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This, That, and t'Other Thing

Lots of things to blog about, if I kept a blog. (This little thing doesn't count, no sir, not no way, not no how). Alas, there's no time. Too damned much to do. So, instead, just a few quick hits.

This morning I was crosstown walking the picket lines at the College of Santa Fe, doing my little bit for the WGA and the writer's strike. Support your local writers! This is the most crucial strike of my era, and will determine whether writers (and actors and directors, eventually) get a fair share of revenues for internet videos, webisodes, and all the other new delivery platforms for the net, or whether they continue to get ripped off.

Finished a Tyrion chapter yesterday, one I've been struggling with for months. Made a major change to the end of the chapter, one I think works much better than what I had before.

Also tackled another Tyrion chapter that had been giving me trouble, mainly by ripping Tyrion out of the scene entirely and rewriting the whole damn thing from another point of view. Not quite done with that one yet, but I think it will work better as well. However, I am keeping the old Tyrion POV version of the same events on my computer, just in case I change my mind later and decide to go back.

Dark Sword Miniatures has been shipping the first ten of their ICE & FIRE minis. I just got my box. Okay, okay, I'm prejudiced, but I think they look wonderful. Hey, they're by Tom Meier, how could you go wrong? Purchase the complete set by December 15 and you'll still be eligible for the drawing for the autographed books and other prizes. Contest details below, in my earlier blog post. Order via Dark Sword's website. The link is below as well. And hey, pewter miniatures make wonderful stocking stuffers for that collector in the family (NOT for small kids, though, these are not toys).

SFWA has replaced Andrew Burt as chairman of its controversial Copyright Committee. I hope that pleases all those who were yelling and screaming about SFWA being unresponsive, paleolithic, etc. Hey, you guys won, Burt has stepped aside, you can take off the hob-nailed boots now. Can we all join ranks again and try to make things better for writers?

Some very nice reviews coming in on the two new books I have coming out next month, and from some unexpected places. HUNTER'S RUN got a four-star review from... wait for it... ROMANTIC TIMES. That's very cool. I always knew I was a romantic. And the new Wild Cards book, INSIDE STRAIGHT, has been getting great reviews all over the place. Here's two:



I have to say, I am very gratified by all the raves that we've been getting for INSIDE STRAIGHT. My hat is off to my contributors. They did a terrific job. Check this one out, boys and girls. I think you're going to enjoy meeting Jonathan Hive, Lohengrin, Earth Witch, Bubbles, Drummer Boy, and all the rest of our aces and jokers.

Football... ah, what can I say? The Giants won a squeaker over the Iggles to go to 9-4, but it wasn't what I'd call a convincing win. A truefan never gives up hope, but unless they can really get on a tear these last few games, I'm not convinced that Eli can take them far in the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Jets lost to the Browns, and now face the hated Patriots and Evil Little Bill. This could be ugly. Oddly enough, I won't sweat the Jets-Patriots game nearly as much as I will the Giants and the Redskins. The Giants need to beat the Skins to lock up their playoff berth, but the Jets season is already over and everyone expects them to get crushed this weekend, so there's no real pressure. Did any of you catch HBO's INSIDE THE NFL tonight? Have to say, I loved Chris Collingsworth's version of Eric Mangini's pregame speech. I hope Mangenius was watching.

Elsewhere in the NFL, the big news is Bobby Petrino. What a scumbag. His players said it better than I could. No integrity, no courage, no honor. Maybe it's fitting that he's run off to a team whose mascot is a pig.

Some readers have been asking me to update my WHAT I'M READING and WHAT I'M WATCHING pages. I mean to, honest, I just haven't had the time. On the "watching" front, I did catch THE MIST, and would strongly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good old fashioned monster movie. This isn't torture-porn like the SAW films, it's Stephen King and Frank Darabont, well written, well acted, well directed. TV... well, I miss ROME and DEADWOOD more than I can say, and can't wait for THE WIRE. The new network shows have been a mixed bag. The second season of HEROES has been much weaker than the first, and anyway, the show has never been more than Wild Cards Lite (though I do like Hiro). PUSHING DAISIES has a certain wacky charm, though it's very stylized, and may not be for everyone. JOURNEYMAN is redeemed mostly by the presence of Kevin McKidd, though I bet he wishes he was still playing Lucius Vorenus. I know I do. As for books, since I last updated WHAT I'M READING, I've enjoyed new novels from Bernard Cornwell, S.L. Farrell, Melinda M. Snodgrass, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Michael Chabon, and some old ones by Jack Vance (I reread the entire DEMON PRINCES series, and I'm doing the same with the four DYING EARTH books now). The Vance books were even better than I remembered them.


