Not a Blog

Golden Days

October 20, 2023 at 9:32 am
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I love Santa Fe at all times of year, but fall is my favorite season.   Late September and early October, especially.

The days are bright and sunny, but not hot.  The air is crisp and clean, bracing.  Dry, of course.   We don’t believe in humidity.  The nights are cool, the skies  full of stars.

And this is when the trees start to turn.   We don’t get the full fall colors they have in New England; nor many reds or oranges down this way.  But the aspens and the cottonwoods turn yellow, and for a short time we have entire mountains that look as if they were dipped in gold.

The big cottonwood outside my house is one that turns.   So gorgeous.

In a world that is so sad and troubled and full of hate, it is good to know that we can still stop and see the trees.

Current Mood: contemplative contemplative

Writers On Set

May 8, 2023 at 11:18 am
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I want to say a few words about what I think is THE most important issue in the current writers’ strike: the so-called “mini rooms” that the Guild is hoping to abolish, and the terrible impact they are having on writers at the start of their careers.

A look at my own career may be instructive.   For the first fourteen years of my career, I wrote only prose; a few novels, and lots of stories for ANALOG, ASIMOV’S, and various other SF magazines and anthologies.   Much as I enjoyed television, I never dreamt of writing for it until 1985, when CBS decided to launch a new version of THE TWLIGHT ZONE, and executive producer Phil DeGuere invited me to write an episode for them.   A freelance script; that was how you began back then.   I decided to give it a shot… and Phil and his team liked what I did.   So much so that within days of delivery, I got an offer to come on staff.   Before I quite knew what had happened, I was on my way to LA with a six-week deal as a Staff Writer, at the Guild minimum salary, scripts against.   (In the 80s, Staff Writer was the lowest rung on the ladder.   You could tell, because it was the only job with “writer” in the title).

What I knew about television production when I got off that plane at Burbank was… well, so minimal I can’t think of a pithy analogy.  But I learned.  I learned in the writers’ room from Phil himself and the amazing staff he had assembled for TZ:  Jim Crocker, Rockne S. O’Bannon, the incredible Alan Brennert, Michael Cassutt, and a bevy of fantastic freelancers.   And not just about dialogue and structure and the language of scriptwriting.  I learned about production as well.   The moment I arrived, Phil threw me into the deep end.   I wrote five scripts during my season and a half on TZ, and I was deeply involved in every aspect of every one of them.   I did not just write my script, turn it in, and go away.   I sat in on the casting sessions.   I worked with the directors.   I was present at the table reads.   “The Last Defender of Camelot” was the first of my scripts to go into production, and I was on set every day.   I watched the stuntmen rehearse the climactic sword fight (in the lobby of the ST ELSEWHERE set, as it turned out), and I was present when they shot that scene and someone zigged when he should have zagged and a stuntman’s nose was cut off… a visceral lesson as to the kind of thing that can go wrong.   With Phil and Jim and Harvey Frand (our line producer, another great guy who taught me a lot), I watched dailies every day.    After the episode was in the can, I sat in on some post-production, and watched the editors work their magic.   I learned from them too.

There is no film school in the world that could have taught me as much about television production as I learned on TWILIGHT ZONE during that season and a half.  When TZ was renewed for a second season, I was promoted from Staff Writer to Story Editor.  (More money, and now scripts were plus and not against).   Started sitting in on freelance pitches… and now I was allowed to talk and give notes.   Sadly, the show was cancelled halfway through the second season, but by that time I had learned so much that I was able to go on to further work in television.   I did a couple stories for MAX HEADROOM, but my next staff job was BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.   They brought me on as Executive Story Editor, one bump up from my TZ rank.   Over the next three years, I climbed the ladder, rung by rung:  Co-Producer, Producer, Co-Supervising Producer, Supervising Producer, Co-Executive Producer.   When B&B finished its run, I started writing features and pitching pilots, landed an overall deal at Columbia, created and scripted STARPORT and THE SURVIVORS and FADEOUT… and DOORWAYS, which we filmed for ABC.   I was Showrunner (along with Jim Crocker) and Executive Producer on that one.

That was my first  ten years in television;  1985-1995, more or less, long before HBO and GAME OF THRONES.

