Witches, Privateers, and Enchanted Blades: Tales of the Thieftaker by D. B. Jackson

Sunday, December 3rd, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

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Night of Two Moons,” the most popular story in Black Gate 4, was my introduction to the work of David B. Coe. Over the past two decades he’s produced eight novels in the same setting, the Forelands Universe (five in the Winds of the Forelands series, plus the Blood of the Southlands trilogy), and I’ve followed them avidly. His prior work included the LonTobyn Chronicle trilogy; more recently he’s turned his attention to contemporary fantasy with the Case Files of Justis Fearsson (Spell Blind, His Father’s Eyes, and Shadow’s Blade), featuring a magic-using private detective who faces off against dark sorcerers in Phoenix, Arizona. Starting in 2015 David became a semi-regular blogger for us; the most recent article in his Books and Craft series was World Building and the Importance of Setting.

In addition to that prodigious output, under the name ‘D. B. Jackson’ David’s also written four novels in the popular Thieftaker Chronicles, a historical urban fantasy series set in pre-Revolutionary Boston. The books have been widely acclaimed, and Kirkus Reviews calls them “Splendid… with [a] contemporary gumshoe-noir tone… An unusual series of great promise.” I’m very excited to see the next release, Tales of the Thieftaker, is a collection of new and previously published short stories — featuring a pre-dawn fire in colonial Boston, a young witch who harbors a terrible secret, a magick-laden blade, and the true story of the bloody mutiny aboard the privateering ship Ruby Blade.

Tales of the Thieftaker will be published by Lore Seekers Press on December 18, 2017. It is 275 pages, priced at $17.95 in trade paperback and $4.99 for he digital edition. The cover is by Chris McGrath. Read David’s interview (as D.B. Jackson) with his main character Ethan Kaille, the Thieftaker, in a funny and very insightful post here at Black Gate.

Dark Osprey: The Shadowy Worlds of Cthulhu, Alien Bug Hunts, and a Nazi Moonbase

Saturday, November 11th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

The Cthulhu Campaigns Ancient Rome-small Nanzi Moonbase Dark Osprey-small Bug Hunts Dark Osprey-small

Over the last forty years Osprey Publishing has built up a sterling reputation for its long running series of illustrated military history books. Role-players, wargamers, and even casual readers like me have enjoyed them, and used them as reference guides.

Black Gate author Joseph McCullough joined Osprey a decade ago, and since then Osprey has produced a growing volume of books of interest to gamers and genre fans alike, including Steampunk miniatures rules (In Her Majesty’s Name), the Frostgrave tabletop skirmish game, and the Osprey Adventures line. But most interesting to me is Dark Osprey, a series of marvelously imaginative and well-illustrated tomes that serve as excellent setting books for the RPG of your choice.

While Joe was written several, they’ve also recruited a handful of other top-notch authors, including Warhammer author Graeme Davis, Trail of Cthulhu scribe Kenneth Hite, novelist Mark A. Latham (The Lazarus Gate), and others. So far they’ve published over a dozen, including The Cthulhu Campaigns Ancient Rome by Mark Latham, Nazi Moonbase by Graeme Davis, and Bug Hunts: Surviving and Combating the Alien Menace by Mark Latham.

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Black Gate Online Fiction: In Creepy Hollow, It’s Halloween All Year Long! An Excerpt from The Power of the Sapphire Wand by Erika M Szabo and Joe Bonadonna

Thursday, October 26th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

The Power of the Sapphire Wand-small The Power of the Sapphire Wand-back-small

Black Gate is pleased to present an exclusive excerpt from The Power of the Sapphire Wand (Creepy Hollow Adventures #2), the sequel to Three Ghosts in a Black Pumpkin, by Erika M Szabo and Joe Bonadonna.

The complete catalog of Black Gate Online Fiction, including stories by Mark Rigney, John Fultz, 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 Power of the Sapphire Wand (Creepy Hollow Adventures #2) is a spooky Halloween story for children, ages 6 to 14. It is written by Erika M Szabo and Joe Bonadonna, and illustrated by Erika M Szabo. Published by Golden Box Books Publishing, New York on October 1, 2017. Available in paperback ($11.95), and Kindle and Nook editions ($2.99).

Read the complete excerpt here.

In Search of a new Weird Tales: An Interview with Joseph Goodman, Howard Andrew Jones, and the Talking Skull!

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

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Recently Goodman Games announced a Kickstarter campaign to fund the launch of Tales From the Magician’s Skull, a magazine of all-new swords & sorcery fiction in the classic pulp style. The first issue is a delight for Black Gate readers, with tales from popular BG contributors James Enge, John C. Hocking, Howard Andrew Jones, Chris Willrich, Bill Ward, and others. And best of all, Goodman has invited Howard Andrew Jones on board as editor, guaranteeing a top-notch product. The spectacular success of the Kickstarter campaign — more than quintuple its goal, with more than a week to go — demonstrates just how well the creators have read the market demand for a true sword & sorcery publication. I sat down with Joseph Goodman, founder and publisher of Goodman Games, and Howard — along with their undead master, the mighty Magician’s Skull — to find out more about one of the most exciting magazine launches in a decade.

