SDCC Panel on Love in the Time of YA

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:

SDCC 2016 Schedule

I will be attending SDCC on Friday 22 July. Come and say hi!

Here’s my schedule:

10 am – 11 am:  Panel: Love in the Time of YA Room 32AB

(Mary Pearson, Kami Garcia, Andrea Cremer, Brenna Yovanoff, Amy Tintera, Alexandra Bracken, Kate Elliott)


12 pm – 1 pm: Signing (with all the above mentioned panelists): AA 09


1:30 – 2:15: Signing at Orbit Books booth #1116 (giveaway of copies of Cold Magic & Black Wolves)



On Thursday from 6 pm, at the Little, Brown Books for Young Readers booth #1116, they’ll be giving away copies of Poisoned Blade.

Sasquan 73rd World SF Convention Schedule

Kate Elliott will be attending the Sasquan 73rd World Science Fiction Convention, held 19 Aug. – 23 Aug. 2015 in Spokane, WA. Worldcon celebrates the best works and creators in the speculative fiction field and culture.

Kate Elliott’s events

Thursday, 20 Aug. 2015



Ditch Diggers LIVE Podcast with Matt Wallace and Mur Lafferty: 12:00 – 12:45 CC Theater 110. I’ll be one of the guests with Aliette de Bodard and Fonda Lee.


Reading – 4:30PM – 5:00PM

Friday, 21 Aug. 2015


Kaffee Klatche - Kate Elliott (Participant)
Friday, August 21 2015, 10:00 am 
202B-KK4 (CC)

Narrative Structure and Expectation – 4:00PM – 4:45PM
How do we enter stories? By what techniques do narratives pull us in? How do the expectations we have influence how we respond? I’ll break down some narrative techniques used in openings, and then go on to discuss how openings that match expectations can encourage us to keep reading while expectations that aren’t fulfilled can sometimes cause us to stop reading. How big a part does familiarity play in how well we can understand and adjust to a story? Finally, how do the things that we think we know but may be wrong about (as in history) make it easier or harder to be drawn into a book if our beliefs aren’t met?

(Elliott adds, “This is not a panel but a lecture, with entertaining Powerpoint (almost all image/video slides, and only two text slides). I debuted this presentation at SFeraKon in Croatia and it went over so well I decided to offer it to Sasquan.”)

Saturday, 22 Aug. 2015
Fantasy Creation for the Bold (With Ken Liu) – 12:00PM – 12:45PM
What are some of the bolder and more interesting worldbuilding decisions you’ve made? What kind of details, often neglected, can end up being extremely important? How do you make use of historical knowledge and anthropological insights to free your worlds rather than constraining them to well-trodden paths? The dialog discusses techniques and approaches that have paid off as well as pitfalls and traps.
(“Not a panel but a dialogue between me and award winning SFF author Ken Liu.”)

Diversity within YA & Middle Grade Fiction (With Cynthia Ward, Cassandra Rose Clarke, Fonda Lee, and Wesley Chu) – 1:00PM – 1:45PM
Everyone is talking about diversity within science fiction and fantasy, but how are we doing with diversity within the young adult and middle grade subgenres? What writers should we be reading? What characters should we be looking to as examples? And what new fiction are we looking forward to reading?

Sunday, 23 Aug. 2015
Autographing (With Kendare Blake and Karl Schroeder) –  12:00PM – 12:45PM

Worlds We Believe: YA Building (With Lauren Roy, Jennifer Brozek, and Jessica Rising) -1:00PM – 1:45PM
Have you ever sympathized with trudging through Professor Trelawney’s divination classroom? Does living in a Hobbit hole, spaciously provisioned seem not so far-fetched? Which district do you live in?  What about traveling through a worm hole at warp speed? Worlds that are easy to picture become a part of invested creators. What makes a believable world? What have past and present authors done right? Come visit other worlds with us. 

See you there!

San Diego Comic Con Schedule

I will be attending SDCC for the first time this year.


Thursday: Epic Fantasy panel with Susan Dennard, Marie Rutkoski, Ray Feist, Peter Orullian, Jenna Rhodes, and me.

