Not a Blog

A Visit to Old Blighty

December 6, 2023 at 8:58 am
Profile Pic

I have been busy catching up these past couple of weeks, dealing with the thousand-odd emails that accumulated while I was over the Pond in London Towne for two-and-a-half weeks.   (Most of that was spam, though, and quickly dealt with).

It was a busy trip.  I have not been to London since before the Dublin Worldcon a few years ago.    That trip was largely for fun, this one was mostly work… though we did find time to see a few plays on the West End.  CABARET was amazing, but oh, so dark.   I love love love the film version with Liza Minelli, one of my favorite films of all time, but the stage production has a whole different feel.  Brilliant, but gut wrenching, especially considering the times we are living through right now.   We also caught the adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE.   A wonderful book, but so much of it depends on internal monologue and Neil’s rich, evocative prose that I wondered how they could possibly bring it to the stage.   I need not have worried.  They did a masterful job.   I hear they may be bringing it to Broadway soon.  If so, don’t miss it.   Finally, we went to see THE MOUSE TRAP, the Agatha Christie whodunit that has been playing on the West End since 1952.   That was a fun evening as well.

And since we are talking theatre… one of the meetings I had in London was with Dominick and Duncan, the director and scriptwriter of our own stage play, the one we have been working on for the past few years.    Originally we were calling it HARRENHAL, but we have now settled on THE IRON THRONE as a title… until we think of something better.   Regardless, things are coming well, I think, and we are hopeful of being able to open in late 2024.   Maybe.   But you never know.   There’s still a lot of work to be done.

I also found time to meet with my British publisher, and my other British publisher, to talk WILD CARDS and A SONG OF ICE & FIRE and (of course) THE WINDS OF WINTER.

And… of course, of course… I also spent three days with HOUSE OF THE DRAGON.  Starting with a visit to the studio where HOT D is being shot.   (I had originally planned to visit there months ago, but the WGA strike put an end to that, and instead I stayed here in Santa Fe, working on WINDS OF WINTER and walking a picket line).   All I have to say about that is… ohmigod!  I am no stranger to film sets.  I have worked off and on in television and film since 1986, where I joined the staff of the TWILIGHT ZONE revival at CBS.   I still recall the rush where I saw them building Stonehenge on the sound stage behind my office, for an episode I’d written.   And of course I visited the GAME OF THRONES shoots in Belfast, Scotland, Morocco, and Malta.   Those were incredible too.   But nothing I have ever seen can compare with the Red Keep and Dragonstone sets they have built at Leavesden Studios in London.   HUGE, stunning, and so damned real that I felt as if I had gone through a time portal to medieval Westeros.   I love castles and have visited dozens of actual medieval castles, keeps, and towers in my time, and none of the real castles I’ve ever seen can hold a candle… or a torch… to our Red Keep.

It was not all tromping through sets, though.   I also spent two days locked in a room with Ryan Condal and his writing staff (Sara Hess, Ti Mikkel, David Hancock, and Philippa Goslett) talking about the third and fourth seasons of HOUSE OF THE DRAGON.   They were lively, fun discussions, and we got some good work done… though two days was not nearly enough.   There is so much ground to cover that I am not sure twenty days would have been enough.

The highlight of the trip, though, had to be the sneak preview that Ryan gave me of the first two episodes of HOUSE OF THE DRAGON, season two.  (Rough cuts, of course).   Of course, I am hardly objective when talking about anything based on my own work… but I have to say, I thought both episodes were just great.   (And they are not even finished yet).   Dark, mind you.   Very dark.   They may make you cry.   (I did not cry myself, but one of my friends did).   Powerful, emotional, gut-wrenching, heart rending.   Just the sort of thing I like.  (What can I say?  I was weaned on Shakespeare, and love the tragedies and history plays best of all).

We also got to spent Halloween in London.    My minions made me dress up.   They are very bossy minions.

Also got to spend some time over there with friends old and new: Lisa Tuttle, Paul Cornell, Meredith Glynn, Jane Johnson, Mark Lawrence, Maisie Williams.

