Not a Blog

Words For Our Times

September 14, 2022 at 9:30 am
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A Winter Garden

July 8, 2022 at 10:53 am
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I have done a lot of interviews over the years, more than even I can possibly keep track of.   Inevitably, a lot of them touch on the same subjects.   One of the things I have been asked about most is my writing process.   If you have seen any of those interviews, you have probably heard me talking about the two types of writers, the architects and the gardeners.   I have given that same spiel numerous times.  Here’s one of the most thorough explanations:

Another question that I get a lot, especially since the end of GAME OF THRONES on HBO, is whether A SONG OF ICE & FIRE, will end the same way.  An architect would be able to give a short, concise, simple answer to that, but I am much more of a gardener.   My stories grow and evolve and change as I write them.  I generally know where I am going, sure… the final destinations, the big set pieces, they have been my head for years… for decades, in the case of A SONG OF ICE & FIRE.   There are lots of devils in the details, though, and sometimes the ground changes under my feet as the words pour forth.

(Another question fans and interviewers alike ask a lot if “Where do you get your ideas?”   Honestly, I wish I knew.   When confronted with the same question, Harlan Ellison used to say, “Schenectady.”   The ancient Greeks spoke of the muses.   Freud talked of the conscious and subconscious minds, the id, the ego, the superego.  More recently, we hear about the right brain and the left brain, one analytic and rational, the other imaginative and creative.   I am pretty sure the answer is not Schenectady, but aside from that… hell, I don’t know.   Yes, there are some instances where I know the seed from which something in my garden sprang.  The Wall sprang from my visit to Hadrian’s Wall in 1981.   The Wars of the Roses inspired much of GAME OF THRONES.   The Red Wedding was a mash up of the Glencoe Massacre and the Black Dinner from Scottish history, turned up way past eleven.   But for every instance like that, there are a hundred for which I have to say, “I don’t know.   One day the thought just came to me.   It wasn’t there, and then it was.”   If that was the work of a muse, may she keep on musing).

Which brings me to THE WINDS OF WINTER.

Most of you know by now that I do not like to give detailed updates on WINDS.   I am working on it, I have been working on it, I will continue to work on it.   (Yes, I work on other things as well).   I love nothing more than to surprise my readers with twists and turns they did not see coming, and I risk losing those moments if I go into too much detail.   Spoilers, you know.   Even saying that I am working on a Tyrion chapter, as I did last week, gives away the fact that Tyrion is not dead.   Reading sample chapters at cons, or posting them on line, which I did for years, gives away even more.   I actually quite enjoyed doing that, until the day came that I realized I had read and/or posted the first couple of hundred pages of WINDS, or thereabouts.  If I had kept on with the readings, half the book might be out by now.

So I am not going to give you all any kind of detailed report on the book, but…

I will say this.

I have been at work in my winter garden.   Things are growing… and changing, as does happen with us gardeners.   Things twist, things change, new ideas come to me (thank you, muse), old ideas prove unworkable, I write, I rewrite, I restructure, I rip everything apart and rewrite again, I go through doors that lead nowhere, and doors that open on marvels.

Sounds mad, I know.   But it’s how I write.   Always has been.   Always will be.   For good or ill.

What I have noticed more and more of late, however, is my gardening is taking me further and further away from the television series.   Yes, some of the things you saw on HBO in GAME OF THRONES you will also see in THE WINDS OF WINTER (though maybe not in quite the same ways)… but much of the rest will be quite different.

And really, when you think about it, this was inevitable.   The novels are much bigger and much much more complex than the series.   Certain things that happened on HBO will not happen in the books.   And vice versa.   I have viewpoint characters in the books never seen on the show: Victarion Greyjoy, Arianne Martell, Areo Hotah, Jon Connington, Aeron Damphair   They will all have chapters, and the things they do and say will impact the story and the major characters who were on the show.   I have legions of secondary characters, not POVs but nonetheless important to the plot, who also figure in the story: Lady Stoneheart, Young Griff,  the Tattered Prince, Penny, Brown Ben Plumm, the Shavepate, Marwyn the Mage, Darkstar, Jeyne Westerling.  Some characters you saw in the show are quite different than the versions in the novels.   Yarra Greyjoy is not Asha Greyjoy, and HBO’s Euron Greyjoy is way, way, way, way different from mine.   Quaithe still has a part to play.  So does Rickon Stark.   And poor Jeyne Poole.   And… well, the list is long.    (And all this is part of why WINDS is taking so long.   This is hard, guys).

