Friday, June 27, 2008
Posted by James Dashner at 1:44 PM
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Well, folks, it's officially been 5 years since my very first book came out, A DOOR IN THE WOODS. It blows my mind to think about how much has changed since then, and how much I've learned about the writing craft and the publishing industry. Not to mention the changes in my family. For fun, I'll try to list some of the differences between then and now.
Then: I had 2 boys, one a baby. Now: 3 boys and a girl, oldest eight years old.
Then: Dark brown hair. Now: Dark brown hair with traces of gray.
Then: Very skinny. Now: Almost skinny.
Then: Small regional publisher. Now: National publisher.
Then: First print run of 1,000 copies, paperback. Now: First print run of 40,000 copies, hardback.
Then: Michael Vick. Now: Matt Ryan.
Then: Had never met another author. Now: Have met dozens, including quite a few biggies.
Then: Amateur writer. Now: Not-too-bad writer (I hope!).
Then: Aspirations to become a financial guru. Now: Aspirations to never use a calculator again.
Then: Miserable book signings where people who'd never heard of James Dashner looked at me like I had leprosy. Now: Book signings where people actually come to the store knowing I'll be there, wanting to buy a book.
Then: I begged schools to let me come visit their kids. Now: Schools ask me to come visit.
Then: Willing to donate my left kneecap just to see my book in a bookstore. Now: Willing to donate my left kneecap to see my name on the NY Times list.
Then: Naive about the publishing industry. Now: Naive about the publishing industry.
Then: A cover with a gigantic photo of a kid's face on it. Now: A cover with an awesome painting by studly New Yorker Bryan Beus.
Then: Hobby. Now: Profession.
Then: Had an unnatural urge to eat cheese. Now: Have an unnatural urge to eat cheese.
Then: No agent. Now: Michael Bourret, best agent on the planet.
Then: Knew nothing. Now: Know a lot more.
Alright, that's enough. Wow, things have changed. Things have really, really changed. If you want to read the 8-part story of how I got published, just scroll down and click on the links to the right that tell every detail. It's an interesting tale.
And the tale is about to get a lot more interesting. Stay tuned.
Posted by James Dashner at 9:45 PM
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Sorry, probably the lamest blog title I've ever come up with, but I don't even know what I'm going to write about yet, so there ya go.
Most exciting: Georgia Grandma has arrived in Utah!!!! (That's my mom, and that's what my kids call her.) She hasn't made it out here in 4 years, so we are thrilled to have her for 10 days. This is the sweetest, humblest, kindest, most wonderful woman to ever step foot on the face of Planet Earth, so I wish you could all meet her.
And what are the odds of this: I just happened to be sitting at lunch with her and my wife and our kids, today, right after she arrived, when I got a very awesome phone call. Now, I can't tell you yet what that awesome phone call was about, but let's just say it was a very special moment, and some tears were shed. Stay tuned.
Moving right along . . . :-)
Dude, Tiger. Dude. Tiger. Out for the rest of the year. After winning what most sportcasters are calling the best US Open ever. My heart is broken. Now I have to prove I'm a real golf fan and watch tournaments without him playing. Bleck.
I just hope he's okay in time for next year's Masters!
Okay, ensuring this will be the most random blog post ever, I'd like to end on one thing:
Having my mom here has reminded me for the millionth time how sad it is that southern hospitality is not the norm worldwide. I was raised in a home where you were taught to say "yes ma'am" and "no ma'am" and "yes sir" and "no sir." If my mom called out my name as a youngster, and I didn't reply by saying "yes ma'am?" my dad would pitch a fit and set things straight. (By the way, he's passed on to that great Ham Radio in the Sky. WA4CYB thank ya much.)
Anyway, now I love Utah and the people here, but they can't hold a candle to the pure hospitable nature and charm of my homeland folks. It just kills me that my kids can't say "yes ma'am" because they'll be given a weird look, perhaps even accused of being rude. Makes me very sad.
It still hurts me to hear kids yell "WHAT!" when their name is called or "YEAH" when asked a question. That just sounds plain rude to me. But I'm a dumb old southerner, and there you have it. Seriously, I can't tell you how many times I've heard people out here say with a straight face that they think someone is ignorant if they have a southern accent. Chaps my hide!
