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Here’s Brienne

January 21, 2010 at 6:06 pm
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And on the miniature front, here’s a beautiful new painted version of the Maid of Tarth. The figure was sculpted by the incomparable Tom Meier, and painted by the fabulous Marike Reimer.

Brienne is also available in a version w/ helm. She… and the rest of the Ice and Fire miniatures… is available from the OnLine store at

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The Return of Dunk and Egg

January 21, 2010 at 5:46 pm
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March 16 is the official publication date for WARRIORS, the big crossgenre anthology that I edited with Gardner Dozois.

A few early reviews are already starting to pop up on the internet. Check ’em out:

There’s all kinds of great stuff in WARRIORS: an all-star lineup of writers from half a dozen different genres, wonderful stories by Joe Lansdale, Diana Gabaldon, Howard Waldrop, Peter S. Beagle, Lawrence Block, and many more… and even a Seven Kingdoms novella from yours truly. For those who enjoyed “The Hedge Knight” and “The Sworn Sword,” WARRIORS will feature “The Mystery Knight,” the third tale of Dunk & Egg.

And just to whet your appetites, Patrick St. Denis (benighted Dallas Cowboys fan though he is) has just posted a short excerpt to Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist, which you can sample here:

For the rest of the story, of course, you’ll need to buy WARRIORS.

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Tor Blogging

January 19, 2010 at 7:25 pm
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Daniel Abraham is a guest blogger on, talking about Wild Cards and other collaborations. Check out what he has to say at:

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Sweet, Sweet Sunday!

January 18, 2010 at 12:38 am
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Talk about flying high.

I mean, what a day. Aside from a Superbowl victory, the only thing that could possibly be sweeter than the Cowboys’ humiliating loss in the morning game is the impossible win by the Jets in the late game… and getting both… well, there are no words.

A great day for Brett Favre and all the hornheads up in Minnesota. Jerry Jones and the Cowboys were not merely beaten, they were really most sincerely beaten. Spanked. The Purple Gang outplayed them on offense, defense, special teams, coaching, every way one team can outplay another. Given the fact the the Vikes crushed my beloved Giants in their last regular season team, it was loverly to see them do the same to the Cowboys when it really, really counted. Maybe Minnesota really is that good.

And the Jets game… Keyshawn Johnson was the only one of the talking heads on ESPN who picked them, and so far as I know it was the same on the other networks. No one gave them a chance. Everyone already had the Chargers penciled in to face to Colts for the AFC crown.

Well, here’s what I say to that

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The Jets/ Chargers game was supposed to be the weekend’s biggest blowout, and instead turned out to be the only close contest of the divisional game. Gang Green played some incredible defense, and had just as much offense as they needed. Yes, San Diego contributed mightily to their own demise. The battle-seasoned veteran QB threw twice as many picks as our rookie Mark Sanchez. The running back who stole LT’s nickname was a non-factor.

San Diego’s bone-headed penalties undermined them repeatedly on offense. The worst was that after-the-play head butt, though all those false starts didn’t help (it was their stadium, by rights the Jets should have been the ones false starting). The much-discussed kicking-the-challenge-flag penalty was boneheaded as well, but actually did not hurt much, since San Diego went on to get the touchdown anyway. The three missed field goals were huge.

And the coaching needs to get some of the blame. Norv Turner is already getting roundly criticized for the onsides kick, and justifiably. It was a bad call. But I also think his decision to try and kick a field goal at the end of the first half was a mistake. Kickers are known to be fragile, and Kaeding had already missed one field goal (much shorter)… which had to have awakened ghosts of the one he missed the last time the Jets played the Chargers in the playoffs, a miss that cost San Diego that game. So with time about to expire in the first half, Norv summons him back onto the field to attempt a 57–yarder… when 57 yards was his career long. Too much risk there, for too little reward. When Kaeding missed that one too, it had to have seriously messed with his head. Having missed the first two FGs, he was in no shape to kick the crucial third one near the end of the game… and, indeed, he missed it.

(Parris and I helped as well. Every time Kaeding lined up to attempt a FG, we made hex signs at the screen and yelled BOOGA-BOOGA-BOOGA as he made his approach. We also booga’d the Cowboys kicker in the morning game. Hey, we had a great day with our hexes).

Of course, none of this would have mattered if the Jets had not played so hard. The Chargers stuffed their run for the whole first half, but they never abandoned it. They just kept pounding, pounding, pounding, and finally San Diego cracked and Shonn Green burst through for the crucial touchdown run. Oh, that was sweet.

This is the kind of football I love. Hard-hitting defense, a running game, low score. I’ll take that any day over the glorified Madden Game contests like Green Bay/ Arizona.

And now the Jets return to Indianapolis to face the Colts again. Heehah. Talk about irony. Talk about poetic justice. Beware, Dr. Frankenstein. The monster you created is coming back. I hope all your guys are really well rested.

