Nab the Trafficking in Magic, Magicking in Traffic Anthology for Just $4.35 at Amazon.com

Thursday, October 30th, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

Trafficking in Magic Magicking in Traffic-smallBlack Gate author, blogger, and roving correspondent Sarah Avery reports in with some unexpected news: Amazon.com has discounted her acclaimed new anthology Trafficking in Magic, Magicking in Traffic to just $4.35, a steep 73% savings off the $15 cover price.

Sarah and her publisher are not sure how long the sale will last, however, so act fast. Of special interest to Black Gate fans, it contains a brand new story from James Enge — as well as fiction from Elizabeth Bear, Darrell Schweitzer, Pauline J. Alama, and many others. Here’s the complete description.

What do you seek at the end of this road? What have you brought to pay your way? The road is full of hazards, and the marketplace can cost more than you expect.

In Trafficking in Magic, Magicking in Traffic, editors David Sklar and Sarah Avery bring you 18 magical tales of travel and transactions, ranging from busking in a train station to walking between the worlds, from doppelgangers for hire to capturing the remnants of the dead.

Ideal to read on your vacation, commute, or flight from vengeful ghosts, this collection features classic stories by Elizabeth Bear, Daniel Braum, George R. Galuschak and Darrell Schweitzer, as well as new work by Pauline J. Alama, Megan Arkenberg, D.W. Carlson, Joyce Chng, M.C. DeMarco, E. Grace Diehl, James Enge, Manny Frishberg, Sara M. Harvey, Scott Hungerford, Deborah Grabien, Deirdre M. Murphy, Rhonda Parrish, Richard Rider, and Heather Stearns.

Trafficking in Magic, Magicking in Traffic was edited by David Sklar and Sarah Avery, and published by Fantastic Books on May 23, 2014. It is 264 pages, regularly priced at $15.99 in paperback. There is no digital edition. Order online from Amazon.com.


Black Gate Interviews C.S.E. Cooney: From Metaphor To Manticore

Monday, October 27th, 2014 | Posted by markrigney

C.S.E. CooneyWriter C.S.E. Cooney has published two stories in the mighty trove of Black Gate‘s online fiction catalog, “Life On the Sun,” and its prequel, “Godmother Lizard.” For the following interview, she and I met in the cavernous vaults of Black Gate‘s Indiana compound, where we lounged on Ottoman divans surrounded by steampunk tapestries and several thousand of John O’Neill’s second favorite sci-fi paperbacks. The results, transcribed by a Silicon Valley drone powered entirely by herbal tea, are as follows:

What do you write? Or, if it’s easier, what do you not write?

Well, I’ve never written a tech manual for aeronautics and robotics. Man, but if I did, then I could write all sorts of cool sci fi with my awesome SCIENCE KNOW-HOW!

I generally say I write Fantasy when people ask. With the understanding that I think “Fantasy” is a great umbrella term that tucks, um, ALL OF FICTION under its shadowy wings. But mostly I mean I write Secondary World Fantasy. With a bit of urbanish fantasy thrown in. And maybe a wee slice of sci fi when I’m feeling daring. And an even weesomer slice of horror, usually in the autumn. Oh, and a dollop of the Weird, when I’m in my Gabriel Garcia Marquez mood. Oh, and that one time I tried to write a Steampunk story but I’m still not entirely sure of the outcome…

Every story I write seems to require a whole different set of tools than the last story. One is constantly reinventing one’s toolbox. Thankfully, the good old standbys like “assonance” and “simile” don’t really change. Only get better. Or subtler. If subtle is better. I don’t do subtle very well, so I naturally think it IS better, mostly because it’s this mysterious thing.

Subtlety. I’m a big fan of it.

Read More »


Backing my First Kickstarter: Scott Taylor’s The Folio

Sunday, October 26th, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

Scott Taylor The Folio-smallOkay, technically Scott Taylor’s The Folio isn’t the first Kickstarter campaign I’ve ever backed. I think that was probably Grim Dawn, the computer RPG from the creators of Titan’s Quest. Plus the Veronica Mars movie. But I only did those because my kids begged me.

So, yeah, I think Scott’s The Folio may be the first campaign I’ve backed on my own. It hasn’t been hard to stay away from Kickstarter so far… there’s been plenty of intriguing projects that have tempted me but, between eBay and Amazon, I already have enough high tech platforms draining my finances, thank you very much. As a collector with poor impulse control, it’s been safest just to stay away entirely.

