Hey, remember that “substantive post” I promised for the weekend?

The weekend that just passed, that is. Yah, that one.

Blame the household appliances.

Upside: I got to mess around with screwdrivers and wire-cutters, play with electricity, and generally be the hero.

Downside: There’s more wrong with the washing machine than just a melted plug. (Think: Now, why did that original plug melt?)

more fun than it looks

10 Responses to “Ack!”

  • Khenta Says:

    just found this site via the author page at

    I’m a longtime fan – have read the first book in the late 80s/early 90s from the library. I was glad to see them re-issued with gorgeous covers a few years ago.

    I’ve successfully hooked my fantasy-reading friends on the Steerswoman series (in translation, mostly, which is passably good), and all those who’ve read them keeps asking about the next one! I’m glad to see it’s coming along, whenever.

    I understand about having to keep a dayjob, and I’ll gladly take quality over speed, anyway.

    Best wishes,

    • Rosemary Says:

      Khenta —

      Hi! You’re the second person to post a comment from Germany (my cousin was the first).

      My family immigrated to the US from Germany in 1952, so my sister and I still have connections there.

      I’m glad to hear that the German translations are “passably good” — I was a bit worried about that. My skill at German is pretty shaky, and although I could tell that the events in the translation matched the events in the English version, I just can’t tell, on my own, whether the translation is any good.

      I asked a couple of friends who are fluent (translator Lisa Hunt and her husband Walter H. Hunt — Walter’s a writer, which is how I met them), and they said basically the same thing you’ve just told me.

      But there was one question I had that they couldn’t answer. Maybe you can help?

      It’s this: Why does everyone in the books address each other as “du” ? As I understand, that’s the informal form, used for pals, children, inferiors and pets!

      Is this a thing that’s generally done in fantasy fiction? Or is it a new trend in the German language as a whole?

      And thanks so much for introducing my books to your friends. Maybe I’ll have to polish up my German so I go to some SF/F conventions in Germany…

  • Sabine Says:

    I sure appreciate the effort. At least the dryer still works and likes the new plug you made for it.

    • Rosemary Says:

      Sabine —

      Yeah, I grumbled about doing it when I was doing it, but I do like to work with my hands, and I love it when I can successfully fix something. I felt so efficacious!

  • Khenta Says:


    Very good point you brought up. I have to admit, I’ll have to look into the translations, since I’ve read the originals and have only glanced at the translations (bought them mostly for my friends).

    I think it is not so much a new trend as more of the long-standing dilemma on how to translate it.

    Translating into German, there are only those 2 choices. The formal “Sie”, which also works wonderfully to keep people at a distance, or the informal and more intimate “Du”. The use of “Sie” implies the use of the last/family name (Herr Meier), “Du” implies use of the first name. (and I shudder each time I hear the first name used with “Sie”, which made working at our ToysRUs -decades ago- difficult).

    I think that in the quasi-archaic setting of a fantasy novel, the formal “Sie” would look misplaced and anachronistic. With a superior person, the even more formal -antiquated and out-of-use- “Ihr” would have been used, e.g. “Euer Gnaden – Your Grace”.

    Re: your novels, there’s also (IIRC) not much social stratification. There’s no nobility, or really high-ranking folks, except for the mages. So possibly the use of “Du” was deemed appropriate.

    Huh. I hope I could clear that up a bit… 😉

    • Rosemary Says:

      Khenta —

      That’s interesting– I didn’t know that there used to be an even more formal pronoun in German…

      Another possibility just occurred to me: Maybe the translator had to work very quickly (like, they dropped the books on her desk and said “We need this by Monday.”). She might not have had the time to make a careful and considered decision about implied social distinctions in my imaginary world, every single time two people meet! In which case, using “du” for everyone would have sped up the whole process.

      As for there not being much social stratification in Rowan’s world… well, let’s just say: It depends. There’s a lot of the world we haven’t explored yet.

      Remember, we’ve met one Duke. There might be more kicking around somewhere…

  • Khenta Says:

    “That’s interesting– I didn’t know that there used to be an even more formal pronoun in German…”

    Well, not being an expert: I think that it’s kind of derived from the pluralis majestatis, considering that it’s 2nd person plural.

    Ach, you got me there with the Duke – definitely time to re-read!

    Have a nice sunday!

  • Lineka Says:

    Interesting discussion about the translation there –
    when publishers feel the need to safe money, they often do so in streamlining the proof reading and reviewing processes, which used to include some kind of support for the translator. Very few publishers these days encourage their translators to contact the auther (though rumour has it that not all of the authors are happy about that), and I guess that would help – but only if the translator has enough time on her (or his) hands.

  • Rosemary Says:

    I’d love it if a translator actually contacted me with questions or discussion about my books… rather than have him or her work without any support! Plus, what fun to discuss how my book would work in another language.

    But you know what? I bet that somewhere, someone tried that; and that some author went too far, and tried to be too controlling of the translator, too pushy, and too nit-picking; and in that somewhere, some unfortunate translator got burned. And someone else (like an editor or publisher) saw that happen, and decided that it would be easier all around if the author and translator didn’t communicate at all.

    Or, I could just be automatically turning everything into a story. Which is what I do.

  • Lineka Says:

    There is a generation of translators out there, that would find exactly that statement of yours, upon getting some text by you to translate. You might just hear from one. And the internet is a phantastic medium for just that: Asking questions via e-mail as they arise.

    I think in most cases it’s the time a translator has, that will limit his or her willingness to contact the author – they never know what comes back …

    (Like some Italian auther that shall remain nameless who was displeased cause the German translation of one of his works had a different number of words with it. The reaction was described by the translator as “outcry from beyond the alps”)

    Indeed, stories are everywhere – and in the end all we ever do when we think we think is taking lose ends and spin a story between them. 😉