Not a Blog

A Globe! A Globe!!

January 11, 2023 at 2:53 pm
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Here’s a post I did not expect to be writing.

HOUSE OF THE DRAGON won the Golden Globe last night, as the Best Drama of 2022!

It was, of course, an honor just to be nominated, but I never expected that we would  win.   After all, GAME OF THRONES had been nominated five times, and had never actually taken home a Globe (Peter Dinklage did win one, as Best Supporting Actor, but never the show itself).   I was in attendance at the Beverly Hilton for several of those nights, but I did not fly out to LA this time, because… well, I have a lot to do, I am way behind with much of it, and anyway, no one expected us to win.   We faced some very formidable competition.   THE CROWN had won twice before, so we knew how much the Hollywood Foreign Press loved that show.   BETTER CALL SAUL and OZARK were both up for their final seasons, and usually a show that is bowing out gets a boost from that.   Last chance, and all.   And SEVERANCE was also in the category, one of the hottest new shows of the past year.  Against that field, I figured we were the longest of long shots.

But when the envelope was opened, it was HOUSE OF THE DRAGON, and…

Miguel Sapochnik, Milly Alcock, and Emma D’Arcy were on hand to accept for us.   Emma was also a nominee, for Best Actress, but Zendaya took that Globe, so… it was great to see them get up there.   Ryan Condal could not make it, he’s off in London deep in pre-production on HotD season 2, but I know he’s as thrilled as I was.   My hat is off to our amazing cast and crew; this is their Globe as well.   And of course congratulations are due to all our friends at HBO, who made the show possible.  Thanks as well to the Hollywood Foreign Press and everyone who voted for us… and everyone who voted for THE CROWN, SEVERANCE, OZARK, and BETTER CALL SAUL as well.   Amazing shows, every one.

And thanks as well to all of you, our fans, viewers, and readers.

Dracarys.

Current Mood: excited excited

Talking Tolkien — and My Stuff Too

November 20, 2022 at 8:32 pm
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My appearance with Stephen Colbert was another highlight of my trip back east.

You may have seen the episode as aired, but that one was cut for time.   The full version appeared only on line.

This was the second time I’ve appeared on the Colbert show.   It is always a lot of fun.   Stephen is a big a fanboy (did someone say nerd?) as I am, a fan of science fiction, fantasy, comic books, and all the other stuff I love.  He knows Niven, he knows Zelazny, he knows Arthur C. Clarke…

… and don’t ever try to out-Tolkien him.  After the show wrapped, we hung out in the green room for a couple of hours, talking TV shows and movies and books and Roger Z (a dear friend and mentor to me, and one of Stephen’s favorites), and in the course of time the subject of Gil-Galad came up (as it will).   I immediately said…

Gil-Galad was an elven king
of him the harpers sadly sing
the last whose realm was fair and free
between the mountains and the sea

Which is, alas, the only part I have memorized

Stephen stepped in at once, and recited the rest of the poem.

Well, of course he did.   The man speaks Elvish.

I don’t even speak High Valyrian.  Much.

Valar dohaeris

Oooh… and I almost forgot the cold open.

That was fun too.

 

 

 

Current Mood: cheerful cheerful

Home Again

November 16, 2022 at 6:04 pm
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I am back in the Land of Enchantment, as of the day before yesterday.   I’ve been away for three weeks or thereabouts, in New York City, New Jersey, and finally Chicago.   I don’t lug a laptop around with me when I travel; on the road, I am only reachable by phone or text.   Which helps keep me sane, but it did mean that I had 2,000 emails waiting for me when I got home.   I am still digging out.

The trip… three weeks, I said, but at times it felt more like three months.   My latest book, the illustrated Targaryen history RISE OF THE DRAGON, was released on October 25, so I had a lot of promotion to do.   My sisters and their children and grandchildren and spouses still live in New Jersey, so I needed to see them too.   The last time I got back east was in 2019, before the pandemic started.   I had meetings with my publishers and agents and editors, and some meals with old friends.

