Ice Dragon Poster Sweepstakes

Ice Dragon Poster

We’re offering you the chance to win a poster that features the gorgeous artwork Luis Royo created for George R.R. Martin’s The Ice Dragon!

Comment below to enter for a chance to win.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A purchase does not improve your chances of winning. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States, D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec), who are 18 as of the date of entry. To enter, leave a comment here beginning at 10:00 AM Eastern Time (ET) October 15, 2014. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET October 21, 2014. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor: Tom Doherty Associates, LLC, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010. Sponsor: Tom Doherty Associates, LLC, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.

New Audiobook Release: The Accidental Highwayman by Ben Tripp

The Accidental Highwayman by Ben TrippAbout The Accidental HighwaymanThe Accidental Highwayman is the first swashbuckling adventure for young adults by talented author and illustrator, Ben Tripp. This thrilling tale of dark magic and true love is the perfect story for fans of William Goldman’s The Princess Bride.

In eighteenth-century England, young Christopher “Kit” Bristol is the unwitting servant of notorious highwayman Whistling Jack. One dark night, Kit finds his master bleeding from a mortal wound, dons the man’s riding cloak to seek help, and changes the course of his life forever. Mistaken for Whistling Jack and on the run from redcoats, Kit is catapulted into a world of magic and wonders he thought the stuff of fairy tales.

Bound by magical law, Kit takes up his master’s quest to rescue a rebellious fairy princess from an arranged marriage to King George III of England. But his task is not an easy one, for Kit must contend with the feisty Princess Morgana, goblin attacks, and a magical map that portends his destiny: as a hanged man upon the gallows….

Fans of classic fairy-tale fantasies such as Stardust by Neil Gaiman and will find much to love in this irresistible YA debut by Ben Tripp, the son of one of America’s most beloved illustrators, Wallace Tripp (Amelia Bedelia). Following in his father’s footsteps, Ben has woven illustrations throughout the story.

“Delightful and charming. A swashbuckling adventure in the vein of Robert Louis Stevenson.” —#1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson

See upcoming releases.

Starred Review: The Midnight Plan of the Repo Man by W. Bruce Cameron

The Midnight Plan of the Repo Man by W. Bruce Cameron“This spirited novel, a rollicking mystery and sweet romance rolled into one, is the perfect vehicle for a wild joy ride.”

W. Bruce Cameron’s The Midnight Plan of the Repo Man got a starred review in Kirkus Reviews!

Here’s the full review, from the September 18 issue:

This laugh-out-loud mystery narrated by a word-clever repo man in Kalkaska, Michigan, will convince readers to keep on (tow) trucking.

Ruddy McCann has a bit of a problem: The voice of a murder victim, real estate agent Alan Lottner, has suddenly taken up residence in his head. “I want you to find the people who did this to me, and bring them to justice,” Lottner insists. At first, Ruddy, 30, thinks the chatter in his mind is the result of the dreaded malady “Repo Madness,” the consequence of too many years pursuing deadbeats, a perilous occupation that requires “nerves of stupidity.” But he soon finds that Alan—both a nag and a wisenheimer—is telling the truth about his death, and the pieces of this ingenious plot begin to click into place. Ruddy is soon in hot pursuit of the two murderers, who are more depraved than he originally thought; he’s also in pursuit of the lovely Katie, who turn out—yikes!—to be Lottner’s daughter. Through all the twists and turns of the unlikely plot, Ruddy is surrounded by a vividly drawn cast of characters, including Becky, his ultraresponsible sister, who had “a tapeworm or something that was always drawing the fun out of her”; Becky’s goofy new boyfriend, Kermit, a voluble Mr. Malaprop; Ruddy’s stud-muffin younger pal, Jimmy, whose earlier acting career “was somewhat hampered by his inability to act”; and Ruddy’s beloved dog, Jake, “fifty pounds of anyone’s guess.” While it’s no surprise that Ruddy gets both the evildoers and the girl, how he gets to that finish line is totally unexpected. A storyline that would be a car wreck in the hands of a less-talented writer turns out to be a delightfully entertaining road trip thanks to the deft touch of Cameron, a best-selling author (A Dog’s Journey, 2012, etc.), humor writer and independent movie producer.

This spirited novel, a rollicking mystery and sweet romance rolled into one, is the perfect vehicle for a wild joy ride.

The Midnight Plan of the Repo Man will be published on October 28.

Debut Author Collection Sweepstakes

Debut author prize pack

We’re offering a chance to win a prize pack of five books by Tor debut authors, including: Three Princes by Ramona Wheeler, The Ultra Thin Man by Patrick Swenson, A Darkling Sea by James L. Cambias, The Waking Engine by David Edison, and Unwrapped Sky by Rjurik Davidson!

