Not a Blog

Dark Sword Miniatures Now On Sale

November 29, 2007 at 1:41 pm
Profile Pic

This story will be going up on my News page soon, but I thought I’d post it here as well, since I know some of my Not-A-Bloggers don’t check out the news page… and I did want to get out the word before all the prize entries were spoken for.

The wait is over. Get out your paints and brushes.

Dark Sword Miniatures has just released their first set of premium pewter miniatures based A Song of Ice and Fire. For photos of the figures, both painted and unpainted, be sure and check out my news page and Dark Sword’s own website.

The miniatures are available for purchase now via the online store at Dark Sword’s website. The figures retail for $9.99 apiece, or $99.99 for the complete set of ten:

— Ser Jaime Lannister,
— Queen Cersei Lannister,
— Ser Loras Tyrell, the Knight of Flowers,
— Sandor Clegane, the Hound,
— Melisandre of Asshai, red priestess of R’hllor,
— Jon Snow,
— four Sworn Brothers of the Night’s Watch, including:
raven keeper, archer, spearman, axeman/ swordsman.

All the figures were sculpted by the incomparable Tom Meier, who’s simply The Best. They are cast in pewter in the popular “28mm” scale favored by many of today’s wargamers and collectors, and go well with Dark Sword’s other fine ranges, based on the artwork of Larry Elmore, Keith Parkinson, and other renowned fantasy artists. It should be noted that all these miniatures come unpainted, and will need to be cleaned, assembled, primed, and painted.

To help launch the new “George R.R. Martin Masterworks” line, Dark Sword is offering some special promotions. The first 99 people to order the complete set of 10 miniatures will receive receive a certificate of authenticity signed by Tom Meier, Jim Ludwig, and yours truly. This 8 1/2″ x 11″ certificate will come in a protective bag and backing board to protect it and is suitable for framing.

Also, all those who purchase the complete set by December 15, 2007 will be entered into a random drawing for one or more of the following prizes:
— one of four $50.00 Dark Sword Miniatures online gift vouchers
— a signed and personalized copy of the Deluxe Leatherbound GAME OF THRONES
— a signed and personalized copy of DREAMSONGS, Volume 1, the new Bantam
hardcover edition of my RRetrospective short story collection,
— a signed and personalized copy of the TUF VOYAGING hardcover

Participants will receive one chance in the drawing for each set they purchase. So head on over to Dark Sword and place your order now, or you find that you’re number 102 and out of the running for all the cool prizes.

And while you guys are painting up these figures, Tom and Jim and I will be looking forward to the next set, and discussing which characters should be included. If you would like to put in your own two cents, sound off on Dark Sword’s message board at and let them know which Ice & Fire character you’d most like to see in pewter.

We have lots of exciting plans for this range of miniatures, including more special promotions and raffles, painting contests, limited edition collector’s figures, and the like, so check the Dark Sword website early and often for updates and announcements.

Current Mood: null null


November 25, 2007 at 11:35 pm
Profile Pic

Okay, I’m not even going to talk about today’s Giants game or the one the Jets played on Thanksgiving. The wounds are still weeping. Sigh.

On other fronts, there’s a couple of new interviews online for those few of you who are not yet tired of hearing me expound. I talk about DREAMSONGS and genre and my middle initials with John J. Miller of THE NATIONAL REVIEW (not to be confused with John Jos. Miller, my sometimes collaborator and Wild Cards writer) at

and answer questions for the readers of ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY at,,20161804,00.html

Oh, and I hope everyone reading this had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Gobble, gobble.

Current Mood: null null

Win a signed copy of INSIDE STRAIGHT

November 21, 2007 at 11:35 am
Profile Pic

For those of you who are eager to get a head start on the Wild Cards relaunch — whether you’re fans of the original series, or newcomers curious to find out what all the excitement is about — Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist will be giving away two copies of the ARC for INSIDE STRAIGHT, signed by all nine contributors.

Details of the contest can be found on Pat’s site at

Enter early, but not often.

Despite being a fan of the despicable Dallas Cowboys, Pat gives good contest.

