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 we 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.

Future Treasures: A Play of Shadows by Julie E. Czerneda

Monday, October 13th, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

A Play of Shadows Julie Czerneda-smallCanadian writer Julie E. Czerneda has published over a dozen acclaimed science fiction novels and has rapidly built an enviable fan base.

She first dipped her toe into fantasy with Scott Taylor’s groundbreaking anthology Tales of the Emerald Serpent (announced right here back in March 2012), and its sequel, A Knight in the Silk Purse. She took the plunge with her first full-length fantasy novel, A Turn of Light, earlier this year.

The upcoming sequel, A Play of Shadows, returns to the pastoral valley of Marrowdell, home to a pioneer settlement of refugees, enigmatic house toads, and Jenn Nalynn, the turn-born who has always dreamed of exploring beyond the valley’s borders… and who finds that increasingly impossible.

What would you risk for family?

In the second installment of Night’s Edge, Bannan Larmensu, the truthseer who won Jenn Nalynn’s heart, learns his brother-in-law was sent as a peace envoy to Channen, capitol of the mysterious domain of Mellynne, and has disappeared. When Bannan’s young nephews arrive in Marrowdell, he fears the worst, that his sister, the fiery Lila, has gone in search of her husband, leaving her sons in his care.

The law forbids Bannan from leaving Marrowdell and travelling to Mellynne to help his sister. In this world. As a turn-born, Jenn Nalynn has the power to cross into the magical realm of the Verge, and take Bannan with her. Once there, they could find a way into Mellynne.

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Future Treasures: The Lady by K. V. Johansen

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

The Lady Johansen-smallThe first novel in K. V. Johansen’s two book Marakand series, The Leopard, appeared in June from Pyr Books and was widely praised. Even the esteemed James Enge was impressed, saying, “I’m hooked. The mix of magic, Tibetan-style religion, and Harold Lamb-style adventure is pretty addicting.”

I’m pleased to see that Pyr isn’t keeping us waiting for the final volume — it will be released in December, barely six months after the first appeared. If you can’t wait, you can always sample her first fantasy novel for Pyr, Blackdog.

Possessed by a ghost who feeds on death, the undying assassin Ahjvar the Leopard has been captured by the Lady of Marakand, enslaved by necromancy to be captain of her Red Masks. His shield-bearer Ghu, a former slave with an uncanny ability to free the captive dead, follows Ahjvar into the war-torn lands of the Duina Catairna to release him, even if that means destroying what is left of Ahj’s tormented soul.

Deyandara, the last surviving heir of the Catairnan queen, rides into a land ravaged by disease and war, seeking the allies she abandoned months before, though they have no hope of standing against the army led by the invulnerable Red Masks of Marakand and the divine terror of the Lady.

In the city of Marakand, former enemies ally and old friends seek one another’s deaths as loyalists of the entombed gods Gurhan and Ilbialla raise a revolt, spearheaded by the Grasslander wizard Ivah, the shapeshifting Blackdog, and the bear-demon Mikki. The Lady’s defenses are not easily breached, though, and the one enemy who might withstand her, the Northron wanderer Moth, bearer of the sword Lakkariss, has vanished.

The Lady will be published December 9, 2014 by Pyr Books. It is 445 pages, priced at $18 in trade paperback and $11.99 for the digital version.

Future Treasures: Touch of Evil by C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp

Friday, October 3rd, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

Touch of Evil-smallI don’t read much urban fantasy, and I think that’s a serious oversight. I love dark fantasy, and I love adventure fantasy, and both of those are found in abundance in the best urban fantasy on the market. I just need to be selective.

Maybe I can look to the market for help. Later this month, Tor will offer a handsome trade paperback reprint of the first volume of the popular Thrall Series by C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp, Touch of Evil (originally released in paperback in 2006), and it looks like the kind of dark and creepy urban fantasy I would enjoy. Worth checking out, I think.

When the Thrall Queen Wants You… Run!

In the ER after a minor traffic accident, Kate Reilly s attacked by Monica Micah, the Queen of Denver, Colorado’s Thrall population, The Thrall — vampire parasites — have been preying on humans for thousands of years, using us as both hosts and food. Kate killed a Thrall Queen and became Not Prey, so by the Thrall’s own rules, Monica should be giving Kate a wide berth.

Instead, Monica wants Kate dead. Eventually. First, she wants to force her to become the things she hates most in the world: a new Thrall Queen. Worse, though Monica broke the rules,, Kate can’t: of she hides or flees. she’ll lost Not Prey status.

