OK, sorry I've been so quiet, but I've had a complete whirlwind of a few days and couldn't quite gather my brain pieces enough to do a report yet. I promise a detailed and full posting is coming soon.
Until then, check out this awesome article in Publisher's Weekly about THE MAZE RUNNER and the YA buzz forum yesterday. And just for the record, when they refer to [wtf], both David and Krista actually said the real deal, which I took as quite an honor. :)
To read the article, CLICK HERE.
btw, I was chillin' with the likes of Scot Westerfeld (UGLIES) and Peter Lerangis (39 CLUES) at dinner tonight. (I'm such a star struck geekin fan boy, it's embarrassing.)
Saturday, May 30, 2009
OK, sorry I've been so quiet, but I've had a complete whirlwind of a few days and couldn't quite gather my brain pieces enough to do a report yet. I promise a detailed and full posting is coming soon.
Posted by James Dashner at 8:00 PM
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
NY Public Library, 100 years old and unbelievable:Statue of Liberty (duh!):
Posted by James Dashner at 7:29 PM
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
And yet another Dashner post where I just throw a bunch of random updates your way:
1. Are you between the ages of 13 and 19? Do you have a problem with making up stories that aren't true? Do you find yourself writing these stories down? Do you like to ignore your mom and dad while they speak because you're outlining scenes in your head? Do you have dreams of people inexplicably paying money to you for just doing a hobby? Do you hate it when people ask you a string of rhetorical questions? Do you hate it that the Dashner Dude isn't even quite sure if he just used the word "rhetorical" correctly?
Well, anyway, I'm presenting at a writer's conference just for teens coming up on June 6th. I really think it's going to be awesome, and I hope some of you (or your children) can make it. For details, CLICK HERE.
2. I'm almost done with the second draft of THE SCORCH TRIALS. I've been reading through it pretty quickly, taking notes on things I want to go back and change, add, or enhance. However, it's solid enough that I'm printing it out as I go for my wife to read. So far she loves it! It's an odd book, darker and creepier than the first, but I'm pretty pleased with how it came out. I can say this much: no one will be able to predict the direction it goes. mwaa haa haa.
3. I'm counting down the hours till my big New York City trip. It'll be my first time, and I'm going to savor every minute of the week I'll be there. My wife and I fly out on Sunday, and then we have four days to play before she comes back and I stay for Book Expo America. I can't wait!!!!!!!
4. Next Tuesday my agent and I are going to the Random House offices for a meet and greet with all the important players in the vast conspiracy to corrupt your minds with THE MAZE RUNNER. I just found this out yesterday, and I'm so excited! Please send me positive vibes so I don't make a fool out of myself and convince them to scrap the whole project.
5. So next Tuesday is also the first time I'll actually get to meet my agent (Michael Bourret) and my editor (Krista Marino) in person. Since I've always envisioned both of them as perfect superhuman geniuses without flaw or vice, I hope they live up to my expectations. hahaha. They have been steadily moving up the James Dashner Top Twenty Most Favored People List, inching ever closer to that top spot inhabited by my mom. Mom, you should be sweating bullets. (kidding! kidding!)
6. I didn't realize until yesterday that of the six authors on the YA Buzz Forum at BEA this year, two of them are Michael's clients! Myself and Jill S. Alexander, author of the upcoming THE SWEETHEARTS OF PROSPER COUNTY. That's one out of three, thirty three percent, a full third! Congrats, Michael.
7. Just a quick note on three things I LOVED recently: the STAR TREK movie, the season finale of LOST, and a YA book called GENESIS (not the one in the Bible).
8. Thanks for all the nice comments about the cover. Overall, you seem really pleased. I exchanged some emails with the artist, Philip Straub, and he's a stud. I'm honored to have his work on my book!
Posted by James Dashner at 10:31 AM
Monday, May 18, 2009
So, let's hear it. What do you think?
The artist's name is Philip Straub. Check out his website: CLICK HERE. I LOVE his work, and I'm so glad they ended up going with him. You can see the full piece (the cover only shows a portion) on his site.