Everyone will pick against the Jets this week too. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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One and One

January 16, 2010 at 10:18 pm
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Well, the Ravens had their wings pulled off by Eli’s Big Brother. So much for great defense trumping great offense. Mistakes and penalties compounded Baltimore’s problem, and a defeat turned into a rout, but the Colts would have won anyway. So there will be no final game in the Meadowlands to see off Giants Stadium. Sob.

On the other hand, it was splendid to see the Saints romp. Somewhere in Pottsville the ghosts of the Maroons are having a party, and toasting the strength of Drew Brees’ arm.

Two more games tomorrow. Go Jets! Go Vikings!

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Needle Is Here!

January 15, 2010 at 1:20 pm
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Got a big package from the good folks at Valyrian Steel t’other day, with my very own copies of Needle. The sword is back from the foundry and now shipping… so if any of you have a friend, foe, or relative you’d like to stick with the pointy end, this is your chance!

Needle was especially made for Arya Stark, as a child’s version of a bravo’s blade. Our replica has a 24″ inch long blade (30″ overall) of high carbon steel with full tang. The hilt is cast metal with antique nickel plate and leather wrap. A heraldic display plaque featuring the direwolf of House Stark is included, along with a certificate of authenticity signed by me. This is a limited edition of 2500 swords, and the back of each blade will be laser etched in fine print with the edition number.

To get your own replica of Needle, visit the Valyrian Steel website at The sword is shipping now!

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Playoffs, Round Two

January 15, 2010 at 12:35 pm
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Four more playoff games this weekend.

Of course, the Jets game is the one that concerns me most. Gang Green goes up against the Chargers this week, a very tough assignment. It should be a classic confrontation of offense against defense. San Diego will be heavily favored… but hey, the Jets have prevailed as a heavy underdog before… most recently, the last time they went to San Diego for a playoff game. Here’s hoping Rex and boys can do it again, and knock off the mighty Bolts, Philip Rivers, and that running back who stole LT’s nickname.

In the other AFC game, Colts versus Ravens would normally be a tough call for me. Once upon a time, I used to love the Baltimore Colts and their great QB, Johnny Unitas, still the best ever to play the game. Deserting Baltimore for Indy was a crime, however, and killed whatever lingering affection I had for the organization. Still dislike the Irsays, I must admit, but in recent years I’ve come round again. It’s hard not to cheer for Eli’s Big Brother, and I admired Tony Dungy too; a much classier coach than his archrival, Evil Little Bill. (Of course, Dungy is gone this year). Against all that, we have the Ravens. Great D, and I like great D. But I don’t like Ray Lewis, for reasons I’ve stated in earlier posts. I also like ravens (see my books) and Edgar Allen Poe. All of which would have left me on the fence for this one. The deciding factor? The way the Colts laid down those last two games. Yes, it helped my Jets, but I still think it stinks. You play to win the game… or should. So I’m hoping that the football gods will punish the Horseshoe Heads for that, and let the Ravens smack them down.

And if the Jets and Ravens should both win… hey, the AFC championship would be played in Giants Stadium. One last hurrah for the old gal. That would be swell too.

Over in the NFC, I’m rooting for the Saints over the Cardinals. I mean, no brainer, how can you root against the Saints? New Orleans is a great city, and deserves something great after the last few years. I love New Orleans. Arizona, not so much. Besides, the Pottsville Maroons still must be avenged.

And of course I’ll be pulling for the Vikings over the Cowboys. The Vikes have played in four SuperBowls and lost all of them, so they’re overdue (though not as due as the Saints or the Jets). And I like Brett, who was once a Jet, however briefly. Besides, the other team is the Cowboys. Jerry Jones, George W. Bush, arrogance and evil. Down they go! Die, Cowboys, die!

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Another Monkey Off My Back

January 13, 2010 at 2:35 pm
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Gardner Dozois and I have delivered SONGS OF LOVE AND DEATH: Tales of Star-Crossed Love to our editor at Pocket Books.

SONGS OF LOVE AND DEATH is another of our crossgenre anthologies, this one featuring stories that blend fantasy, science fiction, and romance. (I hear you jeering. Pfui. Those of you who know my work only from A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE may not be aware that I was once considered the most romantic science fiction writer of the 70s, back when I was doing my Thousand Worlds stuff).