NONE OF IT would have been possible, if not for the things I learned on TWILIGHT ZONE as a Staff Writer and Story Editor.   I was the most junior of junior writers, maybe a hot(ish) young writer in the world of SF, but in TV I was so green that I would have been invisible against a green screen.   And that, in my opinion, is the most important of the things that the Guild is fighting for.  The right to have that kind of career path.   To enable new writers, young writers, and yes, prose writers, to climb the same ladder.

Right now, they can’t.   Streamers and shortened seasons have blown the ladder to splinters.   The way it works now, a show gets put in development, the showrunner assembles a “mini-room,” made up of a couple of senior writers and a couple newcomers, they meet for a month or two, beat out the season, break down the episodes, go off and write scripts, reassemble, get notes, give notes, rewrite, rinse and repeat… and finally turn into the scripts.   And show is greenlit (or not, some shows never get past the room) and sent into production.  The showrunner and his second, maybe his second and his third, take it from there.   The writer producers.   The ones who already know all the things that I learned on TWILIGHT ZONE.

The junior writers?  They’re not there.   Once they delivered their scripts and did a revision of two, they were paid, sent home, their salary ended.   They are off looking for another gig.   If the series gets another season, maybe they will be brought back.   Maybe they won’t.  Maybe they can’t, since they are off in another mini-room for another show.  If they do get brought back, they may get a promotion… but that’s not guaranteed.   I know writers who have been Staff Writer on half a dozen different series, and others who have been “Writer’s Room Assistant”  (which is the new entry level gig, since no one buys freelance scripts any more) three or four times, never getting off the bottom rung of the ladder so matter how talented they are.   And when a junior writer does finally get a better title, even one that will put a P-word on their IMDB credits,  they still won’t have any producing experience.   In many cases they won’t be asked to set even when the episodes they wrote are being filmed.   (They may be ALLOWED on set, if the showrunner and execs are cool with that, but only as a visitor, with no authority, no role.   And no pay, of course.   They may even be told they are not allowed to speak to the actors).

One of the things the AMPTP put forward in their last offer to the WGA is that some writers might be brought onto sets as unpaid interns, to “shadow” and “observe.”   Even that will not be an absolute right.   Maybe they will be let in, maybe not.   These are the people who wrote the stories being filmed, who created the characters, who wrote the words the actors are saying.   I was WAY more than that in 1985, and so was every other staff writer in television at the time.

The juniors may have worked for as long as half a year on the show.   All of it in a room, with other writers.   But they won’t be part of the casting.  They won’t be meeting with the director.   They won’t be at the table read.   No one will bring them into the editing suite so the editor can explain what he is doing.   The line producer will not sit down and go over the budget with them  (as Harvey Frand did with me), or patiently explain why they can’t have nine matte paintings or that huge montage.   They won’t be sharing lunch with the stars.   If a stuntman’s nose is cut off, they will need to read about it VARIETY, since they will be off in another room on another show.

Mini-rooms are abominations, and the refusal of the AMPTP to pay writers to stay with their shows through production — as part of the JOB, for which they need to be paid, not as a tourist —  is not only wrong, it is incredibly short sighted.   If the Story Editors of 2023 are not allowed to get any production experience, where do the studios think the Showrunners of 2033 are going to come from?

If nothing else, the WGA needs to win that on that issue.   No matter how long it may take.

Current Mood: determined determined

Stuff and Nonsense

December 28, 2022 at 2:21 pm
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Another Christmas has come and gone, and the New Year looms just ahead.   Where the hell does all the time go?

I did take a few days off for the holidays, I confess.   Shame on me, I guess.   But now I am back in the salt mine, working… working on so many bloody things, my head may soon explode.   Yes, WINDS OF WINTER, yes, yes.   And HOUSE OF THE DRAGON, season two.   And several of the other successor shows that we’re developing with HBO.  (Some of those are moving faster than others, as is always the case with development.   None have been greenlit yet, though we are hoping… maybe soon.  A couple have been shelved, but I would not agree that they are dead.   You can take something off the shelf as easily as you can put it on the shelf.  All the changes at HBO Max have impacted us, certainly).   We are also still developing the Wild Cards tv series for Peacock, based (largely) on FORT FREAK.   And I have Wild Cards books to edit.  Oh, and did I forget WINDS OF WINTER?  No, of course I didn’t.   But if I ever did, I know you folks will remind me.

