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Long Update & Linkage: January 2011
kateelliott

Work proceeds on Cold Steel (Spiritwalker 3) which will, indeed, complete the Spiritwalker Trilogy. It’s going slowly because it is complex, but I’m pleased with my progress even though I wish it were writing more quickly. However, my chief goal is to write the best book I can, rather than the speediest book I can.

Strangely, google’s search engine is currently blocking my web page (and therefore also my wordpress site, which is on my web page) from all searches, but it is still there at (if you’re reading this on Live Journal) at www.kateelliott.com

Other search engines like Bing and Yahoo do still find the web site and wordpress blog. We are looking into it but have yet to get a satisfactory response from google.

Meanwhile, I expect to be online less than usual until I complete a draft of Cold Steel. I’m seriously considering a couple of pieces of short fiction in the Spiritwalker world as well to go with the Rory short story, one featuring Rory and one featuring Bee (the tale promised at the end of Cold Fire, in fact).

I do intend to write a series of posts on World Building but I really can’t work on them concertedly until I have a complete draft of Cold Steel in hand.

In the meantime, I don’t intend to post on my blog much until 1) said draft is complete and 2) the google search engine issue is resolved.

However, you can find me on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr. (although honestly I’m not there as often as I have been either due to, you know, needing to write)

Do please feel free to ask me anything, here or on Tumblr or the other social media (although I realize not everyone is on the various social media — no reason anyone should be on any of them). Answering a direct question is generally a little easier than coming up with “dedicated” posts. Also, I’m answering email at kate.elliott at sff.net

I’ll finish with four links to reviews, just because (there are other reviews I would love to link to but I’ll limit myself). Be aware that any or all of these reviews may contain spoilers for those who don’t care for that type of thing.

Beyond Victoriana: A Multicultural Perspective on Steampunk: “Characters with white, brown, and black complexions and curly tight hair, coarse braided hair, and thin hair swept up in lime-washed spikes bring racial diversity to the story.” [I was so very pleased to be reviewed on this blog.]

A one star review of Cold Fire at Fangs for the Fantasy: “The problem is that Elliot never uses 1 or 2 words where she can insert 10.”  [I have to say this is probably the single most consistently seen criticism of my writing throughout my career. I want to note that this is a very thoughtful review by a careful reader, thus proving the adage that just about any review that engages thoughtfully with the material is a "good review" regardless of whether the reviewer ultimately liked or disliked the book.]

Fantasy Book Cafe gives Cold Fire a super positive review so click through at your own risk if you don’t want to feel the love. “Also, Cat can be quite funny (especially when drunk).” [A scene I very much enjoyed writing.]

Finally, this review of Cold Magic/Fire on tumblr has what may be the best “single sentence description of the Spiritwalker books that we can’t quote on the book” ever. It reads best in context.

There’s a part of me that feels it is wrong for me to link to positive mentions of my work like the ones above, as if I am thereby somehow self aggrandizing or bragging or trying to act like I’m better than others or something. This is some of the baggage I carry from growing up as a girl in the 60s and 70s. I’m not quite sure from whence it stems, and I can certainly only speak to my own experience. Partly, it seemed to me that girls were meant to do well but never excel more than boys and certainly if they did excel weren’t ever to say anything of it because it was unseemly and boastful and something one ought to be ashamed of. In fact, there is a little piece of my psyche that feels ashamed (yes: ashamed!) when I read a review like the really fabulous one from Fantasy Book Cafe. This little bit of my psyche rubs alongside the part that is gratified and thrilled by reading a review that gets the things I have been hoping readers will get, as well as the part of the psyche that secretly feels I did a good job and deserve to see some good reviews, as well as the part that is always saying “but I need to do better next time because I can see all the things I did wrong!” We contain multitudes, as the poet said. So me and my multitudes are headed back to work.

My thanks to all of you readers. I mean that quite seriously.