Oh, and there will be new characters as well.   No new viewpoints, I promise you that, but with all these journeys and battles and scheming to come, inevitably our major players will be encountering new people in lands far and near.

One thing I can say,  in general enough terms that I will not be spoiling anything:  not all of the characters who survived until the end of GAME OF THRONES will survive until the end of A SONG OF ICE & FIRE, and not all of the characters who died on GAME OF THRONES will die in A SONG OF ICE & FIRE.   (Some will, sure.  Of course.   Maybe most.   But definitely not all)   ((Of course, I could change my mind again next week, with the next chapter I write.   That’s gardening)).

And the ending?   You will need to wait until I get there.   Some things will be the same.   A lot will not.

No doubt, once I am done, there will be huge debate about which version of the story is better.   Some people will like my book, others will prefer the television show.   And that’s fine, you pays your money and your makes your choice.   (I do fear that a certain proportion of fans are so angry about how long WINDS has taken me that they are prepared to hate the book, unread.   That saddens me, but there nothing I can do about it, but write the best book that I can, and hope that when it comes out most fans will read it with clean hands and an open mind).

That’s all I can tell you right now.  I need to get back to the garden.   Tyrion is waiting for me.

 

Current Mood: contemplative contemplative

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.

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

Long Long Ago…

December 18, 2021 at 10:26 am
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A few years back,  Hidetaka Miyazaki and his incredible team of game designers, the creators of the DARK SOULS videogame series, reached out from Japan to ask me to help them create the backstory and history for a new game they were working on.  Now, video games are not really my thing — oh, I played a few back in the dawn of time, mainly strategy games like RAILROAD TYCOON, ROMANCE OF THE THREE KINGDOMS, and MASTER OF ORION — but this offer was too exciting to refuse.  Miyazaki and his team from FromSoftware were doing  groundbreaking stuff with gorgeous art, and what they wanted from me was just a bit of worldbuilding: a deep, dark, resonant world to serve as a foundation for the game they planned to create.   And as it happens, I love creating worlds and writing imaginary history.

So I did my bit, and handed off to my new friends in Japan, and they took it from there.   And years passed.   Videogames are as big as movies these days (bigger, actually)… and take just as long to create.

But the day of ELDEN RING is finally at hand.

And I’ve got to say, it looks incredible.

 

ELDEN  RING will be released on February 25, 2022.

Current Mood: enthralled enthralled

Back to the Midwest

July 16, 2021 at 4:09 pm
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I am so far behind in my Not A Blogging.   This post should have been posted back in June,  but…  better late than never, right?

ANYWAY… I was on the road for ten days back in June, to Evanston (where I went to school, 1966-1971), Chicago (where I lived after school, 1971-1976), and Dubuque (where I taught school, 1976-1979).   It was the first time I’d left home and/or cabin in a year and a half, since the start of the pandemic and the quarantine.   I have to say, it was great to get away from my office chair, even if it was only for a few days.

First stop was Northwestern, and the convocation for the graduates of the Medill School of Journalism, where I was given an honorary doctorate.   Professor Emeritus Roger Boye gave me a very kind introduction, and presented me with my new hood as Doctor of Humane Letters.   And then it was my turn.

The Northwestern campus has changed a great deal since my days as a student, half a century ago.  So has the city of Evanston.   Old landmarks gone, new buildings everywhere… but still, enough remained to give me some vivid flashes of memory of years gone by and friends and lovers and teachers who changed my life and… for good or ill… helped make me the person I am today.

Thomas Wolfe said that you can’t go home again.   Maybe so, but you can visit.    Thank you, Northwestern.   It was nice to be back, however briefly.

After Evanston, I spent a few days in Chicago, accompanied by my loyal minion, Sid.   That was great as well.   Of course, we had to visit Greektown for some saganaki at the Greek Islands, where I first learned to love flaming cheese while still a student at Northwestern.  OPAA!  OPAA!   I also got to enjoy dinners with Mary Anne Mohanraj, one of my wonderful Wild Card writers, and Eve Ewing, who presented me with the Carl Sandburg Award on my last visit to Chicago, both of them amazing writers.   That was fun too.