There’s also the railroad, the bookstore, and the theatre.   Thankfully, I have great people doing most of the work on those.

I was on the road, in New York City and Chicago, from late October through the middle of November, promoting the new illustrated book, RISE OF THE DRAGON.   I was doing a series of blog posts about the trip, you will recall.   The interview with David Anthony Durham, the visit to Kevin Smith’s theatre in Jersey,  my appearance on the Colbert Show.   You can find links to all of those down below.

I wasn’t FINISHED, though.  I also did a talk with Neil Gaiman at the Symphony Space in NYC.  I cannot link to that one, alas.  There were reporters present, however, and there have been a number of stories online about our discussion about adaptations… a subject we both have strong opinions on.  Neil and I  talked about a lot of things as well.   It was a fun event.   I had dinners with Vincent d’Onofrio and Joe Tracz and my friends at Tor/ Macmillan and Random House/ Bantam as well, and saw a few Broadway shows (DEATH OF A SALESMAN, THE MUSIC MAN, PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, and SIX, fyi).   Then I flew off to Chicago for a presentation at Northwestern… which DOES deserve its own post, so I will try to get to that soon.

Since I do not travel with a computer, I returned home to 2000 emails.   Took me a while to catch up, even though 1500 of them were spam.

I taped all the games the Jets and Giants played while I was on the road, and tried to avoid hearing the scores (not entirely successfully).   Turns out both teams did pretty well while I was travelling (and not watching).  Since I have been back, however… well, this past week the G-Men lost a heartbreaker to the Vikings, and the Jets failed to turn up for their game against the Jags.  (Please, Mike White, get well soon).   Life is meaningless and full of pain.   Clearly, the Football Gods hate me.   Maybe they are pissed off about WINDS being so late too…

I meant to say a few words about some TV shows and movies we’ve enjoyed.   I can see why THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN is getting so much acclaim, even though there aren’t any banshees in it.   Brilliant performances by Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson.   A powerful story, one I will long remember… but damn, so sad.   I see people calling it a comedy.    Really?   OK, but that’s dark humor.    Parris and I have also been enjoying EXTRAORDINARY ATTORNEY WOO.  Not a new show, I gather, but it was new to us.   (So much good TV right now).   I hope there’s more coming of that one.   We were very happy to hear that SANDMAN has been renewed for a second season.   Took them long enough, but better late than never.   And watching WHITE LOTUS 2 on HBO made me want to go visit Sicily… but I won’t, not until WINDS is done and delivered, I promised.

We also watched some holiday favorites.   Several versions of A CHRISTMAS CAROL, A CHRISTMAS STORY, and IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE.   And yes, I get it, life would really have been horrible for a lot of people if George Bailey had never been born… but hey, am I the only one who thinks that Potterville looks a lot livelier at night than Bedford Falls?

We haven’t seen the new AVATAR yet, but it’s high on our list.   So is BABYLON, though that one is getting mixed reviews.

Oh, and awards season is at hand, and congratulations are due to HOUSE OF THE DRAGON and Emma d’Arcy for their Golden Globes nominations, and to Milly Alcock, Matt Smith, and the show for the Critic’s Choice Award nods.   Well deserved.  Finger and toes crossed for all of them.   But hey, when the Emmy nominations come out, I will be hoping that Paddy Considine, Steve Toussaint. Olivia Cooke, and Emily Carey get some love as well.  They were all extraordinary.

I also want to thank all my fans and readers, who made RISE OF THE DRAGON such a success.   We have been hitting bestseller lists all over the world, I am pleased to say.  I hope all of you enjoyed the art as much as I did.   (And if you have not snagged a copy yet, autographed copies are still available from Beastly Books in Santa Fe.   The Strand in NYC may have some signed copies left as well, though I would not bet on that).

 

Current Mood: busy busy

Ho Ho Ho

December 26, 2022 at 3:23 pm
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Happy Boxing Day, folks.

Here’s hoping all my friends, fans, readers, and viewers had a great Christmas.  I hope Santa was good to you.

We had a nice couple of days here in the Land of Enchantment.   A wonderful Christmas dinner, the company of friends, eggnog and prezzies.

And of course we watched a couple of our favorite Christmas films.   A Christmas Carol — the Alastair Sim version, still the best, which is actually titled SCROOGE — and BLACKADDER’S CHRISTMAS CAROL, the funniest.