Current Mood: null null


November 19, 2007 at 1:42 pm
Profile Pic

PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY has weighed in with a nice review of INSIDE STRAIGHT in today’s issue.

For those of you who do not read PW, the review is also available online at the PW site:

They say, “this fast-paced and sardonic story will appeal to comic book aficionados and heroic fantasy fans alike.”

Amen to that.

Current Mood: null null

Wild Cards interview

November 19, 2007 at 12:27 pm
Profile Pic

A long interview with me about INSIDE STRAIGHT and the new Wild Cards triad has just been posted at SFF World, and can be found at

The interview was actually done last February, when we had just finished and delivered INSIDE STRAIGHT, so certain aspects of it are already outdated, but there’s still a good information there, for those interested in Wild Cards.

Current Mood: null null

Two Wins in One Day

November 18, 2007 at 11:26 pm
Profile Pic

Life is magical and full of joy.

Somehow both of my teams won today. The Giants defeated the Detroit Lions in the morning… just barely, admittedly, but a win is a win, and I’ll take it. And then somehow the Jets won as well, against a very good Pittsburgh Steeler team. That one shocked even me. I have never believed that the Jets were as bad as their record suggested and I figured they’d pull out of the tailspin and win one sooner or later, but I never expected it to be against the Steelers, supposedly the third best team in the AFC. I’ll take that one too, however. The Jets D stepped up big, and Mangini took advantage of the bye week to install a number of nice new wrinkles and schemes.

Of course, the hated Cowboys and despised Patriots both won huge, so the day wasn’t perfect.

The G-Men look to be in pretty good position for a wild card, though they had several costly injuries today. For four years in a row the Giants have been crippled by injuries in the second half of the season, one of the big factors in their late season collapses. This year they have been relatively injury-free, so seeing Kiwi and Brandon go down produced deep forebodings. I fear Kiwi is lost for the year, though I hope Jacobs can return soon. If not, I hope Coughlin gives this kid Bradshaw some carries to spell Reuben Droughns. He showed a lot of flashes in pre-season, and could have the makings of another Tiki Barber, if he can only learn to hold on to the ball. I also wish Coughlin would sit down Plaxico Burress for a couple of games. It’s plain that his ankle is getting worse. He’s playing with pain and without practice. Let him sit on the bench for two or three weeks and heal. Go with Amani Toomer and Sinorice Moss, Steve Smith if he’s healthy, and bring back that kid Anthony Mix. Mix is raw, but has the size, and pretty good hands too.

As for the Jets… well, I don’t expect they’ll be able to stay with the hated Cowboys on Turkey Day, or with the despised Patriots later on, but they will probably win a few more before the season is done… just enough to make sure they don’t get a top five draft pick. Sigh. Kellen Clemens showed promise today, Thomas Jones finally looked like the runner he was supposed to be, the O-line and D-line both played well… but Leon Washington won the game. Amazing how the Steelers schemed to avoid kicking to Leon all game long, only to punt it straight at him in overtime, with the game on the line. He made them pay. Let’s send Leon to the Pro Bowl…

Current Mood: null null


November 16, 2007 at 5:55 pm
Profile Pic

Life is meaningless and has no purpose.

I don’t know which was more painful, watching the Giants lose again to the Cowboys, or sitting in a sports bar in Saratoga as the Colts collapsed and Evil Little Bill and his Patriots won another one. Damn you, Belicheat! Damn you, Brady! Damn you, Stego!

I have a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that we’re headed toward a Cowboys – Patriots Superbowl. There’s no teams I loathe more. I’ll have no one to root for. Is there some way both of them can lose?

Unless the Cowboys choke, it looks as though a grisly death is in store for Patrick St. Denis. I think I’ll kill a couple of guys named Romo and Teo along with him.

(Sits down to sharpen his axe).

Current Mood: null null


November 16, 2007 at 4:40 pm
Profile Pic

The first issue of the new DC Comics miniseries SALVATION RUN has just hit the stands, and I’ve gotten a number of questions about my involvement with the project. Rather than try and respond individually by email, I thought it best to address the questions here, lay out the history, and put the matter to rest.