Posted by James Dashner at 6:42 AM
Friday, May 15, 2009
Friday, 6:19 am:
Oopsie daisy, looks like I never quite updated yesterday. I had quite the jam packed schedule and spent the little free time I had with another Dashner Dude, my brother David. Yeah, he's a stud. Yeah, he used to be the lead singer of a heavy metal band called Lazarus. That's right.
Anyway, I've got a lot of stuff to tell you about, including an account of the Four Ladies of Utter Awesome (aka the FLUA aka the Random House reps in DC aka the GJDALOEWHEC - I'll tell you what that stands for later). This, and much much more.
However, I'm about to fly back home and don't have time to give everything justice. But as the Prepub tour is now on hiatus until June 4th in Salt Lake City, I'll be able to give ya some good details later on today. Probably after I take some serious nappage in my own bed.
In the meantime, here's a couple of cool things to chew on:
1. I found out my release tour in October will include EIGHT cities! New York, Washington DC, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Phoenix and Denver. I hope to somehow end up in Atlanta as well since that's where I grew up.
2. RH is printing 90,000 teaser chapter booklets and will have them displayed in coffee shops, bookstores, theaters and other places in ten cities.
I PROMISE to update later on today. Have a good one!
Friday, 4:50 pm:
Ah, home. Safe and sound. Fully napped and refreshed. Just finished playing football with the kids and wiping snotty noses. Did you guys know that the Dashner Dude blog easily broke its record for hits in one week? Congrats to the Duders!
Okay. I shall now pull it together and give the last update for the week. And, I hereby proclaim and announce that on Monday I shall reveal the cover for MAZE. Um, if Krista lets me. Pretty sure she will since the RH reps were showing everyone. I shall also quit using the words "I shall."
Dinner in Chicago. Wednesday night at Naha. Pouring rain and lightning exploding in the sky. Awesome. We had fine folks from Borders, 57th Street Books, Anderson Book Shop, Bookstall, Northbrook, Chicago, and Indian Trails Public Libraries. Also, several people from ALA/Booklist, including the Editor in Chief, Bill Ott.
Besides the usual awesomeness, two things stand out you'll find interesting. First, one lady got drunk off her nethers and said many interesting things. Second, a top secret mission called The Angela Project kicked off in full force. Angela was the only one brave enough to tell me she didn't really love the book this week. (Or, my real hope, the only one who in fact felt that way!)
I promised her that by the time she dies, she'll come around and have "I love James Dashner's books" engraved on her tombstone. It may take some hypnosis and perhaps even a bit of brain implants and electronic pulse manipulation, but the Project will succeed. Have faith.
A special thanks to the RH sales rep, Tim Mooney, one of the most down-to-earth, genuine guys I've ever met. So far 3-for-3 on the wicked awesome sales reps.
The next morning, one of my favorite drivers of the week took me to the airport. Thankfully, there was very heavy traffic because I didn't want to leave the car. I grew up in the south, and so did Mike. And he spent the entire drive telling me stories about growing up without running water, listening to ghost stories at his cousin's little store then walking home terrified, driving this really rich lady all over the country in a Hummer, etc. All kinds of goodies.
And he said something really sweet about his wife. They've been married forty years and he joked that it was because he "cain't get rid of her." But then he quickly grew serious and said, "I gotta tell ya the truth. Don't know what I'd do without that woman." You had to hear it from his mouth to get the full depth of how much he meant it. Mike's the Man.
Flew to Washington DC. I have two brothers there, but I didn't even bother telling them I was coming because I knew we wouldn't have time to get together. Well, I miscalculated because I ended up with 2 hours before my first event. So I called David and we went to my hotel and talked up a storm the whole time. It was really great. (My other brother Michael couldn't get out of work. Responsible. Bleck.)
Next we went to Politics and Prose, a very famous bookstore in the DC area. The lovely Jory Hearst had quite a few students read and love the book, but because of schedules only Mark and Devon could come. These guys were so cool and reminded me of me so much when I was that age it kinda freaked me out. We had a great time, and they also grilled me until I gave things away from Book 2!
And then came the last event of the week, and what a Finale. I don't know what made last night's dinner so special - maybe because I knew that was it. Maybe because we had fewer people so I got to know everyone a little more. Maybe because we had FOUR RH reps, all of whom made it a clean sweep: 7-for-7 on the wicked awesomeness.
