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Buried Alive

August 31, 2011 at 11:45 am
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Home again from all my cons and travels… and, as usual, up to my neck in mails and emails.

More soon, on all sorts of fronts.

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August 25, 2011 at 7:37 pm
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Great worldcon. Best in several years.

Great wedding. Best ever.

Great road trip. DEath Valley, Grand Canyon, WInslow, Pie Town.

But now I’m back in the Land o’ Enchantment, and just in time for Bubonicon.

See you at the Sheraton!

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Worldcon Looms

August 14, 2011 at 8:46 pm
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Tomorrow morning it’s off to Reno for worldcon.

Worldcon is my favorite con, and Reno promises to be an especially good one. They have a very experienced committee and, by all reports, a great facility. If the fannish ghods are good (and I sure hope they are), we will not be vexed by any of the hotel problems that troubled the recent worldcons in Melbourne and Montreal.

All that being said… I sure wish Renovation was being held on Labor Day weekend.

Two reasons:
(1) Labor Day weekend is the perfect worldcon weekend, hallowed by decades of tradition (yes, I know the con originally started on July 4th weekend, but that was before I was born, and not relevant), and worldcon (and worldcon alone) belongs on that weekend,
(2) it would give me more time to rest. It seems as though I just got back from San Diego Comicon and my nine-city book tour (maybe because I DID) and now I’m on the road again. It’s too damn soon. San Diego has become an increasingly important part of the annual con circuit for any professional writer; worldcon needs more distance from it, to give us poor pros a chance to catch our breath, unpack our suitcases, maybe do a laundry.

But Renovation is when it is, and I’m not about to miss it.

So off I go, weary or no. See you there.

The road goes ever on and on…

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The WINDs Will Blow

August 14, 2011 at 10:32 am
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Readers, faithful fans, accept no substitutes!

That guy in SHOE is probably doing the same thing. Not to mention Snoopy. If WINDS OF WINTER begins, “It was a dark and stormy night,” you’ll know it’s not me.

Although… hmmm… that’s not a bad first line…

(Snoopy stole it from Bulwer-Lytton, actually)

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Nasmith to Illustrate GAME OF THRONES

August 13, 2011 at 6:28 pm
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You’ve been asking for it. And now we’re doing it.

I’m delighted to be able to announce the forthcoming publication of a new, deluxe, limited edition of A GAME OF THRONES, to be published by my friends at Subterranean Press, and illustrated by the massively talented TED NASMITH.

Ted is widely considered to be one of the “Big Three” of Tolkien illustrators; along with Alan Lee and John Howe, he has brought Middle Earth to life like no one else. And he he is no stranger to my own world, either. Ted painted the all of the wonderful landscapes for the gorgeous 2011 Ice & Fire calendar, with what I consider to be THE definitive depictions of thirteen of the great castles of Westeros.

It will be a thrill to work with Ted once again. You can see a lot more of his work on his own website at

I have always loved illustrated books. No doubt that’s an artifact of my childhood, and early exposure to the work of Howard Pyle and N.C. Wyeth in books like MEN OF IRON, ROBIN HOOD, and TREASURE ISLAND. Almost since the day I started writing, I’ve wanted to see my own novels done in the same manner. Pyle and Wyeth are long gone, alas (though their work remains, and if there is anyone out there reading this who loves it as much as I do, be sure and visit the Brandywine Gallery should your travels ever take you to Philadelphia), but their heritage lives on in the work of today’s top illustrators. Nasmith is one.

This will be the second illustrated edition of A GAME OF THRONES (actually, the second ENGLISH LANGUAGE edition… my Finnish publishers also issued a nice illustrated edition in honor of my visit to Finncon, and the Chinese and Japanese editions have also included some nice interior artwork). Long-time fans and collectors will recall that my dream of having the series published in a series of beautiful illustrated books was initially brought to fruition by Meisha Merlin, a small press out of Atlanta, who released numbered limited editions of both A GAME OF THRONES (illustrated by the late Jeff Jones) and A CLASH OF KINGS (illustrated by John Howe). Lovely books, both… though not without certain flaws, admittedly, but…

Meisher Merlin GAME OF THRONES

Meisha Merlin CLASH OF KINGS

The original plan was for Meisha Merlin to do the whole series, of course. Unfortunately, the press ran into certain financial difficulties, as small presses often do, and ultimately went bust. Fortunately, I was able to get off the ship before it sank, and move the limited edition series over to Subterranean Press. Subterranean picked up where Meisha Merlin had left off, and issued signed, numbered, limited, slipcased editions of A STORM OF SWORDS (illustrated by Charles Vess) and A FEAST FOR CROWS (illustrated by Tom Canty). The Subterranean edition of A DANCE WITH DRAGONS (illustrated by Marc Fishman)is in the works even as I write.

