Guest Post: Scott Taylor from Black Gate magazine

Welcome to the first ever guest post on Game Knight Reviews! And a huge thank you to Scott for being my first victim contributor!

Hey all, i’ts Scott from Black Gate magazine’s RPG blog. Fitz invited me over to give a little info piece on Black Gate and what we’re doing. I considered making some kind of marketing speech here, but you know… that’s just not me. I’m a gamer, not a salesman, and if you want to know something about Black Gate I’m sure you have the Google skills to find it out for yourselves.

Anyway, back to Fitz. I like him, he’s a good guy, has a family, is a 9-5 wage-slave, and works his *** off so that everything gets done each week, including his awesome blog for gamers. Sometimes I feel like we, as gamers, take things for granted. I mean, there are certainly enough no-profit blogs and RPG sites out on the web to feel that we are well represented, but I have to wonder how many people enjoying those blogs understand how much work they are.

I myself am a blogger by trade, and when I see the kind of work Fitz is doing it inspires me to bring my own craft up a notch, so when he asked me to post, how could I resist the offer? Well, obviously I couldn’t, so I sat down at my computer and tried to think about what I could say in this post other than ‘Black Gate rocks!’, which in itself seems rather lame.

My conclusion, that I’d take you all on the same trip that I went on in my journey to become a blogger for Black Gate, and why it was important to me, just as Fitz’s blog is important to all of you.

Sometime in 2008 I was shopping short story markets and someone on a blogging site indicated that the Swords & Sorcery magazine Black Gate was an option for a story I was writing. As a person always dedicated to wanting to know my market, and being a huge fan of Robert E. Howard and Fritz Leiber, I ordered three of the most recent copies of the magazine as ‘research material’.

When they arrived at my home I was intrigued to find that they were included with a two page letter of thanks that was actually a ‘choose your own adventure’ concerning a haunted house and the spirits of half a dozen literary fantasy greats. I laughed and laughed as I went through it, died probably three times, and in my minds-eye was whisked away to the junior high library where I first picked up a copy of The
Cave of Time

That, my friends, is what Black Gate is about, pure nostalgia, humor, and of course some of the most outstanding fantasy fiction one can find on today’s market. In essence, that’s all about John O’Neill, our editor, but the story doesn’t end there. Nope, I opened that first issue, #11 from 2007, and discovered the editor’s notes section in which John was regaling his readers with some outstanding insight into his life. Because I was so taken with his tale, I’ll include an except for all of you, and after reading it I think you’ll ‘get’ why I pursued Black Gate and have built up a gamer following on their website.

…Although I survived that bloodletting, eventually the Commerce Drive facility was shut down in a cost-saving measure in 2003, ending an era. Bill Johnson went off to work at Corporate HQ in Schaumburg, and I accepted a position as Director of Business Operations for the VIAMOTO navigation unit in Libertyville, a 1.5-hour commute from St. Charles.

I told Alice we should start looking for a house near Libertyville, and she told me to go ahead. “And you can come back and visit me and the kids in St. Charles any time you want,” she said sweetly. And so I got some books on tape, and got used to spending three hours in the car every day.

My new boss was Sherry White, attractive and hard-driven, and together we negotiated deals with the numerous software, service, and support providers needed to keep VIAMOTO running. Our biggest challenge had nothing to do with outside companies, however – it was getting corporate attention long enough to approve contracts. Sherry frequently complained about how long it took our deals to get through legal.

“Escalate it,” I suggested as one deadline rapidly approached. “Take it right to the top floor.”

“I tried. But the woman I reached won’t return my calls.”

“Well, who does she work for?”

“Some high muckity-muck, the guy in charge of software deals for the entire company,” Sherry said. “David Kenzer.”

“Really? I’m playing Dungeons and Dragons with Dave tonight. I’ll see if he’ll approve it.”

That got a laugh. Nobody in the Director’s club at Motorola admitted to playing D&D, especially with attorneys from the 4th floor. But when I brought back the signed agreement the next morning, Sherry just stared. “How did you do that?”

“Dave got plastered by a fireball early. I just gave it to him to review before my cleric healed him.”

“You don’t want to tell me, fine. But you think you could get him to sign these deals too?”

Eventually Sherry moved on to bigger and better things, and I assumed her job. Score another point for D&D networking. The new role was a big opportunity – or at least it would have been, if Motorola hadn’t exhausted its patience with VIAMOTO and shut it down shortly thereafter…

From Black Gate #11, Summer 2007

Now if you’re a gamer, that story means two things; That A: John is as much a gamer as you are, and B: That he’d be proud enough about it as to bring it up in the workplace. That was pure inspiration, and when I started my Art Evolution project, I knew that Black Gate was the place for me.

So today I write a weekly blog in BG called Art of the Genre, one which Fitz is often kind enough to speak about here, and Black Gate continues to build a great gaming following as we expand our gaming blogs, game reviews, and of course gaming literature. I hope you all will give use a try as I’m sure you’ll be able to find something interesting over at the site where nearly twenty of us bloggers work tirelessly to bring you great info on all manner of cool topics.

Well, that’s all my time here, so thanks again to Fitz, who like John O’Neill, puts himself out there for us all. You, sir, are an inspiration.

Scott, first – thanks for agreeing to do a guest post. Second, I’m blushing at all the nice things you’ve said. But more than that, it’s great to see how gaming as a hobby has lasting effects on our friendships and business relationships that we may not be aware of. I’ve been a subscriber to Black Gate for a few years now and know that each issue holds wonders galore, so hopefully others can help support the cause!

If you’re interested in guest posting, feel free to drop me a line at the Contact Us! page and let’s talk!

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