Monthly Archives: July 2019

The Mystery of Todd McAulty, Part II

As I mentioned in my last post, I had begun suspecting that Black Gate’s well-reviewed and entirely absent Canadian (absent apart from a photo with a truly phenomenal beard) Todd McAulty was someone else writing under a pseudonym. There were a lot of familiar elements in his prose, so I deduced it had to be some modern author I was reading in other venues. Todd’s writing had the same energy and love of adventure as that talented bunch from Black Gate — but I couldn’t figure out WHY any of them would use a pseudonym.

I reluctantly checked in with John O’Neill but he, being Canadian himself, refused to acknowledge anything odd about the situation at all, and then got off the phone, claiming that he had left the stove on and had a dental appointment.

I had one more slim lead. Black Gate had published several author photos of McAulty, and I noticed that all were credited to the same person: Alice Dechene. I knew Alice – she’d written several fine reviews for us, including one which Neil Gaiman had proudly blurbed on the back of Stardust. She was also married to John.

Spread the Word

Joseph Goodman and I owe a collective thank-you to a few friends who helped promote the Kickstarter for Tales From the Magician’s Skull. Now we are returning the favor by bringing their projects to your attention. These are all publishers of fiction much like that which you find in Tales From The Magician’s Skull. (In fact, you may have seen their advertisements in the magazine.) We think you’ll enjoy their work. So without further ado, please check these out when you get a chance:

Cirsova Presents: 35th Anniversary Edition of Michael Tierney’s Wild Stars Books

Cirsova Publishing is teaming up once again with Michael Tierney to publish his all new SFF time-travel adventure set in his Wild Stars universe, Wild Star Rising! You can back their Indiegogo here.  Plus, to celebrate the 35th Anniversary of Wild Stars, Cirsova will be releasing all-new premium magazine-style editions of the Wild Stars graphic novel, Book of Circles, and the hybrid comic/novel, Force Majeure. They’ll also be reprinting a new 2019 edition of last year’s Kickstarter-exclusive illustrated novella, Time Warmageddon.

Sword-and-sorcery from DMR

DMR has just released a free e-book, The Infernal Bargain and Other Stories, which you can download simply by signing up for their mailing list. Check out this page for more info!

DMR has also just released a sword-and-sorcery compilation titled Death Dealers & Diabolists. This anthology will take you from fifth-century Constantinople to Dark Age Finland to places beyond imagining. You will encounter a former gladiatrix in the employ of demon summoners, an overly ambitious barbarian chieftain, a doddering pyromancer, and incarnations of holy warriors of India.

Death Dealers & Diabolists contains eight exciting tales of swords and sorcery by an assortment of talented authors, including Buzz Dixon (writer for the Transformers, G.I. Joe, and Thundarr the Barbarian cartoons) and Keith Taylor (author of the Bard series). You can read an interview with author Buzz Dixon here. And you can purchase the book at the DMR site!


The Mystery of Todd McAulty, Part 1

Todd McAulty (apparently in Venice, or something)

If you’re a regular to my blog, you’ve probably seen me talking about my early days in the industry, and how John O’Neill invited me aboard the Black Gate staff after my work for Flashing Swords magazine. I quickly grew to know the rest of the staff, and many of the regular writers. Over the years I’ve met an awful lot of the magazine’s mainstays, especially those with whom I maintained regular correspondence — apart from one reclusive, hirsute Canadian: Todd McAulty.

I first noticed his name attached to several popular stories in the early issues of Black Gate, and he was a noted reviewer — his long review of Lords of Swords in Black Gate 8 was the first to draw real attention to that worthy book, the first I was ever anthologized within. Following on that review we struck up a lively email correspondence, which carried on for years.

Yet Todd never appeared in person at any conventions, and when I turned up twice in Canada, he was notably absent. I began to suspect something strange was afoot, especially after I noticed a couple of stylistic details in the writing he’d been submitting to Black Gate. More on that in a minute.

New Interview! Great Reviews!

I’ve been working on the Kickstarter and reading page proofs of Upon the Flight of the Queen, but I’ve returned to spread all the news about me!

First, here’s a new interview over at NFreads. I thought they asked some pretty good questions. Hopefully I gave some answers even the regulars haven’t read.

A little while ago For the Killing of Kings got a splendid review over at Locus. More recently it made the TOR list of best of 2019 fantasy novels–so far, and some lovely things were said. And, over on a nifty site that was completely new to me I discovered I’d made a list of 12 Action-Packed Fantasy Books.

GenCon is right around the corner, which is hard to believe! I hope I’ll be seeing some of you there!

The Skull Lives!

The Kickstarter for the next phase of our sword-and-sorcery magazine is live and kicking along nicely. If you’re a lover of sword-and-sorcery I hope we can count on you for your support. Now, subscriptions are available, and a t-shirt, and there are still copies of the original two issues if you haven’t grabbed them yet. The fine paper we printed the first two issues on is the new default. Looks great, reads great, and it may even taste great, although I’d hate to destroy the beautiful artwork and prose to find out.

Seriously, if sword-and-sorcery is your thing, I hope you’ll take a look. And I hope you’ll help spread the word! Join in right here!