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Good News and Bad News

I can't believe that it has been almost a month since I last posted here. Sometimes the days and weeks do really seem to fly past in a blur.

For me, it's been a month of bad news and good news, some serious, some trivial.

Good News. The Jets. The Jets don't have half the talent the Giants have, but they seem to be playing twice as well. Coaching is everything in the NFL, and it seems the Jets finally have a good one in Eric Mangini. Let's see if he can keep it up in the last four games.

Bad News. The Giants. Oy. What can I say? Can they think of any more ways to lose games? Tiki Barber is a great, great player, and I love Jeremy Shockey's fire, and the defense has some studs on it as well (when they are not all injured)... but Eli has been maddeningly erratic, and the team's lack of discipline is shocking. Coughlin has to get the blame for that. They should have hired Charlie Weis to replace Fassel. Unless the G-Men turn it around soon, though, they may be looking for a coach again at season's end.

Good news. Home renovations. The house is finally coming together, and it will be very nice once we get moved back in.

Bad news. Home renovations. It was supposed to be done in early November. Then by Thanksgiving. Then by early December. Then by Christmas. It's still not done, and I don't think it will be done by Christmas either. Cardinal rules of home remodeling: everything takes longer and costs twice as much, the disruption and annoyance levels are always much higher than you anticipated. Parris and I are still living across the street in my office, with the cats. We haven't killed each other yet, which can only be a testament to our love for one another. I have been tempted to behead the cats a few times.

Good news. Thanksgiving. One of my favorite holidays of the year. We went out to the gorgeous new house Carl built for Melinda and had a great turkey dinner cooked in their vast and splendid new kitchen. Great turkey, and Melinda made one of her justly-famous apple pies (my favorite dessert, I'm just an all American boy). Good turkey, good wine, good company, nothing beats Thanksgiving with friends (except maybe Thanksgiving with friends, family, and mashed rutabagas).

Bad news. Christmas. My least favorite holiday of the year, and it is already bearing down on us like a freight train. Sorry, I have no Xmas spirit. Bah, humbug. Every year, for decades now, Christmas finds me stressed out like nobody's business, trying to complete some script, story, or novel that I have promised to someone "by the end of the year," sweating blood over my computer, and forgetting about the Dread Day until it is almost too late. I used to do all my Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve. These days I do most of it by catalog, but I still manage to wait so long that I always end up paying extra for the SuperDuper Priority Overnight Shipping for Idiots Who Didn't Shop Until the Last Minute. And then I have to WRAP the presents. I am the world's worst present-wrapper. I am usually wrapping presents at three in the morning Xmas day, to have them ready before Parris wakes up. Some year, I know, Christmas stress is going to give me a major coronary. I just hope it's not this year. I can't possibly die this year, I have far too much to do.

Good news. The election. Hey, hot damn, we threw the rascals out! A lot of the rascals, anyway. I am not naive enough to think the utopia will now ensue, but it certainly felt good to win one for a change, and the Senate will certainly be better off without Rick Santorum and George Allen.

Bad news. The election. Okay, we didn't manage to throw ALL the rascals out. Heather Wilson snuck back into the House, dammit, and Joe Lieberman, the Democrat-Who-Walks-like-a-Republican, got back in as well.

Good news. Work. I've been home for this past month -- no cons, no tours, no awards dinners -- and that has enabled me to be much more productive than in the months preceding. The new WILD CARDS book is almost done (some great stuff in there too) and should be finished by the end of the year. Gardner Dozois, Daniel Abraham, and I finished the novel-length expansion of SHADOW TWIN, and sold it in both the US and the UK (just last week, in fact). I've inked a couple of exciting new subrights deals that I expect to be announcing very soon (watch my news page)... and we may be close to a couple of other subrights deals that I won't be announcing, because I am not allowed to talk about 'em yet. The comic book adaption of THE SWORN SWORD is finally underway, and several other cool comics projects are in the works, but I can't talk about them just yet either. The month has been a blur of work, in other works.

Bad news. Work. None of the projects I wrapped up was A DANCE WITH DRAGONS. Work has been going well, yes, but not especially on DANCE. I am not going to be able to finish it by the end of the year as I had hoped. I know this will disappoint all of you. Many of you will write me sympathetic and supportive emails (and I do appreciate those, even if I don't have the time to reply). A few of you will write me nasty, intemperate emails about how I'm doing this all just to screw my readers. Sigh. My editors, agents, and publishers will be even more disappointed than my readers, but no one will be as disappointed as me. Believe that or not. All I can say is that I HAVE gotten several other obligations off my plate, that my contractor swears in blood that the home renovations will be finished soon so I can have my office back again, that I'm working on DANCE and I will continue to work on it. What I will no longer due, however, is announce any more dates by which I hope to finish and deliver the book. All that those estimates ever seem to do is ratchet up my stress levels and get me more grief. I hope it won't be taking much longer... I have almost two months at home before my next scheduled trip, to Boston and NYC in February, and one thing that has become very clear to me is that the more I travel, the less I get written. (And speaking of Boston and NYC, do I perchance have any fans out there in New Haven, Connecticut?) I have even thought about cancelling my annual trip to Boston and New York, though I am reluctant to take that step, since that is usually the only time of the year that I get to see my family in New Jersey.

So that's the latest. What can I say?

Only this.

Go Jets. Go Giants. Go Dragons.

