Can You Write Several Books per Month? Maybe You’re Not Crazy

Tuesday, March 5th, 2019 | Posted by James Enge

Cristiane Serruya Plagiarism Scandal

As Sean McLachlan ably discussed here at Black Gate last week, there’s an evolving internet storm about a romance writer who discovered, to her surprise, that some of her novels “have plagiarism.” She says it happened without her knowledge; she was working with a ghost-writer on those, and she’s taken them all down. She is the object of much scorn on the internet today, and probably for some time. Indeed, in the future she may have to find a pseudonym under which to publish the fiction she does not write. (Click the image above for details.)

Attendant to that storm, though, is the issue of how much one person can reasonably be expected to write in a month. Some people say “several books” and other people say “are you crazy?” and then terrible things and animated GIFs start to happen.

As it happens, this is the sort of thing about which I have very little knowledge and lots of opinions so HERE IT ALL IS.

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Goth Chick News: Get Ready, Here Comes Your Summer Reading List

Thursday, February 28th, 2019 | Posted by Sue Granquist

If you live somewhere that, like Chicago, has been experiencing temperatures incompatible with human life over the past couple months, then thinking about a lounge chair, a book and an umbrella drink wearing anything less than a Tauntaun skin is pretty darn appealing. And with perfect timing, here comes the 2018 Bram Stoker Award nominees hot off the press from the Horror Writers Association (HWA), providing a categorized list of reading material.

Now all you need is the lounge chair, an umbrella drink and a space heater.

Named in honor Dracula’s spiritual Daddy, the Bram Stoker Awards are presented each year for superior achievement in writing in eleven categories. It is also the coolest physical award ever. I mean, Oscar is just a naked gold guy while the Stoker looks like this:

Bram Stoker Award

Previous winners include Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, George R. R. Martin, Joyce Carol Oates, and Neil Gaiman.

The HWA is a nonprofit organization of writers and publishing professionals around the world, dedicated to promoting dark literature and the interests of those who write it. The HWA formed in 1985 with the help of many of the field’s greats, including Dean Koontz, Robert McCammon, and Joe R. Lansdale, and in addition to the Stoker, the HWA is the sponsor of the annual StokerCon horror convention which takes place in Grand Rapids, MI.

So grab a pen Black Gaters and get ready to make your list…

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Call for Backers! DreamForge: A Magazine of Science & Fantasy Fiction Campaign on Kickstarter

Sunday, January 20th, 2019 | Posted by Emily Mah

A new science fiction and fantasy market is about to launch, and they’re calling for Kickstarter backers to help get them off the ground. DreamForge, headed up by Scot Noel, is recruiting “dreamers, heroes, and optimists” to back, submit to, and subscribe to this new magazine. Check out their Kickstarter video above!

This magazine is an exciting addition to the publishing market and Noel is open to all the subgenres of speculative fiction. The overarching theme is hope.

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The 2019 Philip K. Dick Nominees

Tuesday, January 15th, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

Alien Virus Love Disaster-small Time Was Ian McDonald-small THE BODY LIBRARY by Jeff Noon-small

The nominees for the 2019 Philip K. Dick Award, given each year for distinguished science fiction originally published in paperback in the United States, have been announced. They are (links will take you to our previous coverage):

Time Was by Ian McDonald (Tor.com)
The Body Library by Jeff Noon (Angry Robot)
84K by Claire North (Orbit)
Alien Virus Love Disaster: Stories by Abbey Mei Otis (Small Beer Press)
Theory of Bastards by Audrey Schulman (Europa Editions)
Ambiguity Machines and Other Stories by Vandana Singh (Small Beer Press)

Special shout-out to Small Beer Press for placing two fine collections on the ballot.

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Solving Crimes in a War-Torn Tokyo: Ninth Step Station, created by Malka Older

Tuesday, January 8th, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

Ninth Step Station-small

Serial Box is one of the most exciting new genre publishers to arrive on the scene in the past few years. They’ve brought a very old concept — serialized fiction — into the 21st Century, and attracted an incredible line-up of top-notch writers to give it new life. So how does it work? Serial Box offers multiple stories in a rich variety of genres, and they release new episodes every week. Each serial typically runs for a “season” of 10-16 weeks, and each is written by a team of talented writers. Just check out this list of contributors: Max Gladstone, Amal El-Mohtar, Ellen Kushner, Delia Sherman, Ian Tregillis, Michael Swanwick, Mary Robinette Kowal, Brenda Clough, Michael R. Underwood, Marie Brennan, Alyssa Wong, Paul Cornell, Paul Tremblay, Christopher Golden, Yoon Ha Lee, Becky Chambers, and many, many more. The stories are easy to jump into, individual episodes are standalone (but contribute to a larger story arc), and each episode is available in ebook and audio formats, and takes about 40 minutes to enjoy.

