I first met Gail a couple years back at ShevaCon. We were on a "How to kill your characters" panel together (among several others) and I was immediately struck by the fact that this was a woman absolutely NOT afraid to do whatever she needed to do to her characters: kill, maim, hurt, etc, if that was what the story needed. I was also struck by how AWESOME she was! Since that panel we've worked together at several cons and it's been my pleasure to get to know her & her fantastic work! I'm now delighted to be working on a project with her, but more on that later. FIRST, her post!

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Misbehaving Women

By Gail Z. Martin

well_behaved_women_magnetI love the quote, "Well-behaved women rarely make history." That's true in the real world, but it's always true in fantasy.

In my Chronicles of the Necromancer series, all of my female characters "aim to misbehave." Kiara Sharsequin may be the heir to the Isencroft throne, but when she needs to find a way to heal her father the king, and avoid an arranged marriage to a tyrannical monarch, she takes off on her own and breaks all the rules to find a solution.

Carina Jesthrata is a healer whose been making her own way since she and her twin brother, Cam, were cast out of their home because their neighbors feared that twins were bad magic. Between Carina's healer's talent and Cam's brawny size, they find work with a mercenary troop, and later with a traveling caravan. It's not the genteel life of a healer to a noble house, but it puts Carina in position to affect the future of the Winter Kingdoms.

Aidane is a serroquette, a 'ghost whore,' a medium who can permit a ghost to inhabit her body for an intimate reunion with a living lover. She makes her way despite the Nargi priests who hunt down and kill the serroquettes. When she is caught, beaten and left for dead, her unlikely rescuers sweep Aidane up into intrigue in a war-torn kingdom, setting a chain of events into motion that put the fate of the new queen in Aidane's hands.

In my Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, Kestel Falke is a spy, a courtesan and an assassin. (It was the assassin part that earned her a one-way ticket to the Velant prison colony.) Her fighting skills keep her alive and protect her within the brutal Velant prison, and her adaptability helps her survive was a colonist in the harsh Edgeland climate. When magic fails, Kestel finds herself being the bodyguard and lover of the one man who might be able to put things right.

And in my Deadly Curiosities series, Cassidy Kincaide is the owner of Trifles & Folly, an antiques and collectibles store in Charleston, SC that is much more than in appears to be. Cassidy is a psychometric, able to read the history of objects with a touch. That comes in handy, because Trifles & Folly is the front for an organization dedicated to removing dangerous magical objects from circulation. Cassidy's work involves a fair amount of breaking and entering, and a certain level of subterfuge to keep the store's real purpose under wraps. (You'll see more of Cassidy in my story, 'Retribution,' in the Athena's Daughters anthology, and in the new Deadly Curiosities series from Solaris books in 2014.)

If any of my heroines had been "well-behaved," they would never have gotten into the situations that let them save the monarch, save the kingdom, or chart their own destiny. By defying the norms of their culture, social class and circumstances, they break the constraints that would have kept them from coming into their full abilities and making a huge difference in the world. Let's hear it for women who misbehave!

Come check out all the free excerpts, book giveaways and other goodies that are part of my Days of the Dead blog tour! Trick-or-Treat you way through more than 30 partner sites where you'll find brand new interviews, freebies and more--details at http://www.AscendantKingdoms.com.

Ice Forged will be a Kindle Daily Deal with a special one-day price of just $1.99 only on October 31! Get it here: http://amzn.com/B008AS86QY

Reign of Ash, book two in the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga launches in April, 2014 from Orbit Books. My new urban fantasy, Deadly Curiosities, comes out in July, 2014 from Solaris Books. I bring out two series of ebook short stories with a new story every month for just .99 on Kindle, Kobo and Nook—check out the Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures or the Deadly Curiosities Adventures.

About the author: Gail Z. Martin is the author of Ice Forged in The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga and the upcoming Reign of Ash (Orbit Books, 2014), plus 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 and The Dread) from Orbit Books. In 2014, Gail launches a new urban fantasy novel, Deadly Curiosities, from Solaris Books. She is also the author of two series of ebook short stories: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures and the Deadly Curiosities Adventures. Find her at http://www.ChroniclesOfTheNecromancer.com, on Twitter @GailZMartin, on Facebook.com/WinterKingdoms, at DisquietingVisions.com blog and GhostInTheMachinePodcast.com.

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Now onto the AWESOME project I'm delighted to announce that Gail is a part of - an all female anthology Maggie Allen and I are putting together called Athena's Daughters.

Athena's Daughters is a collection of short fiction from some of the best female science fiction and fantasy authors in the business (Jean Rabe is editing, Sherwood Smith, Mary Robinette Kowal, Cleolinda Jones, & others have stories in it). This anthology features stories written by women about women. We wanted, in this project, to provide a platform by which our female authors, artists, graphic designers, and editors could showcase their incredible talents.

To that end, Athena's Daughters is a project conceived, developed, and driven by women. All of the authors in this anthology are women, as are the artists, the graphic designer, and the editor.

The Kickstarter for this project will launch in December and we hope you will join us!

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Speaking of Kickstarters, don't forget I've got two going right now! The first is for the 3rd novel in the War of the Seasons trilogy, The Hunter. It's already funded, so if you back the project you KNOW you're going to get some cool stuff. Right now $5 gets you 2 novels & 4 (possibly up to 8) short stories! $15 gets you 4 novels and 4 (possibly up to 8) short stories! The kickstarter ends on November 5th, so don't delay! http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/103879051/war-of-the-seasons-a-fantasy-trilogy-by-janine-k-s

The second Kickstarter I'm a part of is called War Stories and it's an anthology of Military Sci-Fi stories. My story, "Coming Home," is about a space Marine pilot named Pia, and the struggles she and her aircrew face in the battle for New Austin. But more than that is the struggle Pia faces when she returns home and has to deal with the difficulties of adjusting back to a "normal life." In other words, it's about her struggle with PTSD.

There are a LOT of great authors in the anthology, so please consider backing the project! http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/andrewliptak/war-stories-modern-military-science-fiction?ref=live