Which is not to say the changeover was without problems. The Meisha Merlin books are gorgeous, and so are the SubPress books… but they are also different. Subterranean has its own views on book design, its own ideas about graphics, its own way of doing things, and its own likes, dislikes, and preferences. When Subterranean took over, they changed the size of the book, dropped some of the features of the Meisha Merlin limiteds (the gilded pages, for example), even split the books into two volumes (in a single slipcase). All of which led to a certain amount of unhappy collectors. While I think everyone appreciated the quality of the books, and the love that had gone into them, the Meisha Merlin and Subterranean editions could not really be considered a SET, except in the broadest terms. The books did not match. Lined up side by side on the bookshelf, they did not look as if they belonged together.

((never published))

Subterranean STORM OF SWORDS

Small wonder then that, almost from the day that the Subterranean STORM OF SWORDS was first published, both Bill Schafer and I began to receive letters from collectors asking that SubPress do its own editions of A GAME OF THRONES and A CLASH OF KINGS, in a format similar to their later limiteds, to make a true set. There has been a steady stream of such letters and emails over the intervening years… enough so that Bill finally decided that they had a point and, with my blessing, went to Bantam Spectra and secured the license.

As with the other Subterranean editions (and the Meisha Merlin editions before them), the Nasmith GAME OF THRONES will be signed and numbered and slipcased, limited to 52 lettered copies (A through ZZ) and 448 numbered copies (1 through 448). First right of purchase will go to those customers buying the SubPress limited of A DANCE WITH DRAGONS. The series is fully subscribed at the moment, I fear… but there are always drop outs, so I expect some copies will become available to new buyers (though probably not many).

The value of those Meisha Merlin editions has reached astronomical heights on the collector’s market in the last year or two, and I know there will be some concern about how these new SubPress editions will impact that value. There is really no certain way to predict that, of course; the rare book market can be volatile. But I did speak to several collectors and rare book dealers before signing off on these new editions, and the general opinion was that any impact would be minimal. The SubPress edition is in no sense a reprint of the Meisha Merlin, after all. Only the text will be the same (and the text is the same in all the trade hardcover and paperback editions as well). The size, format, type font, book design, paper stock, and everything else about the Subterranean edition will be different. And of course Ted Nasmith’s art will all be completely new, and original to the book. The Meisha Merlin books will be just as rare as they are now, and I suspect their value will continue to appreciate… (at least as long as the HBO series stays on the air, but that’s a different discussion). But hundreds of new fans will now have the chance to add a gorgeous limited edition of A GAME OF THRONES to their shelves, and perhaps some of the many “busted sets” out there will be completed.

I think it’s a win/ win. And I know that Ted Nasmith is going to give us some stunning artwork. So thanks to all of you out there who have been pushing for this through the years, and sending us all those emails.

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Stolen Scripts

August 13, 2011 at 1:34 pm
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Parris and I have always been big supporters of the various charities, both fannish and mundane, that raise funds through auctions at SF and fantasy conventions. It’s a great way to raise money for worthy causes, have a little fun, and get some unique items into the hands of collectors. In fact, I just finished shipping off five huge boxes of books, games, t-shirts, and other collectables to our hotel in Reno, to donate to the various charity auctions at worldcon.

(Some items will go to SFWA Emergency Medical Fund auction, some to the BWB fund-raising drive to pay for their party, some to the worldcon’s own charity).

Unfortunately, there are a couple items that won’t be auctioned at worldcon. We had hoped to bring a couple of signed scripts from the first season of the HBO series GAME OF THRONES with us, and the good folks in Belfast were kind enough to donate them. Dan Weiss sent them across the pond (registered and priority, signature required).

All that arrived was a battered envelope and Dan’s cover letter.

The US post office delivered the envelope in a plastic baggie with a pre-printed note apologizing for the “damage.” But this was no error in handling. The envelope was torn open at one end, and both scripts were gone, though Dan’s letter remained.

