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IAIA Scholarships

August 19, 2020 at 10:33 am
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IAIA — the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe — recently had its annual fundraising event.

Virtually, of course.

It seemed to be a great success.

There’s a video of the event.   You can even catch a glimpse of yours truly at 1:58 minute mark, talking about the annual scholarships I sponsor there, through my foundation.   There are brief statements from this year’s scholarship winners as well.

 

2020 IAIA Virtual Scholarship Event—Scholarships Shape Futures

Though the annual fund-raising event is over, the need for funds is not.   IAIA does great work, so if any of you reading it have a few extra dollars, please do send them their way.   It would be much appreciated.

 

Current Mood: pleased pleased

This, That, and T’Other Thing

April 14, 2020 at 3:41 pm
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No big news here, but it has been a week or so since my last blog post, so I thought I would say hi.   I am still up in the mountains, doing the social distancing rag, and writing WINDS OF WINTER.   I have good days and bad days, but I am making progress.

Most of the world remains closed, including my theatre and bookshop, the Jean Cocteau Cinema and Beastly Books.   I had originally announced that we would re-examine the situation come April 15.   That date is now upon us, and it is obvious that I was wildly optimistic in hoping we might even consider re-opening then.  No.  Won’t work.   We’re going to remain shut until JUNE 1.  Then, once again, we will revisit the question, once we see what state the world is in.

I am continuing to pay my staff during this closure, something I wish more small businesses would do.   Beastly Books is still selling signed books by mailorder.  Every order helps keep us afloat, so please take a look at our offerings: https://jeancocteaucinema.com/product-category/signed-books/

Along the same lines, though we cannot of course open our theatre to the public while coronavirus still rages, the JCC has gone virtual, and is screening new and old movies that way.  For details on our Virtual Feature of the Week, go to https://jeancocteaucinema.com/

Hollywood has largely closed down as well, at least as far as actual production is concerned.  (If this pandemic goes on long enough, I wonder if the pipeline will go dry, and we will start to run out of new films and television shows.  If so, sheltering in place is going to get an order of magnitude harder.  Television right now is doing a lot to keep us all sane — and no, not the news, which has the opposite effect).   But while nothing is being filmed right now, development is continuing apace, since writers can still write at home.  The only thing I am writing myself is THE WINDS OF WINTER, as I have said many times… but with my producer’s hat on, I am still involved in a number of exciting new shows for HBO, and a few film projects as well.  When and if any of these make it to the screen, well, that’s always the question… but I do know that Ryan Condal and his team are roaring ahead on the scripts for HOUSE OF THE DRAGON, and that one has a full season’s order from HBO.  As for the other stuff I may or may not be involved in, I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you all.

Oh, of course, I am doing a lot of reading these days.  Rereading too.  Some of my favorite writers are Robert A. Heinlein, Roger Zelazny, Tony Hillerman, Nnedi Okorafor, Howard Waldrop.  Oh, and that GRRM guy did some good stuff too, before he started that fantasy series.   Some of his old stories might even make good movies, donchaknow.  (No, seriously, you guys should check out DREAMSONGS.  Signed copies available from Beastly Books).

I have also been trading emails with my friends down in New Zealand.   CoNZealand, this year’s World Science Fiction Convention, has also gone virtual in response to the crisis.   A prudent move, but a challenging one.   As this year’s Virtual Toastmaster, I am still going to be hosting the Hugo Awards… virtually.  That should be… interesting.  Especially for me, since I am one of the least tech savvy guys in fandom.   I still write my novels with WordStar 4.0 on a DOS computer, after all, and when I interface with the internet it is mainly through this blog.  (Good thing Howard Waldrop isn’t going to be hosting.  He still works on a manual typewriter).

Anyway, the Kiwis have some smart guys working for them, and they assure me everything will go fine.   They are working out the tech now, and we hope to have several trial runs before The Big Night.   We are all certainly going to try to do our best.  I expect there will be glitches and mistakes, many of them doubtless mine, but I do hope all those looking in will be patient and understanding.  In any case, the rockets will be handed out one way or t’other, though the actual delivery may have to be entrusted to DHL or Federal Express.