Not that Kate thinks seriously about running away. Too many people rely on her in one way or another: the tenants in the apartment building she owns; her brothers, her ex-boyfriend and his seriously unpleasant wife; a missing sixteen-year-old girl Kate has promised to find before the Thrall do, and Tom, the handsome werewolf who just moved in downstairs.

No. Kate’s not going anywhere. Kate Reilly is Not Prey. She’s going to fight.

Touch of Evil was originally published in paperback in 2006, and reprinted in 2009. It was followed by two sequels: Touch of Madness (2007) and Touch of Darkness (2008). Touch of Evil will be published in trade paperback on October 14. It is 352 pages, priced at $14.99 in trade paperback and $7.99 for the digital edition.

Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition Available for Pre-Order

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

I have a deep fondness for old school computer games — especially classic RPGs like Wizardry, Pool of Radiance, Wasteland, Starflight, and Baldur’s Gate. Those games helped get me through my teen years (and most of grad school, now that I think about it). So when Beamdog announced an Enhanced Edition of Baldur’s Gate in November 2012, I was thrilled.

Beamdog was founded by two ex-employees of Bioware, the company that created some of the finest computer RPGs ever made, including Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter Nights, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and Mass Effect. Co-founder Trent Oster and lead programmer Cameron Tofer formed Beamdog in July 2010 with the vision of bringing old school RPGs to modern platforms, and spent two years lovingly crafting a complete re-write of Baldur’s Gate — originally released only for Windows 95/98 — for modern versions of Windows, iPad , OS X, and Android. Their version eventually included over 400 enhancements, like new high-res cinematics, UI improvements, enhanced multiplayer, bug fixes and higher level caps, and over six hours of bonus quests & new adventures. It was, in short, the ultimate edition of Baldur’s Gate.

As excited as I was to see the Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition — and its sequel, Baldur’s Gate II: Enhanced Edition, released in 2013 — I was even more delighted to learn that Beamdog’s next project was Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition. Icewind Dale was my favorite of the Dungeons & Dragons Infinity Engine line of games (which included Baldur’s Gate I and II, Planescape: Torment, and several others), and I have very fond memories of playing it with my children over a dozen years ago.

Now Beamdog has made Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition available for pre-order on their website for just $19.99, in a package that also includes both of the expansion packs: Heart of Winter and Trials of the Luremaster. Check out the trailer for the enhanced edition above.

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Future Treasures: Fearsome Magics, edited by Jonathan Strahan

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

Fearsome Magics-smallSolaris Books continues to single-handedly fuel a renaissance in paperback anthologies, including two top notch science fiction anthology series: Ian Whates’s Solaris Rising, and  Jonathan Strahan’s  Reach for Infinity.

Next week sees the arrival of Jonathan Strahan’s Fearsome Magics, his second volume of original fantasy fiction from Solaris. Here’s what James McGlothlin said about the first, Fearsome Journeys:

Many of Fearsome Journeys’ stories fit squarely within the tradition of fantasy — which I love! For instance, many contain typical tropes such as magic, dragons, wizards, fighters, thieves, etc., as well as familiar plot angles like quests to recover treasure or kill some monster or dragon. However, as one would expect from this lineup, many are fairly experimental attempts to push the boundaries of what is, or should be, considered fantasy. Let me give a few highlights.

Glenn Cook provides another great tale of the Black Company, his popular fantasy military troop, with his story “Shaggy Dog Bridge.” Similar to Cook’s Black Company, Scott Lynch’s “The Effigy Engine” centers upon a group of (wizard) warriors called the Red Hats, who are battled-hardened cynics often attempting to just get by. This was a very interesting tale describing war contraptions that reminded me of medieval versions of the AT-AT Walkers from The Empire Strikes Back. Very cool!…

I can say — without any reservation — all of stories contained within Fearsome Journeys are extremely well-crafted… There’s no doubt that these are some of the best writers in the field today.

Here’s the book description.

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Future Treasures: The Skull Throne by Peter V. Brett

Thursday, September 25th, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

The Skull Throne Peter V Brett-smallThe Warded Man, the first novel in Peter V. Brett’s Demon Cycle series, was released in March 2009. His second, The Desert Spear (March 2010), became an international bestseller, and the third, The Daylight War, followed in February 2013.

Now comes word that the fourth book in the series, The Skull Throne, will be released in March of 2015. Here’s the scoop from Peter’s website:

Ever since I posted a sample chapter from The Skull Throne last week, I’ve been getting a lot of people asking when it will be out. It’s wonderful and gratifying to see so many people interested in the series and excited about the new book…

It’s a BIG book, shaping up to be the biggest yet, and that is after the monster 268,000 word Daylight War.