Emily Bruce, Nicole DuFort, Sarah Wingfield, and Lauren... wait. I never got Lauren's last name! I'm so embarrassed. Anyway, they were definitely worth the dubbing of FLUA as I mentioned earlier. Also the Give James Dashner A Lot Of Encouragement While He Eats Club. :) Thank you guys SO MUCH!!!
I loved the little postcards Nicole and Emily created with the cover. So, so cool. They put the phrase "WICKED is good" on the back, which is something most of you don't understand but it has to do with the book. Mwaaa haaa haaa haaa.
Anyway, we had a great, great time. Thanks to everyone from Barnes and Noble, Narnia Books, DC Public Library, and the University of Maryland. And Paul for taking me around and giving me a few very interesting history lessons on DC.
And so I came home. What a treat to see Frank again at the airport to drive me. My hope is that he asked for the job and that it kind of becomes a regular thing. And, in a fitting end to the trip, I finally got the nerve to sit in the front seat. Frank gave me some sound marriage advice on the road, and then it was home sweet home. So good to see my wife and kids. So good.
Well, that's it. I'll be home for a week or so and then it's off to New York City, my first time. I will never, never, never, never, never forget the last few days. My heartfelt thanks to my publicists, Noreen Marchisi and Emily Pourciao, for all the hard work to plan the tour. And thanks to all the sales reps, media escorts, booksellers, librarians, and all others involved.
With all of my heart (the oldest cliche in the book but there you have it), thank you. I hope my book delivers after all that. Can you say pressure?
Tune in Monday for the reveal of the cover. Or, um, you... um, might want to go take a peek at the Random House website. Bye!
Posted by James Dashner at 4:18 AM
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Thursday, 9:43 am:
Sorry I'm lagging behind on the tour updates. Krista sent me her final queries before sending MAZE to whoever she sends it to for the very last time. Which means going to press can't be too far away! Anyway, I've been working on that this morning. The dinner last night was... you guessed it! Amazing.
I'll update more on that, my awesome, awesome, AWESOME driver this morning, and other adventures later on. Washington DC, here I come!
Posted by James Dashner at 8:43 AM
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Posted by James Dashner at 6:14 AM
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
I'm sitting in the San Francisco airport, waiting for my flight to Seattle. Two quick things:
1. My driver, Bob, was the coolest. He's 68 and gave me nuggets of wisdom the whole way. For example: the most dangerous time in our lives is not when we're hungry, poor, angry, or sad. It's the "meantime", when we are idle or bored. That's when bad things happen. Also, women have two powerful weapons over men. The first is, um, sex. The second is much more powerful: silence.
When I told him about my tour and such, he quoted Proverbs 18:16: A man's gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men (and women of course!). Bob, you're awesome.
2. As soon as I logged into the Internet here in the airport, I had a gem of an email waiting for me.
Krista sent me the cover for MAZE!!!!!!
However, I can't show it yet because it's not officially finalized. But I'll be showing it soon, probably by the end of the week. But I will say this: I LOVE it. Truly love it. I can't conceive of someone seeing it and NOT picking it up out of curiosity. I'm a happy dude.
Remember to tune in to this SAME blog post later today, where I will update it further. If you missed last night's very late update of my dinner, go read the previous post.
Posted by James Dashner at 9:06 AM
Monday, May 11, 2009
Monday, 2:35 pm:
I just got back from the biggest confidence boost I've had yet for MAZE. Ya know, it's been incredible to hear for months about how much Random House liked my book and how excited they were to promote it and all that. More than incredible. But deep inside me I had this worried itch because everyone reading it was an adult. What about my core target audience? Ya know, teenagers?
Well, I've heard from the first batch of suspects, and it was most excellent!
Let me back up. I actually had the morning off, which was sweet. I slept in, piddled around, got some work done, went on a walk, all very nice. My only hiccup was I walked about two blocks to this really awesome looking breakfast place, ordered, did the whole bit, then realized I'd left my wallet in the hotel. Doh! I hiked back, got it, returned, and started all over. The guy there was very nice for not hating me or calling me an idiot, two things I'm sure he was thinking in his mind.
