Earlier this year some speculation went up about how Winds of Winter was going to be released at the same time as season 5. Perfect, right? As show watchers are devouring season 5, the book readers are on to book 6; this would, no doubt, also encourage a lot of Game of Thrones fans to start reading the Song of Ice and Fire series.
When I heard this news, I screamed (much to the annoyance of my neighbours. I'm sorry.) and there were literal tears in my eyes. Actual, factual tears of excitement and disbelief because, as I gushed to my friends and family, if the book and the season came out at the same time I would not count on being able to handle myself. I would honestly not know what to do. I would be a puddle on the floor.
And I was right not to believe that great news.
It turns out the Spring 2015 release date was a hoax and, unlike those hoaxes of dead celebrities (really? All they need to do is tweet and you know that they're alive...), GRRM isn't actually active enough to confirm or deny very much very often. In fact, when he is around, he just likes to dick around:
Instead, there has been some speculation that, with The World of Ice and Fire coming out in October 2014 this month, Winds of Winter will release in October or November of 2015 for alignment purposes. While possible, knowing GRRM's history with reaching deadlines, October 2015 is... optimistic.
More reliable sources say "up to 3 years", including once source which says that George R. R. Martin has actually only written a few chapters of the novel despite having already released a few chapters to the public.
I'm not going to hold my breath for Winds of Winter, and just in case, in 2012 I found this great list of "Books to Read While Waiting for the Next Song of Ice and Fire" which, along with my own book list, I am still working through.