Not a Blog

Painted Miniatures

May 29, 2011 at 3:09 pm
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Dark Sword Miniatures has posted lovely pictures of some painted versions of their latest crop of Ice & Fire miniatures over to their website. Gorgeous stuff. I thought I’d share them.

Here’s Varys the Spider, painted by the amazing Jen Haley.

And here’s Bronn, son of no one in particular, again by Jen Haley.

And this one is Benjen Stark, First Ranger of the Night’s Watch, painted by Marike Reimer.

These figures, and the rest of the range, are all available (unpainted) from the Dark Sword website at Lots more pictures there as well… including the two latest additions to the range, sculpted by the incomparable Tom Meier — King Robert I Baratheon, and Lord Tywin Lannister.

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May 29, 2011 at 2:57 pm
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I may have been guilty of premature froggery in the “Hiya, Kids” post below.

Second season casting is in full swing, yes.

And we’re close on a few roles. Choices made, that is to say, but now we wait on HBO approval, and then of course we have to make a deal. Not all deals close, much as you would like them to. There’s budget to consider, scheduling, all sorts of things.

On other roles, well, we’ve seen a lot of readings, but we’re not in love yet. So the auditions continue. In Ireland, in London, even in LA.

Bottom line: no one has been cast yet, so stop holding your breath.

When we do sign some new cast, Froggy will give you the hints.

(Unless someone else breaks the news first).

((Or unless it’s after June 13. That’s the day I leave for Poland. I’ll be out of the loop while overseas, so after that date, the announcements are more like to come from elsewhere)).

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We’re Number One! (This Week)

May 26, 2011 at 3:15 pm
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The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER has GAME OF THRONES on the top spot in their “power rankings.” Which I guess means we’re the most powerful show on television!

Here’s a taste of this week’s episode, “You Win or You Die.”

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As for the post below… ah, sorry about the Horatio/ Oliver foul-up, just a brain burp on my part… explanation can be found in the comment from Amy-Joyce Hastings, for those of you who are still baffled.

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Just For the Record…

May 26, 2011 at 11:05 am
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… I am not Horatio King. {Or Oliver either}

I did, however, inspire him.

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May 25, 2011 at 12:26 am
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Good news for all my Wild Cards readers. FORT FREAK, volume twenty-one in the series, will be out in hardcover on June 21, Tor tells me.

The cover is once again by the amazing Michael Komarck, who just keeps getting better and better. You really should nominate him for a Hugo some year, he’s way overdue.

After the wide-ranging global storylines of the Committee triad, FORT FREAK returns to New York City, the epicenter of the Wild Cards universe, to tell the stories of the cops and crooks of the historic 5th precinct of the NYPD !” the Jokertown precinct.

The lineup this time around includes stories by Wild Cards veterans Melinda Snodgrass, Stephen Leigh, John Jos. Miller, Kevin Andrew Murphy, and Victor Milan, and introduces newcomers (new to Wild Cards, at least) Cherie Priest, David Anthony Durham, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Ty Franck, and Paul Cornell. You can check out a sample of Cherie’s interstitial, the literary mortar that holds all the bricks together, on my website.

So mark June 21 on your calendars, and place your preorder now with Amazon or your favorite local bookstore. Come meet Ramshead, the Rook, Tabby, SlimJim, Abigail the understudy, Sgt. Squinch, Ratboy and Flipper, Tinkerbill, the Infamous Black Tongue, Natya, Maggie Graves, Puff, Beastie, Dr. Dildo, and the other colorful denizens of Fort Freak and environs. Old-timers like Father Squid, the Sleeper, and the Oddity are also expected to turn up to enliven the proceedings.

And while you’re reading, we’ll be working on LOWBALL.

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Have Gel Pen, Will Travel

May 24, 2011 at 4:03 pm
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We have added two more appearances to the schedule for my DANCE WITH DRAGONS signing tour.

I will be at:

Sunday, July 24
Mysterious Galaxy
7051 Clairemont Mesa Blvd
San Diego, CA 92111


Tuesday, August 2
Joseph-Beth Booksellers
161 Lexington Green Cir.
Lexington, KY 40503

And that’s it. I know, I know, there are a lot of other wonderful cities out there, and I wish I could visit and sign at all of them… but, alas, there’s only one of me, and I only have so much time and energy.