A lovely trip, all in all.  We even got to see some fireworks on the Fifth of November.

But now I am back, and there is so much work to be done.

Current Mood: tired tired

The Dragons Return

December 3, 2023 at 12:53 pm
Profile Pic

The dragons are coming back.

HOUSE OF THE DRAGON has wrapped its second season, and is now deep in post production.

HBO has just released the first teaser for season two.


HOTD season two coming your way this summer.

Current Mood: pleased pleased

NEW cookbook now available for the holidays :D

November 28, 2023 at 9:04 am
Profile Pic

Season’s Greetings from Westeros, Essos, and Beyond

As we head into the holiday season, where kitchens will be fragrant with delectable morsels, it seemed a fitting time to share an early look at The Official Game of Thrones Cookbook by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel. Enjoy this sneak peek and scroll all the way down to discover a recipe you could incorporate into your year-end festivities!

The cookbook is presented as the in-world manuscript of Maester Alton, a curious, food-obsessed Citadel master who loves the fare of the highborn and small folk alike. His recipes evoke the world’s regions, history, and stories in a charming and knowledgeable voice. Each section is introduced with stunning woodcut illustrations like this one featured in the opening pages of the book.

To whet your appetite for all that is to come on May 7, 2024, peruse the table of contents at your leisure.

You’ll be able to enjoy everything the vast culinary world The Official Game of Thrones Cookbook has to offer next summer! In the meantime, astonish family and friends this fall by serving flavorful Highgarden Dumplings at your banqueting table.

Makes: 4 servings

Prep: 20 minutes

Cooking: 40 minutes

Nowhere in the Seven Kingdoms can boast such rich harvests or such flavorful produce as

the Reach. Perhaps there is some truth to the legends of Garth Greenhand and his agrarian

powers, but more likely the fertility of the lands around Highgarden can be attributed to the

more mundane properties of its soil and geography. Regardless, so great is the bounty of the

Reach that without its exports, much of Westeros would go hungry. One happy consequence

of these plentiful harvests is that cooks and farmwives throughout the region are endlessly

dreaming up new ways to employ their bounty.

One of my favorite dishes, rarely seen anywhere but the south, is a small dumpling made

with either squash or beetroot. The recipe is straightforward: the vegetables are roasted until

soft, then blended with flour and an egg to make a dough that can be cut small and boiled. The

resulting bite-size dumplings are soft and a little chewy. Sauced with butter, herbs, and cheese,

it’s a memorable combination that plates beautifully for honored guests.

1 pound (about 2 cups) butternut squash, peeled and cubed

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 egg

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1½ to 2 cups all-purpose flour

Brown Butter Sauce

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

Small handful of fresh sage leaves, roughly chopped

½ cup heavy cream

¼ cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped

½ cup cooked peas

Salt and ground black pepper

Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Toss the squash with the olive oil and spread out on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for about 25 minutes, flipping the squash halfway through, until very tender.

While the squash is cooking, make the sauce: Melt the butter over medium-low heat in a large frying pan, stirring occasionally. After several minutes, it should become foamy and start to turn a nutty brown color. Reduce the heat to low, add in the sage, and then stir in the heavy cream. Let cook for several minutes, until somewhat thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the walnuts and peas. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Once the squash is cooked, add it to a medium mixing bowl and allow it to cool for several minutes. Add the egg and puree with an immersion blender until smooth (the squash may also be mashed by hand, but the texture might be more rustic). Add in the Parmesan and nutmeg. Gradually add in 1½ cups of the flour, then, if needed, continue to add flour until you have formed a dough that is not sticky and can be kneaded. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Divide the dough into quarters and, still working on the lightly floured surface, roll each quarter out into a rope that is no more than ½ inch thick, then cut each rope into sections about 1 inch long. Once all the dough has been cut, add the dumplings to the boiling water in batches of four. Allow the dumplings to cook for several minutes, until they are all floating at the top of the water, then scoop them out with a slotted spoon and drain them.

