Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Catching Up - Ten Things

Whoa, sorry I've been so quiet lately. It's been almost a week since I last posted. Unforgivable! Shameful! Disgusting! Okay, enough of that. Let me get you caught up. I've been very busy.

1. I have a deadline. Those are really good things to have if you're a writer, and I have to turn in Book 2 of The 13th Reality (The Hunt for Dark Infinity) to my wonderful and awesome editor, Lisa Mangum, this Friday, May 2nd. So I've been working on rewrites like crazy, and still have a lot to do. But I like how it's all coming together.

2. I have to shout out to Draper Elementary. I was fortunate to be a part of their Literacy Day last week, and it was fantastic. Anne Bowen was also there, and the event couldn't have gone any better. The principal, the teachers, the students - they were all incredible. The classes had done all these cool things like creating their own riddles and potential creatures from the other realities.

It was AWESOME! Draper Dragons - you guys rock! A special thanks to Debbie Snow and Tamra Baker.

3. I went to the Fablehaven 3 launch party last Friday night. Holy cow. If you missed it, you MISSED it. I've never seen anything like that. Over 2,000 people showed up, and the whole thing felt like one big rock concert. I just about lost the old eardrums when Brandon Mull walked out and the place went ballistic. Brandon, you are officially a rock star. Congrats.

4. The Hawks beat the Celtics both times at home, tying the series 2-2. It's been a LONG time since I've had fun watching my Hawks, so I'm loving every minute of it.

5. Congrats again to the winners of the 13th Reality give-away. The books and t-shirt are in the mail!

6. I'm so lucky to be an author, and to live in Utah, where for some odd reason tons of authors live. In the last few days, I've hung out with Shannon Hale, Brandon Sanderson, Brandon Mull, Sara Zarr, Jessica Day George, Anne Bowen, Emily Wing Smith, yada yada yada. And none of it was really planned, either. You should come live here.

7. I will be in Spokane, Washington next week!!!! If you live close, come see me at the booksigning. Friday night, May 9th, Borders, 6:00, 9980 N Newport Hwy. I'll be in San Antonio the week after that. Details in another post soon.

8. If you ARE lucky enough to live in Utah, please put these two events on your calendar:

May 10, Orem Barnes and Noble
Authorpalooza III
Me, Brandon Mull, Brandon Sanderson, Jessica Day George, Sara Zarr, Anne Bowen, and many, many others. It's gonna be nuts - come and join the party.

May 17, Provo Book Festival
For details, CLICK HERE
I'm doing a reading at noon and I'm on a panel at 1:00 with Brandon Mull, Brandon Sanderson, and Mette Ivie Harrison.

9. I'm finally reading The Dark Tower series by Stephen King. Being a big fan of his, I'm not sure why I've waited so long. So far, so very good. And here's an important note for aspiring writers: notice I'm reading even though I have a huge deadline this Friday. All authors must be reading, a lot, all the time. I learned this from SK himself, actually.

10. A lot of people ask me this, so here's the answer: still no word on The Maze Runner. A publisher has it, the editor loves it, just been waiting to hear back for a very long time. I think I may actually send it out to some other publishers if I don't hear back soon, and try to take advantage of the buzz over The 13th Reality. But I promise, somehow someway, that book WILL BE PUBLISHED!!!!!

Wow, long post. Hope all is well in the world with you guys.

Lyrics of the Day:

My shadow's the only one that walks beside me
- Green Day

Ever feel like that? Hang in there, you are loved.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Fablehaven 3 by Brandon Mull

As promised, I wanted to blog a little about the new book, Fablehaven 3: Grip of the Shadow Plague by Brandon Mull. It was just released this week, and I'm sure many of you have heard of this series and read the first 2 books. If not, check them out! I promise you and your kids (if you have some) will love it.

Mostly I wanted to make sure you knew about the huge launch party this Friday, April 25th. It will be held at Cottonwood High School in Utah (5715 S 1300 E in Salt Lake), and it's gonna be incredible. I'll be there, so if any Dashner Dude readers come to the party, seek me out and say howdy. I'll be the slightly goofy lookin' dude salivating over Brandon's success.

There's gonna be a comedy group, characters from the books (including Muriel the witch), books for sale, giveaways, all kinds of fun stuff. And, of course, Brandon will be there. The comedy show starts at 6:00, the main show at 6:30.

To find out more, visit Brandon's website: CLICK HERE.

To buy the new book, CLICK HERE.

To buy The 13th Reality, CLICK HERE. (oops, how did that sneak in there?)

Lyrics of the Day:

And oh, my dreams,
It's never quite as it seems,
'Cause you're a dream to me,
Dream to me.