My first question is for Joseph… why a magazine? How does that fit in with your laser-like focus on classic gaming?

Joseph: Thanks for the interview, John! To answer your question, I have to start with Appendix N. In the 1982 edition of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master’s Guide, the creator included an obscure bibliography. It was Appendix N, the 14th appendix in the book, where he listed the works of fiction that inspired him to create D&D. That list has since become notorious. It is now a de facto “required reading list” for diehard fans of the game.

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Keep Up With the Latest Releases from Black Gate Authors — October Edition

Monday, October 23rd, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

The Harbors of the Sun-small After the End of the World Jonathan L. Howard-small The Robots of Gotham-small

As we head into fall, the list of upcoming novels, stories and features from Black Gate‘s authors and bloggers continues to expand — and grow more and more impressive. Here’s a partial list of the current and upcoming releases from some of your favorite BG writers.

The Harbors of the Sun by Martha Wells, the last in the Books of the Raksura series, came out in July from Night Shade Books
After the End of the World by Jonathan L. Howard, Volume 2 in the Carter & Lovecraft series, will be published in hardcover by Thomas Dunne on November 14
Todd McAulty’s debut novel The Robots of Gotham arrives in hardcover from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on June 19
Howard Andrew Jones’ For the Killing of Kings, the opening novel in a brand new epic fantasy series, arrives in hardcover from Thomas Dunne in July 2018
Derek Kunsken’s debut novel The Quantum Magician will be published by Solaris in 2018, and serialized in Analog starting with the January/February issue

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ElizaBeth Gilligan, August 16, 1962 – October 9, 2017

Thursday, October 19th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

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Back in 2002 I included ElizaBeth Gilligan’s third published story, “Iron Joan,” in Black Gate 3, and I was very pleased to do so. It was a terrific tale, about a proud princess who flees an abusive father, and builds a home in a tiny coastal village…. until the day her father comes looking for her. It was one of the most popular stories in the issue, and became the first BG story to make the preliminary Nebula ballot.

ElizaBeth’s first novel, Magic’s Silken Snare (DAW, 2003), was the first novel in the Silken Magic trilogy. The Silken Shroud (DAW, 2004) followed a year later, and the third, Sovereign Silk, finally arrived this past June. Locus called the opening novel “Excellent… alternate Renaissance Italy is the setting for this opulent tale of court intrigue and dark magics…. engaging characters in a well-realized world.”

ElizaBeth died of cancer on October 9, 2017. Her career spanned nearly three decades, beginning with the short story “Confessions of a Bimbette in Space” (Amazing Experiences, 1990). She wrote a regular column for Midnight Zoo in the 1990s, and was the secretary of SFWA from 2002 – 2003. More recently, she edited the anthology Alterna-Teas for Sky Warrior in 2016.

She was 55 years old. Read the complete story “Iron Joan” here.

Future Treasures: The Art of the Pulps edited by Douglas Ellis, Ed Hulse and Robert Weinberg

Friday, October 13th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

The Art of the Pulps Doug Ellis-small

Ed Hulse, editor and co-founder of pulp zine Blood ‘n Thunder, collector extraordinaire Robert Weinberg, and collector (and Black Gate blogger) Doug Ellis have teamed up to produce what may be my most anticipated book of 2017: The Art of the Pulps, a gorgeous 240-page celebration of the magazines that gave birth to the heart and soul of modern Pop Culture. Miss this book at your peril.

Experts in the ten major Pulp genres, from action Pulps to spicy Pulps and more, chart for the first time the complete history of Pulp magazines — the stories and their writers, the graphics and their artists, and, of course, the publishers, their market, and readers.

Each chapter in the book, which is illustrated with more than 400 examples of the best Pulp graphics (many from the editors’ collections — among the world’s largest) is organized in a clear and accessible way, starting with an introductory overview of the genre, followed by a selection of the best covers and interior graphics, organized chronologically through the chapter. All images are fully captioned (many are in essence “nutshell” histories in themselves). Two special features in each chapter focus on topics of particular interest (such as extended profiles of Daisy Bacon, Pulp author and editor of Love Story, the hugely successful romance Pulp, and of Harry Steeger, co-founder of Popular Publications in 1930 and originator of the “Shudder Pulp” genre).

With an overall introduction on “The Birth of the Pulps” by Doug Ellis, and with two additional chapters focusing on the great Pulp writers and the great Pulp artists, The Art of the Pulps covers every aspect of this fascinating genre; it is the first definitive visual history of the Pulps.

F. Paul Wilson provides the Foreword. The Art of the Pulps will be published by IDW Publishing on October 24, 2017. It is 240 pages, priced at $49.99 in hardcover. There is no digital edition.