Christmas movies are one of my favorite things about Christmas.

Hope you and yours enjoyed your own holidays.

Current Mood: happy happy

Bad Blogger

September 29, 2022 at 10:54 am
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I am a bad blogger, I know.   (Or should that be a bad Not-a-Blogger??).   I keep meaning to post stuff, but there’s so much going on that I keep falling behind…

Last week was a great football week.   So life was magical and full of joy.   That Jets win especially was a miracle.   Two touchdowns in the last two minutes?   Seven hells.   The Giants had a good solid victory too, if less exciting.

This weekend, however… bah, humbug, life is meaningless and full of pain.   The Jets turned back into the Jets, no more miracles.   They really should bench Flacco and give Mike White another chance.   He was so impressive last year, when they put him in.   But I guess we get Zach back next week.   Maybe that will help.   Then the Giants lost too.   Saquon looked great, but the O-line did not.  We have been drafting O linemen for a decade, yet the line never gets better.   Sigh.   I hate losing to the Cowboys too.

Never mind.   Let’s talk about something more exciting: HOUSE OF THE DRAGON!   The show opened strong and has only been getting stronger.   Thanks to all of you who are watching, and helping to spread the word.   And thanks to our amazing cast and crew as well.   We are more than halfway through the season now (I meant to blog after our debut, I really did, but time got away from me).   Milly Alcock and Emily Carey were incredible as young Rhaenyra and young Alicent, were they not?  With Sunday’s episode, Emma d’Arcy and Olivia Cooke took over as the adult versions of the characters.   I think you will love them too.   Or hate them, maybe.  Love/ hate.  Westeros, like the real world, is full of complex characters, capable of both good and evil.   Meanwhile, Matt Smith and Paddy Considine and Rhys Ifans and Fabien Frankel and Steve Toussaint and the rest of our cast continue to excel.   I would be hard pressed to say which of them I love best.   And I should say a few words for our writers too, who never get the attention that the stars do.   Sara Hess, Charmaine De Grate, Ira Parker, Ti Mikkel, and rest of our scriveners have done my story right, I think.   And last but not least, our showrunners, Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik… HOT D would not exist without them.  (Oh, and let me give a tip of the hat to Jocelyn Diaz, another one of our EPs, who helped immeasurably).

I hope you guys are enjoying HOT D as much as I am.   And hey, four more episodes to go… the best is yet to come.   And then on to season two!

And speaking of second seasons… DARK WINDS, our adaptation of Tony Hillerman’s classic Joe Leaphorn / Jim Chee mystery novels, has already assembled its writers’ room, and is well into hammering out s2 scripts.   This year the show will be adapting Tony’s novel PEOPLE OF DARKNESS (parts of which were melded into season one).

Oh, oh… before I forget… NIGHT OF THE COOTERS, the first of our short films adapting the classic short stories of Howard Waldrop, is making the film festival circuit.   Directing by and starring Vincent d’Onofrio, COOTERS won the award for Best Science Fiction Short at the LA Shorts Film Festival in August, and has also been accepted into the Santa Fe International Film Festival, and FilmQuest in Provo, Utah.   We do not have the screening schedule for FilmQuest yet, but I will share it when it comes in.   Here in Santa Fe, COOTERS will open the festival at the Jean Cocteau on October 19, at the Jean Cocteau.   Vincent will attend, for a talk and Q&A after the screening.   See you there, I hope.

There’s more, there’s more, there’s always more, but I don’t have time right now.   I will blog again.  Eventually.

 

Home Again

August 12, 2022 at 6:30 pm
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Hey there.   It’s me again.   I am back in Santa Fe, and once more again seated at my computer(s).   My thanks to my mighty minions for holding down the fort in my absence, and especially to the Sensational Sid, who shared my quarantine in Los Angeles and taped those video segments for me… and unfortunately came down with covid herself.   Not fun, and sadly it meant she too had to miss the Hot D red carpet premiere and the world premiere of NIGHT OF THE COOTERS a day later at the LA Shorts Film Festival.   Her symptoms were as mild as my own, though, and both of us in the end recovered fully.

Which does not change the fact that Covid Sucks, and all of you should avoid it if you can.

