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Coming in August

We had an amazing, goofy, fun event at the Jean Cocteau Cinema yesterday, when more than a dozen Wild Cards authors got together and donned the personae of their characters, while my assistant editor Melinda Snodgrass (in the person of Noel Matthews, aka Double Helix) interviewed them. The whole thing was taped, so we hope to be able to upload it here soon.

Meanwhile, Tor has just sent us the final cover for the next original volume in the series: HIGH STAKES, scheduled for release on August 23 (though we will be launching it a little earlier in Kansas City at a special group signing event).



Cover art, as always, by the amazing Michael Komarck.

HIGH STAKES is the third and concluding volume in the triad that began with FORT FREAK and continued with LOWBALL. It's the twenty-third volume in the overall series, but don't let that intimidate you, boys and girls. It is NOT necessary to have read all of the preceding twenty-two volumes to make sense of this one... though it would help to have read the aforementioned LOWBALL and FORT FREAK.

This one is a "full mosaic," like many of the other climactic volumes of our triads; there are no individual stories per se, but rather six storylines featuring six different viewpoint characters, interwoven so as to create a full on collaborative novel. Which is a lot of work for all concerned, yes, but our fans and readers seem to think it's well worth it.

In HIGH STAKES, the participating writers (and their featured characters) are John Jos. Miller (the Midnight Angel), Caroline Spector (the Amazing Bubbles), Ian Tregillis (Tesseract), Melinda M. Snodgrass (Franny Black), Stephen Leigh (Babel), and David Anthony Durham (the Infamous Black Tongue). Editing by yours truly, assisted by Melinda Snodgrass.

Fair warning, this one is not for the faint of heart. HIGH STAKES is our Lovecraftian horror volume, and things get pretty dark. But it's when things are darkest that heroes are most needed...

FYI, while we won't have any copies of HIGH STAKES for another month, the Jean Cocteau Bookstore can now offer both hardcovers and paperbacks of many earlier Wild Cards books with lots of signatures from the authors. Me, yes, but not just me. We have WILD CARDS, ACES HIGH, JOKERS WILD, ACES ABROAD, INSIDE STRAIGHT, BUSTED FLUSH, SUICIDE KINGS, FORT FREAK, LOWBALL... and even the very scarce and hard to find volumes sixteen and seventeen, DEUCES DOWN and DEATH DRAWS FIVE. Email the JCC for details and prices.

Not in San Diego

I hope that everyone in San Diego is having fun at Comicon. HBO has a big presence there, I know, and a lot of our cast are on hand for the GAME OF THRONES panel and the usual endless rounds of signings and interviews. Also, Bantam is bringing out the 2017 ICE & FIRE calendar, which is always a great event. And Gary Gianni, who illustrated THE KNIGHT OF THE SEVEN KINGDOMS, has a table and is selling a cool new sketchbook of his artwork.

Makes me wish I could be there as well.

But I'm not.

Now, normally, I would not feel the need to post about where I'm not and what I am not doing... only I am getting reports from friends in San Diego, and friends of friends, that I have been sighted at the con.

It's not me.

Really. It's not. It's some other old fat guy in a Greek sailor's cap and pair of suspenders, maybe. Who may or may not be consciously cosplaying as me.

((And you have no idea how weird it feels to be typing that sentence. Way back when the show was first starting, there were a couple of Daenerys Targaryen cosplayers at San Diego, and I thought that was way cool. Fans dressing up as my characters, hey, hot damn! Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that anyone would ever want to dress up as me. But now I seem to encounter it wherever I go. Witness this picture from my 2013 trip to Australia.



Anyway... just for the record... I have a big Wild Cards event at the Jean Cocteau Cinema this weekend, with nineteen writers turning up from all across the country, so as much as I would like to be at comicon, I am not there. Accept no substitutes!!

((And just to be clear, no, I do not disappove of fans cosplaying as me. I do find it surreal, but hey, what they hell, have fun... so long as they don't actually pretend to be me)).

Moving right along... one thing that is at comicon is the new ICE & FIRE calendar, with art by Didier Graffet. It's gorgeous. Grab a copy if you're at the con. And if not, the calendar should be available at your favorite local bookstore or online bookseller, and will certainly be available through the Jean Cocteau.

Next Monday at the Jean Cocteau

We have a very big Sunday coming up at the Jean Cocteau Cinema.

