Tuesday 31 October 2017

The Goodreads Choice Awards for Fantasy

Red Sister has made the list of nominees for the Goodreads Choice Awards for Fantasy 2017.

There was a time when we had YA fantasy and Paranormal Fantasy categories and many high-selling books went into those groups making things a LOT easier for epic fantasy. For example, King of Thorns, came 4th in Fantasy back in 2012 and I was pretty unknown at the time.

These days both those lucrative subcategories are bound up with epic fantasy and things are much tougher. So I am very pleased that Red Sister squeezed in!

Being in the awards, and especially making it into the final, is a great help for any author, so your vote will be hugely appreciated by whoever you give it to.

Here's how the nominees stack up in terms of Goodreads ratings (which correlate strongly with sales).

(Click for detail)

So you can see that Red Sister has its work cut out if it is to make the finalist list of 10 after the 5 write-ins are added in to bring the total to 20.

I have included The Core which didn't make the list to show the "bias" Goodreads give to book 1s. I put bias in quotes as I don't feel it is necessarily a bad thing here. Sure Tad Williams is a famous author, but it is still more interesting to see new series, so The Witchwood Crown getting on with 700 ratings where The Core did not with 2500 ratings, is understandable to a degree. One of the books on the list is #11 in a series and it would be dull if all the entries were just late entries in long popular series.

The only book on the list that I've read is Robin Hobb's excellent Assassin's Fate and my vote will head that way.

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Monday 23 October 2017

Translation: the word grinder.

I've blogged before on the difficulties inherent in translating a book. It's a subject of interest to me, both because of my own complete failings when it comes to learning foreign languages, and because the English language and how I use it is of particular importance to me. Given that my work is now in 25 languages it seems reasonable to give some thought to how the lines I like are translated for all those other readers to consider.

My new insight arose as a result of a twitter conversation where it was suggested that the line from Homer's Odyssey that Joe Abercrombie uses part of for his the title of his book "The Blade Itself" came from a translation used in the computer game Total War.

The line in question is:

The blade itself incites to violence.

And whilst I'm sure the game designers took this from some scholastic work ... Google cannot tell me which one.

In the twitter conversation @bydloman came up with all of these alternative translations by scholars of ancient Greek.

And looking in my own copy, translated by W.H.D Rouse (1937), I found:

"Bare steel in sight calls men to a fight."

Black Steel Helmet Near Black and Gray Handle Sword

All twelve of these translations whilst conveying the same general meaning are quite varied in expression, and having chosen my own words carefully, and considering that to be part of my skill as a writer, it is ... unnerving to find myself reliant on a translator's muse to express them in another language. Will I get the powerful "The blade itself incites to violence." or the prosaic "Bare steel in sight calls men to a fight." ?

The truth is that I will never know how good a job my translators have done or whether the books' success or failure in one language is down to their performance, national tastes, marketing or just the flap of a butterfly's wings...

Sunday 15 October 2017

Road Brothers contest and giveaway!

A signed Road Brothers hardback is up for grabs for the best entry, and a different signed book from my reserve for two randomly selected entries.

Since I have failed to explain this well enough below. Look at the picture above. Look at the entries below. I am not just asking for an email telling me your favourite. Write it on a bit of paper and send me a photo. Spell it out with cans of bean. Write it on the window ... something interesting. 

All you have to do is send in the name of your favourite of Jorg's road brothers (this can include any character who travels with him on occasion). The name must be written out in some, hopefully interesting, manner. I've done RIKE in books as an example.

Alternatively you could send in a representation, anything from a drawing to the Action Man figure you feel most closely resembles the person in question.

I will post entries here.

Email them to me at empire_of_thorns@yahoo.co.uk

Random winners = #11 & #33. 
"Best" entry, of many great entries, for which you have my thanks ... #25


#42 Pavle

#41 Mia - how she sees Brother Rike!

#40 Emyr

#39 Andrew

#38 Thomas

#37 Emilee

#36 Johan

#35 Alex

#34 Nicholas

#33 Karyn

#32 Loki

#31 Robert

#30 Patrick

#29 Alessandro

#28 Petra

#27 David

#26 Earl

#25 Woodcrow

#24 Knut

#23 Josh

#22 Alice

#21 Bev

#20 Florencia

#19 Brandon   The thorns, I would said, were Jorgs first road brother. Responsible for setting him on the path of his life.

#18 Livia

#17 Bethan

#16 Dennis        "It was a big event when Sir Makin visited the Drowned Isles" 

#15 Chris, if I'd known you were coming I'd've baked a... oh look, I already did!

#14 Kevin

#13 Nathanael
The Briar patch, while it may not be one of the normal group I have always viewed the patch as somewhat of a character unto its own with how much it molded Jorg into who he came to be. If it hadn’t been for the patch he’d have been killed, the poison in his wounds seemed to constantly remind him of who he is and why he is doing what he does.

12 Gab

#11 Charles

#10 Garrick

#9 Vanessa

#8 Steve

#7 Simon

#6 Nikolas, tries them all!

#5 Rob, counters with "Gog"

#4 Fiona

#3 Amity Guen is rooting for Sir Makin (Guen is named for Dritzz's panther. My 3year old called her Guen because she loves Dritzz bedtime stories.)

#2  Earl

I loved Rike! He never changed, was always a hard cold bastard! But he was loyal and more importantly, (highlight for spoiler) he lived.

#1 Trevor