Not a Blog

The Wrangler Comes to Town

July 27, 2023 at 8:49 am
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Back in April, “Monster Hunter” (the premiere episode of the first season of DARK WINDS) won the Wrangler Award for the Best Television Drama from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma.

I posted all the details on my Not A Blog:

I was not able to attend the awards ceremony in person, alas, but the good folks at the museum promised to send the award.

I’m delighted to report that the Wrangler finally rode up here in Santa Fe.

The Wrangler is quite an impressive award, as you can see.   Solid bronze, I think.  I have a few spaceships and nebulae on my mantle, and some busts of literary luminaries as well, but this will be the only cowboy.   I’m thrilled to have him.   We’re very proud of DARK WINDS.

Thanks to the museum, the judges and voters, all the viewers at home, our amazing cast and crew, my producing partner Robert Redford.. and of course the late great Tony Hillerman, whose stories of Joe Leaphorn, Jim Chee, and the Navajo Tribal Police are the basis of DARK WINDS.

Speaking of which, the second season of DARK WINDS premieres on JULY 30 on AMC and AMC+.   It’s even better than the first season, I think.   Take a look and see what you think.


Current Mood: pleased pleased

Eight Is Enough?

July 24, 2023 at 9:03 am
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Eight is enough, they say.

But wait a minute.  Who says?   Okay, okay, there was that sitcom way back when, and sure, eight is enough when you’re talking children.  In fact, you could even say that eight is MORE than enough… kids.

When you are talking Emmy Awards, though… well…

It’s still pretty damn good.

Nominations for the 2023 Emmy Awards were announced last week, and I am pleased and proud to report that HOUSE OF THE DRAGON racked up eight nominations:

  • CINEMATOGRAPHY FOR A SERIES (ONE HOUR) | “The Lord of the Tides” | Catherine Goldschmidt, Director of Photography
  • FANTASY/SCI-FI COSTUMES | “The Heirs of the Dragon” | Jany Temime, Costume Designer; Joanna Lynch, Costume Supervisor; Katherine Burchill, Assistant Costume Designer; Paul Yeowell, Assistant Costume Designer; Rachel George, Assistant Costume Designer
  • PERIOD AND/OR CHARACTER MAKEUP (NON-PROSTHETIC)  | “We Light The Way” | Amanda Knight, Dept. Head Makeup/Makeup Designer; Hannah Eccleston, Makeup Artist; Heather McMullen, Makeup Artist; Kashiya Hinds, Makeup Artist; Harriet Thompson, Makeup Artist; Natalie Wickens, Makeup Artist; Bonny Monger, Makeup Artist
  • PROSTHETIC MAKEUP | “The Lord Of The Tides” | Barrie Gower, Prosthetics Designer; Sarah Gower, Prosthetics Co-Department Head; Emma Faulkes, Key Prosthetics Artist; Duncan Jarman, Prosthetic Makeup Artist; Paula Eden, Prosthetic Makeup Artist
  • PRODUCTION DESIGN FOR A NARRATIVE PERIOD OR FANTASY PROGRAM (ONE HOUR OR MORE) | “The Heirs Of The Dragon” | Jim Clay, Production Designer; Dominic Masters, Supervising Art Director; Claire Nia Richards, Set Decorator
  • SOUND EDITING FOR A COMEDY OR DRAMA SERIES (ONE HOUR)  | “The Black Queen” | Al Sirkett, Sound Supervisor; Paula Fairfield MPSE, Sound Designer; Adele Fletcher, Supervising ADR Editor; Tim Hands, Supervising Dialogue/Crowd Editor; Mathias Schuster, Foley Editor; David Klotz, Music Editor; Barnaby Smyth, Foley Supervisor/Artist; Timeri Duplat, Music Editor; Paula Boram, Foley Artist
  • SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS IN A SEASON OR MOVIE | Angus Bickerton, Visual Effects Supervisor; Nikeah Forde, VFX Producer; Thomas Horton, VFX Producer; Sven Martin, VFX Supervisor; Mark Spindler, VFX Co-Supervisor; Mark Dauth, Virtual Production Supervisor; Sebastian Meszmann, VFX Producer; Mike Bell, VFX Supervisor; Tobias Graa Winblad, VFX