I am not one for writing long trip reports… and this one would need to be VERY long.   It was that kind of trip.  Joy and sadness, tragedy, love, a lot of work.   Highs and lows, and so much to do, it really took it out of me.   I will tell you about much of that, but not right now, and not all at once.   I think I will make a series of small blog posts, rather than doing one enormous one.   The things that happened… well, it would not feel right to mush them all together.

Let me start with the original reason for the trip: the release of RISE OF THE DRAGON.

Rather than a traditional book tour, which could have taken months I did not have, we launched RISE with a virtual event at the Random House offices in New York City.    I was thrilled to have David Anthony Durham interviewing me.   David is one of my Wild Cards writers, and much much more.   He’s written epic fantasy, historical fiction, westerns, YA books, and he has beenpart of the  team on every one of prequels we have been developing for HBO for the last year and a half.    Good guy, terrific writer.

If you missed our talk, no problem — it is online now.

I am pleased to report that RISE OF THE DRAGON is doing very very well, hitting numerous bestseller lists here and abroad.

(I will post more about my events in New York and New Jersey and Chicago in the days to come, once I’ve caught up on some of those damned emails).

Current Mood: tired tired

Random Musings

October 11, 2022 at 10:43 am
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I see that my mighty minions have posted about my upcoming events in New York City later in the month.   Yay, minions!

Those of you who enjoy my football posts (yes, I know that is not all of you)… I have been watching the games…  and enjoying them, since both the Giants and the Jets have been winning.   The Jets had another miracle last minute victory last week, and on Sunday they just crushed the Fins.   And the G-Men won a couple of nail biters, including a victory over the Packers in London that was as shocking to me as it must have been to Aaron Rodgers.   I had almost forgotten how good it feels to win.   So life is magical and full of joy… right now, at any rate.

HOUSE OF THE DRAGON has helped brighten my Sundays as well.   I mean, I cannot really review the show, that would be crazy, I am hardly objective… but I do want to commend Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik and the cast and crew for the work they’ve done.   Sunday’s episode, “Lord of the Tides,” was everything I hoped it should be.  Kudos to Eileen Shim, the scriptwriter, to Geeta Patel, the director, to our incredible cast… and particularly to Paddy Considine, for his portrayal of King Viserys, the First of His Name.   The character he created (with Ryan and Sara and Ti and the rest of our writers) for the show is so much more powerful and tragic and fully-fleshed than my own version in FIRE & BLOOD that I am half tempted to go back and rip up those chapters and rewrite the whole history of his reign.   Paddy deserves an Emmy for this episode alone.   If he doesn’t get one, hey, there’s no justice.   Meanwhile,  I  am going to give Archmaester Gyldayn a smack for leaving out so much good stuff.

(No, I am not really going to rewrite FIRE & BLOOD, that was a jape).  ((And no, I am not going to assault Archmaester Glydayn, who does not actually exist.  I made him up)).

There’s a lot more I would love to blog about, but I do not have the time…

There’s a website called THE WRAP that has a couple cool interviews with Ryan Condal, including one where he spoke about our supposed rivalry with RINGS OF POWER… which mostly exists in the media.   https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwiI47jH99b6AhWVMDQIHeE0Cg4QFnoECA0QAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.thewrap.com%2Fhouse-of-the-dragon-rings-of-power-rivalry-ryan-condal%2F&usg=AOvVaw2s5NQfsv28MZaXoSiQOsWU

Ryan says pretty much the same thing I said in that interview with THE INDEPENDENT a few months back.   Nothing would please him more than to see both shows succeed.    Me too.   I am a fantasy fan, and I want more fantasy on television, and nothing would accomplish that more than a couple of big hits.   THE WITCHER, SHADOW & BONE, WHEEL OF TIME… and THE SANDMAN, a glorious adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s groundbreaking comic series… those are a good start, but I want more.   I want Tad Williams, I want Joe Abercrombie, I want Patrick Rothfuss, I want a good adaptation of Le Guin’s Earthsea books, I want Alan Garner, I want Robin Hobb… oh, the list is long, I could go on and on… and would if I did not have a zillion other things to do.   Most of all, I want Roger Zelazny’s NINE PRINCES IN AMBER.   I will never understand why Corwin and his siblings are not starring in their own show.   And hey, if epic fantasy continues to do well, maybe we will finally get that.   A boy can dream.