But that's not the end of the excitement. There's a great event scheduled for Monday, July 25 as well, one week from today.

That's when Dutch author THOMAS OLDE HEUVELT will be be visiting us, to talk about his new horror novel, HEX. Heuvelt was the winner of a Hugo last year for his novelette "The World Turned Upside Down." HEX is something very different, though...





Thomas does not get to this side of the pond very often, much less down here to the Land of Enchantment, so don't miss your chance to meet him, and get your book signed. HEX is creepy and gripping and original, sure to be one of the top horror novels of 2016.



You can reserve a seat and a copy of the book at the JCC website: http://www.jeancocteaucinema.com/

Next Sunday at the Jean Cocteau

If you're going to be in Santa Fe a week from tomorrow -- or anywhere in the Land of Enchantment, really -- do swing by the Jean Cocteau Cinema.

We've got not one but two very special events planned for Sunday, July 24.

First up, at 2:00 in the afternoon, will be a Wild Cards Author Event, followed by a signing. Yes, most of the Usual Suspects will be on hand, the motley crew of New Mexico writers who started the series some thirty years ago, but they'll be joined by some Wild Carders, new and old, who are coming in from afar to join us. Right now we have some nineteen (yes, I said 19!) writers scheduled to take part... from Chicago, from Denver, from New Hampshire, from Texas, from California, from Kentucky. Come by and meet them all! And get your books signed... not only your Wild Cards books (though we expect to have all the volumes presently in print on offer), but also some of the other great novels by the participating writers.



The format of this one should be fun. Melinda Snodgrass will be hosting, interviewing each of our guests in turn. But we'll be doing this "in universe," so she won't be interviewing the writers, she'll be interviewing their characters. And Weeds knows where all the bodies are buried, so I expect this to be a hoot and a half.

And that's just the afternoon event.

Come evening, we'll be putting Melinda to work again, with a very special screening of CHAOS ON THE BRIDGE, William Shatner's tell-all documentary about the rocky beginnings of STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION.

Melinda knows where the bodies are buried on the Enterprise as well; she was there, and she was one of the insiders that Shatner interviewed for the documentary. She will be hosting the screening, and answering questions afterwards... and if that was not enough, she's arranged for DAVID GERROLD to join us as well, via the wonders of Skype.

It should be quite a Sunday. Be there. I will.

Awards, Awards

All that great news about the Emmy nominations reminded me... there are other awards out there that you don't need to be a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences to vote on.

Voting for this years Hugo Awards has been open for some time, but will be closing at the end of the month. You do need to be a member of MidAmericon II, this year's worldcon, to cast your ballot. To vote, go here: https://midamericon2.org/home/hugo-awards-and-wsfs/2016-hugo-ballot/

Even if you haven't finished doing all your Hugo reading (I haven't myself), you should still vote now, lest you forget. Don't worry, you can change your vote as many times as you like between now and the voting deadline, if further reading gives you a new favorite.

I do urge all worldcon members to vote, and to vote "No Award" only if they feel that none of the works in the category are worthy of a Hugo. (Sadly, there are several categories where that is true, IMNSHO). Many of the slated nominees this year are hostages, and to punish those works and their authors by placing them below No Award seems very wrong to me.

I might also mention that there is a new award for SF and fantasy this year: the Dragon Awards, sponsored by Dragoncon, the big Atlanta media convention. Lots and lots of categories. As I understand it, anyone can nominate, anyone can vote. Just go here:

http://awards.dragoncon.org/2016/04/14/eligibility-period/

The nominations for the Dragons close on July 25, so their deadline is even closer than the Hugo deadline. 'twould be nice if the culture war that has troubled the Hugos the past few years would leave this new award alone... but, alas, I fear that will not be the case. There's already plenty of campaigning in evidence on the internet. Since the Dragons are brand new, that may or may not matter. Dragoncon itself is a huge beast, and if the turnout for their awards is large enough, any effort at slating or logrolling could be swamped. Depends on how many fans vote, I guess.

I've said since the very start of the Puppy Wars that it would be nice if the field had a true People's Choice Award to stand as a complement to the older and more established Hugos. So I applaud Dragoncon's effort, and will be interested in how this all turns out. Whether this dragon will fly high, or flap around for a few years and vanish like the Gandalfs and the Balrogs... I guess that all depends.

(I hope the Dragoncon people come up with a cool trophy. I am fond of dragons, as is well known. And two legs, please, not four).