If I’m not coming to a city near you, please remember that I attend conventions as well. In the next couple of months I will be hitting the San Diego Comicon, the World SF Convention in Reno, Nevada, and Bubonicon in Albuquerque. There will be ample opportunity to have me sign stuff at all three events. And a lot more time to hang around and talk at any of ’em. Bubonicon is especially good for that, since it’s very small and friendly.

Speaking of Albuquerque… I will also be appearing at Hastings Books on Saturday, June 4, at 1:00pm.

(505) 898-9227
(505) 898-5019

You won’t be able to get your copy of DANCE autographed there, alas, since the book will still be a month in the future… this event is to promote the release of the DOORWAYS graphic novel, a hardcover from IDW.

Hastings will likely have copies of my other stuff on sale as well — the first four Ice & Fire books, the recent Wild Cards volumes, maybe more — and I’d be glad to sign that as well for my New Mexifans.

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Hiya, Kids, Hiya, Hiya

May 21, 2011 at 4:30 pm
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I’ll be back soon, I will, I will.

Watch this space.

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Talking About the Dance

May 19, 2011 at 9:33 pm
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Kong is dead. That is to say, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS is complete, and moving inexorably towards its July 12 publication date.

Yes, I know. Old news. I’ve announced that before. And since finally completing A DANCE WITH DRAGONS some weeks ago, and announcing it here, I have been working on… drum roll, please… A DANCE WITH DRAGONS!

That’s the way it goes with books. You finish, and breathe a sigh of relief… and then you get back to work. There’s always more to be done. Your editor reads it and gives you notes. You make revisions, corrections. A copyeditor goes over the text, finds errors, points out contradictions and inconsistencies, raises queries. You fix some, stet others. Friends and fans gulp down the book, and find mistakes your editors, copyeditors, and proofreaders all missed. You fix those too, as time allows. Then there’s the appendix to prepare. And then the appendix needs to be edited, proofread, corrected… and on and on it goes…

But now even that is behind me. Copyediting, appendix, proofs, corrections, all that stuff. The book tour has been planned (a few details yet to be worked out), the marketing plans are in place… and I can finally say that Kong is not just merely dead, but really most sincerely dead.

Now that the dust is settling at last, I thought I’d take a deep breath and look back at what a long strange trip this has been. If the process interests you, read on. But beware — past this point, there may be some SPOILERS lurking amidst my discussion. Read on at your own peril.


First, some numbers. The final draft of A DANCE WITH DRAGONS came in at 1510 manuscript pages (which count does not include acknowledgments, dedication, or appendix). I write with WordStar on a DOS machine, so that number is my own page count. When my editors at Bantam translated my WordStar files to Word, the page count expanded to 1540 pages, but I prefer to use my own counts, for the sake of consistency. At 1510 pages, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS come in just slightly shorter than A STORM OF SWORDS, which was 1521 pages in manuscript, with the same software, settings, and margins.

At one point late in the process DANCE was considerably longer. The page count had gone beyond 1600 and was creeping up toward 1700, to my alarm. (At 1700 pages the book could not have been published in a single volume). Several things happened to bring it back down.

First, my editors and I made some decisions as to where to end this book which involved shifting a few chapters back into the next volume, THE WINDS OF WINTER. With a series like A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, there are always judgment calls to make as to where to end one book and begin the next, since you’re really dealing with one long story. Does this scene work best at the end of one book or the beginning of the next? Should this character go out with a cliffhanger or with some sort of resolution (be it permanent or temporary)? And so on. ANd so forth.

Second, I did my sweat. That’s a technique I learned in Hollywood, where my scripts were always too long. “This is too long,” the studio would say. “Trim it by eight pages.” But I hated to lose any good stuff — scenes, dialogue exchanges, bits of action — so instead I would go through the script trimming and tightening line by line and word by word, cutting out the fat and leaving the muscle. I found the process so valuable that I’ve done the same with all my books since leaving LA. It’s the last stage of the process. Finish the book, then go through it, cutting, cutting, cutting. It produces a tighter, stronger text, I feel. In the case of A DANCE WITH DRAGONS, my sweat — most of it performed after we announced the book’s publication date but before I delivered the final chapters — brought the page count down almost eighty pages all by itself.

