Gail Z. Martin · Guest Posts

The Ghosts of Urban Fantasy by Gail Z. Martin

Amazing author Gail Z. Martin is back with a WeGeekGirls stop on her Days of the Dead tour.

We appreciate you including us on your tour Gail!!

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According to urban fantasy, cities and small towns are filled to bursting with ghosts, vampires, shapeshifters, demons, fallen angels, Fey, ghouls, zombies and things that go bump in the night.

Of course, if you read Stephen King, you already knew that.

What makes urban fantasy’s take on monsters and ghosts different from King’s—which are generally considered to be horror? I think the reason ghosts work differently in urban fantasy than they do in horror comes from the heart of the divide between the two sub-genres. It really comes down to fear and purpose.

Horror as a genre pits an individual or a small group against overwhelming odds and an enemy that often has supernaturally enhanced abilities. Options close one by one, building the sense of helplessness for the protagonists, who have no special tools or talents to fight this threat. A few people might survive because they’re fast runners, good at hiding, or very lucky, and maybe resourceful enough to figure out how to drive a truck over the monster or destroy the amulet that is keeping the ghost bound to the house, but it’s a lucky break. It’s all about the fear.

Urban fantasy, on the other hand, has horrific and fear-inducing elements, but fear is a byproduct, not the goal. Any normal person would be fearful facing the ghosts and supernatural creatures that run amok in the average urban fantasy novel. But while the fear is acknowledged—and readers may get a good scare along the way—neither fear nor helplessness is the main emotion.

Urban fantasy runs on drive and channeled rage. The protagonists in urban fantasy may occasionally run away or hide if it’s prudent. But the goal isn’t to say hidden. The goal is to get back up again and get back into the fight and take down the supernatural bad guy or stop the haunting. The hero in urban fantasy isn’t helpless, or doesn’t stay that way for long. He or she channels fear into rage and the drive to keep fighting.

Which brings me to the second difference—purpose. In horror, the main character is just trying to survive and get away. Just getting out of the haunted house is peachy keen. It’s all about personal survival. Also, the main character in horror usually has not gone looking for the haunting, or if he/she did, it was a very lighthearted whim or perhaps a dare based on the initial certainty that there are no ghosts.

In urban fantasy, the hero goes looking for trouble already knowing that ghosts are real and can be malicious. Not only that, but the hero is reasonably prepared for the encounter—or thinks he is—with training, magic or weapons designed to counter the bad ghosts. Those preparations may be inadequate, and usually do fail the first couple of times. But the main character in urban fantasy is usually a professional monster hunter, someone who gets called in to dispel a haunting or get rid of a supernatural predator.

The urban fantasy hero or heroine might be considered by some to be a monster in his/her own right. He or she has supernatural abilities—magic, psychic capabilities, shapeshifting, vampirism, etc.—that enable the hero to go up against malicious ghosts with a reasonable expectation of winning. The hero/heroine goes where others fear to tread to protect, to get revenge, to destroy evil—but the purpose is always bigger than just surviving the encounter. Most of the time, the hero/heroine is also privy to secret knowledge about ghost in general or that particular ghost, about magic and the supernatural. He or she may be part of a secret organization that provides support, knowledge and resources.

So how do you like your ghosts—and your heroes? Personally, like mine with a fighting chance!

My Days of the Dead blog tour runs through October 31 with never-before-seen cover art, brand new excerpts from upcoming books and recent short stories, interviews, guest blog posts, giveaways and more! Plus, I’ll be including extra excerpt links for my stories and for books by author friends of mine.

You’ve got to visit the participating sites to get the goodies, just like Trick or Treat! Details here: http://www.ascendantkingdoms.com/2015/10/22/days-of-the-dead-blog-tour-tricks-treats-and-scary-good-stuff/

Book swag is the new Trick-or-Treat! Grab your envelope of book swag awesomeness from me & 10 authors http://on.fb.me/1h4rIIe before 11/1!

Trick or Treat! Excerpt from my new urban fantasy novel Vendetta set in my Deadly Curiosities world here http://bit.ly/1ZXCPVS Launches Dec. 29

DEADLY CURIOSITIES-VENDETTA

More Treats! Enter to win a copy of Deadly Curiosities! https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/160181-deadly-curiosities

DEADLY CURIOSITIES

Treats! Enter to win a copy of Iron & Blood! https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/160182-iron-blood

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Halloween Loot from John Hartness—an excerpt from his Quincy Harker series, Raising Hell Chp1 http://bit.ly/1MEMFSQ

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Treats Not Tricks! Read an excerpt from Shadow Garden, my Deadly Curiosities story http://bit.ly/1ZXE9YW

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Gail Martin

About the Author

Gail Z. Martin is the author of the upcoming novel Vendetta: A Deadly Curiosities Novel in her urban fantasy series set in Charleston, SC (Dec. 2015, Solaris Books) as well as the epic fantasy novel Shadow and Flame (March, 2016 Orbit Books) which is the fourth and final book in the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga. Shadowed Path, an anthology of Jonmarc Vahanian short stories set in the world of The Summoner, debuts from Solaris books in June, 2016.
Other books include The Jake Desmet Adventures a new Steampunk series (Solaris Books) co-authored with Larry N. Martin as well as 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) from Solaris Books and The Fallen Kings Cycle (The Sworn, The Dread) from Orbit Books and the urban fantasy novel Deadly Curiosities from Solaris Books.
Gail writes four series of ebook short stories: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures, The Deadly Curiosities Adventures, The King’s Convicts series, and together with Larry N. Martin, The Storm and Fury Adventures. Her work has appeared in over 20 US/UK anthologies. Newest anthologies include: The Big Bad 2, Athena’s Daughters, Realms of Imagination, Heroes, With Great Power, and (co-authored with Larry N. Martin) Space, Contact Light, The Weird Wild West, The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, Alien Artifacts, Clockwork Universe: Steampunk vs. Aliens.

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If you pay any attention to me at all, you know that I am a HUGE fan of Gail’s work. Days of the Dead is the perfect time to introduce yourself to her work. What is up for grabs is not only incredible story telling but also very appropriate for the season we are currently in. Don’t miss out! Follow Gail on her Days of the Dead tour TODAY!!

Happy Treating Yourself!!

~CC

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