While I was in Chicago, I did an interview with the local PBS station.

Next we took to the road, across Illinois and through the scenic and historic town of Galena (Abner Marsh’s home town) to Dubuque, where I once taught journalism at Clarke College and acted as advisor to the student newspaper, the COURIER.   The reason for my visit was… ah, well, no, can’t tell you that, not yet… but I got to see a few old friends, eat chili at Mulgrew’s in East Dubuque and pizza in Dubuque proper, and… take a ride on the riverboat TWILIGHT.   Okay, it’s not a real steamboat, not even a paddlewheeler, but it’s a cool boat all the same, and I loved sailing down the Mississippi for a few hours.   I even got to visit the pilot house and blow the whistle.

We got back home on June 23rd.   It’s always nice to be back in Santa Fe and the Land of Enchantment, but I have to admit, it was great to get away for a few days.

Of course, during my ten days on the road and away from the internet, the email piled up, and I found some eight hundred letters waiting for me on my return.   Which may help explain why I am weeks late in making this post, but…

That’s all for now.   The woods were lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and books to write before I sleep.

 

Current Mood: contemplative contemplative

Paying It Forward

June 1, 2021 at 10:07 am
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Heinlein said it best.   You can never pay back the people who helped you when you were first starting out, so all you can do is pay it forward, and try to help those who come after.

Those words, and the sentiment behind them, have always resonated with me, and I have done my best to Pay It Forward.  One of the ways I’ve tried to do that is with the scholarships I sponsor — to Clarion and Clarion West, Odyssey, and the Taos Toolbox, to IAIA here in Santa Fe, and through the Stagecoach Foundation.

A couple of weeks ago I got an email from one of those scholarship recipients, who had some exciting news to share:

“My name is Isabel Cañas and I was the first recipient of your Worldbuilder scholarship to attend Clarion West in 2018. I said hello and introduced myself to you briefly after the Hugo Awards ceremony at WorldCon in Dublin in 2019. I’m writing with the wonderful news that my debut Gothic horror novel, The Hacienda, recently sold in a major deal at auction and will be published by Berkley in Spring 2022.

I am also writing to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart. Attending Clarion West is a life-and career-changing experience for many writers; I can attest the same. It gave me the courage to write in new genres and explore my identity as a Mexican-American writer in a space that was both safe and that pushed me hard to improve my craft. I grew immensely as a writer during those six weeks and the months and years after. Without Clarion West, I do not believe I would have been able to write the novel that will be my debut.

In 2018, I would not have been able to attend Clarion West without financial aid. Because of the doors that the workshop experience has opened for me, I now find myself in a position where I can extend that generosity to the next generation of students: I will be funding one Latinx student to attend Clarion West in 2022. Currently, it is a one-time scholarship, but in the future, I hope to be able to follow your example and fund an annual scholarship.”

I was pleased as hell by Isabel’s big sale, and look forward to reading her novel.

And I am even more delighted to hear that she herself will also be Paying It Forward, by sponsoring an even newer writer at Clarion West in 2022.   I think Heinlein would have been pleased as well.

((Isabel adds, “If it’s not too much trouble to add a link to your post, I am happy to report that The Hacienda is now on Goodreads, if your readers would like to add it: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57840571-the-hacienda  “))

 

 

Current Mood: pleased pleased

Not A Blogging

April 13, 2021 at 4:39 pm
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Way back when on LiveJournal, when I started this column or journal or whatever it is, I called it my “Not A Blog,” because I could see that regular blogging was a lot of work, and I didn’t think I had the time to devote to it.   I was late on a book even then, though I do not recall which one.  I figured I would just make posts from time to time, when I had an important announcement, when the mood struck me, whatever.

Somehow, though, over the decades, the Not A Blog became a blog, and what I had intended as a occasional pleasure and a way to stay in touch with my readers has become a Blog (ironically, at the same time as everyone else was abandoning their blogs for Facebook and Twitter), complete with a sense of obligation.   And when a lot of stuff happens very fast, I fall further and further behind.

I am hugely behind right now, and the prospect of trying to catch up is feeling increasingly oppressive.