( 74 comments — Leave a comment )
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Dec. 13th, 2007 11:18 am (UTC)
It's bad enough that we lost Vick to the whole mess that he's in. Unless we get a coach that's willing to brave the terror that is the Falcon's without their Golden Boy, we're never going anywhere again.

When Vick was here, the games were sold out ALL season. This year several of the games were blacked out on TV because of ticket sales. It's really kind of sad.
Dec. 14th, 2007 01:27 am (UTC)
I think it's really kind of sad what Vic did.
(no subject) - archon27 - Dec. 15th, 2007 07:52 am (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 13th, 2007 12:14 pm (UTC)
I hope that pleases all those who were yelling and screaming about SFWA being unresponsive, paleolithic, etc. Hey, you guys won, Burt has stepped aside, you can take off the hob-nailed boots now. Can we all join ranks again and try to make things better for writers?

LOL, passive-aggressive much?
Dec. 13th, 2007 12:36 pm (UTC)
I'm worried about the Giants game too. If Eli can manage not to be a douche that game, then they'll be all right. That's a big IF though.

You know it's funny you mention rereading books. I just reread the four ASOIAF books and they are even bettered than I remembered. I am eagerly awaiting the Fifth. No rush though, I would hate for you to publish a book that you were not totally satisfied with.
Dec. 13th, 2007 12:43 pm (UTC)
Jon, Ygritte and ,,,,,, Space Odyssey
Just wondered yesterday, while I was coming back to some Jon chapters in SoS.

One of them begins with "So many stars ..." while they lay together watching the sky. Is it that George appreciates my favorit movie or just a coincidence?
Dec. 13th, 2007 01:24 pm (UTC)
Re: the chair of the copyright committee ... what are his positions?

I'm hoping for someone like Eric Flynt (who started www.baen.com/library) who understands the differences between DRM, copyrights, and fair use rights of the purchaser.

Btw, what ARE your views on DRM and copyright?
Dec. 13th, 2007 01:24 pm (UTC)
I have fallen utterly in love with Pushing Daisies. It has completely made up for my minor disappointments with Heroes.
Dec. 13th, 2007 01:36 pm (UTC)
Just a little note to share my appreciation-- thanks for blogging updating your fans :)
Dec. 13th, 2007 01:48 pm (UTC)
The tempest over Petrino is amusing.
Dec. 13th, 2007 02:01 pm (UTC)
As a lifelong fan of Washington's NFL team, it pains me to say this, but don't count on the Deadskins showing up for a football game.

Between Danny-boy Snyder bungling up the owner's box
Joe Gibbs, who was good but isn't suited to today's NFL
Offense that doesn't like the ball
Defense hates the ball
Special teams that are... well... not special
Oh... and the starting Safety (one of the team's true talents) who was murdered a few weeks ago.

They have enough on their minds with how bad they suck to think much about the G-men... although I'd love to see them go out and be the Skins of the 1980s.
Dec. 13th, 2007 02:05 pm (UTC)
Good news and Bad Tidings
Good news on the Tyrion chapter, cause he is my favorite character. As a fan of the Patriots and a Grad of The University of Arkansas I feel we will never agree on football. Petrino will just use UA for stepping stone and we will be back to square one searching for a coach next year. Recruiting will be ruined for years.
Dec. 16th, 2007 06:38 am (UTC)
Re: Good news and Bad Tidings
I disagree. Where would he go? he's coach of a decent mid-level SEC school. He can't go back to the No Fun League as they likely wouldn't have him, he can't go to another SEC West school because of a no-compete clause in his contract, so that leaves an East school, somewhere outside of the SEC - where it would be easier to win a nat'l championship, granted - or stay here.

Arkansas is no longer a stepping stone school. Houston got the program good enough that now with the right coach (and Petrino looks like the right one) we could be competing for an SEC championship every year and as such competing for the nat'l title on a regular basis. We're not up there with Florida, Georgia and LSU quite yet, but keep Coach Petrino for a couple of years and we will be.
Dec. 13th, 2007 02:26 pm (UTC)
i haven't seen your opinion on this at all, but I know you're a rabid football fan...did you happen to see the atlanta game this past week? it was right after vick was sentenced and the studio kept showing all these shots of people in the stands with "support michael vick!" signs and shirts, and even the announcing crew was talking about how unfair the entire process was and how he should be allowed to return to the nfl and yada yada. i know i'm a bit prejudiced because i'm a vet student, but i still thought it was disgusting. almost (almost!) makes me not want to watch football anymore.
Dec. 13th, 2007 02:31 pm (UTC)
WHAT I'M READING, I've enjoyed new novels from Bernard Cornwell, S.L. Farrell, Melinda M. Snodgrass, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Michael Chabon

If the Chabon was The Yiddish Policemen's Union I definitely need to remember to get your reaction to it at some point. I read it a few weeks ago and am very curious to see what other people have to say about it.
Dec. 13th, 2007 02:49 pm (UTC)
Finished The Children of Hurin the other day and it was excellent, although slightly diminished by my having read two previous versions of it (in The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales). Jack Vance is always awesome. Re-read The Lyonesse Trilogy at the start of last year and it was even better the second time around. I do need to pick up The Demon Princes series at some point.