At 12:30, Dandy Conway, the Random House sales rep for this area, picked me up. For at least thirty minutes before she arrived, I sat in my room worrying about everything from spontaneous combustion to looking like a dork in front of the kids to world hunger to looking like a dork in front of the kids. It was such a relief when the time finally came.
Dandy, you're awesome! You made me feel right at home and I really enjoyed getting to know you. She even let me be the navigator as we drove to the school. And I didn't get us lost, which was a big bonus.
Jen Laughran from Books Inc. (she's also an agent for the Andrea Brown Literary Agency) met us at Brandeis Hillel Day School. I already feel like Jen and Dandy and I are old friends and could hang for hours talkin' about nothin'. Anyway, soon we met with about twelve 7th graders, all of whom had read advance copies of MAZE beforehand.
I couldn't wait any longer. I'd barely said hi when I point blank asked the group if they liked the book. The resounding calls of "YES!" and "I LOVED it!" were too genuine to fake, and my worries finally washed away.
It was a really fun hour, a definite highlight of my author career so far. They asked me a million questions, the first time I've had the opportunity to really dig in and discuss plot points and specifics with readers on this book. I loved every minute of it. I can't describe the immense relief of seeing actual target readers tell me, and more importantly show me, how much they enjoyed my story. It was amazing. Just amazing.
We ran out of time before I could get everyone's name, but I do remember Phoebe, Abigail, Sam, Arbel (sp?), Izzy, and Dannika the teacher. Sorry guys! You were all awesome, and will always be the first group of MAZE readers, so you're what I call special. Thanks.
Whew. Now I have 2 or 3 hours to work on SCORCH, then Dandy's coming to pick me up for our dinner tonight at the One Market Restaurant. About twenty booksellers and librarians are coming, so I'm excited and nervous to see what that's like.
I'll update this same post when I get back tonight and give you a report.
Monday, 9:56 pm:
That was amazing. I'm an author and should come up with a better word, some kind of nifty run of never-before-seen superlatives, but I can't. Tonight was... freaking awesome. Better?
I just spent three hours with some of the greatest literary professionals in the country, and my little brain could barely handle it. It was a whirlwind of conversation and laughs and industry discussions and getting to know each other. And, to my great honor, a lot of MAZE praising. If these people like it, I'm feelin' pretty good about my chances!
The evening went very simply. Dandy picked me up and we drove to the restaurant about 15 minutes early. There was a private room that was already set up with these cool menus sitting on the plates:
Dandy put out nameplates, and each table had a seat marked "Reserved" for yours truly. The first half hour she and I greeted people as they arrived so I could meet them individually. Then drinks were served and we all mingled for awhile. Once we took our seats, Dandy got things started and had me speak for a few minutes. I honestly have no idea what I said. Seriously. Can't remember. But they laughed a few times, hopefully for the right reasons. (Um, please tell me my fly was up.)
The rest of the evening I took turns at each table, spending roughly a half-hour with each group. I really enjoyed this - far more than I'd dared hoped for. Everyone was down to earth and genuine in their hopes that my book finds success. They all seemed to really like it and many promises were made as to them pushing it in their stores and libraries. All of which made me want to shout with glee and do the Elbow Dance on the tables. (Something my nephew invented. Don't ask.)
Dandy was in charge of moving me around, and it always seemed way too early when she dragged me from one to the other. I had a great, wonderful, fabulous time. Truly.
So, a big shout out and thanks to Dandy and all the fine folks from Books Inc, Book Passage, Clayton Books, Hicklebee's, Kepler's, Rakestraw Books, The Storyteller, Towne Center Books, Alameda Juv. Hall Library, Brook Haven, SF Public Library, and The Girl's Middle School (Walter - thanks for those parting words!). You put me at ease and made me feel like a real bonafide author. Thank you very much.
So, guess I better get to bed. Early flight tomorrow to Seattle. I think I'll try to get brave and ask my driver if I can sit in the front seat.....
Posted by James Dashner at 3:32 PM
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Posted by James Dashner at 11:22 PM
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Thought I'd give an update today on all things author.
