Friday, October 30, 2009


Here's what's on my mind the day before ghouls and goblins and Hannah Montanas invade my home:

1. We've sold THE MAZE RUNNER into two more territories: Germany and Spain. I'm very excited, as always! I can't wait to have my very own shelf where I display the book in different languages. I may even force my kids to learn them all so they can read them to me when I'm an old geezer.

2. We had a very nice review today in Newsday: CLICK HERE. Contains perhaps my favorite quote from any review I've ever received: "In the crowded field of post-apocalyptic young adult novels, The Maze Runner has the testosterone to stand out." I love that! Thank you, Newsday.

3. By the way, the above quote replaced by former favorite: "This book is boringboringboring. Don't read it unless you've swallowed poison and need to throw up." (Granted, this was not a professional review, thank goodness.)

4. I'm a bit stressed, but in a good way. I just happen to have revisions to do for both THE SCORCH TRIALS and Book 3 of THE 13TH REALITY. I can do this. I can do it.

5. I wrote a scene in 13th Book 3 that ended up being way too dark and they're making me change it. After a day or so to reflect, I can't disagree. I think I channelled too much of my Stephen King side and forgot that "technically" those books are not meant to terrify and horrify children and scar them for life. Dangit.

6. Did you guys know that the first book of 13TH REALITY comes out in paperback on December 22nd from Aladdin (S&S)? And that it has a new cover? You can preorder it pretty much anywhere now.

7. On the THE SCORCH TRIALS side, I had a great conference with my agent (Michael "Boom Boom" Bourret) and editor (Krista "Don't Call Me Dan" Marino) about the big picture, revisions to the book, plans for Book 3, etc. They are really pushing me and making sure I have every single duck lined up all in a row. And I know they and you tire of hearing me say it, but they are freaking brilliant. I really think you all are going to love Book 2 and how it all wraps up in Book 3 (THE DEATH CURE).

8. I hope everyone has checked out the incredible book video created for MAZE. If you haven't had a chance, please CLICK HERE and watch. Also, today is the last day to vote for your favorite video! Please go and do it.

9. Tomorrow at 3:30 EST, the Georgia Bulldogs have a chance to redeem their season. I expect everyone on Planet Earth to root for them against the Florida Gators, minions of the devil.

10. Oh, and please root for the Falcons against the undefeated Saints on Sunday as well. Thank you for your kindness in advance.

11. I'd like to apologize to Michael and Krista for the childish nicknaming. I won't do it again.

12. Everyone have a superb Halloween! One free word of advice: Never offer the bowl to the children for them to take the candy themselves. Those little buggers are greedy and will take it ALL!

Lyrics of the Day:

I'd buy you Rogaine
When you start losing all your hair
Sew on patches to all you tear
Cuz I love you more than I could ever promise
And you take me the way I am

The Way I Am, Ingrid Michaelson (Not sure I've ever heard lyrics so dumb and so sweet at the same time. haha. I really do love this song. So sue me.)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Are you there, Judy? It's me, James.

That right there is me and Judy Blume. Me. Judy Blume. In the same picture. As Sherman Alexie once put it so eloquently (at the 2008 BEA Children's Breakfast): that's Judy f***ing Blume!

I've been thinking a lot about my 3-week, 8-city tour since coming home, and nothing seems to sum it up better than that picture. I met a lot of great booksellers, librarians, teachers, students, readers, bloggers, fans - and many amazing people at Random House itself - and I had so many incredible experiences. But meeting Ms. Blume was so surreal and unforgettable, and just seems to sum up how RH and The Maze Runner have changed my life.

Here's how it went down:

My hotel was just a few blocks from the Random House offices in Manhattan. I walked over and, after taking a break to eat a hot dog from a street vendor (something I'd been anxiously awaiting for months), I arrived to see this in the window right by the front door:

After shamelessly taking a picture and tweeting it, I entered the building, checked in with security and headed for the elevators. (At which point I popped in a piece of gum because that's what you do after eating a hot dog.) The doors opened, I stepped inside, and so did another person. A very nice, lovely lady.

I knew immediately that it was Judy Blume - I'd seen her speak at BEA, right after the colorfully languaged Mr. Alexie. I wanted to say something, shake her hand, hug her, get down on my knees and thank her for providing all those books that - more than any other author by far - made me fall in love with reading as a kid. But I did nothing.