Comment below to enter for a chance to win.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A purchase does not improve your chances of winning. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States, D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec), who are 18 as of the date of entry. To enter, leave a comment here beginning at 10:00 AM Eastern Time (ET) October 13, 2014. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET October 17, 2014. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor: Tom Doherty Associates, LLC, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010. Sponsor: Tom Doherty Associates, LLC, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.

Throwback Thursdays: Steven Brust on Animals, People, and Vlad Taltos

Welcome to Throwback Thursdays on the Tor/Forge blog! Every other week, we’re delving into our newsletter archives and sharing some of our favorite posts.

Vlad Taltos is back in Steven Brust’s Hawk! In the November 2007 Tor Newsletter, author Steven Brust talked about the characters—and the animals they’re similar to—he’s created over the years. Be sure to check back in every other week for more!

Hawk by Steven BrustBy Steven Brust

Why is it that I put animals in my books, or, more particularly, put in people with some sort of symbolic relationship to an animal? Is it because, in human history and pre-history so many people identified themselves with animals? No, that’s the justification, not the reason.

Is it so I can explore the animal nature within us all? Yeah, right, whatever.

Is it that it makes it easier to explore what it really means to be human? No, but if the New York Review of Books ever interviews me, that’s what I’ll say.

No, it’s so I can make fun of my friends without them knowing about it.

In the world in which the Vlad Taltos novel is set, the population is divided into what are called Great Houses, each named for an animal. Some of these animals are familiar to us all, some are made up, and some are familiar but altered. In truth, all human beings are a delightful mix of personality traits, some of which can appear dominant at various times depending on circumstances. In fiction, particularly fantasy, I get to exaggerate characteristics and make animal comparisons, and when I need to, make up the animal—all for the pleasure of laughing at my friends. I love this business.

Like, that guy who cares just a bit too much about money? Orca. The one with the temper? Dragon. The manipulative bastard? Yendi. The guy with ethics but no principles? Jhereg. The one who would cut off an arm rather than be rude? Issola. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had hours of fun figuring out which House all of my friends belong in.

My latest Vlad Taltos novel—out in paperback this month—is called Dzur. A dzur is your typical big, nasty cat. The people who identify with it are of the House of Heroes.

What, exactly, do I mean by “hero?” I’m not talking about real heroes, because real heroes only happen where character meets circumstance. Nor am I talking about people who constantly look for situations where they can show off their courage—they aren’t heroes, they’re adrenaline junkies. By “hero,” in this context, I mean someone who always goes in with the odds against him—in fact, who only goes in when the odds are against him. Sounds good, right?

You know them. At a party, he’s the one who won’t venture an opinion unless he’s pretty sure everyone in the room is on the other side. On the highway, he’s the ones zipping down the empty lane that’s about to vanish for construction, expecting you to let him in. On the internet—Oh, lord. Don’t get me started. Yeah, these are the guys who have raised being unpopular to an art form. One of my dearest friends is a Dzur. He sometimes refers to himself as Captain Social Suicide. Need I say more?

So, yeah, anyway. Those guys. They’re annoying as hell, but in stories they’re kinda fun.

This article is originally from the November 2007 Tor newsletter. Sign up for the Tor newsletter now, and get similar content in your inbox every month!

Starred Review: An Irish Doctor in Peace and at War by Patrick Taylor

An Irish Doctor in Peace and at War by Patrick Taylor“Deeply steeped in Irish country life and meticulous in detail, the story is the perfect companion for a comfy fire and a cup of tea or a pint of bitter.”

Patrick Taylor’s An Irish Doctor in Peace and at War got a starred review in Library Journal!

Here’s the full review, from the September 15 issue:

The ninth book in the series that started with An Irish Country Doctor flashes back to a time before Dr. Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly became the medical mainstay in the village of Ballybucklebo. World War II has begun and Dr. Reilly is assigned the battleship HMS Warspite. Surgeon Lieutenant O’Reilly quickly learns the hardships of medicine at sea, tending to the thousand-man crew and casualties from other nearby ships. He serves under a seasoned naval doctor from whom he picks up much more than what was in his medical textbooks. He pines for his fiancée, midwife Deirdre Macwhinney, and has hopes of marrying her when he leaves the ship to attend a trauma medicine course in Scotland. In current-day Ballybucklebo, O’Reilly’s life has turned out quite differently. He treats the odd outbreak of measles, encounters an exotic Mediterranean virus, and delivers the local babies when the village midwife is too busy. Married to Kitty, his long-ago love (before Deirdre), O’Reilly has settled into the comfortable life of a small-town doctor. As in the previous O’Reilly books, the story deftly shifts back and forth from the present to the past, weaving depth and texture into the lives of Dr. and Mrs. O’Reilly and the villagers around them. VERDICT This is a charming addition to the delightful series by Ulster doctor-turned-novelist Taylor. Deeply steeped in Irish country life and meticulous in detail, the story is the perfect companion for a comfy fire and a cup of tea or a pint of bitter. Think James Herriott without the animals. A totally wonderful read!

