Monday, March 24, 2008

Doug Wright, Borders, and the Storymakers Conference

I think the Internet let out a sigh of relief with me shutting my yapper the last few days. I want to report on a few things - it's been an awesome weekend.

Thing #1: Earlier today I did an interview with Doug Wright of KSL in Salt Lake City. Now, anyone who lives in Utah will know who Doug is, and I was more than honored and excited to have the opportunity. This guy's a stud, okay? He does a daily show in the mornings on the radio, and a prerecorded weekly show on Sundays. He talks about everything on the planet, but my personal favorite is his movie show on Fridays. I love movies, and I usually agree with him.

Anyway, you'll be able to hear the interview this Sunday at 9:00 am MST. If you don't get KSL, you can listen to it on I think you have to hear it live to catch it. Anyway, I really enjoyed talking to him - like I said, he's a stud. And I hope he's okay with me calling him a stud, since I've done it twice.

My favorite part: when the interview was over, he had me sign his book and then we talked about movies for awhile. We both shared our matching opinions on movies like No Country for Old Men and actors like Daniel Day Lewis, but then came the scary part.

Doug said, "Okay, now the acid test. Who did the greatest job of portraying Doc Holladay in the movies?"

I paused, thinking through it to make sure it wasn't a trick question. Then I answered: "Val Kilmer in Tombstone."

I passed the test! I told him (read: begged him) to let me come on as a guest movie reviewer when I'm rich and famous. Yeah, I'm sure he'll be calling me any day now.

Thing #2: I've already told you guys about how I will be an Original Voices selection in the Borders bookstores in April. As if that weren't cool enough, they are now doing a piece on me in their newsletter, and asked me to write a letter to Borders Customers. I've done so, and I can't wait to see it in the real thing. How cool is Borders, huh? (Pretty much really cool.) I sure hope it works and my book makes them a lot of money. Borders, I love you.

Thing #3: This past weekend was the 5th annual Storymakers Conference. It was so incredible I don't know where or how to begin. In fact, I won't even try. Seriously, I can't do it justice. This conference has grown from a tiny one-day workshop with 20 or 30 people to a major two-day event with almost 200 attendees. Not to mention the first Whitney Awards, which could not have possibly gone any better.

Even though I saw a lot of old friends, met a lot of new friends, and mingled with everyone from a senior editor at Putnam to agents to some big name authors, I will only mention four people, because they deserve it.

First, Heather (H.B.) Moore and Annette Lyon for being the "Conference Queens" and planning everything and overseeing the committee. Unbelievable. I can honestly say I've never attended anything so well run and professional. And the WORK these guys did. Great job.

Second, Julie Wright (and her family) for running the bookstore. Talk about a lot of work and headaches. Awesome.

Finally, Robison Wells, the president of the Whitney Awards committee. This dude worked his tail off, as did the entire committee. But Rob held it together and made it happen. And I think he may have started something that will last a very long time. Congrats.

I'd go into more details, but I don't know where to begin. It was awesome. If you missed it, try to come next year. You won't be disappointed.

Thing #4: Just for fun, if you attended the conference and read this, please leave a comment. Let us know what you thought, maybe what your favorite part was. I'm really interested to know how many of you faithful readers of my blog came to the conference.

And last but not least, Easter was yesterday and I had a great time with my family. You haven't lived until you've seen my 3-year-old daughter Kayla try to get an easter egg out of a tree.



Marsha Ward said...

I have to agree with all you said about the conference (although you actually said very little, Dude!) and more. It was a totally awesome experience, and my first time presenting was such a pleasure. See you next year!

Suzy - Q said...

Dashner, you're such a traitor. You know Barnes and Noble beats Borders any day ;)

But I will agree with you about the conference, it was Awesome, everything I thought it'd be and then some. So crazy to mingle with all those hot shot authors! Wow.
Congrats on the radio show thing...*looks up at the sky* and someday we will have our turn...
I'm psyched, Dude, to put all these writers things into play and see how well my stuff improves! (If that made no sense, it's because I'm exhausted)

I have to say, though, I think Savage was my favorite presenter...oh, uuh, I mean, You and Savage, yeah, that's it. Anyone else want to comment on that?

Oh, and by the way, everyone, All the Cool people will be at Conduit!
Rock --I mean-- Write On! :)

J Scott Savage said...

That Suzy is one smart woman. No doubt she'll be rocking the publishing world in no time. And she liked my jacket. Eat your heart out dude.

It was a great conference. I seriously haven't had that much fun in a long time. Let's do it again next year, huh?

Stephanie Humphreys said...

I just got home from the conference and I'm already planning to go next year. It was awesome as always. It's like a huge writer family reunion and I love going. Ii always learn so much.