The elevator dinged and we got off on the same floor. My publicist (the utterly fantastic Noreen Marchisi) was there to greet me, and the Delacorte Publisher (the utterly fantastic Beverly Horowitz) was there to greet Ms. Blume (from this point on I will refer to her as Judy because she is now my friend and you can't say anything different).

Noreen and Beverly made sure to introduce me to Judy, we showed her my book, exchanged a few pleasantries, etc. She was gracious and wonderful. But the real kicker came later. After I did a phone interview, someone came and told us that Judy had invited us back to have "tea and cupcakes" with her.

And that's when the surreal awesomeness of it all started. I spent the next hour chilling in the Big Boss's office (hi Chip Gibson!) with Judy (and several other great people, including my editor Krista and author and friend Carrie Ryan).

Me and Judy.
Judy and me.
Judy and James.
Double J.
J Squared.

She is so awesome, guys! Not a trace or hint of arrogance. Not a wisp of condescension. She made me feel like an equal and a friend. I loved hearing about her life in the Florida Keys and how she and her husband started a movie theater down there. (Which just made me love her all the more because I'm such a movie buff.) I really, really enjoyed every minute of hanging out with her. Even the cupcakes (Famous Magnolia's) were great!

When we were done, she made me promise I'd come visit them in the Keys. Now, I know she might say that to everyone, but still. Don't burst my bubble!

Anyway. Maybe it's odd that I chose this one experience after all the incredible things I did over the last 3 weeks. But you have to understand. The words "Judy Blume" define my childhood. Plain and simple. This is not hyperbole: I love to read because of Judy Blume. She started it all for me, and to sit with her 20-something years later and talk and laugh and eat...

I'll never forget it. You may laugh, but it was as surreal as sitting down with Abraham Lincoln or Charles Dickens. Just amazing for me. I think only one event in my life could come close to matching this one, and maybe I should go ahead and shout this to the world as a plea: Could someone please make sure I meet Stephen King? As Judy defined my middle grade reading years, Uncle Stevie defined high school and everything after.

So, there you have it. I'll try to share more stories from the tour in the next days and weeks.

I do want to say one thing: Thank you to Random House. Not sure I deserved such fine treatment over the last few weeks, but I'm extremely grateful and I hope it was worth the cost. I hope my book makes you lots of money!

Lyrics of the Day:

Judy, Judy, Judy
You're so great, so great
Judy, Judy, Judy
You're the greatest great
You. Are. Great.

Judy, James Dashner

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Maze in Publisher's Weekly - Twice

I was so excited to see that The Maze Runner had not one but two articles in Publisher's Weekly today! And the writeups are so cool - really made my day.

Here is the first one: CLICK HERE.

And the second one: CLICK HERE.

If you missed my writeup about the new book trailer/video for Maze, please CLICK HERE. Go watch it, go vote!

The three week coast to coast tour is almost over - I have mixed feelings. I'm pretty exhausted and excited to be back at home for awhile with my family, but I've also enjoyed the whirlwind of this tour. So many experiences that I will never forget. And so much good food to make me fat. I do look forward to sitting around my office back home in my undies eating doritos, however.

I do want to say this in all seriousness: the future of the world is in good hands. As I've met with students from both middle and high schools, I've been very impressed and encouraged. Most of them know what they want to accomplish in life, and are stone-set to do it. You can see it in their eyes. I'm not so scared to grow old anymore (and sit on my front porch as a geezer in my long johns eating doritos).

Arizona has been so great. I head for LA tomorrow, appearing at Mrs. Nelson's bookshop in La Verne at 4:00. Then I'm speaking at the SCIBA conference Saturday night.

Hope all is well out there. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'll be much more responsive in the comments and on twitter once this tour is done!

Lyrics of the Day:

The selfish, they're all standing in line
Faith in their hope and to buy themselves time
Me, I figure as each breath goes by
I only own my mind

The north is to south what the clock is to time
There's east and there's west and there's everywhere life
I know that I was born and I know that I'll die
The in-between is mine.
I am mine.

