Not a Blog

On the Road Again

July 9, 2024 at 3:51 pm
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We will be headed across the Atlantic in a week or so for the longest trip we’ve taken in a while, part business and part pleasure.

First stop will be Belfast, where I am planning to visit Ashford Meadow, catch a little jousting and maybe a puppet show, meet a certain hedge knight and his squire, and the rest of the cast of the Dunk & Egg show.   And of course we’ll be having a meal or three with Ira Parker, Owen Harris, and their team.   Really looking forward to that.

We have a few more stops planned after Belfast, including one in London, where I will be getting together with my British publishers from Harper Collins Voyager.

Let me say a few words about that, though.   Last year, when I mentioned seeing my Voyager editor in London, the internet went nuts, throwing up all sorts of theories about how this meant that WINDS OF WINTER was done and a huge announcement was at hand.   Uhhhh… sorry guys, but no.   That’s not how it works.  Making contacts… which often turn into friendships… is a huge part of publishing.  Most of my communication with my editors and publishers is conducted via emails, phone calls, zooms, and texts (in the old days, we had letters written on paper too).   There’s not a lot of face to face, especially when we’re talking about people who live across an ocean… so when I travel, if I have a day or two to catch up with one of my editors or agents, I jump on it.   Every time I travel to NYC, I  get together with my literary agents, and my editors at Bantam and Tor.. along with old friends, family, and the like.   That’s true everywhere I go.   If I fly to Germany for a con or book fair, I will see my German agents, publishers, and translators.  If it’s Italy or Spain or Finland, same thing.   If I ever find myself in Brazil or Japan or Egypt, I’d try and connect with my Brazilian or Japanese or Egyptian publishers.   This is just the standard way of doing business, guys.  It does NOT signify that some momentous announcement is at hand.   It doesn’t signify anything, actually… except a desire to touch base, catch up, renew old contacts or make some new ones… and enjoy a nice meal.  So calm down, please.   When WINDS OF WINTER is done, the word will not trickle out, there WILL be a big announcement… where and when I cannot say.

But back to our road trip…

We will have a week or so in London.   Besides the visit with Harper Collins Voyage,  I also hope to get together with the scriptwriter and director on our stage play… HARRENHAL was our first title, since it is set during the fateful Harrenhal tourney, but now we are leaning toward THE IRON THRONE.   It’s coming along well, I am told.   Young Ned, Young Robert, Lyanna, Rhaegar, Howland Reed… should be fun.  And jousting.   On stage.   The dream is to open somewhere on London’s West End in 2025… but there’s still a lot of work to do.

The writers’ room for HOUSE OF THE DRAGON season 3 is also meeting in London, but I have no plans to attend.

I will he going to Oxford on August 2, for an appearance at Oxford Writer’s House.  The topic will be “Writing Fantasy,” and I will be sharing the stage with Philip Pullman.   I am really looking forward to that.   I have never met Pullman, but I’m a huge fan of HIS DARK MATERIALS, so that will be a treat.   I have never been to Oxford either.   (I was especially eager to have a pint in the Eagle and Child, where Tolkien and the Inklings once drank, but alas, I read that it’s closed to renovations.   Guess I will need to come back again).   Was going to post a link to the event, but, alas, I see that it is already sold out.  Sorry about that.

The last stop on my tour will be Glasgow, for the World Science Fiction Convention.   This will be the first worldcon I’ve attended in a number of years, since the ill-fated New Zealand con in 2020.   I was toastmaster at that one, but covid descended on the world and the con was forced to go all virtual and… well, let’s just say things did not work out well.   (No more virtual panels for me, thanks).   Glasgow has hosted worldcons twice before, and we were at both of those and had a great time.   We are hoping this will be as good.

Anyway… I will be in Glasgow, attending the con, but whether you’ll see me, I don’t know.   I am not on any programming.   It is not for lack of trying, though.   I wrote the con’s programming chair back in January, and again in February, asking for his phone number so we could discuss the details.  No phone number was forthcoming, alas, just a form letter with a link to an application and a warning that while I was welcome to apply, I could not be guaranteed a place on the programme.

I did not give up there, however.   Several months later, when I learned how many of my Wild Cards writers would be at the con (about a dozen, all told), I wrote again and offered to organize a Wild Cards event for them.   (We have done Wild Cards events at a dozen past worldcons, everything from traditional panels to trivia contests to cage matches and the like), and they have always drawn a big crowd.   I got no reply to that one.   A month or so after that, I tried again.  Howard Waldrop died in January, and I thought it would be nice to do a memorial panel honoring the man and his work.   Several other friends of Howard will also be at Glasgow, and said they would be delighted to be part of such a panel.   Alas, no reply to that one either.

