I Make Up Worlds

SFF/YA writer Kate Elliott

Posts tagged Cold Steel

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On-Line Hiatus

As may be obvious by the lack of updating I am on hiatus and will remain on hiatus until January. I’m working on deadline and am OFF-LINE except to check email.

Feel free to email me or leave a comment on this site (here or on another post) if you have something to say! I am genuinely happy to hear from readers, seriously. At the moment I need to stay away from the timesink of on-line however in order to get two major projects completed.

Blogging should resume in January 2014 with answers to the wonderful questions I was asked back in the Cold Steel Giveaway of May 2013. I haven’t forgotten them!

Meanwhile, in other news, COLD STEEL is a finalist for the RT Award for Best Fantasy Novel of 2013 (together with novels by Paul Cornell, Mary Robinette Kowal,  Stella Gemmell, and E.C. Blake). The contenders answer two questions here on their favorite fantasy novel of 2013 and how they think the field is changing.

As always, thank you for reading.

Filed under Kate Elliott Spiritwalker Trilogy Cold Steel

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garputhefork asked: I can't remember if this was addressed in book 1 (and I've been hoarding book 2 until the last book was released), but how the hell do cold mages cook anything? (Not that one would actually lower him/herself to take a turn in a kitchen...)

Thank you for the excellent question!

The kitchens of mage Houses are separate from the main part of the house where the cold mages live. House members who aren’t mages may work/live in areas heated directly by fireplaces and stoves, and they would certainly be assisted by servants (who would like do the scullery work, etc). These separate buildings are where the cooking is done (then transferred to the main house eating hall for meals). The hypocaust systems warm the main house (with the furnace sourced far enough away from the cold mages that their magic won’t put it out). Also, cold mages feel the cold less than non-mage people do, so they don’t need it quite as warm as you or I might.

This is addressed tangentially in book one and directly in book three.

Also, regarding cooking: I postulate that, based on my reading of cultural aspects, cooking is almost exclusively done by women and is a highly respected skill. A woman born into the House who has no mage ability but who is a good cook and a good “house administrator” (remember the mage Houses might have anywhere from 50 - 300+  members) would be respected and valued within the mage House and could attain additional status through her cooking and administration efforts. Again this is touched on tangentially in book three, and in book two as well (although in book two it’s not within the context of a mage House).

Filed under spiritwalker trilogy Kate Elliott Cold Steel Cold Magic

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COLD STEEL launch day

June 25 means COLD STEEL is officially released on all platforms.

A special thanks to the wonderful community of Spiritwalker readers on Tumblr. I have received some gratifyingly positive reviews for this series (and a few scathingly negative ones!), and I have to say that this review on Tumblr is one of the best. I actually tried to convince Orbit Books’ publicist that





would be a great pull quote but they wanted to use the Publishers’ Weekly Philip Pullman comparison instead. Go figure.

I know that mostly readers like to discuss books among themselves without the author’s involvement (which I think is wise and which discussions I stay away from).

However, for those interested, there is a Discussion Thread (spoilers) for Cold Steel and the entire Spiritwalker Trilogy on my Wordpress blog.

Filed under Spiritwalker Trilogy Cold Magic Cold Steel Kate Elliott

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Thank you (Spiritwalker Monday 1)

The official publication date of COLD STEEL is June 25 for both e-book and print editions in English, worldwide (as far as I know; there may be some regions where it comes out later and if so, please let me know).

I’m always anxious when a new book comes out. That anxiety is amplified when the book in question is the final book of a trilogy because naturally, being the writer, I want people to like it and to feel satisfied with the ending. As always, some will love it, some like it, some will be disappointed, and a few will be puzzled, but mostly most readers will have no idea the book is out because they haven’t heard of it. That’s the nature of the business (especially when you aren’t a bestseller, as I’m not).

So I want to take a moment this week to say:

THANK YOU to my readers

Some of you love all my books. Some like one series more than the others. Some have only read one series or even just one book. One or two have thrown a book I wrote across the room in disgust. Some are trying out my novels for the first time. Some of you write to me or show up at my book events. Some I will never know are out there reading. Some are my friends; most are strangers. And you guys live all over the world.