I Am Mine, Pearl Jam

Monday, October 19, 2009

Book Trailer for The Maze Runner

I've been tweeting about this like crazy, but in case you haven't heard: the official book trailer for The Maze Runner is now available online. It's part of the Kirkus Reviews 2009 Book Video Awards, sponsored by Random House and shown exclusively on the Barnes and Noble website.

To see the trailer, CLICK HERE, then select the one by filmmaker Brighton Linge. And I won't try to sway your vote, but be sure and vote for the video you like the most. For example, if you thought the trailer for THE MAZE RUNNER is the BEST, then you should VOTE for it by clicking that little button. Which is what I did!

I can't believe how awesome this video is. Seriously. When they showed it to me at the RH offices, I was totally wowed. I'm not sure what I had been expecting, but to see something so professional and terrifying and visually stunning blew me away. It's as good as any movie trailer I've ever seen, and has intensified my desire for the movie to be made by about, oh, a billion times.

I don't know a whole lot about the filmmakers except that they are film students and I have three names: Brighton Linge, Jordan Taratoot, and Keenan Porterfield. I'm sure there are more and I plan on finding out and letting you guys know about them all. I can't believe how talented they are! Honestly, I wish somebody would give them 100 million dollars and let them make the movie themselves.

So, everyone go watch it, vote, then let us know what you think here in the comments. Let's show these guys how much we love it!

Warning: it is very scary and not for small children. And just wait until you hear the sounds of the Grievers...

There's also an extended version that's twice as long that I really, really hope sees the light of day very soon as well. Stay tuned.

In other news, on to Week 3 of The Maze Runner tour! I'll be visiting schools and bookstores in Salt Lake City, Phoenix, then LA. I'll be at the West Jordan BN tonight (Mon. 6pm) and the Murray Borders tomorrow night (Tues. 7pm). For the full schedule, please CLICK HERE. I hope to see some of you...

Now go watch that trailer! And vote for the one that rhymes with The Schlaze Gunner.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Discover Great New Writers

That is the name of the Barnes and Noble program for which I'm honored to say THE MAZE RUNNER is a winter selection! I've known this for awhile but couldn't announce it until now.

I'm incredibly excited about this. Last night we had dinner with some awesome BN folks (hi Kathryn, Jill, Matt, Ben!) and they told me all about the program. I'm sure you guys have seen the section in their stores - every season they select about 14 books by up-and-coming writers to display and promote nationwide. Jill also said that it's usually geared toward books for adults, and MAZE was the only children's/young adult book chosen for this winter.

So, from November 1 to February 1, you'll be seeing a lot of THE MAZE RUNNER throughout the BN stores. I'm so honored and probably said the words "thank you" a thousand times last night, many of them also targeted on Ben, their teen buyer who is really supporting the book.

But I'll say it one more time: Barnes and Noble, thank you.

In other news, I'm in New York City and having the time of my life. If you've missed the play-by-play, go check it out on twitter: One of my favorite moments: I had an incredible in-house event at Random House yesterday, something I'll never forget. I met lots of people, signed a lot of books, showed them my school presentation and did Q&A. It's like one big family there! Loved it.

Final thing: I saw the book trailer for MAZE yesterday, which will be revealed exclusively on very soon. It is incredible and frightening and is as good as any movie preview I've seen. I can't wait for you guys to see it. Stay tuned.

Final final thing: I know I told you the event tonight at BN (86thSt) with Scott Westerfeld, Carrie Ryan, and Michael Grant at 7pm would be streamed live, but I lied. It will be filmed, edited, and then available on the web in a couple of days. Sorry! Stay tuned.

Still to go: Washington DC, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, then LA. For the full schedule, please CLICK HERE.

Lyrics of the Day:

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me
And just forget the world?
I don't quite know
How to say
How I feel
Those three words
Are said too much
They're not enough.

Chasing Cars, Snow Patrol (Cheesy? Yes! Great song? Also yes!)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Maze Runner Tour Update

Well hi there. I know I've been relatively quiet on the blog, but I've tried my hardest to give regular updates over on twitter, so CLICK HERE to catch up if you missed it. You can actually read my posts without signing up if you want.

I thought I'd just hit a couple of highlights. For all the wonderful students, teachers, librarians, bookstore folks, escorts, etc. I've had the privilege of meeting - THANK YOU. I wish there were time to mention everyone.