1. I received the schedule for my prepublicity buzz tour for THE MAZE RUNNER! It's gonna be a hectic five days, but I absolutely can't wait. I'm flying to San Francisco on Sunday, be there Monday, then Seattle on Tuesday, Chicago on Wednesday, Washington DC on Thursday, then back home on Friday. My day in SLC will be on June 4th.
2. I just want to give a shout out to all those booksellers, librarians, and educators who have RSVPed for the dinners in each city. I was very impressed with the list and can't wait to meet all of you! If you happen to stumble onto my blog before I come, say hi in the comments.
3. Each day I'll be meeting with a school group of 7th and 8th graders who have read the book. I'm excited to meet you guys too! And I really hope you don't think my book sucks. If you do, please tell me nicely. Like, "Mr. Dashner, I mean, James? Can I call you James? Yes, well, your book sucks. In a good way."
4. Did you know that publishers treat you like royalty when you go on one of these tours? I know I never grew up, but this is just too cool. Fancy hotels, fancy restaurants. Words like "your driver" and "media escort." I have a feeling I'll spend the whole week thinking they surely picked up the wrong guy. But I won't tell anybody! All I can say is I'm beyond honored, so THANK YOU Random House.
5. I'll try to blog each day of the tour. I'll try very hard. It'll be fun for you guys to get a glimpse into what it's like. So stay tuned in next week!
6. I've been through the second draft of the sequel (THE SCORCH TRIALS) up to about 100 pages. In all honesty, I'm very, very pleased. And relieved. Still some work to do, but it's pretty solid. Anyone who likes MAZE is gonna love this second one. In my humble opinion.
7. RH asked me to write a letter to booksellers to send along with my ARC. I thought that was kinda cool. I basically talked about how MAZE was influenced by ENDER'S GAME and LORD OF THE FLIES. And that despite the darkness along the way, my story is really about hope. Too cheesy?
8. For those of you going to BEA (Book Expo America) in NY at the end of the month, I will be doing two signings. Both are on Friday: 11:00 in the RH booth for MAZE, and at 1:30 on the autograph floor for THE 13TH REALITY (Book 1 to get some new exposure). Then the Buzz Forum is at 2:30 that same day, where Krista Marino (my editor) will be doing a presentation on MAZE. I'll be there the whole three days, so come find me!
9. I recently discovered a song that, for some reason, perfectly describes the mood and feel of SCORCH. You should go listen to it on iTunes or whatever. It's called EPIPHANY by Staind.
10. Seems like there was something else. Hmmm. If I remember, I'll come back and put it here.
11. The world won't know about them for another year and a half, but you should be afraid of Cranks. You should be very, very afraid.
Posted by James Dashner at 11:08 AM
Monday, May 4, 2009
Posted by James Dashner at 8:00 AM
Friday, May 1, 2009
I have a thing about Top Ten lists, ever since watching Letterman as a kid. I try to always have one when I present or MC a conference, so I thought I'd share the list I did last weekend.
To understand three of them better, FYI: Julie Wright, J. Scott Savage, and Dean Lorey are authors who were also guests. So, yeah, you kinda had to be there, but here ya go.
Top Ten Rejected Titles by this Year's Conference Attendees:
10. The Very Old Ladies Detective Agency, Book 1: The Case of the Missing Teeth
9. Morotica: Short Stories of Sexy Mormon Fiction
8. Pants: A History
7. Harry Potter and the Colonoscopy Gone Wrong
6. I Can't Quit Talking: The Julie Wright Story
5. Adverbs for Dummies: How to cleverly and excitingly add lots of superbly written lovely adverbs to make a sadly short book into a wonderfully long one with dumbfoundingly good descriptions.
4. Fungus McGillicuddy and the Toilet of Doom
3. Get Your Fat On: How to Gain Fifty Pounds in Fifty Days
2. Dean Lorey's 101 Ways to Take a Shower
1. J. Scott Savage: My Life in Pictures
In other news, my agency sold the audio rights for Books 2 and 3 of THE MAZE RUNNER to Listening Library, so it's now official that the entire trilogy will be on audio, both on CD and for download. LL is the same company that does Harry Potter, Twilight, and many others.
Only one week until I leave for my prepublicity buzz tour!!!
Posted by James Dashner at 7:43 AM