Publication: Tanz der Feuerblüten (Dance of the fire blossoms)

Publication: Tanz der Feuerblüten (Dance of the fire blossoms)

It’s time. Today, my debut novel “Tanz der Feuerblüten” (Dance of the fire blossoms) is available. It is a japanese-style fantasy love story about ghosts, demons and the magic of the elements. The novel is published by Ueberreuter Verlag within the (eBook only) uebersinnlich series. The eBook is available on the publisher’s homepage, at Amazon.de and other eBook traders for 2.99€.

Tanz der Feuerblüten von Janna Ruth, Cover-Illustration © Alexander Kopainski, uebersinnlich bei Ueberreuter

Tanz der Feuerblüten by Janna Ruth, Cover-Illustration © Alexander Kopainski, uebersinnlich at Ueberreuter

Blurb:

(unofficial translation)

The sunset palace is full of flawless beauty: water, metal, wood, and air are moulded into remarkable artworks for the royal society to enjoy. When the young sword dancer Jinnan arrives at court, his provincial nature makes him feel awkward and overwhelmed by the complex etiquette. But then he meets the gorgeous Ayaka who entrances him with her air melodies. Against all reason Jinnan sets out to win Ayaka’s heart – knowing fully well, that he’s playing with fire …

 

Background information:

“Tanz der Feuerblüten” is one of the three winners of an Ueberreuter writing competition. Premise: a 100-page long romantasy short novel.

Romantasy isn’t exactly my genre. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of love stories. But when a story puts its whole focus on this single aspect, I’m usually out. Nevertheless I couldn’t exactly say no to such a chance and, thus, created my own kind of romantasy. My test reader promptly said, ‘It’s a really great story, but you probaby won’t win as there’s not enough focus on the romance.’ Well, I did win. At the end of October, I was informed that I had been one of the three chosen winners. I was so happy, I jumped up and down 😉

By the way, I was also invited to visit the publishing house and you can read about that awesome day here: My visit with Ueberreuter Verlag.

Gewinner des uebersinnlich Schreibwettbewerbs

Corina Bomann, me, Jess A. Loup and Rebecca Andel in front of the Wall of Fame. (c) Ueberreuter Verlag GmbH

The story has been inside of me for about 15 years, though certainly not in this form. Back then, I read an issue of the GeoEPOCHE about the Imperial Japan. This society that is solely focused on beauty and elegance, when each tiny detail has a meaning, was so fascinatingly different that I just had to use it someday. There is so much western European Fantasy and sometimes there’s a little bit of oriental fantasy, but it’s quite rare to find asian inspired fantasy. Even though those cultures have a vast potential to be explored. Especially, Japan with all its arts (ikebana, origami, kabuki, calligraphy, gardening …) and fine aesthetics has been a favourite of mine.

2015, then, I was able to fulfill one of my dreams and travel around Japan for 3 weeks, 9 days of those in the Kyoto-Region. It was the best vacation ever. We have seen and done so much; we partook in a tea ceremony, learned how to arrange flowers and watched the geisha’s spring show. Even though I was pregnant at that time, I was able to try on one of those beautiful kimonos and go sightseeing in it. In any case, filled with those impressions, I was ready to take on this story.

 

Video reading of “Tanz der Feuerblüten” (Dance of the fire blossoms)

As part of my pre-release party, I made a little video reading of my book. Go and have a look if you don’t mind the German.

 

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Enjoy the story of Jinnan and Ayaka!

Your Janna

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Environment protection: exalted wood people, talking trees and the conflict potential with civilisation

Environment protection: exalted wood people, talking trees and the conflict potential with civilisation

Today, I want to speak to you about the protection of the environment, an age-old topic of literature. Don’t believe me? Let me go into detail. In Germany we read a book called “Homo Faber” in school. This book written by the famous Max Frisch tells the story of a very technology focused, stressed business man that turns away from civilisation and towards nature. The return to nature or the reconquering of the world through nature is one of literature’s and film’s (think Avatar) themes. But how about the fantasy genre?

