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Happy Birthday To Me

September 20, 2009 at 10:52 pm
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Today is my birthday. Yes. Today I am eleventy-one years old.

(Well, no, not actually, though some days it feels like that).

I got some wonderful gifts to mark the day… from the New York Jets, the New York Giants, and Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys.

In the morning game, the Jets defeated the New England Patriots, long the bullies of the AFC East, who had been pushing Gang Green around on their own field for more games than I care to remember. But not today. A win is always swell, but a win over Evil Little Bill and his minions is especially sweet, since they have been so scarce this past decade. The game did not begin well for the Jets, who came out, looked terrible, and shot themselves in both feet in the first couple of series. But after that they settled down, and before long they were actually dominating.

The defense was amazing. Blitz, blitz, blitz. The last time I have seen so much pressure on a QB was when the Giants beat the Patriots in the SuperBowl, but these were the Jets. Tom Brady will usually eat you alive if you blitz too often, but not today. He looked dazed and lost by the final series. And Darryl Revis just OWNED Randy Moss. (Though once again Vernon Gholston’s name was never mentioned. Did he even play? I’m not certain).

My brother in law was at the game. He’s been a Jets season ticket holder for years, and he tells me he has never heard a Meadowlands crowd make so much noise. Rex Ryan gets credit for that as well. All hail Rex!

The defense won this game, but the offense also performed well, especially Mark Sanchez. I know, I know, he’s only played two games, but right now trading up to grab him in the draft is looking like the best move the Jets have made since drafting Joe Namath.

As for the evening game… what can I say? Aside from the fact that I sufferered several heart attacks during the closing minutes. It was not, by any measure, an especially well-played game, but it sure was an exciting one… and how sweet it is to be able to open the Jerry Jones Palace of Excess by handing the hated Cowboys a loss!

It had to be one of the weirdest games I have ever watched, though. There were times I thought these must be teams from the Bizarro world. For most of the game the Cowboys stifled the vaunted two-headed Giants running attack by stuffing Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw again and again. That’s not supposed to happen. On the other side of the ball, they gashed the Giants D with their own ground game. Felix Jones and Marion Barber kept breaking free for long runs. That’s not supposed to happen either. The huge, slow, ponderous Cowboys offensive line kept the Giant pass-rushers at bay through the whole game. We failed to record a single sack, and Tony Romo always seemed to have plenty of time. That’s DEFINITELY not supposed to happen. The Giants red zone offense sucked too, just as it did last week. We had first and goal on three or four occasions, and came away with field goals every time. We had one interception TD taken away by the ref’s whistle, and our field goal kicker missed a gimme kick at one point, so a good drive ended with nothing.

With all these calamities, you would have to figure the game was a Dallas blowout. And, hey, maybe it should have been. But thankfully, we had Eli Manning and they had Tony Romo. Tony must have known that it was my birthday, since he kept giving the Giants gifts. Three interceptions, I think. (There was a fumble too, so there were four Cowboy turnovers). Two of the picks were just awful throws. The third was a freakish thing where the ball bounced off the back of Jason Witten’s ankle right into the hands of Kenny Phillips, who ran it back for the TD that the refs took away.

And that wasn’t even the most freakish play in the game. That had to be Eli’s long TD pass to Mario Manningham, which MM dropped, juggled, and somehow managed to catch again while sliding on his butt through the endzone. Not exactly classic form, but hey, it counted for six points just the same. Manningham had nine other catches, for ten total, and The Other Steve Smith had ten as well, the first time in the long and storied history of the Giants that they have ever had two receivers both catch ten balls in a game. Plaxico who? I think the Giants have found their starting tandem… and when Hakeem Nicks comes back from his injury and Ramses Barden gets a bit more seasoning, we could have one of the most dangerous receiving corps in the league.

The other great thing in the game was Eli Manning. With the running game shut down, it all fell on his shoulders, and he came through magnificently, especially in the fourth quarter.

In the end, though, it all came down to a field goal try with four seconds left. The Scottish Kicker (theater folk always refer to Macbeth as the Scottish Play, since it is thought to be bad luck to mention the actual name, and I have decided the same rule should apply to the Giants kicker) had missed a field goal earlier, so it was no sure thing. And sure enough, his kick only cleared the goal post by inches, stopping my heart for a second before the refs raised their arms to signal it was good… and then he had to do it all over again, since Wade Phillips had called a timeout a split second before the kick, a bush league move that has become popular with some coaches these last couple of years. Wade deserved to lose for that alone. And thankfully he did: the Scottish Kicker’s second attempt was dead straight down the middle. Giants win, 33-31!

Life IS magical and full of joy. At least today.

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Coming in March

September 17, 2009 at 3:02 pm
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WARRIORS, the huge new all-original crossgenre anthology I edited with Gardner Dozois, will be published by Tor in hardcover next March.