It’s not that my writing doesn’t exist without readers. It does, and writing exists and lives and breathes even if what is written is only ever seen by the person who wrote it.

To me what happens between a written work and a reader is a creative act all on its own, an interaction that usually takes place in privacy and in silence while being no less vivid and powerful for that. In these days of social media the discussion can range farther afield and reach more people than ever, which is both really cool and kind of daunting and scary. But it always comes back to what I put on the page and what you, the reader, take away from the page.

Thank you for meeting me halfway.

Also, you all are the best.

Filed under Spiritwalker Monday Kate Elliott Cold Magic Cold Steel

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A brief comment on COLD STEEL giveaway questions

The COLD STEEL giveaway continues through Monday. Information here for the Tumblr post. And over here is the main Wordpress post.

There are really great questions, here on Tumblr, on my Wordpress site, and on the livejournal mirror.

I will answer them all over the course of the next three months, a few at a time every Monday (there are a LOT of questions).

I want to thank everyone. Seriously.

Filed under Spiritwalker Trilogy Cold Steel Kate Elliott

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Copies of COLD STEEL arrived on my doorstep this afternoon.

I can’t read them all, plus I already know the story, and meanwhile the book is not officially released until 25 June 2013.

[The ebook will be released into the wild on 25 June but it is possible that the print book will start showing up earlier in bookstores just as the print copies of COLD FIRE did. So if you are buying the print version, keep your eyes open.]

Obviously the only thing to do is to have a giveaway.

I’m giving away four copies of COLD STEEL.

Here are the rules:

1. The giveaway will be open for one week, from today 20 May until 9 p.m. HT (Hawaii Time) on Monday 27 May.

2. Anyone can enter internationally.

3. To enter, ask me a question about the Spiritwalker Trilogy *or* about writing *or* about the science fiction/fantasy field and media *or* about something else. Everyone who asks a question is entered. There are no stupid questions.

4. Three of the copies will be picked randomly from all entries (here, on livejournal, and on tumblr). One copy will be picked at my discretion based on the questions themselves—but only one. There may be a few of you who worry about whether your question is good enough or clever enough or interesting enough: It is. And anyway, as per the above, lest you are still secretly fretting as I would be, three of the winners will be picked without regard to the question asked.

I will mail out the winners’ copies as soon as I get addresses (on May 28 if possible).

5. After you have read the book you can review it IF YOU WISH, or not review it, as you wish. This giveaway is in the nature of thanking my readers.

Just to clarify, any review should be the honest opinion of the reviewer. While I naturally hope all of you love the novel, I am aware that not everyone will, and reviews should be honest. However, IF you decide to review it, I ask (as per Orbit’s request) that you not review it until late June when the books are available.

Do not underestimate the importance of the social media conversation about books. The conversation is a fabulous thing, and it matters.

A brief reminder: Check out my book event dates (San Francisco, San Diego, New York, Seattle, Portland), and come if you can!

One last thing: YOU GUYS. Thank you for being the best readers.

Any questions?

Filed under Cold Steel Spiritwalker Trilogy Kate Elliott Cold Magic

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To support the release of the third and final volume of the Spiritwalker Trilogy I will be at the following bookstores/events:

Borderlands Books, San Francisco, CA: Thursday June 27 at 7 pm

with Katharine Kerr who will also have a new book out, Sorcerer’s Luck.

Mysterious Galaxy San Diego, Saturday June 29 at 2 pm

with Andy Duncan and Clarion students (should be fun AND educational).

New York City: NYRSF reading Tuesday July 2 (other author TBA) at 7 pm

University Bookstore, Seattle, WA: Monday July 8 at 7 pm

Powells Beaverton, Portland OR: Tuesday July 9 at 7 pm

All events will include reading from Cold Steel, from my forthcoming YA fantasy, and maybe even from the epic fantasy trilogy I’m currently working on, or possibly I will read a short story instead although that might necessitate you believing I can actually write a short story. Which I can. I totally can.

PLUS Q&A (you have to bring the Qs).

