Originally posted on Once Upon a Twilight for the Poisoned Blade Blog Tour:
(Thank you again to Once Upon a Twilight for hosting the original guest post!)
Originally posted on Once Upon a Twilight for the Poisoned Blade Blog Tour:
(Thank you again to Once Upon a Twilight for hosting the original guest post!)
For any educators out there considering adding Court of Fives (and/or Poisoned Blade) to their curriculum, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers has now issued an official Educator’s Guide. The guide includes class activities and discussion questions on women’s studies, prejudice and racism, code-switching, and more!
You can download the 4 page Court of Fives Educator’s Guide as a PDF here.
Read more about Court of Fives (and its sequel, Poisoned Blade) at Kate Elliott’s official website, too!
Last month (July) I attended San Diego Comicon along with perhaps 160,000 other people (I’m not sure of the numbers). I had the honor of participating in a great panel moderated by the excellent Mary Pearson, with panelists Alexandra Bracken, Andrea Cremer, Kami Garcia, Amy Tintera, and Brenna Yovanoff. I was impressed with how well Mary ran it, and what great comments everyone had.
Even better, the panel was recorded and now you can watch it:
The sequel to Court of Fives, POISONED BLADE, doesn’t come out until Aug. 16, but you can get an exclusive look at the opening chapter at The Novl:
No one must suspect what I plan to do tonight. I should stay in my bed, content with the place I’ve earned for myself as an adversary in Garon Stable. I should.
But I don’t.
Welcome to the YA Scavenger Hunt Spring 2016! This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors and a chance to win some awesome prizes! The Spring 2016 YASH runs from March 29 (12PM PST) to April 3 (12PM PST).
I am part of the PURPLE TEAM. You can view the authors participating, all nine teams, and each team’s full list of prizes at the YASH main page.
Each author for each team will be posting their own clues (along with exclusive content) for the hunt. Below, you’ll notice I’ve hidden a SECRET NUMBER. Collect and add up the clues for each author on my team to enter to win our prize — a book from each author on the Purple Team!
Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.
YASH is open internationally, but anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by APRIL 3, at noon Pacific Time.
I am hosting the amazing Erin E. Moulton for the YA Scavenger Hunt.
Erin is the author of Flutter (Penguin, 2011), Tracing Stars (Penguin, 2012), Chasing the Milky Way (Penguin, 2014) and Keepers of the Labyrinth (Penguin, 2015). She graduated with an MFA in Writing for Children from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. You can find her on Twitter and Facebook. Check out her website for more information.
And don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of books by me, Erin, and more! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is 27, which is why it is also my secret number. Add up all the secret numbers of the authors on the Purple Team and you’ll have the secret code to enter for the grand prize!
P.S. BONUS GIVEAWAY!
In addition to the YASH prize, I am doing my own giveaway. Enter below to win a COURT OF FIVES audiobook, narrated by the fabulous Georgia Dolenz. You have until April 3! Good luck!
“In this imaginative escape into enthralling new lands, World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott’s first young adult novel weaves an epic story of a girl struggling to do what she loves in a society suffocated by rules of class and privilege.
Jessamy’s life is a balance between acting like an upper-class Patron and dreaming of the freedom of the Commoners. But away from her family she can be whoever she wants when she sneaks out to train for The Fives, an intricate, multilevel athletic competition that offers a chance for glory to the kingdom’s best contenders. Then Jes meets Kalliarkos, and an unlikely friendship between two Fives competitors–one of mixed race and the other a Patron boy–causes heads to turn. When Kal’s powerful, scheming uncle tears Jes’s family apart, she’ll have to test her new friend’s loyalty and risk the vengeance of a royal clan to save her mother and sisters from certain death.”
Be sure to check out Kate Elliott’s recent guest post for The Book Wars, in which she discusses her drafting and writing process, world-building, and her experiences writing her debut Young Adult novel, COURT OF FIVES (out 18 August 2015!).