I wanted to address the “time jumps” in the HOUSE OF THE DRAGON too.   Not with any kind of official “statement,” but with some musings on the subject.   There’s a lot to be said.   I do not have the time to say it now, though.   Maybe in my next blog, or the one after that… or maybe never, since work keeps piling up.

Very briefly, however, I think Ryan has handled  the “jumps” very well, and I love love love both the younger Alicent and Rhaenyra and the adult versions, and the actresses who play them.  (Truth be told, we have an incredible cast, and I love all of them).   Do I wish we’d had more time to explore the relationship between Rhaenyra and Ser Harwin, the marriage of Daemon and Laena and their time in Pentos, the birth of various and sundry children (and YES, Alicent gave Viserys four children, three sons and a daughter, their youngest son Daeron is down in Oldtown, we just did not have the time to work him in this season), and everything else we had to skip?   Sure.

But there are only so many minutes in an episode (more on HBO than on the network shows I once wrote for), and only so many episodes in a season.    Fewer and fewer as time goes by, it seems.   When I was a boy, shows had 39 episodes a season.   By the time I was writing for BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, it was down to 22.   Cable shrunk that even further.  THE SOPRANOS had 13 episodes per season, but just a few years later, GAME OF THRONES had only 10  (and not even that, those last two seasons).   If HOUSE OF THE DRAGON had 13 episodes per season, maybe we could have shown all the things we had to “time jump” over… though that would have risked having some viewers complain that the show was too “slow,” that “nothing happened.”   As it is, I am thrilled that we still have 10 hours every season to tell our tale.  (RINGS OF POWER has only 8, as you may have noticed, and my AMC show DARK WINDS is doing 6 episode seasons).   I hope that will continue to be true.   It is going to take four full seasons of 10 episodes each to do justice to the Dance of the Dragons, from start to finish.

But right now, Ryan Condal’s focus is on HOT D season two, and mine is on THE WINDS OF WINTER.

 

 

Current Mood: busy busy

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.

 

The Dragons Are Here

August 21, 2022 at 9:13 am
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Tonight’s the night.

It has been three years since GAME OF THRONES wound up its run on HBO… and way way longer since we began the development of the successor series that eventually became HOUSE OF THE DRAGON.

You have been reading all about it for days… or weeks… or months… depending on how closely you follow the news out of Westeros.    Me, I’ve done more interviews that I can count.  We had a huge panel in Hall H at San Diego Comicon, and red carpet premieres in Los Angeles, Amsterdam, London, India, Sweden… sundry other place… and right here in Santa Fe at the Jean Cocteau Cinema.   There’s an amazing 3D billboard in NYC overlooking Times Square.   There’s more content on YouTube than anyone can keep track of.  Archmaester Gyldayn’s history FIRE & BLOOD is back on the bestseller lists and climbing (you can get signed copies from Beastly Books).   Reviews have been pouring in, most good, some bad.

I don’t know what else I can possibly say, except…

HOUSE OF THE DRAGON premieres tonight on HBO and HBO Max.

Whatever happens from here, my sincere thanks go out to Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik, to one of the most astonishing casts it has ever been been my honor to work with, to an incredible crew, to an amazing writing staff, to my friends at HBO, past and present, who have worked for years to bring HOT D to fruition… and to the fans, without whom none of this would be possible.

And a tip of my  cap to my editors, publishers, and readers as well.   It all began forty odd years ago… with a book.

