Risingshadow has the honour of publishing a guest post by Gail Z. Martin. This guest post is part of the author's Days of the Dead blog tour.

Gail Z. Martin is the author of 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); The Shadowed Path (Solaris Books) and Iron and Blood a new Steampunk series (Solaris Books) co-authored with Larry N. Martin. A brand new epic fantasy series debuts from Solaris Books in 2017.

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 novel 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.

Find her at www.GailZMartin.com, on Twitter @GailZMartin, on Facebook.com/WinterKingdoms, at DisquietingVisions.com blog and GhostInTheMachinePodcast.com, on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/GailZMartin and free excerpts on Wattpad http://wattpad.com/GailZMartin.

GUEST POST: RESEARCHING THE MACABRE BY GAIL Z. MARTIN

When people ask me 'where do you get your ideas for your books', I'm never sure whether they are curious about my writing habits or checking to make sure I haven't been stashing bodies in my basement. (Silly--we don't have a basement. We have a crawlspace.)

That's because I write bloody, scary stuff with lots of dark magic and undead creatures. That holds true whether I'm writing epic fantasy, urban fantasy or steampunk. I love ghosts and monsters, and I've always gravitated toward the macabre. Finding inspiration is easier than you might think.

Museums are treasure troves of cool, weird, creepy stuff. When I visit a city, I do my best to go through the local museum. To say that I'm excited about going through a museum like the Metropolitan Museum of Natural History in New York City or the Field Museum in Chicago or any museum in Europe is an understatement. I am *giddy*. I like to have plenty of time so I can read all the little descriptions. Inevitably, I wander into the off-jog room that has the creepy death jewelry or the plague artifacts or the collection of Victorian death photography. It can be best if I go by myself so no one gets impatient as I linger.

Lots of museums are building online exhibits with photos, video, audio and descriptions, so this expands the number of museums I can visit. When I go to a new city, I also like to find the cemeteries and dungeons, go on ghost tours, or the 'scandals and dark side' tours. It's all fodder!

I love to read the blogs and web sites on magic, Voodoo, paranormal research and urban exploration. I'll read urban legends and news accounts of old tragic accidents or weird occurrences. Sometimes I'll follow up on something I've heard about on The History Channel or A&E and then I go down the rabbit hole clicking links from one fascinating strange thing to another. It's a toss-up whether I know what I'm looking for or being guided by serendipity, but it always works out. I also read a lot of books on myth, the occult, medieval warfare, and related topics. History is the best source for strange-but-true stuff you couldn't possibly make up. I've found inspiration in Ripley's Believe-it-or-not collections, living history museums and national parks.

Researching the macabre is easier than you might imagine if you keep your ears open, look for the unusual things tucked away in corners, or ask your guide "did anything really strange ever happen here" or "are there any ghost stories about this place"?  You won't believe what docents will tell you 'off the record' if you ask the right questions! Truth really is stranger than fiction!

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://bit.ly/2eC2pxP

Let me give a shout-out for #HoldOnToTheLight--100+ 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!

Steampunk & spooky! Free excerpt from our Storm and Fury Adventure short story Rogue http://bit.ly/2dH4SrR

TrickOrTreat from @JohnHartness Bubba The Monster Hunter Excerpt from Hall & Goats - http://bit.ly/1Lok7PC

TrickOrTreat excerpt from Jack Campbell https://especbooks.wordpress.com/2016/09/29/sneak-peek-the-sister-paradox-by-jack-campbell/

Hey—did you see the video for The Sworn and The Dread? https://youtu.be/teyvxnIEITg

Use your free @Audible trial to get my books! Reign of Ash Audible https://amzn.com/B00JBD1GRS

TrickOrTreat DoubleDragonSampler#6 http://www.double-dragon-ebooks.com/sample/DDPSAMPLE006.mobi

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