Yes, getting to Peak Troll—the state in which everything on the Internet is the worst it possibly could be—is a concern. After I finished writing Cold Steel, the third and final book in the Spiritwalker Trilogy, I knew I wanted to add a coda. Because the story is set in an alternate history 19th century, the illustrations would need to have a realistic style (rather than a comics or manga style) of art. The Secret Journal of Beatrice Hassi Barahal is currently for sale in both a print and pdf version.
In honor of Dillon’s nomination as a finalist on the Hugo ballot for Best Professional Artist this year, I wanted to share some of the illustrations she did for the story because not only are they fabulous but they shed light on her versatility as an artist. The Spiritwalker universe also includes the intelligent descendants of troodons, some of whom have have become lawyers and printers. In fact, Julie eventually wrote to me that she could not stand to draw yet another kiss (there are multiple illustrated kisses), so she offered this adaptation of Bee and a Taino prince. Cat and Bee are assisted in their adventures by various allies, including this supernatural pair.


Surely no story is complete without a transformational illustration, in this case that of a man becoming a dragon. Kate Elliott is the author of the Spiritwalker Trilogy, the Crossroads Trilogy, the Crown of Stars epic fantasy septology, the SF Novels of the Jaran and Highroad Trilogy, and the forthcoming YA fantasy Court of Fives (2015) as well as a new epic fantasy series beginning with Black Wolves (2015). The trilogy is narrated in first person by Cat Barahal, but her close friendship with her cousin Beatrice is the central relationship in the series.
To that end, I commissioned Julie Dillon to create a set of 29 illustrations to accompany the story I wrote. Yet besides all her many other aspects Bee also happens to be a young woman entranced by the idea of infatuation, which meant her journal had to include a lot of kissing with various swains.
Cat and Bee, as Kena’ani (Phoenicians), worship the Phoenician pantheon, including the Carthaginian Tanit in several of her aspects, here shown as the lion-headed goddess. You can find an astoundingly gorgeous dragon here on A Dribble of Ink, and at the Orbit Books site a kickass scene of Amazons (note the three flags, whose symbols and colors all have meaning). A collection of her short fiction will be available in February 2015 from Tachyon Publications.


I already have the secret Journal, of course, but its nice for others to see the awesome Julie Dillon artwork. Feel encouraged to share and discuss it freely with other passionate fans of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Literature. When the future of the Internet is graphed against sea level projections, it all works out okay. Better to go out with the coasts than survive and live through what the Internet will be like in 100 years.



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