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Tor Authors Take the Ice Bucket Challenge

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!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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Throwback Thursdays: The Bar Where Everybody Knows Your Name

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!

Place holder  of - 91By 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!

Book Trailer: Wake of the Bloody Angel by Alex Bledsoe

Book Trailer: Wake of the Bloody Angel by Alex Bledsoe

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Wake of the Bloody Angel by Alex Bledsoe

Twenty years ago, a barmaid in a harbor town fell for a young sailor who turned pirate to make his fortune. But what truly became of Black Edward Tew remains a mystery—one that has just fallen into the lap of freelance sword jockey Eddie LaCrosse.

For years, Eddie has kept his office above Angelina’s tavern, so when Angelina herself asks him to find out what happened to the dashing pirate who stole her heart, he can hardly say no—even though the trail is two decades old. Some say Black Edward and his ship, he Bloody Angel, went to bottom of the sea, taking with it a king’s fortune in treasure. Others say he rules a wealthy, secret pirate kingdom. And a few believe he still sails under a ghostly flag with a crew of the damned.

To find the truth, and earn his twenty-five gold pieces a day, Eddie must take to sea in the company of a former pirate queen in search of the infamous Black Edward Tew…and his even more legendary treasure.

Wake of the Bloody Angel, by Alex Bledsoe, releases July 3rd!

Book Trailer: Dark Jenny by Alex Bledsoe

Book Trailer: Dark Jenny by Alex Bledsoe

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Dark Jenny by Alex Bledsoe

For twenty-five gold pieces a day, plus expenses, Eddie LaCrosse will take on almost any case. But the unexpected delivery of a coffin in the dead of winter forces LaCrosse to look at a bygone chapter of his life—and the premeditated murder of a dream.

Ruled by the noble King Marcus Drake, the island kingdom of Grand Braun is an oasis of peace and justice in an imperfect world. At least until the beautiful Queen Jennifer is accused of adultery and murder. In the wrong castle at the wrong time, Eddie finds himself drafted at sword’s point to solve the mystery. With time running out, and powerful nobles all too eager to pin the murder on Eddie himself, he must unravel a tangled web of palace intrigues, buried secrets, and bewitching women—before the entire kingdom erupts into civil war.

Murder, mystery, and magic—just another day on the job for Eddie LaCrosse.

Dark Jenny, by Alex Bledsoe, released in mass market paperback on May 22!

Eddie LaCrosse Sweepstakes

Eddie LaCrosse Sweepstakes

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The mass market paperback of Burn Me Deadly by Alex Bledsoe released today. To celebrate, we are offering the chance to win a set of Eddie LaCrosse novels (includes The Sword-Edged Blonde, Burn Me Deadly, and Dark Jenny). Prizes will be awarded to five lucky winners. Comment below to enter for a chance to win.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. You must be 18 or older and a legal resident of the 50 United States or D.C. to enter. Promotion begins February 28, 2012 at 10 a.m. ET. and ends March 6, 2012, 12:00 p.m. ET. Void in Puerto Rico and wherever prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules go here. Sponsor: Tom Doherty Associates, LLC.

April #Torchat lineup revealed!

April #Torchat lineup revealed!

Edgar-nominated author Bruce DeSilva, debut mystery novelist Wayne Arthurson, and Fantasy noir specialist Alex Bledsoe to chat mystery genre over Twitter on Wednesday, 4/20 from 4 PM – 5 PM (EST)

New York, NY – Tuesday, April 19 2011 – Tor Books is excited to announce the lineup for April’s #Torchat, the third in a new monthly series of genre-themed, hour-long chats created by Tor Books and hosted on Twitter, to take place tomorrow at 4 PM EST.

Edgar season is upon us! Next Week, the Mystery Writers of America will announce the 2011 winners of their prestigious award series. But FIRST, #Torchat will beat them to the punch with a mystery-themed discussion tomorrow at 4 PM EST with three guest authors from different ends of the genre spectrum: Associated Press mystery critic Bruce DeSilva (@brucedesilva), whose debut novel Rogue Island is Edgar-nominated for Best First novel; critically-acclaimed debut novelist Wayne Arthurson (@Waynthurson); and the fantasy noir genre-bending Alex Bledsoe (@AlexBledsoe) will chat and take questions on all things mysterious.

The chat will be introduced and (loosely) moderated by Tor publicist Justin Golenbock (@jgolenbo), and fans are invited to follow or join-in using the Twitter hashtag #Torchat. Special book giveaways from @Torbooks will precede and follow the 4 PM chat.

About the Authors

Poster Placeholder of - 33Bruce DeSilva (@brucedesilva) is the Writing Coach and Crime fiction reviewer for The Associated Press. He and his wife, NBA poetry nominee Patricia Smith, live in Tarrytown, New York, with their granddaughter, Mikaila. His debut novel Rogue Island is nominated for the 2011 Edgar Award for Best First novel.