Come listen to my mom talk. She's the smartest woman I've ever known, and she made sure yours truly made straight A's, without ever offering me one cent or incentive. So, I guess in a roundabout way, I'm just trying to say this:
Thank you, Mom. I love you. I might not let you go back home.
Posted by James Dashner at 12:51 PM
Monday, June 16, 2008
Posted by James Dashner at 10:59 AM
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Posted by James Dashner at 8:29 AM
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Writing for Charity
Where: Salt Lake Main Library, 200 East 400 South, Salt Lake City, Utah
Cost: $45 (should be tax deductible!)
9:15 - 10:15 am -- Panel discussion in the auditorium
10:30 - 11:15 -- Break out discussions in topic groups
11:30 - 1:00 -- Small group workshops
Space is limited, first come first serve. To reserve your spot, mail in the $45 registration fee.
Make checks to: "LDS Philanthropies" (the organization that runs The Wheelchair Project) and write "Wheelchair" in the memo line.
Also include: Your name, age, phone number, and area of interest-- picture book writing, fantasy novel, or realistic fiction novel.
Posted by James Dashner at 9:05 AM
Monday, June 2, 2008
Well, I'm a little late reporting, but the Dude was too tired last night to think about blogging.
You'll all be greatly relieved to know that I'm no longer buggin' to up-chuck. But that little spot behind the tree in that posh Beverly Hills neighborhood will always be special to me. And to Chris and Brandon.
Yesterday, the last day of BEA, was a great finale. I spent the morning signing the rest of my books and wandering the booths. And then came the awesome luncheon with Dean Koontz and Michael Connelly.
We sat at a table just 15 feet from these two mega authors as they answered questions from a USA Today reviewer and then from the audience. You'll be proud to know that I was the first one chosen to ask a question, and it was so brilliant I can't remember what it was.
I really like Dean Koontz. He's had such an influence on my writing, and I've read almost all of his books. It was very surreal, and when it was over, I sprinted toward him so we could shake hands and I could tell him how thankful I am he chose to be an author. I also shook Mr. Connelly's hand and got both of my free books signed. It was awesome.
I promised Mr. Koontz I'd send him a copy of my book as a thank you. Please don't let me forget.
The afternoon was spent chillin' with all the great Shadow Mountain people, shipping home our bazillion free books, and readying to head home. I was very excited to see my family, but also a little sad that my first BEA was now over. New York next year, baby!!!!!
To top everything off, I met Mike Tyson in the airport and shook his hand, too. There you have it, full circle. And no, I'm not joking, I have witnesses. I told him I've been a fan of his my whole life, which couldn't be further from the truth. But I didn't want an uppercut to the chin.
Now, after all that, after all those cool authors and all those cool times, the ultimate highlights of my trip occurred last evening. The first was an idea for a book shared by Chris on the plane. It exploded in my head and affected me more than an idea has in a long, long time. I'm already busting to write it and have the whole thing forming in my skull. Thank you Chris! It's going to be called PHOBIA and you can look for it in bookstores within the next 2-10 years.
And the second, of course, was finally getting home to my wife. I've done a lot of travelling lately, and I think this one was particularly hard because I was having so much fun while she labored at home with the kids. It was a very sweet reunion and I'm glad to say that after my trip to Georgia later this week, I'll be home the rest of the summer.
And Chris has already declared that next year we're all taking our spouses to NY.
The countdown to BEA 2009 has officially begun!
To Chris and Gail and Angie and Lee and John and Boyd and Shauna and all the other wonderful people at Shadow Mountain who were there, I say thank you for letting me be part of this and for showing so much faith in me as a writer. I hope I don't disappoint.
Posted by James Dashner at 2:49 PM
Sunday, June 1, 2008
Another great day. Besides the fact that I got extremely nauseated and almost threw up several times this evening and fell asleep early and just woke up in the middle of the night with a small demonic dwarf singing inside my brain telling me to update my blog. That sounds worse than it really was.
Instead of time by time, I'll list today's events in terms of highlights. I hope to post pictures once some very nice people email them to me. Sorry, meant to bring the missus's camera. The following items are NOT in order of wicked coolness; they are mostly chronological.
