24 Audiobooks to Match Your Travel Time

Fourth of July weekend is almost here and that has us thinking about SUMMER VACATION! We’ve planned our trip and packed our bags. The car is gassed up and ready to go. But here’s the hardest part: what audiobook are we going to listen to on the drive?

If we’re having this problem, we’re assuming you are too. So we decided to put together a list of recommended audiobooks of varying lengths. Whether it’s a short train ride or a long flight with transfers, here are 24 audiobooks that will help make the journey memorable!

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On the Road: Tor/Forge Author Events in June

The Darkness Rolling by Win Blevins and Meredith BlevinsLong Black Curl by Alex BledsoeSeriously Wicked by Tina Connolly

Tor/Forge authors are on the road in June! Once a month, we’re collecting info about all of our upcoming author events. Check and see who’ll be coming to a city near you:

Alex Bledsoe, Long Black Curl

Thursday, June 11
A Room of One’s Own
Madison, WI
6:00 PM

Saturday, June 13
The Avid Reader
Davis, CA
7:30 PM

Sunday, June 14
Borderlands Books
San Francisco, CA
3:00 PM

Saturday, June 27
Mystery to Me Bookstore
Madison, WI
2:00 PM

Win and Meredith Blevins, The Darkness Rolling

Saturday, June 20
The Poisoned Pen
Scottsdale, AZ
2:00 PM

Tuesday, June 23
Bookworks
Albuquerque, NM
7:00 PM

Tuesday, June 30
Marie’s Bookshop
Durango, CO
6:30 PM

Tina Connolly, Seriously Wicked

Thursday, June 4
Stayton Public Library
Stayton, OR
7:00 PM

Saturday, June 6
YA-Landia
Also with Fonda Lee, Ali Berman, Paula Stokes, and Mary Elizabeth Summer
Barnes & Noble
Beaverton, OR
2:00 PM

Thursday, June 18
Raven Book Store
Lawrence, KS
7:00 PM

Alan Gratz, The Dragon Lantern

Tuesday, June 9
Malaprop’s
Asheville, NC
7:00 PM

Peter Orullian, Trial of Intentions

Monday, June 1
Powell’s Cedar Hills Crossing
Beaverton, OR
7:00 PM

Tuesday, June 2
Weller Book Works
Salt Lake City, UT
6:00 PM

Wednesday, June 3
Barnes & Noble
Orem, UT
7:00 PM

Anne A. Wilson, Hover

Tuesday, June 2
The Poisoned Pen
Scottsdale, AZ
7:00 PM

Dan Wells, The Devil’s Only Friend

Tuesday, June 16
Weller Book Works
Salt Lake City, UT
6:00 PM

Wednesday, June 17
Barnes & Noble University Crossings Plaza
Orem, UT
6:00 PM

New Releases: 5/26/2015

Alice in the Country of Clover: Twin Lovers by QuinRose, illustrated by Kei ShichiriAmazing Agent Luna Vol. 11 by Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir, illustrated by ShieiTrial of Intentions by Peter OrullianPeople of the Songtrail by W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neal GearLong Black Curl by Alex BledsoeThe Causal Angel by Hannu RajaniemiWorld War Blue Vol. 8 by Anastasia Shestakova, illustrated by Crimson

See upcoming releases.

New Releases: 5/5/2015

Badger Boy and The Way of the Coyote by Elmer KeltonBlack Ice by Susan KrinardThe Boost by Stephen BakerBorder War by Lou Dobbs and James O. BornChasers of the Wind by Alexey Pehov; translated by Elinor HuntingtonCorsair by James L. CambiasThe Dark Between the Stars by Kevin J. AndersonDevils and Realist Vol. 5 by Madoka Takadono, illustrated by Utako YukihiroDragonar Academy Vol. 6 by Shiki Mizuchi, illustrated by RanEarth Awakens by Orson Scott Card and Aaron JohnstonAn Echo Through the Snow by Andrea ThalasinosLash-Up by Larry BondThe Merchant Emperor by Elizabeth HaydonNow and in the Hour of Our Death by Patrick TaylorSeriously Wicked by Tina ConnollyValley of the Shadow by Ralph PetersWake of the Bloody Angel by Alex BledsoeThe Waking Engine by David Edison

See upcoming releases.