Some cool stuff happening with WILD CARDS that I should mention.   Check out our Wild Cards website, if you haven’t seen it in a while.  Lots of great content there for you to explore, including a new blog post every two weeks by a rotating cast of our amazing Wild Cards writers.  You will find it at https://www.wildcardsworld.com/   

We also have a brand new Wild Cards original coming out at the end of this month from Harper Collins Voyager in the UK.   The title is THREE KINGS, and it’s a full mosaic,  was edited by Melinda M. Snodgrass (yours truly assisting), and features contributions from  Peter Newman, Peadar O’Guilin, Caroline Spector, Mary Anne Mohanraj, and Melinda herself.  It’s a sequel to KNAVES OVER QUEENS, and like that volume it is set entirely in the British Isles and features an English and Irish cast.   (More on that one in a later post).

There’s more, of course.   There’s always more.   But this post has grown long enough, and Westeros is calling.

Current Mood: busy busy

See Ya Later, Kids

March 5, 2018 at 12:25 pm
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All’s good, boys and girls… lots of exciting things going on.

LOTS of exciting things.

Maybe too many. I am buried in work, so much that it is starting to overwhelm me. Even with my army of loyal minions.

So I am going to step back from blogging — okay, from NOT-a-blogging — for a while, till I get a few of these monkeys off my back.

In the near future, you’ll likely see fewer posts here. And some of those will be by my minions.

I’ll return eventually. Just don’t know when.

See ya later, alligators.

Current Mood: stressed stressed

City of the Angels

November 21, 2017 at 5:36 pm
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I have a love/ hate relationship with Los Angeles.

I spent a lot of time there back in the 80s and 90s, when I was on TWILIGHT ZONE and BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, and in the years that followed, when I was in development hell. A good decade, all told. At least three of those years were spent on the 405, I seem to recall… but in any case, I have lots of good memories of LA, and some bad memories as well. I made lots of friends out there. And even now, my work requires me to visit the City of Angels (which seems less angelic every day, if you’re reading the news) several times a year.

Those visits are usually mixed bags. I do business, which is necessary. Sometimes I come home with awards, which is great. I check in on old friends, always a pleasure (though all of us get older every year). From time to time I make new friends, always a joy. But I hate driving in LA even more than I did in the 90s, if that is possible, and the weather is usually beastly. So bloody hot and humid I don’t know how anyone can stand it. Then, of course, there are the meetings. Some are fun, some are not. Even the best meetings, it seems, seldom lead to anything real.

Last week, however, I had a great visit to LA. The weather, for once, was gorgeous. Not too hot, not too humid, beautiful blue skies, stunning sunsets.

When I wasn’t gazing out over the city from the balcony of my room at the Four Seasons, I was having meetings. HBO meetings, for the most part… exciting stuff, and they all went well… and meetings with some major film studios as well, about possible adaptions of some of my other work. All very exciting. Cross your fingers, cross your toes, I might have thrilling news down the line.

I also got to check in with some of those old friends I mentioned. One of the highlights was the dinner I shared with some of the folks I worked with on BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.

The whole gang could not be there, but we did gather (from left to right) Linda Campanelli (writer), Jay Acovone (Joe Maxwell), Ron Koslow (creator, showrunner), yours truly (writer/ producer), Ron Perlman (Vincent), and David Schwartz (producer). It was a grand gathering. We told some stories and shared some laughs, and of course we all lifted a glass to the memory of Roy Dotrice, our Father… who made it to 94, and still died way too young.

It was an honor to work on BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, and I’m proud of the work we did there.

((Comments permitted, if you STAY ON TOPIC))

Current Mood: calm calm

NIGHTFLYERS at the JCC

October 23, 2017 at 3:53 pm
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The SyFy channel will start filming their new NIGHTFLYERS series late this year or early next, I am informed. The series is based on my novella “Nightflyers,” first published in 1980.

“Nightflyers” was one of my Thousand Worlds stories, part of the future history that formed the background for most of the science fiction I wrote and published in the 1980s. The earliest version of it was a 23,000 word novella originally published in ANALOG, with a gorgeous cover by Paul Lehr.

