Friday, April 24, 2020

Sellsword’s Oath by Gail Z. Martin (VBT, guest post, excerpt, review, and GIVEAWAY) GFT

It is my pleasure to share a guest post by author Gail Z. Martin, who shares thoughts about...

Fusing Hobbies and Writing

By Gail Z. Martin

I owe it all to ScoobyDoo, Dark Shadows and Supernatural.

Well, and a lifetime of reading books of regional ghost stories, following paranormal investigators on TV and the internet, and scouring every account of monsters and cryptids.

And my grandmother’s subscription to Fate Magazine, which I’d grab a stack of and read when we visited when I was a kid.

Plus a penchant for loving to wander through historic cemeteries, restored historic homes, and museums—especially the weird collections.

Oh, and an undergraduate major in history—with an emphasis on the Medieval era.

So really, I’ve been training all my life to write epic and urban fantasy about magic, restless spirits, monsters, and brave heroes with special abilities. They say, ‘write what you know’. The weird spooky stuff—that’s what I know, what I’ve been drawn to since I was a little kid.

Everything I write, regardless of the sub-genre, has supernatural elements—some type of magic, monsters, occult rituals, ghosts. That’s the kind of stuff I love as a reader, and those sorts of tales come naturally to me. Writing them makes me happy, and I absolutely love the research that goes along with it.

I’ve seen other authors do the same with something they love—whether it’s sports, a craft like knitting or baking, or dogs, birdwatching, or a region of their country, etc. Many readers are what I call ‘sneaky learners’—they want to learn something new in addition to enjoying a story. So if a series hinges on a particular theme—like scrapbooking, specialty coffee, horse racing, or NASCAR—readers may enjoy the opportunity to discover new trivia and get an insight into a new slice of life. That’s especially true in genres like cozy mystery and romance.

Your hobbies and life-long interests are a chance to bring a unique flavor and voice to your characters and stories. That’s something that makes your books stand out in a crowded marketplace. It means that the stories may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but that they’ll attract the interest of people who already like those elements or are open to something new.

Weaving your genuine interests into your writing also makes the process more enjoyable, because you’re now doing two things that you like—writing, and learning more about your hobby. That brings an authenticity and passion to your writing that can’t be beat!


Assassins of Landria series, Book 2

 Gail Z. Martin


GENRE:   Fantasy



Buddy flick epic fantasy! The second in the Assassins of Landria series from the award-winning, bestselling author of Scourge: A Novel of Darkhurst and The Chronicles Of The Necromancer books!

Wandering mystic Yefim Makary, known to his followers as the ‘Witch Lord’, disappeared before he could be accused of inciting dissent against King Kristoph. His supporters among the disenchanted aristocrats who weren’t arrested have fled or died by their own hand. The king is happy to put the matter behind him. Yet Burke, the commander of the elite King’s Shadows, doesn’t believe the threat is over, and he assigns his two most troublesome, rule-breaking—and successful—assassins to ferret out the real threat and put a stop to Makary’s plots.

Joel “Ridge” Breckinridge and Garrett “Rett” Kennard rose through the ranks of the Landrian army together, from teenaged conscripts to seasoned fighters. Together, they became the most feared team of assassins in Landria, surviving longer that most in their profession by virtue of excellent fighting skills, legendary bravado, peerless strategy, and an uncanny synchronicity.

As the threads of a new plot come together revealing disloyalty among the priests and generals, Ridge and Rett once again find themselves on the run, hoping they and their allies can figure out the Witch Lord’s latest scheme before it costs them their lives—and the king his throne.



The trick, when setting off gunpowder, was to be far enough away.
Ridge had never been good at that part.
He’d almost reached the embankment when he heard the shot from Rett’s matchlock. Knowing what was about to happen next, Ridge dove into the ravine, taking his chances with brambles and thickets over flying rocks and shattered glass.

Behind him, the country manor exploded in a fireball as Rett’s shot touched off the barrels of gunpowder on its roof. That would bring down the ceiling and blow the bombers on the roof sky high while trapping the traitors inside, where they’d either be killed by the blast or buried in the rubble for the king’s guards to collect.