“Frankly, working through my first YA novel has taught me a great deal about delineating a world with fewer words, and I think I was able to put some of the lessons learned about pacing and incisive worldbuilding details into good use in my forthcoming adult epic fantasy Black Wolves (coming this November from Orbit Books). Overall I would say writing YA has helped me in writing adult fiction because it has enhanced my ability to judge how well images and emotions in my head are coming across on the page. Clarity is hard, but clarity is vital: Where the reader’s vision connects with mine is where the magic happens.”
Stay tuned for more guest posts and interviews by and with Kate Elliott as we ramp up to the release of COURT OF FIVES!
I did a Reddit AMA yesterday (you can find the entire text here & there were great questions).
I enjoyed all the questions but I wanted to highlight this exchange.
A reader asked if I was going to be at Worldcon/Sasquan this year and, when I said I was, wrote:
i’m so unbelievably stoked for sasquan. my first con, and a ton of authors who i really respect are going to be there. i’m not sure i’m going to be able to keep my cool.
To which I replied:
Once a newer writer sitting next to me at an autographing said she thought I was being really gracious and patient with the people coming up with books for autographs.
I said, “Are you kidding? I feel like grabbing each one and shrieking, ‘omg thank you for reading my books!!!’ But I keep my cool and don’t.”
In other news, the CEs (copy edited manuscript) for BLACK WOLVES dropped into my inbox yesterday a month before I expected it. Well. That’s my next week sorted when i was already working gangbusters on the first draft of the second YA novel. Now I feel guilty for complaining although at the time I did get a massive 6 hour stress headache (I’m feeling better now as I went paddling).
Here’s a cool post over at A Dribble of Ink that shows the evolution of Julie Dillon’s art from black and white sketch to color illustration to the cover of THE VERY BEST OF KATE ELLIOTT. I find this kind of process amazingly cool.
I believe an interview with me by Paul Weimer should be up at SF Signal (probably it will post while I’m asleep), so I’ll just link to SFSignal for now.
For me 2014 proved to be one of those years more endured than enjoyed, with some memorable exceptions. For those interested in what I wrote over the course of the year, here is a retrospective.
I published a single piece of fiction in 2014, a story (novelette) that I wrote as a valentine for my readers: The Courtship. I call it a coda to the Spiritwalker Trilogy because it takes place a few days after the end of Cold Steel.
No novel in 2014, alas. Which always makes me feel as if I have been unproductive. So here is what I did accomplish:
As I’ve mentioned, I fell behind writing Black Wolves because of my father’s final illness and death in 2013, so although Black Wolves was originally scheduled for November 2014 it was not even finished by the end of 2013.
I completed a first draft of Black Wolves, and subsequently two revisions, for Orbit Books.
I also completed a final line edit and copy edits and page proofs on Court of Fives, my YA debut with Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, coming August 2015.
In addition I completed copy edits and page proofs for my forthcoming short fiction collection, The Very Best of Kate Elliott (Tachyon Publications), forthcoming in February 2015.
I started (and have not yet finished) a piece of short fiction called The Beatriceid, in the style of the Aeneid, but told from the perspective of Beatrice (one of the heroines of the Spiritwalker Trilogy). I also have written about half a short story, “When I Grow Up,” told from the point of view of [spoiler]. I plan to finish these ASAP.
Justine Larbalestier and I launched a monthly book club for Bestselling Women’s Fiction (of the 20th century). We read a novel each month, chatted about it in email and compiled that chat into a post, and invited discussion. I thought this was pretty great, and you can read our posts and the discussion. Unfortunately the press of our schedules overcame us in the second half of the year and we had to put the project on hiatus but we hope to start it up again here in 2015.
This RocketTalk podcast hosted by Justin Landon in which N.K. Jemisin and I discuss bias in the science fiction and fantasy field went really well, and frankly I’m proud of how the discussion unfolded on a difficult and controversial topic.
In honor of NaNoWriMo I managed to write a blog post a day about writing for the first 14 days. You can find a list of these posts at the NaNoWriMo tag/category on this blog.
I wrote up a long squee post about Martha Wells’ The Fall of Ile-Rien Trilogy which generated a lot of wonderful discussion both here and on my Live Journal mirror site.
