Risingshadow has the honour of publishing a guest post by Gail Z. Martin.

This guest post is part of the author's Hawthorn Moon Blog Tour.

About the Author

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

Gail Z. Martin writes epic fantasy, urban fantasy and steampunk for Solaris Books, Orbit Books, and Falstaff Books. Series include Darkhurst, the Chronicles Of The Necromancer, the Fallen Kings Cycle, the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, and Deadly Curiosities. The Mark Wojcik Monster Hunter series and Iron & Blood in the Jake Desmet Steampunk series are co-authored with Larry N. Martin, along with the related Storm and Fury Adventures. She also writes urban fantasy MM paranormal romance as Morgan Brice, including the Witchbane and Badlands series.

Vengeance: A Darkhurst novel, is the second in a new epic fantasy series. Her Deadly Curiosities urban fantasy series set in Charleston, SC has a new novel, Tangled Web, and a new collection, Trifles and Folly 2. The Mark Wojcik Monster Hunter series includes Spells, Salt, and Steel, Open Season and Deep Trouble in a new comedic horror/urban fantasy series (Falstaff) and the Iron & Blood universe has the Storm and Fury Adventures collection of short stories, and an upcoming new novel, Spark of Destiny.

Gail is also the author of Scourge: A Novel of Darkhurst, Ice Forged, Reign of Ash, War of Shadows and Shadow and Flame 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 and Vendetta. Gail writes three ebook series: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures, The Deadly Curiosities Adventures and The Blaine McFadden Adventures.

Her work has appeared in over 35 US/UK anthologies. Newest anthologies include: Clockwork Universe: Steampunk vs. Aliens, Gaslight and Grimm, Hath No Fury, Journeys, #We Are Not This, The Baker Street Irregulars, In a Cat’s Eye, and Afterpunk: Steampowered Tales of the Afterlife.

Find her at www.GailZMartin.com, on Twitter @GailZMartin, on Facebook.com/WinterKingdoms, at DisquietingVisions.com blog and on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/GailZMartin. She is also the organizer of the #HoldOnToTheLight campaign www.HoldOnToTheLight.com

GUEST POST: Unintended Consequences by Gail Z. Martin

When undertaker brothers Corran and Rigan Valmonde became outlaw monster hunters and fled beyond the walls of Ravenwood, they thought they had defeated the source of the abominations that killed so many of their friends and loved ones. But the more successful they become at destroying the creatures, the more they realize a greater evil is at work – larger and more monstrous than they ever could imagine....

Vengeance, the second book in the Darkhurst series (sequel to Scourge) will be out by early July, and it takes readers back to the kingdom of Darkhurst and the turmoil of the city-state of Ravenwood. The Valmonde brothers didn’t set out to be heroes. They just wanted to stop the carnage of monsters terrorizing the neighborhoods of their fellow tradesmen, a danger that the Lord Mayor’s guards had no intention of ending. In Scourge, the Valmondes and their friends fight the apparent cause of the monster influx, solving one problem and unleashing an even greater threat. In Vengeance, the outlaws find out that the conspiracy is far bigger than they expected, and that they are way over their heads.

I’ve been enjoying writing the Darkhurst series, although it’s a bit different from some of my previous books. It’s dark ... a few reviewers have called it ‘grimdark’ although it’s not nihilistic or without hope, nor are the characters morally ambiguous, so I guess it depends on how you use the term. The series also has a different political setting, and that structure plays a big role in the motivations of the characters and the stakes of the game.

Powerful aristocrats and wealthy Merchant Princes use mages and assassins to further their interests. Blood magic is powerful, but meant to be limited by the witch’s own stamina. When greed pushes mages to work magic beyond what their own life could sustain, the blood has to come from somewhere—hence the Cull, a ruthless way to punish rivals and obtain the necessary quota of death, pain and fear to power the forbidden magic.

Darkhurst is a kingdom made up of ten quasi-autonomous city-states under a common monarch. The city-states are bound to each other within the Bakaran League by a complex web of trade agreements, which determine their ranking and directly impact their quality of life. City-states that don’t live up to their agreements lose rank and receive inferior goods and supplies, including food. But the darkest secret is that the Cull falls harder on the lesser performing city-states, since the most valuable commodity their citizens have to offer is their blood and death.

The Valmonde brothers and their outlaw friends set out to stop the monsters who are killing villagers. Only later do they realize the truth—the monsters are part of the Cull, called down on the farmers and tradesmen by their own rulers, to fuel the unholy magic that increases the power and wealth of the aristocracy. The whole system is reaching a breaking point, and a much worse horror awaits just on the other side of the rips in reality.

I love reading and writing about monster hunters, and when I envisioned the series, I realized that I hadn’t done a medieval take on the idea, hence Darkhurst. It’s been a lot of fun watching Corran, Rigan and their friends come to terms with their fighting skills and magic, and in Vengeance, their understanding of their kingdom and their world gets turned upside down. It’s also been challenging and exciting to develop a complex world of fragile alliances and dangerous ambitions modeled loosely on the Hanseatic League and the heyday of the Italian city-states in the Middle Ages. That’s very different from the worldbuilding in my other series, and makes for a very volatile environment.

The series will wrap up in 2019 with Reckoning, the third and final novel.

Don’t miss our other recent and upcoming releases! Tangled Web, the third Deadly Curiosities novel, comes out in late June, and Deep Trouble, the third Mark Wojcik Monster Hunter novella (co-written with Larry N. Martin), just came out! Also keep an eye out for The Dark Road, the second collection in the Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures.

Thank you, to all of the readers who enjoy additional escapades and who like to get immersed in series! It is a joy and a privilege to share my imagined worlds with you, and I hope you will continue to visit and explore.

Stay tuned—there are a lot more new adventures and new series coming up!

Enter for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift certificate in my Hawthorn Moon Blog Tour giveaway! http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/9751c04211/?

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