I leave you with this excerpt from Cold Steel:

     When one of Kofi’s brothers appeared escorting Rory and Aunty’s granddaughter Lucretia, I sighed with relief that Rory had made it here safely. Then I saw that he was holding Luce’s hand in a most inappropriately intimate manner, their fingers intertwined like those of a courting couple. I rose, feeling a towering rage coming on that diverted me from my other looming problems.
Rory released Luce’s hand. He sauntered right past me to greet the older women, his smile as bright as the lanterns. With his lithe young man’s body well clad in one of Vai’s fashionable dash jackets and his long black hair pulled back in a braid, he surely delighted the eye. The men watched in astonishment but I knew what was coming. He offered chastely generous kisses to the women’s cheeks and tender pats to their work-worn hands.
“My apologies. I mean no offense by charging in to your territory without an invitation. But I must obey my sister. You understand how it is with a sister who speaks a bit sharply to one even though she is the younger and ought, I should suppose, look up to her older brother. Please, let me thank you. Your hospitality honors and humbles me. The food smells so good. I’m sure I’ve never smelled better. ” He had routed two already and turned to the remaining skeptic. “That fabric is beautifully dyed, and looks very well with your complexion, Aunty.”
A cavalry charge at close quarters could not have demolished their resistance more devastatingly. He turned his charm on the old men, drawing them out with irresistable questions about their proud and memorable youth.

Mirrored from I Make Up Worlds.


So much love for Rory :D
I needed that snippet today. *back to the packing mines*

So glad it was helpful!

Good luck packing. That's a job that never gets easier.

I can just see Cat's internal pressure going up by the millisecond...

There’s a part of me that feels it is wrong for me to link to positive mentions of my work like the ones above, as if I am thereby somehow self aggrandizing or bragging or trying to act like I’m better than others or something. This is some of the baggage I carry from growing up as a girl in the 60s and 70s.

I am so there.

As a girl growing up in the 80s and 90s.. I can still say the same thing about not liking to say nice things about myself. It certainly seems true that women are still told it's not attractive to brag, and that self-promoting in any form *is* bragging, but for some reason guys don't get the same message. The message I DIDN'T get though is that I'm not supposed to be better than the boys. Bragging about being better than a member of EITHER sex seems uncouth. ;)

>>Partly, it seemed to me that girls were meant to do well but never excel more than boys and certainly if they did excel weren’t ever to say anything of it because it was unseemly and boastful and something one ought to be ashamed of.<<

Oh, aaaaauuuuuggggghhhhhhhh, arrrggg grunt, moan, flail.

Sending well-wishes for digging in and writing the best book. I find it so hard to accept a slower pace even when it's yielding better results, because I've learned to be so deadline-focused and I think there's a certain wordcount-envy among writers even if it's not always stated.

Although I will miss you, I totally get the need to be away from social media. Have you seen this? http://www.neatorama.com/2011/01/29/bermuda-triangle-of-productivity/

There is so much pressure on writers to be a brand name and to self-promote, but the bottom line has got to be the writing. Good luck!!!!!


I'm trying to focus my online time to email, and then some specific things (I did post a photo this evening, which is why I am on now).

I do need to get away from social media for a while, though. I have 8 weeks to get the rest of the rough draft down, and I'm optimistic about how it's going, but you know, things can go however as one is writing.

I do think a lot is expected these days from writers re: self promotion, at which not everyone is equally good, but I do feel there is a double standard at work as well . . . . although, now that I think about it, not in the romance/uf/pnr fields.

>>Partly, it seemed to me that girls were meant to do well but never excel more than boys and certainly if they did excel weren’t ever to say anything of it because it was unseemly and boastful and something one ought to be ashamed of.<<

Oh yes! Unfortunately, I so get this. It took a long time for society to get away from this -- or, goodness, I do hope today's girls aren't being raised like that, anyway! I had 2 sons and then 2 grandsons, so I'm far removed from the girl culture. It was always such an insidious thing, too, wasn't it? It's not like they taught us that philosophy, it was very subtly done with advice and little shakes of the head.


Yes, so true about the subtle advice and "shakes of the head."

I am in a similar boat - dissertation and all. But let me be honest and say that it's knowing you'll have a new book out in the future, once I'm all done with MY stuff, that keeps me partially motivated. Another part is the sheer fact of not feeling so crazed all the time and being able to soak up some sun in a very Rory-like manner.