My life has become one of extremes these past few months.   Some days I do not know whether to laugh or cry, to shoot off fireworks and dance in the streets or crawl back into bed and pull the covers over my head.   The good stuff that has been happening to me has been very very very good, the kind of thing that will make a year, or a career.  But the bad stuff that is happening has been very very very bad, and it is hard to cherish the good and feel the joy when the shadows are all around.

If any of you read the stories about me on the internet, you will know my good news.   I have a new five-year deal with HBO, to create new GOT successor shows (and some non-related series, like ROADMARKS) for both HBO and HBO Max.  It’s an incredible deal, an amazing deal, very exciting, and I want to tell you all about it… although it seems the press has already done it.   There are stories in all the trades.   You can read about it there.    (These days I almost never get to break any news about myself, the Hollywood press is always ahead of me.   Some of their stories are even accurate).   I will blog about it, I expect, but not today.

On the other side of the coin… well, I am now fully vaccinated, hurrah hurray, that’s good.   However, I have now lost six friends since November.  (Only a couple to Covid.   Alas, I am old, and so are many of my friends.   Valar morghulis, I guess).   And a seventh friend, a very old and dear friend who has been a huge part of my life for a long time, is in the hospital, very sick, recovering from surgery… at least we hope he is recovering.

Honestly, it is hard to dance in the streets even for the deal of a lifetime when another loved one dies every two/ three weeks, and that has been going on for me since November, when my longtime editor Kay McCauley passed away.

There’s lots more going on as well.   Meow Wolf stuff.   Railroad stuff.   Beastly Books has reopened, but the JCC is still shuttered.   The Jets traded Sam Darnold away.   I am going to be leaving my cabin in a couple of months.    I am close to delivering  PAIRING UP, a brand new Wild Cards book.

I will tell you about some of this, I guess.   But not today.

Current Mood: tired tired

Horror in New Hampshire

March 12, 2021 at 3:47 pm
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For all you fans and aspiring writers of Lovecraftian cosmic horror… the Odyssey Writer’s Workshop in New Hampshire is open for applicants for their 2021 conference, and financial aid is available from a variety of sources, including my own Miskatonic Scholarship.

Here’s the official announcement:

 Publicity Release Writing Workshops Charitable Trust 

 P.O. Box 75, Mont Vernon, NH 03057 ◘ Phone/Fax (603) 673-6234 ◘ www.odysseyworkshop.org 

 Publicity Release 

February 2021 

GEORGE R. R. MARTIN SCHOLARSHIP 

AND FIVE OTHER SCHOLARHIPS FOR WRITERS ATTENDING 

THE ODYSSEY WRITING WORKSHOP 

The Odyssey Writing Workshop is widely considered one of the top programs in the world for writers of fantasy, science fiction, and horror. Fifty-nine percent of graduates are professionally published, and among graduates are award winners, Amazon bestsellers, and New York Times bestsellers. 

The 2021 workshop will be held from JUNE 7 to JULY 16; only twelve to fifteen writers will be admitted. For those attending, Odyssey is pleased to announce that six scholarships and one work/study position are available. 

Financial aid and scholarships are made available by supporters, alumni, various organizations, and Odyssey itself. Scholarships are awarded based on financial need, merit, or the specific criteria listed below. They range in size from several hundred dollars to over $4000. 

Several of the scholarships require that you fill out the Odyssey Financial Need Statement. Contact Director Jeanne Cavelos for the form, which is due APRIL 1. 

A NOTE ON COVID-19: The workshop is normally held on the campus of Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire. If the world has returned to a post-COVID state of near normality, Odyssey will be held there as usual. If travel for many is not possible, the workshop will be held online, as it was in 2020 with great success. The application deadline is APRIL 1. 