Flying with the Real Fae

Long Black Curl by Alex Bledsoe
Written by Alex Bledsoe

My Tufa novels, of which the upcoming Long Black Curl is the third, are all about music. They’re about other things, too, of course, but a central theme is how music touches people, affects them and brings them together. But I never expected that my novels would, in fact, bring me together with a tribe of musicians that could’ve stepped right out of those pages.

In 2013, I was a presenter at the Pagan Unity Festival (a.k.a. PUF) at a state park outside Nashville. Like many such festivals, there was a lot of music, including two appearances by a band I’d never heard of: Tuatha Dea.

I’ll admit to a bias here: some pagan-themed music strikes me as a bit overt, wearing its heart (and environmental concerns, and European folklore, and feminist agenda, and so forth) on its sleeve to its overall detriment. So I’d planned to skip the concert that first night and rest in my cabin.

Imagine my surprise when, from the pavilion down the hill, I heard a musical roar like nothing I expected. And I was even more surprised when I recognized the song as a snarling cover of the Cranberries’ “Zombie.”

That was my introduction to Tuatha Dea, a band that, as I said, sounded and looked as if they’d stepped right out of one of my Tufa novels. They’re an eight-piece ensemble that rotates on the instruments, with an emphasis on heavy drums. Their performance that night was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen Springsteen multiple times. They completely blew my idea of pagan music out of the water. I also was lucky enough to become friends with them, and to enthusiastically swap copies of my novels for their CDs.

Then came the biggest surprise: a call from band leader/songwriter Danny Mullikin, asking if he could write songs based on my Tufa novels.

I’m pretty sure my response boiled down to, “Yes, please.” Danny was kind enough to keep me updated on the process, sharing lyrics and early tracks with me, but I deliberately gave him no input; I wanted to be surprised like everyone else by the final product, which the band titled Tufa Tales: Appalachian Fae.

And I was. I mean, I knew the songs would be good, and that the band would perform them well. But the surprise was how thoroughly they captured the atmosphere I strove to create in my novels. Feel is always an intangible quality, almost impossible to really describe or copy, but they clearly got it.

They did three tracks titled after my first three novels, and so far have two videos, for the songs “Long Black Curl” and “Wisp of a Thing.” (If you look very closely in the “Wisp” video, you might spot this author for about one and a half seconds.) They also do a rocking version of the classic folk tune “The Five Nights’ Drunk,” which they call “Granny’s Bedtime Tonic.” And there’s a wonderful instrumental called “Dance of the Tufa.”

I’m proud to be associated with this band, and I’m incredibly flattered that they felt so connected to my work. Creating art is always fun, but inspiring it may be the biggest rush of all.

Preorder Long Black Curl today:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | iBooks | Indiebound | Powell’s

Follow Alex Bledsoe on Twitter at @AlexBledsoe, on Facebook, or visit him online.

Goodreads Sweepstakes: Long Black Curl by Alex Bledsoe

Long Black Curl by Alex BledsoeAbout Long Black Curl: Long Black Curl: a brand-new tale in Alex Bledsoe’s acclaimed urban fantasy series, where magic is hidden in plain sight and age-old rivalries simmer just beneath the surface

In all the time the Tufa have existed, only two have ever been exiled: Bo-Kate Wisby and her lover, Jefferson Powell. They were cast out, stripped of their ability to make music, and cursed to never be able to find their way back to Needsville. Their crime? A love that crossed the boundary of the two Tufa tribes, resulting in the death of several people.