I tried my best to do just that.   I attended San Diego Comicon, only the second time I’ve left home since the pandemic started in March 2020, but the only thing I did there was the big HOUSE OF THE DRAGON panel in Hall H.   I never walked the floor, turned down invites to half a dozen parties, and  cancelled all three of my planned autograph sessions, which would have involved me getting close up and personal with hundreds of readers.   I wore a mask every time I went out, except at meals… and then only when I was eating.   I even upgraded my masks before leaving home.   I do not know what else I could have done, except cancel the entire trip.   But covid got me anyway.

Oh, wait… I did visit the incredible Red Keep that HBO put up outside the convention center, though I stayed masked for most of that.   I claimed a dragon’s egg, and hatched my dragon.   He’s green, and growing nicely.   Maybe the dragon gave me covid, but I doubt it.   Targaryens never get sick, donchaknow?   Hey, you guys can hatch a dragon too…

Have fun with that.   Post pictures.

What else, what else?   Oh, well, I do not lug a laptop around on my travels, so I returned home to a thousand emails.   I am presently digging out from under.   Mostly done.

Oh, and while in quarantine, Sid and I watched Neil Gaiman’s new show, THE SANDMAN.   Neil had been kind enough to send up an advance copy.   Guys, gals, don’t miss this.   If you loved the comics, well, this is a VERY faithful adaptation, Neil saw to that.   And if you never read the comic, don’t worry, not required, the TV series stands on its own.   It’s a fabulous fantasy, and I rope it will run for many more seasons.   There are, after all, many more issues of the comic to adapt.

I hope to wrap up the story line for one of the viewpoint characters of WINDS OF WINTER this week.   Maybe even two.

Meanwhile, work continues on all the other GAME OF THRONES successor shows we’re developing for HBO and HBO Max.   Animated and live action both.   Development is a long and chancy process, of course, and there’s no telling how many series will be green lit in the end… I am really excited about the way some of them are coming along, though.   Oh, and there’s also ROADMARKS, another show I’ve been developing for HBO, based on a novel by the late great Roger Zelazny.   That’s coming along well too.

Thanks to covid, I could not attend the world premiere of NIGHT OF THE COOTERS at the LA Shorts International Film Festival, but Vincent d’Onofrio and Hopper Penn and several other cast members filled in for me ably, along with scriptwriter Joe Lansdale and the team from Trioscope.   I am delighted to report that COOTERS took home the prize for Best Science Fiction Short!!!   We’ve entered it in a number of other festivals and hope to have word on that soon.   Meanwhile, our second Waldrop film has wrapped and is post-production.

Let’s see, what else.   There was something, I’m sure, I….

Oh.  Of course.

 HOUSE OF THE DRAGON.   August 21, on HBO and HBO Max.

That’s… hmmm…. nine days away as I type it.

I’ve seen all ten episodes now (albeit in rough cuts), and I love what I’ve seen.   Ryan and Miguel and their amazing cast and crew have done some magnificent work.   Hot D is all I hoped it would be; dark, powerful, visceral, disturbing, stunning to look at, peopled with complex and very human characters brought to life by some truly amazing actors.

(Oh, and FIRE & BLOOD is back on the NEW YORK TIMES bestseller list, and rocketing up every week.   I wonder if there is any connection).

Anyway…. there’s lots more I could report, but that will need to wait.   Stuff to do.

Glad to be home.

 

 

Current Mood: busy busy

Random Bits of This and That

April 29, 2022 at 11:13 am
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Lots of things going on.  Good things, bad things, big things, small things.   No time for a long blog post just now, but here are a few random comments about all and sundry, some of which may interest some of you.

Looks like the Jets and Giants both did very well in the first round of the NFL Draft.   But you never know.   Both teams desperately need help, so I hope they picked the right people.  My Sundays in the fall have been a weekly kick in the gut the past few years.

DARK WINDS debuts on June 12 on AMC and AMC+.  The trailer is everywhere, so check it out if you have not seen it yet.   I was one of the executive producers on this show, a six episode adaptation of the Navajo detective novels by the late great Tony Hillerman.   Graham Roland wrote the pilot, and Chris Eyre directed.   Zahn McClarnon stars as Joe Leaphorn and Kiowa Gordon as Jim Chee.   They all did great work.   Chris, together with Robert Redford, were the ones who brought me into this project a few years back, and I am glad that I was able to help get this made… but if you love the show, and I hope you will, credit belongs to Bob and Chris and Tina Elmore and their team, to our amazing actors, and of course to Tony.