All those, PLUS the big one:


Additionally, House of the Dragon: Inside the Episode was nominated for OUTSTANDING SHORT FORM NONFICTION OR REALITY SERIES.   Which I suppose means we are up for nine Emmy Awards, not eight, but somehow this last one counts differently, so…

My congratulations to Ryan Condal, Miguel Sapochnick, and the amazing cast and crew of HOT D.  They did some amazing work, and this recognition is well deserved.  Come Emmy night, I hope some of them get to take home a golden lady… but win or lose, it IS an honor just to be nominated.   ((No idea at this writing when that Emmy night will be.   The televised ceremony is scheduled for September 18, with the technical awards a week earlier, but if the strikes have not been settled by then, there is an excellent chance everything will be pushed back to November, or even to next year.))   ((Whether that happens or not, it is unlikely that I will be attending this year’s awards.  Too much to do)).

This was a record-breaking year for HBO… well, okay, a record-tying year.  In addition to HOUSE OF THE DRAGON THE LAST OF US, SUCCESSION, and THE WHITE LOTUS were also nominated as OUTSTANDING DRAMA (along with some great shows from the other networks and streamers, of course).  This is only the third time in Emmy history that one network has had four different shows in the same category.   CBS did it in 1973, and NBC in 1992.   And now us.

As to whether eight is really enough… well, one hates to be greedy, but I would have loved to see some of our writers, directors, and actors on the final ballot as well.   You don’t get to contend for Best Dramatic Series unless you have some great actors, directors, and writers working of you.   Most of our team will have other shots at the prize in seasons to come, to be sure  ((I lost six Emmy Awards before I won my first)), but that’s not true for Paddy Considine, alas, not unless Ryan brings King Viserys back as a White Walker — and that’s heartbreaking.   My gods, his portrayal was magnificent.    He earned a shelf of trophies for episode eight alone.

We are living in a Golden Age of television, though.   So much great work is being done on so many shows, it is hard to keep up.

Keep watching.  The best is yet to come.



Actors Join the Strike!

July 22, 2023 at 9:02 am
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Those of you who have been following the news out of Hollywood will already know that SAG-AFTRA, the actor’s union, has gone on strike, joining the Writers Guild of America (WGA).  We have been striking since May 2.   If you’re in LA or NYC or… sometimes… here in Santa Fe, you may have seen our picket lines.   The pickets have gotten bigger since the actors joined us, and you may see some familiar faces holding signs.

Fran Drescher, president of SAG-AFTRA, gave a rousing speech when the announcing the strike.

Not much I can add to that, except “AMEN.”

The SAG contract ended on June 30, but the actors gave AMPTP every chance to reach an equitable agreement by extending negotiations to July 12.  That proved to be a futile gesture.  The studios did not move an inch from their previous positions, and still refuse to address some of the most important issues on the table, including AI and payments and residuals from streaming.   They gave the actors no choice but to walk.

As for the writers… well, the studios are not even TALKING to us.   All negotiations between AMPTP and the WGA shut down back in May when the strike started.  It is hard to reach any agreement when  the other side won’t even come to the table.

I joined the WGA in 1986 and have been through several strikes with them.  We made gains in all of them, but some issues are more important than others… and this year’s strike is the most important of my lifetime.  An unnamed producer was quoted last week saying the AMPTP strategy was to stand fast until the writers started losing their homes and apartments, which gives you a hint of what we’re facing.

But we ARE facing it.  I have never seen such unity in the Guilds; the strike authorization votes for both SAG and WGA were as close to unanimous as we are ever likely to see.

No one can be certain where we go from here, but I have a bad feeling that this strike will be long and bitter.  It may get as bad as the infamous 1985 strike, though I hope not.

You may be wondering how all this has affected me and my own projects.

Well, the second season of DARK WINDS wrapped before either strike began.   Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee will be returning to television on July 30, on AMC and AMC+.   Union members will not be participating in any promotions, however… at least the actors and writers won’t (you may see some directors, since the DGA settled and signed a deal with the studios).   The DARK WINDS premieres that AMC had scheduled for New York and LA have both been cancelled.