The fifth (and final?) book in the series, The Core, does not yet have a release date. Read the first chapter of The Skull Throne here.

The Skull Throne will be published by Del Rey on March 24, 2015. It is 656 pages, priced at $28 in hardcover and $12.99 for the digital version.

See all of our recent features on upcoming books here.

Future Treasures: The Madness of Cthulhu, edited by S.T. Joshi

Sunday, September 21st, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

The Madness of Cthulhu-smallWith all the recent discussion we’ve had on collecting H.P. Lovecraft, I thought S.T. Joshi’s latest Mythos-inspired anthology The Madness of Cthulhu, due to be released next month, might be of interest. It’s certainly got my attention.

The Madness of Cthulhu collects fourteen new tales — and two reprints — inspired by Lovecraft’s masterpiece At the Mountains of Madness. Authors include Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Silverberg, Caitlin R. Kiernan, John Shirley, and Harry Turtledove.

According to Joshi’s blog, this is the first of two volumes, with the second to be released Summer 2015. This volume is introduced by Jonathan Marberry. Here’s the book description:

Sixteen stories inspired by the 20th century’s great master of horror, H.P. Lovecraft, and his acknowledged masterpiece, At the Mountains of Madness, in which an expedition to the desolation of Antarctica discovers evidence of an ancient ruin built by horrific creatures at first thought long-dead, until death strikes the group. All but two of the stories are original to this edition, and those reprints are long-lost works by science fiction masters Arthur C. Clarke and Robert Silverberg.

The Madness of Cthulhu, Volume One will be published by Titan Books on October 7, 2014. It is 304 pages, priced at $15.95 in trade paperback and $9.99 for the digital version. I can’t find a cover credit, but it sure looks like John Jude Palencar (click for bigger version).

See all of our recent New Treasures here.

Future Treasures: Old Venus, edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

Old Venus-smallA while back, I was lamenting the disappearance of the modern SF anthology, and commenting that very few editors (or publishers, for that matter) have been successful at individual anthologies — let alone the anthology series, like the old Orbit and New Dimensions.

In so saying, I was overlooking the team of George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, who have produced a loose series of top-selling SF and fantasy anthologies over the last few years – including the massive heroic fantasy volume Warriors (2010), the star-crossed love story collection Songs of Love and Death (2010), the massive Jack Vance tribute Songs of the Dying Earth (2010), the urban fantasy-focused Down These Strange Streets (2011), the even massive-er 800-page Dangerous Women (2013), and the just-released Rogues (2014).

My personal favorite was Old Mars, a tribute to “the Golden Age of Science Fiction, an era filled with tales of interplanetary colonization and derring-do” — which, if you’ve read even a handful of posts here at Black Gate, you’ll understand is the kind of thing that makes me very happy. When I blogged about it in January, Gardner sent me this intriguing message:

Glad you enjoyed it… If you liked this one, keep an eye out for Old Venus from the same publisher; same kind of thing, although I think it’s even stronger than Old Mars. Pub date is sometime in 2015.

I was delighted to hear it. Now Bantam has released the cover, and it looks gorgeous — and makes a terrific companion piece to the Old Mars cover. These will look very handsome indeed, back-to-back on my bookshelf.

Old Venus will be published by Bantam Books on March 3, 2015. It is 608 pages, priced at $30 in hardcover and $11.99 for the digital version. No news on who the contributors are — when we learn more, so will you.

Future Treasures: Check-Out Time by Mark Rigney

Sunday, September 14th, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

Check Out Time Mark Rigney-smallMark Rigney’s Tales of Gemen — a three-part adventure tale featuring a deadly tomb, a ruined gateway, and the mysterious trader Gemen, who risks everything to plumb their secrets —  have consistently hovered near the top of our Fiction charts since we first published them in 2012. Tangent Online called the tales “Reminiscent of the old sword & sorcery classics,” high praise in our book.

More recently, Mark has turned his attention to a series of thrillers starring the occult investigators Reverend Renner and Dale Quist. Bill Maynard raved about the first, The Skates, in his review for us last year.

I envy Rigney for his talents… Rigney can write circles around most of us as he seamlessly blurs the lines between genres and switches voice from one first person narrator to the other…

Rigney’s odd couple (in more ways than one) comprises a stuffy Unitarian minister and a rather crude, sometimes boorish, ex-linebacker. Together they solve occult mysteries… Make no mistake, this book is grand entertainment.

Simply put, I love this book.

The second in the series, “Sleeping Bear,” appeared in February, and anticipation has been building for their first novel-length adventure. Check-Out Time finally arrives next month.

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