Another squee post: Over at A Dribble of Ink I highlighted the illustrations drawn by Hugo-award-winning artist Julie Dillon for my illustrated short story “The Secret Journal of Beatrice Hassi Barahal” Because I will never get tired of talking about what a great artist she is!
In December I again participated in Smugglivus, the annual festival of posts at the home of the marvelous Book Smugglers. This year I discussed the presence of women relating to women in narratives (with a focus on television).
If you asked me what I accomplished this year, I would say: Not enough.
Funny how harshly we can judge ourselves.
CONVENTIONS AND APPEARANCES
I don’t get out much because it is expensive to fly from Hawaii to anywhere. (Why is no one crying for me?)
BUT I did have an absolutely fabulous trip to England and France in August and September of 2014. I visited dear friends, went to a nurturing writer’s retreat in Brittany, and in general soaked up hanging out with writers and sff community people and cramming in a year’s worth of shop talk in one month.
I attended Loncon (Worldcon) in London, which was huge, wonderful, diverse, exciting, and exhausting (in the right way), the best Worldcon I have attended.
I was honored to be one of the Guests of Honor (with Larry Rostant, Charlaine Harris, & Toby Whithouse) at Fantasycon, ably run by Lee Harris. This small literary convention proved to be a really fabulous weekend in York, England.
I’ll be writing. The aforementioned two short pieces need to be finished (I have other Spiritwalker short fiction that is partially written too; in a perfect world I would finish them all by June and bring them out as a short collection, but I’m skeptical I can manage that with my current novel writing schedule).
My novel writing schedule? A YA novel and an epic fantasy novel. I will also try to find time to eat and sleep and exercise and, if I’m lucky, to read.
The rest of this week I will be posting about my forthcoming projects and when you can expect them and where you can pre-order. It looks to be a busy year. I say that as a good thing.
As always, my thanks to my readers. You make this all possible.
As many of you know, the Spiritwalker Trilogy is complete, together with two coda stories: The Secret Journal of Beatrice Hassi Barahal (with the most awesome illustrations by Hugo-nominated artist Julie Dillon) and The Courtship (told from the point of view of Andevai). I have a few more Spiritwalker short stories in progress, including one that involves . . . babies (for those of you that like that kind of thing). Again, thanks to all of you who have so enthusiastically read Cat’s story (and to those who read it and were more lukewarm; honestly, I appreciate people reading my books however it goes.)
For my two latest projects I have been working on a YA fantasy (which will be published as a YA and not in the adult sff field) and a new epic fantasy (first of a series).
COURT OF FIVES is now the more official title of the YA fantasy formerly known as MASK (not yet fully confirmed but I think this is going to be it). It is fully revised and in production for a Summer 2015 publication date (the wheels of production grind slowly in YA publishing; they like lots of lead time to promote their titles).
This is the “Little Women meet the Count of Monte Cristo in a fantasy world loosely inspired by Greco-Roman Egypt” story that I’ve mentioned before. I wanted to write an epic fantasy that centered around girls, and telling it through the story of four sisters struck me as absolutely the way to go. In my dry, laconic way I am TOTALLY EXCITED about this book. It is definitely the fastest paced and most streamlined thing I have ever written, without losing the details and (I hope) complexity that I love.
(A younger) Hideo Muraoka would be pretty close to my head canon for the love interest:
Meanwhile, I have turned in a draft of THE BLACK WOLVES to Orbit Books. This is the first volume of an epic fantasy series and, again, I wanted to center a story around women (3 of the 5 point of view characters are women and their points of view get about 75% of the page time in this volume). Having said that, I should note that I believe all the characters are great and (I hope) varied.
Here is the current description:
SOME CHOICES CAN NEVER BE UNDONE.
He lost his honor long ago.
Captain Kellas was lauded as the king’s most faithful servant until the day he failed in his duty. Dismissed from service, his elite regiment disbanded, he left the royal palace and took up another life.