We’ve got an all-star lineup of bestsellers and award winners from half a dozen different genres for this one. And here’s a first look at the cover:

The table of contents looks like this:

Stories from the Spinner Rack,” by George R.R. Martin
“The King of Norway,” by Cecilia Holland
“Forever Bound,” by Joe Haldeman
“The Triumph,” by Robin Hobb
“Clean Slate,” by Lawrence Block
“And Ministers of Grace,” by Tad Williams
“Soldierin’,” by Joe Lansdale
“Dirae,” by Peter S. Beagle
“The Eagle and the Rabbit,” by Steven Saylor
“Seven Years from Home,” by Naomi Novik
“The Custom of the Army,” by Diana Gabaldon
“The Pit,” by James Rollins
“Out of the Dark,” by David Weber
“The Girls from Avenger,” by Carrie Vaughn
“Ancient Ways,” by S.M. Stirling
“Ninieslando” by Howard Waldrop
“Recidivist” by Gardner Dozois
“My Name is Legion,” by David Morrell
“Defenders of the Frontier,” by Robert Silverberg
“The Scroll,” by David Ball
“The Mystery Knight,” by George R.R. Martin

And yes, that last one is the new Dunk & Egg novella, the longest one to date.

Several of the other writers also contributed tales from their on-going series: a Lord John story by Diana Gabaldon, an Emberverse yarn from Steve Stirling, a Soljerboy tale from Joe Haldeman. But we also have vikings, doughboys, legionaires and legionaries, fly girls, buffalo soldiers, and a dozen other different sorts of warriors.

Gardner and I are very high on this one. Hope you will be too.

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HBO Casting Continues

September 17, 2009 at 2:40 pm
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Casting on the HBO pilot of A GAME OF THRONES continues, but there’s not much I can say about it, except in generalities. Another of the supporting roles has been filled, I am told, and offers have been made on several more. Now we’re waiting to see if those deals will close, which of course depends on things like schedule, terms, money, and such. If all the pieces fall into place, we’ll have some exciting and talented additions to the cast.

No, I have no idea when HBO will make their next cast announcement.

Two major roles and some small ones remain unfilled as I write.

Looks like I will be flying over to Ireland to watch some of the filming. Still trying to figure out the dates. Since I will be over there anyway, it seems like a good opportunity to meet some of my Irish fans, so I will likely be doing a couple of signings while I’m there. One in Belfast, almost certainly, and maybe a second in Dublin. We’ll see what arrangements can be made. Details will here and on my Appearances page, once I know ’em.

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Four More Miniatures

September 15, 2009 at 12:31 am
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For the miniature collectors out there, Dark Sword has four more figures in the pipeline for our Ice & Fire range — gorgeous greens of Aeron Damphair and his brother Victarion from Jeff Grace, and spectacular sculpts of the Mountain That Rides and the Red Viper of Dorne in their famous duel, from Tom Meier. Watch this space for pictures, coming soon.

Meanwhile, to hold you for a while, here’s the latest wonder painted for me by Jen Haley: a crossbowman’s pavise in 54mm scale.

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The NFL Returns

September 13, 2009 at 7:10 pm
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Life is magical and full of joy!!!

Haloo, halay, the Jets and Giants won today.

Solid, convincing victories for both teams. Not quite total domination, no, but the scores would have been even more lopsided if not for a couple bad turnovers.

The Jets were the morning game. Mark Sanchez made his debut with Joe Willie Namath on hand to root him on. Can’t ask for a better omen than that. Based on what I saw today, we have a quarterback, we have a coach, and boy, do we have a defense. Harris and Scott and Jenkins were monsters (though Vernon Gholston, finally given a chance to start, was still invisible). Of course, it was the Texans, so one can’t read too much into this. Still, a road victory, and there were commentators who claimed this was going to be the year when the Texans turned the corner. I loved the play when Kris Jenkins just swatted a Texan lineman aside one-handed to charge past him to the QB. Next week will be the real test, when the Jets and their new defense and their kid QB face the Patriots.

Afternoon, and it was the G-Men. The game was not nearly as close as the final score. One of the Washington touchdowns came on a fake field goal at the end of the half, the other in garbage time as the clock was winding down on the Giants victory. Albert Haynesworth, the big free agent acquisition Danny Snyder made this year, did help throttle the Giants running game, kinda sorta, though if you add Bradshaw and Jacobs together, they still had more than a hundred yards. Eli made up for it, and won the game through the air. (We won’t mention that ghastly interception). The Giant defense harassed Jason Campbell all day, and completely shut down Santana Moss, the Redskin deep threat. Favorite play was Osi stripping Campbell of the ball, picking it up, and running it in for a TD. The only downer on the day was the injuries. Danny Ware was lost right at the start of the game, and Hakeem Nicks sprained an ankle in the second half. Next week will be the real test for the Giants as well, when they have to face the hated Cowboys in Jerry Jones’ Temple of Excess with its infamous punt-blocking scoreboard.

That’s next week, though. Tonight, at least, it’s all smiles in the Big Apple, and down here in Santa Fe as well.

(Comments welcome, but stay on topic. For this post, “on topic” means football)

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A Smidge of Progress

September 11, 2009 at 7:39 pm
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I decided to take a break from tearing and fumbling at the Meereenese knot, and completed a chapter about another character today. A character who is very far from Meereen.