An Irish Doctor in Peace and at War will be published on October 21.

New Audiobook Release: Truth Be Told by Hank Phillippi Ryan; Read by Ilyana Kadushin

Truth Be Told by Hank Phillippi Ryan; read by Ilyana KadushinAbout Truth Be ToldTruth Be Told, part of the bestselling Jane Ryland and Jake Brogan series by Agatha, Anthony, Mary Higgins Clark, and Macavity Award-winning author Hank Phillippi Ryan, begins with tragedy: a middle-class family evicted from their suburban home. In digging up the facts on this heartbreaking story—and on other foreclosures— reporter Ryland soon learns the truth behind a big-bucks scheme and the surprising players who will stop at nothing, including murder, to keep their goal a secret. Turns out, there’s more than one way to rob a bank.

Boston police detective Jake Brogan has a liar on his hands. A man has just confessed to the famous twenty-year-old Lilac Sunday killing, and while Jake’s colleagues take him at his word, Jake is not so sure. But he has personal reasons for hoping they’ve finally solved the cold case.

Financial manipulation, the terror of foreclosures, the power of numbers, the primal need for home and family and love. What happens when what you believe is true turns out to be a lie?

See upcoming releases.

New Releases: 10/7/2014

Alice in the Country of Joker: Circus and Liars Game Vol. 6 by QuinRose; art by Mamenosuke FujimaruFingal O'Reilly, Irish Doctor by Patrick TaylorHawk by Steven BrustThe Hero of Ages by Brandon SandersonThe Shotgun Arcana by R. S. BelcherSilverblind by Tina ConnollyStrike Witches: 1937 Fuso Sea Incident Vol. 2 by Humikane Shimada; art by NingenTruth Be Told by Hank Phillippi Ryan

See upcoming releases.

Six-Guns and Serial Killers

Shotgun Arcana by R. S. Belcher

By R. S. Belcher

Like the song goes, “My heroes have always been cowboys.” But another archetypal American figure plays a pretty big role in my new novel, The Shotgun Arcana: the serial killer. In the novel, I had the perverse pleasure of getting to play around with a literal army of psycho-killers—a cult of murders and cannibals, called the Teeth of Cain.

I looked into some bloody back alleys of America’s history to see what kind of real-world serial killers I could use for inspiration. As usual, history didn’t disappoint.

There’s the “Servant Girl Annihilator”, or the Austin Axe murderer, if you prefer. He was active in Austin Texas from 1884 to 1885, three years prior to the Jack the Ripper Murders in London. He was never caught and there are some serial killer experts (yes, there are such folk) who make a case that the Annihilator may also be the Whitechapel Ripper, traveling the world perfecting his bloody craft.

There are the Harpe Brothers, 18th century mountain men who killed for pleasure, or at the slightest provocation, even murdering a baby for crying too much. Many historians consider the “bloody Harpes” America’s first serial killers. The brutal pair were the inspiration for characters in Lois McMaster Bujold’s novel, The Sharing Knife: Passages and are featured in Manly Wade Wellman’s novel, The Voice of the Mountain.

Queho, a member of the Paiute tribe, who is considered Nevada’s first serial killer, eluded authorities for decades. Queho had Native American and Caucasion victims and took trophies from some of his kills, wearing the badge, number 896, that he took from the chest of a deputy he killed. The badge was found pinned to Queho’s mummified corpse when miners discovered his body in a cave in 1940, bringing the 30-years manhunt for him to a close.

John Johnston, better known as “Liver-eatin’ Johnston” was a mountain man who pursued a vendetta for over 25 years against the Crow Nation for the murder of his wife and child. Johnston lived up to his nickname, eating the livers of his victims—a grave insult to the Crow, who believe that the liver is necessary for the transition to the afterlife. The Crow hunted him for years and sent war parties to kill Johnston, calling him, Dapiek Absaroka (“Killer of Crows”). The folklore around Johnston claims he murdered and scalped over 300 Crow warriors. The number is considered by many historians to be inflated.

The Bender Family is another example of American history and mythology blurring. The Benders were German immigrant saloon-keepers in Kansas who routinely murdered their patrons and buried them in the garden behind the establishment. A guest for the night would be wined, dined, and entertained…and then usually dispatched by the eldest son with a sledge hammer. If that proved ineffective, the stunned victim was pulled through a hidden trap door in the saloon floor and their throat slit by the Benders’ daughter, Kate—a self-described psychic. The whole clan vanished before they could be caught—becoming part of western folklore, maybe even shaping urban legend.

Some of these historic killers appear in The Shotgun Arcana to make trouble for my dysfunctional little family of anti-heroes. They have different names and back stories, but they are based on real people, well, real legends, anyway. There are quite a few more salty dogs I didn’t even have a chance to elaborate on. I leave it to the diligent reader, and scholar of disturbing history, to sort the bettermost from the balderdash. Have fun.

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