1:30 – 2:30 pm Room 24 ABC

FOLLOWED BY a signing at Autograph Area Table 9

3:00 – 4:00 pm

ARCs of COURT OF FIVES will be available at this signing. (the Spiritwalker series will be available for sale)


On Friday 11 am I will be signing at the Orbit Books booth #1116.

50 free copies of Cold Magic will be available as well as Cold Fire and Cold Steel for sale.

How Do I Love Sirens? Let Me Count Five Ways

Rae Carson, Yoon Ha Lee, and I are joint Guests of Honor at Sirens Conference this year, October 8 – 11, in south Denver, Colorado.

I first attended Sirens in 2012 when Nalo Hopkinson and Malinda Lo were Guests of Honor. A number of writers I know had been singing the conference’s praises and I wanted a chance to try out (to quote from Sirens’ own description) “a conference about women in fantasy literature” that is meant to be “part scholarly conference, part enthusiastic convention, part networking weekend, and part personal retreat.”

That is what I got. Malinda and Nalo gave thoughtful, powerful speeches, and read from their works in progress. Panels covered a range of subjects; there were also papers, workshops, and roundtables for discussion of various topics, and besides that free time for hanging out and eating and drinking.

Here are five things I love about Sirens.

1. The conference brings together readers, authors, publishing professionals, scholars, educators, and librarians, each with their unique perspectives and their specific questions and views of fantasy literature. People talk to each other, a lot, and discussion is built into the way the programming is set up. Given that everyone at Sirens loves reading, I felt we were all on the same page (no pun intended). Furthermore, for someone like me it is a great place to talk to librarians about what they’re seeing in their profession these days, as well as to pick the brains of agents and publishing professionals for their insights in the field, scholars about their work, and other readers to gush about or criticize favorite stories.

How provocative is the discussion? At a roundtable at Sirens 2013 led by librarian Joy Kim on Women and Politics in Fantasy, the other participants had such strong feelings about certain things they wanted to see women doing in fantasy fiction that the discussion made me re-think one of the plots in my forthcoming novel, Black Wolves.

2. Sirens is small (I believe in the 100 – 150 range?) and thus not at all overwhelming for people who might find a large convention daunting. This also means that every attendee is encouraged to participate. [Note: This is a conference for ages 18 and over.]

3. It’s low-key and welcoming, or at least I found it to be that way. Being able to hang out with people in a leisurely, easy-going atmosphere is one of the great benefits. I have felt very at ease at both Sirens Conferences (I also attended in 2013) in a way I have never felt at sff conventions (even the ones I really enjoy). I love talking about books, publishing, media, the now and the future, and all without the slightly on-edge jockeying that I sometimes feel goes on at larger conventions. Will it be for everyone? Of course not; I can only speak to my own experience.

On a personal level I must mention that when I attended in 2013, I chose to do so (having already made reservations months earlier) even though my father had just died (from a brutal cancer) a mere ten days before. I needed a space away from the aftermath. To say I was shellshocked would be an understatement, but everyone at Sirens was kind and understanding; they included me when I could engage and let me sit quietly when I needed that. The organizing committee had all signed a condolence card for me; I was so deeply touched.

I can’t claim that any public gathering is a fully safe space (I’m not convinced those places yet exist in the world) but it was as safe a conference as I’ve attended, and I’m so appreciative of that.

4. Okay, let me be honest. I love books by and about men, but it does seem that in terms of visibility and discussion at conventions these books and authors get the lion’s share of the attention, and so it is a pleasure to be at a convention with a specific focus on women.

Here’s what Sirens itself has to say:

Why is the focus women in fantasy literature?

Our conference team believes strongly that women’s place in fantasy literature—as readers, as authors, as professionals, even as characters—is a vital, vibrant topic for discussion and debate. Some of our favorite books are fantasy works by women authors and some of our favorite people are women who write fantasy—and we hope you feel the same!

5. This year (2015) Sirens Studio debuts:
a two-day event featuring workshop intensives, discussion and networking opportunities, and flexible time for attendees to use however they wish.