We’re got another terrific lineup. Our table of contents:

Jim Butcher “Love Hurts”
Jo Beverly “The Marrying Maid”
Carrie Vaughn “Rooftops”
M.L.N. Hanover “Hurt Me”
Cecelia Holland “Demon Lover”
Melinda M. Snodgrass “The Wayfarer’s Advice”
Robin Hobb “Blue Boots”
Neil Gaiman “The Thing About Cassandra”
Marjorie M. Liu “After the Blood”
Jacqueline Carey “You and You Alone”
Lisa Tuttle “His Wolf”
Linnea Sinclair “CourtingTrouble”
Mary Jo Putney “The Demon Dancer”
Tanith Lee “Under/Above the Water”
Peter S. Beagle “Kashkia”
Yasmine Galenorn “Man in the Mirror”
Diana Gabaldon “A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows”

The Butcher is a Harry Dresden story, the Carey tells a long-awaited tale from her Kushiel series, the Gabaldon ties into her immensely popular OUTLANDER series, and the Snodgrass is from her IMPERIALS space opera series.

No word yet on publication date, but you’ll know when we do.

So… one more project done, one more book delivered, one more monkey off my back.

(Yes, I know. King Kong is still perched up on my shoulders. He was a king in his world, but I’ll teach him fear).

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Sunday, Sunday

January 11, 2010 at 12:08 am
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Playoff football. Nothing like it.

Needless to say, I loved the morning game. I was rooting for the Ravens to win, but I won’t pretend I ever expected anything like the whuppin’ they put on the Patriots. It’s always nice to see Evil Little Bill get elimimated, so we can be treated to another one of his mumbling monotone press briefings, where he says nothing at all. (Win or lose, I much prefer Rex, who shows signs of being an actual human being, with emotions and a sense of humor and everything). It would have been a much closer game if Welker had not been injured, doubtless (I actually kind of like Welker, though he killed the Jets the last time we played the Pats. It still baffles me why the Dolphins traded him to New England for a bag of old socks, just as it puzzles me why the Raiders would give Randy Moss to New England for one of EVil Bill’s old sweatshirts. Must be some sort of evil power) — but the way the Ravens were playing, they would still have won. Brady looked… dare one say it… mediocre.

The afternoon game was… ah… exciting. And unexpected. I really expected the Pack to handle the Cardinals easily. This is same stuff Arizona pulled last year : winning a sub-par division with such erratic and uninspired play that no one took them seriously, only to come alive suddenly in the post-season. Anyway, Warner played an amazing game. Rodgers was very good too, once he settled down, but those passing stats of Kurt’s are mind-boggling. I have to give the Packers credit for an amazing comeback. They looked dead half a dozen times, but just kept kicking dirt off their faces and clawing back out of the grave. And the ending had as much irony as it did drama.

All in all, great football entertainment, though somewhere in the distance I can hear the wails of weeping cheeseheads. An all-time record for scoring in the post-season, I hear. From my point of view, the wrong team won. I guess the Pottsville Maroons will have to wait another week for their curse to kick in.

That being said, I have to take issue with the commentators who are called the Arizona/ Green Bay shootout a “great game.” That it wasn’t. Exciting, yes. Entertaining, definitely. Good football? No. Neither team brought a defense. Up and down the field, up and down, up and down, pitch and catch. On the rare occasion where a defender actually defended against a pass, he’d get flagged for illegal contact or pass interference. It was a basketball game, is what it was. The sad result for decades of fiddling with rules to give the offense every advantage. Myself, I think they’ve gone too far, and wish they’d go back, if not to the rules of 50s, at least to those of the 70s. Let the cornerbacks defend, goddamn it.

These rules changes make it almost impossible to compare players from different eras, at least by using stats. The stats for modern players are grossly inflated.

Anyway, the Cardinals go on, the Pack goes home, the Patriots are done… and now the Jets have to face the Chargers, while the Ravens get the Colts. On paper, the Jets don’t have much chance against San Diego, but as this weekend’s games have proved, anything can happen.

What would be really cool would be if the Jets and Ravens both won. Long odds, I know… but if it happened, Giants Stadium would host one more NFL game before being demolished. The AFC Championship. And wouldn’t THAT be cool?

Hey, a boy can dream.

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Gang Green

January 9, 2010 at 10:14 pm
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So the Jets went to Cincinnati to play the Bengals in the first round of the playoffs. This time no one was lying down, Cincinnati had all its starters and played hard.

What can I say? Only this

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The kid quarterback came through, the running game kicked ass, and the Gang Green defense hung tough. They gave up way too many yards to Cedric Benson, but made Carson Palmer look like the rookie, not Sanchez. And Revis shut down Ochocinco once again, despite the refs helping out Ocho with several truly bogus calls against Darrell.

Next week will be much tougher. I’ll just savor this one for a while.

The evening game… well, that was distressing. Philadelphia let down the Green Team badly. How can the Eagles play so well against my Giants whenever they meet, and stink up the place against the hated Cowboys three times in the same season???

Dallas looked unstoppable. But they are still evil. The sight of Jerry Jones laughing and grinning and slapping high-fives with W almost made me gag. The worst owner in sports and the worst president in my lifetime yukking it up.

Sigh. Well, there are still a lot of games to play…

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