Three-and-Twenty Golden Gals

This year's Emmy nominations were announced this morning, and once again GAME OF THRONES and HBO kicked ass and took names.

HBO collected more nominations than any other network... once again.

And GAME OF THRONES was responsible for a big chunk of those... 23 nominations all told, more than any other series... for the second year in a row (we had 24 last year).



Last year we won Best Drama, and we're nominated once again this year, so we have a chance to make it two in a row... against a formidable lineup of competitors in HOMELAND, DOWNTON ABBEY, MR. ROBOT, BETTER CALL SAUL, THE AMERICANS, and HOUSE OF CARDS.

David Benioff and D.B. Weiss got a nod for Writing, which they won last year.

For directing, two nominations: Jack Bender for "The Door" and Miguel Sapochnik for "Battle of the Bastards."

And in the acting categories, GAME OF THRONES had its best year yet. Max Von Sydow was nominated for Best Actor in a Guest Role. Peter Dinklage and Kit Harrington both got nods for Best Supporting Actor. And in Best Supporting Actress, GOT snagged not one, not two, but three nominations; Emilia Clarke, Lena Headey, and Maisie Williams will all be vying for the Emmy.

I am thrilled and happy for all our nominees, of course... but it made me especially happy to see Kit and Maisie get some love from the Academy at last. About damn time, I say. They are several years overdue. (And I would have loved to see Sophie Turner on that list as well. I know, I know, I'm greedy).

For a full list of the nominees, go here:
http://variety.com/2016/tv/awards/2016-emmys-nominees-list-drama-comedy-acting-nomination-1201814021/

The awards will be presented on September 18 in Los Angeles. Two days ahead of my birthday this year, but maybe we'll get some presents anyway.

Wild Cards in Kansas City

As this year's worldcon in Kansas City moves ever closer, schedules are starting to firm up, and there are going to be some exciting things in the works... especially for fans of Wild Cards.

HIGH STAKES, the concluding volume in the current Wild Cards triad and the twenty-third in the overall series, is actually scheduled for hardcover release on August 23, after worldcon is over. However (fingers crossed), Tor is doing all it can to get some advance copies to Kansas City ahead of time, so we can launch the book at worldcon. (This one is our Lovecraftian horror outing. For a taste, check the sample chapter on my website).

To celebrate the release of the new one... and hell, all the old ones too... we are planning to have a huge WILD CARDS MASS SIGNING at the con. It seemed only fitting; there will be more Wild Cards authors (old and new) present in Kansas City than at any other convention ever (yes, even more than at Nolacon in 1988, where Wild Cards lost a Hugo to Watchmen). At last count, the list includes Walter Jon Williams, John Jos. Miller, Gail Gerstner-Miller, Carrie Vaughn, Caroline Spector, Diana Rowland, Walton (Bud) Simons, Bob Wayne, Kevin Andrew Murphy, Stephen Leigh, S.L. Farrell, David D. Levine, Michael Cassutt, Marko Kloos, Saladin Ahmed, Pat Cadigan, Laura J. Mixon, Paul Cornell, Mary Anne Mohanraj... and of course Melinda M. Snodgrass and yours truly. So if you have a large collection of Wild Cards books you'd like defaced... or would like to start a large collection of Wild Cards books... MidAmericon II is the place to do it.



The signing will be sponsored by Rainy Day Books, and will be a ticketed event. It will take place in the Marriott Muhlebach (room tba) on Friday August 19, from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Rainy Day Books should have all of the volumes currently in print for sale there, in addition to HIGH STAKES... and also a good selection of other titles by all of the participating writers, for those who would like to sample their non-wild card books. (However, I won't be signing any Ice & Fire events at this event, I have two other general signings in the dealer's room, three hours total, so there will be ample opportunity for readers to get their GAME OF THRONES books signed there).



The signing will not be the only Wild Cards activity at Big MAC II. With so many writers on hand, doing your traditional panel discussion would have been impossible. By the time all the panelists finished introducing themselves, the hour would have been up. Instead we've decided to offer WILD CARDS DEATH MATCHES. Kind of like Thunderdome with writers (and their characters). Sixteen writers enter (well, maybe only twelve, the count keeps jumping around as plans change), and one will emerge. The audience will pick the winners and losers of the fights. That one is scheduled for Saturday afternoon, August 20, 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Should be a hoot and a half... or a bloodbath. Who the hell knows? We've never done this sort of thing before.

