Wednesday, August 26, 2009

T Minus 6 Weeks and Counting

Here's what's on my mind today:

1. Six weeks from now, THE MAZE RUNNER will be in stores! I can't believe it's getting so close. Don't you remember back in the day when you'd get report cards every six weeks? And you'd wonder who the h%$# sent a hornet up Ms. Hudson's beehind to make her give you a D in "Conduct"? That's how long we have. I don't know what that means, but we're definitely getting closer.

2. I received my preliminary schedule for the release tour. I'll be going to (in this order): Seattle, San Francisco/Oakland, Chicago, New York City, Washington DC, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Los Angelas. Look for specific details as we get closer to October 6. (Sorry, Mom, no Atlanta.)

3. I attended a really fun get-together with book bloggers over the weekend, organized by the great Natasha Maw. Instead of giving a report myself, you should read this hilarious account by fellow writer Brodi Ashton, who apparently has a magic ability to digest ice cream upon swallowing: CLICK HERE. She also gives a nice list of other reports if you're interested.

4. THE BLADE OF SHATTERED HOPE (Book 3 of THE 13TH REALITY) now stands at 85,000 words. I'm right in the heart and meat of the Big Ending. Something very disturbing happens. What a surprise!

5. I'm getting better at the Twitter thing, and I plan on doing it quite a bit on the tour so everyone can get a taste of what it's like. I'm also gonna do an intense "Typical Day of an Author" thing soon. To follow me, CLICK HERE. (Twitter name is "jamesdashner")

6. If you don't live in the Rocky Mountains, this is what you missed on Sunday:

Lyrics of the Day

The fire in your eyes
Keeps me alive
I'm sure in her you'll find
The Sanctuary
And the world and the world
The world turns around

She Sells Sanctuary, The Cult (No idea what those lyrics mean, but I challenge you to listen to this song in the car and not feel like something really awesome is gonna happen to you wherever you end up.)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Modnar (That's Random Backwards)

1. Sorry so quiet this week. I'm not even sure why. But here's a catchup.

2. I finally went to the doctor about my knee injury. I won't know for sure until tomorrow, but my doctor would bet his life savings and every one of his children that I have a torn ACL. He said I have two options: a lifestyle change where I don't do stuff like basketball, skiing, tennis, etc. where your knee twists a lot, or have surgery. Mmmm, let's go with surgery.

3. Did the MRI tube thingy yesterday. It's really cool. I felt part Neil Armstrong (spaceship sounds), part cadaver (rolled into an enclosed space, like a morgue), part Tiger Woods (he did this last summer). I highly recommend it.

4. I have the choice of using a tendon from my hamstring or a tendon from a cadaver to rebuild my ACL (that's Anterior Cruciate Ligament for you big dummies out there - haha). It'd be so awesome to have another human living inside my body! Especially if he was evil and slowly started to take over the rest of me, finally my brain. But, nah, doc says it's better to use your own hammy. Will do.

5. In other news, I'm at 78,000 words on Book 3 of THE 13TH REALITY. It's going really well, and I'm definitely at the fun part. I hope to have it done before Krista (Marino, my editor at Random House) sends me her revision notes for THE SCORCH TRIALS, sequel to THE MAZE RUNNER. I hope I don't cry when I get those.

6. My agent has already finished SCORCH, and called me to say he really liked it. You don't know the amount of relief that fills you when you hear something like that. He also gave me some really good news that he won't let me tell you. He's so freaking mean!!!

7. I've been reading a couple of modern classics that I've heard about so many times but never read. The first, SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson, is simply amazing. I don't like to make blanket statements, but I can honestly say it's the single best example of a developed character that I have ever read. Melinda. She is real, and I like her.

8. In the middle of THE WESTING GAME, a Newbery winner by Ellen Raskin. It's really good! Reminds me so much of AND THEN THERE WERE NONE by Agatha Christie, one of my all time favorites.

9. I also want to let you know about a book called THE ADVENTURES OF HASHBROWN WINTERS by Frank Cole. I read this manuscript and blurbed it for the publisher, and now it's out. I LOVE this book (duh, that's why I blurbed it). If you're a fan of Judy Blume (hello? who isn't?), then you need to read this one. Prepare to laugh. A lot. Frank himself is hilarious and does school visits. You should totally check out the website: CLICK HERE.

10. We have less than 50 days until the release of MAZE. Less than 50!!! I can't believe it's coming so soon. We should start seeing some trade reviews here in the next few weeks. If any of you are reading this, I only ask one thing: Please give me a really good review and tell everyone to go buy it. You don't even have to actually read it - I don't care. Just the really good review. Thanks!

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Winners

Thanks to everyone who participated in the giveaway this week. I really enjoyed reading all the lyrics - and I was totally amazed at how varied the selections were. And I was a little embarrassed because a lot of the stuff I'd never heard of.

Speaking of music, it really hit me the other day how varied my own taste is. I always keep a list of random songs I might hear here and there so I can get them off iTunes later. Ya know, you'll hear some song on the radio or at the mall or whatever that you hadn't thought of in years.