- The Cranberries

Monday, April 21, 2008


Okay, based on a totally random drawing (I promise!), here are the winners of the first ever 13th Reality Giveaway on the Dashner Dude:

Winners of signed copies of The 13th Reality, Book 1:
A paperback writer

Winner of a 13th Reality T-shirt:
Aaron Brower (yay!)

The 4 of you need to email me your address so I can ship your prize to you. Also, let me know to whom you want me to personalize the book. My email info is listed on the side of this blog. Or you can post it in the comments here if that's easier.

By the way, Fablehaven 3 came out today! I'm proud to say I'm now buds with the author, Brandon Mull. If you haven't discovered Fablehaven yet, get right on it. Check it out: CLICK HERE. I'll blog more about it this week.

Lyrics of the day:

Little secrets
Tremors turn to quake
The smallest oceans still get
Big, big waves

- Pearl Jam

Friday, April 18, 2008

Book Expo America

I wanted to make sure I announced that I will be at BEA this year in L.A. My signing is on Friday (May 30), but I will be at the convention the entire weekend. Dean Koontz will be there!!! I can't wait to meet him.

Anyway, if any fellow authors, publishers, bookstore folks, etc. who read this blog are going to be there, send me an email. I'd love to hang and eat food.

Don't forget the 13th Reality giveaway: you have until the end of tomorrow. CLICK HERE.

Also, a good friend and frequent visitor at the Dashner Dude (Luisa Perkins) is blogging about grammar nazi stuff on Fridays. Check it out: CLICK HERE.

Lyrics of the day:

Crazy, but that's how it goes,
Millions of people living as foes.
Maybe, yeah, yeah, it's not too late,
To learn how to love and forget how to hate.

- Ozzy

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Chicago Sun-Times Review!

We're very excited about getting reviewed by one of the largest papers in the country. Better yet, it's a very glowing review, making my day, my week, and my month. Maybe one day I'll get used to stuff like this, but I highly doubt it.

Here are my favorite excerpts:

"Something lovely has happened to youth fiction. James Dashner has written the first of a series of books about a 13-year-old lad named Atticus Higginbottom in The 13th Reality: The Journal of Curious Letters."

"Dashner also has a sweet sense of humor that imbues the book with a lightness to its suspense that complements his storytelling. Needs must address the seven-volume gorilla in the room, and mention that in a post-Harry Potter world, weak attempts to capture the Rowling Zeitgeist abound. Few copycats offer anything but their pale imitations. The 13th Reality is not of this company."

"The 13th Reality successfully delivers time well spent. The first volume of this series has been finely executed, and his invented realities have an entertaining moral construction for which the reader can easily assent. It is left to the next installment to divine if Atticus and friends have a shot at true literary height. No pressure."

For the full review, CLICK HERE.

Also, and I don't mean to belittle these guys at all as an afterthought, because they are one of the most visited fantasy websites in the country, I got a review from Fantasybookspot.com. I really love how this review is written and how much they "got" what I was trying to do. Check it out: CLICK HERE.

Sorry to pat myself on the back so much. It's just thrilling to get positive reviews from major reviewers, ya know? Authors are sad, pathetic people, and they need validation every once in awhile. This should last me through the end of the week. Or at least today.

DON'T FORGET THE 13TH REALITY GIVE AWAY!!!!! You have until April 19th, and all you have to do is leave a comment to qualify. CLICK HERE.

Lyrics of the day:

Okay, hopefully you got my joke last time. I'm sure Miley Cyrus has some great lyrics, but those cracked me up, listed exactly that way on the Internet. Back to stuff I've actually heard on my own:

You see everything, you see every part
You see all my light and you love my dark
You dig everything of which I'm ashamed
There's not anything to which you can't relate
And you're still here

- Alanis Morissette

Monday, April 14, 2008

13th Reality Give Away

Inspired by the lovely Miss Zoot, who gave away a few of my books recently, I've decided to do the exact same thing. So here we are, the official 13th Reality giveaway. Here are the rules:

1. I'm going to give away THREE signed and personalized copies of the new hardback, plus a 13th Reality T-shirt. I will also pay to ship it to you.

2. The only thing you have to do to enter the drawing is leave a comment on THIS blog post. Your name will enter the hat, from which I'll randomly draw three winners.

3. Here's the theme of the comments: What is your favorite book and why (in 25 words or less)? Disclaimer: mentioning my book does not increase your chances of winning, har har.

4. I'll leave the contest open until Saturday night of this week. So, until April 19th at midnight.

5. I'll announce the winners next Monday, at which time I will ask you to email me your address. Please check back next Monday and email me if you win. I will go to the next in line if I haven't heard from you in a couple of days.

