Not a Blog

Goodbye, 2007

December 31, 2007 at 8:04 pm
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Another year about to end. They seem to go past very fast of late.

I had hoped to be able to finish A DANCE WITH DRAGONS during 2007. Way back around this time last year, I had even hoped that the book might be published during 2007. Neither of those happened, and to that extent the year was a disappointment… for me, as well as for my fans.

Other projects fared better. THE ICE DRAGON, HUNTER’S RUN, DREAMSONGS, the SWORN SWORD comic book, the incredibly cool miniatures from Dark Sword, and soon to come the minibusts from Valyrian Resin and the replica of Longclaw from Valyrian Steel. The rebirth of Wild Cards has been especially exciting. INSIDE STRAIGHT will be out in less than a month, BUSTED FLUSH has been delivered, our new Wild Cards website is up and running, and the Wild Cards comic series and RPG are on the way (from DBPro and Green Ronin, respectively). And then there are the two new anthology projects that I’m co-editing with Gardner Dozois, WARRIORS and SONGS OF THE DYING EARTH, both now well underway. So it’s certainly been a productive year. In some ways an exhausting one.

Still, the new year looms. I am not a big believer in New Year resolutions, but I do have some goals for 2008, both personal and professional, and the most urgent of those remains A DANCE WITH DRAGONS. For more about DANCE, see the Update page of my website, which I intend to update in the next day or so. See also the Samples page. I’ve been alternating the first Tyrion chapter and the first Dany chapter there for the past year, but as a holiday gift to my readers, and a thanks for all their patience, I’m going to put up a new sample soon.

(It may take a few days to get the update and the sample up, be warned).

Here’s hoping that 2008 is a year of triumph and wonderment for all of us.

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My Poor Jets

December 31, 2007 at 7:52 pm
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Even when they win, they lose.

Yesterday Mike Nugent kicked a field goal in overtime to give the Jets a victory over the Kansas City Chefs. Closing out the dismal season with a win.

Alas, that win changed them from a 3-13 team to a 4-12 team.

If they had finished 3-13, the Jets would have had the third choice in the April’s NFL draft. At 4-12, they drop down all the way to sixth pick. There are three other teams that finished at 4-12, and all of them get to pick before the Jets now.

Why do the other three 4-12 teams get to pick before the Jets, you ask? The tiebreaker is “strength of schedule.” The Jets played a stronger schedule than the other three 4-12 teams, so they pick last of the bunch.

Why is their strength of schedule stronger than the other three teams, you ask? Well, for starts, the Jets had to play the Patriots twice. That means 32-0 before you even consider the other fourteen games they played.

Just another reason to hate the Pats.

(Who, by the way, will pick seventh, immediately after the Jets, thanks to their trade last season with the 49ers. I think Pioli and Belichick must have incriminating photographs of all the other GMs and coaches in the league. How else to explain these trades they make? I mean, they picked up Wes Welker and Randy Moss for loose change and old jock straps, I believe. Great work there, Miami and Oakland).

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Great Game…

December 29, 2007 at 11:20 pm
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… but the bad guys won.


Life is meaningless and has no purpose.

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The Big Tuna

December 20, 2007 at 10:32 am
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ESPN reports that Bill Parcells has signed with the Miami Dolphins to take over as their new director of football operations.

That sound you hear is me grinding my teeth. Why the hell couldn’t the Tuna have signed with the Falcons, as he appeared to be on the cusp of doing just two days ago?

I loved Parcells as the Giants coach. I loved him as the Jets coach. I hated it when he walked away from both teams. And I got really pissed when he went over to the enemy and rebuilt the Cowboys. And now he’s going to do the same thing for the Fins.

Things just got that much harder for my poor Jets. Belichick and Parcells both in the same division. Sigh.

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I’m Not a Lawyer…

December 18, 2007 at 2:33 pm
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… but I have just been interviewed by one, about the legal system of the Seven Kingdoms, and the topic of law in fantasy in general.

You can hear my interview with David Hoffman the blogsite Concurring Opinions at

Dave is a law professor at Temple University as well as a fantasy fan, with a particular interest in the treatment of law in epic fantasies. If that topic interests you, you can check out some of the earlier discussion on those issues at



and also

Myself, I enjoyed the interview with Dave, and found that all these discussions gave me a lot of food for thought. Maybe once I finish A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, I will do a legal thriller set in the Seven Kingdoms next. John Grisham meets J.R.R. Tolkien, as they’d say in Hollywood.

