Assassins, Honor and Vengeance by Gail Z. Martin (@GailZMartin)

Assassins, Honor and Vengeance
By Gail Z. Martin

I’ve been writing epic fantasy (as well as urban fantasy, steampunk and more) for over a decade now, and that’s time enough to see some shifts in the market—both in reader tastes and in how books are consumed.

Of course that period saw ebooks take over and big bookstore chains like Borders go by the wayside, which are huge changes. It also saw the rise of quality self publishing—the ability to put together a book on your own and get it out to a global market without a publisher and with equal or better quality. That has been another seismic lurch, as has the exponential growth of audiobook popularity.

But one of the sometimes overlooked influencers in reader behavior is Netflix. Netflix taught us to binge watch—which all of a sudden made waiting for new weekly episodes or seasons intolerable. Some of that has rubbed off on readers, in that waiting a year between books is now seen as an undue burden. Readers like to binge-read, and we’re seeing more series bring out multiple books a year, and/or not launch until they can schedule multiple sequential releases within weeks or month of each other. We’re also seeing time-crunched readers, who might be willing to invest the time in a book that it takes to watch a couple of movies or an evening of episodes, but feel too strapped for free time to commit to a tome that requires multiple days or longer to finish.

And then, of course, there are the readers who haven’t changed their habits at all.

What’s a writer to do?

Adapt. We’ve gone hybrid, which means that we have some books with large and small publishers and audiobook companies, and some books we produce completely indie. That’s been working well, and it enables us to do more books, and a wider variety of types of books, than would have been possible in the old days. We’re working with cover artists and editors who used to work for big publishers, so I’m proud of the quality of the books we’re turning out. It’s a very interesting adventure, one that changes every day!

In a very real way, my two most recent epic fantasies embody this change. Vengeance is the second book in the Darkhurst series. Here’s the quick overview:
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 is a big book—over 600 pages long. Hardcore epic fantasy readers like big, fat books because they enjoy the worldbuilding and they want to be able to go visit and stay for a while. They’re comfortable with multiple points of view and braided plot threads. They not only love the genre, but they also understand how to read the genre. Vengeance is perfect for them.

Assassin’s Honor, on the other hand, is epic fantasy without the epic length. At under 300 pages, it’s a pretty quick read. The book has only two point-of-view characters—the protagonists. There are no intertwining plot threads—it’s just the core story arc. I refer to it as ‘buddy flick epic fantasy’, and describe it as ‘Butch and Sundance as medieval assassins’. In reality, it’s epic fantasy for people who don’t have the time to read a thick book, but who really like the genre. It has all the feels of epic fantasy, but a reader can finish it in the time it takes to watch a couple of movies. My hope is that it will attract time-strapped people back to the genre, and perhaps entice new people who were intimidated by the huge books to give the genre a try.

Here’s the blurb:
Joel Breckenridge and Garrett Kennard are King's Shadows, elite assassins serving the crown of Landria. When a shadowy itinerant holy man starts captivates the nobility with treasonous whispers, Ridge and Rett go rogue to stop the threat, save the kingdom and protect the king--while landing on the 'Most Wanted' list themselves.
I plan to keep writing both ‘big fat’ fantasy and the new leaner size. I think there’s room for both, and I’m looking forward to giving readers plenty to choose from!

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. 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 at

Book swag is the new Trick-or-Treat! All of my guest blog posts have links to free excerpts—follow the tour and grab them all!  Enjoy this excerpt for Assassin’s Honor:


About the Author

Gail Z. Martin writes urban fantasy, epic fantasy and steampunk for Solaris Books, Orbit Books, Falstaff Books, SOL Publishing and Darkwind Press. Urban fantasy series include Deadly Curiosities and the Night Vigil (Sons of Darkness). Epic fantasy series include Darkhurst, the Chronicles Of The Necromancer, the Fallen Kings Cycle, the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, and the Assassins of Landria. Newest titles include Tangled Web, Vengeance, The Dark Road, and Assassin’s Honor. As Morgan Brice, she writes urban fantasy MM paranormal romance. Books include Witchbane, Burn, Dark Rivers, Badlands and the upcoming Lucky Town.

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

She is also the organizer of the #HoldOnToTheLight campaign

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