A Valentine For My Readers (A Spiritwalker Story)

Dear Readers,

There are days when the work flies through me and I am mighty. There are days when the work is one long slog of dragging weights behind me in the form of recalcitrant, uncooperative words. There are days I sit in despair staring at a wall mottled with self doubt. There are days I write like it is my job, which is not a bad thing when one has (presumably) skill and competence and a love for one’s work.

But every day I appreciate YOU, the ones reading my books.

I am grateful that you read them AT ALL. (I’m still kind of amazed by that.) I can work as a writer because you buy my work. I THRILL to the remarkably astute and brilliant analyses you write (& now and then mope sadly to a negative review, although negative reviews can also be useful as a perspective on the work and — as always — any review helps a writer be more visible in a crowded literary world). I adore the fan-art, and while I have to avoid reading fan-fic for legal reasons, I think it’s pretty cool that people write it. Did I mention I adore fan-art? And strange as it may seem, I really enjoy “meeting” (so to speak) and interacting with readers on social media. My books aside, I’m a reader too with the same love for reading and I never get tired of talking about books I love.

So: THANK YOU.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, a story for you, set in the Spiritwalker Universe. Yes, there might even be some sexual situations (fair warning).

Con or Bust Auction: Signed Set of Spiritwalker Trilogy + Secret Journal

Item Name & Description: Two signed sets of Kate Elliott’s Spiritwalker series (Cold Magic, Cold Fire, Cold Steel, and The Secret Journal of Beatrice Hassi Barahal)

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The author describes this series as “an Afro-Celtic post-Roman icepunk Regency fantasy adventure with airships, Phoenician spies, the intelligent descendents of troodons, and a dash of steampunk whose gas lamps can be easily doused by the touch of a powerful cold mage.” Publishers Weekly calls it “a swashbuckling series marked by fascinating world-building, lively characters, and a gripping, thoroughly satisfying story.” Orbit has donated two signed sets of these trade paperbacks.

Starting Bid: $15.

Notes: Top two bidders win (new bids must increase over the last bid). Shipping limited to the US and Canada (because of publishing rights). Because the books are being shipped by the publisher, personalization is not available.

Bidding will open Monday, February 10, 2014 at 12:01 a.m. Eastern (GMT -5); it closes Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time. More Information.

TO MAKE A BID: GO TO THE CON OR BUST SITE (don’t make a bid here).

Julie Dillon Art for the Spiritwalker Trilogy

I have written before about “The Secret Journal of Beatrice Hassi Barahal”available in PDF and now with more print copies in stock! So if you were waiting for print, it is available at Crab Tank.

The Secret Journal contains black and white illustrations of the Spiritwalker characters, done by the wonderful Julie Dillon.

Last week over at A Dribble of Ink we debuted another amazing Julie Dillon piece, this one a color illustration of a scene in Cold Steel (dragons! fire!).

And today at Orbit Books a fabulous color illustration (also from a scene in Cold Steel) of Amazons.

My 2013 In Writing

For 2014: GoH at Fantasycon 2014 (York, U.K.) I’m super stoked! If you can make it, do! (September 5 – 7)

I also plan to attend Loncon 3 (London Worldcon), which is shaping up to be quite an event.

It’s unlikely I’ll be attending any conventions in the USA in 2014.

 

As it happens, 2013 was a remarkably packed year for me, publication-wise:

February 2013:

Apex Magazine‘s Shakespeare-themed Issue 45 included a reprint short story “My Voice Is In My Sword” and an interview.

 

May 2013:

Fearsome Journeys edited by Jonathan Strahan (Solaris/S&S) with an original novelette for this sword & sorcery/epic fantasy anthology, “Leaf and Branch and Grass and Vine.”

 

June 2013: (the Big Event of my publishing year)

Cold Steel: Spiritwalker Book Three (the final volume of the trilogy)

Publishers Weekly gave it a starred review and said “Elliott pulls out all the stops in this final chapter to a swashbuckling series marked by fascinating world-building, lively characters, and a gripping, thoroughly satisfying story.” Yes, that makes me happy. There are a number of reviews of the novel I really adore but I will spare you quoting them all because I am humble and polite that way.

 

July 2014:

Open Road Media published 8 of my backlist novels in ebook form. Whoo!

(The 4 Novels of the Jaran, the Highroad Trilogy, and The Labyrinth Gate)

 

August 2013:

The Secret Journal of Beatrice Hassi Barahal.

[The link is to the PDF version. The print version is currently out of stock BUT more copies are in and it should be available in the print version again by January 10.]