Add the cooked dumplings to the sauce and stir to coat. Serve warm and top with extra Parmesan cheese, if desired.




The Pain, the Pain

November 22, 2023 at 3:52 pm
Profile Pic

Ah, the New York Giants.    They made the playoffs last year, and even won a playoff game.   This year they were supposed to take the next step forward.  Hopes ran high.

And the New York Jets.   They just missed the playoffs last season, but they have a great defense, and they signed Aaron Rodgers in the off season.   Hopes ran high.

Then they started playing the games.


Life is meaningless and full of pain.

Current Mood: gloomy gloomy



November 11, 2023 at 7:52 am
Profile Pic

November 11.   Armistice Day.   Celebrated to mark the end of “the War to End War.”

Would that it had been so.    Alas.

Let us never forget the costs we play at war, however.   Herewith a powerful song from one of my favorite films of all time.


Current Mood: contemplative contemplative

NFL Football

October 27, 2023 at 9:32 am
Profile Pic

I don’t want to talk about it.



Words for Our Times

October 25, 2023 at 8:35 am
Profile Pic

Golden Days

October 20, 2023 at 9:32 am
Profile Pic

I love Santa Fe at all times of year, but fall is my favorite season.   Late September and early October, especially.

The days are bright and sunny, but not hot.  The air is crisp and clean, bracing.  Dry, of course.   We don’t believe in humidity.  The nights are cool, the skies  full of stars.

And this is when the trees start to turn.   We don’t get the full fall colors they have in New England; nor many reds or oranges down this way.  But the aspens and the cottonwoods turn yellow, and for a short time we have entire mountains that look as if they were dipped in gold.

The big cottonwood outside my house is one that turns.   So gorgeous.

In a world that is so sad and troubled and full of hate, it is good to know that we can still stop and see the trees.

Current Mood: contemplative contemplative

A Rocket from Wisconsin

October 17, 2023 at 1:32 pm
Profile Pic

Back in March, we showed our short film NIGHT OF THE COOTERS at the Midwest Weirdfest festival in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and won the award for Best Science Fiction Short.

The trophy was not ready at the time, but it is now, and the good folks in Eau Claire were kind enough to send it to us.


It’s very cool, and we’re pleased to add it to the awards shelf.

NIGHT OF THE COOTERS had a good run on the festival circuit.   We exhibited the film at LA Shorts and NY Shorts, Genreblast (Provo, Utah), Midwest Weirdfest (Eau Claire), Atlanta Film Festival, Santa Fe International Film Festival, Dubuque Film Festival, and took home five awards.   At this point, though, COOTERS is retiring from the festival circuit for the time being, while we try to put together a distribution deal.  Meanwhile, we have two more Howard Waldrop shorts almost ready to go.  Watch this space.   When we have some details on times and showings, I will be glad to share them here.

NIGHT OF THE COOTERS was based on Howard Waldrop’s short story of the same title, with a screenplay by Joe Lansdale.   Vincent d’Onofrio directed, and also starred as Sheriff Lindley of Pachuco, Texas.



Current Mood: happy happy

As Time Goes By

October 1, 2023 at 8:18 am
Profile Pic

I had another birthday sneak up on me last Wednesday, September 20.  Honestly, I don’t know where the time goes.  The years seem to be flying past much faster than they used to.   We had a great birthday party, with lots of friends on hand.  Thanks to them, and to all of you out there who sent cards and even gifts (not necessary, though).  Friends, family, fans, readers, viewers, I appreciate all of you.

Birthdays always make me think of Eliot.

I grow old… I grow old…
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.
Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.

I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

For what it is worth, I mostly wear jeans, not white flannel trousers, and I remain unafraid of peaches.   We had peach ice cream at the party, yum yum.   Along with homemade apple pie, Papa Hemingway’s favorite hamburgers, corn on the cob, and baked beans.  The weather was perfect, and the company was great.

And who knows, maybe one day the mermaids will sing for me.

Current Mood: contemplative contemplative