So what’s left? Plenty. A huge book, just a hair shorter than A STORM OF SWORDS, as I said. The final count shows that we’ve got 73 chapters, told through the eyes of (gulp) sixteen different viewpoint characters. I could tell you who they are, but then I’d have to kill you.

Actually, though, it might be easier to tell you who they aren’t. Sansa, Sam, Aeron Damphair, Arianne, and Brienne have no chapters in A DANCE WITH DRAGONS. Several of those characters had chapters written, completed, and polished that have been moved into THE WINDS OF WINTER. Part of that editorial process I mentioned up above.

Back when I split A FEAST FOR CROWS into two books, I said in my infamous afterword, “Meanwhile, Back at the Wall…” that Tyrion, Dany, and Jon Snow would be back in the next book, and so they are. Those three characters dominate A DANCE WITH DRAGONS. Out of 73 chapters, 35 concern their exploits; sixteen viewpoints, aye, but just three of them make up almost half of the book. The next largest chunk o’ chapters belongs to an old POV character who has been missing for a couple of books, but now returns to us… rather the worse for wear.

Yes, some of the characters who were featured as POVs in A FEAST FOR CROWS will reappear, since the timeframe covered by DANCE extends well beyond that of FEAST. Tyrion is not the only Lannister with a viewpoint. Cersei and Jaime will have chapters as well, though… be warned… not a lot of them. Arya is also on hand. And we’ll check in with Bran and his companions as well, on their long cold trek beyond the Wall. There are two Dornish POVs (one old, one new), and three ironborn(all previous POVs).

And there are some new viewpoint characters. Some of them are new CHARACTERS, introduced for the first time in this book. Others are established characters, but new VIEWPOINTS; they have been around, but you’ve never gone inside their heads before. Once, a few years back, I said that I only meant to introduce one new viewpoint character in the book. Which just goes to show why I should never sound off about these things before the book is done. In the end, I wound up with…. hmmm, let me count ’em… one, two, three… ah… FOUR new viewpoint characters. And that doesn’t even include the Prologue and Epilogue. So…

What I can say? At least part of the infamous Meereenese knot was a viewpoint problem. (Not all of it, no, a lot had to do with chronology and causation, but some of it was a POV question). Introducing a new POV helped me resolve those problems, and made for a better book. And in the end, making a better book trumps all other concerns.

Despite the various looney theories out there that claimed (1) I had finished the book years ago and have been sitting on a completed manuscript waiting for the opportune time to release it in order to make more money, or (2) I had given up writing the novel, or hit some terrible writer’s block, and made no progress since 2005, the truth is just as I have releated in this blog… I have been working on DANCE all along, if rather more slowly that I would have liked. I had good bursts where I got a lot done. I had rough patches, where I struggled, and even a few periods where I was doing more rewriting than writing.

Over the years I’ve sent various partial manuscripts to my editors, to show them where I was at that particular point in time. Now that the race is finally run, I went back and took another look at some of those old files. The page counts given in what follows refer only to COMPLETE CHAPTERS in final draft form… or what I thought was “complete” and “final” at that time. In each case, I had many pages of additional chapters roughed out or partially written, but those pages were not included in my count.

The earliest partial in my files dates from January 2006. At that point I had 542 finished pages. Now, recall, it was June 2005 when I divided A FEAST FOR CROWS into two parallel books, and wrote my infamous (and, in retrospect, ill-considered) afterword “Meanwhile, Back at the Wall…” A FEAST FOR CROWS, as delivered, was 1063 pages in manuscript. At the time of the split, looking at all the Tyrion and Daenerys material that I’d removed, I figured I only had another 400 odd pages to go to have another book of equal length, which was likely what prompted me to say the next book would be along in a year. Famous last words, those. Never again.

Obviously, it took a lot longer than that. After I wrote that, I ended up spending much of the rest of 2005 doing promotion for FEAST. An American book tour. A Canadian book tour. A British book tour. A visit to Italy for the Lucca Games Show. All great, but all exhausting. I did get back home in between, and got some writing done, but probably not much. That page count of 542 finished pages in January 2006 could not have been much different from what I’d had in June 2005, when I split the books.