Comments

( 328 comments — Leave a comment )
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aerolyn1
Dec. 6th, 2006 07:24 am (UTC)
With all else going on in your life, I'm stunned that you even have time for home projects. And holidays, at that. Amazing!
likearevolution
Dec. 6th, 2006 07:25 am (UTC)
Hey, the people that make the nasty comments are just being insensitive and lame. I am excited for you to finish the book but PLEASE take your time. I am telling you, sir, if you rush this book and it isn't awesome I might cry. I'm talking huddled in the corner, full body sobs. (wink)


I hate Christmas too, so naturally I hope you have one filled with dirty dishes, screaming kids, and bank account deficits - the way Jesus supposedly intended.
lovefromgirl
Dec. 6th, 2006 07:27 am (UTC)
Writing to a deadline never struck me as natural. Sometimes the story just won't come, and that's okay. So you set it aside, do something else, and maybe it'll flow again. You might be famous, and deservedly so -- last night's six-page paper for Fantasy Lit had a line or two about a certain epic series I adore -- but at the heart of it all you're just another writer with the same joys and troubles as the rest of us.

You have a fan here in Rochester, NY, who is sending you tons of hope and happiness over the holiday season. May it pass swiftly and painlessly.
sich67
Jan. 18th, 2007 10:35 pm (UTC)
:)
hello
Re: :) - lovefromgirl - Jan. 19th, 2007 03:06 am (UTC) - Expand
frozenblue13
Dec. 6th, 2006 07:30 am (UTC)
Personally I celebrate Christmas with cards and minimal gifts--basically I can't afford so many, but ditto likearevolution, please please take as much time as possible to make Dance with Dragons a great book (I love Dany and Arya)!! Who cares about the nasty remarks?
Best of luck.
emik
Dec. 6th, 2006 07:33 am (UTC)
Well, life is always double-sided. Each thing has bad and good features. Good luck to you!: )
gwendraeth
Dec. 6th, 2006 07:40 am (UTC)
I think it's a common trait among creative people that they can think of way more things to work on than they can ever actually get done in the finite amount of time they have.

The book will take the time it takes. And then we will read it. And then we will like it and start demanding the next one immediately. We will do this regardless of how soon you get any of the books into our hands, or what kind of timeline you've given us. :)

I hope your home repairs get finished up soon so that you can at least be less stressed.


parhelion_spark
Dec. 6th, 2006 07:41 am (UTC)
As long as Dance is as good as the rest of the series, take all the time you need.

But hurrrry! Please with an abundance of dessert items!
I'm dying for my damned Tyrion fix already! ^^;
minarya
Dec. 6th, 2006 07:43 am (UTC)
You have a fan in Hartford, Connecticut, only about an hour's drive from New Haven!
morpheus_17
Dec. 6th, 2006 12:33 pm (UTC)

...and a few more, even. We voted for Lamont, so the election news didn't seem quite as happy for us.
michael_b_lee
Dec. 6th, 2006 07:44 am (UTC)
Best of luck with the manuscript. It'll get done when it gets done. And although I don't get a vote in this case, I think you should still make your trip to Boston/New York. See your family, by all means. I've learned the hard way that while self-discipline and a certain Spartan self-sacrifice is to be admired when forging a professional writing career, it's possible to sacrifice so much that you are too unhappy to write well. This inevitably creates a vicious circle that's hard to break out of. So. Go.

I also feel the need to challenge you as the worst present wrapper ever. I take hours to wrap the simplest presents, while my wife could very likely wrap a live porcupine if she wanted to. My presents turn out looking like soccer balls of scotch tape with little sparkly bits in the center. The kids need power tools to open them.
anowyn
Dec. 6th, 2006 08:18 am (UTC)
Haha, my sister does the same thing you do with gift wrapping. She'll put a few patches of paper there, then wrap it in three different kinds of tape. IT'S TORTURE!!!
carad_elmare
Dec. 6th, 2006 07:46 am (UTC)
I see I'm in good company when it comes to being a horrible present wrapper. You are forbidden to die from a Tragic Present Wrapping Accident. Would be the worst possible way to go, in my opinion.

Isn't the thought supposed to count more than the presentation?

At any rate, good luck on all fronts!
(Anonymous)
Dec. 6th, 2006 07:50 am (UTC)
Take your time with Dragons, but I'm going to be going to live in Japan in Summer of '08, and I don't know how easy it will be to import books, so please have the series done by then.
(Anonymous)
Dec. 26th, 2006 06:12 am (UTC)
living in japan
amazon.com delivers there. i read my first three books of the series as an english teacher in osaka. you will have to find the post office, though-that's the tricky part. gambate!
breadbox
Dec. 6th, 2006 07:51 am (UTC)
1) wild cards tides us over nicely.

2) i'm sure your fans would rather have a well written novel than something you rushed...

3) a list always need at least three items
aquamarcia
Dec. 6th, 2006 07:52 am (UTC)
Go Giant Jet-propelled Dragons?
madbard
Dec. 6th, 2006 07:54 am (UTC)
You could always rename it, "A Slow-Dance With Dragons".
anowyn
Dec. 6th, 2006 08:12 am (UTC)
A Waltz with Wyrms?
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Dec. 6th, 2006 10:50 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rtemplar - Dec. 11th, 2006 09:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
anowyn
Dec. 6th, 2006 08:12 am (UTC)
You can also just ask if the store you bought the gift from does Giftwrapping. I work at BN and I'm the giftwrap master. Thanks mom, for making me do all the gift wrap in previous Christmastimes!
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( 328 comments — Leave a comment )

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