Okay, so how cool is this pre-conference workshop? It is so cool that I wish I could attend all six sessions, especially the one by Faye Bi about reading inclusive and intersectional feminism in fantasy literature that is being held at the same time as the workshop I’m giving on “Writing Past Defaults.”
Yes! I’m giving a two hour workshop (I hope I can keep this to two hours):

We all carry societal baggage about gender roles into our writing. That’s inevitable. In this workshop intensive, Kate will analyze how authors (including herself!) who are consciously attempting to expand and center roles for women may unconsciously undermine their female characters by sliding sideways into stereotyped personalities or behaviors and work. Often, male characters act within the plot while women characters—even as the central figures—may be given reactive roles. We’ll discuss typical fantasy gender defaults, ways in which authors who may seem to be subverting them aren’t always, and how to turn around these insidious messages to more fully write women characters as they really are, and have been, in the world.

Other Sirens Studio workshops include A Short Fiction Writing Intensive on Characterization and World-Building with Yoon Ha Lee and Shveta Thakrar, A Reading Intensive (companion to my workshop) with Amy Tenbrink on reconstructing unconscious authorial bias, and two fantastic professional workshops: Miram Weinberg on A Woman’s Guide to Navigating the Highs and Lows of the Modern Workplace, and Sruta Vootukuru on Innovation, Diversity, and Feminism in the Television Industry.
That is all besides the programing scheduled for the conference itself. The theme this year is Rebels and Revolutionaries.

If you are interested and can, I encourage you to attend. I’ll be there!



P.S. Not everyone can easily afford this conference. I’m sorry I didn’t post this sooner as a few scholarships are available every year (but those have been given out already). Con or Bust may have a membership available (check with them) for PoC attendees.

Hiatus for rest of May

I’m traveling to Croatia for SFeraKon (very excited!).

This blog — minimal as the posts have been for the last three months — will be on hiatus until June, including the Remembering Japan posts (the latest one can be found here), which will start up again on Fridays in June.

Pre-orders for Court of Fives (August) and Black Wolves (November) are available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound and other venues.

Summer Hiatus

Due to circumstances this blog has mostly been on hiatus for the last year, and I want to make official that it will remain on hiatus until October, at which time I hope to start blogging regularly again in anticipation of my rather busy release schedule in 2015.

For now:

I will be attending Loncon 3 (London Worldcon) from 14 – 18 August. I’ve posted my programming schedule HERE. This is going to be a huge convention with tons of things going on.

I will be giving out postcards of my forthcoming Tachyon collection, with its fabulous Julie Dillon cover. (If you come to my reading on Monday, I’ll have postcards signed by Dillon herself.) I will also have copies of The Secret Journal of Beatrice Hassi Barahal, a short story with illustrations by Julie Dillon, for sale at my signing, and on me at other times.

I will be one of the Guests of Honor at Fantasycon 2014, 5 – 7 September in York, UK. It’s a small, informal con with lots of chance to talk and meet people, and I encourage you to attend if you can. I’m hoping I’ll get to do some programming on world building!

If you attend either or both conventions, please do introduce yourself. I go to cons to meet readers (and friends and colleagues) and I am there to be available to talk, sign, and wax eloquent (if the opportunity arises).

As I said above, I hope to resume regular blogging in October. If all goes as planned I will also have a newsletter sign up soon, for an occasional newsletter that will mostly announce news and publication information, with a few extras thrown in to sweeten the deal. At some point in the fall my web site will have a new look, although I’ll make no official announcement; it will just switch over when it’s ready to go.

Thank you.

Loncon3 / Worldcon Schedule

Loncon 3 (London Worldcon) takes place 14 – 18 August 2014.

My Philosophy of Con-going:  I attend conventions specifically to meet readers (and to see friends), so don’t be shy: Introduce yourself.

I am scheduled for a Signing on Friday (see below), but for signing books/etc also please feel free to come to my Reading, sign up for my Kaffeeklatsch, or track me down after a panel (except when I have back to back events I will try to leave time open post-panel) because I can talk or sign then too

I will also be at Fantasycon 2014, 5-7 September, in York, England, a small, informal convention where you definitely will be able to find me easily and the venue won’t be seething with masses of people as Loncon will.


Signing: Kate Elliott

Friday 12:00 – 13:30, Autographing Space (ExCel)

I will have postcards with the cover of my forthcoming short story collection (Tachyon Press) featuring the truly fabulous Julie Dillon illustration from a scene in Cold Steel.