Parris and I really enjoyed the new HBO Max series MINX, a sexy sitcom about a feminist porn magazine in the 70s.   The clothes, though… I swear, I owned some of those clothes.   Might be I still do, I never throw anything away.   Watching MINX did give me flashbacks to the 70s, though.   Which is good and bad.   The 1970s were my own Dickens Decade: it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

Or is that now?   Yeah, maybe now.   A lot of good things have happened for me, undeniably, but so many of my friends have died over the past two/three years… we have a war in the Ukraine which could turn into a nuclear holocaust… public discourse has turned poisonous and toxic, along with much of social media, free speech is under attack, our democracy is under attack… the news is profoundly depressing.

There was an article in THE ATLANTIC recently about how social media is making us all stupid.   An impressive piece, though it was also profoundly depressing, since the author does not see a lot of hope.   You can check it out at  https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2022/05/social-media-democracy-trust-babel/629369/ There’s a lot to think about there.

My people tell me that the renovations have been going well on the Jean Cocteau Cinema, Santa Fe’s original art house.   We hope to reopen soon, with a renovated auditorium and brand new seats.   Big comfortable seats.   Fewer of them, mind you — our capacity will shrink from 130 down to 78 — but hey, we only filled the place up a few times a year, usually when Neil Gaiman or Janis Ian was in town.   We will let you know when we reopen.

We are getting some great reviews for Sky Railway, and selling out a lot of trains.   We still have some more coaches to restore, so we can run more trains and longer consists, but that will come.

THE WINDS OF WINTER is going to be a big book.   The way it is going, it could be bigger than A STORM OF SWORDS or A DANCE WITH DRAGONS, the longest books in the series to date.   I do usually cut and trim once I finish, but I need to finish first.

I saw rough cuts of a couple more episodes of HOUSE OF THE DRAGON, and was just as pleased as I was with the earlier episodes.   Ryan and Miguel and their cast and crew are doing great work.    Those of you who like complex, conflicted, grey characters (as I do) will like this series, I think.   There will be plenty of dragons and battles, to be sure, but the spine of the story is the human conflicts, the love and the hate, character drama rather than action/ adventure.

And I did I mention?   NIGHT OF THE COOTERS is done!   Trioscope delivered the final cut last week.   It’s a short film, about thirty minutes long, based on one of Howard Waldrop’s wonderful short stories.   Joe R. Lansdale wrote the screenplay.   Vincent d’Onofrio directed and starred, with a terrific cast of supporting players.   We shot it in Santa Fe, entirely on greenscreen.   The wizards at Trioscope did the rest, providing the sets, the aliens, the special effects, pretty much everything except the actors and the horses.   We will be rolling it out at a series of film festivals through the rest of the year.   My staff is working out that schedule now.   Once we have some confirmed dates and places, we will share the details here.

Meanwhile, we hope to start shooting a second Howard Waldrop film in about two weeks.   Completely unrelated.   H’ard (as Gargy used to call him) never wrote the same story twice.    This may be the Year of Waldrop.

There’s more, there’s more, there’s always more.   But that will need to do for now.

 

 

Current Mood: busy busy

This, That, and t’Other Things

March 21, 2022 at 10:13 am
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Too much to do, too much to do.

Things are hopping, as my frogs told you down below.   I could be writing long posts here about a dozen things, but I am sure most of you would sooner I were writing fiction, producing films and television shows, editing anthologies.   Y’know.

But let me say a few quick words about matters various and sundry.

We have a new book coming out from Ten Speed in October: THE RISE OF THE DRAGON, an illustrated history of the Targaryen dynasty from Aegon the Conquerer to the regency of the boy king Aegon III.   I could show you the covers (British and American) but my mighty minions have already done that in the post below.   Just scroll down and enjoy.   The official announcement lays out the basic facts about the book as well, so I won’t repeat that here.   I just want to clear up a possible areas of confusion.   In my blog post of 3/9 (scroll further down), I made mention of “a lavish coffee table book coming later this year, an illustrated, condensed version of FIRE & BLOOD done with Elio Garcia and Linda Antonsson (my partners on THE WORLD OF ICE AND FIRE).”   Yes, I was speaking of THE RISE OF THE DRAGON.   The same book.    There has been some mention of RISE being an “encyclopedia,” but I do not think that is accurate… not unless the definition of “encyclopedia” has broadened considerably.   It’s a history… covering the same years and events as FIRE & BLOOD… but not written “in world” by Archmaester Gyldayn, and much condensed  from Gyldayn’s original text.   My friends Elio Garcia and Linda Antonsson of WORLD OF ICE & FIRE fame handled the abridgement.