An illustrated short story, text by Kate Elliott and AWESOME black & white illustrations by the spectacular (and Hugo-nominated!) artist Julie Dillon. This was a blast to write and I love the illustrations SO MUCH. Let’s call it “Bee’s version of the events, with a coda.”

 

Fall 2013:

The audiobook for Cold Magic came out from Recorded Books.

 

October 2013:

Unexpected Journeys, edited by Juliet E. McKenna, an anthology of fantasy stories for the British Fantasy Society. An original novelette, “The Queen’s Garden.” This anthology is only available to members of the BFS, but I hope to reprint the story elsewhere in the upcoming year.

 

Also: ALL of the Crown of Stars novels (DAW in the USA and Orbit UK in the UK) are now availlable in ebook versions as well as print. Because The Crossroads Trilogy is also in e-format, all my published novels can now be easily obtained. E-books are changing the field in massive ways whose fall-out we cannot yet predict, but in terms of a backlist it has been a great thing.

 

That covers publication of fiction. My favorite posts of the year (ones I wrote):

The Creole of Expedition: Part One and Part Two

Strength

Charles A Tan kindly did a Storify of my tweets about “SF Civility

Love and Infatuation in the Spiritwalker Trilogy

Spiritwalker Inspirations and Influences.

The Status Quo Does Not Need World Building

On Fan Art (and how it inspired The Secret Journal).

I’ve missed something I should have listed but if I’d remembered what it was I wouldn’t have missed it.

Liz Bourke did an interview with me on Tor.Com that I quite like.

And Aidan Moher (A Dribble of Ink) and I did a re-read of Katharine Kerr’s excellent DAGGERSPELL that I thought went really well.

 

What’s ahead for 2014?

The two convention appearances in the UK. And a lot of writing.

Forthcoming projects:

A short story collection with Tachyon Publications. (2015)

A YA fantasy (Little Women meet epic fantasy with a dash of Count of Monte Cristo) from Little Brown Young Readers. (2015)

An epic fantasy with Orbit Books.

I’ll keep you posted.

I have two more Julie Dillon illustrations, these in color, that I will be releasing into the wild ASAP.

Most importantly, thank you to all of my readers. This can happen because you are all reading/listening/etc, and I treasure each and every one of you.

 

The Secret Journal of Beatrice Hassi Barahal: Delays

There has been an unavoidable delay in getting the next set of printed chapbooks but we will get them mailed out ASAP. I appreciate your patience.

My daughter, who has the pdf version completed except for some difficulties making it display properly on a retina display, currently has the flu, so as soon as she has recovered that will get sorted out.

The Secret Journal of Beatrice Hassi Barahal: Print Version On Sale Now

 

 

smaller Bee

 The Secret Journal of Beatrice Hassi Barahal is finally and at long last ready to order in its PRINT version.

I appreciate your patience as this has been a micro-press venture and has taken quite a while to move through all the steps. While the people I worked with have experience in these matters, this is the first micro-press project I have ever attempted and I could not have done it without the able assistance (and patience) of Rhiannon Rasmussen-Silverstein and Melanie Ujimori, the founders and publishers of Crab Tank Ink (although technically Crab Tank is not publishing the chapbook; the publisher of record is the Press of the Shiny Ideas Clutch, while Crab Tank is acting as the distributor).

Huge thanks to Julie Dillon for her magnificent artwork. For those interested in such details, I commissioned and paid for the art ahead of time. I’m thrilled she took on the project despite a rather daunting deadline.

This is the link to the order site at Crab Tank Ink.

Crab Tank is taking both domestic USA and International orders.

Free to signal boost however and wherever!

 

EBOOK: A DRM-free pdf version is under construction and will be available in about two weeks (it has to be pdf because the illustrations are specific to the page). For the moment  it will not be available on any of the usual ebook platforms, only at Crab Tank.

Love and Infatuation in the Spiritwalker Trilogy

To my mind, and in the approach I take when writing, love and infatuation are related but different things.

Love has so many variations; it is infinite; nothing bounds it. Infatuation is often defined within the bounds of sexual attraction (infatuated with someone you are sexually attracted to) but there are multiple ways to be infatuated that have nothing to do with sexual attraction. One can be infatuated with people intellectually; one can be infatuated with a new friendship; one can also be infatuated with an idea or a song or a new activity, and so on.

All my novels deal in part with loving relationships. Some are romantic relationships while others are friendships and/or family relationships. How people build and sustain bonds of trust and love remains a central element of everything I write.

Reading across my body of work, one might notice that all my novels include romantic love stories. These romances are woven into a larger plot as part of characters’ stories, part of their life experience. These love stories whether primary or secondary may also reflect or comment on other elements in the overall story or may be important to the larger plot in related ways.

