Winter is no longer coming, but maybe "The Winds of Winter" is coming fairly soon.

George R.R. Martin - author of the "A Song of Ice and Fire" series, upon which HBO's "Game of Thrones" is based - just canceled a scheduled convention appearance and said he won't be at this year's San Diego Comic-Con. He's usually a fixture at the "Game of Thrones" panel, but the author announced in his blog on Monday that he's had to cut back some events due to other commitments, including finishing the long-awaited sixth book.

Here's part of what he wrote on March 16:

"Reluctantly, however, I've just had to scratch Saratoga off my list of 2015 appearances. For no reason having to do with the con itself. I am sure it will be terrific. It's just a matter of time.

I have too much to do. Too many things on my plate. Son of Kong foremost amongst them.

My apologies to anyone who saw Saratoga on my Appearances page and planned to go in order to see me. I won't be there. Go anyway. You'll have a great time.

Also, I have decided against attending this year's San Diego Comicon. Same reason. But since Comicon was never listed on my Appearances page, scratching it is not as big a deal.

(Should I complete and deliver WINDS OF WINTER before these cons roll round, I reserve the right to change my mind)."

That last line has many fans hopeful that he will indeed finish the sixth book, even if it's unlikely that he'll deliver it before the summer Comic-Con. The fifth book, "A Dance with Dragons," was released in 2011. No release date has been set for "The Winds of Winter," but obviously fans would like it to arrive as soon as possible. No rush, but now is good.