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The Top 20 Black Gate Fiction Posts in June

Sunday, July 27th, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

Oron David C Smith-smallThe most popular piece of fiction on the Black Gate blog last month was David C. Smith’s “The Shadow of Dia-Sust,” the first new Oron story in 30 years, taken from his brand new short story collection The Man Who Would Be King and Other Stories.

Second on the list was our excerpt from The Sacred Band, the new novel in the popular Sacred Band of Stepsons series by Janet Morris and Chris Morris.

Third was perennial favorite “The Moonstones of Sor Lunarum,” by Joe Bonadonna, published here nearly three years ago in December 2011 — and in the Top 10 virtually every month since.

Next was Aaron Bradford Starr’s epic novella “The Sealord’s Successor,” the third adventure fantasy featuring Gallery Hunters Gloren Avericci and Yr Neh, the most popular adventuring duo we’ve ever published.

Rounding out the Top Five was ”The Find,” Part II of The Tales of Gemen, by Mark Rigney.

Also making the list were exciting stories by C.S.E. Cooney, E.E. Knight, Dave Gross, Michael Shea, John C. Hocking, Steven H Silver, John R. Fultz, Harry Connolly, Gregory Bierly, Jon Sprunk, David Evan Harris, Judith Berman, Peter Cakebread, and Ryan Harvey.

If you haven’t sampled the free adventure fantasy stories offered through our Black Gate Online Fiction line, you’re missing out. Here are the Top Twenty most-read stories in June.

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Black Gate Online Fiction: “Seven Against Hell” by Janet Morris and Chris Morris

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

Poets in Hell-smallBlack Gate is very pleased to offer our readers the complete short story “Seven Against Hell” by Janet Morris and Chris Morris, an exclusive sample from the new collection Poets in Hell.

In hell, souls sometimes roam diverse underworlds, straying from their native realms. The ancient Old Dead have many judges and gods of hell; the New Dead have few. In hell, if you die you are reborn on the Undertaker’s table, perhaps old or young, forgetful or deformed, to sin more and hunt the manifold hells for relief from damnation. Few find it. Among the teeming damned of hell are all who ever broke even one of the 613 Commandments, from every culture of humanity, whether they knew the rules or harbored faith or not. If you lived, you sinned, you died — and ended here, a soul in torment. Hell is never fair.

Diomedes and six of his fellow Argives come up from Erebos in Hades’, summoned to a meeting in dissolute New Hell City where the modern dead hold sway and a poetry festival is under way. This summons is from a friend of old, one he can’t refuse, who needs a favor. Even in perdition, a hero must answer a call to duty….

Janet Morris and Chris Morris have edited 17 volumes of the highly acclaimed Heroes in Hell anthology series. In his Black Gate review Joe Bonadonna said the latest volume, Poets in Hell, has “A little something for everyone: heroic fantasy and sword & sorcery, thrillers, horror, romance, touches of science fiction and steampunk – they’re all here.”

The complete catalog of Black Gate Online Fiction, including stories by David C.  Smith, Jon Sprunk, Tara Cardinal and Alex Bledsoe, E.E. Knight, Vaughn Heppner, Howard Andrew Jones, John C. Hocking, Michael Shea, Aaron Bradford Starr, Martha Wells, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, C.S.E. Cooney, and many others, is here.

Poets in Hell was published by Perseid Press on June 11, 2014. It is 410 pages, priced at $19.99 in trade paperback and $6.66 (yes, $6.66) for the digital version. Learn more here.

Read the complete short story “Seven Against Hell” here.


The Top 20 Black Gate Fiction Posts in May

Monday, June 23rd, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

The Alchemist's Revenge-smallThe most-read piece of fiction on the Black Gate blog last month was our exclusive excerpt from The Alchemist’s Revenge by Peter Cakebread, the first novel from the co-author of the role playing games Airship Pirates and Clockwork & Chivalry. The first volume in the Companie of Reluctant Heroes takes place in a 17th century that didn’t quite happen, in a nation torn apart by civil war.