As regular readers of my Not A Blog know, I  have also been producing a series of short films based on some of Howard’s classic short stories.   NIGHT OF THE COOTERS was the first done, and won prizes in half a dozen film fests.   MARY-MARGARET ROAD GRADER is hitting the festival circuit this year, and has already won its first prize.   THE UGLY CHICKENS, adapted by Michael Cassutt from Howard’s Nebula-winning short, and starring fan favorite Felicia Day, will follow this year.   Just saw the final cut, directed by Mark Raso, and it’s just lovely.  The films are not in theatres yet, but I offered to screen them in Glasgow, as part of the film programme (if there is one) or that proposed Waldrop Memorial Panel.   No response to that offer either.

So… yes, I will be at Glasgow.   I will check out the art show, as I always do, maybe attend some bid parties, and I will be wandering the dealer’s room (the huckster’s room, as us old timers call it).   The rest of the time I guess I may hang out in the bar, drinking with friends both old and new,  toasting Howard and Gardner and all the other friends we lost.

Maybe I’ll see you there.

Current Mood: restless restless

Dunk Takes the Field

June 22, 2024 at 10:00 am
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There’s a tournament in Ashford Meadow, and a hedge knight who wants to enter.   He call himself Ser Duncan the Tall, but goes by Dunk to his friends.   “Dunk the Lunk, thick as a castle wall,” some will say, but he means to be a champion.

Provided he can scrape up enough coin for some armor.

Dunk’s a large lad, and good steel does not come cheap.

Peter Claffey will be playing our favorite hedge knight, and he’s already been sighted around Ashford.   HBO was kind enough to provide a picture… and hot damn, he looks as though he just stepped out of the pages of LEGENDS.

Filming started last week in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where much of the original GAME OF THRONES as shot.   Based on my novella “The Hedge Knight,” the new show will debut in 2025.   Only six episodes for this one.  A novella is considerably shorter than a novel (particularly one of my novels), so there’s less source material.

I hear that everything is going very well just now.   Next month I will get to see for myself.   Parris and I will be taking a few of our minions over to Belfast in mid July, to visit the set, meet the cast, and take in some jousting.

Current Mood: excited excited

Here’s Egg!

May 21, 2024 at 3:27 pm
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Things are moving along nicely with our Dunk & Egg spinoff, HBO’s adaptation of my novella THE HEDGE KNIGHT.

Most of the auditions — not all, but most — are done, and we should be able to announce some more cast members shortly.   We have our Tanselle, Steely Pate, Baelor Breakspear, the Laughing Storm, a couple of Fossoways, Aerion Brightflame (boo, hiss), Prince Maekar, and the rest.   Lists are being built on Ashford Meadow.     I am told they just had the first table read, and that it went great.

And our youngest star can’t wait to start.   Here’s Dexter, turning to Egg.

Dexter Sol Ansell (Egg) getting his head shaved ahead of Dunk and Egg filming!
byu/shad0wqueenxx inHouseOfTheDragon


I love it.

THE HEDGE KNIGHT will be a lot shorter than GAME OF THRONES or HOUSE OF THE DRAGON, with a much different tone… but it’s still Westeros, so no one is truly safe  Ira Parker and his team are doing a great job.  I hope to visit the shoot come July, when I swing by Belfast on my way to the worldcon in Glasgow.    The show will make its debut next year… and if it does well, THE SWORN SWORD and THE MYSTERY KNIGHT will follow.  By which time I hope to have finished some more Dunk & Egg stories (yes, after I finish THE WINDS OF WINTER).

Oh, and we have our director as well:  Owen Harris, a terrific British director whose credits include helming “San Junipero,” my all time favorite episode of BLACK MIRROR.   Owen will direct three of our six episodes.

Current Mood: excited excited

A Knight and a Squire

April 14, 2023 at 7:12 am
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The news is all over the internet by now.   The announcement was made on the 12th, at Warner Media’s big press event for the rollout and rebranding of their new streamer, MAX, coming your way on May 23.  I was sworn to secrecy till then, but now that the word is out, I can go ahead and confirm it.  Yes, it’s true.  There’s another successor show on its way to you.

Dunk & Egg are coming to HBO.