Now a battle brews within the palace that threatens to reveal deadly secrets and spill over into open war. The king needs a loyal soldier to protect him.
Can a disgraced man ever be trusted?
I know, I know, it seems like it’s all about a dude, but trust me on this. Not that I have anything against dudes! I am sure that 50% of the characters in this book are men and I love each and every one of them. Especially Captain Kellas.
THE BLACK WOLVES is also currently scheduled for 2015.
Finally, I have a forthcoming collection of short fiction (and four essays) coming out with Tachyon Publications, to be titled THE VERY BEST OF KATE ELLIOTT. (Truth in advertising: it is actually “all the short fiction Kate Elliott has written in her career so far except for a couple of Spiritwalker-related stories and with the addition of two new novelettes to sweeten the deal”).
Much more on that later.
2013: Not a good year.
The new year is a hopeful time for me even though the calender’s change is to a great degree arbitrary. The difference between December 31 and January 1 in terms of the time of sunrise and sunset is small but in my mind I can create a transitional zone that helps me make sense of moving forward.
I always have too many goals at the beginning of the year but I’ve learned that it is okay to embrace the idea that my eyes are bigger than my stomach, that I pile too much on my plate and maybe leave some things unfinished.
In the new year I have a lot of work to do.
I’m slated to be one of the Guests of Honor at Fantasycon 2014 (York, England, Sept 5- 7). AND I plan to attend Loscon 3 (Worldcon 2014) in London on August 14 – 17. This is all intensely exciting!
So far this year I have
1) turned in the revised manuscript of my forthcoming (2015) YA fantasy, MASK. This is my Little Women epic fantasy in a setting inspired by (but not specifically derived from) Greco-Roman Egypt.
We four sisters are sitting in the courtyard at dusk in what passes for peace in our house. Well-brought-up girls do not fidget or fume or ever betray the least impatience or boredom. But it is so hard to sit still when all I can think about is how I am going to sneak out of the house tomorrow to do the thing my father would never ever give me permission to do.
2) battled intense self doubt regarding the epic fantasy manuscript I am working on, mostly brought on by a crisis of confidence about writing epic fantasy at all. It’s complicated. The most important thing is to persevere past the negative internal voices, and not hate on yourself that you have those voices (and sometimes lose ground to them). That’s human. I have to remind myself that it is okay to believe in yourself. It’s not rude, or cocky, or unseemly. Confidence belongs to everyone.
I have 175,000 words written and a lot of revision to do plus some chapters to write and insert, but in the end I decided that to make sure the layers worked and to understand the story’s architecture I needed a plot board outline, which I finally finished today. At the same time I color coded the five points of view (one per chapter). You can see both the plot board and the post-it tagged manuscript below:
I am in the process of finishing and revising this novel now.
Beyond that I have
1) a Spiritwalker novelette very close to being finished that I hope to post for Valentine’s Day
2) a few more Spiritwalker universe short stories that I would really like to finish. My ultimate goal is a short story collection set within the universe.
3) Two novels on deck. No timetables I can share yet.
4) a short story collection coming 2015; I have more work to do on that.
5) How much I will post over the next few months remains up in the air but I hope to post more regularly and especially I hope to answer some of the many questions I have backlogged. My apologies for not getting to them sooner. I also want to highlight work I’m reading/viewing by others.
As for non-writing related things:
Get more in shape (I have an entire regimen planned and in progress for this).
The other usual things (eat better, spend more relaxed time with people, read more, you know all that).
But if I had to say ONE THING I hope to accomplish this year, I would say: Have a successful trip to Europe (as per above) By my way of thinking success in this context means: hang out with friends, make new friends, spend time with people I’ve been longing to visit, talk talk talk, avoid exceptional hassles, stay healthy, and pick a couple of places I’ve not yet seen that I really want to visit. Also: people!
I don’t know if a new year means the same to everyone — but for me it is a chance to let go of some of the burdens I carried the previous year, to set goals I won’t fully achieve but keep striving for regardless, and to aim for one or two carefully chosen accomplishments or events, however large or small. I’d be interested in hearing how you approach the new year.