Tuesday 23 December 2014

List of Lists ... Four!

(I did this last year, the year before and the year before ... I'm doing it again!)

2014 has been kind to Prince of Fools!

Below are the 32 'Best of 2014' lists that I know of featuring Prince of Fools (presented in chronological order of publication). The two main reasons for assembling this list of lists are:

i) A thank you to the reviewers in question. It's a labour of love maintaining a book blog.

ii) You're probably here because you liked Prince of Fools. These reviewers (or in one case, these 200,000+ voters) appear to share your taste in one book, perhaps you will enjoy the other books on their lists.

The Weatherwax Report
Leona Henry's Wrap-up 2015
Fantasy Book Critic
Elitist Book Reviews
Fantasy Miscellany
Total Inability to Connect
Fantasy Book Review
AGT Reviews
reddit r/fantasy
Only The Best SFF
Konjam Random
The Arched Doorway
Lynn's Book Blog
Bookworm Blues
Phil's Blog
The Fictional Hangout
The Reading Frenzy
The Royal Library
SFF World
Beauty in Ruins
Inaugural Press
Best Fantasy Books
Parmenion Books
The Book Plank
Grimdark Reader
The Grimdark Review
Pat's Fantasy Hotlist
Powell's Books
Book Reviews
A Reading Machine
Goodreads Choice Award

Friday 19 December 2014

A Year In Numbers ... Four!

So following on from similar posts at the same time in 20132012 and 2011 I record a year of ups and less ups. I take a minute to do the sums and raid the scrapbook.

It's been a very good 2014 all told! 

High points have included becoming an award wielding author with Emperor of Thorns winning the David Gemmell Legend Award, and the reddit r/fantasy Stabby award for best fantasy book 2014:

Prince of Thorns is still going strong as well - here it is topping the epic fantasy list on UK Amazon this summer thanks to a price discount.

Prince of Fools tickled the underbelly of the Times bestseller list, reaching #21 in its release week. That's the London Times (established 1785) not the New York Times. And came 11th in a much expanded Fantasy category in the Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Fantasy 2014.

Lies, damn lies, and statistics to follow:

Prince of Thorns got its 30,000th Goodreads rating this year, and the Broken Empire trilogy sold its 500,000th book in English in 2014

Amazon reviews are up considerably, and always gratefully received ... unless they're, y'know, not good  :)

This humble blog had its 500,000th hit in 2014.

Blog traffic since inception

Oh, and I'm on twitter.

Thursday 18 December 2014

Michael Moorcock is 75!

There are three fantasy milestones in my life, Tolkien, Moorcock, and George RR Martin. Despite his success I still feel the need to qualify Martin with a first name – Tolkien and Moorcock have reached the bedrock status where surname alone will do it.

Tolkien and Moorcock had the most profound effect on me, coming into my experience very early on. I was seven when my mother read me Lord of the Rings, twelve when I started hunting down Moorcock in second-hand bookshops in the late seventies.

          Tolkien showed me the majesty of fantasy, painting a vast sweeping story with detail and passion and care. Moorcock showed me raw imagination and energy, pushing back the boundaries of fantasy on every side, a psychedelic explosion of colours flung at the canvas with wild abandon. Moorcock in his 1978 essay ‘Epic Pooh’ makes it clear that his own writing is a rebellion against the form and ethos of the works of Tolkien and others – and that’s fine with me. I can love Turner and Picasso at the same time.

          Moorcock embraces chaos. His works are diverse even between each front and back cover. Across the spectrum of his novels almost everything you can imagine is touched on – perhaps subverted, or lampooned, or shown to you from a new angle that only enhances its beauty. And despite this enormous variety, there are themes that run through a great many of his books, holding the chaos together and reiterating the fact that there are deeper thought processes at work, not just an outpouring of fevered imagination.

          I’ve read perhaps two dozen of Moorcock’s novels, spanning three decades. Many of them I have adored. All of them I have considered worthy of my attention – provoking a strong response. These stories form a significant part of my internal landscape. Elric, Dorian Hawkmoon, Prince Corum, and Jherek Carnelian, feel like strange, eccentric, dangerous uncles partly responsible for raising me. The artwork from the covers still hits me with a tsunami of memories each time I pull one of the books from my shelves.

          Moorcock is never safe, never gentle, never afraid to make a sharp left turn and veer off into something wholly new. That’s what makes him a joy to read even after more than half a lifetime keeping company with his books.