Watch the show.   I hope you’ll enjoy it.

 

 

Current Mood: excited excited

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

SNOW… and Other Stuff

June 23, 2022 at 1:59 pm
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These Not A Blog updates all seem to be turning into giant grab bags.   Things pile up, and I am way too busy to blog more often, so I find myself with a lot to cover every time I have a spare moment.

I don’t really have a spare moment today, truth be told, but I am making one, since the news has broken about the Jon Snow development and I am being deluged with requests for comment.   So….

Yes, there is a Jon Snow show in development.   The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER story was largely correct.   And I would expect no less from James Hibberd.   I have dealt with a lot of reporters over the past few years, and Hibberd is one of the very best, an actual journalist who does all the things journalists are supposed to do (getting the facts right, talking to sources, respecting requests for “background only” and “off the record,” etc) that most of the clickbait sites never bother with.

Our working title for the show is SNOW.

There are four live-action successor shows in development at HBO.   Word got out about three of them some time ago.   TEN THOUSAND SHIPS, the Nymeria show, helmed by Amanda Segel.   SEA SNAKE, aka NINE VOYAGES, with Bruno Heller.   And the Dunk & Egg show, THE HEDGE KNIGHT or KNIGHT OF THE SEVEN KINGDOMS, with Steve Conrad writing.   I think some of these were officially announced; in other cases, news leaked out.   (These things always seem to leak.   There are so many people involved, writers, producers, agents, and everyone has assistants, and there is always the guy who runs the xerox machine, and reporters have sources, and people gossip, so… )  SNOW has been in development almost as long as the other three, but for whatever reason it was never announced and it never leaked… until now.

But, yes, it is true.   This was not an official announcement from HBO, so it seems there was another leak.   I did a long interview with James Hibberd last week, for the big HOUSE OF THE DRAGON story that HOLLYWOOD REPORTER is planning.   At the end of the call, he asked a few questions about the spinoffs.   “Is it possible one of the spinoffs is a sequel rather than a prequel?” he asked.   I answered “No comment.”   Then he asked “Is it possible a member of the original cast is attached?”  And again I answered “No comment.”   And that was all.   But plainly he found someone more forthcoming than me.   Who?   I don’t know, and suspect I never will.   A good journalist protects his sources.

There’s not much more I can tell you, not until HBO gives me a green light.

It seems as though Emilia Clarke has already mentioned that SNOW was Kit’s idea in a recent interview.   So that part is out.  Yes, it was Kit Harrington who brought the idea to us.   I cannot tell you the names of the writers/ showrunners, since that has not been cleared for release yet… but Kit brought them in too, his own team, and they are terrific.

Various rumors are floating around about my involvement, or lack of same.   I am involved, just as I am with THE HEDGE KNIGHT and THE SEA SNAKE and TEN THOUSAND SHIPS, and all the animated shows.   Kit’s team have visited me here in Santa Fe and worked with me and my own team of brilliant, talented writer/ consultants to hammer out the show.

All four of these successor shows are still in the script stage.   Outlines and treatments have been written and approved, scripts have been written, notes have been given, second and third drafts have been written.   So far, that’s all.   This is the way television works.   Please note: nothing has been green lit yet, and there is no guarantee when or if it will be… on any of these shows.   The likelihood of all four series getting on the air… well, I’d love it, but that’s not the way it works, usually.

There are all sorts of reasons pilots never get picked up to series, all sorts of reasons scripts never got shot as pilots, all sorts of reasons great treatments never get sent to script.  That’s the way the business works.    I learned that a long time ago, during my first go-round in television.   BLACK CLUSTER.   STARPORT.   THE SURVIVORS.  DOORWAYS.   FADEOUT.    Those were just a few of my stillborn children from those years.   I mourn them still.   This is a new day, though, so… here is hoping one or two or three or all four of the GOT spinoffs make it to air.