Put the times and dates down in your worldcon calendar, and come join the fun.

(And hey, for all those who can't be in Kansas City for the mass signing, autographed copies of all the books pictured above are available from the Jean Cocteau Cinema Bookstore, though admittedly they don't have as many signatures as the ones bought in KC are like to have. And yes, we are now taking international orders).

MAC Nattering

Worldcon is coming up soon... MidAmericon II in Kansas City, Missouri, the long awaited successor to the original 1976 MidAmericon, which some of us old pharts still consider to be the Greatest Worldcon Evah. (It was certainly the most innovative, a true game-changer, for both good and ill).

I will be there, along with hundreds of other writers, artists, and editors, and thousands of fans. If you have never been to a con before, this is the one to go to... assuming you're a reader. Worldcon has always had a strong literary slant, and while costuming, television, films, comics, and games are all included as well, it is the written word that occupies center ring here.

If that interests you, you can join here: http://midamericon2.org/

Join now, and you'll be able to vote for the Hugo Awards (and to nominate next year).

For readers who would like to meet and talk with their favorite writers (including me), a worldcon is a MUCH better place to do so than a booksigning.

For what it's worth, however, there are also booksignings AT worldcon, so you'll have plenty of opportunity to get your books scrawled in, be they rare limited editions or battered paperbacks. I have committed to four (count 'em, 4) booksignings at MAC myself:

-- I'll be doing two ninety-minute signings in the convention autograph area, signing whatever you want me to sign, be it books, comics, swords, games, Funko Pop dolls, t-shirts, or body parts, (but only one item per person, please, and no personalizations or inscriptions, sorry),

-- I will also be doing a one-hour signing in the dealer's room at Gary Gianni's booth, but at that one Gary and I will be signing ONLY copies of A KNIGHT OF THE SEVEN KINGDOMS, and the new Gianni sketchbook that GG will be debuting at MAC,

-- and in conjunction with Tor Books and a local bookstore, I'll be part of a huge WILD CARDS signing, joined by more than a dozen other Wild Cards authors new and old. My "no personal inscription" rule will still hold for that one, alas, though many of the other writers will inscribe. However, I am suspending my "only one book per person" rule for this event. I'll sign as many books as you want here... so long as they are all Wild Cards books.

Dates, times, and locations will all be forthcoming, so watch this space.

And yes, of course, I'll be doing other stuff in Kansas City as well. A couple of panels, a reading, maybe some other stuff.

See you at Big MAC! And save me some burnt ends!!!

Pretty Dany Moneyeyes

This wild ride I have been on for this last decade just keeps getting wilder.

The amount of GAME OF THRONES stuff out there boggles even me.

Here's the latest:



I have not seen this one in person myself. I understand there is one at the Sky City casino down near Acoma, west of Albuquerque. Whether Sandia or Camel Rock or any of the other Indian casinos nearby have them I don't know, though I suspect they do.

I don't go to casinos very often, and when I do I prefer to play poker or blackjack with other human beings rather than the slots, but I'd play this one. In fact, I want one for myself. Though I have no idea whether it is even legal for an individual to own a slot machine, or if you need a casino to be able to have one.

(I do have the GAME OF THRONES pinball machine. Which is very cool itself).

What's next, you ask? No idea...
I'm not George R.R. Martin. I'm Ogre Jenni, and I work at the Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe. Here is the ancient song of my people.

This weekend, we welcome another incredible magician to our stage! Max Krause, who also owns a really cool magic shop, will stun adults and children alike with his brilliant magical acts. He will perform some A Song of Ice and Fire themed tricks, befuddle us with expert-level prestidigitations, melt our brains (and our sense of free will) using his Mentalism techniques, and much more!



Max has performed for several celebrities including (but definitely not limited to) The Minnesota Vikings, Frank Thomas (of the Chicago White Sox), The Cranberries, Motley Crue, Ted McGinley, James Belushi, and Metallica. METALLICA, PEOPLE! Make your jokes about Lars, if you must, but still! There is a good reason Max was invited to perform for Metallica. He is truly a world class magician.

If you are near Santa Fe this weekend, bring your friends and family! They'll all have a great time.

Learn more here!

—THIS MESSAGE WAS BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE MINIONS OF FEVRE RIVER—

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