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Ah, My Jet Set Life

August 11, 2015 at 5:33 pm
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We are only one day back from the east coast, having even finished unpacking yet, and yet Spokane and worldcon are only a week away. Sometimes all this does leave me feeling rather ragged.

It was a great trip, though.

My nephew Jeffrey and his lady Kristin got married in Bayonne and enjoyed a lovely lively reception in Morristown, and nothwithstanding the fears of some of you out there, no one died at the wedding. Pigeon pie was not served. Nor did we dance the Hokey-Pokey, which is unusual for a Jersey wedding, but I am told the marriage counts anyway.

I enjoyed delightful meals at wonderful restaurants with editors and publishers from Random House, from Tor, and from Simon & Schuster. Good folks all. After all the Puppygate craziness of the past few months, it was nice to sit down for a few hours with actual grown-up sane professionals from the real world of publishing, and be reminded what that is like.

I also went on a pizza crawl of Manhattan and Brooklyn with X-Ray and Raya. Nothing beats New York City pizza… well, unless it’s New Jersey pizza, and maybe New Haven’s. We wimped out, though, and could only manage two pizza places. But the pies were great.

And we visited the training camp of the New York Jets, and got to visit their war rooms and practice fields, and meet Gang Green’s GM and a lot of his staff, plus Nick Mangold and D’brickashaw Ferguson. We didn’t meet Darrelle Revis, but he was there practicing, and it was great to see him back in green and white. The Jets were great hosts, and who knows, maybe I can make it back later this year for an actual game.

And then of course there was Staten Island, and the showdown between the SI Direwolves and the Lannister Renegades. Much has been written about that elsewhere, so I won’t rehash: google if you want details. I am pleased to report that the Direwolves won 10-1, so I won’t need to kill another Stark. The team made an incredibly generous contribution to the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary as well. And I have to say, the field there on Staten Island, right next to the iconic ferry, is the most beautiful I’ve ever seen, with truly spectacular views.

All in all, a great trip.

If only there wasn’t so much work awaiting me when I came home…

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One More Day

July 29, 2015 at 1:30 pm
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Last day at home. Tomorrow Parris and I fly east for the wedding, and some time in NYC with my agents and editors, and the baseball game on Staten Island (Go Direwolves!).

Speaking of the last, I am told tickets are almost sold out, so if you want to come, snag some now. The first 2500 fans at the stadium will get Direwolf hats. The first 400 in line will be able to get an autograph. Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary will be there as well, with one of their “envoy” wolves, and there will be a fund-raising raffle for the player jerseys.

While I love travel, I hate getting ready to travel. The last day at home is always stressful. Too much to do.

I won’t be blogging much, or reading email, while on the road, so I expect this space will go silent for a week or so. Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean the Puppies got me.

Oh, and to be sure, time is running short for that Hugo vote as well. Balloting closes on July 31. Once again, to vote get your PIN and go to:

http://sasquan.org/hugo-awards/voting/

Remember, he who hesitates is lost.

Oh, before I forget… for those of you still in New Mexico, be sure and swing by the Jean Cocteau Cinema on Monday, August 3 for one of our famous (infamous) author events. Wild Cards stalwart VICTOR MILAN (creator of Cap’n Trips) will be on hand to read and sign copies of DINOSAUR LORDS, the first volume of his new epic fantasy series.

Hey, knights riding dinosaurs, what could be cooler than that?

Come join Vic and the gang, grab your copy of DINOSAUR LORDS… another great TOR book… and make him sign some Wild Cards books as well. We’ll have those available at the JCC as well, already signed by me (and in some cases by other writers).

Buy Tor Now

July 7, 2015 at 12:30 pm
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While I have been travelling, talking, touring, reading, writing, editing, and listening to great music these past few weeks, Puppygate has continued to fester, growing ever uglier.

In one of the more recent developments, the Rabid Puppies and some of their allies and fellow travellers have declared a boycott of Tor Books. I say “Rabid” here because Beale is backing the boycott, while Larry Correia says the Sad Puppies are not boycotting anyone… though Correia and some of the other Sads certainly seem deeply sympathetic to the boycott.

I am not, needless to say. Neither is most of fandom.

Which makes this a perfect time to BUY SOME TOR BOOKS!!

You can do that at your local bookstore, of course, or from your favorite online bookseller. There is an incredible range of great SF and fantasy to choose from in the Tor catalogue. Tor won the “best publisher” award in the recent LOCUS poll, for like the twentieth year in a row; there’s really no other publisher in a field with a backlist to compare, whether you are looking for epic fantasy, space opera, military SF, literary SF, Hugo winners, Hugo losers, or what have you.

And, hey, you can even buy some AUTOGRAPHED Tor books by me. My Wild Cards series is published by Tor, as it happens, and we have signed copies of INSIDE STRAIGHT, BUSTED FLUSH, SUICIDE KINGS, FORT FREAK, and LOWBALL available through the Jean Cocteau… along with hardcovers of our award-winning anthology, DANGEROUS WOMEN, also published by Tor. You can find them all at the cinema bookshop, here: http://www.jeancocteaubooks.com/

So if you would like to strike a blow for free speech and decency, and support all the good people at Tor, go ye forth and buy a book today… from the Cocteau, or Amazon, or anywhere… and let your voice be heard. You’ll get some damned good reading out of it too.