That version of the story was a finalist for the Hugo Award at Denvention II (that’s me and Parris at Denvention in the pic). It lost our to a Dorsai story by Gordy Dickson, but as always it was great to be nominated… and it did get me back in the Hugo Losers Club, after I’d disgraced myself my winning two the year before. 😉

The story had a lot of fans, though. One of them was editor Jim Frenkel, who was doing a new series called ‘Binary Stars,’ a sort of revived Ace Double concept with two ‘short novels’ sharing a single book. He wanted to use “Nightflyers,” but needed it to be longer. I was thrilled to oblige, since I’d always felt the original needed a bit more room to breeze. I happily expanded the novella to 30,000 words, and in that form it was paired with Vernor Vinge’s “True Names” in a Binary Star, and later reprinted as the lead story in one of my collections from Bluejay Books.

((I kinda hate that cover. For various seasons, which I will explain at the JCC)).

I don’t know where screenwriter/ producer Robert Jaffe first encountered the story… in ANALOG, or via my collection… but somehow he did, and reached out to be in 1984 to option, and then purchase, film and television rights. The movie was filmed in 1986 and released in 1987.

NIGHFTLYERS… the movie… was not a huge hit. But it’s a film that I have very warm feelings toward. NIGHTFLYERS may not have saved my life, but in a very real sense it saved my career, and everything I have written since exists in no small part because of that 1987 film.

Tomorrow night we’ll be screening at the Jean Cocteau Cinema, with Robert Jaffe flying in from Los Angeles to talk about the making the film with me.

Come join us.

Current Mood: pleased pleased

The Swords Are Drawn

July 22, 2017 at 4:29 pm
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For all you fans of sword ‘n sorcery, and/ or my own ‘fake histories,’ the new anthology from Gardner Dozois, THE BOOK OF SWORDS, has been scheduled for release on October 10, and is now available for pre-order from Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Book-Swords-Gardner-Dozois/dp/0399593764 and many other online booksellers. I imagine your favorite local bookseller is taking orders too.

This is NOT one I co-edited with Gargy (people keep getting that wrong), so I haven’t read any of the other stories yet, but it looks to have a helluva lineup, with originals by Lavie Tidhar, Daniel Abraham, Scott Lynch, C.J. Cherryh, Robin Hobb, Ken Liu, Cecelia Holland, Walter Jon Williams, and many more. And of course it also includes “Sons of the Dragon,” a chronicle of the reigns of Aegon the Conquerer’s two sons, Aenys I Targaryen and Maegor the Cruel, for those who cannot get enough of my entirely fake histories of Westeros. That one has never been published before in any form, though I did read it at a couple of cons.

Speaking of fake history… regulars here may recall our plan to assemble an entire book of my fake histories of the Targaryen kings, a volume we called (in jest) the GRRMarillion or (more seriously) FIRE AND BLOOD. We have so much material that it’s been decided to publish the book in two volumes. The first of those will cover the history of Westeros from Aegon’s Conquest up to and through the regency of the boy king Aegon III (the Dragonbane). That one is largely written, and will include (for the first time) a complete detailed history of the Targaryen civil war, the Dance of the Dragons. My stories in DANGEROUS WOMEN (“The Princess and the Queen”) and ROGUES (“The Rogue Prince”) were abridged versions of the same histories.

No publication date has been set yet, but it’s likely that we will get the first volume of FIRE AND BLOOD out in late 2018 or early 2019. The second volume, which will carry the history from Aegon III up to Robert’s Rebellion, is largely unwritten, so that one will be a few more years in coming.

And, yes, I know you all want to know about THE WINDS OF WINTER too. I’ve seen some truly weird reports about WOW on the internet of late, by ‘journalists’ who make their stories up out of whole cloth. I don’t know which story is more absurd, the one that says the book is finished and I’ve been sitting on it for some nefarious reason, or the one that says I have no pages. Both ‘reports’ are equally false and equally moronic. I am still working on it, I am still months away (how many? good question), I still have good days and bad days, and that’s all I care to say. Whether WINDS or the first volume of FIRE AND BLOOD will be the first to hit the bookstores is hard to say at this juncture, but I do think you will have a Westeros book from me in 2018… and who knows, maybe two. A boy can dream…

Meanwhile, you’ll have Gardner’s anthology to fill the time. Keep your swords sharp!

