Not a Blog

City of the Angels

November 21, 2017 at 5:36 pm
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I have a love/ hate relationship with Los Angeles.

I spent a lot of time there back in the 80s and 90s, when I was on TWILIGHT ZONE and BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, and in the years that followed, when I was in development hell. A good decade, all told. At least three of those years were spent on the 405, I seem to recall… but in any case, I have lots of good memories of LA, and some bad memories as well. I made lots of friends out there. And even now, my work requires me to visit the City of Angels (which seems less angelic every day, if you’re reading the news) several times a year.

Those visits are usually mixed bags. I do business, which is necessary. Sometimes I come home with awards, which is great. I check in on old friends, always a pleasure (though all of us get older every year). From time to time I make new friends, always a joy. But I hate driving in LA even more than I did in the 90s, if that is possible, and the weather is usually beastly. So bloody hot and humid I don’t know how anyone can stand it. Then, of course, there are the meetings. Some are fun, some are not. Even the best meetings, it seems, seldom lead to anything real.

Last week, however, I had a great visit to LA. The weather, for once, was gorgeous. Not too hot, not too humid, beautiful blue skies, stunning sunsets.

When I wasn’t gazing out over the city from the balcony of my room at the Four Seasons, I was having meetings. HBO meetings, for the most part… exciting stuff, and they all went well… and meetings with some major film studios as well, about possible adaptions of some of my other work. All very exciting. Cross your fingers, cross your toes, I might have thrilling news down the line.

I also got to check in with some of those old friends I mentioned. One of the highlights was the dinner I shared with some of the folks I worked with on BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.

The whole gang could not be there, but we did gather (from left to right) Linda Campanelli (writer), Jay Acovone (Joe Maxwell), Ron Koslow (creator, showrunner), yours truly (writer/ producer), Ron Perlman (Vincent), and David Schwartz (producer). It was a grand gathering. We told some stories and shared some laughs, and of course we all lifted a glass to the memory of Roy Dotrice, our Father… who made it to 94, and still died way too young.

It was an honor to work on BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, and I’m proud of the work we did there.

((Comments permitted, if you STAY ON TOPIC))

Current Mood: calm calm

Long Time No See

August 23, 2017 at 11:48 am
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I am home again in the Land of Enchantment, after almost a month on the road.

I flew to New Jersey for my nephew Sean’s wedding, which was a lot of fun.

Then I went to New York City for a week, checking in with my editors, publishers, and agents, and some old dear friends as well. Did a pizza crawl, had myself a Cel-Ray and an egg cream and a pastrami sandwich (New York health food), and did a lot of business.

From there it was off across the ocean to Helsinki for worldcon. My third visit to Finland, which never disappoints. Helsinki is a beautiful city, and it was a terrific con. Sure, we lost the Hugo, but the Hugo Losers Party kicked ass.

After worldcon, we hopped a train for Russia. A few days in St. Petersberg — my god, what a stunning city — and then off to the woods for Assembly Con. Our Russian hosts were warm and wonderful.

All in all, a great trip, but an exhausting one. The trip home was grueling.

Let me catch my breath, and might be I’ll have some more to say.

Right now, I need some green chile.

Current Mood: tired tired

My Worldcon Schedule

July 26, 2017 at 10:40 am
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The World Science Fiction Convention is only a few weeks away. This is the oldest SF con, the one that started it all, and though it is no longer the largest, it’s still the one that matters, the heart and soul of SF fandom. And for me, it’s home away from home.

Here’s my schedule this year in Helsinki:

WEDNESDAY August 9
4:00 pm Tea & Jeopardy Podcast, w Emma & Peter Newman

THURSDAY August 10
12:00 NOON panel discussion: Invented Religions

2:00 pm autographing

FRIDAY August 11
8:00 pm HUGO AWARDS

SATURDAY August 12
2:00 pm panel discussion: Built Upon the Shoulders of Giants

4:00 pm autographing

SUNDAY August 13
1:00 pm panel discussion: Thirty Years of Wild Cards

Those are my official public appearances… but of course I will also be attending parties, checking out the art show, wandering the dealer’s room, lunching and dining with editors, agents, friends, and colleagues.

For those of you who want books signed, please, bring them to one of my two listed autograph sessions. I will NOT be signing before or after panels, at parties, during lunch or breakfast or dinner, at the urinal, in the elevator, on the street, in the hall. ONLY at the autograph table. If the lines are as long as they usually are, I’ll only be signing one book per person.

See you in Helsinki!

Current Mood: busy busy

South of the Border

November 28, 2016 at 2:55 pm
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Strange to say, although I have lived in New Mexico since 1979, I have never really visited Old Mexico. Oh, I attended a Westercon in El Paso a few years back, and spent an afternoon in Juarez with some other fans and writers. And I spent a few hours in Tijuana back in the late 80s, I believe, while attending Comicon in San Diego. But that hardly counts. There’s a lot more to Mexico than the border towns.