Fare Thee Well

July 7, 2015 at 12:07 pm
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Parris and I spent the weekend in Chicago (one of my favorite cities), hanging around Soldier Field for the last three performances of the Grateful Dead, the Fare Thee Well shows.

(I went in disguise, forsaking my usual Greek fisherman’s cap for a series of baseball caps, but somehow people recognized me anyway).

What can I say? Amazing shows, and the end of an epoch. I felt privileged to be there. And the music… well, words can never truly capture the feel of great music, as I discovered long ago when I wrote my rock novel, THE ARMAGEDDON RAG.

It was the RAG that brought me to my first Dead show, back in the 1980s. There was a time when the late great Phil DeGuere, the writer/ producer who brought me out to LA to write for THE TWILIGHT ZONE, hoped to make a feature film of the RAG, working with the Dead. That never came to pass, but it did get us backstage at many a Dead show.

Phil is gone now, alas, and so is Jerry Garcia, Cap’n Trips himself… and now the remaining members of the Dead have played their final shows together. But the memories will Not Fade Away, and the music will live on as long as people listen to rock and roll.

You will be able to buy a boxed set of those three last shows, I understand. Don’t hesitate. They were amazing performances.

Meanwhile, here’s my favorite Dead song (a hard choice, since I love so many)… from a 1980 show at Radio City Music Hall (not one I attended, alas):

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In Hamburg With Sibel

July 5, 2015 at 2:39 pm
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Sibel Kekilli sent me some nice pictures of my visit to Hamburg. I thought I’d share them.

ON STAGE

DINNER WITH FRIENDS

SIDEWALK CAFE (it was chilly)

Fun times. I hope to get back.

Back In The USA

July 2, 2015 at 1:09 pm
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So we’re back home in Santa Fe, after ten days on the road in Germany, Sweden, and Finland.

A wonderful trip, all in all. Yes, much of it was work… I did numerous interviews in Hamburg, more in Stockholm, still more on the Alands, yadda yadda yadda… but in between we had some fine old times.

Some highlights:
— touring MiniatureLand in Hamburg. Wow. Biggest toy train set in the world, but the landscapes and miniatures dwarf the trains. Very glad my hosts took me to see this.
— the big public event in Hamburg, 3000 fans, sold out months ago.
— hanging with Sibel Kekilli and her boyfriend, and my German publicist, Sebastian. Sibel fed me Turkish food and showed me some of Hamburg’s nightlife, to reciprocate for the tour of Santa Fe I gave her on INTO THE NIGHT. Hamburg stays up later than Santa Fe, you will be surprised to learn, but chile con queso is nowhere to be found. We drank White Russians while huddled under blankets in an outdoor cafe. Took a canal boat tour as well.
— Stockholm. What a gorgeous city. Comes of not having a major war since Napoleon. That way your gorgeous old buildings don’t get bombed into rubble.
— the Vasa Museum. Okay, the ship never made it our of the harbor, but it makes a great centerpiece for a museum,
— the Royal Armory, where you can actually see the bloodstained clothing that Gustavus Adolphus and Charles XII were wearing when they died,
— Marieham, on the Aland islands. Just a lovely place.
— the Aland Vikings, who fed us pancakes and mead and hammered at each other with axe and sword and spear for our amusement. They are building a very cool Viking village, definitely worth a visit if you visit the islands.

And of course Archipelacon was great fun as well. The Finnish fans are second to none, and we had plenty of Swedes on hand as well, and a strong BWB contigent who taught them all how to party. It is events like this that remind me what fandom is all about — a celebration of science fiction and fantasy, of friendship and family.

Getting Hectic Here

June 16, 2015 at 11:01 am
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Things are getting hectic here. I am doing what I hope is the final round of editing on HIGH STAKES, the new Wild Cards mosaic novel, in hopes of delivering that one to the good folks (and they are) at Tor before I take off for Europe.

On Thursday, we’re off to Germany. I have a big event in Hamburg, and Sibel Kekilli has promised to show me her city… seeing as how I showed her Santa Fe a few months ago, it’s only fair. From there I’ll be flying to Sweden for a few days in Stockholm, then taking a ferry to the Aland Islands for my long-planned appearance as GOG at Archipelacon.

I will try to post a few more details about the trip before we fly off.

(Meanwhile, of course, I still have Puppies nipping at my ankles. Even the sad ones seem to have gone rabid of late. tsk)

Catching Up

June 4, 2015 at 3:41 pm
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Can it really be June already?

Guess so. Where do the days go? Where do the months go?

I’ve been so busy since getting back from Kansas City that I’ve hardly had time to breathe, let alone blog.