          So on his 75 birthday and with the 50th anniversary of his first book looming it seems an excellent time to acknowledge his influence on me, my generation of readers and writers, and several others generations besides. Thank you, Mr Moorcock, for sharing so many worlds with me. 

Thursday 11 December 2014

The first half million is the hardest -- I hope.


There is a reluctance among authors to discuss sales figures or at least a perceived reluctance. Perhaps it's connected to the very definite and more understandable reluctance to discuss money. Though I think if more authors did discuss money it would rapidly deflate the illusion that we're wealthy and knock out yet another leg from beneath the tower of ridiculous self-justification that book 'pirates' inhabit.

Author Jim C Hines is one of the few I know about who break the money taboo (*), but there is plenty of sales information if you dig for it. The Wertzone blog has a top sellers' list conservatively estimated from public domain figures.

One of the reasons you perhaps see relatively little information about authors' sales is that the authors themselves get relatively little information about it. The numbers take a long time to reach us and have to be dug out of the recesses of complex royalties statements. For non-English publishers the process is even more glacial. I have some overseas publishers making offers on my 4th book without ever sending me a single sales figure for the first three over the course of the years they've been in print (on the other hand some foreign publishers are quite prompt). It's possible that they consider the exercise purely academic unless/until you've earned out any advance paid to you and are thus reluctant to bother. But still, it really would be nice to know how my work is doing in the 20+ non-English speaking countries it's published in.

Anyhow ...

As of June 2014 I'm able to say that over half a million copies of the Broken Empire trilogy have been sold in English.

My happy dance wasn't as cool as Calvin's.

I offer this up in the spirit of excitement and wanting to share my amazement. Only the fact that I swore not to use this very clich├ęd word in this context prevents me from using it here.

I guess that one reason for the reluctance to discuss such things may be fear of being seen to be chest-beating or failing.

But I've always taken the view that I'll share the highs and lows with any of my readers who bother to follow me online - so there it is.

And in the spirit of sharing, I should also note that this milestone comes at a timely moment since last week the Aerospace giant that employs me by day announced out of the blue that it was axing the 150-strong advanced research group I happen to work in. Since the casualties are expected to be >90% it's very likely that I will soon be made redundant. With all the constraints that caring for my very disabled child put on me (Celyn was born a month after I got this job, and is now ten) I'm unlikely to be able to secure another job - so it looks like I'm going to be the full-time author that almost all my readers think I am anyway!

Hopefully the first half-million sales are the hardest  :)

Tuesday 9 December 2014

The Big Three-Oh, oh, oh, oh


[EDIT - a number of links to this page wilfully misrepresent the contents. If you read it for yourself you may well reach a different conclusion, as have a number of famous and successful female authors - at least one of whom features in the comments section.]

Prince of Thorns reached 30,000 ratings on Goodreads today. I remember wondering if it would ever reach 1,000 before people lost interest. It was a realistic concern. In December of 2011, five months after release, the book had 728 ratings.

So, what will I do to mark this milestone? It's traditional to do a stock-take at moments like these, to reflect and draw conclusions.

The launch of Prince of Thorns generated a wave of great reviews and positive feedback, and by that first Christmas the book featured on more than 20 'best of 2011' lists. But, like most of humanity, I remember the negatives too, even though they were thinly scattered among a sea of positives.

Prince of Thorns was met (at least in the fish bowl of the blogosphere) by a controversy over the vanishingly small reference to rape it contains.

A somewhat more muted but persistent criticism from the same regions of the blogosphere were complaints about the lack of female characters / 'strong' female characters.

Before getting further into this let's first agree that of course Prince of Thorns does have female characters and their role expands in the remainder of the trilogy. In fact the trilogy only has one major character - so either way someone was going to  'lose out'. But rewind. Let's say there actually were none. Zero. So what?

If you google "Prince of Thorns" and "female characters" you'll see a slew of such complaints. Go on, give it a try!

Is there a band of sisters?  Demands one of Requires Hate's standard bearers in response to the book concerning a band of brothers and knowing full well that there is not.

There is, however, still a problem with women. While you wouldn’t expect a woman to be riding with Jorg and his band of thugs, you have to read 150-odd pages before a woman with the slightest bit of agency turns up. And another.

Female characters? Great! Of course literature needs them. 'Strong' has always seemed a silly qualification to me. How about 'well written'? If you write women well, individually and as a whole, then there's no call for 'strong' - you just get 'women' who are variously weak, strong, kind, cruel, etc just as men are.