My first real visit to Mexico starts tomorrow, when I jet down to Guadalajara for the Guadalajara International Book Fair: https://www.fil.com.mx/ingles/i_info/i_info_fil.asp

I’m one of the guests at the conference. I’ll be doing interviews, a press conference, a live streaming event, and a signing. I expect I will be doing some tequila tasting as well. I am informed that Guadalajara is the tequila capital of Mexico.

I am looking forward to meeting my Mexican publishers, editors, and fans.

This is my last scheduled event for 2016. My appearance schedule for 2017 is very limited, and will remain so until WINDS is completed. So if you want to meet me or get a book signed, this will be the last chance for a good few months…

See you south of the border.

Not in San Diego

July 22, 2016 at 2:46 pm
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I hope that everyone in San Diego is having fun at Comicon. HBO has a big presence there, I know, and a lot of our cast are on hand for the GAME OF THRONES panel and the usual endless rounds of signings and interviews. Also, Bantam is bringing out the 2017 ICE & FIRE calendar, which is always a great event. And Gary Gianni, who illustrated THE KNIGHT OF THE SEVEN KINGDOMS, has a table and is selling a cool new sketchbook of his artwork.

Makes me wish I could be there as well.

But I’m not.

Now, normally, I would not feel the need to post about where I’m not and what I am not doing… only I am getting reports from friends in San Diego, and friends of friends, that I have been sighted at the con.

It’s not me.

Really. It’s not. It’s some other old fat guy in a Greek sailor’s cap and pair of suspenders, maybe. Who may or may not be consciously cosplaying as me.

((And you have no idea how weird it feels to be typing that sentence. Way back when the show was first starting, there were a couple of Daenerys Targaryen cosplayers at San Diego, and I thought that was way cool. Fans dressing up as my characters, hey, hot damn! Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that anyone would ever want to dress up as me. But now I seem to encounter it wherever I go. Witness this picture from my 2013 trip to Australia.

Anyway… just for the record… I have a big Wild Cards event at the Jean Cocteau Cinema this weekend, with nineteen writers turning up from all across the country, so as much as I would like to be at comicon, I am not there. Accept no substitutes!!

((And just to be clear, no, I do not disappove of fans cosplaying as me. I do find it surreal, but hey, what they hell, have fun… so long as they don’t actually pretend to be me)).

Moving right along… one thing that is at comicon is the new ICE & FIRE calendar, with art by Didier Graffet. It’s gorgeous. Grab a copy if you’re at the con. And if not, the calendar should be available at your favorite local bookstore or online bookseller, and will certainly be available through the Jean Cocteau.

Baltimore and NYC

June 12, 2016 at 5:37 pm
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Feeling much better now, though I am still sipping tea with lemsip a couple times a day to keep the chest congestion down. The coughing has largely subsided.

Anyway, as I was intending to say before I got the crud, we had a great time in Baltimore and NYC.

Balticon was celebrating its fiftieth birthday this year. Half a century of cons, pretty extraordinary. To mark the occasion, they brought back as many of their previous GOHs as they could (some were unavailable, and some had died), to join me, the current year Guest of Honor. It’s always great to see old friends like Connie Willis and Joe Haldeman, and especially friends like John Varley, who I hadn’t run into for a couple of decades. Of course, a lot of new friends were on hand as well. Balticon moved back downtown for this year’s con, so we were right at the Harborplace, across the street from the Constellation and the dragonboats, and within sight of the Hyatt Regency where the first Baltimore worldcon was held. Brought back a lot of memories.

I did a lot of signing, a kaffeeklatch, a special fund-raising dinner where I changed tables for every course, an interview, the opening ceremonies (crabs and paddleboats and pirates, ph my), and read the Damphair chapter from THE WINDS OF WINTER.

And we ate crabs, and pronounced them good.

(We also ate “the best pizza in Baltimore” and pronounced it less good).

And then it was time for the Acela, and New York City.

New York City was mostly business, as it usually is: meetings with my agents, publishers, editors, and of course HBO. But we found time to fit in a couple of pizza tastings, both in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Also managed to get into the Carnegie Deli, which I fear is falling on hard times. We always try to catch a show when we’re in the city. This time it was HAMILTON.

Guys, gals, go see HAMILTON. Everything you’ve heard is true. It is going to win a bunch of Tony Awards. The performances are incredible. And after the show, we got to sneak backstage and hang some with King George III, Thomas Jefferson, and Alexander Hamilton his own self.

Even that was not the highlight of the New York part of the trip, though. That came a day later, when Parris and I headed over to Bayonne to visit with my sisters and brothers-in-law, my niece and nephews and their partners… and meet, for the first time, my great nephew Brady, born a few weeks earlier. It would appear that I am now a gruncle.

See You In Roanoke

February 22, 2016 at 12:53 pm
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Next weekend I will be heading off to MystiCon, in Roanoke, Virginia, where I’ll be a Guest of Honor. A new con for me, and a new part of the country (it’s been on my schedule since 2013).