San Diego Comicon is being held as usual, but virtually all the big television and film promotions that  usually occur there have been cancelled, after the stars and writers all pulled out.   SDCC may need to return to its roots, and focus on comic books and the writers and artists who produce them.  (Excelsior!).

I have been on several pickets here in New Mexico.  So far as I know, all the shows shooting here have shut down.   So have most of the films and television shows shooting in LA.   The studios can stockpile scripts, but they can’t stockpile the actors.

(No, that’s not me).

One of the few shows till shooting is HOUSE OF THE DRAGON, as you may have read.   That’s true.   I am told the second season is half done.   ALL of the scripts had been finished months before the WGA strike began.   No writing has been done since, to the best of my knowledge.   HOT D is shot mostly in London (and a little bit in Wales, Spain, and various other locations), which is why filming has continued.  The actors are members of the British union, Equity, not SAG-AFTRA, and though Equity strongly supports their American cousins (they have a big rally planned to show that support), British law forbids them from staging a sympathy strike.   If they walk, they have no protection against being fired for breach of contract, or even sued.

((Honestly, I was shocked to hear that.   One of the two major UK political parties, Labour, has its roots in the trade union movement.  How in the world could they have allowed such anti-labor regulations to be enacted?   Seems to me that Labour Party really needs to do a better job of protecting the right to strike)).

As for me personally, my overall deal with HBO was suspended on June 1.

I still have plenty to do, of course.   In that, I am one of the lucky ones.   (These strikes are not really about name writers or producers or showrunners, most of whom are fine; we’re striking for the entry level writers, the story editors, the students hoping to break in, the actor who has four lines, the guy working his first staff job who dreams of creating his own show one day, as I did back in the 80s).

Last week we had a great meeting with the producers on THE IRON THRONE, the stage play we’ve been working on the past few years.  The scripts for that one are coming along well, and it’s got me very excited.   SAG-AFTRA covers television and film, but not the stage, so the strike has no impact there.   Maybe we will even be able to bring the show to the West End by… well, no, better not say, do not want to jinx the project.

I have also been editing a couple new Wild Cards books.   PAIRING UP just came out, but we’re still working on SLEEPER STRADDLE and HOUSE RULES for Bantam.

And, yes, yes, of course, I’ve been working on WINDS OF WINTER.  Almost every day.  Writing, rewriting, editing, writing some more.   Making steady progress.   Not as fast as I would like.. .certainly not as fast as YOU  would like… but progress nonetheless.

It keeps me out of trouble.

So that’s the latest from the front lines.   I hope we will have your support.  HONK if you see us picketing… and NEVER cross a picket line… and maybe we will be able to get this settled quickly.   Before we all lose our houses….





July 19, 2023 at 9:03 am
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AT ComicCon 2023 this year?

Check out Carrie Vaughns newly adapted version of NOW and THEN a Wild Cards story n Graphic Novel form.  Illustrated by the talented Renae De Liz in full blazing color, this beautifully designed adaptation brings the Wild Cards world to rip roaring life.  Even though this title is premiering at SDCC you can order your copy from your favorite bookseller.


Check out De Liz’s other work at her website and check out the official cover below and if your art at Comic Con swing by the Random house booth to see when Carrie will be around to sign your copy!




2024 Calendar Premier – Justin Sweet

July 16, 2023 at 9:39 am
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Hey Hey all,

Sadly we will not be attending SDCC this year due to, well a lot of things really but we are proud to be behind a few pretty awesome premiers this year down in SoCal.  Best of all this year we have the honor of announcing that the great and talented Justin Sweet has graced us with some original painted art.  All done in oils in his usual Frazetta-esqe loose textural style.


Check out the cover here and be sure to check out the Random House booth to see or pick up a copy, San Dieago Comic Con starts on the 19th!




And That’s Not All!

July 11, 2023 at 9:13 am
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… for all you aces and jokers, old or new.

As it happens, PAIRING UP is not the only Wild Cards book coming out on July 11.