I am convinced the scripts were stolen.

Last year we donated a signed STAR TREK script to a charity auction and it brought $1200. These two scripts may not have gone for quite that much, but they would have brought home some significant bucks. Someone in the US Post Office (we believe the package made it across from Belfast relatively unscathed) recognized their value and removed them.

So… I am putting out the word to all my fans and readers. Whoever sold these scripts will presumably try to cash in at some point. So if any of you ever see scripts fitting this description turn up on ebay, one of its competitors, or on some dealer’s table — notify me at once, and report the stolen property to whatever local authorities are appropriate.

Here’s what was taken: two teleplays, final shooting scripts for episodes nine and ten of season one, “Baelor” and “Fire and Blood,” autographed by writers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss and director Alan Taylor, printed on white paper.

Like Bloodraven, I have a thousand eyes and one. So let’s keep ’em all peeled, boys and girls.

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I’m Still Number Two…

August 11, 2011 at 3:20 pm
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… on the NEW YORK TIMES bestseller list.

COLD VENGEANCE, by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, has debuted as the new #1 this week. Last week’s top dog, the new Harry Dresden novel from Jim Butcher, has dropped to #5. But DANCE WITH DRAGONS is holding on to the second slot!

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Speaking of Cons…

August 10, 2011 at 1:52 pm
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… I wanted to give a shout out to a convention that I won’t (alas) be attending — TITANCON, the one-day GAME OF THRONES convention being held in Belfast on September 24.

This one is fan-organized, fan-run, and not for profit. It’s being held in the city where the HBO series is filming, and (depending on shooting schedules) several of the cast members are likely to show up to sign your autographs and let you buy them drinks.

((Actors, like writers, like it when you buy them adult refreshments)).

Here’s the dope:

Like I said, I can’t be there myself. Wish I could, but the dates don’t work with my schedule, alas. But if this Titancon succeeds, maybe there will be more in future.

And Joe will be there:

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So for those of you over in the UK and Europe who can’t find your way across the pond for Renovation, consider attending Titancon instead. A weekend in Belfast and the company of your fellow Ice & Fire fans and Hodor too. What could be better?

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Renovation Schedule

August 10, 2011 at 11:25 am
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It seems as though San Diego Comicon and my nine-city book tour just ended yesterday, and yet here comes worldcon, bearing down on me like a wedge of charging knights.

As I said at every one of my tour appearances, the BEST place to meet your favorite writers (including me, if I’m one of them) is not at a bookstore signing, but at a con. And there’s no con like worldcon. Yes, comicon is bigger. So is Gencon, Dragoncon, and many more. But worldcon is the source from whence they all sprang, the granddaddy of them all, and still the center of the SF/ fantasy universe.

And hey, they give the HUGOs there!

Here’s my schedule for Reno:

THURSDAY, August 18
1:00 pm A reading, from THE WINDS OF WINTER (AO1+6, RSCC)
3:00 pm autographing (Hall 2, RSCC)

FRIDAY August 19
11:00 am The Art of Ice & Fire, with John Picacio and Martina Pilcerova

SATURDAY August 20
11:00 am – 1:00 pm “The Pointy End” – a special screening of my episode from
the first season of the HBO series, with commentary

4:00 pm The Ethics of Adaptation, a debate/ dialogue w/ Melinda Snodgrass

8:00 pm HUGO AWARDS (Peppermill, Tuscany Ballroom) I will be presenting.

SUNDAY August 21

12:00 noon WILD CARDS panel (Ao1+6, RSCC)
1:00 pm autographing (Hall 2, RSCC)

Of course, the daytime programming is only a small part of what worldcon is all about. The other part is the room parties. And yes, I’ll be hitting those as well, partying every night — and you can expect that the Brotherhood Without Banners will once again throw the best, most kickass party at the con, as they’ve done for most of the past decade.

Unlike comicon, worldcon does not sell out. Full memberships and day passes will be available at the door. All you need do to attend is make it to Reno.

For most information, go to

See you in Reno!

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A Lighter Shade of Pale

August 9, 2011 at 4:14 pm
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Thrice nominated, once victorious. A double threat. He wrote the script for his own wedding. Has struggled against the Spider’s sort, taken on Santa, caught a tiger by his tail. Never reads the same book twice. Last seen dancing home.

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