They have a website at http://mysticon-va.com/ with a list of all the other guests — but, alas, it says there that they are sold out, so if you’re not signed up, you may be out of luck.

I am looking forward to spending some time with old friends there, and to making some new ones.

Truth be told, I need a good con just about now. I am tired and I am stressed, and I am so so so sick of the toxic rancor that more and more seems to characterize the internet.

So… let’s raise a few glasses and have a few laughs at MystiCon, and try to remember why we love science fiction, fandom, and each other.

Last Year (Travel and Conventions)

January 1, 2016 at 6:19 pm
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I did a lot of travelling last year. Probably too much. You don’t have to chide me about that. I know, believe me, I know. I am trying to cut down on travel this year and in subsequent years, at least until Ice & Fire is done.

But it’s a struggle. I love travel — not the flying, but being there, seeing other parts of the world, meeting my readers. As a kid, I never went anywhere at all except in my imagination, so now, when I have the means, travel is hard to resist. It’s a big wonderful world.

Also, I am not getting any younger (some of you love to remind me of that). Travel is fun, but it can also be taxing. I am all too aware that if I don’t take some of these trips now, age and health may preclude my ever taking them. Who knows what awaits me (or you, or you, or you) five years or ten years down the road?

Some of the travel I did in 2015 was for business, or to attend conventions that I had committed to two, three, four, even five years ago. Other travel was more spontaneous. A nephew’s wedding. An invitation to the SuperBowl. The last Grateful Dead concerts. People keep making me offers I cannot refuse… and not just Don Corleone…

Anyway… I travelled, and mostly I am glad I did… I wrote a couple of pages about my various trips and conventions in the Lost Post, and included plenty of pictures. I am not going to bother redoing any of that. I fear that only a few of you are interested in my travels. Many would rather I never ever got up from my computer.

So no rehash of the rehash.

I will say that I had a great time in San Francisco at the GAME OF THRONES premiere parties, that ConQuest in KC was something special, and that my summer trip to Germany, Sweden, and Finland was one I will long remember and cherish. Stockholm is a gorgeous city that I want to see again, and I had a fantastic time in Hamburg hanging with the beautiful and talented Sibel Kekilli, her guy Andreas, and my old agent and friend Werner Fuchs. The con was fun too; Finnish fans are tops, and I look forward to Helsinki in two years.

As for worldcon… I have been going to worldcons since 1971, it is always one of the highlights of my year, and Sasquan was no different, despite the whole state seemingly being on fire, and the tensions created by the Recent Unpleasantness With Young Dogs. The Hugo Awards were… ah… a mixed bag, but I was pleased to reclaim my Hugo Losers Party. We kicked ass there, yes we did, and I’m only sorry Gardner Dozois was not with us in Spokane to be part of it.

Travel and cons. ‘Nuff said.

Maybe You CAN Go Home Again…

November 11, 2015 at 1:06 pm
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[… at least for a visit.

Last week I returned to my old haunts in Evanston, Illinois, to Northwestern University and the Medill School of Journalism, where I was honored with an Alumni Achievement Award. The honor meant a lot to me, as did the warm welcome I received from the faculty and students at Medill.

I also got to attend a football game at Ryan Field (it was Dyche Stadium when I was there), and witness a thrilling last-minute victory over the Lannister Lions Penn State Nittany Lions. Good game (though Penn State did knock out NU’s starting QB, which could bode ill for the remainder of the season). Not only did I see a win, but I got to hang out with a fellow NU alum, AND was presented with a Northwestern helmet midway through the second quarter. VERY cool.

All that was great… but the best part of the visit was getting to meet some of the students, who turned out in large numbers for all of my public events. For some reason, they all seemed a lot younger than the students I remember from 1970… but just as bright.

I had forgotten what a pretty town Evanston is, especially in autumn. The city has changed a lot since I was last there, however, as has the campus. A LOT of new buildings, everywhere. Fisk and Harris and University were still there, I was pleased to see, but surrounded on all sides by big modern buildings I don’t remember. Deering looked unchanged, though. And Tech… where I took Bergen Evans’ introduction to literature…

A lot of memories. I would have loved to wander the campus a little more and wallow in nostalgia, but alas, I could not walk a block beyond the hotel without being stopped for half a dozen selfies, so I had to put that plan aside.

(I was saddened to see that Evanston has lost all of its old movie theatres. The Varsity, the Valenica, the Evanston up by the stadium, the Coronet down by the Main Street newsstand… gone, every one of them. What a loss).

My thanks to Dean Hamm, President Shapiro, Beth Moellers, the gang at the Nerd Bar, and everyone else who helped to make my visit so special.

Off to Spokane

August 18, 2015 at 9:50 am
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Bigfoot beware. We’re off to see him.

Heading for the airport, and for our family reunion — worldcon.

Win, lose, or no award, we intend to have a great time.

We’ll howl down the moon, and party like it’s 1976!