Those who’ve picked up the comic will have read the “DC Nation” afterword, where DC Executive Editor Dan DiDio gives a brief history of the project, and credits the original idea to me. His account is accurate for the most part, but there’s a huge and important omission. My involvement in this project, which goes back a decade, was always as one-half of a team. The other half was my friend and sometime collaborator John Jos. Miller, one of the mainstays of my Wild Cards series, and a talented writer and comic scriptor in his own right. John and I came up with the idea together, developed it together, pitched it together, sold it together, wrote it together (to the extent that we wrote it). It’s true that I did have more meetings with Dan than John did, simply because I get to New York more often, but John was just as much a part of SALVATION RUN as I was, start to finish. I have no idea why Dan omitted any mention of John’s name in his account of the project, but the record should be corrected. SALVATION RUN was never just me. It was always John and me.

In the beginning, it wasn’t SALVATION RUN either. The origins of this go back a decade. At the time DC was publishing a line of books called ELSEWORLDS, their version of Marvel’s “What If” stories, tales that took place outside the on-going DC continuity. The editor of the line was a fellow named Andy Helfer. The idea that John and I pitched him, way back then, can be summed up in one word: Australia. What if the world finally got sick of all these super-villains and decided to get rid of them once and for all by transporting them to a distant planet, with no way home? Our title was EXILES IN PARADISE. Andy loved it, and bought it, and John and I set to work on what was originally to be a ten-issue series.

It was an Elseworlds series from day one, however. A “what if” story. When Britain sent convicts to Australia, they were transported “for the term of your natural life,” and that was the premise of our story too. There was no escape. The planet was in another galaxy, millions of light years away, accessible only by Boom Tube. We wanted to tell a story that would span decades. Characters would die, would change, would marry, would have children. Wars would be fought, but eventually, from the chaos and brutality of the early days, a society would be born. Some of the villains would find only death on the new world, but for others it would be a second chance, and they would find redemption. The whole tale, once told, would span decades. None of the villains would ever return to Earth. (Nor did they have to. This was an ELSEWORLDS series).

The project began well enough. Barry Kitson was assigned to do the art, John and I plotted the first issue and wrote the script, and Kitson did the pencils… and did a terrific job, too. After that, however, problems developed. “Creative differences,” as they say in Hollywood. As we plotted out the second issue, it became clear that the story John and I wanted to tell was a good deal darker and grittier than what Andy Helfer was comfortable with. A dozen villains died in issue one alone, some of them “name” villains, and that was just to start. There was murder, there was sex, there were even porta-potties (which became a big issue, somehow). We found ourselves unable to resolve those differences, so finally a settlement was reached, and EXILES IN PARADISE was shelved.

It remained on the shelf for long years, during which time Andy left DC, and the entire Elseworlds line was discontinued, but when Dan DiDio came to DC, he took it off the shelf, dusted it off, and decided to revive the project… but with a crucial difference. Dan wanted to do the idea as part of DC’s main, ongoing continuity. It would no longer be an “imaginary story” or a “what if,” it would become part of the history of the DC universe. He laid out the idea to me over a lunch in New York several years ago, I took it back to New Mexico and hashed it out with John. Thus SALVATION RUN was born.

Changing the tale from a “what if” to something that “really happens” had huge ramifications, however. At first, John and I were both excited by the prospect. Even as a kid in Bayonne, reading my Superman funnies, I always thought that “imaginary stories” were vaguely unsatisfying, somehow. When a story begins with a disclaimed that says no, this didn’t really happen, the stakes are lowered from page one. So the prospect of being able to work within the actual ongoing continuity sound cool.

Once we got into the nitty-gritty, however, we soon ran into difficulties. The whole concept had originally been built around the idea of these villains being sent to another world for “for the terms of [their] natural lives,” to live or die as they would. That worked great for Elseworlds. Not so much for the main continuity. We wanted major characters to die, to change and find redemption, to marry, to love, to hate, to have children… but DC was not about to write off virtually all of its major and minor supervillains, which is really what our version of the story would have required.

