As much as people adore George R.R. Martin, to say that the acclaimed author's fanbase is growing impatient with him would be an extreme understatement. The New Jersey native famously penned the A Song of Ice and Fire book series, which inspired the award-winning HBO series Game of Thrones. But while the TV show came to its divisive conclusion last May, Martin's book series is still incomplete. The last book in the series came out in 2011, which means that fans have been waiting nearly a decade for the next book, The Winds of Winter.

Martin has teased a possible release timeline for the next two books several times over the past few years, and fans originally had high hopes that it would be released this summer. Back in May 2019, Martin stated that if he didn't have the next installment completed by CoNZealand, a science fiction convention held in New Zealand, fans had "formal written permission to imprison [him]." The event is slated to take place in July, just a few weeks from now. Though the event will now be held virtually, Martin is still not done with The Winds of Winter. But he did just give us an update. And, as The Guardian reports, it's not the happy news we had hoped for.

"I was heartbroken when CoNZealand was forced to go virtual due to the pandemic and I had to cancel my plans (exciting plans) for a long trip down to Wellington with Parris and my minions," Martin wrote on his blog. "But there is definitely a silver lining in that cloud. The last thing I need right now is a long interruption that might cost me all the momentum I have built up. I can always visit Wellington next year, when I hope that both COVID-19 and The Winds of Winter will be done."

While "next year" surely isn't the release date fans had in mind, Martin did say that being forced into isolation due to the coronavirus scare has helped with his writing. "I am spending long hours every day on The Winds of Winter and making steady progress," Martin wrote on his blog. "I finished a new chapter yesterday, another one three days ago, another one the previous week ... But no, this does not mean that the book will be finished tomorrow or published next week. It’s going to be a huge book, and I still have a long way to go."

As disappointed as Martin's fans might be, the author did end his post with a cute tease, writing: "Now you will have to excuse me. Arya is calling. I think she means to kill someone."

[h/t The Guardian]