Ridge grunted as he tumbled over roots and rocks, tucking his arms over his face and trusting his leather cuirass to take the brunt of the hits. Even so, rock dust settled like snow over the whole area, and small bits of stone pelted like hail.

To keep it all official, Ridge had nailed the letter of marque to a tree in front of the manor, after he had ensured that no one but the smugglers were inside the abandoned country house. The smugglers—and their rivals on the roof—were already in the process of setting explosives when Ridge and Rett arrived to carry out the assassination. That was a bonus, killing two sets of troublemakers in one swoop and without the personal danger of getting close enough to throw a knife or slit a throat.

He trusted Rett to stay in position, where he would be able to pick off stragglers from his vantage point high in a sturdy tree. Ridge dragged himself to his feet, brushed off the worst of the dirt, and climbed back up the slope. Once he got to the top of the embankment, he would have a good view to spot anyone who might have escaped the explosion and eluded Rett’s aim.

“Damn,” he muttered when he reached the top and saw the results.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Gail Z. Martin writes epic fantasy, urban fantasy and steampunk for Solaris Books, Orbit Books, SOL Publishing, Darkwind Press, and Falstaff Books. Recent books include Witch of the Woods, Sellsword’s Oath, Inheritance, and Night Moves. With Larry N. Martin, she is the co-author of the Spells Salt & Steel, Wasteland Marshals, Joe Mack and Jake Desmet series. As Morgan Brice, she writes urban fantasy MM paranormal romance including the Witchbane, Badlands and Treasure Trail series. Recent books include Loose Ends and Unholy.

Find her at her website, on Twitter @GailZMartin, on, at her blog and on Goodreads

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The tour dates can be found here


My review:

3.75 out of 5 stars

Sellsword’s Oath by Gail Z. Martin is part of the ‘Assassins of Landria’ series. This tale features partners Ridge and Rett, who are elite assassins who serve King Kristoph. They are still hunting those who would destroy the king, particularly the Witch Lord. Their assignments are just as perilous as usual, since they have few colleagues they can depend on for support, and their forbidden talents could wreak their own destruction. Fortunately, they’re used to depending only on each other, and they’re adept at finding their own allies, unconventional as they may be, so perhaps they’ll muddle through without destroying too much of the kingdom…or themselves.

This fantasy novel is a fun addition to the sword and sorcery genre, and reminds me of why I enjoy tales by authors like Violette Malan or Michael J. Sullivan—that camaraderie and absolute partnership, bravery in the face of insurmountable odds, and the ability to think on one’s feet and adapt to the sometimes very eerie obstacles one encounters. I haven’t read the first volume in this series, so it was a little awkward to figure out the basis for some of the challenges the duo is facing, but there is enough backstory to orient the reader, although I definitely still have questions.

I love the opening scene that shows that, although not perfect, the pair gets the job done and trust each other completely. The allies that the duo are accumulating definitely give a nice twist to the story, and the glimpses of magic and tradition are fun, although I am still puzzled about the antipathy for magic that seems counter to the number of folks who apparently want to wield it and the king whose position seems to be cemented by it. For me, the antipathy toward the central pair is a bit confusing, and although I know it supports the “us against the world” aura, it seems illogical in light of what they accomplish. Perhaps the first book (or future sequels) will clear things up for me.

Those who enjoy exciting adventures of epic fantasy and buddy tales will undoubtedly find this story entertaining and should enjoy this prolific author’s contribution to the genre. I admire the multitude of stories available in her various universes and look forward to even more of her exciting tales.

A copy was provided for review


  1. Great review. I've enjoyed following the tour for Sellsword’s Oath! Thanks for sharing all of the great post along the way.

  2. Thanks for taking time to share your book with us and it's always a pleasure in our family to learn about a new one.

  3. I've enjoyed following the tour.

  4. That sounds really good. I love Supernatural too.