John and I gave it our best shot, I’ll say that much, but it soon became clear that we could not make it work that way that DC wanted. So we stepped down, came to an amicable agreement, and returned to our myriad other projects while DC brought in Bill Willingham to take over the plotting and writing of SALVATION RUN.

Bill is a first rate writer, has done some terrific work on FABLES, and is much better versed in the current DC universe and all its complexities than either John or me. He was a good choice to take over the writing, and like any comic fan, I’m looking forward to seeing what he does with the idea. I know that Bill started fresh, however, without consulting any of the prior work that John and I had done, and from reading the first issue, it’s plain to see that he’s taking the book in a much different direction than what we’d planned.

One of these days, John Miller and I may go back and do our own version of the story, with a cast of original characters of our own creation. That won’t be for a while, however. Not until after A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE is done, and John has finished BLACK TRAIN COMING, the big vampire novel that he’s writing,

Meanwhile, comic fans can enjoy Bill Willingham’s take on the tale. Prison planets are nothing new, after all, and Australia is big enough to inspire many different stories.

(This is all I care to say on this topic, so I am closing comments on this one. If you want to talk about SALVATION RUN, the place to do it is on a board like Newsarama, not here).

Anyway, that’s the story.

Current Mood: null null

Wild Cards Reviewed

November 16, 2007 at 4:28 pm
Profile Pic

INSIDE STRAIGHT is coming out in January, and there’s lots of cool stuff happening on the Wild Cards front… most of which I can’t get talk about yet (watch this space for future updates, however).

I can say that we’ve gotten our first review on INSIDE STRAIGHT, from the Fantasy Book Spot, which can be found at

It’s just what you want in a first review: on a scale of 1 to 10, he gives us an 11.

We also got a great quote from… well, no, best wait on that one.

There’s a great Wild Cards forum at where fans of the series — and those who aren’t fans yet, but might be if they’d check it out — can talk about the books, characters, etc. A number of my Wild Cards writers drop in there from time to time as well, so it’s a good place for readers and authors to interact.

Current Mood: null null

Home from WFC

November 16, 2007 at 4:07 pm
Profile Pic

I’m back home again from World Fantasy Con and a week in New York City.

There’s a hundred things to talk about, and I haven’t posted for a long time, so I’m going to break this up into a number of subject-specific posts. Should make it easier for commenting.

WFC first. It’s been a few years since I’ve attended World Fantasy, and I’d forgotten how good they can be. This year’s was the biggest WFC ever held (mind you, that still makes it only about a fifth the size of worldcon, which is turn is almost nothing compared to something like the San Diego Comicon), and one of the best. Saratoga seems to be a lovely city, though I didn’t get to see as much of it as I might have liked. There was a huge turnouts of writers, editors, artists, and publishers. I got to hang around with old friends and make new ones. It was great to spend some time with Lisa Tuttle and sit down with Gardner Dozois again and talk about our anthology projects, but I also got the chance to meet some fellow fantasists I had never met before, including Steven Erikson, Scott Lynch, and David Anthony Durham. As usual, the Brotherhood Without Banners threw the best parties at the con. (Jetboy Lives!) I enjoyed the awards banquet as well, even though the prime rib was grey and tasted as if it had been boiled. Gene Wolfe won the award for best novel, Ellen Asher got some much deserved recognition for her decades of editorial service at the Science Fiction Book Club, and toastmaster Guy Gavriel Kay gave a moving tribute to Robert Jordan, speaking eloquently about his importance to the field.

And when I read the prologue of A DANCE WITH DRAGONS, I liked it a lot better than the earlier version I read at a couple cons last summer.

All in all, a terrific con. It almost — but not quite — makes up for me missing Japan.

Next year’s World Fantasy Con will be in Calgary, in Canada. I had so much fun at this year’s WFC that Parris and I are adding that one to our schedule. See you there!

(Must also mention that the train ride from Saratoga to New York City is not to be missed. The rails run right along the Hudson, and the river in its fall foliage was gorgeous).

Current Mood: null null