Tag: france

Recent reads

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(well, OK, not so recent. Catching up on my summer of sloth)
A Tangle of Magicks/Renegade Magick by Stephanie Burgis: the sequel to A Most Improper Magick/Kat, Incorrigible, which finds teenage witch Kat Stephenson in Bath, trying to shepherd her sister into marital happiness, prevent her older brother from gambling the family fortunes away–all the while struggling with her Guardian powers, and a dastardly plot to use the power of the Roman Baths for nefarious ends. Kat’s voice is as delightful as always, and this is a very nice, punchy mix of comedy of errors and adventure book. Very much looking forward to book 3!

-David Gemmell: hum, a lot of books? Finished the Drenai books, and found one I hadn’t read (the very last one, Swords of Night and Day). The earlier ones are still those that carry the most punch for me; I suspect partly because of nostalgia. Also read Lion of Macedon/Dark Prince, which is basically Greek legends on crack (I exaggerate a bit, since Gemmell obviously documented himself well and has always had a fondness for Antiquity settings in his books; but not by much. The entire many-worlds experience, and the Source vs Spirit of Chaos thing are very entertaining, but I very much doubt that they have anything of “authentic” Ancient Greece about them. Still, what I very much enjoyed about them is their scope: the books take place over decades, and it’s refreshing to see alliances form and break as time passes. It also allows the author space to show the characters grow and age, which isn’t often found in genre fiction–especially in epic fantasy–and this gives a gravitas to the books which prevents them from tipping into outright silliness. Not by much, admittedly).

My Vietnamese progresses; I can now get *some* words recognised by my mother when I say them (don’t laugh. The potential for screwing up words in this language is oh-so-boundless). And this weekend is going to be busy busy, as I’ll be at Rencontres de L’Imaginaire in Sèvres with the H, hopefully signing a number of books greater than zero…

Also, this: awesome xkcd comic. I want to go back in time and build one of those in high school.

French rights to Obsidian and Blood sold

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Ok, this is the bit where I jump up and down (and possibly throw some squeeing, too). This was the news I was sitting on last week, which was killing me (I’ve known for a while, but the signed contracts arrived last week, which made it even harder to wait).

My awesome agents at Zeno Agency have sold French rights to all three Obsidian and Blood books to Mathieu Saintout of Bibliothèque Interdite (the aptly named “Forbidden Library”). Bibliothèque Interdite is currently publishing Games Workshop books, but is planning to launch their new imprint at the end of the year.

I’m going to be translated in French. For French bookshops. This is going to be so weird. But so great.

This clearly calls for leaping Bubble Bobble dinosaurs:

A small rant

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And while we’re on the subject of writing in other cultures….

Dear Interwebs (and dear writers/editors/journalists),

If you’re going to be using or quoting French words, would you please try to get the accents right? It may not seem like much to you, but witness:

-“côte”=slope; “coté“=side
-“mat”=matte, Fool trump in tarot; “mât”=mast
-“pâte”=dough, “pâté“=spreadable paste made with meat, “pate”= a word that doesn’t exist in the dictionary (though “patte” does)

I can deal with no accents whatsoever, since I’ll assume they’ve all been stripped. But please pretty please with cherries on top, don’t just randomly add them and hope it looks good. It doesn’t. It just looks weird, unpronouncable, and written by someone who had no blasted idea of what accents were for.

And if you’re going to be making up French first names, could you please check the time period when your story is supposed to be taking place?

You might not know it, but before 1993, the civil servants at the town hall (where you go to register a birth), could reject anything that wasn’t on a pre-approved list (it’s here in French, if you’re interested. A shorter version in English is up on Wikipedia). The list was calendar saints, mythology (Greek/Roman), some foreign names (very limited, since the ones listed are James, Ivan or Nadine), some substantives, and acceptable variations on spelling of an authorised name (Marianne for Marie-Anne, Mathieu for Matthieu, Michèle/Michelle). And you actually had to justify why you weren’t giving a proper French name (as in, a calendar saint).

And before 1966, anything that wasn’t a calendar saint had very, very low chances of going through.

So, if you’re going to be creative with first names, please don’t set your story in 1945.