When an embittered mercenary agrees to escort a grieving widow to visit her husband’s grave, little does he realize the dangers they will face. This is the story of their struggle through a country divided. As they journey through tainted lands, ravaged by alchemical magic and giant clockwork war machines, they are reunited with old friends and stalked by sinister foes. The reluctant heroes band together in this tale of loss and despair, of redemption and friendship, and ultimately, of retribution and revenge!

“Stand at Dubun-Geb,” Ryan Harvey’s second tale of Ahn-Tarqa, returned to the setting of “The Sorrowless Thief,” for another heroic fantasy packed with adventure, swordplay, and weird magic. It took second place this month.

Steven H Silver’s tale of the strange astral adventures of Hoggar the Cremator, “The Cremator’s Tale,” continued its run at the top of the charts, taking third place.

Also making the list were exciting stories by Janet Morris and Chris Morris, Mark Rigney, C.S.E. Cooney, Michael Shea, David Evan Harris, Aaron Bradford Starr, Joe Bonadonna, John C. Hocking, E.E. Knight, David C. Smith and Joe Bonadonna, Jason E. Thummel, Jon Sprunk, John R. Fultz, Dave Gross, and Harry Connolly.

If you haven’t sampled the free adventure fantasy stories offered through our Black Gate Online Fiction line, you’re missing out. Here are the Top Twenty most-read stories in May.

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Black Gate Online Fiction: “The Shadow of Dia-Sust” by David C. Smith

Sunday, June 1st, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

Oron David C Smith-smallDavid C. Smith’s 1978 sword & sorcery novel Oron is a classic of the genre. Its success led to four sequels: The Sorcerer’s Shadow (1978), Mosutha’s Magic (1982), The Valley of Ogrum (1982), and the collection The Ghost Army (1983). David’s new short story collection, The Man Who Would Be King and Other Stories, includes the first new Oron story in 30 years, “The Shadow of Dia-Sust,” in which the young barbarian helps a dying witch exact an overdue revenge; and takes the first steps on the path that will lead him to the events of Oron. David has graciously offered the complete story to us at Black Gate, as well as an Author’s Note explaining how the story came about. Here’s a brief snippet:

In late 2011, I was invited by Bob Price to write a new story featuring my character Oron as part of a planned anthology of sword-and-sorcery stories. A number of other authors who had written S&S back in the Silver Age of the 1970s and early 1980s were invited, as well — Ted C. Rypel and Adrian Cole and, I think, Keith Taylor, along with others. This would have been an exceptional showcase of talent… however, commercial publishing in the mid 1980s rerouted the fantasy genre away from mythic adventure stories…

“The Shadow of Dia-Sust” chronologically follows the five adventures presented in my 1983 collection Death in Asakad and Other Stories (published under the title The Ghost Army). With this one, I do my best to demonstrate that sword-and-sorcery fiction can be taken seriously — by its writers and by its readers — as a literary (or at least thoughtful) form of mainstream genre storytelling.

We’ve published David C. Smith’s fiction and non-fiction here at Black Gate — including excerpts from his noir thriller Dark Muse and his supernatural pirate dark fantasy novel Waters of Darkness, written in collaboration with Joe Bonadonna.

The complete catalog of Black Gate Online Fiction, including stories by Vaughn Heppner, Howard Andrew Jones, David Evan Harris, Janet Morris and Chris Morris, John C. Hocking, Michael Shea, Peadar Ó Guilín, Aaron Bradford Starr, Martha Wells, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, C.S.E. Cooney, and many others, is here.

“The Shadow of Dia-Sust” is a complete 14,000-word short story of heroic fantasy offered at no cost.

Read the complete story here.


The Top 20 Black Gate Fiction Posts in April

Friday, May 30th, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

tea-makers-task2There’s a new sheriff in town. And he has a cat.