ODYSSEY SCHOLARSHIPS 

The Miskatonic Scholarship 

Bestselling author George R. R. Martin created this scholarship for a horror writer attending Odyssey. The Miskatonic Scholarship will be awarded to a promising new writer of Lovecraftian cosmic horror. It will cover full tuition and housing. To be considered, you must complete the Odyssey Financial Need Statement by April 1 and indicate on the form that you are interested in the Miskatonic Scholarship. A panel of three judges will select the winner from among the applicants who have demonstrated financial need, using the short story or novel excerpts sent with the workshop applications. George describes the criteria for the scholarship this way: “we are not looking for Lovecraft pastiches, nor even Cthulhu Mythos stories. References to Arkham, 

Azathoth, shoggoths, the Necronomicon, and the fungi from Yuggoth are by no means obligatory…though if some candidates choose to include them, that’s fine as well. What we want is the sort of originality that H. P. Lovecraft displayed in his day, something that goes beyond the tired tropes of werewolves, vampires and zombies, into places strange and terrifying and never seen before. What we want are nightmares new and resonant and profound, comic terrors that will haunt our dreams for years to come.” Scholarship monies will be applied directly to tuition and housing for the 2021 workshop. 

The Walter & Kattie Metcalf Singing Spider Scholarship 

Funded by Pam Metcalf Harrington, Odyssey class of 2001, the Walter & Kattie Metcalf Singing Spider Scholarship is offered in honor of Pam’s parents, who encouraged a lifelong passion for reading and writing fantasy. The scholarship is also named for the infamous singing spiders, fictional characters who appeared in a novel excerpt submitted at Odyssey 2001. The scholarship will be awarded to a fantasy writer whose novel excerpt shows great skill and promise. A successful fantasy novelist spins a web of wonder, adventure, and intrigue that captivates readers and holds them spellbound through the lyrical flow of the prose. The novelist is, in essence, a ‘singing spider.’ To be considered for this scholarship, you must complete the Odyssey Financial Need Statement by April 1 and indicate on the form that you are interested in the Walter & Kattie Metcalf Singing Spider Scholarship. You must also use a novel excerpt as the writing sample for your Odyssey workshop application. A panel of three judges will select the winner using those novel excerpts. The scholarship covers full tuition. 

The Fresh Voices Scholarship 

Funded anonymously by an Odyssey graduate, this scholarship provides support to an outstanding writer of color each year. Those eligible include African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, writers of color from outside the U.S., and others. The Fresh Voices Scholarship seeks to offer opportunities for underrepresented racial and ethnic minority writers to learn at Odyssey and enrich the fantasy, science fiction, and horror genres as a result. To be considered, you must complete the Odyssey Financial Need Statement by April 1, indicate on the form that you are interested in the Fresh Voices Scholarship, and provide your race/ethnicity. A panel of three judges will select the winner using the short story or novel excerpts sent with the workshop applications. The scholarship awards $2,000 toward Odyssey tuition. 

The Enchanted Bond Scholarship 

Funded anonymously by an Odyssey supporter, this scholarship provides financial aid to an outstanding fantasy writer each year. When readers are immersed in a fresh, vivid, believable fantasy world; engaged with compelling characters; involved in a suspenseful situation; and living, moment by moment, through an experience that could never occur in reality, the author has succeeded in creating an enchanted bond between reader and story. To be considered for this scholarship, you must complete the Odyssey Financial Need Statement by April 1 and indicate on the form that you are interested in the Enchanted Bond Scholarship. A panel of three judges will select the winner using the short story or novel excerpts sent with the workshop applications. The scholarship awards $1,000 toward Odyssey tuition. 

The Quantum Entanglement Scholarship 

Funded anonymously by an Odyssey graduate, this scholarship provides support to an outstanding writer of science fiction each year. According to quantum mechanics, when a pair of particles interact, they become entangled. Entangled particles remain connected so that the state of one determines the state of the other, even when the particles are far apart. Albert Einstein famously referred to this as “spooky action at a distance.” Powerful science fiction not only presents a compelling novum (new idea) based on science and builds a world consistent with that novum; it draws readers in past the science to a moving human story with characters that readers can care about and a conflict in which every twist and turn has an impact on readers’ emotions. When that happens, the author has succeeded in entangling readers and story, an effect that may last long after the story is finished and put away. To be considered for this scholarship, you must complete the Odyssey Financial Need Statement by April 1 and indicate on the form that you are interested in the Quantum Entanglement Scholarship. A panel of three judges will select the winner using the short story or novel excerpts sent with the workshop applications. The scholarship awards $1,000 toward Odyssey tuition. 

