Happy Halloween to all of you!!
I’ve got something pretty awesome for ya today!
Our friend, Gail Z. Martin, has once again made us a stop on her Days of the Dead Blog Tour for this year!!
I wanted to know about her short stories. Check out what she had to say 🙂
Why I Love Short Fiction
By Gail Z. Martin
Considering that many of my book contracts specify a minimum of 175,000 words, it may seem strange to find out that I love short fiction. Then again, ‘short’ for me is anything under that Big Fat Fantasy word count, which leaves a lot of room.
But I’ve grown to really like books in the under 300 page range, both as a reader and a writer. They’re bite-sited (fun-sized?) and I can read them in a day or two, depending on what I’m doing. I’ve also gotten to love novellas—both reading and writing them. And short stories are a great way to tell a tale that doesn’t require a whole book but that still makes for an enjoyable adventure.
I’m convinced that Americans have cultural ADD, and that we’ve been trained by TV and YouTube to have the attention span of a gnat. While some of us still enjoy diving into a book the size of a brick that is part of a multi-book series, other people only want the commitment they’d put into a movie or a few hours of binge-watching on Netflix. Short fiction satisfies people who aren’t looking for a relationship with a big book, just a fictional quickie.
I’ve got two more books to go in the Darkhurst series. Vengeance, the sequel to Scourge, comes out next year, and Reckoning will come out the year after that. Next year I’m also going to be starting the first of seven brand new Chronicles of the Necromancer books that pick up 17 years after The Dread. They’ll be the same Chihuahua-killer sized tomes they’ve always been. So I’m sticking to my epic fantasy roots….and expanding.
The new Warhammer book (which I can’t talk about yet except to say that it’s an original epic fantasy novel set in the Age of Sigmar, and something of a heist novel) comes in at around 85K, or just under 300 pages. And Assassin’s Honor, the first in my new Assassins of Landria series (that I thought would be out this year and now looks like it’s making an early 2018 debut) will be in about the same range. The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures serialized two full novels in sequential short stories and novellas. Our Blaine McFadden Adventures will ultimately add up to the fifth book in the Ascendant Kingdoms series, released as six novellas (watch for three more about his time as a colonist in 2018).
Urban Fantasy and Steampunk usually come in at 120K or less, which is where both of the Deadly Curiosities novels and Iron & Blood hit the mark. Next year’s Tangled Web (book 3 in the Deadly series) and Spark of Destiny (book 2 in the Iron & Blood series) will still hit around the 100K mark. And yet….The Deadly Curiosities Adventures and the Storm and Fury Adventures are short stories and novellas set in those fictional worlds that explore ‘extra episodes’ in 8K to 30K bites. They aren’t as complicated as the books in terms of multiple points of view or braided plot threads, but they deliver a good story in the length of time it takes for someone to ride the subway home or take a flight.
The new Spells, Salt, and Steel: New Templars series that Larry and I are co-writing for Falstaff Books is urban fantasy, a tangentially-linked spin-off from John Hartness’s Bubba The Monster Hunter series. It’s comedic horror, delivered in novella-sized bloody bits. We’ve just sold two more series to Falstaff which are also novella-based. One is in John’s Secret Council world, and one is a post-apocalyptic/dystopian stand-alone universe. I’m a little amazed at how much story can get packed into what I used to consider to be less than half a book!
Bump in the Night is a limited-edition book bundle from Falstaff Books with 9 full novels for just $2.99 and it includes our Trifles and Folly collection of 10 Deadly Curiosities stories. But buy it quick, because it vanishes forever on November 4! The Haven Harbor Halloween anthology includes four Halloween-themed novellas for just .99 and includes an all-new Deadly Curiosities Adventure, Keepsakes.
