First off, I want to congratulate you on how...what's a good word...anxious you've made everyone by not revealing the newest character addition for A Storm of Swords. One question (no, I won't ask who it is as much as I want to know), do you plan on revealing the character's identity before the book is released, or are you going to stay quiet and let the first blabber-mouth announce it when they get it?
I'll be staying quiet, so I guess the reveal will go to the aforementioned blabber mouth.
Robin Hobb is very good. Her Assassin's Apprentice series was excellent, but I think the current Liveship Traders is even better. And if you haven'r tried him, there is always Jack Vance, whom I regard as the greatest living fantasist. Try any of the Dying Earth series, or the Lyonesse trilogy. Superb stuff.