Image Place holder  of - 83Wayne Arthurson (@Waynthurson), like his protagonist Leo Desroches, is the son of Cree and French Canadian parents. He has worked as a newspaper reporter, a drummer in a rock band and as a freelance journalist. He was born in and lives in Edmonton, Canada with his wife and child. Fall From Grace, out this month, is his first novel.

Image Placeholder of - 73Alex Bledsoe (@AlexBledsoe) grew up in West Tennessee an hour north of Graceland (home of Elvis) and twenty minutes from Nutbush (home of Tina Turner). He now lives in a Wisconsin town famous for mustard and trolls. In their starred review of The Sword-Edged Blonde, Publishers Weekly wrote that his “genre-blending first novel is both stylish and self-assured: Raymond Chandler meets Raymond E. Feist.” His new Eddie Lacrosse novel, Dark Jenny, is out this month.

Starred Reviews for Alex Bledsoe’s Dark Jenny

Starred Reviews for Alex Bledsoe’s Dark Jenny

Poster Placeholder of - 33“Fans of Bledsoe’s other blends of fantasy and noir will love his latest, and new readers will be able to jump right in. Try suggesting this to fans of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files.” – Booklist

Dark Jenny by Alex Bledsoe gets not one but TWO starred reviews!

From Booklist:

The third Eddy Lacrosse novel finds Eddy and friends snowed in at his tavern-office when a large coffin is delivered. The explanation entails a long story that goes back to Eddie’s early years as an investigator and

to the legendary island of Grand Bruan. Readers soon realize that Grand Bruan is an noirish alternate version of Great Britain; that its king, Marcus Drake, is alternate reality’s King Arthur; and that Eddy’s

tale is another take on the final days of Camelot. Originally hired to keep an eye on a philandering husband, Eddy just happens to be present when one of the Knights of the Double Tarn is poisoned, and

Queen Jennifer is accused of the crime. Worse, her loyal defender, Elliott Spears, is absent, along with Cameron Kern, the King’s old advisor (and magician). Bledsoe’s clever combination of noir and myth

makes for an engaging story, and placing investigator Eddy at the center offers a fresh twist. Bledsoe’s characters are especially memorable, including Dave Agravaine, a bully who likes to hit women;

overweight and overworked but loyal Bob Kay; and Marc’s nephew, Dread Ted Medraft—not to mention the giggleweed-smoking Kern. Fans of Bledsoe’s other blends of fantasy and noir will love his latest, and

new readers will be able to jump right in. Try suggesting this to fans of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files.

From Publishers Weekly:

Bledsoe whips up a perfect blend of Arthurian legend and hard-boiled detecting in the third novel featuring “private sword jockey” Eddie LaCrosse (after 2009’s Burn Me Deadly). While tracking a client’s wayward husband on the island kingdom of Grand Bruan, which is ruled by King Marcus Drake and his Knights of the Double Tarn, LaCrosse falls under suspicion when a knight dies of a poisoned apple he snatched from a tray prepared specially by Queen Jennifer. Fortunately, the detective manages to convince the king’s seneschal that he may not be guilty, and is asked to help identify the real criminal. The mystery and its ramifications for the Grand Bruan royals will seem familiar to readers of Thomas Malory, but Bledsoe skillfully combines humor, action, deduction, and emotion to make the material fresh and engaging for fans of both fantasy and noir.

Dark Jenny releases March 29th, 2011.

And be sure to check out the first two Eddie LaCrosse adventures in The Sword-Edged Blonde and Burn Me Deadly, available now.

Starred PW Review for Alex Bledsoe’s Burn Me Deadly

Starred PW Review for Alex Bledsoe’s Burn Me Deadly

Burn Me Deadly by Alex Bledsoe Alex Bledsoe’s Burn Me Deadly receives a *starred review* in today’s issue of Publishers Weekly.

They say: “Bledsoe effortlessly draws readers into his created world and manages to stay true to both fantasy and mystery traditions.”

Full review:

Burn Me Deadly
An Eddie LaCrosse Mystery
Alex Bledsoe
Tor, $24.99 (320p)
ISBN 978-0-7653-2221-0

Proving that 2007’s The Sword-Edged Blonde was no fluke, this sequel gives every evidence that Bledsoe’s combination of sword and sorcery with hard-boiled detection will have a long and successful run. Eddie LaCrosse, a former noble who gave up his title and now works as a freelance sword-jockey, is flagged down by a damsel in distress, Laura Lesperitt. Before LaCrosse can get Lesperitt to safety, they are ambushed, an encounter that leaves her dead. When he recovers, LaCrosse’s search for those responsible for the murder brings him into contact with powerful thug Gordon Marantz, the king’s Special Office of Domestic Security and a dragon-worshipping cult. Bledsoe effortlessly draws readers into his created world and manages to stay true to both fantasy and mystery traditions. (Nov.)

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