And the year or so that followed proved the folly of my prediction. The next partial I sent to Bantam is dated October 2007, and it is 472 pages long. Yes, in the year and a half between the two partials, I had managed to UNwrite some seventy pages. I was doing a lot more revision and rewriting — and restructuring — during this period than I was making forward progress.

But then I hit a good spell. In March 2008 I delivered another partial, and this one was 596 pages long. In May 2008, another: 684 pages this time. In December 2008, 774 pages, After that progress remained slow, but fairly steady. I won’t say I wasn’t still tearing things out, rewriting, restructuring, changing my mind… I was… but I was forging ahead as well, as the partials I sent to my editors testify. In September 2009, I sent them 998 pages. In January 2010 I passed the 1000 pages mark, and delivered 1038 pages. Now I was picking up some steam again. June of 2010, a partial of 1028 pages. August of 2010, 1332 pages, December of 2010, 1412 pages. By March of 2011, Kong was screeching and the biplanes were in the air, and I sent in the final partial, which weighed in at 1571 pages… but I still had some incomplete chapters, some that remained very rough, some that I didn’t know whether to include or not. It was those that pushed the final count over 1600 and up near 1700 before the editorial changes and final sweat that I’ve detailed up above.

Kong, you were one mother of a monkey, but I’m glad you’re off my back.

Some day, maybe, some student of fantasy literature may want to peruse all of these partial manuscripts, and document how A DANCE WITH DRAGONS changed over the years. Every time I printed out a copy to send to my editors, I made a second and sent it to the Special Collections at Texas A&M University, where my papers are kept. Maybe someone will get a master’s thesis out of my struggles with this book. And who knows, maybe in the end he or she will conclude that I was making the book worse and worse all along.

But I don’t think so. DANCE took a lot longer than I wanted it to, but I think it’s a better tale for all the time and blood and sweat that went into it.

In the end, though, it will be you guys who are the judge of that.

Enjoy the read. Me, I’ve got another book to write. Yes, climb right on my back… and what a cute little monkey you are…


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On the Road Again

May 18, 2011 at 4:14 pm
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… the life I love is signing books for my readers. (Actually, I kind of do, though of late the crowds have been so big that I get pretty weary by the end).

Anyway, just got the second half of the schedule for my DANCE WITH DRAGONS book tour from Bantam. The tour will begin with Boston, New York City, and Indianapolis, as detailed in my post of May 7, which you’ll find somewhere downriver.

Then I’m off to the San Diego Comicon for a week.

After comicon, I will be appearing at:

Tuesday, July 26
Barnes & Noble
189 The Grove Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90036

Wednesday, July 27
Fox Theatre
2215 Broadway Street
Redwood City, CA 94063
*event hosted by Kepler’s

Friday, July 29
Town Hall
1119 8th Ave
Seattle, WA 98101
*event hosted by University Bookstore

Sunday, July 31
Tattered Cover LoDo
1628 16th Street
Denver, CO 80202

Probably one more stop to be added after that

More details on the signings will be posted here as we get closer to the dates.

Again, though, let me say… if you actually want to meet me and hang and talk some, the place to do that is at a convention. Book signings are great, but in recent years my crowds have been huge, which means each person in the queue gets like twenty seconds. I don’t like that part of it… I’d much rather have the time to chat with my readers… but you have to keep the line moving. Anything else is unfair to the people further back.

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From Spain

May 15, 2011 at 5:08 pm
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I’ve received a nice email from Canal+, who are airing GAME OF THRONES in Spain.

They write:

“… We aired yesterday the first episode of Game of Thrones.

It was a great success, it was one of the best series premiere for us.

We have prepared online material to support the series.

Here, you can find an interactive map of Westeros and the Free Cities:

It will show the changes in the location of the characters with each episode.

Here, you can find a game called Grito de Guerra (in English it would be War Call) The main theme of the game is to be a major Lord, and you have a Maester on your service. Just after each episode, a new challenge appears on the web – the Lord has to direct his Maester to success in the challenge. Also, participants fight each other and follow the developments of the game, as well as create new rules on Twitter, @gritoguerra.

You can see it here:


I hope my Spanish fans are enjoying the show, and it’s great to see all that Canal + is doing to support the series over there.

And as long as I’m talking about Spain, this is as good a time as any to mention that Parris and I will be heading back over to Gijon in 2012, for what will doubtless be another wonderful Semana Negra.

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