 

Nature always wins

Contrary to the very technical world of steampunk, fantasy is a fierce advocat for the environment. Just look at the high amount of people and species living in balance with the nature, such as elves, fairies or shamans. Who doesn’t know the classical wood elf with his bow and arrow? The long-living people are quite usually the ones very in tune with nature and, thus, their world. The humans living far away from nature are usually short-lived, quarrelsome and in many areas short-sighted. Also, dwarves are often critically viewed in regards to their mining ventures. They dug too deep….

The one novelist bringing this environmentalist characterisation to the extreme is Tolkien. His elves are certainly on the good side, even if they wrinkle their noses about all the other creatures, vandalising their world. Thus, they have retreated to the beautiful forests, ensuring their thriving. On the opposite side, you have the orcs, evil and brutal. They not only kill everything they come across. They also burn and cut down the woods.

Wait, where do we have deforestation? Oh right, our rainforests.

Obviously, Tolkien had a thing for nature (even if not on purpose). When the orcs start to deforest Fangorn for the industrialisation of Isengard, the Ents, talking trees, rise up and end their puny attempt. The fires are quelled and Isengard is drowned. Nature wins back its territory, literally rising up against orc-kind.

 

Elben und Natur bei Tolkien

Tolkien: Elves, environmental activists?

Nature vs civilisation

Now, there aren’t that many humans in reality or fantasy that live in balance with nature. Civilisation is our boon (even if it is our vice as well). We cannot survive the way we are without it. But civilisation will always be in conflict with nature. Environment protection is important, but we can’t protect it a 100% without taking away our livelihood. That may work for a single person or community but not for the 7 billion of people on our planet.

 

Robin Hobb: Soldier Boy Trilogy

Fantasy literature loves to take on that conflict and get you thinking. A beautiful example is Robin Hobb’s Soldier Boy Trilogy where this conflict becomes the background theme. The story starts in the civilisation end of its world. The realm is expanding quickly and what do you need for expansion? Infrastructure. So, one big plot point is the building of a road through the unconquered woods. It’s a tough task and one that is made even harder by the people living in the woods.

Contrary to the very technical, logical people, especially the namesake soldiers, the wood people have magic. The magic is a bit out there with its need for overindulgence in nutritious food, but it is used to protect nature. The soldier boy is at the centre of this conflict. His whole life he has dreamt of being a good, successful soldier, capable of logic and engineering. But then he gets infected by magic and fights for his place in an increasingly confusing world. Nature is messy and so is magic. It revolts the soldier boy, but then he begins to question his society and thus, civilisation. Finally, he comes to terms with his role of protecting the environment.

 

Robin Hobb: Soldier Son

Soldier Son Trilogy

 

N.K. Jemisin: The Fifth Season

Hugo Award winner N.K. Jemisin takes the conflict between civilisation and environment to a higher level. Though it’s not about forests but rocks, its nature nonetheless. Her story’s world is frequently subjected to catastrophic natural events. The fifth season is the one, when a supervolcano eruption has brought on a nuclear winter or when a mega earthquake has flattened any structure.

Natural hazard in Jemisin’s world are much more frequent and much stronger than in our world, meaning several civilisation have already bitten the dust. The great Sanze civilisation is only great because it survived five seasons. Now, her main characters are the so-called orogenes who are children of Father Earth and can prevent (or cause) earthquakes and the like. The very conflict between these dangerous, but sympathetic people and the educated, civilised, but nasty people is just another mirror of nature against civilisation.

In the end, nature always wins.

 

Janna Ruth: Tanz der Feuerblüten

Yep, that’s me. I also wrote about the conflict between nature and civilisation, trying for a more objective take. The civilisation in my world is not bad, just as it isn’t bad in our world. It’s just not in balance with the environment which is represented by demons and other mythical creatures. Instead, the civilisation is based on the artistry of human kind and artificial beauty. Magic, by the way, is here part of the civilisation. When the demons and monsters rise up against my civilisation though, human kind doesn’t have much left to defend itself. But whether nature wins in the end, you’ll have to read for yourself.

Tanz der Feuerblüten will be published on the 6th of March 2017 within the uebersinnlich series, by Ueberreuter Verlag (Link).