Somehow, Bo-Kate has found her way back. She intends to take over both tribes, which means eliminating both Rockhouse Hicks and Mandalay Harris. Bo-Kate has a secret weapon: Byron Harley, a rockabilly singer known as the “Hillbilly Hercules” for his immense size and strength, and who has passed the last sixty years trapped in a bubble of faery time. He’s ready to take revenge on any Tufa he finds.

The only one who can stop Bo-Kate is Jefferson Powell. Released from the curse and summoned back to Cloud County, even he isn’t sure what will happen when they finally meet. Will he fall in love with her again? Will he join her in her quest to unite the Tufa under her rule? Or will he have to sacrifice himself to save the people who once banished him?

Enter for a chance to win here!

(Ends May 1)

Also, don’t forget to check out our other sweepstakes!

The Hum and the Shiver eBook is Now on Sale for $2.99

The Hum and the Shiver by Alex BledsoeAlex Bledsoe‘s Long Black Curl, the latest in the Tufa novels series, is due out on May 26. This month we are making it easy to get started with the series by releasing the first ebook, The Hum and the Shiver, for only $2.99.*

About The Hum and the Shiver: Named one of the Best Fiction Books of 2011 by Kirkus Reviews, The Hum and the Shiver by Alex Bledsoe is an enchanting tale of music and magic older than the hills. . . .

No one knows where the Tufa came from, or how they ended up in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee. Enigmatic and suspicious of outsiders, the Tufa live quiet lives in the hills and valleys of Cloud County. While their origins may be a mystery, there are hints of their true nature buried in the songs they have passed down for generations.

Bronwyn Hyatt, a pure-blood Tufa, has always insisting on doing things her own way, regardless of the consequences. Even though Tufa rarely leave Cloud County, she enlisted in the Army to escape the pressures of Tufa life—her family, her obligations as a First Daughter, and her dangerous ex-boyfriend. But after barely surviving a devastating ambush that killed most of her fellow soldiers, Private Hyatt returns to Cloud County wounded in body and in spirit. But danger lurks in the mountains and hollows of her childhood home. Cryptic omens warn of impending tragedy, and a restless “haint” lurks nearby, waiting to reveal Bronwyn’s darkest secrets. Worst of all, Bronwyn has lost touch with the music that was once a vital part of her identity.

Now Bronwyn finds the greatest battle to be right here at home, where her obligations struggle with her need for freedom, and if she makes the wrong choice, the consequences could be deadly for all the Tufa. . . .

Buy The Hum and the Shiver today: B & N Nook | eBooks.com | Google Play | iBooks | Kindle | Kobo

*sale ends May 1

New Releases: 3/3/2015

The Burning Dark by Adam ChristopherFlip by David LubarThe Goblin Emperor by Katherine AddisonHell or Richmond by Ralph PetersJack Cloudie by Stephen HuntMadness in Solidar by L. E. Modesitt, Jr.Monster Musume Vol. 6 by OKAYADOThe Pumpkin Rollers and The Buckskin Lin by Elmer KeltonThe Sacred Blacksmith Vol. 7 by Isao Miura and Kotaro YamadaShipstar by Gregory Benford and Larry NivenTranshuman by Ben BovaUnwrapped Sky by Rjurik DavidsonWisp of a Thing by Alex BledsoeWords of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson

See upcoming releases.

Tor Authors Take the Ice Bucket Challenge

If you’ve been on social media at all lately, chances are you’ve seen the videos. Someone announces that they’ve accepted the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, and promptly gets a bucket full of ice water dumped over their heads. The resulting expressions of surprise and frantic jumping around are great entertainment for those of us watching.

Three Tor authors have accepted the challenge, helping to promote awareness of ALS. We wanted to gather all three of those videos for you in one handy place, so you can enjoy watching Brandon Sanderson, Alex Bledsoe, and David Brin get a dousing!

Brandon Sanderson

First up, Brandon Sanderson, the author of Words of Radiance. After watching this, we’re not entirely certain Brandon’s actually human. But we love an author who can keep working, no matter what!