Their newest serial Ninth Step Station launches this week. Created by Malka Older and written by Older, Fran Wilde, Jacqueline Koyanagi, and Curtis C. Chen, Ninth Step Station is the tale of two unlikely partners in a future Tokyo who solve a series of murders. Here’s the description.

A local cop. A US Peacekeeper. A divided Tokyo.
In the future, two mismatched cops must work together to solve crimes in a divided Tokyo.

Years of disaster and conflict have left Tokyo split between great powers. In the city of drone-enforced borders, bodymod black markets, and desperate resistance movements, US peacekeeper Emma Higashi is assigned to partner with Tokyo Metropolitan Police Detective Miyako Koreda. Together, they must race to solve a series of murders that test their relationship and threaten to overturn the balance of global power. And amid the chaos, they each need to decide what they are willing to do for peace.

Ninth Step Station is only one of the many offerings from Serial Box. Here’s a few of the others.

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Mark Finn on the Future of Skelos Magazine

Sunday, December 30th, 2018 | Posted by John ONeill

Skelos magazine

Skelos magazine, launched as a result of a terrifically successful Kickstarter in 2016, is one of the best new magazines of weird fantasy on the market. Editors Mark Finn, Chris Gruber, and Jeffrey Shanks produced three of the first four promised issues — all of which look fabulous, and were well reviewed. But the fourth, originally cover-dated Summer 2017, has yet to appear, and after a year of delays and virtually no communication from the editors, there’s been a lot of open speculation around the fate of Skelos. Late yesterday Mark Finn posted a lengthy update with good new for dark fantasy fans.

Starting in 2019, we will resume publishing Skelos at a rate of two issues per year, during the Summer and Winter seasons… We will also pursue a more leisurely publishing schedule with regards to collections and original anthologies. Right now, there are two books in our hopper; a collection of Mythos Fiction by Don Webb, and a collection of Elak of Atlantis stories by Adrian Cole. We are very excited to bring those books out in 2019. Other original volumes and collections will follow and be announced, one at a time, as we can, and still keep our scheduled commitments.

As for the rest of this year: there’s not much left, but we are keen to finish and publish Skelos #4. Also, we are keen to fix/re-organize all of the ebook files so that they are standard and uniform and most important, all available. Once Skelos #4 is out, and the four issues have been secured and locked down in a digital format, we will turn our attention to publishing Skelos #5 and Skelos #6 in 2019, and Skelos #7 and Skelos #8 in 2020. Don’s book, Building Strange Temples, will be available in 2019, along with Adrian’s Elak collection. We will announce their on-sale dates in a timely manner… There are not enough places to read the things we like to read. Skelos was formed to address that, and we’d like to see it flourish.

We thank you for your patience. We will fix this, and try to do better going forward.

Speaking as a fan of the magazine, and one who’s been following the personal difficulties of Mark and his team with considerable sympathy, I’m relieved and impressed at the dedication of the entire team, and very much looking forward to the new issues. Read Mark’s complete Open Letter on Facebook here.


Unbound Worlds is Shutting Down

Friday, November 16th, 2018 | Posted by John ONeill

Unbound-Worlds

Penguin Random House’s genre site Unbound Worlds, now in its tenth year, has been one of the most consistently entertaining and informative resources for fans of SF, fantasy and horror. Today the publisher announced that the site will be essentially shutting down at the end of the month.

Today we’re announcing that the conversation with our readers is ready to evolve in new and exciting ways. In the new year, the articles, interviews, and lists you have enjoyed on Unbound Worlds will have a new home within penguinrandomhouse.com. That means we’ll no longer be publishing new content on Unbound Worlds after this month, but we’re excited to be able to deliver even more of the very best in science fiction, fantasy, and horror books, curated collections, and offers through our email programs.

We’ll have more details to share in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, we hope that you’ll visit PenguinRandomHouse.com. There, you can sign up to receive personalized recommendations and discover even more about our books and authors as you join us on this journey through the stars and beyond.

Read the complete announcement here.

This is a major loss, not just to the field but to me personally. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the site’s content, and drawn heavily from Matt Staggs’ monthly Best Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books columns (and others) to help stay informed. Over the years I’ve pointed BG readers towards plenty of their articles, from “Where to Start with Gothic Space Opera” to “A Century of Sword and Planet” and “Unbound Worlds on 7 Great Occult Detectives.” In honor of all they’ve done for us over the years, here’s a look back at some of Unbound Worlds greatest hits.

