up on a Guild system that oversees all the trades. The trades are hereditary, and magic specifically helpful to that trade runs in Guild families. Corran, Rigan and Kell are undertakers, so they have grave magic which helps them banish restless spirits and send souls on to the After.

I liked playing with the idea of job-specific magic, and thinking about how it might develop and refine itself over generations. We’ve gotten away from the idea of hereditary professions, but it was the norm for quite a long time, handing down tools and knowledge from parent to child. What if magic became part of that heritage, so intertwined with ‘talent’ as to be interchangeable? That would legitimize the emphasis on marrying within one’s trade, and go a long way towards assuring that ability bred true.

Blood magic is practiced by a powerful few, and it draws on the energy of death and blood to enhance the practitioner’s power. It comes at a high cost to the witch, and is almost never used for positive purposes.

As with most dark arts, blood magic is a way to cheat, to grab more than one is entitled to have, to cut corners and benefit the few at the peril of the many. Blood magic practitioners care nothing for long-term consequences, or for the interplay of Chaos and Order. They are solely focused on achieving their own ends, regardless of what it takes or who stands in their way.

Rogue magic falls outside of sanctioned Guild trade-specific magic and the blood magic practiced by a witch with a powerful patron. The Wanderers, a mysterious nomadic clan of peddlers and tinkers, have their own old magic and guard their secrets. A minority of other people are born with magic outside of their trade. They either go into hiding, are hunted by the Lord Mayor’s guards and forced into his service, or killed.

Rogue magic occurs when someone through accident of birth has power outside the permitted areas of magic. Much of this accidental magic is trivial, hedge witch-level kind of spells. Still, the powerful in Darkhurst fear magic that is not properly channeled. They have secrets to keep which might be revealed to those who wield magic, and so they desperately want to make sure they keep all witches under their control–or kill them.

I’m enjoying expanding on the magic of Darkhurst as I work on the sequel to Scourge! Stay tuned–there are a lot more surprises ahead!

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About Scourge

ScourgeIn a city beset by monsters, three brothers must find out who is controlling the abominations.

The city-state of Ravenwood is wealthy, powerful, and corrupt. Merchant Princes and Guild Masters wager fortunes to outmaneuver League rivals for the king’s favor and advantageous trading terms. Lord Mayor Ellor Machison wields assassins, blood witches, and forbidden magic to assure that his powerful patrons get what they want, no matter the cost.

Corran, Rigan, and Kell Valmonde are Guild Undertakers, left to run their family’s business when guards murdered their father and monsters killed their mother. Their grave magic enables them to help souls pass to the After and banish vengeful spirits. Rigan’s magic is unusually strong and enables him to hear the confessions of the dead, the secrets that would otherwise be taken to the grave.

When the toll exacted by monsters and brutal guards hits close to home and ghosts expose the hidden sins of powerful men, Corran, Rigan and Kell become targets in a deadly game and face a choice: obey the Guild, or fight back and risk everything.

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About the Author


Gail Martin, Dreamspinner Communications

The Hawthorn Moon is the annual summer blog tour for Gail Z. Martin, and features guest blog posts, giveaways, surprises, excerpts and more on sixteen blogs worldwide. Find the master list of posts and goodies at her website.

Gail Z. Martin is the author of Scourge: A Darkhurst novel, the first in a brand new epic fantasy series from Solaris Books. Also new are: The Shadowed Path, part of the Chronicles of the Necromancer universe (Solaris Books); Vendetta: A Deadly Curiosities Novel in her urban fantasy series set in Charleston, SC (Solaris Books); Shadow and Flame the fourth and final book in the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga (Orbit Books); and Iron and Blood a new Steampunk series (Solaris Books) co-authored with Larry N. Martin.

She is also author of Ice Forged, Reign of Ash and War of Shadows in The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, The Chronicles of The Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven, Dark Lady’s Chosen); The Fallen Kings Cycle (The Sworn, The Dread) and the urban fantasy novels Deadly Curiosities. Gail writes three ebook series: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures, The Deadly Curiosities Adventures and The Blaine McFadden Adventures. The Storm and Fury Adventures, steampunk stories set in the Iron & Blood world, are co-authored with Larry N. Martin.

Gail is also the organizer for #HoldOnToTheLight, authors blogging about depression, anxiety, PTSD, suicide, self-harm and other mental health topics to encourage inclusiveness in fandom and stand in solidarity with fans. Learn more at Hold On To The Light.

Find her at her website, on Twitter, on Facebook, at Disquieting Visions blog and Ghost In The Machine Podcast, on Goodreads and free excerpts on Wattpad.

Purchase Scourge at Amazon

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  1. Jordan Rose says:

    This was a super interesting guest post! I love reading about how authors develop their worlds and magic systems. I’m really hoping to pick up a copy of this soon after it is released – thanks so much for sharing this. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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