But, major roles for female characters in every single book, no matter what it's about, no matter what the scope, or the length of the book? Then you lose me. If you replace 'female' with 'male' in the argument I'll object just the same. Does a book covering a day or week on a WWII submarine need a major role for a female character? Must a murder-mystery in a nunnery require the insertion of a man to keep everyone happy?

Prince of Thorns is a pretty short book - you can fit 5.2 copies of it into the word count of George Martin's A Storm of Swords, or A Dance With Dragons.

It's a book told from a single point of view over a period of maybe three weeks, the majority of which is spent in the wilds with a band of murdering thugs. It made no sense when I wrote it to shoe-horn in additional female characters - the demand makes no sense to me now.

Yes, you're entirely welcome to prefer stories with particular components. And yes, you're entirely welcome to pick up my books and, on finding that particular component absent, to say 'I didn't enjoy this book because it lacked the thing I like'. But to criticise the author for not putting in that thing you like, as if it were some kind of fundamental flaw in personality, ethics, or decency ... that is, was, and always shall be ... crap.

As a footnote - because some people with an axe to grind conflate the contents of one book with the issues concerning the content/direction of the genre as a whole ... I will state (though I shouldn't have to) that there very likely are issues with the representation of females and minorities in fantasy as a whole. There very likely are a disproportionate number of straight white male protagonists in fantasy books. It's good when we see variety, and the hope that we'll continue to move toward more diverse fantasy that proportionally represents its readers &/or society is laudable. That still doesn't mean that 'this particular book does not contain (enough/the right sort of) female characters' is a valid criticism of that particular book, other than in the sense that it is the reason you didn't enjoy it(*).

(*) I'll moderate that by agreeing that if you're covering many points of view and many characters over a decent period in a setting where we would reasonably expect to see a good mix of genders ... then, yes, the absence of female characters could be a cause for complaint. Which of course brings us back to my original point - one size does not fit all - such criticisms should be dependent on the particulars of the book in question, not as a tick-box on a check-list prepared independent of any knowledge of said book.

Tuesday 2 December 2014

My reading in 2014

Shocked by the fact that book blogger Richard Auffrey read a total of 240 books in 2014, I thought I would present my own meagre haul.

In the first 11 months of this year I managed to read 12 books and 2 graphic novels.

I also read out loud a number of children's books to my daughter, Celyn, including all 13 volumes of Lemony Snickett's A Series of Unfortunate Events!

The books I've read this year are listed below in chronological order (most recent first). Click on each to see my Goodreads review of that book. The short version is that I enjoyed them all.

You'll notice that I took the time to catch up on some very popular books that everyone but me seems to have read already!

Each better than the one before!

Excellent storytelling!

My least favourite Gemmell book!

Great read, very more-ish.

Wonderful to be back with Fitz/Fool.

Solid melee-rific tale.

Fascinating re-imagined historical fantasy. 

Understated, beautiful writing.

Intriguing start to a huge and complex tale.

An exciting romp, well told.

Weird and wonderful.

Engaging, fun.

My only re-read. Love me some Sandman!

Wednesday 26 November 2014

The YouTube challenge!

Competition now closed - though you can still send me videos!

The 'merit' winners (chosen with help from Facebook etc)

#4 Gabe
#11 Adam
#12 Mayara

The random winners
#13  Tom
#15  Shawn
#10   Tyler
#3   Dan

Send me your address & what you'd like (with 2nd / 3rd choices) and I'll see what I can do. I have no English Prince of Thorns.

I still have mugs...

and T-shirts...

and  oh-so-many books...

to give away.

This isn't even all of my English language spare copies!

Oh course posting these would cost me about a thousand pounds, which is why I dribble them out in competitions over the years. Also, while giving away free Prince of Thorns and Prince of Fools can be like a gateway drug to the Broken Empire and Red Queen's War trilogies ... giving away Emperor of Thorns makes less sense - the people who want it already know if they like the books.

Anyway - I'm lightening the load - I'm giving away 5 signed books, 1 mug & 1 T-shirt.

4 of these prizes will be randomly awarded - so it's worth entering even if you're not a champion film-maker!

To enter all you need to do is make a video of some description - this could be a review of one or all of my books, a plea for a prize, a video of your bookshelves, or you reading from the books ... or ... surprise me.