Heather Moore said...

I loved seeing so many friends and attendees from last year--it's become a sweet reunion! It was really great to meet writers I know through blogging and some editing projects I've done. So many people were excited to meet with editors from Covenant and Deseret Book (thanks Kirk and Lisa!) and for getting the big dogs in--Jamie Weiss Chilton and Tim Travaglini (thanks to Janette Rallison for being our reference!) I thought at last year's conference the "energy" was really high, and I was pleased to see it continue! We are becoming a powerful force in the writing community and the Whitney Awards is the icing on the cake! We can plan and organize until we drop, but truly the success of the conference has to do with the PEOPLE and their HEARTS--everyone is willing to share and help each other on the path to achieving our dreams.

And of course all James has to do is "show up" and the conference becomes that much better.

Marcia Mickelson said...

This was my first year to attend, and it was great! I enjoyed meeting all the people I've 'met' online. Great times!

Melinda said...

I only came for Saturday. And wished I could have been to all of it.

How does one pick a favorite?!

I guess I would have to say the Whitney Awards, even if you (James) got to sit at the cool table. But, Suzy and I still had fun sitting WAY in the back. The flannel board story by Jeff was the best.

I loved being able to mingle and chat with amazing authors and writers.

Thanks for inviting me. I totally owe you one.

James Dashner said...

It was definitely good times. Great to see all of you.

Suzy, you're cracked in the head. The only thing in which Jeff is better than me: ugly.

Heather, you deserve the high you must feel right now.

Melinda, you're very welcome! Just make sure you choose the whole conference next year. Friday night's dinner was a riot.

Unknown said...

The conference was beyond awesome! The best thing is sitting in a huge group with other authors who get the jokes and don't think you're a nerd for writing down everything the presenter says. My favorite part was probably boot camp. It has nothing to do with a table of writers hanging on my every word. :)

For all those aspiring authors who can possibly make it next year. DO IT! It will help you so much.

It was so good to see you there too, James! And your loathing of Cheetos has moved you up on my favorite person list.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, stop rubbing it in, James. Suzy, you too. I'll try to go next year. I got to meet Brandon Mull's sister, Summer, at UVU, so there.

By the way, James, my review of "The 13th Reality" is up on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, so check it out.

James Dashner said...

Jaime, cheetos are indeed the disgusting food spawn of Satan. They do evil things to children's fingers and everything they touch thereafter. Cheetos should be banned.

Clint, puh-lease. You're bragging about meeting an author's SISTER? We had DINNER with the author himself.

Actually, I've met Summer on many occasions and she's way cool.

Luisa Perkins said...

Congratulations on the interview! I have no idea who the host is, but it sounds like he's a big deal.

You really do need to give more details of the conference, though!

Don said...

I have to say that the best part of the conference was meeting everyone. The instruction was great, and although I've heard most of it before there were many things that finally clicked at the conference.

I'm looking forward to next year.

James Dashner said...

Don, it was great to meet you, and Luisa, you better be there next year!!!!!

I'll try to give more details soon.

C. Michelle Jefferies said...

I loved being there and trying to absorb everything being taught and said. It is great to meet published authors who are willing to share what they know t help us. this was my second time and it won't be my last.

The best part was entering the first chapter contest, I didn't win but I have never had such in-depth crits ever. I see there is a pattern to what I am doing wrong and can now fix it.

Thanks to those who read my stuff and took the time to comment on it.

Marta O. Smith said...

Hey James, what about your book trailer (screener) thing? That was the coolest thing I saw at the conference. Can you put that up on your blog or website?

Rachelle Christensen said...

I absolutely loved the conf.! I enjoyed your, "It's the story, Stupid!" class and learned quite a bit. I'm definitely going to add some more tension to my middle grade novel I'm submitting. I'm really excited about everything I learned and the cool people I met. It was great to see you again!

Unknown said...

I loved the conference. It was my first time, and I since had no idea what to expect any expectations I might have had were met and exceeded.
Congrats on the success of your book. I bought it at the conference for my daughter and had you sign it for her. She read it in two days and loved it! Then she talked my mom into going out and buying it she is turning into a pretty good publicist for you. :)
You asked me to have her e-mail you when she finished to let you know what she thought. I think she has started an e-mail three times and gets flustered and deletes it before she sends it to you. I suppose she is a bit intimidated at the thought of writing a 'real' author of a book she loved. She'll work it out eventually, so if you get an e-mail from a 13 year old girl named Raquel (or Kelly, I don't know if she'll sign it with her nickname or not), just know that whatever she wrote is meant to be filled with praise and unabashed delight for your book. :)