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No News Is … No News

December 17, 2007 at 3:38 pm
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Lately I’ve been getting a lot of emails asking me for the latest news about HBO and their prospective adaptation of A GAME OF THRONES.

I appreciate the interest, really, but there is no news. No good news. No bad news. No news of any sort. With much of Hollywood presently shut down because of the writer’s strike, I can’t even say when there will be news.

I try to keep my fans and readers updated on everything that’s happening — with this and with all my other projects — here on my Not-A-Blog, and on the News page of my website. If there was any news worth reporting, you’d read it there. Honest.

Meantime, check out this YouTube video that was recently brought to my attention:

No, it’s not from HBO, it’s not for an actual film. It’s a labor of love that one of my readers put together, all unbeknownest to me, using clips from other films. It’s really cool, however. I don’t know about you guys, but I’d buy a ticket.

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Inside Straight scores again

December 16, 2007 at 10:56 pm
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Okay, the Jets lost and the Giants choked, but at least my Wild Cards team is doing well. Another good review just came in, this one from Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist. Check it out at

And then hie thee off to an internet bookstore and preorder INSIDE STRAIGHT.

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December 16, 2007 at 9:59 pm
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… and has no purpose.

Pathetic loss by the Giants. They played without heart or guts, lost to an inferior Redskins team, and may be well on their way to another end-of-season collapse. Eli looked mediocre at best, but got no help from his receivers, who were dropping balls all over the field. Special mention goes to the normally sure-handed Amani Toomer, who dropped what would have been a long gainer while wide open, to Brandon Jacobs, who ran well but proved that he can’t catch anything out of the backfield, even when the ball hits him in his hands, and to Sinorice Moss, who twice caught crucial passes at a distance that would have been good for a first down and then ran backwards so they weren’t first downs after all.


If the Giants lose to Buffalo next week, they won’t even make the playoffs. I will not be at all surprised if that happens.

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J – E – T – S, Jets! Jets! JETS!!

December 16, 2007 at 3:03 pm
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Life is meaningless and has no…

Well, no, actually life isn’t half bad at the moment. Okay, okay, the Jets lost, just as everyone had predicted they would, but they gave it a pretty good try, and they certainly did not get destroyed or humiliated or ground into meatloaf, as so many commentators and Patriots fans were predicting. The Jets defense especially played very well, although one has to allow that they did get some help from the elements. And kudos to Chad Pennington as well. (More on Chadwick later). A hard-fought game, overall. The Jets were in it right up until the moment when Mike Nugent missed that final field goal.

I will even say a few good words for Bill Belichick. Perhaps even more surprising than the final score was the good sportsmanship that BB displayed at the end, when he shook Coach Mangini’s hand and said, “Great game,” and even congratulated Kerry Rhodes and a few of the other Jets. In honor of this display of class, I’ve decided to refrain from calling him ‘ELB’ in this post… and perhaps in future posts as well, if he continues to be a good sport.

Like many NFL contests, this one came down to a few big plays. The Patriots made them, the Jets did not. And that comes down to a few players. The Jets are actually not as bad a team as their record would suggest, but they do have some holes. If they ever hope to return to the playoffs or even (wonder of wonders) challenge BB and the Patriots within the division, there are some positions that they desperately need to upgrade.

Starting with the offensive line. The two young guys on the line, Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson, are solid, but the right side of the line is mediocre at best, and the left guard position is a disaster. Adrien Clark might as well be a turnstile for all the blocking he does. The Jets management made a terrible decision when they let Pete Kendall go without having an adequate replacement. The porous Jets offensive line has been a problem all season. The QB — be it Chad Pennington, Brad Smith, or Kellen Clemens — never has any time to pass, and the running game has never really been a factor, despite the acquisition of Thomas Jones in the off-season. Jones is no Curtis Martin, admittedly, but he’s a good runner, and along with Leon Washington, he gives the team a decent one-two tandem at RB… but any running back needs holes to run through, and the line is not making any. This also impacts the passing game, especially when Chad is in there. Pennington is at his most effective when he can play action. His fakes are superb, and when the running game is clicking, as it was back when you had Kevin Mawae opening holes for Curtis, Chad can really keep a defense off balance. When the threat of the run is removed, however, the play action becomes a non-factor as well. First priority for the Jets in the off-season needs to be to shore up that offensive line, whether through free agency or the draft.

