Book Review: Half a King by Joe Abercrombie

Wow. This book is everything I wish Game of Thrones had been. Seriously.

Joe Abercrombie has created a world as real as our own, filled with subtle shades of grey between Good and Evil. He has created a protagonist you can really empathize with who has to navigate a world full of treachery and initial impressions can be reversed by deeds and companionship.

I think it’s rare to find an epic fantasy novel that is so full of nuance and where things are not black and white. Sure, Martin does this very well in the Game of Thrones series, but I felt like those novels were just a slog to get through. Abercrombie has a tightly written, fast-paced action adventure novel filled to the brim with political intrigue and echoes of war all the while building characters that really resonate.

Yarvi is the hero of this story, and he’s also disabled. Imagine a coming-of-age story about a boy that would probably have been best friends with Tyrion Lannister, and see how he does when the worst is thrown upon him. I love that this story champions intellectual prowess over physical strength. And the plot twists! Nothing was predictable, and the story just grabbed a hold and wouldn’t let go. This is definitely going on my list of favorites. I highly recommend it.

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December and January Titles from Tor/Forge

The holidays are coming soon, and the publishing industry in NYC slows down quite a bit, so I thought I’d go ahead and post the new titles for December and January before everyone goes on vacation. I also want to point everyone to Netgalley, where you can find our first in series books, stand-alone titles, and debut authors. Just make sure you have a legitimate blog address in your profile if you want someone to approve you for a title! All other review inquiries can be directed to torpublicity@tor.com.

Tor

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December 2 –
Sustenance by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
Carbide Tipped Pens edited by Ben Bova and Eric Choi

January 13 –
The Whispering Swarm by Michael Moorcock
The Just City by Jo Walton
The Providence of Fire by Brian Staveley
Unbreakable by W. C. Bauers

January 27 –
Pacific Fire by Greg van Eekhout
Inside a Silver Box by Walter Mosley

Forge

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December 9 –
You Know Who Killed Me by Loren D. Estleman

January 6 –
Retribution by David Hagberg
The Body Snatchers Affair by Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini

January 13-
Moonlight Water by Win Blevins and Meredith Blevins

January 20 –
Mark of the Beast by Adolphus A. Anekwe

 

Thoughts: Relationships in SFF Publishing

image credit unknownSO – it turns out I completely suck at holding contests and then actually clicking the little button on Rafflecopter to draw a winner. Thanks for your patience! The winner is Meg Winikates!! Thanks for participating!

The main thing I wanted to talk about today is the ongoing conversation I’m seeing across Twitter, blogs, and podcasts about the relationship that reviewers have with various members of the publishing world – readers, authors, and other reviewers.

A recap:
SF Signal Mind Meld: The Evolution of the Author Fan Relationship
Rob Bedford and Justin Landon talk about it extensively on RocketTalk
Paul Weimer talks about why he can’t review every book on his personal blog

It was Paul’s blog post and a previous Mind Meld that ultimately inspired me to join this conversation. As a publicist, I typically stay out of the conversations that are going on in the SFF community unless I’m actively promoting my author or reaching out to reviewers and other media professionals, but this time I wanted to take a moment to portray my point of view on this as a publicist.

For those of you who aren’t all that familiar, the publicity department at a book publishing house attempts to get as much coverage of a book and/or author as possible. That means we’re writing press releases, reaching out to reviewers across all media platforms, establishing relationships with reviewers, coordinating travel and events, and just trying to do whatever we can to let people know that the book exists. This is different from marketing in that we are not purchasing any sort of advertising, we do not make promotional items (though we use them occasionally), and we don’t sponsor anything through publicity. We have a marketing department to handle all of that.

The most important part of our job is the relationship between publicist and reviewer. This is a process that takes place very much behind the scenes, and our efforts are meant to be invisible to the general public. I think that SFF publicity is vastly different from other kinds of book publicity because the community is more tight-knit, and there’s a lot of opportunity to interact with reviewers through social media. When I’m working on mystery/fiction titles, I don’t have nearly as much access to people reviewing my books as I do with the SFF peeps (I’m hoping to change that!). I also think that the genre community is vastly more enthusiastic about new titles as well. This is the thing I love the most about my job.

I love getting to know the reviewers and the authors. I love seeing all of the interaction on Twitter and through blogs. I also deeply appreciate that most of the reviewers I interact with are reviewing out of love for the genre and not for money. Most of them have full time jobs and full time families, but they always make the time to regularly interact with each other and with the readership to promote the books they love. I hope they never doubt their value to the community, and I’m excited to see more awards being given to these wonderful, dedicated people who make this community as unique and interesting as it is. Rob Bedford said that without publicists, you wouldn’t have much to talk about. I think that without reviewers, not very many people would learn about our books. It goes hand in hand, and I’m just really happy that I get to be a part of a vibrant community of like-minded people. I grew up always wanting to do something that helped people, and I can’t imagine doing anything other than getting to tell everyone about amazing books and encouraging more people to read. So, reviewers, thanks for all you do, and thanks for making my job such a great experience!