Well, the last time I bought songs, I got stuff from the Kenny Wayne Band, Rage Against the Machine, The Cult, The Airborne Toxic Event, and, um, Blondie. Yeah, that's right. Blondie.

Anyway, enough rambling. It's time to announce the three winners of ARCs for THE MAZE RUNNER. These will be coming directly from Random House to you, so enjoy!

BAM Book Reviews

Congrats! Please send me your address and I'll forward it to my publicist (the totally wicked rad awesome Noreen Marchisi). My email is my last name, then my first name, at gmail dot com. Very simple.

Also, if you didn't win, try this other giveaway of MAZE: CLICK HERE.

Everyone have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Authorpalooza Pictures

Okay, first of all, I'm very angry at myself because I totally forgot to do pictures until it was basically too late. And the people I wanted to get one with the most, the awesome people at Barnes and Noble (I'm talking about you, Brandi, Melyn, Michelle, Sylvia, Courtney, man, it seemed like you had about 40 people working yesterday!) I never got because I'm an idiot.

Anyway, a big thanks to Brandi for spearheading this amazing event, in which over 30 local authors came to sign and hang out for three hours. It was really fun.

The giveaway (3 ARCs of THE MAZE RUNNER) continues until Friday at noon, at which time I'll announce the winners. CLICK HERE to read about it, and you can leave a lyrics comment there or here to enter. We broke 100 comments for the first time on the Dude - congrats faithful Duders!

Speaking of, I think 7 or 8 of our long time faithfuls came out to the store last night. It was really great to see you guys.

Okay, sorry I missed so many of my peeps in these pictures, but I did get a few good ones:

J. Scott Savage (FARWORLD), Bron Bahlmann (BONE WARRIORS, published before he has a driver's license), me

Frank Cole, creepy as always (I'll be blogging about his HASHBROWN WINTERS book very soon)

JN Future Author (not sure I can say his real name, one of THE most faithful Duders. Another one, #1, is supposed to email me the picture she took of us)

Laura Bingham (ALVOR, I blurbed her excellent book)

Last but not least, Jessica Day George (DRAGON SLIPPERS, PRINCESS OF THE MIDNIGHT BALL, etc.) looking like she'd rather be gored by a rhino than be seen with me

Monday, August 10, 2009

One Year Anniversary - MAZE Giveaway

This weekend marked one year since I was able to become a full time author. (See, the news made this guy in the picture happy! OK, actually that's some dude from the fifties, but I laugh every time I look at it.)

I still feel thankful each and every day to write for a living. I am one lucky dude! To do something you love for money is a thing I only dreamed about during those miserable few years as an accountant.

(I must stop here and apologize to all my former bosses and co-workers. I really liked YOU. Just not the work. I'm already looking forward to my chastising phone call from you, Doug Lyons.)

Anyway, let's celebrate!

My publisher still has a few ARCs of THE MAZE RUNNER held especially for this blog, so let's give away... three.

Hmmm, how to qualify.....

I feel dorky making people follow me on Twitter or whatever to enter the contest. If you're going to follow me on Twitter or follow this blog or whatever, I want you to do it because you want to, not because you wanted to win a free book.

Okay, so since I recently resurrected the "Lyrics of the Day" thing, let's make that our theme. To enter the drawing, please give us a few lines of a favorite song in the comments. Those will be fun to read during my breaks this week. The contest ends this coming Friday (the 14th) at noon, at which time I will announce the three winners.

REMINDER: Come see me at Authorpalooza at the Orem Barnes and Noble tomorrow night (Tues the 11th) at 7:00 pm.

Lyrics of the Day:

This land is your land,
This land is my land,
From California....

Okay, I'm just kidding. You guys will provide the lyrics this time.

May the best humans win!
(EDIT: One last thing: you guys gotta go check out the inside artwork for J. Scott Savage's upcoming book, FARWORLD: LAND KEEP. CLICK HERE to see it. The illustrations are by Brandon Dorman and really, really cool - like the book! I read it and blurbed it.)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Upcoming Events

Hey, if you live in Utah, I hope you'll try to come see me at Barnes and Noble in Orem this coming Tuesday (Aug 11) at 7:00 pm. Brandi is the CRM there and she's doing an Authorpalooza and I'm really rooting for her to have a good turn out.

Other authors include J. Scott Savage (FARWORLD) and Jessica Day George (DRAGON SLIPPERS) and several others (sorry, don't know the whole list). Come see us! It should be a very relaxed atmosphere with plenty of time for chit chatting.

Also, another really cool event is coming up in Ogden UT on Saturday, August 29th. It's the second annual Writing for Charity writer's conference with big names like Shannon Hale and Brandon Mull. I'll also be there. It's for aspiring writers and every cent of the proceeds goes to support the non-profit Treehouse Museum. For more information, CLICK HERE.

I'm also doing a couple of conferences in September, but I'll give you more information on those as we get closer. And I think that's pretty much it until the release tour for THE MAZE RUNNER. Only eight and a half weeks away!!!!!!

You local Duders come see me in Orem on Tuesday. Please? Don't make me beg.