We needed a shorter book to make room for all the art.   That’s the big thing about THE RISE OF THE DRAGON:  it’s not an encyclopedia, it’s an art book.   And a gorgeous one, I think.   RISE will include 180 brand new illustrations from some of the finest fantasy artists in the world.   Some of them will be full page.   Many will be in gorgeous living (and dying) colors.   Dragons, knights, battles, lords and ladies, castles… all the good stuff.    So if you’re a fan of fantasy art, you may want to pre-order your copy now.

The other book  mentioned in that post of 3/9, the Who’s Who of Westeros, is coming as well, but not this fall.   That one is a way off.   Might be a year or two.   Lot of work to be done.   (As my editors complain, it is hard to do a who’s who when I keep inventing characters).

There will be a second book coming out this year, to tie in with the debut of HOUSE OF THE DRAGON.   But it won’t be a new book, just an old one with a new cover.   That’s FIRE & BLOOD, of course, the original (unabridged) version by Archmaester Gyldayn, with new cover art from the HBO series.   When I have seen the new cover, I will be sure to post it here.

Oh, and as long as I am setting stuff straight, there’s a weird story all over the internet about how I “hid” my initials in ELDEN RING because… ah.. some of the characters have names beginning with R, or G, or M.   To which I say, “Eh?  What?  Really?”   This was news to me.    I have been writing and publishing stories since 1971, and I suspect that I have been giving characters names beginning with R and G and M since the start.   Along with the other twenty-three letters of the alphabet as well    Coming up with names is hard, especially since A SONG OF ICE & FIRE uses so many of them, and I am fond of giving family members and close kin names that have something in common… but really, why would I have to hide my name inside the game?   My name is right there ON the game, as one of the creators.    Hey, ELDEN RING is exciting enough, no need to make up stuff.

Let me see, what else?   Oh, I should mention that Sky Railway has reopened for its spring season, Santa Fe to Lamy, with all sorts of fun new adventures.   Check out the website at https://skyrailway.com/ and book your adventure now, if you’re coming to Santa Fe.    We are selling out.

Many of you reading this are fantasy fans, I know.   Waiting for WINDS OF WINTER, I know, I know… but looking forward to the new TV shows as well.  RINGS OF POWER on September 2, and HOUSE OF THE DRAGON on… well, you will know soon.   It’s only March, though.   What should you watch in the meanwhile?  I recommend THE LAST KINGDOM, based on Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon tales of Uhtred son of Uhtred.   The new season just went up, and Parris and I gulped it down in two days.   No, it is not fantasy, there is a notable lack of dragons and magic… but there are lots of battles and betrayals and swordplay, all that stuff.   And Uhtred is a warrior who could give the best of Westeros and Middle Earth a fight.   A good show, and we will miss it… but we have a feature film to look forward too, at least… and Cornwell has a new Sharpe book out too

There’s more, but I have other stuff to do, so I will sign off for now.   The horns are blowing, the frogs are hopping.

Current Mood: busy busy

Merry Minions

December 31, 2021 at 9:26 am
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Here’s hoping that all my friends and readers out there had a wonderful holiday.   I hope that Santa Claus was kind to you, and that neither Krampus nor Nackles turned up at your door with a big black bag.

We had a good Christmas here in Santa Fe.

One of the highlights was our annual Fevre River Packet Company holiday dinner.

The merry minions are, L to R, Lenore, Elias, Sid, Raya, and Andrea.   (Amy and Sarah were unable to make it).

I’m Gru, of course.

Current Mood: happy happy

Gobble Gobble

November 25, 2021 at 7:53 am
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Wishing a Happy Thanksgiving for all my friends, fans, and readers.

It has been another wretched year, but most of us still have  a lot to be thankful for.   I certainly do.

Enjoy your meat and mead.

 

Current Mood: loved loved