Silas P. Cornu’s Dry Calculator

Wednesday, December 4th, 2019 | Posted by Steve Carper

Henry A. Hering Adventures and Fantasy 1930 cover

Digging through the vast, deep landscape of popular culture is very much like being a working paleontologist. Fragments of bones are everywhere, both on the surface and accessible through spadework. Unbroken samples are rare finds, interesting enough in and of themselves but truly valuable only if put into context.

Also as in paleontology, trying to create a proper history grows exponentially more difficult every time a new site is opened. The older metaphor of an evolutionary tree of life that leads to a single branch labeled Homo is now obsolete; modern practitioners see more of a bush with a tangle of branches whose origins are obscure.

The origin of science fictional ideas matches this entropic march toward disorder. Fans of SF once proudly hailed the writers in the field for coming up with fantastic ideas, notions, gadgets, and futures that could be boasted about to their snobbish mundane friends. Years of historical research into the subject make me wonder sometimes if any sf writer ever had a truly original idea.

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Black Gate Online Fiction: ‘The Jarvis Pendragon Files – The Adventure of the Speckled Band’

Monday, November 18th, 2019 | Posted by Bob Byrne

The sitting room of 221b Baker Street London

The sitting room of 221b Baker Street London

My friend Sherlock Holmes, with whom I shared lodgings and adventures, had already breakfasted and was slumped in his favorite chair when I descended to our sitting one room one November morning. From the discarded newspapers strewn about the floor, I knew that he had failed to find one of those interesting crimes which so intrigued him.

Shortly after hearing my footsteps on the stairs, Mrs. Hudson arrived with fresh coffee, some fish left over from the previous night’s meal, devilled kidneys (which Holmes despised), bacon and toast. As Holmes had rather churlishly replied to my greeting, I set to breaking my fast.

After the dishes had been cleared away and I was settled in my own chair, sorting through the post, I held a letter out towards him. “Here’s one for you, Holmes. From a “Jarvis Pendragon, DC.”

I looked at him, puzzled. “What does ‘DC’ stand for?”

He broke through the malaise enough to negligently wave a hand. “Who knows? Pray, read it. Perhaps it will enliven this otherwise intolerably boring morning.”

I have mentioned before in these recountings of Sherlock Holmes’ cases, that humility is not a trait for which he has much admiration. On more than one occasion, he has identified modesty not as a virtue, but as a distortion of the truth. And I have excluded many of his own statements about his powers of observation and deduction that were quite the opposite of ‘humble.’

Of course, his belief in his talents and abilities, which he had honed to razor sharpness, were justified. But, as his roommate, companion, and if I may add, useful assistant, on his adventures, his self-aggrandizement could be more than a trifle wearying.

So, it was with some amusement, as I was to discover, that I read aloud his letter.

But first, he forestalled me with an upraised hand. “Be not so hasty, Watson. What can you tell me from an inspection of the envelope?”

I turned it over in my hands slowly, my eyes scanning the surface for any clues or hints.

“Brighton postmark. Common envelope. Careful handwriting on the address. Clearly legible. I see nothing else of note, Holmes.”

He shook his head in disapproval, but said nothing.

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Why I’m Releasing My New Novel Online (for Free!)

Thursday, March 28th, 2019 | Posted by John R. Fultz

A Few Odd Souls Fultz-smallWhat do you do when you’ve written a novel that’s so weird and unclassifiable that it doesn’t seem to “fit” anywhere? Well, you can throw it in the fireplace and watch it burn along with all your hopes and dreams. Or you can self-publish.

Self-publishing doesn’t have the stigma it used to have. There are plenty of self-publishers who sell thousands of books–many of them in e-book only format. Apparently there is a set of skills and procedures that can lead to self-publishing e-book success. However, self-publishing traditionally in either paper or digital format involves far more marketing and “business” work than simply turning over your latest manuscript to a publisher. As a writer, I’m interested in telling stories. I don’t care much for the other aspects of self-publishing: marketing, management, promotion, etc. I’m in this game to WRITE, not to market, promote, or run a business.

I want to write good books/stories and find readers who might enjoy them. So I thought: Outside of a traditional publisher, and without jumping through the hoops of e-publishing, what is the quickest, easiest, and least painful way to get my new novel to readers across the globe? I pondered this question for many months. Then I heard about a guy named Andy Weir.

