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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.


The Top 20 Black Gate Fiction Posts in December

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

EE Knight-smallE.E. Knight’s sword & sorcery epic “The Terror of the Vale” vaulted to the top of our Fiction list in December — doubtless buoyed by the publication of the first story in the Blue Pilgrim sequence, ”That of the Pit,” right here on December 8th. We’re proud to be able to offer both stories to our readers for the first time.

Mark Rigney’s “The Find,” part of his perennially popular Tales of Gemen series, was in second place, followed by Vaughn Heppner’s brand new Lod story, “Draugr Stonemaker,” the sequel to “The Oracle of Gog” (Black Gate 15), “The Pit Slave,” and “The Serpent of Thep.”

Novel excerpts continue to be popular with discerning readers. Our exclusive excerpt from Mike Allen’s dark fantasy novel The Black Fire Concerto claimed fourth place; fifth was our generous slice from Dave Gross’s Pathfinder Tales: King of Chaos.

Also making the list were exciting stories by Joe Bonadonna, Jason E. Thummel, John C. Hocking, Janet Morris and Chris Morris, Aaron Bradford Starr, Harry Connolly, Alex Kreis, Martha Wells, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Jamie McEwan, Peadar Ó Guilín, Judith Berman, and Howard Andrew Jones.

If you haven’t sampled the adventure fantasy stories offered through our new Black Gate Online Fiction line, you’re missing out. All through 2013, 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 December:

  1. The Terror in the Vale,” by E.E. Knight
  2. The Find,” Part II of The Tales of Gemen, by Mark Rigney
  3. Draugr Stonemaker,” by Vaughn Heppner
  4. An excerpt from The Black Fire Concerto, by Mike Allen
  5. An excerpt from Pathfinder Tales: King of Chaos, by Dave Gross
  6. The Moonstones of Sor Lunarum,” by Joe Bonadonna
  7. That of the Pit,” by E.E. Knight
  8. An excerpt from Pathfinder Tales: Queen of Thorns, by Dave Gross
  9. The Duelist,” by Jason E. Thummel
  10. Vestments of Pestilence,” by John C. Hocking 
  11. Read More »


Black Gate Online Fiction: Sword Sisters by Tara Cardinal and Alex Bledsoe

Sunday, January 5th, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

Black Gate is very pleased to offer our readers an exclusive excerpt from Swords Sisters, the new novel of heroic fantasy from Tara Cardinal and Alex Bledsoe.

Cast aside by her mother, tormented (literally) by her father, feared by humans and despised by most of her own kind, Aella is determined not to care. Not to care what they think, not to care if they like her, not to care about anything or anyone. Just so long as no one tries to touch her or imprison her again, Aella couldn’t care less.

Until… he pulled an arrow from Aella’s back and kissed her cheek. Until… she carried Aella home and stood between her and a giant spider. And a rioting mob. Until… they came to Aella looking for help. Aella, daughter of demon and witch, must find herself and forge her own route to a destiny she doesn’t want to believe and others simply don’t want. At first a heroine in name alone, Aella discovers she has the strength and the heart to control her demonic lineage and truly wear the title — hero. She also finds something even more valuable: friendship. Amelia, her Sword Sister, isn’t just worth dying for. She’s worth living for.

Tara Cardinal wrote, produced, and starred in the feature film Legend of the Red Reaper. She writes non-fiction for IndependentCritic.com and NerdRemix.com. Alex Bledsoe is the author of the Eddie LaCrosse novels (The Sword-Edged BlondeBurn Me DeadlyDark Jenny, and Wake of the Bloody Angel), the novels of the Memphis vampires (Blood Groove and The Girls with Games of Blood), and the Tufa novels (The Hum and the ShiverWisp of a Thing, and the forthcoming Long Black Curl). He is a regular blogger for Black Gate.

The complete catalog of Black Gate Online Fiction, including stories by E.E. Knight, Vaughn Heppner,  Howard Andrew Jones, David Evan Harris, 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.