By the way, don't forget to follow me on Twitter now: CLICK HERE.

Lyrics of the Day:

She runs through the streets with her eyes painted red.
Under a black belly of cloud in the rain.
In through a doorway,
She brings me white gold and pearls, stolen from the sea.
She is raging, she is raging,
And the storm blows up in her eyes.
She will suffer the needle chill.
She's running to stand still.

Running to Stand Still, U2 (Not a clue what that means, but it sure sounds awesome.)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

MAZE Giveaway and Loose Cords

Hey, I noticed a fellow blogger is giving away an ARC of THE MAZE RUNNER. Head over to the Must Read Faster blog for a chance to win it. CLICK HERE. Looks like it's open until August 11th.

I'm also planning on giving away a few more here in the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned.

Update on my knee: it hurts. I was playing basketball yesterday and it seriously felt like a cord ripped off and swung around like Tarzan on crack inside my whole leg. Pretty sure that's not normal. It's now swollen up worse than the original time I hurt it.

Anyway, you won't believe what I did. I made a doctor's appointment! They can't see me until next Thursday. Which stinks, but at least I'm on the way. Every part of me says I'm going to need surgery, which really worries me considering I have almost a month-long release tour coming up in October. Maybe I can postpone it. (the surgery, not the tour you silly!)

Hope everyone's having a great week.

Lyrics of the Day:

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

Crazy Train, Ozzy Osbourne (See! He's not so evil and satanic, now is he?)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Q&A: Random Stuff

Okay, these are all questions from recent comments:

Q: From Melony: How did you overcome discouragement in yourself? I mean, did you ever just think, there's no way this will ever get published, what's the point?

A: I wouldn't be a real writer if I didn't have major self-doubt. In fact, I always thought that it would go away with a book contract. Wrong, tootsie! It gets worse. How do I overcome it? By remembering the core reason I'm doing this: because I love to write stories. If people don't like them, well, that'll really suck. But I won't stop.

Q: From #1dashnerfan: Did you really base Atticus (from the THE 13TH REALITY) on the character from TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD?

A: I didn't really base him on Atticus Finch per se, but that's definitely where I got the name. As a tribute to one of my favorite books and characters.

Q: From Debbie: Do you have a word count goal per week or are you the sort that likes to fly by the seat of your pants?

A: I definitely work by goals when I do my first drafts. I figure out how much time I have to write it, then I divide up the roughly estimated word count into daily goals. And then, yes, I track my progress on a spreadsheet. This is extremely embarrassing and threatens my reputation as a rough and tough sexy grungy Waldenesque cabin writer macho man, but it helps me feel like I'm accomplishing something every day.

Q: From Debbie: What's your favorite word?

A: Deoxyribonucleic Acid. That's actually two words. Well, who cares cuz "football" is the real answer anyway.

Q: From Debbie: How are you liking your new neighborhood?

A: We really, really love it. I already met a dude who invited me to play basketball with him and his buddies twice a week. Went last Thursday and loved it.

Q: From Debbie: Who's your favorite football team? (I apologize if others already know this as I'm new to your blog.)

A: I'm happy to answer! The Atlanta Falcons and Georgia Bulldogs. Die hard fan.

Q: From Graham Chops: What are your favorites from the other sports?

A: Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Hawks, Atlanta Thrashers, Georgia Force. (Can you tell where I was born and raised?)

Q: From Kirsten: How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?

A: The square root of infinity divided by pi multiplied by the pythagorean theorem. (This was my attempt to say what I think Shaq would say.)

Q: From Erin: How did YOU handle all the query/synopsis stuff that comes with trying to get published? Do you think you might ever post your query letter just so I might be able to see what a true author that got his book published/got an agent did?

A: Erin, you should totally read my series of blog posts on how I got published, available on the side bar of this blog. It's a very long story. And somewhere on this blog at some point I posted an actual query letter. Oh, here it is: CLICK HERE. That whole post is about what you do after writing a book.

Q: From Dave: How many copies of THE 13TH REALITY paperbacks are they going to print?

A: Don't know yet.

Q: From LT Elliot: Has the fame of Maze gotten to you at all? Even a bit?

A: Haha, not sure I'd call this fame. Honestly, it's extremely rare that an author has to deal with fame. People like JK Rowling and Stephenie Meyer are MAJOR anomalies. I really don't think I'll have to worry about it.

Q: From Dave: Please clarify the release dates of your series.

A: THE MAZE RUNNER: October 6, 2009. THE SCORCH TRIALS: October 2010. THE DEATH CURE: October 2011. THE 13TH REALITY books will come out in April the next 3 years; the series will be complete in April of 2012.

Thanks everybody. If you ever have a question, just leave it in the comments.

Lyrics of the Day:

She said we couldn't do no wrong
No other love could be so strong
She locked up my heart in her bottom drawer
Now she took my heart she took my keys
From in my old blue dungarees
And I'll never go to Texas anymore

Hot Dog, Led Zeppelin (This song also mentions a Greyhound bus and U-Haul. I think it was Zeppelin's parody of country music, and I love it.)