AND I will either have print copies of The Secret Journal of Beatrice Hassi Barahal available (art by the awesome Julie Dillon!!!!) OR if it is not yet finished I will have a rough version with some of the illustrations to display and a place to sign up with your email/address to get notification when the print and e-book versions are ready for purchase.

Please know that I would love to see you. Yes, you! Especially YOU!

And your friends, family, or indeed any passers-by you can snag off the street. If I’m not coming to a city near you then send friends or family who live in the area to the event! The more the merrier. If enough people come I will sing OR demonstrate how to paddle an outrigger canoe and punch sharks.

I plan to attend the Sirens Conference in Oregon in October (it’s a wonderful small conference — come if you can!) but besides that the events listed above will be my only appearances in public venues/conventions this year (as far as I know).

A note on bookstore events:

I’m signing at four well regarded and valued independent bookstores. You may bring personal books from home for me to sign. It is not required to buy (for example) Cold Steel or any book from the bookstore but it is always a strong show of support for independent bookstores if you can and do buy a copy of my newest book or, indeed, any book while you’re there (whether or not it is one of mine).

If you’re not able to make the event, I do always sign stock at each bookstore so you can order a signed copy afterward. If you contact any of the bookstores IN ADVANCE you can reserve a book and get it signed to you at the event (by me! not some random book signing gnome).

Finally, if you are so inclined, do feel free to signal boost this announcement. There is always always someone who says afterward: “But I didn’t know you would be here!”

Filed under Kate Elliott Cold Steel Spiritwalker Trilogy book signings Cold Magic

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From: The Secret Journal of Beatrice Hassi Barahal


Cat Barahal, in the fencing salon (preliminary sketch by Julie Dillon)

I’m collaborating with fabulous (& now Hugo-nominated!) artist Julie Dillon on a chapbook (she’s illustrating, I’m writing) titled "The Secret Journal of Beatrice Hassi Barahal." It will be published by Crab Tank.

If all goes well the chapbook should be available by the June 25, 2013 release of Cold Steel.

More details and information (including bonus art) forthcoming.

I am so super excited about this project that I can’t even express it properly.

Also, if you think it is something you would buy either as a print or digital copy, please let me know over in the comments of my blog. Or here.

Spiritwalker Monday 12

Filed under Spiritwalker Trilogy Kate Elliott Cold Steel Cold Magic Julie Dillon

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Working my way through the page proofs of COLD STEEL:
I am looking for typos and grammatical mistakes, of which so far I believe I have found only two in quite a long manuscript, which means the Editor, Associate Editor, copy editor, and Sr Production Director have all done an excellent job. There is one odd glitch (marked by the orange post-its) which has to be trimmed out throughout [number strings that got dropped into/left in from some previous cycle of production]. Given the paucity of actual typos, my focus has been making any last (minor) changes such as changing a word or rephrasing a conversation or (in one case) adding a small revelation to the end of a chapter. Obviously I could edit forever which is why deadlines are important: Eventually you have to stop and let it go.

Working my way through the page proofs of COLD STEEL:

I am looking for typos and grammatical mistakes, of which so far I believe I have found only two in quite a long manuscript, which means the Editor, Associate Editor, copy editor, and Sr Production Director have all done an excellent job. There is one odd glitch (marked by the orange post-its) which has to be trimmed out throughout [number strings that got dropped into/left in from some previous cycle of production]. Given the paucity of actual typos, my focus has been making any last (minor) changes such as changing a word or rephrasing a conversation or (in one case) adding a small revelation to the end of a chapter. Obviously I could edit forever which is why deadlines are important: Eventually you have to stop and let it go.

Filed under Spiritwalker Trilogy Kate Elliott Cold Steel

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Cold Steel: The Good News & the Bad News (Spiritwalker Monday 35)

The good news: Cold Steel is finished, revised, and in production at my publisher, Orbit Books.

The reality: Production is a process that takes many months.

The book gets copy edited for grammatical, punctuation, and consistency errors, and then I have to go over the copy edits as well, at which time I can make any last line editing changes. For instance, I think I am going to have to cut the word “cocky” from one sentence. [Copy editing is good news, though, since a good copy-editing job makes the book better.]