Collections straddle the line between short and long. The Shadowed Path collects the first 10 Jonmarc Vahanian short stories, but reads like a novel when it’s all in one book. (Watch for the sequel, The Dark Road, collecting the rest of Jonmarc’s short stories and novellas next year.) The Deadly Curiosities short stories and novellas weren’t designed to be a serialized book, but the Trifles and Folly collection lets people who like my world linger a bit longer over the course of ten stories. (Watch for Trifles and Folly 2 later this year, as well as a Storm and Fury collection.) Once we have four Spells, Salt, and Steel novellas out, Falstaff plans an omnibus collection. Readers can get them when they come out individually, or grab them all together.
I’m working on three other new series (urban fantasy and horror) that will also fall in the 85-100K range per book. The size suits the stories and the readership. And I’ve had to learn to adjust my style. Shorter works have a different pacing. There’s no long build-up. Point of View is limited to fewer characters, sometimes just one or two. It’s difficult to do more than two interweaving plot threads, where in one of the big epics, I can have four or five plot threads going at once.
If a 600 page epic fantasy is like taking a steamer trunk on a month-long vacation, then a 250 page urban fantasy is more like taking a roller bag for a long weekend, and the short stories and novellas are like grabbing a backpack for a day trip. They’re all legitimate options, depending on how much time you have and what you feel like doing. But you’d plan each trip differently and have different expectations, and so do readers at the varying story lengths. It’s okay to have a favorite, or to like all of them depending on the situation. I’m having too much fun to choose!
My Days of the Dead blog tour runs through October 31 with 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! Get all the details about my Days of the Dead blog tour here: http://www.ascendantkingdoms.com/2017/10/25/its-my-days-of-the-dead-blog-a-palooza/
Let me give a shout-out for #HoldOnToTheLight 2017, back for more with new authors and fantastic new posts! 130+ Sci-Fi/Fantasy authors blogging about their personal struggles with depression, PTSD, anxiety, suicide and self-harm, candid posts by some of your favorite authors on how mental health issues have impacted their lives and books. Read the stories, share the stories, change a life. Find out more at www.HoldOnToTheLight.com
Book swag is the new Trick-or-Treat! All of my guest blog posts have links to free excerpts—grab them all!
Rafflecopter giveaway—enter for a chance to win a copy of Spells, Salt and Steel! http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/9751c0426/?
An excerpt from our new Spells, Salt, and Steel: A New Templars Novel— http://www.ascendantkingdoms.com/short-stories-and-more/spells-salt-steel/spells-salt-steel/excerpt-spells-salt-steel/
And this excerpt from my friend Jean Marie Ward, ‘The Five Bean Solution’ from the Were- anthology: http://jeanmarieward.com/books/excerpt-the-five-bean-solution/
About the Author
Gail Z. Martin writes epic fantasy, urban fantasy and steampunk for Solaris Books and Orbit Books. Vengeance: A Darkhurst novel, is the second in a new epic fantasy series for Solaris (coming April, 2018). Her Deadly Curiosities urban fantasy series set in Charleston, SC has a new novel, Vendetta, and a new collection, Trifles and Folly. Spells, Salt, and Steel is the first in another new urban fantasy series set in upstate Pennsylvania.
Other work includes the Chronicles Of The Necromancer series, the Fallen Kings Cycle, the Ascendant Kingdoms series, the Deadly Curiosities urban fantasy series, and Iron & Blood (co-authored with Larry N. Martin)
I really like how Gail summed it up in this sentence…
If a 600 page epic fantasy is like taking a steamer trunk on a month-long vacation, then a 250 page urban fantasy is more like taking a roller bag for a long weekend, and the short stories and novellas are like grabbing a backpack for a day trip.
If you are new to Gail’s work, make sure you visit all the stops on her blog tour for a taste of what she has to offer. From the sounds of what is coming up, there will most definitely be something for everyone!
My personal recommendation for this time of year would be to check our her Deadly Curiosities series (which also means take advantage of the Bump in the Night book bundle).
As always, HAPPY READING :0)
***And Gail, you are incredible! Thank you for stopping by again!***