Sword Sisters was published by Rogue Blades Entertainment on December 11, 2013. It is 200 pages and currently available in trade paperback for $10.00 (or $6.00 for the digital version). Learn more at Rogue Blades Entertainment and in Jason Waltz’s recent article Sword Sisters: A Partnership, a Prequel, a Picture Show, and a Print Run right here at Black Gate.

Read a complete sample chapter of Sword Sisters here.


The Top 20 Black Gate Fiction Posts in November

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013 | Posted by John ONeill

The Black Fire Concerto-smallFor the second month in a row, our exclusive excerpt from Mike Allen’s dark fantasy novel The Black Fire Concerto tops our fiction charts. Those interested in more from the book can listen to our own C.S.E. Cooney read from Chapter One, in a lengthy podcast at HauntedStars.com.

Last month’s third place holder, Dave Gross’ Pathfinder Tales: King of Chaos, moved on up into second place this month. You folks certainly enjoy novel excerpts.

In third place was Mark Rigney’s “The Find,” part of his perennially popular Tales of Gemen series; fourth was E.E. Knight’s “The Terror in the Vale,” his second tale of The Blue Pilgrim, following “That of the Pit.”

Rounding out the Top Five was Vaughn Heppner’s brand new Lod story, “Draugr Stonemaker,” the sequel to “The Oracle of Gog” (Black Gate 15), “The Pit Slave,” and “The Serpent of Thep.”

Also making the list were exciting stories by Joe Bonadonna, John C. Hocking, Martha Wells, Alex Kreis, David C. Smith, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Howard Andrew Jones, Aaron Bradford Starr, Jamie McEwan, Michael Shea,  Peadar Ó Guilín, Janet Morris and Chris Morris, and David Evan Harris.

If you haven’t sampled the adventure fantasy stories offered through our new Black Gate Online Fiction line, you’re missing out. For the past year we’ve 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 November:

  1. An excerpt from The Black Fire Concerto, by Mike Allen
  2. An excerpt from Pathfinder Tales: King of Chaos, by Dave Gross
  3. The Find,,” Part II of The Tales of Gemen, by Mark Rigney
  4. The Terror in the Vale,” by E.E. Knight
  5. Draugr Stonemaker,” by Vaughn Heppner
  6. The Moonstones of Sor Lunarum,” by Joe Bonadonna
  7. An excerpt from Pathfinder Tales: Queen of Thorns, by Dave Gross
  8. Vestments of Pestilence,” by John C. Hocking
  9. The Death of the Necromancer, a complete novel by Martha Wells
  10. The Renunciation of the Crimes of Gharad the Undying,” by Alex Kreis

     

  11. Read More »


Black Gate Online Fiction: “That of the Pit” by E.E. Knight

Sunday, December 8th, 2013 | Posted by John ONeill

EE Knight-smallWe last saw E.E. Knight’s hero, The Blue Pilgrim, in the acclaimed “The Terror of the Vale” — one of the most popular stories we’ve ever published. He first appeared in Daniel Blackston’s 2004 heroic fantasy anthology Lords of Swords; here’s Todd McAulty’s review from Black Gate 8:

The real payoff in Lords of Swords comes from three long pieces by three different writers, any one of which could stand alongside the work of the masters mentioned above — and all of which deliver on the promise of the best adventure fantasy: strong characters, fast action in colorful settings, and genuine flair and wit…

Finally, we have what may be my favorite piece: “That of the Pit,” by Vampire Earth novelist E.E. Knight. The Blue Pilgrim is a rebel against the cruel rule of the Sayhrae, and a practitioner of The Way, an ancient devotion that gives him considerable martial prowess and subtle mental arts. But he is virtually alone in his battle, and when he’s captured he discovers the dark sorceries of the Sayhrae are not all masquerades. The climax of this tale is one of the most effective I’ve read in a long time.

We’ve long been fans of “That of the Pit” and we are pleased and delighted to be able to present the story to you in its entirety online for the first time, as part of our Black Gate Online Fiction library.

E.E. Knight is the author of the Vampire Earth series, which began with Way of the Wolf, and the six-volume Age of Fire books. He is a frequent blogger for Black Gate.