The working title will be A KNIGHT OF THE SEVEN KINGDOMS: THE HEDGE KNIGHT.  Whether that will be the final title, I can’t say for sure… beyond saying that no, it won’t be called TALES OF DUNK & EGG or THE ADVENTURES OF DUNK & EGG or DUNK & EGG or anything along those lines.   I love Dunk and I love Egg, and I know that fans refer to my novellas as “the Dunk & Egg stories,” sure, but there are millions of people out there who do not know the stories and the title needs to intrigue them too.   If you don’t know the characters, DUNK & EGG sounds like a sitcom.  LAVERNE & SHIRLEY.   ABBOTT & COSTELLO.   BEAVIS & BUTTHEAD.    So, no.   We want “knight” in the title.  Knighthood and chivalry are central to the themes of these stories.

Aside from the title, what else can I tell you?

Not a lot.

HBO has given us a greenlight to film for a full season (not just a pilot), most likely of six episodes… though that is not set in stone, and won’t be until considerably later in the process.   To date I have written and published three novellas about Dunk & Egg — “The Hedge Knight,” “The Sworn Sword,” and “The Mystery Knight,” each of them initially published independently in various anthologies before being collected together in A KNIGHT OF THE SEVEN KINGDOMS.

Our premiere season will be an adaptation of the first of the three published novellas, “The Hedge Knight,” the tale of how Dunk & Egg first met during a tournament at Ashford Meadow.    The pilot script is already written, and I think it’s terrific.  It was written by Ira Parker, who is no stranger to Westeros.   He was part of Ryan Condal’s writing staff for the first season of HOUSE OF THE DRAGON, and wrote the fourth episode of Hot D’s first season, “King of the Narrow Sea.”   That’s the one where Prince Daemon returns to King’s Landing after conquering the Stepstones, and takes Princess Rhaenyra down into the stews of Flea Bottom.   Ryan Condal is on board as well, as an Executive Producer.   So am I.

There is no date set yet for the series premiere, or even for the show to begin shooting… but the writing is well underway.  Ira has assembled a small but very talented team, and they are at it already, building on the foundations laid down last year in previous creative summits… and of course on the original novella.   The Dunk & Egg novellas are fully-fleshed narratives more like the novels of A SONG OF ICE & FIRE than the imaginary history of FIRE & BLOOD; the stories are right there on the page, and our goal is to produce faithful adaptations of those tales for the screen.

If THE HEDGE KNIGHT turns out as well as we hope it will, our hope would be to go on and adapt THE SWORN SWORD and THE MYSTERY KNIGHT as well.  That will take a few years.   Then comes the hard part.   Before we reach the end of the published stories, I will need to find time to write all the other Dunk & Egg novellas that I have planned.   There are… gulp… more of them than I had once thought.   There’s “The Village Hero” and the Winterfell story, the one with the She-Wolves, and maybe I need to write that Dornish adventure too to slip in between “The Hedge Knight” and “The Sworn Sword,” and after that there are… ah… more.   I just need to finish THE WINDS OF WINTER, and then do either A DREAM OF SPRING or volume two of FIRE & BLOOD, and slip in a new Dunk & Egg between each of those in my copious spare time… and that will keep me ahead of Ira and his merry crew… for a few more years.

Well, I will worry about that tomorrow.   Today, we’re celebrating.   Dunk & Egg are coming.

Those of you who have not yet made their acquaintance should pick up a copy of A KNIGHT OF THE SEVEN KINGDOMS from your favorite local bookshop or online bookseller.   (We have autographed copies at Beastly Books in Santa Fe).

You could check out your local comics shop as well.  All three of the Dunk & Egg novellas have been done as graphic novels, and done very well, with some great artwork by Mike S. Miller, who captured both characters perfectly.

One more thing before I close…

Way back in the summer of 2016, when HBO first started thinking about GAME OF THRONES spinoffs, I pitched them two ideas:  the Dance of the Dragons, which in due time became HOUSE OF THE DRAGON… and Dunk & Egg.   That was seven years ago.   (I can hardly believe it myself).  The lesson there is that development takes time.  I see all these stories on the net about other spinoffs being killed or abandoned… no idea where they get this stuff… and it just makes me shake my head.   The Nymeria show is still in development.  So is the Sea Snake show.   Just had a great week on that one, working with writers.   And there are others, both live action and animated.   How many will get the greenlight like Dunk & Egg?  Impossible to say.   How long will it take?   It depends.   No one knows for sure.   When I was in grade school, there was a cop show that ended every week with, “There are eight million stories in The Naked City.   This has been one of them.”   And that was only New York City.   Westeros and Essos are a lot bigger, with even more stories.   We just need time to tell them.


Current Mood: excited excited