October Titles from Tor and Forge

Wow, the year is going by so quickly! I can’t believe it’s already time to put up the October titles! Also, coming up in some future posts – my NYCC schedule and some tour info for some of my authors. Stay tuned for that! In the meantime, let me know what October books you’re looking forward to!

Tor

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October 7 – Hawk by Steven Brust

October 7 – The Shotgun Arcana by R. S. Belcher

October 7 – Silverblind by Tina Connolly

October 14 – The Time Roads by Beth Bernobich

October 21 – Heart of Stone by Debra Mullins

Forge

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October 7 – Truth Be Told by Hank Phillippi Ryan

October 14 – The Last Shootist by Miles Swarthout

October 21 – An Irish Doctor in Peace and at War by Patrick Taylor

October 28 – The Midnight Plan of the Repo Man by W. Bruce Cameron

September 2014 Releases from Tor and Forge

Hi friends! Sorry this post is a bit belated! September has been a busy month so far for Team Tor/Forge now that we have some authors touring, and we’re gearing up for New York Comic Con. Check out the titles below and let me know what you’re excited about! Got requests? You know what to do.

Tor

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September 9 – Exo by Steven Gould

September 9 – The Bloodline Feud: A Merchant Princes Omnibus by Charles Stross

September 16 – Gideon Smith and the Brass Dragon by David Barnett

September 16 – Last Plane to Heaven by Jay Lake

September 23 – The Seventh Sigil by Margaret Weis and Robert Krammes (check out the awesome book trailer!)

 

Forge

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September 9 – Sabotage by Matt Cook

September 30 – Strong Darkness by Jon Land

August 2014 Releases from Tor and Forge

It’s August 1st, and the summer season here at Tor is coming to a close. What are you looking forward to reading this month? Let me know on Twitter!

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August 5 – Severed Souls by Terry Goodkind

August 5 – Assail by Ian C. Esslemont

August 5 – Alien Hunter: Underworld by Whitley Strieber

August 5 – The House of the Four Winds by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory

August 12 – Hellhole Inferno by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson

August 12 – The Ultra Thin Man by Patrick Swenson

August 26 – Echopraxia by Peter Watts

August 26 – Lock In by John Scalzi

 

Interested in mysteries and thrillers? We have those under the Forge Imprint! Here’s what’s coming out in August:

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August 5 – Deadout by Jon McGoran

August 5 – 24: Deadline by James Swallow

August 19 – Ark Storm by Linda Davies

August 26 – Assassin’s Game by Ward Larsen

Short Fiction Review – Martin Cahill and Nancy Hightower

Short fiction is a new realm for me. I’m completely fascinated with structure and how people write, so I’m taking a critical look at short fiction magazines lately as a sort of hobby of mine. I am lucky enough to count several writers among my friends, including Martin Cahill and Nancy Hightower, and it’s been a privilege to read their recently published short stories. I am blown away by their talent, and I wanted to share my thoughts on each of their stories here.

coverI discovered Nancy’s story, “Bound,” when she read it at the New York Review of Science Fiction reading series earlier in the year. I have a problem with fidgeting at readings, but this time I was completely engrossed in the story, and I knew I had to read it again when it came out in Bourbon Penn in February. This story is very surreal, and what I love about it is that you don’t really know what’s real and what’s imaginary, but it has enough emotional depth and engagement with the characters that you know what you WANT to be real. You can read the full story for free here. Tell me what you think in the comments!

Nightmare_19_April_2014-200x300The second story, “It Was Never the Fire,” by my friend Martin Cahill, is the second of his that I’ve had the pleasure of reading, but the first published story that the rest of you absolutely should read yourselves. This story was published today in the April issue of Nightmare Magazine, so a hearty congratulations goes out to Marty! Marty is a very talented new writer who is about to start a new adventure this summer at Clarion Writer’s Workshop in San Diego (I’m completely jealous), and after having read his work, I can see him becoming a very strong voice in the genre in the future. “It Was Never the Fire” is a beautifully poetic, dark, and surreal story that just grabs hold of you and doesn’t let go. I devoured this one. Marty has a gift with the way he uses language to instantly captivate the reader and bring them right into the story. I’m really looking forward to seeing what else he comes up with in the future. GO READ THIS STORY NOW. It’s free, and I want to know if you love it as much as I do.