Imagining Fantasy Lands: The Status Quo Does Not Need Worldbuilding

Friday 16:30 – 18:00, Capital Suite 11 (ExCeL)

Mary Anne Mohanraj (M), Tobias Buckell, Kate Elliott, Rochita Loenen-Ruiz

Fantasy world-building sometimes comes under fire for its pedantic attention to detail at the expense of pacing or prose style. Do descriptive passages clog up the narrative needlessly, when reader imagination should be filling in the gaps? Where does that leave the landscapes and cultures that are less well represented in the Western genre: can world-building be a tool in subverting reader expectations that would otherwise default to pseudo-medieval Euro-esque? If fantasy is about defamiliarising the familiar, how important is material culture – buildings, furnishings, tools, the organisation of social and commercial space – in creating a fantasy world?


Beyond Bechdel

Friday 20:00 – 21:00, Capital Suite 7+12 (ExCeL)

Kate Heartfield (M), Kate Elliott, Jed Hartman, Julia Rios, JY Yang

The “Bechdel test” for female representation in films is now widely known. To pass it a film should contain two named female characters who have a conversation about something other than a man. In recent years, similar tests have been proposed for other under-represented groups, including the Mako Mori test for characters of colour, and the Russo test for queer characters. What are the strengths and weaknesses of such tests? How do they affect our viewing choices? And what does the popularity of such tests say about how popular media are being received and discussed?


“Your ‘realistic’ fantasy is a washed out colourless emptiness compared to the Rabelaisian reality.” Discuss.

Saturday 13:30 – 15:00, Capital Suite 6 (ExCeL)

Kate Elliott (M), Nic Clarke, Edward James, Kari Sperring, Jenny Blackford

‘Realism’ has become a buzzword for contemporary genre fantasy, but most medievalesque world-building still barely scratches the surface of the reality. One in three marriages in 14th-century Cairo ended in divorce; English towns were brimming with migrants, including people of colour; women fought on the battlefields of the Crusades; and cities across the world were awash with lurid pageantry that would make modern audiences blush. The panel will discuss aspects of medieval and early-modern life that were more complex than our fiction imagines, and ways of making our invented worlds as diverse and exciting as our history.



The Big Playthrough

Saturday 15:00 – 16:30, Capital Suite 7+12 (ExCeL)

Patrick Rothfuss, Kate Elliott, Michelle Sagara, Gail Carriger

Gail Carriger, Kate Elliott, Pat Rothfuss and Michelle Sagara West play Gloom for your delight and delectation! Gloom is a deeply inauspicious card game in which players strive to kill their horrid, horrid families in as gristly and grotty ways possible, whilst trying to keep the families of the other player alive. Will they be devoured by weasels or simply perturbed by pudding? Come along and find out…



Diversity Within Young Adult Science Fiction

Sunday 12:00 – 13:30, Capital Suite 2 (ExCeL)

Marieke Nijkamp (M), Kate Elliott, John Hornor Jacobs, Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Mahvesh Murad

From Earthsea to Noughts and Crosses, The Summer Prince to Akata Witch, children and teens need to see books with characters that represent the diverse world they live in, whether they are dystopian romance or fantasy adventure. Organisations like We Need Diverse Books are helping to promote diversity in children’s literature, but what actions can we take – as readers, writers, publishers, and book-buyers – to help them in their goals? And who are the great authors of the past few years we should be catching up on?




Sunday 14:00 – 15:00, London Suite 5 (ExCeL)

Wesley Chu, Kate Elliott

(This is a small group meeting. You sign up in advance and the number of places are limited.)


Reading: Kate Elliott

Monday 11:00 – 11:30, London Suite 1 (ExCeL)

Kate Elliott (I will have a few special postcards (see above) signed by Julie Dillon to give away at this event.


Robin Hobb: When Assassins Didn’t Need to Be Hooded

Monday 13:30 – 15:00, Capital Suite 8 (ExCeL)

Tim Kershaw (M), Kate Elliott, Robin Hobb, Patrick Rothfuss, Kari Sperring

Robin Hobb has influenced a generation of epic fantasists with her unique voice, and a willingness to avoid easy solutions even if that sometimes means letting bad things happen to good characters. While Hobb’s work is dark at times, her famous assassin, FitzChivalry, is almost a kitten compared to the hooded cold blooded killers today’s audience seems to crave. Has the fantasy market fundamentally changed in tone and content, or just diversified? How did the field get from there to here? And, finally, where is it headed?