Support an Exciting New Magazine of Sword & Sorcery: Tales From the Magician’s Skull

Wednesday, October 11th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

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Here’s the best news I’ve heard all month: Goodman Games, publisher of the excellent Dungeon Crawl Classics line of old-school RPG adventures, has launched a brand new magazine of Sword & Sorcery, Tales From the Magician’s Skull. The editor chosen to helm this groundbreaking project? None other than our very own Howard Andrew Jones. Here’s Howard with the scoop.

A gong shivers…
The mists part to reveal a grisly object lying upon a mound of rubble, a browned and ancient head with one glowing, malefic eye…
It speaks, in a voice of cold command: “Silence, mortal dogs! It is time now for
Goodman Games [has launched] the Kickstarter for the exciting new sword-and-sorcery magazine inspired by Appendix N. I am mightily pleased to be the magazine’s editor, and I’ve had a blast assembling it with Joseph Goodman. We’ve been working together for almost a year, and I’ve got to tell you that the result is GLORIOUS. Just check out that Jim Pavalec cover.

The first issue, with stories by James Enge, John C. Hocking, Chris Willrich, Howard Andrew Jones, C.L. Werner and others, truly is a knockout. The Kickstarter funded in less than 24 hours, and continues to gather momentum. Make a pledge, and make sure you get your copy of the the first issue of what’s sure to be one of the most important magazine launches of the decade. And check back here this week for a 3-way interview with publisher Joseph Goodman, Howard Andrew Jones, and the grinning skull itself!

The Dead Ride Fast

Tuesday, September 26th, 2017 | Posted by Jackson Kuhl

The Dead Ride FastHey nerds! My latest collection, The Dead Ride Fast, is available at Amazon and Kobo.

It certainly feels like there’s been a recent abundance of weird Western fiction. Just this past summer alone several anthologies appeared on shelves, and even straitlaced historical magazines like True West have published listicles celebrating the genre.

Yet oddly we seem to have hit peak weird West way back in 2014, with searches today chugging along at 50 percent of that frequency. Still, the fact that searches haven’t dropped precipitously suggests a steady and abiding interest in cowpokes and aliens and zombies.

The Dead Ride Fast bundles together five previously published short stories of mine that appeared in Black Static and anthologies such as Eric Guignard’s Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations (nominated for a Stoker!). Also included is an original story involving a spoopy haunted house.

A gang of bank robbers arrives in a town where everyone knows the future. A prospector discovers the cost of gold is the loss of himself. An abandoned ranch house conceals a dark history. An ailing sailor is initiated into a secret world after consuming an unusual medicine. A businessman reopens a silver mine that should have been left sealed. Two young girls confront a string of unnoticed disappearances.

Just in time for Halloween! Makes a great gift!

If you’re interested in the collection’s provenance — how the book came together and the stories behind the stories — I’ve been blabbering about it at my blog.

Rock Stars, Bloggers, and Hidden Magic: The Wind in His Heart by Charles de Lint

Thursday, September 14th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

The Wind in His Heart Charles de Lint-smallI met Charles de Lint when he was an unpublished author in the early 80s. We both hung out at the best bookstore in town, the much-missed House of Speculative Fiction in downtown Ottawa. There was a big fuss about his first novel, The Riddle of The Wren (1984), plucked out of the slush at Ace Books by legendary editor Terri Windling, but it was the bestselling Moonheart (Ace, 1984) that made us realize that Charles wasn’t just a local boy who done good — he was a major artist embarking on an extraordinary career.

71 books later, Charles is one of the most revered writers in fantasy. He’s been enormously kind to us over the years, even contributing a terrific story to the very first issue of Black Gate.  I asked Charles to tell us a bit about his latest book, and he was generous enough to send me this yesterday.

I’m excited to get back to writing for adults. It took me three years to write my new novel, The Wind in His Heart, pretty much double the time I’d normally take to complete a book, but this 545-page story was tricky to put together. It’s about a young man who works at a trading post and is the sole supporter in his family yet longs to go and explore the world; a rock star hiding from fame out in the desert; a teenage girl from an abusive family who gets tossed out of her dad’s car in the middle of the desert, and a blogger trying to come to terms with the suicide of her best friend. The story is about how their lives collide, and how they deal with their past and future. Many of my readers have been asking if it’s a Newford book, and the short answer is no, but it does have some Newford threads and connections.

This is a major new novel from one of the most important writers at work today. When word broke in our offices that it was arriving this month, there was frenzy to settle who would have the privilege of reading it first (Zeta Moore won; she’ll be reviewing it for us in a few weeks.)

The Wind in His Heart will be published by Triskell Press on September 19, 2017. It is 545 pages, priced at $7.99 for the digital edition. Read an excerpt in the Autumn issue of Faerie Magazine, and learn more at Charles’ website. And check out all our coverage of his previous books here.

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