I would really prefer you send me the link to the video on youtube (don't know how? - it's easy, learn a new skill for your CV). However, if it's a video short enough to attach to an email, you can send it to me.

I'm at empire_of_thorns@yahoo.co.uk. Let's see what you've got!


#16 Sean

#15 Shawn - a video tour of his book cases.

#14 Charlie - a plea for gardening help.

#13 Tom

#12 Mayara - a review of Prince of Thorns (in Portuguese)

#11 Adam - Ruminating on magic in the Broken Empire

(Interesting and thoughtful stuff, Adam. Your analysis seems spot on in most places although I'm not familiar with much of the background that you project it against. Antinomianism is a new word to me (I'll be sure to work it into conversation now!). I've read Bertrand Russell's A History of Western Philosophy so I must have read about Nietzsche (& likely seen and forgotten the word antinomianism too) but I could tell you very little about his ideas. I guess most of the 'philosophy' to be found in the trilogy is homespun, borrowing fibres from subconscious memories of previous reading.)

#10 Tyler - Pitching a Lawrence-Weeks collaboration

9 Sean - your entry could be as random as this!

Click HERE (youtube and blogger once again refuse to talk to each other!)

#8 Mark (Lawrence!) - a word from my namesake.

#7 Andre (the 1st entry from Brazil) - we now have as many entries as prizes!

Click HERE (it's youtube, sometimes it does the picture link ... sometimes not)

#6 Emanuel - the simplest option often works.

#5 Ashmitha, the smart money co-opts a child!

#4 Gabe - Broken Empire - this is just a tribute...

Click HERE (Lord knows why some link and some don't...)


#3 Dan - a Broken Empire song

#2 Josh - Broken Empire quotes

#1 Dennis -  an 'unsolicited' testimonial

Sunday 23 November 2014

My fantasy shelf

Having just given myself dust-fever moving 10 tons of fantasy books, giving away 2 tons, and organising the remainder alphabetically ... I thought that the least I could do was get a free blog post out of it.

This is the shelf in my new 'study' / games room. It's our SFF collection from H to Z, with a couple of G's lobbed in and minus my wife's Star Wars books (another 7 foot shelf like these) and a lot of vampire books I wouldn't give house room to. Also minus whatever happens to be hiding in my sons' rooms at the moment (though they did let me give all the Dragon Lance & Forgotten Realms books to the charity shop).

I haven't read all of these, but I've read a lot of them.

You can click any shelf for a high resolution look.

& on the unit opposite, graphic novels and miscellanea :

Monday 17 November 2014

The Liar's Key, full cover, US version

The cover for the Red Queen's War, book 2:

Pre-order it. I dare(*) you!  US   UK

Many thanks to artist Jason Chan for this fine cover!

(*) I double dare you!

Saturday 15 November 2014

In space there is no chosen one.

The British Film Institute and my UK publisher, Voyager, are having a grand Sci-Fi festival.

"You're a scientist, Mark," they said at Voyager. "Shake your science at them!"

In the past I have taken a couple of shots at demonstrating that fantasy and science fiction are pretty much the same thing. Primarily by focusing on 'magic' and arguing that it's just the natural operation of a world where different rules apply and therefore comes firmly under the remit of science. My own work so far wears the cloak and sword of fantasy but is in fact science fiction in as much as it's set in the future, involves technology in advance of our own, and has no magic.

Here I'm taking a different tack and having a go at saying what I think the real difference between fantasy and science fiction is (generally).

Science fiction is inclusive. We might describe it as the American dream, where everyone has a chance to make it big. In science fiction the power lies in technology that can be replicated and made available to the masses. The ideas are portable. Given the material and an understanding of the principles you can manufacture your death-ray on any planet, anyone may aim it and press the button. There's no sense of any right to power, any destiny to rule, any uniqueness required. Science fiction, whatever the politics overlaying any particular story, at its core leans towards egalitarianism.

Fantasy tends to be more focused on the individual. 'The Chosen One' is a fantasy trope and to some extent this trope infects nearly all fantasy, even when the author is struggling to avoid it. Magic and science may be able to be mapped onto each other, but the fact is that when you set a story in a world where 'magic' exists it almost always lies in the hands of a few special individuals and can't be taken from them, can't be shared.