 
From Brandon’s blog:

Now, the point of this challenge is that you either donate $100 to the ALS Association, or you do the ice bucket thing and donate $10. As I did the ice bucket thing, we’re choosing to donate $10 to ALS, and instead give the $100 to the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund in the name of Sir Terry Pratchett. I figured it would be worthwhile to spread the love from this charity drive around.

Click through to read the rest, including who Brandon nominated for the challenge!

Alex Bledsoe

Next up, we have Alex Bledsoe, the author of both the Eddie LaCrosse series, and the Tufa novels. For the ALS challenge, Alex got a little help from his boys—who don’t exactly have perfect aim. Close enough, though!


 

Our favorite part? “No, you didn’t miss!”

David Brin

Our final video for this roundup features David Brin, the author of Existence. I have to say, I think the way David handles the challenge is almost…Shakespearean. And the replay at the end is great!


 

Edited to add:

Dan Wells

And we have another Tor author taking up the challenge! Dan Wells, the author of the John Cleaver series, has a whole group of kids available to dump some very cold water on his head.


 

So: who’s going to take the challenge next? Have we missed any of our authors participating? And, finally, find out more about the challenge, ALS, and how to donate on the ALS Association website.

Throwback Thursdays: The Bar Where Everybody Knows Your Name

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.

Back in June of 2009, the first book in author Alex Bledsoe’s Eddie LaCrosse series, The Sword-Edged Blonde, published. To celebrate the start of this fun and exciting series, Alex explained in the July Newsletter that his priorities, in writing a fantasy novel, are a little…flipped from most authors’. We hope you enjoy this blast from the past, and be sure to check back every other Thursday for more!

By Alex Bledsoe

A man walks into a bar.

If this happens in a science fiction or fantasy novel, the author has his job cut out for him. Not only does he have to describe the bar physically, but also its patrons. They might include aliens, ogres, trolls or elves, all of which can have any number of permutations. Then the drinks have to be laid out, and the money system enumerated. When all that’s done, the author might have enough imagination left to finally describe the man who walked in.

I’m unusual as a fantasy or science fiction reader, in that the details of made-up societies, worlds and cultures hold far less interest for me than the people (I include non-humans in that term) who inhabit them. I remember listening in wonder to another well-regarded fantasy author describe the elaborate monetary system he’d designed, and for which so far he’d had no use. It’s something I could never do.

When I wrote The Sword-Edged Blonde, I wanted to pare it down to the things I, as a reader, cared most about: namely, the people. Anything that distracted from them, and from the reader’s emotional commitment to them, I either left out or minimized. For example, many fantasy characters have names that, if not literally unpronounceable, at least challenge the tongue; I named my hero Eddie LaCrosse. Eddie’s office is, in fact, above a bar, one that is no different in feel and atmosphere from any you might walk into today. Eddie uses swords that, like modern guns, have make and model names, and the people speak in rhythms, patterns and tones that don’t try to sound “otherworldly.” There’s no time spent digressing into societal details that don’t apply to the immediate situation; this is not to belittle authors who do that sort of thing well, it’s just something I neither crave as a reader or excel at as a writer.

I did invent one term. Eddie is essentially a private investigator functioning in an Iron Age world. In our world, PI’s are known by various, vaguely derogatory terms: shamus, dick, peeper, etc. I decided that Eddie’s reality needed a similar term, and came up with “sword jockey.” To me it rings with the same thinly-veiled contempt as “gumshoe” or “snooper.”

The Sword-Edged Blonde (and its upcoming sequel, Burn Me Deadly) have been called high-fantasy stories written as if they were Forties pulp detective novels. That’s exactly my intent, but it’s not just an ironic stylistic choice; rather, it’s a sincere attempt to let readers connect with the characters by letting as few things as possible get in the way.

So the man (or woman) who walks into a bar in Eddie’s world could, hopefully, be you. And you’d be right at home there.

This article is originally from the July 2009 Tor/Forge Newsletter. Sign up for the Tor/Forge newsletter now, and get similar content in your inbox every month!