More good news: After copy editing, the book gets “typeset”—that is, converted from double spaced manuscript format into the format seen in books. The interior of a book is designed, just as the exterior cover design is. Font, kerning, spacing and other graphic design elements are just as important for ease of reading and a positive aesthetic look even when it is just text. A beautifully designed text is a pleasure to read.

Several proofeading passes are made through the typeset pages to eradicate as many typos and errors as possible (although some will always slip through). The text must be converted into various ebook formats. A cover is designed, tweaked, printed. Marketing, orders, and distribution also have to be dealt with in the lead up to printing and the actual arrival on the shelves. And this accounting is just the quick, simplistic version of all the things the publisher does. (I haven’t even touched on how my editor helps me make this the best book possible, because that part of the process has already happened.)

The other thing the publisher does is schedule books a year or even farther in advance. While there are exceptions of faster turn around times, a novel that is part of an ongoing series is often published (on the shelves) about a year after the manuscript is turned in (sometimes a year after it is turned in with all final revisions). Even if a publisher is trying to hold open a slot, if the book comes in too late, they will then have to move the book to a later open slot because they need the time for production, and sometimes an even later slot because they have already scheduled books that have been turned in.

That’s what happened with Cold Steel.

Let me explain: I started writing Cold Steel in late February or early March 2011. My wonderful brother in law (my sister’s husband) was at this time dying of brain cancer (he died in June 2011). His death hit hard, and combined with some other life stressors (nothing life threatening) to make writing the book slow going. Meanwhile writing the last volume in a trilogy is always challenging because it is important to tie everything together in a way that fits with what came before as well as fulfilling—as far as humanly possible—the promise of the opening. For instance, at one point I wrote 150 pages of material I ended up cutting (for branching down the wrong story tributary) as I tried to figure out what approach to take to the story.

Note: Cold Steel is 227,000 words in final draft. The first draft was more like 270,000 words, but I cut about 50,000 words before I even turned it in to my editor. That doesn’t take into account the aforementioned 150 pages I had cut while in the process of writing the first draft. Naturally, my editor wanted more cuts, and she wanted revisions as well. So, all in all, I expect I wrote about 325,000 total words (give or take ten thousand or more) for a final revised draft of 227K.

Meanwhile Orbit was holding open a January 2013 slot, but when I could not make the March 1, 2012, turn-in date they had to move the book. The next available slot — and remember that meanwhile they have other books by other authors being turned in and scheduled — was June 2013.

So that’s the bad news: Cold Steel will be published on June 25, 2013.

As it happened, I finished a draft in mid April, revised it and turned in a preliminary draft to my editor in May, got revision requests in June, and turned in a final draft in late August.

However, the EXCELLENT news remains that the novel is complete, is proceeding through production, and is (I can safely say) the very best book I could write (with the aid of the always crucial comments from my various beta readers and the firm hand of my evil dedicated and mild-mannered editor Devi Pillai).

Cold Steel completes the Spiritwalker trilogy.

The other excellent news is that I have the best, most perspicacious, and remarkably patient readers, and I appreciate each and every one of you.

Therefore, from now until publication, I hereby commit to making a post a week (in countdown format) specifically about the Spiritwalker books and/or the Spiritwalker universe that may include answers to your questions, my comments about the writing process or the characters or the world, biographical vignettes, and (I hope) a few short stories. It will be tagged “Spiritwalker Monday” and will, I hope, mostly appear on Mondays. I’m also going to try to continue with more regularity my long-promised semi-regular world building posts, but I’m trying to not be too ambitious here.

That makes this post Spiritwalker Monday 35 (next week will be 34, etc).

Again, my thanks for your patience.

If you have any questions or a subject you would like to see addressed over the next 7 months, please let me know via email or here on Tumblr or on Twitter or Facebook.

I will post the final cover as soon as I have it. Now I have to get back to work on my next project.

Filed under Spiritwalker trilogy Cold Magic Cold Fire Cold Steel Kate Elliott Spiritwalker Monday