The NeoG trilogy, published by Harper Voyager: A Pale Light in the Black
(March 2020), Hold Fast Through the Fire (July 2021), and The Ghosts of Trappist
(June 27, 2023). Covers by Vadim Sadovski and Reginald Polynice
K.B. Wagers is one of the most exciting of the new crop of space opera writers. Their first novel, Behind the Throne, appeared in 2016 from Orbit Books, and it kicked off what eventually became a popular six-volume series featuring Hail Bristol, a runaway princess who becomes one of the most fearsome gunrunners in the galaxy. Packed with alien gods, centuries-long conflicts, treasonous plots, interstellar civilizations, invasions, intrigue, diplomatic missions, a spaceship with a motley crew, and full-scale galactic war, the Hail Bristol universe is terrific rest stop for anyone who enjoys space opera and political intrigue.
K.B.’s new NeoG series, set in our own solar system, follows the adventure of the Near-Earth Orbital Guard, a military force patrolling and protecting space. The first two volumes, A Pale Light in the Black and Hold Fast Through the Fire, will be followed by The Ghosts of Trappist, arriving in hardcover from Harper Voyager on June 27, 2023. Lara Báez, the Publicity Manager at HarperCollins, was kind enough to arrange an interview with K.B. before the release of the new book. The complete text of our email discussion, which took place between May 31 and June 5th of this year, is below. It has been lightly edited for clarity, and to correct the worst of my spelling mistakes.
Hunter Ninja Bear, Volume 1: Provenance from Fenom Comics
As I told you back in April, Black Gate photog Chris Z and I made our annual pilgrimage to the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2). During that adventure we crossed paths with brothers Joe and Tom Fenoglio, founders of the indie comic company Fenom Comics. They were promoting their graphic novel Hunter Ninja Bear, Volume 1: Provenance, which caught our attention due to the incredible illustrations.
I was lucky enough to be the recipient of a copy and having had a holiday weekend to devote to reading it, I must admit I’m now kind of obsessed with this story of three forces of nature (a hunter, a ninja, and a bear). I had to know more, and Tom indulged me with a quick response to all my questions as well as some juicy graphics.
So, Tom meet everyone. Everyone, meet Tom, cofounder of Fenom.
Inspired by the release of Nightborn: Coldfire Rising (July 2023, see Black Gate’s review for more information), we are delighted to interview C.S. Freidman! Since the late 1990’s she has established herself as a master of dark fantasy and science fiction, being a John W. Campbell award finalist and author of the highly acclaimed Coldfire trilogy and This Alien Shore (New York TimesNotable Book of the Year 1998).
Let’s learn about C. S. Friedman’s muses & fears, her experience with art, and tease a future TV series!
MichaelHarrington is a writer and course designer living in the Fort Collins Colorado area of the United States. Here we post Michael Harrington’s interview of OliverBrackenbury who is an author, screenwriter, podcaster, and now a magazine editor. In fact, this interview highlights the release of Brackenbury’s new magazine New Edge Sword and Sorcery Magazine (released Sept. 30th, 2022. Hardcover $11.99usd, softcover $3.99usd, and the ePub free)!
Read on to learn more about Oliver Brackenbury, his blog, and New Edge!
As someone who loves indie film makers, I’ve sat through a lot of independent films. And though I admire the tenacious, passionate and fearless way all of these artists approach their craft, the outcomes, as you would expect, display varying degrees of talent. The films which stood out in some way, at least to me, I have shared with you here. But honestly, most of the time because I can’t honestly say something nice, I just don’t say anything.
So, when a friend excitedly told me her nephew had starred in an indie horror film and that it would be a perfect topic for GCN, I received the news with some trepidation. I mean, if the movie was good, no issues; but if it wasn’t…?
When I was presented with Killer Piñata, the name alone seemed promising. Clearly this was going to be humorous horror that didn’t take itself seriously. What I discovered was an absurdly funny, low-tech story that put me in the mind of Second City TV’s Monster Chiller Horror Theater; totally entertaining in an “omg I can’t believe they actually did that,” kind of way. When I then discovered a sequel, Bride of Killer Piñata, was in the works, it was time to track down the person from whose mind this all came.
