Works

Fiction

Click here to browse my work for role-playing games.

Bel Nemeton now available from 18th Wall Productions in print, kindle, and other eBook formats.

Winner of the Preditors & Editors Readers’ Poll Award for Best Thriller Novel of 2018

UNCOVERING MERLIN’S TOMB

A globe-trotting quest for the treasures of the historical Merlin.

From the Preditors and Editors Readers’ Poll Award-Winning Author Jon Black…

Carvings have been unearthed in the Middle East. They bear impossible names–Arthur and Merlin, albeit in a native transliteration. How did these names come so far? Do they imply the existence of a historical Arthur and Merlin? The scholars do what they always do. They arrange a press meeting.

But scholars aren’t the only attendees. After heavily-armed mercenaries steal the stone, Dr. Vivian Cuinnsey is forced to work with Jake Booker, a self-professed treasure hunter. Can he be trusted? Or is he just one more force after Merlin’s treasure for personal profit?

From the Middle East to the caves of Israel to German record rooms to Oxford’s secret underworld, chase Vivian and Jake in their pursuit of Merlin’s greatest treasure.

pe bel nemetonMy debut novel, based on the short story of the same name in the award-winning anthology After Avalon, interweaves two narratives, one of 6th century historical fantasy, the other of 21st century pulp, to examine what became of history’s most famous wizard following Camelot’s fall.  Encounter the ancient world, supported by extensive research, from Britain to Israel, Arabia, the Silk Road and China. Then come back for intellectual puzzles and two-fisted action from the bustling streets of Samarkand to the dusty libraries of Oxford.

Read Bel Nemeton’s prologue.

Look for Caledfwlch, volume II of Bel Nemeton, from 18th Wall in 2019.


The Chromatic Court now available from 18th Wall Productions in print, kindle, and other eBook formats.  Featuring my story “The Green Muse”

The Chromatic Court

The Chromatic Court by [Rawlik, Peter, Morgan, Christine, Pulver Sr., Joseph S., Mackintosh, Paul StJohn, Lai, Rick, Black, Jon, Grant, John Linwood, Barrass, Glynn Owen, Harris, Micah S.]Have You Ever Been Haunted by a Work of Art?

A fascinating horror/dark fantasy anthology exploring the connection between color, art, and the powerful entities of the Cthulhu Mythos from Peter Rawlik, featuring all new stories by: Glynn Owen Barass, David Bernard, Jon Black, Simon Bucher-Jones, John Linwood Grant, Micah S. Harris, Rick Lai, MaTT Loughlin, Paul StJohn Mackintosh, Christine Morgan, Logan Noble, & Joseph S. Pulver Sr. Illustrations by Johannes Chazot. Design by Sophie Iles.

My story, “The Green Muse,” is set in fertile artistic and literary scene of 1910s Montmartre, The Green Muse chronicles the journey of Drieu Gaudin, a novice reporter at Paris’ top arts and culture newspaper. His editor, a man of very traditional artistic sensibilities, assigns Drieu to report on the murders of several Cubist painters. Seeking to unravel the mystery behind the artists’ bizarre deaths, Drieu is challenged not only by one of Frank Belknap Long’s most celebrated creations but by encounters with the Parisian avant-gardes’ leading lights: Picasso, Modigliani, Guillaume Apollinaire, and Max Jacob.

Drieu’s quest leads him through twisting back alleys, into avant-garde salons, among the tombstones of the city’s great cemeteries at midnight, and to forbidden collections at the Bibliothèque Nationale … before confrontation a native son of turned sworn foe as well as the foul and bizarre inhabitants of space/time’s remotest corner in showdown over existence of the City of Lights itself.

Read an excerpt from “The Green Muse” and see Johannes Chazot’s illustration of the story.

 


Silver Screen Sleuths now available from 18th Wall Productions in print, kindle, and other eBook formats.  Featuring my award-winnning story “A Scandal in Hollywood.”

51r0mxjwv4l._sy177_A ROLLICKING RIOT OF CRIME-SOLVING FUN!

Adventurous Mysteries in the Tradition of Old Hollywood

Silver Screen Sleuths is an anthology of historical fiction mysteries … with a twist. Set against Hollywood’s Golden Age of the ’40s and ’50s, the protagonists are real movie stars.

  •  Errol Flynn crosses swords with men who take his star-power a bit too literally.
  • Ginger Rogers, Lucille Ball, Jimmy Stewart, and Henry Fonda have a double date with murder in the legendary                                           Coconut Grove.
  • Shirley Temple pays a diplomatic visit to East Berlin as plans for a German super-communication device are stolen, and a little girl is caught in the crossfire.
  • A paranoid director tasks Vincent Price with discovering why a dead man was found in his temple set.
  • George Zucco’s latest low-budget western is interrupted by murder – and the ancient cult that may have committed them.
  • Margaret Rutherford tangles with ghosts and Nazis at a stately manor home where all may not be as it seems.

pe scandal awardAnd in my story, “A Scandal in Hollywood,” (winner of the Preditors & Editors Readers’ Poll award for Best Misc. Short Story of 2018) Basil Rathbone is forced to step into the shoes of his most famous role, playing a game of deduction and death against a madman convinced Rathbone is Sherlock Holems. The stakes? The survival of Hollywood itself.