Current Mood: quixotic quixotic

SyFy Greenlights NIGHTFLYERS Pilot

June 24, 2017 at 7:05 pm
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Here’s some cool news for the fans of my Thousand Worlds stories… y’know, the science fiction that I wrote way back when, long before I thought of GAME OF THRONES.

The SyFy Channel has just greenlit the pilot for a proposed NIGHTFLYERS series, based on my 1980 Hugo-losing novella, one of my SF/ horror hybrids.

Details can be found here (and in lots of other places on the web):

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/george-rr-martins-nightflyers-picked-up-pilot-at-syfy-1016296

Since I’m exclusive to HBO, I can’t be part of the NIGHTFLYERS development, but I wish them well. The novella was a favorite of mine (especially the longer version that I did for BINARY STARS), and I think the show could have a lot of potential… especially if you like a little horror in your SF.

If it looks as good as THE EXPANSE, by my pal Jimmy Corey…

(That pic up above is me and Parris at Denvention II, by the way, the night that “Nightflyers” lost the Hugo to Gordy Dickson).

Some Odds, Some Ends

June 23, 2017 at 1:55 pm
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Had a great visit with Walter Jon Williams and his Toolbox students up in Angel Fire. It’s a lovely drive from Santa Fe, and it was nice to meet (however briefly) the fledgling writers. How many of them will actually go on to make it, well, one can never be sure of that, but I shared what wisdom I could from my years in the field, and showed them a few of my scars as well. They have some good teachers in Nancy Kress and Walter Jon. As I mentioned to the class, I workshopped with WJW for years, and he was right almost 75% of the time. 🙂

Back at the homestead, we’re facing a certain amount of disruption. Santa Fe is a lovely town and one of its charms is its pueblo style architecture… but be warned, those damned flat roofs will LEAK, don’t let anyone tell you any different. My office roof has been leaking off and on for years, and has been patched and repaired at least a dozen times since I’ve been here… to the point that my contractor finally threw up his hands and said he couldn’t keep putting patches on the patches on the patches. I need a whole new roof. And since that process requires me to vacate the premises, I figured this is the perfect opportunity to do some of the renovations I’ve been planning (and putting off) for the better part of the decade. So, bottom line, I’m moving to new workspace, while the old workspace gets a new roof and some cool additions. But I should be settled in at the new place within a week or so.

Also have the big trip coming up. I cut way way way back to my travel this year, to give myself more time to work. Back in April/May I did Stokercon on the Queen Mary and the benefit for Clarion, but come August I’ll be off again, first to NYC for a wedding and the usual round of publisher and agent meetings, then off to Finland for worldcon, then on to Russia for a con in St. Petersberg. I have been to Finland twice before, but this will be my first time in Russia… though I know I have a lot of Russian fans from the emails I receive. It will be nice to meet them. Two trips for all of 2017 is the least amount of travel I’ve done in twenty years.

LOTS of things going on with television and film. Season 7 of GAME OF THRONES will be here on July 16 (and we’re doing a season 6 marathon at the JCC), the five successor shows are moving forward at various rates of speed, and we’re talking with UCP about not one, not two, but three possible Wild Cards series. And there are a couple other TV projects that I can’t tell you about… how much of this will come to pass, nobody knows. Ah, the joys of development…

Oh, and football will be starting soon. Don’t ask me to explain what the Jets are doing. I don’t understand it either. I foresee a very painful season for fans of Gang Green. But hey, what’s different about that?

Merry Xmas to All, and to All a Good Max

May 22, 2017 at 7:13 pm
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Our week-long M-M-Maxathon concluded on Satuday night at the Jean Cocteau with a staged table reading of “Xmas,” my thirty-year-old unproduced (until now) MAX HEADROOM script. And I have to say, we went out on a high note. We had a sold-out theatre, and the audience seemed to enjoy every moment of the performance, laughing and applauding at all the right places.

After thirty years, I was not at all sure how well my old script would hold up… especially with an audience of Max Headroom fanatics, many of whom had just sat through an entire week of Max, watching every one of the produced episodes. MAX HEADROOM was a really smart show, with some fine writing… tough acts to follow. But most of the viewers seemed to think “Xmas” was just as good as what had gone before, which gratified me no end.

