Posts Tagged ‘Kate Elliot’

Debuting “Amazons” by Julie Dillon

The Spiritwalker Trilogy is an epic fantasy coming-of-age-and-revolution in a gas-lamp setting written in first person from the point of view of a single character. While I really enjoyed writing in the voice of Cat Barahal, the single character first person viewpoint also presented challenges. For example, I could only ever see other characters as Cat sees them, and any incident that she does not herself personally witness she can only report on (or hear a report of) later.

As I finished up COLD STEEL (US | UK | AUS), the third in the trilogy, I decided to write a short story “coda” from the point of view of one of the other characters, Cat’s beloved cousin Beatrice (Bee). I also decided that because Bee is an artist I wanted the story to be illustrated. I’ve written about “The Secret Journal of Beatrice Hassi Barahal” elsewhere (extensively here where I talk in detail about the process of creating a chapbook with illustrations).

The artist Julie Dillon did a fabulous job with the black and white illustrations for the Secret Journal. I also commissioned her to do a couple of color pieces, more for my own selfish desire to have the illustrations than anything else (although we are talking about doing a limited edition print run).

Julie did two spectacular pieces based on passages from COLD STEEL.

One, “Rising from the Sea of Smoke,” was debuted over at A Dribble of Ink last week. You can see it there or on Tumblr.

Today, Orbit Books is debuting the second piece, “Amazons.” (Click for a larger view.)


I asked Julie to illustration the following passage:

A gust of wind rattled the branches. A drum rhythm paced through the woods. On its beat I heard a woman’s voice call out a verse, answered by a chorus of women singing the response.

A column of soldiers marched into view, although they were almost dancing, so proud and mighty were they, and every single one a woman.

Four drummers led them while a fifth struck a bell, the drummers prancing and stepping on their way with every bit of flash and grin that any young man could muster. Their shakos were as jaunty as my own. All wore uniform jackets of dark green cloth piped with silver braid. Some wore trousers, while others preferred petticoat-less skirts tailored for striding. Most wore stout marching sandals laced along the length of calf, brown legs and black legs and white legs flashing beneath skirts tied up to the knee. Four lancers walked in the first rank, tasseled spears held high, while the rest carried rifles and swords. A banner streamed on the wind. It depicted an antlered woman drawing a bow.


Of the piece, Julie writes:

“I made the viewpoint lower to the ground so the viewer is looking up at them a little rather than looking down, which I thought might give them a somewhat larger than life feel. I also tried to make their poses and gestures, most particularly the arms of the amazons in the front row, have a nice flow of movement between them, to try to convey the sense that they are moving a little more energetically.”

Read the first chapter of COLD MAGIC (US | UK | AUS), book one of the Spiritwalker trilogy.

COLD STEEL: The Exciting Conclusion to the Spiritwalker Trilogy

Kate Elliott was one of my favorite authors growing up. I wrote a gushing letter in the front of COLD MAGIC (US | UK | AUS) that she still tortures me about to this day. Let’s see if I can find it! Ah. Here it is:

I was 13 years old when I first fell head over heels in love with Kate Elliott’s Jaran. I still remember sitting on the floor of my local library one minute, and being transported to another world the next. Over the years, I’ve gone back and read the series again and I still love it as much today as I did then. So it is an absolute privilege and a pleasure for me to welcome Kate Elliott to the Orbit list.

Kate is known for her enormous epic fantasy tales, full of brilliant characterization, in-depth politics and mind-blowing plot twists and turns. Now, in Cold Magic, she’s created an alternate Victorian England where airships rule the skies and Cold Mages will do anything to keep technology from getting into the wrong hands. It’s a world where magic rules the day and science hides at night, and where one young woman must discover her destiny.

Kate has outdone herself, creating an intricately detailed and lavish world where technology mixes with magic, and our own history is rewritten in an alternative world.

Many readers spend their adult lives trying to rediscover the feeling of the books that first transported them as readers. I can safely report that this book did just that for me, and I hope it does the same for you.


And to think that I wrote this three years ago! A whole series has passed! And with it, comes the conclusion of this fantastic series that everyone has been raving about. Mysterious men? Check. Airships? Check. Steampunk? Check. Kate Elliott tells a wonderful story that culminates in COLD STEEL (US | UK | AUS). It was many years in the making and when you reach the end, it is everything that a satisfying series should be. Plus just a bit more.  I love the experience of working with her on this series — and I can’t wait to tell you more about her new one! Though that will wait for a bit. But here’s a bit about COLD STEEL:

Trouble, treachery, and magic just won’t stop plaguing Cat Barahal. The Master of the Wild Hunt has stolen her husband Andevai. The ruler of the Taino kingdom blames her for his mother’s murder. The infamous General Camjiata insists she join his army to help defeat the cold mages who rule Europa. An enraged fire mage wants to kill her. And Cat, her cousin Bee, and her half-brother Rory, aren’t even back in Europa yet, where revolution is burning up the streets.

Revolutions to plot. Enemies to crush. Handsome men to rescue.

Cat and Bee have their work cut out for them.  

I hope you have as much fun with this series as I did.

cold magic    cold fire    Elliot-Cold Steel-TP