What’s so magical about The Folio that’s undermined years of careful self-control? Well, first, there’s its creator, Scott Taylor. Scott’s been blogging at Black Gate for many years, and he was a contributor to the print magazine before that. Scott is enormously talented, with five published novels to his credit, not to mention the highly acclaimed shared-world anthologies Tales of the Emerald Serpent and A Knight in the Silk Purse, which he published and edited.

I’ve wondered for years what Scott could do if he focused his considerable talents on the gaming industry, but with The Folio, he has surpassed even my high expectations. The Folio is an ongoing adventure module series using 5th Edition mechanics, adapted to multiple genres.

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Future Treasures: Apocalypse Girl Dreaming by Jennifer Brozek

Monday, October 20th, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

Apocalypse Girl Dreaming-smallYou know what’s marvelously satisfying? Watching writers who got their start in Black Gate going on to accomplish great things.

Jennifer Brozek began her professional writing career producing game reviews for Black Gate magazine a decade ago. I wish I could take credit for discovering her, but it was our games editor at the time, Don Bassingthwaite (who’s gone on to a stellar career of his own, with more than a dozen fantasy novels under his belt), who found and recruited her. Since then, Jennifer has written or co-written over half a dozen game titles, including the Fifth Edition Shadowrun rules, the Big Damn Heroes Handbook for the Serenity Role Playing Game, and the BattleTech novel The Nellus Academy Incident.

She’s also made a name for herself as an accomplished editor — with ten titles to her name, including the DAW anthology Human for a Day (co-edited with Martin H. Greenberg) and Grants Pass (with Amanda Pillar) — and author, of In a Gilded Light, The Lady of Seeking in the City of Waiting, and the Karen Wilson Chronicles, among others. Most recently, we reported here on her upcoming heroic fantasy anthology from Baen, Shattered Shields, co-edited with Bryan Thomas Schmidt.

As if that weren’t enough to keep her busy, Jennifer is also the author of some 50 short stories, and early next year sees the publication of her very first collection: Apocalypse Girl Dreaming, from Evil Girlfriend Media. Here’s the book description:

Evil Girlfriend Media is pleased to release the cover of Apocalypse Girl Dreaming, a short story collection, by Jennifer Brozek. This collection features dark speculative fiction ranging from tie-in stories in the Valdemar and Elemental Masters worlds, weird west horror to satirical science fiction to urban fantasy with a horrific bent.

A first collection is a pretty big milestone for an author and we think congratulations are in order. And maybe a cake.

Apocalypse Girl Dreaming will be published on January 16, 2015 in e-book and paperback format. No word yet on price or page count. The cover art is by Fernando Cortes, with graphic design by Matt Youngmark. Learn more at the Evil Girlfriend website.


Devon Monk’s House Immortal is Based on her Black Gate Short Story “Stitchery”

Friday, October 17th, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

House Immortal Devon Monk-smallLast month, I reported on Devon Monk’s newest novel, House Immortal, the tale of Tilly Case, one of thirteen unfathomably strong creatures stitched together nearly a century ago, who finds herself tangled up in a deadly struggle between powerful Houses for dominion over death itself. One of the things I commented on in my article was the intriguing resemblance between House Immortal and the excellent short story I bought from Devon nearly 15 years ago, “Stitchery.” On her blog this week, Devon confirmed the connection.

[House Immortal] isn’t a “standard” urban fantasy, but more like a science-fiction-y urban fantasy. But even though it’s set in the future a bit, it still (I hope) reads like urban fantasy, with a strong female lead character, some butt kicking, some humor, some trouble that could spell out the end of a world or two, and a host of interesting people and places.

Publisher and Editor John O’Neill at Black Gate noted here, that it reminded him of ”Stitchery” the first short story he bought from me for Black Gate. I’m so happy he noticed! The series is based off of that short story, (albeit loosely) and Matilda, Neds, and Grandma were all first introduced in that short.

Now, the novel went quite a different way than the short story, so I think of the short story as an alternate timeline Matilda may have lived, but not the timeline she is living in the trilogy.

If you want to check it out (“Stitchery” also was chosen for David Hartwell’s Year’s Best Fantasy #2) you can find it in Black Gate #2, or in my short story collection: A Cup of Normal.