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Pyr Sold to Start Publishing

Tuesday, November 13th, 2018 | Posted by John ONeill

A Guile of Dragons-small Blood Orbit-small The Hanged Man K.D. Edwards-small

Publishers Weekly is reporting that Pyr, the science fiction and fantasy imprint of Prometheus Books, has been sold to digital publisher Start Publishing.

Under Editorial Director Lou Anders, who founded the line in March 2005, Pyr was one of the most dynamic and exciting independent publishers in the industry, acquiring books from Michael Moorcock, Ian McDonald, Kay Kenyon, Sean Williams, Alan Dean Foster, Adam Roberts, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Tim Lebbon, Paul McAuley, Brenda Cooper, Jack Dann, Ken MacLeod, Robert Silverberg, and many others. Pyr launched numerous talented new writers as well, including Black Gate authors James Enge, Chris Willrich, Jon Sprunk, and others. Lou left Pyr in 2014 to pursue his own writing career, but under new editor Rene Sears Pyr has continued to be a force in the industry, with a backlist of over 170 titles. Recent releases include K. R. Richardson’s Blood Orbit, Tracy Townsend’s Thieves of Fate series, and the excellent Nebula Awards Showcase anthologies; its forthcoming titles include K.D. Edwards The Hanged Man.

I’m not sure what this means for Pyr, and especially their print editions. But PW claims Start Publishing will continue the print versions, and retain at least two editors from Pyr and their sister crime fiction imprint Seventh Street Books.

Start Publishing began has an exclusively digital publisher but, through a series of acquisitions, now releases print editions as well. Start will publish both print and digital editions of the newly acquired titles. Jarred Weisfeld, president of Start, told PW two editors from Prometheus will stay on to continue to release frontlist titles under both imprints. Start will also hire a new public relations/marketing person to promote the two imprints.

Read the complete announcement here.


The 2018 World Fantasy Award Winners

Sunday, November 4th, 2018 | Posted by John ONeill

The Changeling Victor LaValle-small Jade City Fonda Lee-small The New Voices of Fantasy-small

The World Fantasy Convention is always the highlight of my year, and the highlight of the convention is always the presentation of the World Fantasy Awards, among the most prestigious awards our field has to offer.

So it was a little frustrating that I had to leave the awards ceremony so early today to catch my flight. Fortunately, our on-the-spot correspondent Patty Templeton kept me up to date with minute-by-minute texts from the ceremony during my race to the airport. While there was plenty of excitement, the biggest news Patty had to share was that the big award for the evening, BEST NOVEL, was in fact a tie (“Hot dang!” texted Templeton), which hasn’t happened since 2009 when Jeff Ford and Margo Lanagan split the prize.

So without any further ado, here are the winners of the 2018 World Fantasy Awards.

Best Novel (tie)

WINNER: The Changeling, Victor LaValle (Spiegel & Grau)
WINNER: Jade City, Fonda Lee (Orbit)
The City of Brass, S.A. Chakraborty (Harper Voyager)
Ka: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr, John Crowley (Saga)
The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, Theodora Goss (Saga)
Spoonbenders, Daryl Gregory (Knopf)

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Kickstarting Cosmic Fantasy: The Chronicles of Future Earth RPG

Monday, October 8th, 2018 | Posted by Sarah Newton

The Chronicles of Future Earth

In the last centuries of the Fifth Cycliad, a great malaise began to descend on the lands of humankind. The civilizations of the Earth, which for aeons had seemed on the verge of slumber, now finally began to rot from within. From the edges of the world, the ever-present enemies drew close, their hungry claws poised to tear apart the delicate flesh of a fruit a hundred millennia in the ripening. And all around, a cry arose for Heroes, to stand against the dying of the light, and save the world from the sins of its past.

Are you a fan of Clark Ashton Smith’s Zothique? Of Gene Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun? M. John Harrison’s The Pastel City? Do you yearn for a roleplaying game that exudes the vibe of Bruce Pennington’s gorgeous artwork? Then look no further — The Chronicles of Future Earth is here.

On Friday 28 September, Mindjammer Press launched its new Kickstarter for The Chronicles of Future Earth — Cosmic Fantasy Roleplaying in the Post-Historical Age. I’m Sarah Newton, the author of the game, which in some ways is the fantasy counterpart to my transhuman science-fiction roleplaying game Mindjammer. We funded the project in a little under 9 hours, and have been unlocking stretch goals since; as of this moment (Friday 5 October), we’ve raised just under £20,000 (appx $27,000), and have unlocked a Player Character Folio and GM adventure to add to the “Chronicler Pack” which forms the core of our offering: a gorgeous full-colour hardback rulebook, a GM screen, dice, tokens, and an A2 map of the “Springtide Civilization” — the world of the earth of the far, far future where the game takes place.

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