In broad strokes —
— the trip through Kansas was a lot of fun. The highlight was our visit to the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson, Kansas. For those of you who have not heard of it (most of you, I assume), this is an air and space museum second only to the Smithsonian. Truly an amazing collection. They have a V-1 and a V-2. They have the backup Sputnik. They have a Bell X-1… not the original, no, but the one used in THE RIGHT STUFF, which is almost as cool. They have a Blackbird. And they have, yes, the original genuine Liberty Bell 7 and Apollo 13, as well as all sorts of other amazing stuff. I know that Hutchinson, Kansas is not on many “places you have to see” lists, but the Cosmosphere makes a visit there well worth the while. (The salt mine on the other side of town is pretty damn cool as well),
— Conquest was cool. The KC fen throw a great con. And I was heartened by all the people who came up to thank me for my posts about the Hugos. Even in the nation’s heartland, it seems, there is considerable fannish anger about the Sad and Rabid Puppies pooping on our awards,
— Yes, Puppygate has continued, though I’ve been too busy to post about it. The Sad Puppies continue to be clueless, moving their goalposts almost daily. The Rabid Puppies continue to be venomous. Lots of other people are reading the Hugo nominees and reviewing the finalists. That’s what I am doing myself, though I am way behind in my reading,
— MAD MAX:FURY ROAD did some great business for the Cocteau, despite showing on eight other screens around town. Third highest-grossing picture we’ve had since I reopened the theatre, behind only INTERSTELLAR and THE INTERVIEW. We’ve very pleased.


–Last Sunday, we hosted “Remembering Roger,” a moving and memorable day in remembrance of our friend Roger Zelazny, one of the great SF writers of all time, who left us twenty years ago. Parris McBride, Walter Jon Williams, Melinda Snodgrass, John Jos. Miller, Shannon Zelazny, Jane Lindskold, Stephen Gould, and Trent Zelazny spoke and gave readings from Roger’s work, Joe and Gay Haldeman and Steven Brust joined us via Skype, and Neil Gaiman read one of Roger’s stories on video from London. We also played an audio of Roger himself reading from SIGN OF THE UNICORN, paired with a slide show of Amber art and Roger’s own life and times.

And that evening, the Cocteau presented a marvelous staged reading of GODSON, the musical play that Roger wrote not long before his passing. It was an incredible performance, and got a terrific reaction.

We hope to stage a couple more performances in the weeks to come. Watch this space, and the Cocteau website, for further announcements.

Conquest Bound

May 18, 2015 at 7:19 pm
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I hear that everything is up to date in Kansas City, so I am heading that way to check it out for myself. Next weekend I will be Editor Guest of Honor at Conquest, KC’s long-running regional con, and one of my very favorites. I went to my first KC con in 1972 (where I finally met Howard Waldrop, with whom I’d been exchanging letters since 1963), and have been coming back when I can ever since. The 1976 worldcon in KC — MidAmericon — still ranks as the best worldcon of all time, in my not so humble opinion. Even if I did lose two Hugos there.

So if any of you are in Kansas or Missouri or within driving distance, do come join us. You can check out the basics on the con here: http://www.conquestkc.org/

I should underline the fact that I am the Editor GOH at Conquest (Brandon Sanderson is the Author Guest of Honor). I’ve been editing books just as long as I’ve been writing them (the first book I ever published was one I’d edited, not one I’d written), and to date I’ve been editor or co-editor on thirty-eight anthologies, with number thirty-nine on the way. Yet this will be be the first time that any con has ever honored me for my editorial work.

Yes, I will be reading a chapter from THE WINDS OF WINTER there, and yes, I’ll talk about ICE AND FIRE and my other writing… but the emphasis at Conquest will be on my editing, especially the WILD CARDS series, and one of my two scheduled autograph sessions will be limited to the anthologies I’ve edited. Just sayin’.

And of course, I expect to find some burnt ends as well… dragon-charred, no doubt…

Home Again

April 6, 2015 at 5:12 pm
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Got back last night from Seattle.

Norwescon was a lot of fun. I got to hang with some old friends and made some new ones, and drank far too many White Russians. (The Dude abides). My hosts treated me very well.

I read the new ‘Alayne’ chapter, the one I just uploaded, and got a great response. I’m very pleased that so many of you liked it. (I’ve gotten some nice emails about it too. Sorry that I cannot reply, but there are just too many).

The con also featured a Burlesque show with a GAME OF THRONES theme. That was fun too.

The Philip K. Dick awards were given out. I haven’t actually read any of the finalists, but a couple of the winners were present, and I was pleased to meet them.

This year’s Hugo ballot was also announced, simultaneously with similar announcements at Minicon and the British Eastercon. I am going to have more to say about that soon. A lot more. But not in this post. I don’t want to spoil the mood here.

Fandom Is (indeed) a Way of Life, and attending a con like Norwescon always feels like coming home.

Oh, and once more, for all the Seahawks fans I met this weekend… THEY SHOULD HAVE GIVEN THE BALL TO BEAST MODE. Worst. Call. Ever.