I’m very proud to see Devon nurture the terrific story idea she had for “Stitchery” into something far more ambitious. Check out her complete comments on her blog here. House Immortal was published on September 2 by Roc Books. It is 351 pages, priced at $7.99 for both the paperback and digital versions. The cover artist is not credited. The second volume, Infinity Bell, is scheduled to be published on March 3, 2015.


The Top 20 Black Gate Fiction Posts in September

Sunday, October 12th, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

The Black Fire Concerto-smallThe top fiction posts at Black Gate last month both come from writers who recently released popular new books.

Mike Allen returns to the top of our charts with the exclusive excerpt from his first novel, the dark fantasy The Black Fire Concerto. Not too surprising, given that Mike has received a lot of attention recently, chiefly as a result of his breakout collection, Unseaming, released on October 1st from Antimatter Press. Check it out here.

Knocked out of the top slot last month was “The Find,” Part II of The Tales of Gemen by Mark Rigney. “The Trade” and “The Keystone,” Parts I and III respectively, also made the list. Check out Mark’s first novel, the popular Check-Out Time, released on October 7 from Samhain Publishing.

The #3 and #4 fiction posts in September were from a couple who have become very acquainted with the top of our fiction charts: Janet Morris and Chris Morris. They claimed the #3 slot with an excerpt from their heroic fantasy novel, The Sacred Band, and #4 with “Seven Against Hell,” an exclusive sample from their new anthology, Poets in Hell.

Rounding out the Top Five was Joe Bonadonna’s exciting sword & sorcery tale featuring his popular hero Dorgo the Dowser, “The Moonstones of Sor Lunarum.”

Read More »


Renner & Quist at Their Very Best

Saturday, October 4th, 2014 | Posted by William Patrick Maynard

Check Out Time Mark Rigney-smallSamhain Publishing has just ushered in Check-Out Time, their third Renner and Quist occult mystery from the very talented pen of author Mark Rigney.

Longtime readers of my articles will recall my reviews of Rigney’s earlier work, The Skates and Sleeping Bear, which introduced me to his oddball double act.

Renner is a persnickety Unitarian minister, while Quist is a boorish ex-linebacker. Together, this unlikely duo team to solve occult mysteries. This latest addition to the quirky and delightful series takes our heroes from their usual Michigan stomping grounds to downtown Columbus, Ohio.

It seems a long-demolished hotel is doing its best to return to existence. It currently inhabits its original location in another dimension, complete with guests and staff from past decades somehow co-existing. These guests include such celebrated faces from the past as Amelia Earhart, James Thurber, Charles Dickens, and Marilyn Monroe.

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New Treasures: The Brothers Cabal by Jonathan L. Howard

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014 | Posted by Jon Sprunk

The Brothers Cabal-smalllI’ve been following Jonathan L. Howard’s career since we published his light-hearted sword & sorcery tale “The Beautiful Corridor,” about a young thief named Kyth hired to penetrate a deadly tomb, in Black Gate 13 — and its sequel, “The Shuttered Temple,” in BG 15.

His first novel was the highly regarded Johannes Cabal the Necromancer (2009), followed by Johannes Cabal the Detective (2010) and last year’s Johannes Cabal: The Fear Institute. In the latest installment, he teams up with his brother, an affable vampire, to take on an occult conspiracy with a monstrous army.

Horst Cabal has risen from the dead. Again. Horst, the most affable vampire one is ever likely to meet, is resurrected by an occult conspiracy that wants him as a general in a monstrous army. Their plan: to create a country of horrors, a supernatural homeland. As Horst sees the lengths to which they are prepared to go and the evil they cultivate, he realizes that he cannot fight them alone. What he really needs on his side is a sarcastic, amoral, heavily armed necromancer.

As luck would have it, this exactly describes his brother.

Join the brothers Cabal as they fearlessly lie quietly in bed, fight dreadful monsters from beyond reality, make soup, feel slightly sorry for zombies, banter lightly with secret societies that wish to destroy them, and — in passing — set out to save the world.*

*The author wishes to point out that there are no zebras this time, so don’t get your hopes up on that count. There is, however, a werebadger, if that’s something that’s been missing from your life.

