Getting that Profile Going

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008 | Posted by Managing Editor Howard Andrew Jones

I mostly blame this blog on Harry Connolly, who had once suggested to John that a Black Gate blog would be of interest. John and I discussed a blog as I was first coming on board the magazine, and I decided to put one together once I’d made deeper inroads into the slush. Here it is, for better or worse.

I set it up as “bg_editor” so that either John or myself could post, but John has his hands quite full with sundry Black Gate duties, so I’ve finally just realized I’m stuck with this thing and decided to fill out the profile or user info or whatever it’s called with my interests and my bio. In an odd way, it feels like I’ve finally acknowledged that yes, I do have a blog. Mostly it’s about Black Gate, but I’ve let other stuff that’s of interest to me creep in. I’d get bored if all I did was report on slush status and what not.

Coming soon — a sneak peek at the contents of issue 12.


Nebula Nomination

Sunday, February 24th, 2008 | Posted by Managing Editor Howard Andrew Jones

In case you haven’t heard yet, Black Gate author Judith Berman’s been nominated for a Nebula award for her story from issue 10, “Awakening.” Here’s a hearty congratulations to her!

I don’t know whether those who nominated her were excited by one of the very best openings I’ve seen in a short story for a long time, or the compelling narrative that follows (or maybe it’s their well-known preference for tales featuring necromancers) but you can certainly check it out yourself by visiting the Black Gate web site, where we’ve made the story accessible to all comers. There you will also find links to Judith’s web page as well as the SFWA announcement about all nominees.

In addition to the congratulations to Judith, I’d like to thank our web site editor, the talented Leo Grin, for his tireless, dependable, and extremely polished work on the Black Gate web site.


Judith Berman’s “Awakening” Nominated for a Nebula Award!

Sunday, February 24th, 2008 | Posted by Web Master

Congratulations to Black Gate‘s Judith Berman for getting a Nebula nod for her story appearing in Black Gate #10, “Awakening.” A fascinating, mind-bending fantasy of ghosts, sorcerers, treasure, haunted cities, perilous forests, and lost souls, it’s a standout tale that appeared in one of our best issues yet. Read the entire story here.

When you’re through reading Judith’s tale, you can click on the issue links on the sidebar to your left and read excerpts from some of the many other talented authors to be found in the pages of Black Gate. If you haven’t subscribed yet, get to it — you’re missing out on lots of the very best fantasy and Sword-and-Sorcery fiction being published today. And be sure to check out our Back Issue Sale, the perfect way to get caught up on your Black Gate collection, available only while supplies last.

Catching Up

Thursday, February 21st, 2008 | Posted by Managing Editor Howard Andrew Jones

A friend e-mailed today wondering why I’ve been laying so low on live journal. I’d been contemplating an entry on that very subject for days. That sound you don’t hear is me working, or trying to work, on way too many things.

Black Gate 12 is being readied for the printer, but not by me — layout remains John’s job. Here I’m trying to round up the final reviews and hurriedly finish reading up some last minute additions for our book reviews section. The gaming articles have been in and completed and edited for weeks now thanks to a big push right after Christmas. I’m also making some editorial suggestions to the long-delayed Todd McCaulty reprise. We still get fan letters for Todd’s earlier stories from people wanting more, and they’re finally going to get it.

In other news I’ve been grading papers for the day job, trying to find the time to teach my children piano, or just be a good dad and husband, struggling to fit in time to get to the karate studio to work out, and, because I’m also a writer, wrestling in time for fiction. Some weeks I just run from fire to fire. The things getting the shortest shrift are karate and piano teaching, although I’m doing better with the latter. I actually had a dream last night that I was all dressed up in my karate gear for sparring and couldn’t find the room where the karate class was being held. I manage to attend a few times a month, but it’s been a long time since I’ve learned enough to advance, and the goal of second degree black belt isn’t getting any closer.

Writing has been progressing steadily but not well. I reached chapter 4, or about 16,000 words, of my mist novel sequel and I’ve been trying to tackle it for most of the month. I’d write a thousand words, scrap them, then write again, and scrap those. Sometimes I’d make it as far as two thousand words into the chapter before tossing those and starting over. The odd thing is that my rough outline never changed much — even now, today, when I finally got through the chapter and got the thing roughly presentable, the events within match the outline. I’m trying to figure out what I’ve learned from this rough draft experience, and I think it may be that when I’m too scattered it’s hard to focus and be in touch with what I’m writing. And that’s bad news, because I’m likely to continue to be scattered for, well, a really long time.