That’s all I can tell you about SNOW just now.   If HBO says I can tell you more, I will…

On other fronts…

If I may permitted a moment of snark, damn, but those clickbait websites and podcasts annoy me.   I did a long interview with THE INDEPENDENT in connection with the recent Santa Fe Literary Festival (which was a great success, by the way), in the course of which I remarked that the whole “battle of the fantasy giants” stories about HOUSE OF THE DRAGON and RINGS OF POWER being in competition was wrong, that there was plenty of room for both shows to succeed, plenty of room for more fantasy and SF on television.   Somehow three-quarters of the clickbait sites out there, ignoring the entire thrust of my comments, twisted my words on their head into headlines about how much I want to beat the Tolkien show.

Sigh.

Let me clarify.   I have a competitive nature, sure.   When I watch the Jets or the Giants or the Mets, I want them to win.   When I am nominated for a Hugo or a Nebula or an Emmy, I want to win that too… but I know that just being nominated is a huge honor.   Hey, I have won my share of awards, but I have lost a LOT more than I ever won.   It was your truly, back in 1976, who founded the Hugo Losers Party with my friend Gardner Dozois, and coined our slogan, “It is a proud and lonely thing to be a Hugo loser.”   I try to keep this all in proportion.    I expect I will be watching RINGS OF POWER when it premieres.   I want it to be great.   I want it to run for many years, to win Emmys and Golden Globes.   And I want the same for HOUSE OF THE DRAGON.   Regardless of awards, I want both shows to find an appreciative audience, and give them great television.   Great fantasy.   The more fantasy hits we have, the more great fantasy we are likely to get.    I want to see Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser on television.   I want someone to film that Conan pilot that Ryan Condal wrote.   I want a DYING EARTH show based on the works of the Jack Vance, I want Roger Zelazny’s NINE PRINCES IN AMBER to be faithfully adapted, I want Jirel of Joiry, I want MEMORY, SORROW, AND THORN, I want a Joe Abercrombie show.   I want lots more… and lots more science fiction too.

But we don’t get any of that unless some of the fantasy series now in development prove to be hits.

What else?   Hey, our wonderful Howard Waldrop short NIGHT OF THE COOTERS has been officially accepted into two film festivals.   Can’t tell you which yet, but I will soon, when they announce their slates.   And more to come.

And our second Waldrop short, FRIENDS FOREVER, has wrapped filming and is now in post.

And our third Waldrop short has just begun pre-production.

Meanwhile, over at AMC, DARK WINDS has been picked up for a second season.   The reviews were amazing, and the numbers were very strong; we hope to be bringing Tony Hillerman’s stories to television for many years to come.   My congratulations to our directors Chris Eyre and Sanford Bookstaver, to Graham Roland and the rest of our amazing writers, to Robert Redford and his decades of determination, to the incredible tireless Tina Elmo, and to Zahn McClarnon, Kiowa Gordon, Jessica Matten, Deanna Allison, and a supporting cast as good as any I have ever worked with.    If you have not seen DARK WINDS yet, check it out… on AMC, or streaming on AMC +.    I am proud to have helped this one going.

Yes, WINDS OF WINTER.   No, have not forgotten.   I was back with Tyrion this past week.

There’s more going on, but that’s all the time I have for today.

 

 

Current Mood: busy busy

Six Days to Joe

June 6, 2022 at 5:46 pm
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Six days to go.  Six days to Joe.

Leaphorn, that is.

It is June 6 as I type this.   Next weekend, JUNE 12, will see the debut of DARK WINDS on AMC  and AMC+.

Yes, it has “Winds” in the title.   No, it has nothing to do with Westeros.   C’mon, guys, I did not invent the word, and I am not the first writer to use it in a title.

DARK WINDS is an adaptation of Tony Hillerman’s bestselling series of novels about Navajo tribal policemen Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee.   I had the honor of serving an an executive producer on the project (‘EP’ in television speak) and helped to get it up and running… but really, most of the credit should go to Robert Redford and Chris Eyre,  two of my fellow EPs.   Chris also directed four of this season’s six episodes.   Lots of other good folks deserve kudos too, among them the tireless Tina Elmo, writer Graham Roland who scripted our pilot, and our amazing cast.