Women Destroy SF, Julie Dillon Illustrates, & Publication Updates

The June 2014 issue of Lightspeed Magazine is WOMEN DESTROY SCIENCE FICTION. Read about its genesis here, and you can buy a complete e-version RIGHT NOW or read it for free online across the month of June as all the stories are released day by day.

Of particular interest is that my daughter is one of the contributors, in her first professional sale, for the flash fiction “The Hymn of Ordeal, No. 23” (points if you get where the title comes from), and honestly I am SO EXCITED I CANNOT EVEN TELL YOU.

So naturally I heartily recommend the issue to your attention.


Meanwhile, over at A Dribble of Ink, I share some of the fabulous Julie Dillon illustrations that are in The Secret Journal of Beatrice Hassi Barahal, and talk a little bit about the genesis of the project. Mostly because it is Hugo voting season I want to signal boost what a fantastic artist Julie is; she is one of the finalists for the Hugo Award Pro Artist category this year.


Finally, publication news.

Here is the information page for my upcoming collection with Tachyon Publications.

My YA fantasy, COURT OF FIVES, is in production and due for publication in Summer 2015 via Little, Brown Young Readers. There’s a rudimentary goodreads page but no other internet presence so far.

My new epic fantasy, BLACK WOLVES, has a complete draft. After a 2 hour phone call with my perspicacious editor and a 20 page edit letter, I now embark upon a vast raft of revisions so can offer no firm publication date yet but I can confirm it will not be published in 2014. I will update a confirmed date when we have one but I expect that will not be until I have a solid second draft, and I can’t be sure how long revisions will take. This is all good news, though: I want to write and you want to read the very best book I am capable of writing.


Reminder: I am thrilled to be one of the Guests of Honor at Fantasycon 2014 in York, England, 5 – 7 September THIS YEAR and I would love to see you there (it is a small convention and so a venue in which you can expect to actually get to talk to people; I expect lots of great programming and discussion).

I also plan to attend Loncon 3 (Worldcon) in London 14 – 18 August 2014, which looks huge and exciting.

If you attend either or both events, please find me and say hello. I attend conventions to see friends I only see at conventions (and talk endlessly about writing) and to meet new people and chat with readers.

FantasyCon 2014 Guest! An Anthology. & LonCon 3

FantasyCon 2014 has invited me to be one of their Guests of Honor, together with Toby Whithouse and Larry Rostant. The inimitable Graham Joyce is Master of Ceremonies.

I am both honored and, to be honest, thrilled.

FantasyCon is the annual convention run by the British Fantasy Society.

Next’s year convention will be held in York, England, from September 5 – 7 (2014). The convention website can be found here. I have to say that the convention hotel looks wonderful, and York is a lovely city that I look forward to visiting again.

Anyone can attend FantasyCon (not just members of BFS). If you can come, please do! I have a secret hankering to hold a seminar on world building.

Meanwhile, the excellent author Juliet McKenna last year took on the task of editing an epic fantasy anthology for the BFS, an anthology to be distributed to members. She wrote extensively about her experience editing and about the anthology here. (It’s a great post well worth reading.)

Here is the fabulous Table of Contents:

A Thief in the Night by Anne Lyle
Seeds by Benjamin Tate
Steer a Pale Course by Gail Z Martin
The Groppler’s Harvest by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Oak, Broom and Meadowsweet by Liz Williams
The Sin Eater by Stephen Deas
King Harvest Has Surely Come by Chaz Brenchley
The Queen’s Garden by Kate Elliott

Again, the BFS printing will be for distribution to members of the BFS only. However, in early 2014 I will be able to sell e-rights elsewhere. I’ll keep you posted.


Finally, I can now confirm that (God willing and the creek don’t rise as my hanai great-aunt Sally Fetzer used to say), I will also be at LonCon 3 (Worldcon 2014) in London next August 14 – 18 (2014).