The complete catalog of Black Gate Online Fiction, including stories by Vaughn Heppner,  Howard Andrew Jones, David C. Smith, 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.

“That of the Pit” is a complete 6,300-word short story of heroic fantasy offered at no cost.

Read the complete story here.


“This is the Real Thing for S&S Fans”: Charles R. Rutledge on “Vestments of Pestilence”

Monday, November 25th, 2013 | Posted by John ONeill

river-thru-dark-277Novelist and columnist Charles R. Rutledge weighed in on John C. Hocking’s newest Archivist tale last month, saying:

Do you like sword and sorcery? The real stuff, I mean, where sorcery is something dark and dangerous and people get hurt when they fight with sharp edged weapons? Something that’s a little exotic and makes you think of Robert E. Howard and Fritz Leiber, but still is very much its own thing? Then boy have I got a story for you.

“Vestments of Pestilence” is a short story by John C. Hocking… There are some mystery elements, some humor, a lot of action, and considerable sorcery, all told in a smooth first person voice that has echoes of hard boiled heroes like Marlowe and Spade, but not the overblown snark that seems to be so popular in current urban fantasy…

The feel of the story is nice and dark but the story telling itself is very modern. I was aware as I read that the pace and the suspense were slowly being ratcheted up until I was racing through the last couple of scenes to see how things turned out. There’s also some marvelous characterization in the tale, and trust me, in a story of this length, that’s a hard thing to do… This is the real thing for S&S fans.

“Vestments of Pestilence” is the second Archivist tale we’ve published, following “A River Through Darkness and Light,” in Black Gate 15, which SF Site called “a strong blend of the old sword and sorcery action and mood, but with modern attention to character development.”

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

“Vestments of Pestilence” was published here September 29. It is a complete 10,000-word novelette of sword & sorcery. Read the complete story here.

Read Charles’s complete review on his blog Singular Points. Art for “A River Through Darkness and Light” by Storn Cook.


The Top 20 Black Gate Fiction Posts in October

Sunday, November 24th, 2013 | Posted by John ONeill

The Black Fire Concerto-smallOur exclusive excerpt from Mike Allen’s dark fantasy novel The Black Fire Concerto was our most popular work of fiction in October, its first month at the top of the charts. John R. Fultz called it “A post-apocalyptic melody played on strings of Terror and Sorcery,” and apparently word is getting around.

Joe Bonadonna’s “The Moonstones of Sor Lunarum,” in the number 2 slot, has been steadily creeping up the charts since we posted it last December. It is without a doubt the most consistently popular work of fiction we have ever published.

Last month’s chart topper, Dave Gross’ Pathfinder Tales: King of Chaos, came in third, an entirely respectable showing; and John C. Hocking’s new story “Vestments of Pestilence” broke into the Top Ten for the first time, coming in 4th. Rounding out the Top Five was E.E. Knight’s perennial favorite “The Terror in the Vale,” first published in January.

Also making the list were exciting stories by Janet Morris and Chris Morris, David Evan Harris, Martha Wells, Peadar Ó Guilín, David C. Smith and Joe Bonadonna, David C. Smith, Howard Andrew Jones, Michael Shea, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Mark Rigney, Jamie McEwan, Aaron Bradford Starr, Alex Kreis, and Ryan Harvey.

If you haven’t sampled the adventure fantasy stories offered through our new Black Gate Online Fiction line, you’re missing out. For the past year we’ve 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 October:

  1. An excerpt from The Black Fire Concerto, by Mike Allen
  2. The Moonstones of Sor Lunarum,” by Joe Bonadonna
  3. An excerpt from Pathfinder Tales: King of Chaos, by Dave Gross
  4. Vestments of Pestilence,” by John C. Hocking
  5. The Terror in the Vale,” by E.E. Knight
  6. The Sacred Band“ by Janet Morris and Chris Morris
  7. The Gentle Sleeper“ by David Evan Harris
  8. An excerpt from Pathfinder Tales: Queen of Thorns, by Dave Gross
  9. The Death of the Necromancer, a complete novel by Martha Wells
  10. The Dowry,” by Peadar Ó Guilín

     

  11. Read More »


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