On the same day, Tor Books will also be releasing their trade paperback edition of FULL HOUSE.

FULL HOUSE is a collection of stand-alone Wild Cards stories originally published electronically on

We have a great lineup once again:

“When We Were Heroes”                                                 Daniel Abraham
“Evernight”                                                                         Victor Milan
“Lies My Mother Told Me”                                               Caroline Spector
“Nuestra Senora de la Esperanza”                                  Carrie Vaughn
“Discards”                                                                             David D. Levine
“The Elephant in the Room”                                             Paul Cornell
“When the Devil Drives”                                                    Melinda M. Snodgrass
“The Atonement Tango”                                                     Stephen Leigh
“Prompt.  Professional.  Pop!”                                          Walter Jon Williams
“How to Move Spheres and Influence People”              Marko Kloos

If you missed FULL HOUSE in hardcover, here’s your chance to fill out your collection.


Current Mood: pleased pleased

Love, Lust, and Aces

July 10, 2023 at 8:11 am
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This is an exciting month for all of you Wild Cards fans out there… and for all the other readers who have not discovered Wild Cards yet.  (What are you waiting for??)

We’re pleased to be able to announce the release of the PAIRING UP,  the thirty-second volume in the series (don’t worry, you can enjoy this one without having read the previous thirty-one volumes), an original anthology of all new, all original tales about love, lust, and heartache in the world of the Wild Cards, featuring some of your favorite characters, and some brand new ones that we think you are going to like as well.

The lineup:

“Trudy of the Apes”   KEVIN ANDREW MURPHY
“Cyrano d’Escargot”  CHRISTOPHER ROWE
“In the Forests of the Night”   MARKO KLOOS
“The Wounded Heart”    MELINDA M. SNODGRASS
“Echoes From A Canyon Wall”    BRADLEY DENTON
“The Long Goodbye”   WALTON SIMONS
“What’s Your Sign?”   GWENDA BOND & PETER NEWMAN
“The Wolf and the Butterfly”   DAVID ANTHONY DURHAM

As usual, I edited the volume, with the able assistance of Melinda M. Snodgrass.

Bantam will be publishing PAIRING UP in hardcover in the US on JULY 11.

And over in the UK, the HarperCollins Voyager edition will be out on JULY 20.

PAIRING UP will be available from your local bookshop or favorite online bookseller… and of course we will have some autographed copies available for mail order from Beastly Books.

Current Mood: cheerful cheerful

Reginald and Roger

July 6, 2023 at 3:14 pm
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When I’m not writing, you can often find me reading.   I’ve been a voracious reader since grade school… and I love talking about books almost as much as I love reading them.   So when a British fellow named Reginald asked me to come on his podcast to discuss one of my favorite books, I was pleased to agree.   The hard part was picking a book.   I have a lot of favorite books, and favorite authors.   Tolkien, Heinlein, Lovecraft, Waldrop, Fitzgerald, Dickens, Bernard Cornwell, Stephen King, Jack Vance… the list goes on and on and on.

We could only do one, however.  So I finally settled on Roger Zelazny.

Ah, but WHICH Zelazny, though?  Roger wrote so many great ones.   LORD OF LIGHT, EYE OF CAT, CREATURES OF LIGHT AND DARKNESS, DREAM MASTER, DOORWAYS IN THE SAND… and the short stories, he was great at shorter lengths as well… as his shelf of Hugo and Nebula Awards bears witness.

Hard choice.  In the end I went with NINE PRINCES IN AMBER… and the Amber series in general.   (Soon to be a TV series, we hope).

We filmed the segment at Beastly Books in Santa Fe.

Reginald did not turn up.  I gather he does that a lot.  Fortunately, his friend Dominick Noble was on hand to fill in, as he does often.  (Dom has a great YouTube channel of his own, LOST IN ADAPTATION, where he compares films made from books with their source material).

We had a lot of fun.  You can watch the discussion here:

After you’ve had a listen, go out and read NINE PRINCES IN AMBER… or any of Roger’s books, really.  They’re all great.

Current Mood: cheerful cheerful