The Chris Kelworth Memorial Scholarship 

The Chris Kelworth Memorial Scholarship will be offered to a Canadian writer admitted to Odyssey. Chris, a 2013 Odyssey graduate, was an inspiration to many Odyssey alumni and a strong believer in creating systems and participating in events to increase his productivity, such as setting goals, attending workshops, and participating in NaNoWriMo. This scholarship, funded by alumni and friends of Chris, will cover $900 of tuition. A separate application is required and due April 1. Contact Director 

Jeanne Cavelos for the Chris Kelworth Memorial Scholarship application. A panel of three judges will select the winner using the information in the scholarship applications and the short story or novel excerpts sent with the workshop applications. 

OTHER AVAILABLE SCHOLARSHIPS 

Wollheim Memorial Scholarship Fund 

Applicants from the New York Metropolitan Area (including New Jersey) who are accepted into Odyssey are eligible to apply for a scholarship from the Donald A. and Elsie B. Wollheim Memorial Scholarship Fund. This fund was created in 1989 by the New York Science Fiction Society–the Lunarians, one of New York’s oldest and largest science fiction and fantasy clubs, to help developing writers attend major science fiction/fantasy writing programs affiliated with higher institutions of learning. The amount of the scholarship is variable depending on need and the availability of funds. Scholarship monies will be applied directly to tuition for the 2021 workshop. If you are accepted into Odyssey and would like to pursue this possibility, contact Director Jeanne Cavelos for the special Wollheim application form immediately upon your acceptance. 

Horror Writers Association 

If you write horror, you are eligible for one or more of the scholarships offered by the Horror Writers Association, which are worth between $500 and $2,500. The scholarship funds can be applied toward Odyssey tuition and housing. Applications open on May 1. 

Kurt Brown Prizes 

Since Odyssey is a member of the Association of Writers & Writing Programs, those accepted into Odyssey can apply for AWP’s three Kurt Brown Prizes, scholarships of $500 each for emerging writers. Applications are accepted from December 1 to March 30. 

Work/Study Position 

One work/study position is also available. The work/study student spends about six hours per week performing duties for Odyssey, such as photocopying, sending stories to guests, distributing mail to students, and preparing for guest visits. Odyssey reimburses $800 of the work/study student’s tuition, half at the end of Week 3 of the workshop and half at the end of the workshop. 

The work/study student will be expected to fulfill the regular requirements of Odyssey in addition to these duties. This will make for a very demanding six weeks, but for a student who needs the financial assistance, the work/study position offers a good opportunity. Contact Director Jeanne Cavelos for more details and a work/study application. Work/study applications are due April 30. 

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Current Mood: cheerful cheerful

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Gray Alys on the Silver Screen

March 4, 2021 at 2:12 pm
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I cannot seem to keep out of the news these days.

The latest story to break:

https://ew.com/movies/milla-jovovich-paul-w-s-anderson-in-the-lost-lands-dave-bautista/   

“In the Lost Lands” was one of my earliest fantasy stories (most of my work in the 70s was science fiction), the first tale of the mysterious Gray Alys, an enigmatic sorceress who would sell you anything you might desire… though her customers soon learned that you buy from her at your peril.   No doubt my long-time fans all recall the twelve classic tales I wrote about Gray Alys and her customers, which were later collected in the….. WHOA, WHOA, wait a second.   That’s all wrong.   Another of those pesky alternate world memories.   No, truth to tell, I meant to write a whole series of Gray Alys stories, I really did, I even began a second and penned a few of the opening pages… but one day I put it aside and I never got back to it.   In the end I only wrote one Gray Alys story.

“In the Lost Lands.”

And now the story is coming to the big screen.   Paul W.S. Anderson, director of Monster Hunter, Pompeii, and several Resident Evils, will helm the film.   Milla Jovovich will star as Gray Alys, with Dave Bautista of Guardians of the Galaxy as Boyce, who leads her into the Lost Lands.  German film director Constantin Werner, who first optioned the story and tried to get the film made for years,  will be among the producers.

And who knows?   If the movie is a big hit, maybe there will be sequels, and Gray Alys will finally get her series after all.

(So many years have passed, I no longer recall why I never finished that second story.   I loved the character.  Still do.   And there were secrets I meant to reveal in those unwritten stories, and a whole complex backstory, and and and… sigh.  Where do the years go?)

 

 

Current Mood: hopeful hopeful

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