In Harry Potter, for example, magic tends towards science, it's formulaic, we're shown how to learn it. The main thing that makes it 'magic' rather than 'just the way the world is' is that it only works for a tiny percentage of special people. The rest of us muggles can say 'Avada Kedavra' until the cows come home and nobody we point our wand at will die (believe me, I've tried). Imagine though if anyone could read those spells and they worked - imagine they were on the internet ... they would be a technology then, anyone could use them, they would be part of the world, and they'd be interchangeable with gadgets that performed the same function. It would just be a world with different laws of science - the book about such a place would be a work of science fiction.

So it seems to me that the important difference between science fiction and fantasy is one of equality of opportunity. Sure, a science fiction book may describe a horrible tyranny where an underclass are born into slavery to serve an elite. But at the core of it, the technology that is oppressing them will work for those slaves just as well as for the masters, the technology and the science behind it is neutral, the same laws of physics apply for everyone.

In fantasy we have items of power imbued with great magics. Often they are unique. Nobody else can make one. Owning it, wielding it, makes you the chosen one, gives you the chance to be hero or villain, a god perhaps. In science fiction the laws of the world are not local - everyone else has the chance to copy or reinvent your teleport device, regardless of how pure in heart they might or might not be, or what their lineage is.

In short, in space there is no chosen one.

[ Exceptions that prove the rule include, The Matrix, Dune, and Star Wars. Star Wars in particular is often cited as 'fantasy with spaceships'.]

Friday 7 November 2014

Punching up.

There has of late been an enormous storm in the inward-looking teacup that is the progressive wing of SFF blogger-dom.

A semi-famous performance hate blogger known as Requires Only That You Hate, or Requires Hate, or RH, has been revealed as being several other very active and very vicious trolls. More surprisingly, RH has been shown to be the Campbell-Award nominated new-on-the-scene author Benjanun Sriduangkaew.

Inconsistencies in this person's trail of wreckage cast doubts on whether anything they've said is true. Are they really female, really Asian, who knows? I'll use 'her' in this post for convenience rather than out of conviction. (edit - it turns out she's actually part of a multi-billion dollar political dynasty, so you might want to replace "punching up" with "shitting on from a great height".)

What is clear is that RH is a bully who has used threats of violence and rape to intimidate vulnerable people, and has been successfully doing so for years, much of the time hiding behind a cloak of defending those same people and battling for social justice.

Anyway - I've been watching the fallout from RH's unveiling with interest. Most of the condemnation has arisen from the aforementioned teacup, with people who were abused coming forward now that the tide has turned and RH's ability to hurt their career, or just plain hurt them, has been removed. The SFF community doesn't like bullies and many good-hearted folk are speaking out about it.

This is all good.

But wait...

The part that interests me most is when RH was in her prime, posting to her hate blog but with her victimisation of a wide range of writers from various minorities largely unknown. (I'll note here that I'm unclear whether she went after these people because she saw them as competition, doing what she wanted to do but hadn't yet succeeded in doing - or if she just had faith in her aliases and likes to hurt people ...  or perhaps is a racist white guy in Alabama having a ball...).

At that time RH's activity revulsed a large section of the SFF community but she still had a sizeable body of support, an audience who ate up her rants. Some of these admitted she sailed close to (and over) the line, or indeed any line you cared to draw, but were cheerfully tolerant of it because they felt she was in their camp politically, she was 'punching up', and her claimed minority status gave her some kind of pass. Others were rabidly on board with everything she did - a mob psychology well documented by one of her higher profile targets, R Scott Bakker. A rent-a-crowd that literally believed every word she wrote, even when she admitted not having read the books she was writing about. Disciples who would caper to amuse her (one lick-spittle writing approximately 50,000 words roundly condemning my own work just to earn an atta-boy from her).

Before looking at RH's piece it's worth noting that it's easy to miss that none of the many quotes in this piece are mine. Here's RH's 'review' of Prince of Thorns, she deleted it from her site when exposed as Benjanun Sriduangkaew recently, but the internet has a long memory. Of most interest to me are the comments. That gives you a sense of the echo chamber she had going. EDIT: well s/he has managed to get the review deleted by the archive machine too - which shows a certain level of desperation. It also allows me to demonstrate a classic RH tactic. I can tell you what the 'review' was like and expect you to accept my version without reference to the text. It was a foul, vicious rant, with the sort of language/hate that you might expect from neo-Nazis.

I saw one of these people commenting on the expose linked at the top of this post. Her defence was that she helped out with the RH blog posts but 'only against white guys'.

And that's the needle on whose point these particular 2 cents are spinning.

