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New Releases: 3/8/16

Here’s what went on sale today!

The Guardian by Jack Whyte

The Guardian by Jake WhyteSome men strive for greatness. And some men find themselves thrust into the role of their nation’s saviors. Such are the two heroes who reshaped and reconfigured the entire destiny of the kingdom of Scotland. Wallace the Braveheart would become the only legendary, heroic, commoner in medieval British history; the undying champion of the common man. The other, Robert Bruce, earl of Carrick, would perfect the techniques of guerrilla warfare developed by Wallace and use them to create his own place in history as the greatest king of Scots.

Jack Whyte is a master of the sweeping historical epic and The Guardian is the latest in his evocative chronicle of the formation of his beloved Scotland.

The Lyre Thief by Jennifer Fallon

The Lyre Thief (Volume 7) by Jennifer Fallon These two sisters embark on a Shakespearian tale of switched identities, complicated love triangles…and meddlesome gods. Rakaia is rescued on the road by none other than the Demon Child, R’shiel, still searching for a way to force Death to release her near immortal Brak. Charisee tries to act like the princess she was never meant to be and manages to draw the attention of the God of Liars who applauds her deception and only wants to help.

Then there is the little matter of the God of Music’s magical totem that has been stolen…and how this theft may undo the universe.

Takedown by Jeff Buck with Jon Land and Lindsay Preston 

Takedown by Jeff Buck, Jon Land, and Lindsay PrestonJeff Buck thought he’d seen it all. Twenty years working undercover in the netherworld of drugs had left him burned out and grateful to assume the quiet job of police chief in the small town of Reminderville, Ohio. That is, until a simple domestic assault case turns out to have links to the murder of a drug runner in upstate New York and a syndicate smuggling billions of dollars in drugs across the U.S.-Canada border.

NEW FROM TOR.COM:

Forest of Memory by Mary Robinette Kowal

Forest of Memory by Mary Robinette KowalKatya deals in Authenticities and Captures, trading on nostalgia for a past long gone. Her clients are rich and they demand items and experiences with only the finest verifiable provenance. Other people’s lives have value, after all.

But when her A.I. suddenly stops whispering in her ear she finds herself cut off from the grid and loses communication with the rest of the world.

The man who stepped out of the trees while hunting deer cut her off from the cloud, took her A.I. and made her his unwilling guest.

There are no Authenticities or Captures to prove Katya’s story of what happened in the forest. You’ll just have to believe her.

NOW IN PAPERBACK:

Of Noble Family by Mary Robinette Kowal

Of Noble Family by Mary Robinette Kowal Jane and Vincent have finally gotten some much-needed rest after their adventures in Italy when Vincent receives word that his estranged father has passed away on one of his properties in the West Indies. His brother, who manages the estate, is overwhelmed, and no one else in his family can go. Grudgingly, out of filial duty the couple decide to go.

NEW IN MANGA:

Dance in the Vampire Bund II: Scarlet Order Vol. 4, story and art by Nozomu Tamaki

Dance in the Vampire Bund II: Scarlet Order Vol. 4 by Nozomu Tamaki After millennia in hiding, Mina Tepes, the Princess of the ancient covenant and ruler of all vampires wants change. Using the vast wealth of the Tepes line, she has paid off the entire gross national debt of Japan and in so doing, gained the authority to create a special district off the coast of Japan that is to become the haven to vampires the world over!

Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto. Vol. 3 by Nami Sano

First impressions are everything, especially for high school freshman Sakamoto. Model student, beacon of inspiration, gentle spirit of guidance, and friend among friends-you name it, he can do it. He’s your go-to-guy for any problem, even if he is a bit intimidating. But not everyone takes kindly to Sakamoto’s larger-than-life persona, because, let’s face it, no one can truly be his match. Right?

See upcoming releases.

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Book Trailer: The Lyre Thief by Jennifer Fallon

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Two sisters embark on a Shakespearean tale of switched identities, complicated love triangles…and meddlesome gods. Rakaia is rescued on the road by none other than the Demon Child, R’shiel, still searching for a way to force Death to release her near immortal Brak. Charisee tries to act like the princess she was never meant to be and manages to draw the attention of the God of Liars who applauds her deception and only wants to help.

Then there is the little matter of the God of Music’s magical totem that has been stolen — and how this theft may undo the universe — in Jennifer Fallon‘s The Lyre Thief.

Read a sneak peak of The Lyre Thief.

The Lyre Thief comes out March 8th. Order it today: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | iBooks | Indiebound | Powell’s

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Why It’s So Important That Han Shot First

The Lyre Thief

Written by Jennifer Fallon

Putting together believable characters is one of the challenges of writing good fiction. It is the hallmark of great fiction. And it gets down to flaws. You cannot have a character without flaws unless their very lack of flaws is their flaw and you use their flawlessness against them.

All characters need to be flawed in some way

Imagine how pissed off everyone else would be around a Mr Perfect. How annoyed, how intimidated. In very short order, they’d probably want to take him down… Oh, look… we have a plot brewing…

People are flawed and it is, more often than not, their flaws that define them, rather than their good qualities. There is nothing wrong with a hero having noble thoughts, but he should also have fears and worries. Characters without them are the unbelievable characters that just don’t work.

