content by

Marco Palmieri

The Road Back: My Journey With David Hartwell

A second chance is a rare and precious thing. It’s an act of compassion. It’s a leap of faith. It’s the choice one person makes to raise up another.

This was David Hartwell’s gift to me.

Once upon what seems like another lifetime, I was 46 years old and struggling to pay my bills as a freelance editor, twenty-eight months after I was laid off from Simon & Schuster during the economic crash of 2008. Other houses followed soon after, eliminating jobs by the dozens. Senior editorial positions became scarce, and despite my relative success transitioning to freelance life, it began to feel as if my career was in a death spiral.

It was David who threw me a lifeline.

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Behold the Cover to Kameron Hurley’s Geek Feminist Revolution

Respect. That’s what I feel when I read Kameron Hurley’s essays. She writes with passion, conviction, and heart-wrenching honesty. And that’s why, when The Geek Feminist Revolution was offered to me, I fought hard to acquire it. Because as much as her essays are tied to the ongoing conversation within the speculative fiction community about the evolution of genre, Hurley writes in a way that resonates with people who have no interest in SF/F. Her essays are universal. And this book, collecting dozens of entries from her blog (including “We Have Always Fought,” which won the Hugo Award), as well as a dozen more written specifically for this collection, will, I believe, earn the respect of a great many more people with its wit and its gravitas, its rage and its joy, its tactical profanity and its eloquence.

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The Art of the Blurb (or, Step Away from The Traitor Baru Cormorant, Max Gladstone)

People have weird ideas about what editors do. Most, I’ve found, imagine us as plumbers: we take apart the mechanism of a story, clear out gunk, replace worn elements, reroute, redirect, upgrade. We patch, we tighten, we improve flow. Then we put the damn thing back together and just pray it works better than it did before we got our hands on it. There’s truth in this analogy, but it’s not the complete truth. The job is so much more than, well, editing. In reality, editors at various times are advocates, diplomats, negotiators, interpreters, samurai, strategists, heralds, motivational speakers, therapists, bartenders—you get the idea.

But I didn’t really want to talk about all the different jobs an editor needs to be proficient at. Today I just want to tell you about one of our more peculiar responsibilities: collecting blurbs for the novels we acquire.

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Seven Days of The Emperor’s Blades

I love my job. Not many people can say that and mean it, but I can. I’m one of the lucky ones. Who am I? I’m the proverbial kid in the candy store, the vampire in the blood bank. I’m an editor at Tor Books. And one of the coolest things I do is discover books like The Emperor’s Blades.

This first novel from debut author Brian Staveley kicks off a new epic fantasy series, Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne. It’s about a murdered emperor’s three grown children, scattered across the world, and their individual struggles against the intricate web of conspiracy, intrigue, and ancient magic that threatens not just their family, but their very civilization.

[And you get to read the first seven chapters for free]

Revealing the Cover for Brian Staveley’s The Emperor’s Blades is stoked to reveal the cover for The Emperor’s Blades, the first novel in The Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, a new fantasy series by Brian Staveley beginning in January 2014 and published by Tor Books.

The Emperor’s Blades follows siblings Valyn, Kaden, and Adare, who are in different parts of the world when they learn about the assassination of their father, the Emperor. All of them are in danger of being the next targets, and all of them are caught in the maelstrom of conspiracy, intrigue, treachery, and magic that sweeps through Staveley’s auspicious debut novel.

See the full cover by artist Richard Anderson below and read Staveley’s thoughts on seeing it for the first time.

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