Gallery Hunters Gloren Avericci and Yr Neh, last seen in “The Daughter’s Dowry” (published here October 2012) and “The Sealord’s Successor” (March 2013), accept a dangerous commission to investigate a deadly island in Aaron Bradford Starr’s compelling fantasy mystery, “The Tea-Maker’s Task,” which vaulted to the very top of our fiction charts last month. Louis West at Tangent Online called it:

An entertaining, tongue-in-cheek fantasy… Their adventures take them from the rancid food of Burrow Deep Lane in the city of Ravanon to the workshop of a Tea-Making master then through the forests of Candelon, wherein lurks the Walker of the Woods, until they finally reach the ruined city of Vandelon. All the while, Gloren and the cat engage in constant, silent banter, much like two brothers or war buddies… I wanted more.

Steven H Silver’s tale of the strange astral adventures of Hoggar the Cremator, “The Cremator’s Tale,” extended its run at the top of the charts, taking second place this month.

Next was Mark Rigney’s adventure fantasy, “The Find,” the second part of the tale of Gemen the Antiques Dealer.

Also making the list were exciting stories by Janet Morris and Chris Morris, Joe Bonadonna, Martha Wells, Peter Cakebread, E.E. Knight, Gregory Bierly, Dave Gross, Ryan Harvey, Jason E. Thummel, C.S.E. Cooney, Jon Sprunk, Michael Shea, Harry Connolly, John C. Hocking, Tara Cardinal and Alex Bledsoe, and John R. Fultz.

If you haven’t sampled the free adventure fantasy stories offered through our Black Gate Online Fiction line, you’re missing out. Here are the Top Twenty most-read stories in April.

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The Top 20 Black Gate Fiction Posts in March

Monday, April 28th, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

Steven H SilverSteven H Silver’s tale of the strange astral adventures of Hoggar the Cremator, “The Cremator’s Tale,” surged to the top of our fiction charts in March.

Second on the list was Jason E. Thummel’s fast-paced story of a skilled swordsman caught up in a web of treachery in a decadent city, “The Duelist.”

Joe Bonadonna’s sword & sorcery tale, “The Moonstones of Sor Lunarum,” a perennial favorite, claimed the #3 spot.

Martha Wells’s complete novel, the Nebula-nominee The Death of the Necromancer, came in fourth, and Michael Shea’s novelette of Lovecraftian horror, “Tsathoggua,” rounded out the Top Five.

Also making the list were exciting stories by C.S.E. Cooney, Peter Cakebread, Janet Morris and Chris Morris, E.E. Knight, Aaron Bradford Starr, Mark Rigney, John C. Hocking, Jon Sprunk, Harry Connolly, Tara Cardinal and Alex Bledsoe, John R. Fultz, Dave Gross, Jamie McEwan, Mike Allen, and Ryan Harvey.

If you haven’t sampled the free adventure fantasy stories offered through our Black Gate Online Fiction line, you’re missing out. Here are the Top Twenty most-read stories in March.

  1. The Cremator’s Tale” by Steven H Silver
  2. The Duelist,” by Jason E. Thummel
  3. The Moonstones of Sor Lunarum,” by Joe Bonadonna
  4. The Death of the Necromancer, a complete novel by Martha Wells
  5. Tsathoggua,” by Michael Shea
  6. Godmother Lizard” by C.S.E. Cooney
  7. An excerpt from The Alchemists Revenge by Peter Cakebread
  8. An excerpt from The Sacred Band by Janet Morris and Chris Morris
  9. The Terror in the Vale,” by E.E. Knight
  10. The Sealord’s Successor,” by Aaron Bradford Starr
  11. Read More »


The Top 20 Black Gate Fiction Posts in February

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

AppleMarkMark Rigney’s “The Find,” part of his perennially popular Tales of Gemen series, maintained  the top spot last month, holding off a stiff challenge from Jon Sprunk’s hit novel Blood and Iron.

“The Find” is actually Part II of the series. It began with “The Trade,” which Tangent Online called a “Marvelous tale.” Read all three tales in their entirety right here.

Jon Sprunk’s Blood and Iron, Book One of The Book of the Black Earth, was released this month by Pyr Books and we offered an exclusive pre-release excerpt of this brand new sword & sorcery epic in February.