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Old-School Sword and Planet with a Modern Attitude: An Excerpt from The MechMen of Canis-9

Saturday, October 20th, 2018 | Posted by Joe Bonadonna

Three Against the Stars-cover-small The MechMen of Canis-9-small

The MechMen of Canis-9 is my seventh novel. I’ve always wanted to write some sort of action-packed Sword and Planet Adventure, with some planet-building involved, and that’s what I hope I’ve accomplished with this “sequel” to my Space Opera, Three Against The Stars. The Foreword below should pretty well set the stage for the excerpt that follows. I hope you enjoy it and it interests you in checking out my novel. Thank you!

This time out, Sergeants Seamus O’Hara, Claudia Akira, Fernando Cortez and a platoon of Marines are deployed to Canis-9 — Devoora, the Ocean Planet. Their mission: find seven indestructible robot warriors hidden there for seventy years. Most of the platoon survives a crash-landing but are left stranded in a hostile environment of deadly sea predators. Rescued by native Tulavi islanders, the Marines get caught up in a war between this mysterious, maritime civilization and another indigenous race, the Malvarians, who hunt and harvest the eggs of the giant kaizsu — the Sea Dragons sacred to the Tulavi. As the Marines set out to complete their mission they discover a secret known only by the Tulavi: the endangered kaizsu are the key to Devoora’s ecosystem and the future of all life on the planet.

The MechMen of Canis-9 is now available in both paperback and Kindle editions. Thank you!

Read an exclusive excerpt from The MechMen of Canis-9 here.


Love Hurts, Especially in Hell, Part 3 — An Excerpt from “Withering Blights,” as featured in Lovers in Hell

Friday, October 12th, 2018 | Posted by Joe Bonadonna

Lovers in Hell-smallDoctor Victor Frankenstein, whose brain resides inside the skull of his infamous Monster, is back to his old tricks again.

After he and Quasimodo finish their tour of duty in the Mortuary, where they assisted the Undertaker and Gorgonous, his Deputy Assistant, in resurrecting and reassigning the Damned, and sending them back out into Hell again, they return to the Golem Heights and to their home, Goblin Manor.

At first it appears that it’s going to be just another hellish day in New Hell City, until one of the most celebrated figures of Victorian England makes an appointment to see the mad doctor and his hunchbacked assistant…

As promised in my last article, “Live. Die. Repeat. That’s What Hell’s All About — an Excerpt from Andrew P. Weston’s Hell Gate,” here is the final part of my examination of the Doomed and the Damned, an excerpt from my story in Lovers in Hell… a Gothic little love story I call “Withering Blights.”

Black Gate Online Fiction: An Excerpt from “Withering Blights”

Well, that concludes my 3-part glimpse into the circles and levels of Hell. You can read “Withering Blights” in its entirety, as well as nine other diabolical tales by Janet and Chris Morris, Nancy Asire, S.E. Lindberg, Michael E. Dellert, Michael H. Hanson, A.L. Butcher, and Andrew P. Weston in Lovers in Hell, the latest volume in the infernal eternal saga of Heroes in Hell™.

Thank you!


Live. Die. Repeat. That’s What Hell’s All About — an Excerpt from Andrew P. Weston’s Hell Gate

Sunday, October 7th, 2018 | Posted by Joe Bonadonna

HELL-BANNER-medium

As promised in my last article, Romance in the Afterlife, Part 1: A Look at the Latest Volume in the Heroes in Hell™ Shared Universe, Lovers in Hell, here is the excerpt from Andy Weston’s forthcoming novel, Hell Gate. This is the excerpt featured in Lovers in Hell. It is copyright © 2018, Perseid Press, all rights reserved.

Black Gate Online Fiction: An Excerpt from Hell Gate

There you have it, folks — a tantalizing morsel from Andy’s forthcoming Hell Gate. Tune in next time for the final part of my examination of the Doomed and the Damned when I bring you an excerpt from my story in Lovers in Hell… a Gothic little love story I call “Withering Blights.”

Thank you!


Black Gate Online Fiction: A Gathering of Ravens by Scott Oden

Monday, December 25th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

A-Gathering-of-Ravens-mediumBlack Gate is very pleased to offer our readers an exclusive excerpt from A Gathering of Ravens by Scott Oden.

In his review, Fletcher Vredenburgh wrote:

Oden’s novel knocked the heck out of any prejudices I had. New or old, this book kicks ass, and is one of the best swords & sorcery novels I’ve read in a while.