* I spent most of the morning signing inside the Booth and meeting lots of great librarians, teachers, bookstore people, authors, publishers, etc. A lot of people have copies of THE 13TH REALITY that did not have them yesterday.
* Spent time walking the showfloor with Jason Wright, often New York Times Bestselling author of CHRISTMAS JARS, WEDNESDAY LETTERS, and the upcoming RECOVERING CHARLES. He gave me lots of sound advice and told me many valuable things he's learned the last couple of years, including how much his agent (Laurie Liss) has helped him. This really made me thankful that Michael Bourret was suckered into representing me.
* I was thrilled over and over to hear so many editors and marketing people from the major publishers tell me how well they know Michael and how lucky I am to have him as an agent. Kudos to you, Michael!
* Had lunch with Jenn Northington from The King's English bookstore in Salt Lake City. I made her sign a contract in blood to always invite me to meet big time authors when they come to her store. Jenn has become a great friend, and the authors of the world are lucky to have people like her alive.
* Spotted Sherman Alexie passing nearby while eating. Before I could talk myself out of it, I jumped from the table and ran to him, using my good friend Sara Zarr as an excuse to introduce myself. This guy is tops, dude. He was so incredibly gracious, genuine, and kind, and now he's earned a true fan for life. The world is lucky he switched to writing for younger people instead of stupid boring old adults.
* Hung out around the main autograph tables for awhile. Stood ten feet away from Christopher Paolini (ERAGON, as if you didn't know) for at least five minutes and simply stared at him. I didn't have a ticket for his line, so I could merely stalk. He seems like a really nice guy, too, smiling and making a nice moment for each signee. I almost murdered Chris when I found out he and Brandon "chit-chatted" with Mr. Paolini for 15 minutes in the green room.
* Hung out with Dean Lorey again (NIGHTMARE ACADEMY) and his lovely wife. He's definitely one of my new favorite people and we swore to keep in touch.
* Had the incredible privilege to meet and talk with Melissa Marr (WICKED LOVELY). I know so many people who LOVE that book and its sequel INK EXCHANGE. Stephenie Meyer fans are going to discover her more and more as time goes by.
* Met a lot of awesome people in the booths, which I was more able to wander today. Except I have the worst timing of human history - I kept just barely missing people like Dean Koontz and Stan Lee.
* Really enjoyed meeting the Mirrorstone Books people, who surprised me greatly when at least 3 of them recognized my name and told me how much they loved THE MAZE RUNNER, which they are considering. Can't say much more on that topic, but a big thanks to them for making my day.
* Chit-chatted with Rubin Pfeffer, Senior Vice-President of Simon & Schuster. An incredibly nice guy who very sincerely expressed how impressed he is with Shadow Mountain, my book, and their partnership on the paperbacks. Sorry, I don't know anything yet, so don't ask (hee hee). I also met Bethany Buck, a vice president (over Aladdin and Simon Pulse). S&S sure has nice people!
* And then it happened. Me. Brandon Mull. Chris Schoebinger. Cocktail (and Coca Cola) party at the headquarters of CAA, Creative Artists Agency. Met Matthew Snyder, uber agent who is representing the movie rights for Shadow Mountain and a wonderful guy. And then Neil Gaiman walks in, who was literally only there for about fifteen minutes (he has to appear at ALL the parties, I reckon).
But thanks to Mr. Mull's lightning quick feet, the three of us spent several minutes talking to THE MAN himself. I know you're getting sick of my use of hyperbole, but holy cow what a genuinely nice man. Seriously. He told us the coolest story about how THE GRAVEYARD BOOK is the first time in his 24 year career that a book has exceeded his initial vision, i.e. turned out better than he'd hoped. And he didn't say this arrogantly at all. What I'm trying to say is that somehow he made us feel like we were on the same level, and we just talked shop. It was incredible.
We shook hands, well-wished, and parted. I think Brandon was even more geeked out than I was. Barely.
Then I got sick (no worries, Mr. Gaiman, had nothing to do with you!). It'd been building for a few hours, slowly but surely. Not sure where it came from, but the ride home was miserable and Chris had to pull over, if you know what I mean. I can't imagine the teasing I'll get for years to come.
Came to the hotel and went straight to bed, sick but smiling from the great day.
Posted by James Dashner at 1:51 AM