And if I was Mike Tannenbaum, the Jets GM, I would also do a little addition by subtraction by trading or cutting WR Justin McCareins. Big players come up big in big games, and make big plays when the game is on the line. McCareins can always be counted on to come up small in those situations. Today, with Laveranues Coles unable to play, Jericho Cotchery became the number one receiver and McCareins stepped up to number two. With Jericho double-teamed for most of the game, Chad threw a lot of balls Justin’s way. He caught some, sure… but in the two most crucial situations, he came up short again. A third-down ball that Jericho or Laveranues would almost certainly have come down with went right through his hands, killing a drive early in the game… and later, with the game on the line, he juggled a touchdown catch in the end zone as he went out of bounds, where a clean catch would have given the Jets six points and a chance at an onsides kick. McCareins has had plenty of chances. We’d be better off without him. Put him on the bench for the rest of the season, I say, and let’s see what Wallace Wright and Brad Smith can do.

Oh, and speaking of Brad Smith… I hope after the game Coach Mangini took offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer back behind the woodshed and smacked him a few times for all those damned trick-play option packages with Smith playing QB. The first one worked, and Leon Washington scampered downfield for forty-four yards. Cool. After that the Pats were wise, yet time and time again we saw Smith back there in crucial situations, with Chad on the bench. What kind of Kool Aid was Schott drinking? None of the other Smith packages did bubkis. The kid was a quarterback in college and set all kinds of passing records, but the Jets don’t ever seem to let him pass… which means, the minute he lines up behind center, the defense knows it is going to be some kind of dipsy-doodle option play. I am tried of seeing Brad running around madly in fear of life as people descend on him from all sides. Most of these trick plays get crushed, and that’s been true all season.

Finally, let’s talk about the quarterback. This game would have been even closer than it was if Kellen Clemens hadn’t gift-wrapped a TD for the Patriots on the Jets second play from scrimmage. Lofting the ball off his back foot as he’s being sacked while on his own three-yard line… gawds… no. Yes, Clemens has a big arm. Maybe he is the Jets QB of the future, but the future is not now, and it shouldn’t be next season either. I have seen enough of Clemens for the moment, and I Want Chad. Pennington’s “weak arm” notwithstanding, he is still far and away the best QB on the Jets roster, and if they give him a solid offensive line and a good running game next season, I believe he can and will take them back to the playoffs. Quarterbacking is not all about arm strength. If it were, Jeff George and Richard Todd would be in the Hall of Fame. Chad’s a leader, cool under fire, a warrior, and he has smarts. Smarts are worth more than a big arm. CHAD PENNINGTON SHOULD BE THE STARTING QB OF THE NEW YORK JETS, THIS SEASON AND NEXT.

And for the P-men… congratulations on 14-0, but watch out next week. The Fish are on a roll.

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Wild Cards Website Launches!

December 14, 2007 at 11:11 pm
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This is for all the Wild Cards fans out there… and for all those who I’m hoping will become Wild Cards fans in the very near future.

INSIDE STRAIGHT, the first book in the new Wild Cards triad from Tor, is scheduled for publication on January 22. To help celebrate its release, and the rebirth of the Wild Cards series, we’re debuting a brand new, official Wild Cards website. You’ll find it at:

Do go and check it out, and be sure and sign up for the free email newsletter that will keep you informed of updates to the site and all the other Wild Cards news. Sign-up will also give you a ticket to some nifty extras and hidden features that we’re planning.

We have big plans for the site, including a gallery of fan art, “webisodes” and other original features that you won’t find in the books, author interviews, out-takes, and a lot of other cool stuff, so once you visit, come back often.

And if you’re new to the world of the Wild Cards, you may also want to check out some of the existing Wild Cards sites on the web. They’re not “official,” as the new Tor site will be, but they’re wonderfully done, with a wealth of information. I’m talking about Jason Redgewell’s terrific fan site, Wild Cards Online, and the lively Wild Cards forum to be found on the Captain Comics board. Those addresses are:


So check those out as well, and keep on shuffling. Remember, we can’t die yet, we haven’t seen THE JOLSON STORY.

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