Next on the list was Joe Bonadonna’s fast-paced adventure “The Moonstones of Sor Lunarum,” followed by E.E. Knight’s sword & sorcery epic “The Terror of the Vale,” the second in the Blue Pilgrim sequence, and sequel to “That of the Pit.”

Fifth and sixth were our excerpt from Sword Sisters, the new novel from Tara Cardinal and Black Gate blogger Alex Bledsoe, and “The Sealord’s Successor,” by Aaron Bradford Starr, a new tale of Gallery Hunters Gloren Avericci and Yr Neh, last seen in “The Tea-Maker’s Task” and “The Daughter’s Dowry.” Next was Martha Wells’s complete novel, the Nebula nominee The Death of the Necromancer.

Also making the list were exciting stories by Dave Gross, Jamie McEwan, Janet Morris and Chris Morris, Mike Allen, Ryan Harvey, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, C.S.E. Cooney, Vaughn Heppner, Jason E. Thummel, David C. Smith, Michael Shea, and John C. Hocking. If you haven’t sampled the free adventure fantasy stories offered through our Black Gate Online Fiction line, you’re missing out. Here are the Top Twenty most-read stories in February.

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Black Gate Online Fiction: The Alchemist’s Revenge by Peter Cakebread

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

The Alchemist's Revenge-smallBlack Gate is very pleased to offer our readers an exclusive excerpt from The Alchemist’s Revenge by Peter Cakebread, the first novel from the co-author of the role playing games Airship Pirates and Clockwork & Chivalry.

The first sign William noticed was the glowing, up on the ridge ahead.

Ralph and Belinda stared, transfixed by the bright white lights. The mules made a frightened, keening sound, seemingly ready to bolt. The lights ahead had begun to form up. To take shape.

Upon the ridge, there were ghosts. There were hundreds, perhaps thousands. They were formed up in fighting blocks, a veritable host of white translucent shape, spirits of the parliamentarian soldiers, who had lined up on that ridge, on the day of the battle. The sight was awe-inspiring, and terrifying.

On the ridge ahead, the spectral soldiers were fighting, locked together, struggling with each other. A vast white shape appeared on the horizon, crashing down through the struggling spirits, crushing and dissipating those in its path. It was an ethereal Leviathan, an opaque memory of the large metal landship. Then ghostly alchemists and riders joined the fray, sweeping in from the sides of the valley. Images of unearthly elemental forms and exploding potion flasks added to the chaos.

Peter Cakebread is the co-author and designer of various RPGs, most of which are published by Cakebread & Walton. They include the Kingdom & Commonwealth campaign; the Clockwork & Cthulhu Sourcebook; and the acclaimed Dark Streets sourcebook, which brings Lovecraftian horror to Georgian London. The Alchemist’s Revenge is the first volume in the Companie of Reluctant Heroes series.

The complete catalog of Black Gate Online Fiction, including stories by Jon Sprunk, Tara Cardinal and Alex Bledsoe, E.E. Knight, Vaughn Heppner,  Howard Andrew Jones, David Evan Harris, John C. Hocking, Michael Shea, Aaron Bradford Starr, Martha Wells, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, C.S.E. Cooney, and many others, is here.

The Alchemist’s Revenge was published by Delta14 Publishing on April 3, 2013. It is 224 pages and available in digital format for $4.99. Learn more at Delta14.

Read a complete sample chapter of The Alchemist’s Revenge here.


The Top 20 Black Gate Fiction Posts in January

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

AppleMarkMark Rigney’s “The Find,” part of his perennially popular Tales of Gemen series, hit the top of the fiction charts this month. “The Find” is actually Part II of the series, which began with “The Trade,” which Tangent Online called a “Marvelous tale. Can’t wait for the next part.”