Is it really nearly a year since Season 2 of Rome debuted? Eek, where did the time go? And the wait for new BSG has been fairly tedious as well (Razor being a tasty appetiser but no substitute for the real thing).

And you had to recast a Tyrion chapter from a different POV? So Tyrion comes into contact with another POV character? Interesting... ;-)
Dec. 13th, 2007 03:03 pm (UTC)
Bernard Cornwell
Curious. Which book of Bernard Cornwell did you read??? I myself have just started discovering this Historical Fiction genre and out of the Historical Fiction reference book I looked at for ALL the authors in that genre, alot of Bernard Cornwell seemed to get alot of praises and seemed really interesting. The reason I dove into this genre believe it or not is because of your books George. I would not call your books historical exactly, although one would give reference to war of the roses, it has a very realistic, gritty setting that I am looking for in other books. I have a HUGE list of books I need to read from various historical fiction writers that I found most interesting (usually from Roman times through medieval ages as that is my favorite time periods. Reading "Gates of Fire" now from Steven Pressfield (about the spartans holding of persians, where movie and graphic novel 300 was inspired from)
Dec. 13th, 2007 05:50 pm (UTC)
Re: Bernard Cornwell
George has read pretty much everything by Cornwell, I think. :)

I'd suggest the Warlord trilogy (The Winter King, Enemy of God, Excalibur) for a starter, a retelling of the Arthur myth; followed by the Thomas of Hookton books (Harlequin/The Archer's Tale, Vagabond, Heretic) and the ongoing series about the Saxon Uhtred (The Last Kingdom, The Pale Horseman, Lords of the North, Sword Song) - the books are standalonish enough to make for a good reading. And there's always Sharpe, of course. :)

For Roman times, there's no way to escape Colleen McCullough's epic Rome books (First Man in Rome, The Grass Crown, Fortune's Favorites, Caesar's Women, Casear - Let the Dice Fly, October Horse, Anthony and Cleopatra). If you like heroic stories à la Pressfield, I'd recommend Scott Oden's Men of Bronze and Memnon. David Anthony Durham's take on Hannibal novel, Pride of Carthage is a good read, too.

Stephen Lawhead has written a number of books with Medieaval settings, the Crusade ones and his take on Robin Hood are more on the action side, while Patrick and Byzantium are somewhat slower though still fun, imho.

A writer takes a bit time to get into is Dorothy Dunnett, but once you've gotten past the first hundred/two hundred pages of her fist Lymond Chronicle book (The Game of Kings) you're hooked. A new kid on the block, so to speak, is actor David Blixt, who's started a trilogy on Verona and Italy in the times of Romeo and Juliet (The Master of Verona).

Jack Whyte's take on Arthur as standing in the Roman tradition might prove interesting as well, if you're up to reading a nine book series. ;) Haven't gotten his new book on the Templars yet, but it's on my list.

Sharon Kay Penman writes Mediaeval historical fiction very close to history; her books read more like biographies sometimes.

Hope this gives you some ideas.
Re: Bernard Cornwell - hippoiathanatoi - Dec. 14th, 2007 12:47 am (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 13th, 2007 03:13 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the update

Completely agree on Heroes and my lady and I have enjoyed Journeyman too. I'm a sucker for time travel stories, they have to be Quite bad before I don't enjoy them.

I will never forget watching the first episode of Deadwood and about the fourth time Shakespeare flashed into memory, I realized that the dialogue was in blank verse. Holy cats! That is harder than it looks I would think, but it was delicious, no doubt about it.

What an awesome pitch meeting that must have been. "We want to do a western, very gritty, raw, filled with cursing and smart writing... and we want to do it in blank verse." How could you say "no" to that one? I'd empty my wallet right there.

On a somewhat related note, unless they plan on letting you write the scripts for the Arthur HBO series, and let you kill off major characters like Gawain and maybe Lancelot early on... we want Song instead!

Thanks for the update on Dance, if you are encouraged, that is a very good thing. Good luck finding time to write amidst the silly season over the next few weeks :)
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George R.R. Martin
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