Jonathan’s most recent novels are Katya’s World, and Katya’s War, the first books of The Russalka Chronicles. Read Jonathan’s article on writing the Johannes Cabel series and his interview with John Joseph Adams. Johannes Cabal: The Fear Institute was published by Thomas Dunne Books on September 30. It is 338 pages, priced at $25.99 in hardcover and $11.99 in digital format.


Last Chance to Win a Copy of Mark Rigney’s Check-Out Time

Saturday, September 27th, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

Check Out Time Mark Rigney-smallLast week, I told you that you had a chance to win a copy of Mark Rigney’s brand new Renner and Quist novel Check-Out Time, on sale next week from Samhain Publishing .

How do you win? Just send an e-mail to john@blackgate.com with the subject “Check-Out Time.” That’s it. That’s all that stands between you and a copy of one of the best horror novels of the year. Two winners will be drawn at random from all qualifying entries and we’ll announce the winners here on the Black Gate blog. What could possibly be easier? But time is running out — the contest closes October 1st.

Mark Rigney’s Tales of Gemen, which Tangent called “Reminiscent of the old sword & sorcery classics,” have dominated our Fiction charts since we published them in 2012. His thrillers starring occult investigators Reverend Renner and Dale Quist began with The Skates and “Sleeping Bear,” and anticipation has been building for their first novel-length adventure. Here’s the book description.

All things must pass — or so we’re told. When Reverend Renner responds to an invitation sent from a long-demolished hotel filled with ghsots of guests from times past, he soon discovers that checking out will be a lot harder than checking in. His sometime friend and investigative partner, Dale Quist, heads to the rescue, but it will take more than brawn and benedictions to put this particular hotel out of business.

All things must pass, indeed –– but that doesn’t mean they have to go quietly.

No purchase necessary. Must be 12 or older. Decisions of the judges (capricious as they may be) are final. Not valid where prohibited by law. Eat your vegetables. Check-Out Time will be published by Samhain Publishing on October 7, 2014. It is 250 pages, priced at $15 in trade paperback and $5.50 for the digital edition. Be sure to read Mark’s article on the series, The Adventure Continues: the Return of Renner and Quist, published right here in February.


An Interview with Emmy Jackson, Author of Empty Cradle: The Untimely Death of Corey Sanderson

Thursday, September 25th, 2014 | Posted by Patty Templeton

the untimely death of corey sanderson coverOH MY GAWD. I loved The Untimely Death of Corey Sanderson. Seriously. It’s a dusty, road-dog, land-pirate adventure ride reminiscent of Mad Max. Comparing it to the Mad Max franchise may be unfair because The Untimely Death of Corey Sanderson has SO MUCH MORE. There are shapeshifters! And I actually got to see a plethora of women in the world – evil women, good women, women on the road, women in town, women who have guns, women who have families. It sounds silly to crow about women – but a lot of books only have like…eh, maybe two women characters and one is usually a girlfriend. The Untimely Death of Corey Sanderson is a fast-paced, post-apocalyptic road trip full of compelling characters of all ages, genders, and species. And, holy crap, the WORLDBUILDING! There are class issues. There are townies vs. road folk politics. There are gender and conception talks to be had. I want to see more of this world. I want to talk about this world with other people. I am so glad this is a SERIES.

Oh? You want to know more? What’s it about, you ask? I’ll tell you!

Ivy Anarim is scav. She drives the country delivering packages from one town to the next, scavenging for anything she can sell or trade along the way. She’s gotten used to being alone, though she’s searching for her twin sister, Holly. What Ivy doesn’t need is a bastard gleaner beating the crap out of her, trying to steal her rig.

The man who attacked Ivy did it near Hanson’s Home, a small town in the middle of nowhere. Hanson’s Home, they’ll aid her, but it isn’t outta kindness. Ivy is untouched by Empty Cradle – a disease that can hit a woman at any time in her life and leaves her barren. A woman untouched by Empty Cradle, that’s hard to find and Hanson’s Home wants a baby for their trouble.

Corey Sanderson wants to get the hell outta Hanson’s Home. He’s a kid who’s sick of living in the sticks. He wants to see the world and Ivy and her truck are the only ticket outta town.

Do Ivy and Corey make it out of Hanson’s Home? Where would they go if they did? Can a town kid like Corey Sanderson make it on the open road? Will Ivy ever find her twin? What the hell kinda weirdos are they gonna meet on their journey?

Read More »


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