Next on the list was E.E. Knight’s sword & sorcery epic “The Terror of the Vale,” the second in the Blue Pilgrim sequence, following “That of the Pit.” Third was Martha Wells’ complete novel, the Nebula nominee The Death of the Necromancer. Making its debut on the list was Sword Sisters by Tara Cardinal and Alex Bledsoe, the exciting new sword & sorcery novel from our friends at Rogue Blades Entertainment. It’s great to see RBE publishing novels again — and you can check it out right here.

Rounding out the Top Five was Joe Bonadonna’s fast-paced adventure “The Moonstones of Sor Lunarum.” Also making the list were exciting stories by Dave Gross, Mike Allen, Vaughn Heppner, Jamie McEwan, Aaron Bradford Starr, Janet Morris and Chris Morris, Jason E. Thummel, David C. Smith, Ryan Harvey, Michael Shea, Harry Connolly, John C. Hocking, and Alex Kreis.

If you haven’t sampled the adventure fantasy stories offered through our new Black Gate Online Fiction line, you’re missing out. All last year we presented an original short story or novella from the best writers in the industry every week, all completely free. Here are the Top Twenty most-read stories in January:

  1. The Find,” Part II of The Tales of Gemen, by Mark Rigney
  2. The Terror in the Vale,” by E.E. Knight
  3.  The Death of the Necromancer, a complete novel by Martha Wells
  4. An excerpt from Sword Sisters, by Tara Cardinal and Alex Bledsoe
  5. The Moonstones of Sor Lunarum,” by Joe Bonadonna
  6. An excerpt from Pathfinder Tales: King of Chaos, by Dave Gross
  7. An excerpt from The Black Fire Concerto, by Mike Allen
  8. Draugr Stonemaker,” by Vaughn Heppner
  9. Falling Castles,” by Jamie McEwan
  10. The Sealord’s Successor,” by Aaron Bradford Starr
  11. Read More »


Black Gate Online Fiction: Blood and Iron by Jon Sprunk

Sunday, February 9th, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

Blood and Iron Jon Sprunk-smallBlack Gate is very pleased to offer our readers an exclusive excerpt from Blood and Iron by Jon Sprunk — a new novel of heroic fantasy that reads like a sword-and-sorcery version of Spartacus.

It starts with a shipwreck following a magical storm at sea. Horace, a soldier from the west, had joined the Great Crusade against the heathens of Akeshia after the deaths of his wife and son from plague. When he washes ashore, he finds himself at the mercy of the very people he was sent to kill, who speak a language and have a culture and customs he doesn’t even begin to understand.

Not long after, Horace is pressed into service as a house slave. But this doesn’t last. The Akeshians discover that Horace was a latent sorcerer, and he is catapulted from the chains of a slave to the halls of power in the queen’s court. Together with Jirom, an ex-mercenary and gladiator, and Alyra, a spy in the court, he will seek a path to free himself and the empire’s caste of slaves from a system where every man and woman must pay the price of blood or iron. Before the end, Horace will have paid dearly in both.

Jon Sprunk is the author of the Shadow Saga (Shadow’s Son, Shadow’s Lure, and Shadow’s Master) and a mentor at the Seton Hill University fiction writing program. He is a regular blogger for Black Gate.

Win one of two Advance Reading Copies of Blood and Iron! Just send an e-mail to john@blackgate.com with the subject “Blood and Iron,” and we’ll enter you in the drawing. Entries must be received by Friday, February 28, 2014. No purchase necessary. Terms and conditions subject to change. Not valid where prohibited by law.

The complete catalog of Black Gate Online Fiction, including stories by Tara Cardinal and Alex Bledsoe, E.E. Knight, Vaughn Heppner,  Howard Andrew Jones, David Evan Harris, John C. Hocking, Michael Shea, Aaron Bradford Starr, Martha Wells, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, C.S.E. Cooney, and many others, is here.

Blood and Iron, Book One of The Book of the Black Earth, will be published by Pyr Books on March 11, 2014. It is 445 pages and will be available in trade paperback for $18.00 ($11.00 for the digital version). Learn more at Pyr Books.

Read a complete sample chapter of Blood and Iron here.


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