Pre-Release Party von Tanz der Feuerblüten

Pre-Release-Party on Facebook with video reading, interviews and prices to win. (Link)

Whether it’s beneficial to humans or not, fantasy literature often acts as the advocate for the environment. Thus, there are two hypothesis to be drawn from almost every fantasy book focusing on this topic.

  • The environment is something good, that needs to be protected and …
  • The force of nature will overwhelm us in the end.

Because no matter how much we destroy of the environment, in the end we will only succeed to make the world unliveable to us. The environment will recover eventually and evolution will bring up new life-forms. The world has been through several stages of higher temperature for example, but I wouldn’t exactly recommend living through any of them.

The protection of the environment is so important not just for nature’s sake, but for our sake.

 

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My visit with the Ueberreuter Verlag

My visit with the Ueberreuter Verlag

As the winner of the uebersinnlich writing competition I was invited to visit my publishing house, the Ueberreuter Verlag, last Friday (February 10th, 2017). Not only was I showed around the premises, I also got a workshop with best seller author Corina Bomann.

 

A big player in the publishing industry playing it low?

If you think about a major publishing house, you would expect something … well, big, impersonal, maybe even mass production. Our welcoming at the Ueberreuter Verlag was nothing like that. It was like being introduced into a big family where everyone is happy to meet you. Maybe 15-20 people work at the publishing house which is a lot less than I expected. On the other side, the publisher’s archive is so big, each office needs to host a part of it.

 

Ueberreuter Verlag

The entry of the Ueberreuter Verlag with the archive and the Wall of Fame

On Friday, the first order of business was inviting the three winners – which would be Jess A. Loup, Rebecca Andel and me – for lunch. The restaurant beneath the publishing house offered creative dishes such as yeast dough with plums and pumpkins, but was very delicious. After that, we got a real tour through the offices.

We get to know the three editors that know our projects by heart and won’t stop with well-meaning compliments. Then we get to know the girls from production and see all the new editions. Too bad that our novels will be E-Book only. In the marketing room though, everyone’s just as excited as us and so are the girls from distribution. Only the publisher himself is missing. Maybe next time.

 

Neuerscheinungen bei Ueberreuter

The new releases of the Ueberreuter Verlag GmbH.

A workshop going off course

The second part of our win was the workshop with Corina Bomann. Corina has been an author for the Ueberreuter Verlag for a long time and knows way around publishers and agents. On this Friday she not only wants to give us tips about capitalising on our recent success, but also invite us to create worlds, characters and plots with her. While we’re at it, we spend so much time on excited chatter that we forget all about the tasks ahead of us.

 

At the workshop with Corina Bomann. (c) Ueberreuter Verlag GmbH

Instead we learn a lot about Corina’s path to success, blabber on about our own plans and dreams and get a notion about where to go from here. The doors of the book world are wide open. Now, it’s our turn to make it work. Nevertheless, Corina and the Ueberreuter Verlag have offered us their valuable time and help and we’re happy to have such great mentors at our side. Maybe a little too happy. Let’s see!

 

Goodies over goodies

But if you thought that that was everything, you (and I then) couldn’t be further off. At the end of the workshop we got ourselves some beautiful diplomas which we had to present to the camera of course. Then there was a bag so full off books and goodies that I almost failed carrying it safely home.

 

Ueberreuter Goodies

That’s how much I got from them – almost too much to fit on a picture.

But the absolute highlight was the Wall of Fame. On that wall all the authors and illustrators under the publisher have written their names and we were allowed to add ours. Not only that, Mobs got its place of honour as well and who knows, maybe Mobs will not only decorate the wall of Ueberreuter but some book pages in the near future.

Janna auf der Wall of Fame

Me, signing on the Wall of Fame. (c) Ueberreuter Verlag GmbH

I want to thank Kathleen Neumann and her team for the beautiful afternoon, all those gifts and tips, and hopes you’ve passed onto us. It was great visiting you and I’m looking forward to a repeat.

Gewinner des uebersinnlich Schreibwettbewerbs

Corina Bomann, me, Jess A. Loup and Rebecca Andel in front of the Wall of Fame. (c) Ueberreuter Verlag GmbH

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