There’s a part of me that feels it is wrong for me to link to positive mentions of my work like the ones above, as if I am thereby somehow self aggrandizing or bragging or trying to act like I’m better than others or something.
You nailed it right on the head; but I would go as far as to say that it's not just related to the time you were growing up. I feel the same way, too, and I'm an '80s child. I'm a member of the Association for Women in Science and there was an article recently about how one of the big issues and problems with women in science today (and arguably other fields) is that we are taught that bragging and taking ownership and simply being darn proud of our work is somehow "bad" and frowned upon. Part of it probably comes from the '50s and '60s, but the big issue is WHY is this belief persisting and what can be done to stop it. Every month there's a new blurb about how to become more productive, well-known, etc etc because for some reason, we women are STILL behind the men. I mean, JEEZE LOUISE, we do these amazing things and there is no reason to feel bad about tooting our horns about it but for some crazy reason we do. So, I don't know how we - collectively as amazing women - can break down these barriers other than doing what we're best at and keep doing what we know is working for us. :: shrug :: I've come to the point where I just keep my head down and slog through (speaking of, I should get back to my work....)

As a reader, I mean this quite seriously when I say THANK YOU. Thank you for creating these fantastical worlds to which I can escape and, I'll be honest, fall more than half in love with the characters because you meant me to. And thank you, also, for taking advantage of technology were we, your fans and readers, are able to communicate with you like a -gasp!- real-life person. You have no idea how awesome it is (or maybe you do) for me to be able to comment on your post like this and say, holy cow, I know exactly how you feel, and then have you reply.

Can I take your middle paragraph and quote it (attributed to your lj handle) as part of a post to ask people to talk about how much they think women still struggle under these patterns of stricture?

And: thanks!

You may absolutely take the middle paragraph and use it as food for fodder. I appreciate you asking! I only wish I had taken more time to write my thoughts out so I would seem more eloquent, but no matter. ;)

If you want to rewrite your thoughts in a different way, I can wait. Because now I want to ask people how they feel about this, if they feel they have experienced it themselves, and ways in which they think there may have been change/no change over the last 50 years.

Oh no no no...I'm okay with the way it is. :)

I just know, perfectionist that I am, that I could have waxed eloquent and probably used much more flowerly language. But since I'm supposed to be limiting my interwebs time and also believe in honest opinions, I'd rather not have or spend hours agonizing over how "best" to write something and instead respond to your (and others') posts with the "right-here-right-now" mentality because it rings truer.

Go right ahead and use it the way it is. ..and if you are interested (although you have buckets on your plate already) I can get the links to some of those articles I mentioned in passing if you would like some additional reference material. Now, later, whenever.

My brain hiccuped when I read the following phrase ahead of the words immediately preceding it: "Rory and Aunty’s granddaughter Lucretia" -- I was envisioning Rory holding hands with the wrong person!

Your online absences make me think of the scene near the end of _Good Will Hunting_ where Ben Affleck's character goes and knocks on the door and no one answers: I know good things are going on somewhere (in this case writing which I will eventually devour-I-mean-read).

Christopher

P.S. I'm a boy and still have a strong internal taboo against self-promotion. I find I have a hard time identifying the source of the taboo, though.

I owe you a big thank you email (but it's on my laptop which I only use when I'm traveling) because I'm going to be able to fix the 4 problems you spotted, in the mass market edition of Cold Fire!

I'm sure Rory would be happy to hold hands with Aunty, too.

The self promo thing -- yeah, I dunno. Hard to say where the taboo comes from.

Kate, I have a question about the opening of Cold Fire. When I first read it, I kept thinking how familiar it seemed. Then I realized that it was the same as the last chapter of Cold Magic...but not identical, because the retelling in Cold Fire contained some events that hadn't happened in Cold Magic.

I love your books, but I have to admit, I found this rather strange and disconcerting. Do you mind explaining why you chose to write it this way?

Ah! Thanks. It makes sense now.

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