One of the things that brought me back to books in the mid 90s, after ten years in television and film, was the sour taste that unproduced scripts left in my mouth… and in my soul. I was making good money during those years in “development hell,” but I came to realize that a paycheck was not enough. I hated spending months or years writing and rewriting a script, creating a world, a story, and characters I inevitably came to love, only to have some network or studio decide to pass. I wanted my stories told, and I wanted my teleplays and screenplays performed. Scripts are not meant to be read; to come alive, they need to be staged, acted out…

“Xmas,” written in 1987, was actually the first time in my short television career that I tasted the disappointment that so many screenwriters come to know so well. I had been writing for television for less than two years, after all, and up to “Xmas,” I’d had a charmed career. My only previous gig had been on TWILIGHT ZONE, where I wrote five scripts, every one of which was greenlit, produced, and telecast (though, okay, “The Road Less Travelled” got butchered on the way). “Mister Meat” had been a stumble, but I never went to script on that one. With “Xmas,” I went all the way, and the script had been delivered and slated, scheduled… only to have the show cancelled abruptly.

It’s been said that a writer’s characters are his children. If so, then unproduced scripts are a screenwriter’s stillborn children, and I have far too many of them (for my taste, at least — those who have worked longer in film and TV have many more). To have the oldest of those, “Xmas,” brought to life at long last… to hear the lines spoken, to hear the audience laugh… well, it meant a lot to me.

My thanks go out to our wonderful cast of local actors, especially Elias Gallegos, who played the starring role of Edison Carter. And to Lenore Gallegos, who did such a splendid job of putting this all together and directing. And especially to Michael Cassutt, who made this all happen, to “Max Headroom’s Daddy,” Steve Roberts… and to the one and only Matt Frewer, who graced our stage at the Jean Cocteau and brought M-M-Max to life one last time, hilariously.

Everyone had a good time on Saturday night, I think. But no one had a better time than me.

Merry Xmas.

Current Mood: cheerful cheerful

Home Again

May 13, 2017 at 2:08 pm
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Got home from nigh on two weeks in California on Thursday night.

It was a great trip, but damn, I’m tired. No rest for the wicked, however. I don’t check email when I travel, so it does tend to pile up and up and up and up. So now I am digging as fast as I can, but there’s lots going on here as well. M-M-Max Headroom is in town all week.

Had a great time on the Queen Mary with the Horror Writers. If you’ve never visited the Queen, you should. Even tied up to a wharf, she puts modern cruise ships to shame. All that wood, all that art deco. The public rooms are just gorgeous. And the good folks at HWA let me present one of their Bram Stoker Awards. Which is not, incidentally, a bust of Bram, but rather a Creepy Little House. Not to be confused with the new World Fantasy Award, which is a Creepy Little Tree.

The last time I visited the Queen, the Spruce Goose was still housed in the giant dome next door. The Goose is long gone, alas, but the dome is still there, cavernous and empty. I kept gazing out at it and thinking, “hmmmm, just think what Meow Wolf could do with that.”

After Stokercon, it was on to San Diego. Raised a few sheckles for Clarion with my conversation with Kim Stanley Robinson, which I believe should be turning up on line sometime soon. Spoke to a couple of classes at UCSD as well. The real highlight of the visit, however, was my visit to a high school class which is studying… yes… my books. I was greeted by two pretty young ladies in Kingsguard cloaks, and presented with a lovely raven drawing and a sword with a map of Westeros on it. The kids were really sharp, too. They asked better questions than half of the journalists who interview me.

Then it was back to LA and meetings, meetings, meetings. Some exciting stuff is happening. A lot of it I can’t tell you about — yet — but the trades have already spilled a few of the beans so I suppose I can acknowledge that, yes, HBO is developing a successor show to GAME OF THRONES, and yes, SyFy may be doing a series based on my novella “Nightflyers.” More on all that later. There’s lots more too, but the beans remain unspilled on that, so mum’s the word… for now.

Oh, and I had a few spare hours in Beverly Hills, so I swung by the B&N at the Grove and signed all their stock of my books. So if you’re in the neighborhood and looking for an autographed copy, get there while their supply lasts (and if you’re too late, you can meet your signed book needs via mailorder from my own Jean Cocteau).

Sometimes it is nice to get away from the desk. But it’s nice to get home as well.