First let's admit that there is encoded somewhere into all of us a primal desire to form gangs and hurt 'others'. Presumably it served a useful evolutionary purpose. You and I are no different at core from the crowds cheering the death of gladiators in the circus, or the picnickers at the guillotining, or the folk applauding the bear baiting. The trouble is that we know these are not good things and we try to grow out of these 'simple pleasures'. We try to be better people, more socially aware.

However - along comes RH and tells us we're wonderful non-racist, non-sexist human beings ... and do we want to come and bait some authors? Especially privileged white male authors. It's fine - because they're PRIVILEGED WHITE MALE AUTHORS ... it's not as if they're human or individual or have feelings ... let's get them!

And, absolved of conscience in much the same way that the popes of old absolved the crusaders of responsibility for the means because the end was so desired, a pitchfork wielding mob of honest, caring, socially minded, non-racist, non-sexist SFF fans ... unleashed incredible bile at anyone RH set her cross-hairs over.

The thing is ... obviously ... it's not the direction in 'punching up' that's the important bit. It's the punching.

The minor friction burn I took from RH's post on my work is nothing compared to what she unleashed on far more vulnerable people, struggling authors from various minorities, people with far less support whose careers depended much more on communities that RH was able to manipulate. Even RH's mentioning of my children in her review, whilst I could make some song and dance about it, was largely water off my duck-like back. It's not that I'm complaining about - it's not the minimal hurt done to me. It's the observation that so many people who pride themselves on having kindness, equality, fairness at the forefront of their thinking were so easily turned into the very thing they hate by a little clever manipulation, the deployment of the right buzz words, the playing of the right cards, and, frankly, the thrill of the chase.

Wednesday 5 November 2014

Emperor of Thorns - The Polished Version

So today I learned that Prince of Thorns is going into a reprint in Poland (2nd edition) and on Facebook I was directed toward the artwork for the upcoming release of Emperor of Thorns.

Here are all three covers for the trilogy in Poland (published by Papierowy Ksiezyc).

Tuesday 4 November 2014

You think that's magic you're using?

"I influence the course of events by using mysterious and supernatural powers!"

"Well, uh, they're only mysterious until you explain them. And if they're not explainable by natural laws then we need to update the natural laws to take into account these observable and measurable phenomena."

"Do not mock powers you cannot explain!"

"I might mock powers that can't be demonstrated but if you show me these sorceries I'll start measuring them and trying to frame a theory that describes them. You can show me ... can't you?"

"Of course I can! Stand back, mortal!"

"Wait! Is that a book of rules?"

"What of it!"

"Well we have those..."

"But these are MAGIC powers! Very few special individuals can fathom them."

"Behold! I am one of six persons on this planet of seven billion who fully appreciate the finer points of variational quantum chromo dynamics. BOW DOWN BEFORE ME!"

"Look, you're just being silly, this is MAGIC, not science. Observe my hat. Touch my staff ... if you must. Magic!"

"There are any number of things that science has yet to explain - we don't just label those 'magic' and give up. What you're doing is measurable - nice fireball! - has rules, and can be learned by people with sufficient inborn talent. It exists, it's part of the world. The people who pursue its study should be called scientists."


Monday 3 November 2014

The Goodreads Choice Awards 2014!

The good news - Prince of Fools is one of 15 nominees for Best Fantasy 2014 on the Goodreads Choice Awards!

The bad news is that the competition is tougher than ever this year! 

Last year Emperor of Thorns scraped into the final and came 9th of 10.

This year Goodreads have abolished the Paranormal Fantasy category - the folks with guns, tight leather trousers and bare midriffs are with us - and so really heavy hitters like Jim Butcher, Patricia Briggs and Ilona Andrews are in the mix.

This graph showing the number of ratings the 15 nominees have gathered so far from Goodreads readers - this is likely to translate roughly into the number of votes they'll gather in the Award poll.

(click to see detail)

So you can see that Prince of Fools needs all the votes it can get.

Doing well on these awards is a great boost for any book - so if you're on Goodreads and can spare a vote ... many thanks!

& if you're not on Goodreads ... sign up!

Prince of Thorns, King of Thorns and Emperor of Thorns were nominees in 2011, 2012, and 2013, coming 10th, 4th, and 9th respectively.

The chart below shows the order of results in 2011 with the orange columns showing how many ratings each book acquired on Goodreads in the time since then. Note, it's the area of the column that is proportional to number of ratings. If the columns for the first three were the same width as the columns for the rest, then they would be three times taller!