Most people do what they believe is the right thing, even when it’s wrong

What motivates a character is a vital component of characterization. That’s why revenge is such a popular plot device. It gives the heroine a reason to be doing what she’s doing. It’s also why so many inexperienced writers fall over in a heap mid story because there is no real reason for their evil dude to be doing what he’s doing.

The noble young goat-herder who turns out to be the prophesied lost prince might be avenging his village destroyed by the rampaging powers of evil (fair enough), but why are the powers of evil rampaging? Even evil overlords have their reasons.

This is what made Dr Evil so funny in the Austin Powers films. His motives were ridiculous. You laughed at him because of that (and Mini-me, of course.). Don’t make your foes just as laughable. Have a reason for their actions that makes sense.

Believable characters must be consistent

You can’t have your wimpy heroine turn into an ass-kicking ninja warrior in the second to last chapter without somewhere implying she has that capability (i.e. her part time job in high school was delivering pizza near the sewers where the Ninja Turtles hang out…that sort of thing).

Nor can you have your characters develop magical powers there has been no hint of in the past, just as they need them. I’m not saying you can’t have your character discover something within themselves under stress, but that’s different to suddenly discovering your hero can pick locks because you can’t think of any other way for him to escape the evil clutches of Lord Cesspot.

An earlier scene, however, where we see him picking the lock on his father’s liquor cabinet so he can party with his buddies… now that would establish he’s both a lock-pick and a bit of a rebel.

There should be a scene or an action that defines a character

Ask yourself this question: what is the one thing a character does that defines them?

Which brings me to Han Solo. You see, Han was a scoundrel. We all knew this long before Princess Leia worked it out. And we knew he was a scoundrel because in that bar on Tatooine, he shot first.

At that point, he’d been on screen for about 3 minutes. We knew he owned a ship. We knew he thought he was pretty hot shit. (And we knew he had no idea that a parsec is a measurement of distance, not time… but I digress).

And then he was threatened by Greedo, shot first, coolly flipped a coin to the barman and apologized for the mess on his way out.

Everything you ever needed to know about Han Solo was taken care of in those few minutes of screen time and everything he did afterward made sense. It’s also, incidentally, why people flipped out when George Lucas changed the scene in the re-release. He was trying to make Han noble; trying to claim he was shooting in self defense. Not the actions of a scoundrel at all.

With that one scene tweak he flat-lined Han Solo’s entire character arc from scoundrel to noble hero, because he made him noble from the start.

So, that’s all there is to it. Flawed, motivated, well defined and consistent. That’s all it takes, really, to get great, believable characters acting like real people.

Oh, and, if the occasion calls for it, shoot first.

The Lyre Thief comes out March 8th. Order it today: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | iBooks | Indiebound | Powell’s

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Sneak Peek: The Lyre Thief by Jennifer Fallon

The Lyre ThiefTen years have passed since the events of the Demon Child books that left the god Xaphista dead, the nation Karien without a religion or king and the matriarchal country of Medalon ruled by men.

When Princess Rakaia of Fardohnya discovers she is not of royal birth, she agrees to marry a much older noble in a chance to escape her father’s wrath. But Rakaia takes her base-born half-sister, Charisee, along. In The Lyre Thief by Jennifer Fallon, the two sisters embark on a Shakespearean tale of switched identities.

We hope you enjoy this excerpt of The Lyre Thief, coming out March 8th.

Chapter 1

Naveen Raveve, Chamberlain to King Hablet of Fardohnya, examined the marriage proposal from Frederak Branador, Lord of Highcastle, who controlled one of only two navigable passes between Hythria and Fardohnya, and then looked up to meet the gaze of his visitor, who was finding his silence unsettling.

“Well?” she asked. “Will you do it?”

Naveen bit back a smile. He was a slave, after all, and yet here he was, with a princess of the realm standing before him, begging him for a favor.

(more…)

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Servant of a Dark God by John Brown Lamentation by Ken Scholes A Shadow in Summer by Daniel Abraham Spirit Gate by Kate Elliot Passion Play by Beth Bernobich Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson Blood Song by Cat Adams Dreadnought by Cherie Priest Twilight Forever Rising by Lena Meydan Shadow Prowler by Aleksy Pehov Brooklyn Knight by C.J. Henderson Green by Jay LakeImager by L.E. Modesitt Jr. The Sword-Edged Blonde by Alex Bledsoe A Star Shall Fall by Marie Brennan Spellwright by Blake Charlton Knight of Knives by Ian C. Esslemont Hawkmoon: The Jewel in the Skull by Michael Moorcock Libyrinth by Pearl North Prospero Lost by Jagi Lamplighter Elfland by Freda Warrington The Court of the Air by Stephen Hunt The Immoral Prince by Jennifer Fallon Wizard's First Rule by Terry GoodkindThe Eye of the World by Robert Jordan

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