Today is one of the rare occasions when I welcome an actual guest-author for a blog post on The Traveler’s Steampunk Blog. It is Gail Z Martin, best-selling author of The Chronicles Of The Necromancer, the Fallen Kings Cycle and the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga.

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Here is a short introduction to Iron and Blood:

New Pittsburgh, 1898: a crucible of invention and intrigue, the hub of American industry at the height of its steam-driven power.

Jake Desmet and Rick Brand, sons of New Pittsburgh and heirs to the Brand & Desmet Import Company, travel the world to secure unusual items for the collections of wealthy patrons. Smuggling a small package as a favour for a Polish witch should have been just another mission, but things have taken a turn for the violent.

Meanwhile, in the abandoned mines beneath the city, supernatural creatures hide from the light, emerging to feed in the smoky city known as ‘hell with the lid off.’

When hired killers come after Jake and a Ripper-style killer leaves the city awash in blood, Jake, Rick and beloved cousin Nicki realize that dark magic, vampire power struggles and industrial sabotage are just a prelude to a bigger plot that threatens New Pittsburgh – and the world. Stopping that plot will require every ounce of Jake’s courage, every bit of Rick’s cunning, every scintilla of Nicki’s bravura and all the steam-powered innovation imaginable…

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But enough of what I have to say, please give all your attention to Gail Z Martin introducing her novel:

The Pittsburgh of Iron and Blood

By Gail Z. Martin

Iron and Blood, the new Steampunk novel co-written with my husband, Larry N. Martin, is set in an alternative history Pittsburgh, circa 1898. Creating the world for the series has been enormous fun, especially since we grew up near Pittsburgh and lived in the city for ten years. But what really struck me as we worked on the book was how ideally suited Pittsburgh is for Steampunk, and how much of its Victorian history survives.

There’s no debating that Pittsburgh’s star has dimmed since its heyday at the end of the 1800s and the early half of the Twentieth Century. It may surprise some readers to realize just what a big deal big city Pittsburgh was in the era of the Robber Barons and the Age of Steam. The city was the epicenter of heavy manufacturing, supplying steel for military and industrial uses. Coal, railroads, banking, and newfangled inventions prospered, thanks to the genius–and rapacity–of men like Carnegie, Frick, Mellon and Westinghouse. Immigrants from all over Europe flocked to the city to work in its mines, mills and factories.

Wealth followed, at least for industrialists like Carnegie and his lieutenants. Although some of the grand homes, including that of Carnegie himself, have been razed or repurposed over the years, many beautiful homes from Pittsburgh’s golden age remain, as do public buildings with remarkable period architecture, such as the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Shadyside Presbyterian Church and St. Stanislaus Kostka Church. While some of the massive steel mills that made that wealth possible have also been torn down, the remaining gargantuan complexes, like the Edgar Thomson Works in Braddock, invoke a sense of awe at the sheer scale and hubris of the undertaking.

The Pittsburgh of the late 1890s was a study in contrasts between the sooty miners and millworkers with their Old World accents and traditions and the newly-minted upper and middle classes who took their social and fashion cues from New York. It was a time of invention and iconoclastic ideas, of heady expectations and seething resentments. Ethnicities long at war with each other in Europe now rubbed shoulders in the mines and mills every day. People clung dearly to the traditions, language, religion and customs that reminded them of home, even as those factors were transformed by their new environment. The world of the late 1890s had never seemed more wide open and full of opportunity, and at the same time, constantly in flux.

Pittsburgh was also a hot spot for innovation. George Westinghouse at one point considered collaborating with genius Nikola Tesla, then the two went their separate ways. In Iron and Blood, that collaboration becomes reality, giving birth to the Tesla-Westinghouse Corporation, a powerhouse of inventions and skunkworks-style off-the-books laboratory. New manufacturing techniques sprang from the companies that would eventually become companies like Alcoa and US Steel.

About the authors:

Gail Z. Martin writes epic fantasy, urban fantasy and steampunk for Solaris Books and Orbit Books. In addition to Iron and Blood, she is the author of Deadly Curiosities and the upcoming Vendetta in her urban fantasy series;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, The Dread) as well as Ice Forged, Reign of Ash, and War of Shadows in The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga from Orbit Books. Gail writes two series of ebook short stories: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures and the Deadly Curiosities Adventures and her work has appeared in over 20 US/UK anthologies.

Larry N. Martin fell in love with fantasy and science fiction when he was a teenager. After a twenty-five year career in Corporate America, Larry started working full-time with his wife, author Gail Z. Martin and discovered that he had a knack for storytelling, plotting and character development, as well as being a darn fine editor. Iron and Blood is their first official collaboration. On the rare occasions when Larry isn’t working on book-related things, he enjoys pottery, cooking and reading.

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

And some additional information:

This guest post is part of the Hawthorn Moon Sneak Peek Event, which includes book giveaways, free excerpts and readings, all-new guest blog posts (such as the one here) and author Q&A on 28 awesome partner sites around the globe.  For a full list of where to go to get the goodies, visit www.AscendantKingdoms.com.

Iron & Blood will be available from July 7h.

I hope you enjoyed this guest-post and I thank the authors for letting me be part of the blog tour.

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