Grimnir, the last of his race, lives on the Danish island of Sjaelland, dreaming of revenge against Bjarki Half-Dane, the man who killed his brother, Hrungnir. His desire to cleave his enemy with his trusty seax (a old Germanic sword), leads him from Denmark to England, and finally to the field of Clontarf, in Ireland…

From the first appearance of Grimnir to the final showdown at Clontarf, the pace never lets up. With an intimate and detailed knowledge of the history and legends of Northern Europe, he has told a tale that lives and breathes “that Northern Thing.” You can smell the surf, the heath, and sense the sidhe lurking just beyond your field of vision. Oden writes in clean, clear prose, never letting his characters get crushed under the weight of bad archaisms or ruined by inappropriate modern speech. A Gathering of Ravens belongs on the same shelf as the best modern swords & sorcery novels, and on the shelf of any serious swords & sorcery reader.

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.

A Gathering of Ravens was published by Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press on June 20, 2017. It is 336 pages, priced at $27.99 in hardcover and $14.99 for the digital edition. The cover is by James Iacobelli.

Read an exclusive excerpt from A Gathering of Ravens here.


Black Gate Online Fiction: Tempus Unbound, by Janet Morris and Chris Morris

Monday, October 30th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

Tempus Unbound-smallBlack Gate is very pleased to offer our readers an exclusive excerpt from Tempus Unbound, the newest Sacred Band novel from Janet & Chris Morris. In this excerpt, Tempus is seeking his sister, Cime, and his quest leads him to the future, where he finds allies — volunteers to fight sorcery from different epochs as the storm god allows. Tempus has already recruited Mano, an ally from the 22nd century, and he and Mano find a most unlikely new adherent when the god deposits them in yet another time and place…

Here’s the description.

Is this the Lemuria of antiquity, or of times to come? Once you’ve ridden the storm clouds of heaven from the edge of time, anything is possible.

Demonic hordes threaten to destroy the very fabric of time itself.

The fate of all humanity rests on the shoulders of Tempus the Black, Favorite of the Storm God. But even this hero of legend will encounter a challenge he has never faced before… present-day New York City.

Joe Bonadonna reviewed the book for Black Gate earlier this month, calling it “Epic in scope and concept… This is a fun novel to read, a great story that departs from the Sacred Band tales… It’s one of my favorites.”

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.

Tempus Unbound was published by Perseid Press on June 11, 2017. It is 346 pages, priced at $26 in trade paperback and $8.99 for the digital edition.

Read an exclusive excerpt from Tempus Unbound here.


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.


Black Gate Online Fiction: In Creepy Hollow, It’s Halloween All Year Long! An Excerpt from Three Ghosts in a Black Pumpkin by Erika M Szabo and Joe Bonadonna

Tuesday, June 13th, 2017 | Posted by Joe Bonadonna

Three Ghosts in a Black Pumpkin-small Three Ghosts in a Black Pumpkin-back-small

Without Erika M Szabo, this short little novel would have remained no more than the seed of an idea I had about ten years ago. Together, we wrote a heroic fantasy adventure for middle-grade children.

The story begins when Nikki Sweet and her cousin, Jack Brady, find a mysterious black pumpkin in the forest one Halloween morning, near their Grandmother’s house. A wise talking, silver wind chime in the shape of a skeleton named Wishbone Jones tells them that the ghosts of the Trinity of Wishmothers, the Guardians of the realm of Celestria in Creepy Hollow, are trapped inside the pumpkin and can’t be freed without their magic Wands. The children offer their help, so Wishbone takes them through an Ectomagic Gate to the world of Creepy Hollow, where they set out to retrieve the three wands he disguised by magic and hid in Red Crow Forest, the Tower of Shadows, and the Cave of Spooks. The witch Ghoulina, a beautiful vegetarian ghoul, and Catman, who was once a man, join them on their quest. They must face danger and conquer evil every step of the way as they search for the Wands before the wicked Hobgoblin and his henchman, a Tasmanian Devil named Ebenezer Rex, can get their hands on them.

In this excerpt from the novel, Nikki, Jack and their three companions have reached the destination of their third and final quest. The Wand they are looking for was transformed by Wishbone into a Halloween mask, in order to keep it safe. As they enter the Cave of Spooks to retrieve the mask, they are unaware that Hobgoblin and Ebenezer Rex, who murdered the three Wishmothers, are close on their heels…

Three Ghosts in a Black Pumpkin (Creepy Hollow Adventures #1) 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 April 6, 2017. Available in paperback ($8.95), and Kindle and Nook editions ($2.99). It is the Winner of the 2017 Golden Book Judges’ Choice Award for Children’s Fantasy.

Read the complete excerpt here.


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