Anyway, that’s what’s happening here. I hope soon to talk about what you’ll actually see in Black Gate 12, and I’d intended to discuss rejections — both the giving of them and the receiving of them, because I’ve been on both ends of the equation lately, but I’ll save those for another post, which I’ll try to get loaded sooner rather than later.


A Review of Skin Hunger

Sunday, February 17th, 2008 | Posted by Web Master

When an unabashed work of fantasy gets shortlisted for a National Book Award, Black Gate‘s Rich Horton sits up and takes notice. The volume in question is titled Skin Hunger, Book One of a series called A Resurrection of Magic. Penned by talented writer Kathleen Duey, it’s filled with witches, magic, ove and loss. Horton judges it an intriguing page-turner that acts as a promising introduction to Duey’s fictional world.


Black Gate #1 gets a new review

Sunday, February 10th, 2008 | Posted by Web Master

It’s been awhile since the premier issue of Black Gate stormed onto the fantasy landscape, but even now it continues to attract new readers and stellar reviews. The latest rolls in courtesy of Blue Tyson, an Australian fan who runs a number of different blogs that cover the sci-fi and fantasy fields. Tyson recently ordered up a batch of Black Gate back numbers, and he’s set to review them one by one on his website. So what did he think of those classic Issue #1 tales from such talents as Karl Edward Wagner, Michael Moorcock, Charles de Lint, Richard Parks, and Jeffrey Ford? Read on to find out.


And if you haven’t picked up Black Gate #1 yet, you better hurry. Like a fortuitous rift in the space-time continuum, we still have a few copies available on the website — but that window of opportunity won’t last forever. Order your copies today, and discover what reviewers and readers alike have been raving about.

Black Gate PDF

Friday, February 8th, 2008 | Posted by Managing Editor Howard Andrew Jones

I want to thank everyone who wrote in to comment on the question about whether or not they were interested in seeing a PDF version of Black Gate as well as a print version. John and I are now talking seriously about making an issue available as a free PDF so that people could see what the magazine looks like, possibly even the upcoming issue 12.

Has anyone out there heard of another magazine trying this, or been involved with that kind of effort? If so, we’d like to hear about it.



Tuesday, February 5th, 2008 | Posted by Managing Editor Howard Andrew Jones

Black Gate Update

I have almost all of the book reviews in now for issue 12, and almost all of the game reviews as well. The cover is excellent, one of my favorites. I need to get John to post it. Need it be said, then, that issue 12 should soon be ready? If it weren’t for the required delay between layout and printer, I think we’d have a version ready by the end of this month. John’s been working at it for a while now.

Which brings up an interesting point — is anyone out there interested in a PDF version of Black Gate (in addition to the printed version, of course)?

Writing Thoughts

In the past I would stick with the writing of a scene as I’d planned it, doggedly persisting even if it felt like it wasn’t going well. I suppose I used to do this because, well, NOT writing is easier than writing, as any writer can tell you, and this writer at least has to be constantly on guard about making excuses to NOT write.. I realized the other day, though, after I was about 1000 words into a new chapter, that the scene was boring me. I polished it up and re-read it and walked away, thinking I was being lazy for not writing on… But I’m glad I walked off. I realized that I needed to ditch the scene and write one that was interesting to write — after all, if I’m not enjoying writing the scene, how much fun will it be to read?

So my tip to myself for the day was to learn to trust my instincts. If there’sa reason I don’t feel like writing the scene, maybe the answer isn’t laziness, but that the scene isn’t working. The odd thing about this tip, though, is that I couldn’t have told this to young Howard and have had any affect on him. It’s all fine and well to trust your instincts, but my epiphany this time was that I should learn when I’ve developed the instincts to trust.


Black Gate Short Fiction Reviews

Sunday, February 3rd, 2008 | Posted by Web Master

It’s always nice to see an old standby come roaring back into the fiction arena. Almost three years after The Third Alternative vanished from newsstands the popular magazine has returned, sporting a new look, new focus, and even a new title: Black Static. Does it measure up to what came before?

Black Gate reviewer David Soyka delves into the first two issues and finds a lot to like. Highlights include work from authors like M. K. Hobson, Lisa Tuttle, Steve Utley, Scott Nicholson, and of course old TTA veterans such as columnist Christopher Fowler and book reviewer Peter Tennant.



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