DARK WINDS premiered last weekend at the ATX television festival in Austin, to great success.  This weekend we had a cast and crew screening here in Santa Fe, and that went very well too.

And now the reviews have started coming in:

‘Dark Winds’ Review: AMC’s Taut Murder Mystery Proves Power of Zahn McClarnon

You can check it out itself on June 12.  Give it a look.

 

 

Current Mood: bouncy bouncy

Good Stuff, Bad Stuff, Strange Stuff

June 1, 2022 at 8:25 pm
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So much going on everywhere, it is hard to keep up.   Some random thoughts —

A week ago, Parris and I went down to Bernalillo for  a memorial gathering for our friend John Miller.   It was good to see so many old friends, and to share our memories of John… but profoundly sad at the same time, to realize once again that we would never see John again, that there would be no more memories.   John was one of the mainstays of Wild Cards, part of the series since the very beginning, the creator of Chrysalis, Yeoman, Carnifax, the Midnight Angel, Father Squid, and so many more.   He probably wrote more Wild Cards stories than any other author, with the possible exception of Melinda Snodgrass… I have not counted, but the two were neck and neck.  He was also a Mets fan, a baseball buff, a RPG player and gamemaster, and a fan of bad movies.   I wish he had written more.   He had been working on a novel called BLACK TRAIN COMING even longer than I have been working on THE WINDS OF WINTER.  It would be great if one of his writer friends finishes it for him.   Beyond all of this, however, John was a really good guy, very bright, always fun to spend time with.  And he and his wife Gail really loved animals.   More than I can ever tell you.   All of us at the memorial are missing him.   We will miss him for years to come, I do not doubt, until the day comes when we all go to join him.

These past few years have been rough.  I miss them all.   Ed Bryant, Michael Engelberg, Ben Bova, Phyllis Eisenstein, Victor Milan, Steve Perrin, Kay McCauley, Gardner Dozois… ah, Gargy… I know I am forgetting people.   They made the world a richer place, and we are poorer for their absence.

And the larger world is so ugly that I can hardly bear to watch the news.   What can I say about Russia’s attack on Ukraine that others have not already said?   I was GOH at a con in St. Petersburg a few years ago.  The con was fun, the city was gorgeous, and the Russian fans and writers — even the border security guards — were so warm and welcoming.   Putin is a malign thug.   That seems to be the story of the world, though.   Good people with hideous leaders.   Listening to reports of the fighting makes me feel so angry, so helpless…

And things are pretty ugly over here as well.   The latest school shooting, for instance, and the usual response of the GOP, a refusal to do anything to fix it.   Is baseball still the great American pastime, or is that school shooting now?   No other country seems to have much of an issue with it, only us.  And what answer do the Republicans propose?   Arm the teachers?  Lock the doors?  Toughen the security?

We are becoming more and more a police state.   I am, I am aware, very old and getting older.   Young people may not believe this, but… I remember a time when security was not omnipresent.   When I could get on an airplane without being x-rayed and searched and probed and made to give up my pocket knife.   When I could visit any publisher in New York by walking into their building, looking at the directory to see what floor they were on, taking the elevator up, and announcing my name to the receptionist.   When kids could go to schools that were not fortresses… we did learn to duck and cover under our desks in case the Russians dropped an A-bomb on us, but we did not need to fear being shot by our classmates.

It makes me want to scream.   What the hell happened to this country?   To this world?

I am depressing myself, and probably all of you as well.   Let me talk about some happier things.

DARK WINDS debuts on AMC on June 12, and we’re getting a lot of nice press about it.