So far many of these “love stories” have been sexual in nature (and usually but not always heterosexual–I’m working on expanding my range in this regard), but not all of them are.

I want to talk about love versus infatuation in the Spiritwalker Trilogy because the trilogy involves two love stories: one a romance and other not.

(behind the cut will be spoilers if you have not read all three Spiritwalker books) Continue reading

Two Spiritwalker Questions, Answered (Names, and Endings)

As promised, I’m working my way through all the Cold Steel Giveaway questions. If you asked one (here, on LJ, or on Tumblr), it will get answered.

Both these questions came from Tumblr.

 

pretendtofly asked: Were you completely satisfied with the end of the Spiritwalker Trilogy? Do you think there could be more to the story or did you choose to tie up all the loose ends so to speak?

The actual written ending is exactly the ending I was headed for, so I am completely satisfied with the end of the book.

As a writer I tend not to “tie up all loose ends” just because in my experience of life the big conflicts and drama and politics and so on aren’t neatly tied up, ever. I like endings in which some elements are well satisfied and others are left a bit open, just like in life.

Could there be more of the story?  SURE.

There is a lot left to write about in the Spiritwalker universe. In fact, as a medium term project I hope to write some short fiction set in the world (some prequels and some sequels to the trilogy) and publish it as a collection. This isn’t something that would come out soon, however, as I’m currently working on a YA fantasy (aka Little Women meets Count of Monte Cristo in a fantasy world inspired by Greco-Roman Egypt) and a new epic fantasy trilogy (not related to Spiritwalker).

However, the Secret Journal of Beatrice Hassi Barahal (with illustrations by Julie Dillon) is in production and I’m hoping will be available by mid to late August.

 

 sparklyslug asked: The names Beatrice and Catherine made me think of the two awesome heroines from Much Ado About Nothing and the Taming of the Shrew (because I’m a dork for Shakespeare, it’s true). Was that your intention in naming them? Did you have any specific idea behind giving them those particular names?

So you are quite correct.

The characters started life as Cat and Bee. I always knew that Cat’s name was Catherine and for a while Bee was Bianca because of The Taming of the Shrew.

However, one of the common etymologies of Bianca is that it derives from ‘blanca’ (‘white’) and that simply wouldn’t work for a girl of North African/Phoenician ancestry.

By contrast, two common etymologies for Beatrice are that it comes from “beatus” “happy” or “blessed” and/or from Viator which means a voyager. Those both seemed far more appropriate while still leaving Bee as her nickname.

Catherine is generally understood to come from a Greek root, meaning “pure,” but there is another etymology that suggests the name comes from the goddess Hecate who is, among other things, goddess of the crossroads (and thus someone who leads people to the afterlife).

For more about the inspirations for the trilogy, and how The Taming of the Shrew figures into it, read this post I wrote on “Inspirations and Influences” at review blog The Book Smugglers.

Penultimate Update on The Secret Journal Of Beatrice Hassi Barahal (maybe)

The Secret Journal of Beatrice Hassi Barahal

Words by Kate Elliott

Illustrations by Julie Dillon

spiritwalker_sketch_1_bee1

The layout and design is basically complete and proofed. The printer is out of town next week but a proof will be run the week after next and then a printing. Our hope is that the perfect bound (not stapled) 36 page 6×9 chapbook will be available in mid to late August.

At the time it is available I will post here and everywhere and direct you all to an order page (the distributor is Crab Tank). Domestic US and International orders will be taken.

The print version will cost $7.00 US ( + postage).

An e-version will come out soon after. A price of $3.99 has been bandied about and I think that is likely to hold.

Update: “The Secret Journal of Beatrice Hassi Barahal”

I wanted to post another illustration but WordPress isn’t letting me upload anything here and I don’t at the moment have time to figure out why.

SO:

The Secret Journal of Beatrice Hassi Barahal is in production.

The 29 black and white illustrations by Julie Dillon are in and they are FABULOUS.

The layout has turned out to be more complicated than expected which is why there is a delay, but it is getting closer to being complete, after which the material will be proofed and then taken to press.

I do not yet have a link to an order page (we’re doing this all ourselves so my apologies) but I will link to it here as soon as I do.

I’m hoping that publication will be in August 2013.

 

The Secret Journal of Beatrice Hassi Barahal

Words by Kate Elliott

Illustrations by Julie Dillion

Layout and cover design by Joseph Eichstaedt

Editing by Rhiannon Rasmussen-Silverstein

Printing by ColorHausPDX

Distributed by Crab Tank Press
First Edition, 2013