Finishing the chapter felt good. Especially since it also completed that character’s arc for the book. Admittedly, she has only two chapters in DANCE, so I am not sending up any flares. But hey, I’m done with one of them for the present, that’s something.

Only thirty-eight more POVs to wrap up…

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Jots and Niggles

September 9, 2009 at 4:09 pm
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Lots of stuff going on that warrants a brief mention, though there’s not enough on any of it to warrant a lengthy post.

NFL: The season begins Thursday. My season begins Sunday, when the Jets and Giants take the field. I’m excited. Will life be magical and full of joy, or meaningless and full of pain? Tune in here to find out.

HBO Pilot: D&D have cast one more role and have an offer out to a wonderful actor on another. Sorry, no clues, I’m clued out for the present. One of the roles that was yet to be filled has been written out of the pilot. No huge thing, he wasn’t in that part of the book in any case… though we did have a world-class thespian lined up to play the part. Character and actor will both be back if we go to series.

A DANCE WITH DRAGONS: I took a good hard swack at the Meereenese knot. The sword bounced off and cut my nose off. Bugger.

MOVIE NEWS: My werewolf novella “The Skin Trade,” originally published way back when in NIGHT VISIONS 5, has been optioned for film by Mike the Pike Productions. You can read some of the details here: And about time. I’ve always thought there was a terrific movie in “The Skin Trade,” but somehow no one has ever optioned it till now. The novella is a horror/ mystery cross set in a decaying rustbelt city and featuring a hot young female private eye and a hypochondriac lycanthrope, how that for high concept? Randi and Willie are still favorites of mine. The novella won the World Fantasy Award too, which is how I got that head of H.P. Lovecraft that looks down over my living room. I hope that Mike the Pike does a kickass job with it.

FUNNY BOOK NEWS: And whattaya know, “The Skin Trade” will also be a comic book miniseries and graphic novel. Avatar Press will publish the book. Daniel Abraham did the adaptation and script. The pencils will be done by talented Polish artist Marek Oleksicki.

MORE MOVIE NEWS: Three of my short stories have also been optioned for film of late. The stories are the fantasies “In the Lost Lands” and “The Lonely Songs of Laren Dorr” and the science fiction story “Bitterblooms.” Film rights have been optioned by producer / director Constantin Werner, who has a website at

MORE FUNNY BOOK NEWS: Avatar Press is also adapting my novella “In the House of the Worm” as a comic book miniseries. The adaptation on this one was done by John Jos. Miller. Ivan Rodriguez is doing the pencils. I am told he has finished the first two issues.

NO FUNNY BOOK NEWS: The last issue of WILD CARDS: THE HARD CALL from the Dabel Brothers remains undrawn as I write, alas. We hope to have news… ah… eventually…

ANTHOLOGIES: Well, let’s see. SONGS OF THE DYING EARTH is sold out from Subterranean, but the British edition should be out next month from HarperCollins Voyager. WARRIORS will be released next March in hardcover from Tor. Stories have started to come in for STAR-CROSSED LOVERS, the most recent being a Kushiel tale from Jacqueline Carey. Already on hand are the contributions from Robin Hobb, Cecelia Holland, Yasmine Galenorn, and Carrie Vaughn. And Gardner Dozois and I have just sold another original crossgenre anthology, this time to Penguin/ Ace. DOWN THESE STRANGE STREETS will blend the classic private eye story with fantasy and science fiction… sort of like I did in “The Skin Trade,” actually, or like Robert A. Heinlein once did in his classic “The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag.” We have a terrific lineup of contributors, as usual, including… well, that would be telling.

I am probably forgetting stuff. Life is busy.

That will do for now.

The bird is cruel.

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Goodbye and Good Luck, David

September 6, 2009 at 12:40 pm
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David Tyree has been released by the Giants.

It was no surprise. He had a bad camp, and the Giants are heavily stocked with young receivers… but even so, it is sad to see him go. Tyree was always a lion on special teams, and whenever he did get into a game as a wide receiver, he exceeded expectations. He was never as gifted as Plaxico or Randy Moss or TO or the like, but he had more heart than any of them.

And of course he will live forever in the hearts of every Giants fan.

Some other team will pick him up, no doubt. I wish him luck, wherever he ends up.

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Calendar Update

September 5, 2009 at 3:09 pm
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Sorry, there will be no 2010 Ice & Fire calendar. After our deal with DBPro was terminated, there was simply not enough time to find a new publisher, negotiate a contract, hire an artist, and get twelve paintings done so the calendar could be released on schedule. A calendar really needs to be released by Halloween at the latest… some 2010 calendars are already in the stores now, in early September… so….

However, I do expect to have some exciting news about the 2011 calendar Real Soon Now. And that one WILL be released on schedule.

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September 3, 2009 at 12:35 pm
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Taking another whack at the Meereenese knot today. I’m going to try breaking two largish chapters into four smallish ones, changing the order of events somewhat, and weaving them all together. Maybe that will work a little better.

Can it really be September?? Ack. I can feel the heat of those flames…

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