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/tv/tv-features/amc-series-dark-winds-tony-hillerman-1235156491/

https://www.emmys.com/video/under-cover/dark-winds

https://www.emmys.com/news/features/cover-2022-06

First season will run six episodes, based largely on Tony Hillerman’s novel LISTENING WOMAN.   Watch the show, read the book.   Then read the other books, they are great.   I am very proud of my association  with this one, and glad that I could help make it happen… though, truth be told, I did little enough.   The real credit should go to Robert Redford, Chris Eyre, Zahn McClarnon, and all the other folks mentioned in the articles… and one who was not.   Let me give a shout out here to TINA ELMO, Bob Redford’s right hand and an inexhaustible champion of Tony Hillerman and his work, who was present every day on the shoot and did so much to make our series one to be proud of.

Other good stuff.   NIGHT OF THE COOTERS, the short film we made based on the classic story by Howard Waldrop (the one and only) is complete.   Directed by and starring Vincent d’Onofrio, and a cast of dozens.  H’ard himself has seen it and pronounced it Good.  The film was shot entirely on greenscreen; the actors and horses are live, everything else was supplied by the wizards at Trioscope.   It clocks in at about thirty minutes.   At the moment we are entering it into film festivals all around the nation and the world.  We’ll let you know when and where it gets accepted.   Maybe you will be able to catch it at a filmfest near you.   If so, give it a look.   It’s a lot of fun.

Oh, and right now, this very moment, we have a second film crew down in White Sands National Monument, shooting another short film based on another Howard Waldrop masterwork.   I could tell you which, but then I might have to kill you.   So far, so great, but there’s still lots of work ahead.    Howard may have a new collection coming out this year as well.   Who knows, 2022 could be the Year of Waldrop.

HOUSE OF THE DRAGON?   Glad you asked.   I’ve now watched rough cuts of nine of the ten episodes, and I continue to be impressed.   I cannot speak to the SFX, many of which are not in yet, but the look of it is great, and the acting, the directing, and writing are first rate.   And yes, for all you book fans, it IS my story.   Sure, there are some changes from FIRE & BLOOD — we could not present three alternative versions of every major event, not and keep our sanity — but I think Ryan Condal and his writers made good choices.   Even some improvements.   (Heresy, I know, but being the author, I am allowed to say so).    For years, as some of you may recall, I have been saying the TV version of Shae, as portrayed by Sibel Kekilli, was a deeper, richer, and more nuanced characters than the Shae in my novels.   In a similar vein, I am vastly impressed by the show’s version of King Viserys, played by Paddy Considine, who gives the character a tragic majesty  that my book Viserys never quite achieved.   Kudos to Paddy, Ryan and his writers, and Miguel and the other directors.   (There are a lot of great performances in HOUSE OF THE DRAGON — or HOT D, as I hear some are calling it.   You may never have heard of some of our actors, but I think you will learn to love them, just as you did with the cast of GAME OF THRONES).

Back home in Santa Fe, Sky Railway is doing really well.   Many of our trains are selling out.   If you are visiting the Land of Enchantment, be sure to book your ride early.   Oh, and last weekend we re-opened the bar and cafe at the historic Santa Fe Southern Depot in Lamy.   Right now only open weekends, but we will be expanding the hours.

I should say a word about my appearances.    I have decided not to attend this year’s worldcon in Chicago, for a variety of reasons.   Chicago remains one of my favorite cities, though, and it looks as though I may be travelling there once or twice during the year to come… for reasons quite different, and much more exciting, than a con.    Instead of worldcon, it looks as though I will be attending this year’s San Diego Comicon… assuming they do not move to December or go virtual, as they did last year thanks to the pandemic.   I would rather not attend any more virtual conventions.   Guess I’m a boomer, not a zoomer.

(It will feel odd to travel again.   I have only left home once since January 2020).

WINDS, you say?   Yes, still working.   Finally finished a clutch of Cersei chapters that were giving me fits.   Now I am wrestling with Jaime and Brienne.   The work proceeds, though not as fast as many of you would like.

That’s all for now.