6. Nice and simple right? If you guys spread the word and we get a good turnout, I just might do this each and every month until every person in the world has a copy. Of course, I guess you don't have incentive to spread the word because that decreases your chances of winning. Oh well, I'm doing it anyway!!!!

In the meantime, I'm not sure how much longer the killer sale at Amazon will last. It's 5 bucks off over there! And though I'm sure you're going to win a free copy and a t-shirt, that doesn't mean you can't go buy a copy for every person you've ever met, plus three more for complete strangers (kidding, of course). If you've already read it, please go post a review: CLICK HERE.

Lyrics for the day (trying to appeal to some of my younger target audience this time):

Da da da do it now
Yeah yeah yeah
Yeah yeah
- Miley Cyrus

Thursday, April 10, 2008

My Borders Monthly

For the life of me, I can't think of anything to blog about today. So I thought I'd provide some links if you wanna see the extras provided in the April newsletter for Borders Bookstores. Also, I finally saw my book on the Original Voices shelf in an actual bookstore, which was way cool. Sarah, maybe you can do a picture out there and send it to me for posting.

Anyway, from the April 2008 My Borders Monthly:

Sample text (Chapter 1): CLICK HERE

Sample audio (Chapter 2): CLICK HERE

Sample gallery of illustrations: CLICK HERE

A letter from me to Borders Customers: CLICK HERE

Pretty cool, huh? Borders, thank you very much!

Here's your lyrics for the day:

Baby slow down
The end is not as fun as the start
Please stay a child somewhere in your heart
- U2

If you haven't seen it yet, be sure and check out the official Book Trailer for my book: CLICK HERE

Also, I apologize for making an error. I will be in SAN ANTONIO, not Houston, on May 15-16. Sorry, Houstonites and Tamra Norton. I promise I will come there soon.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Book Trailer Premiere and Additional Tour Dates

Okay, you guys have to see this. It's pretty much freaking awesome. Steven Enfield and Reel Line Productions are responsible, and I can't thank them enough. They used my book as a "guinea pig" to launch their new company, and they hope to garner lots of business from what they've done here. Check it out and let me know what you think:

I hope you'll spread the word and tell everyone about it. And please visit the website for Reel Line Productions: http://www.reellineproductions.com/. They also did a 10 minute interview with me that you can see on their site.

If you're an author or know an author or publisher, tell them about Reel Line. They were so awesome to work with and made a lot of revisions to satisfy my publisher. And a TON of work. They really blew me away. THANK YOU!!!!!

Also, my publisher has scheduled two additional tour dates. I will be in Spokane Washington (I finally get to visit the birthplace of Atticus Higginbottom) on May 8th and 9th and Houston Texas on May 15th and 16th. Details to come, but mark those calendars!

Dashner Dude Lyrics Thingy:

And the men who hold high places
Must be the ones who start
To mold a new reality
Closer to the heart

- Rush

Friday, April 4, 2008

Update on Book 2

It's been awhile since I last updated you guys on the progress of Book 2 (THE HUNT FOR DARK INFINITY). It's going well. I basically took a month off during the release of Book 1, but now I'm working like crazy again. My wife is currently reading the second draft and giving me feedback, always good. The most important thing: she loves it!

Once I go through her suggestions and work through it a couple more times, then I'll be ready to send it out to my trusted author buddies. Then it's on to my editor. In case you didn't know, it's scheduled to be released in March of 2009.

It's kind of weird to be the only person on the entire planet to know the details of your book. Particularly when you know it will be published and read by many. It's kind of like this magical secret that you're keeping from the world, living inside your head, a special thing for you and you only. On the other hand, it's terrifying to wonder what people will think about it. It takes a lot of work to write a novel, and no one can get past the worry that it will stink and be for naught.

Now my wife makes it 2 people. I love hearing her little comments as she reads. Especially when she says how cool it is to see Tick and Paul and Sofia and everyone else in completely new situations and settings. That makes me feel like they've become real to her, which is what I ultimately hope for.

I know Book 1 just came out, but I'm so excited for people to read Book 2! I personally think it's twice as good as Book 1, but I'm biased I guess. We'll see what you guys think.

I better apologize in advance for something. I've heard from a lot of readers that Edgar is their favorite character. Him more than anyone else. Well, he gets electrocuted and dies in the first chapter of Book 2. Okay, just kidding. But he's not in the second book that much, so sorry. The nature of the story just doesn't allow it. But he (and his wife) will play a huge role in Book 3. So be patient.