“A Scandal in Hollywood” is a pulpy mystery (and tongue-in-cheek homage to Sherlock Holmes) driven by extensive research into the colorful and complex Rathbone.

 

Speakeasies and Spiritualists now available from 18th Wall Productions in print and eBook formats.

Speakeasies and Spiritualists also presents eight stories inspired by the spiritualists’ Jazz Age milieu.

Psychic investigators on the trail of the trail of a jazz musician who seems to have crawled from the grave. Amateur, livingroom seances going very wrong when mixed with grief for those who died in the war. Strange men warning out of Florida storms. Dream Demons stalking Chicago, feeding off bar-dwellers, and floors painted with mystic stars.

My contribution to this anthology, “Gabriel’s Trumpet,” was voted “Best Short Story (all other genres) Published in 2017” in the Preditors & Editors Readers Poll. “Gabriel’s Trumpet” is steeped in the music and music scene of  the 1920s, following a paranormal investigator as he tracks a musician, allegedly returned from the dead, across the Mississippi Delta, Jazz Age New Orleans, and New York at the height of the Harlem Renaissance. Along the way, he faces off against rival investigators, dangerous locals, uncooperative authorities, and perhaps even a supernatural entity or two. Drawing upon the era’s rich background, look for cameos by historical figures including Langston Hughes, Charles Fort, Walter Franklin Prince, and E.J. Bellocq.

Read the opening of Gabriel’s Trumpet.

FEATURING STORIES BY M.H. Norris, James Bojaciuk, Peter Rawlik, Josh Reynolds, John Linwood Grant, Jon Black, Donald J. Bingle, Aaron Smith, Brendan Foley, and William J. Martin.  Cover by Johannes Chazot.

Look for a novel-length treatment of Gabriel’s Trumpet from 18th Wall Productions in late 2018.


Descansos available from Darkhouse Books in print format from Amazon and B&N.

Descansos, or roadside memorials, mark an interrupted journey, the place where an intended path came to an unintended end. While born of grief and loss, descansos memorialize love and represent the terrible beauty we all contend with as creatures who, by living, are condemned to die.

My contribution, “So Lonesome I Could Die” brings together Texas Gothic and the classic Ghost Story for a musically-themed tale set in the Depression-era Hill Country. It is the tale of musical prodigy Johnnie Gruene (as the story notes, “if you’re not from around here” that’s pronounced Green, like the color) his mysterious origins, big chance for fortune and glory, and enigmatic fate.

 

Read an Excerpt from “So Lonesome I Could Die.”


After Avalon from 18th Wall Productions, available in eBook and print.

 

“King Arthur is dead. Camelot has fallen. Britain drowns in Saxons. These are the stories of what came after.”

 

My contribution to this anthology, “Bel Nemeton” chronicles the fate of Merlin following the Battle of Camlann and the fall of Camelot. The tale unfolds both through the eyes of the wizard himself  and from the modern day perspective of a professor of Celtic languages and her treasure hunter companion as they follow clues from a most unusual archaeological discovery in the dusty expanses of Central Asia.

Read an excerpt from Bel Nemeton.

“[Bel Nemeton] is like an intellectual ‘Tomb Raider'” – Television Crossover Universe

This all-new anthology from award-winning curator Nicole Petit, features stories by Colin Fisher, Leigh Ann Cowan, Amy Wolf, Thomas Olivieri, Jon Black, Patricia S. Bowne, Claudia Quint, David Wiley, Christian Bone, Patrick S. Baker, and Elizabeth Zuckerman.

Look for a novel-length treatment of Bel Nemeton from 18th Wall Productions in late 2017.

Gaming-Publications

GURPS Encounters: The Harrowed Hearts Club available from Steve Jackson Games.

The local tavern gets an update for modern times in GURPS Encounters: Harrowed Hearts Club. Quickly design your own establishment (including features and details), then fill it with interesting staff and patrons. Add paranormal elements to the club with appropriate powers and random supernatural events. A sample club history and four encounters make this a ready-to-use resource for GURPS ActionGURPS Monster HuntersGURPS Horror, and other modern or near-modern settings. Each encounter includes the key events and actors, plus insight into how heroes and campaigns might best approach it. There’s always time for another round of adventure, compliments of the club!

Though I’ve written for gaming periodicals in the past, The Harrowed Hearts Club marks my debut gaming supplement. In bringing it to life, I’ve drawn deeply on my background as a music journalist and music historian. The supplement’s first part combines tools and resources for GMs to design and populate detailed, realistic, and unique nightclubs/speakeasies/music venues, etc. The second part contains  four adventure seeds (encounters) reflecting a variety of genres, power levels, and historical periods.

Read the Blind Mapmaker’s review of GURPS Encounters: The Harrowed Hearts Club.

“It’s quite clear that Jon Black knows his stuff” 

— Review at The Blind Mapmaker

c. 2016 Jon Black