Enter writer, director and producer Stephen Tramontana. As I have so many questions, let’s jump right in…
JB: Who in the Nine Circles of Hell do you think I am? Quasimodo? Doctor Frankenstein? You mean you don’t know who I am? Have you never heard of me? Why, I’m famous the world over! Joe Bonadonna, I am. (I could never settle on a pen name, so I stuck with the name I was given at birth.)
[Aside by SE: To clarify, he often writes about Quasimodo and Dr. Frankenstein for Janet E. Morris’s Heroes in Hell series (Perseid Press). Here’s Joe Bonadona’s official Bio.]
The Tarot Sequence: The Last Sun, The Hanged Man, and The Hourglass Throne
(Pyr, 2018, 2019, and 2022). Covers by Micah Epstein
The last two years were pretty lousy for the world, but fairly good for reading! It was time to read some newer authors, and KD Edwards’ Tarot Sequence had been on my list for quite some time. Urban fantasy with a male protagonist, Tarot, and LGBTQ+ friendly? Published through Pyr — one of the more interesting mainstream publishers? Definitely a must-read for me. Plus, have you seen those gorgeous evocative covers?
I started reading book 1, The Last Sun, in mid-2020. Did I say reading? A more accurate statement would be devouring. Book 2, The Hanged Man swiftly followed, and then I felt bereft. The story clearly wasn’t over, but there wasn’t another book?
I reached out to KD on Twitter to inquire, and he let me know that not only was there a third book on the way — The Hourglass Throne, due out May 17th, 2022 from Pyr — but that there was free extra content (novellas!) available on his website.
I caught up with KD at Worldcon 2021 in DC, and he graciously agreed to answer a few questions.
What pushed you to get Wyldblood up and running? And for the uninitiated, what exactly is Wyldblood?
It all started in lockdown, as many things do. I’ve published magazines before, but nothing like Wyldblood, and it just felt like the right time. More importantly, I had the time, though for some reason that’s been quickly sucked away in a nasty combination of too much reading to do and the real world returning with full force.
Wyldblood is a small press and we specialize in science fiction and fantasy – speculative fiction, basically, though we’re not big fans of horror and stories that drip too much blood. We publish a regular magazine (we’re up to issue 8), occasional anthologies (we’ve got werewolves in Call of the Wyld and steampunk in Runs Like Clockwork), reprints of classic authors and, when we get all our reading done, we’ll be publishing original novels and novellas. We’re based in the U.K., but we’re everywhere, really. We lurk on the internet: wyldblood.com and @WyldbloodPress.
We have an ongoing series on Black Gatediscussing “Beauty in Weird Fiction.” We corner authors to tap their minds about their muses and ways to make ‘repulsive’ things ‘attractive to readers.’ Recent guests on Black Gate have included Darrell Schweitzer,Anna Smith Spark, & Carol Berg, Stephen Leigh, Jason Ray Carney, and John C. Hocking. See the full list of interviews at the end of this post. This one covers emerging author M. Stern who writes weird/horror fiction and sci-fi. He has had stories appear in Weird Book #44, Startling Stories#34, and Doug Draa’s clown anthology Funny As a Heart Attack. There’s some strange and complicated beauty to be found in all of those. He also has published in several other markets including Lovecraftiana: The Magazine of Eldritch Horror and flash fiction that deals with aesthetics and transgression in Cosmic Horror Monthly #19.
Today we corner John C. Hocking whose Conan pastiche we reviewed a few months ago.
John C. Hocking is an American fantasy writer who is the author of two well-acclaimed Conan novels and has also won the 2009 Harper’s Pen Award for Sword and Sorcery fiction for his story, “The Face In The Sea”. He lives in Michigan with his wife, son, and an alarming quantity of books. He is a nigh-obsessed reader and writer of lurid pulp fiction, the author of Conan and the Emerald Lotus, the “Black Starlight” Conan serial, and their time-lost companion, Conan and the Living Plague, and an obedient thrall of Tales From the Magician’s Skull.
For clarity, we’ll actually corner him twice. Firstly, here on Black Gate, we’ll cover his weird, pulpy muses & Conan pastiche; secondly, in a companion interview, we’ll cover his King’s Blade and Archivist series on the Tale from the Magician’s Skull Blog.