Last night I went to the annual author appreciation dinner put on by the publisher of the Jimmy Fincher books. I was a little nervous because sometimes I think they see me as a traitor. But they made me feel very welcome and still loved, to my great relief. And the food was dee-lish. Thank you, Cedar Fort. Especially Angie Harris and Kammi Rencher!!!

Okay, continuing the grand tradition started Tuesday, the second installment of the Dashner Dude Lyrics Thingy:

There's a light in your eyes that keeps shining
Like a star that can't wait for the night.
- Led Zeppelin

I love that line. Mainly because I'm such a sensitive dude.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Q&A: A Tale of Agents

I get asked about agents all the time, and it's high time we did another question and answer. So that's our theme today.

I've already talked about how you get an agent in a prior Q&A: CLICK HERE. So today I'm going to discuss the point of having an agent, and whether or not you should get one. And it's real simple: yes. If you write a book that you want other people to read - i.e. you are an author - then you should get an agent. Period. Wasn't that simple?

This isn't rocket science. Yes, you have to pay your agent 15 percent of every dollar you make as an author. Whoopty do. If your agent is even remotely competent, he or she will probably make that up to you and more. Far more. Foreign rights, movie rights, audio rights, paperback rights, yada yada yada. An agent will get you deals and subsidiary rights deals that you'll never get on your own.

Also, Brandon Sanderson told me a very important thing, that I haven't seen yet because I'm just starting out. All his money funnels through his agent. Can you imagine the headaches if you had to deal with every separate check from foreign agents, dealing with tons of 1099s, taxes, yada yada yada? It all goes to Brandon's agent, and Brandon then gets one nice check, always from the same source. One 1099.

I firmly believe an author should have an agent. A good one. A reputable one. One that believes in you as an author and wants to fight for you. One that is willing to give feedback on what you write. This is what's so cool about having an agent: they don't make a dime unless you make a dime. You're both in it together, and both of you have every incentive to work hard and make money together.

A sidenote: You should already know this, but NEVER sign with an agent that charges you a fee. Never. Like I said, an agent shouldn't make a dime until you make a dime. And to find an agent, go to writer's conferences or buy the book "Guide to Literary Agents."

Now, ready for the kicker? I DON'T HAVE AN AGENT.

Don't you love that? I'm such a hypocrite.

Ah, man, it's such a long story. I did have an agent until recently. And I appreciate all she did for me, and I consider her a friend and always will. But it just didn't work out, and we went our separate ways about a month ago. This may happen to you. It happens to a lot of people. There's only one thing more important than having an agent - having an agent that you're comfortable with and get along with and yada yada yada. (notice the yada theme today)

But don't worry, I will have an agent. I've already spoken with several, and have one in mind that I really, really like. But my situation is kind of different for now, so I'm not in a rush.

My publisher, Shadow Mountain, owns world rights to my book. Most agents would have never agreed to that, but I'm totally fine with it. My publisher is extremely selective in which authors and books they choose, and then they spend a bahoonkas amount of money to promote it. I'm perfectly happy. I'd rather get a little less of a lot of money than a whole lot of a little money. Go figure that statement out, take some advil, and then come back.

In other words, when my publisher sells subsidiary rights, we will split it 50-50. I'm cool wid dat.

Some of you old grizzly, grumpy authors out there probably think I'm an idiot. Yes, you're very smart. Congratulations! As for me, I couldn't be happier. What a wonderful problem I have:

My publisher currently has one of the biggest agencies in New York representing my series at the Children's Fair in Bologna (this week! keep your fingers crossed). They also have Creative Artists Agency in Los Angeles shopping the movie rights. I see great things on the horizon. My publisher really knows what they're doing. Chris Schoebinger and his people are geniuses. Let me repeat my profound statement: I'd rather get a little less of a lot of money than a whole lot of a little money.

Okay, enough of this - it's ruining my day. It's not about the money, and if you don't believe me, then you don't know me. I love to write. I love to write for children. I love to speak at the schools. I love being an author. And my dream has come true. I'm the luckiest schmoe on Planet Earth.

What a bizarre post. Maybe I should delete it. Not sure I taught you anything. Pretty sure I rambled. Meh, we'll go with it.

Okay, new feature at The Dashner Dude! (if you've actually read this far) I will now start ending my posts with a little snippet of lyrics I've heard and really liked recently. Blame it on my iPod. This is totally random, but I heard this today and thought it was cool, even though I have no idea what it means:

You've gone a million miles, but where did you get?
To that place you can't remember, and you can't forget.
- Bruce Springsteen

Would someone let me know what that means?

Have a great day!