Sidenote: Diane, Lili, Bill - I love you guys!

One of the greatest events of my author career occurred at Brookhaven Middle School, sponsored by Copperfield's bookstore. I first had lunch with this high school reading group, all of whom had read Maze beforehand. It just blew me away to hear them talk about the book - they really and genuinely seemed to love it. Which made me feel skippy.

Then I spoke and answered questions with the middle schoolers - at least 100 of them, all of whom stayed after school to hear me. That, too, was an incredible skippifying experience. Thanks to Shari - if every student in America had a teacher like her, we could forget about all those nasty world problems like violence, stupidity and hunger.

The other amazing event I experienced was speaking at the annual NCIBA (Northern California Independent Booksellers Association) breakfast. I got to go first as the rookie, which was great because then I could actually sit back and relax as Nancy Farmer and Berkely Breathed spoke. I absolutely loved every millisecond of their speeches.

I was brave and did my usual Top Ten list - and there were plenty of laughs, though I'll never know if they were real because I had strategically planted several courtesy laugh primers in the audience. Genius, I know. Then I basically got down on my knees (figuratively of course) and thanked those people on behalf of all children everywhere for enduring and prevailing in these tough book market times.

That couple of hours really proved to be a major never-forget in my life. Just a bunch of really awesome people.

So... what else?

The book's been out for one full week now. I really have no idea how it's doing yet, but since I'm so new on the national scene, I think it will take time to build an audience. But based on the reaction so far, I hope word of mouth will build. And this week the books are coming out in some of the major retail chains like Target and Walmart. So its distribution is vast - now we just have to hope people are willing to part with a few bucks.

I'd love to hear from you guys in the comments about... well, about anything! I love reading them even though I don't get to respond very much while on tour. I'll get better at that and replying to tweets once I get back.

I'm in Chicago, then New York, then Washington DC this week. Salt Lake, Phoenix, and LA next week. For the full schedule, please CLICK HERE. Come see me!

One event in particular I want to mention again, because *I think* you'll be able to watch it online: the post-apocalyptic panel at the Manhattan Barnes and Noble with me, Scott Westerfeld, Carrie Ryan, and Michael Grant. For details, CLICK HERE.

So, yeah, I know that was kind of a laundry list type post, but there you have it. If you're new to the Dashner Dude, a very big welcome to you! I promise to be much more lively, responsive, and consistent once the tour is over.

Leave me comments to keep my company while travelling about, okay? Don't make me beg!

Lyrics of the Day:

And so there's a change
In your emotions
And all these memories come rushing
Like feral waves to your mind...
You just have to see her
You just have to see her
You just have to see her
You just have to see her
You just have to see her
You know that she'll break you in two

Sometime Around Midnight - The Airborne Toxic Event

Thursday, October 8, 2009

TMR Tour: Day 3

I have a weensie bit of time (is weensie a word or did I just make that up?), so I thought I'd pop in and update the blog.

I'm not going to give you guys many details, because I'm doing my best to do that on Twitter and it's way too overwhelming to think about doing that on here as well. Much easier in short doses. So you guys were right - Twitter is good! It's easy to sign up and follow me: CLICK HERE.

Yesterday was Seattle, today through Saturday is the San Francisco/Oakland area. I've had to get up at 4:00 am for two days in a row, so sleeping in until 8:00 tomorrow will be pure bliss. Yeah, I know, wah wah.

I have no idea how my book is doing sales-wise, and I'm trying really hard not to worry about it. Notice I used the word "trying" because actually I'm spending every free second of the day worrying about it. Just being honest - I can't stop! This has been building for a year and a half, and I'm just sincerely hoping it meets my publisher's expectations. (The previous statement will cause several people to send me emails telling me to cease and desist immediately and might use such words as "idiot" and "pathetic" and "do shut up!" But I'm trying people.)

Nah, it's not really that bad - I'm mostly kidding. I can honestly say I'm enjoying this all very much, and I do believe in my story and that it will connect with many readers out there. I do believe that. It might take time to develop word of mouth, but it WILL happen.

(Hey, I should go into motivational speaking. What's that tall dude's name with the straight edged iron jaw and perfect hair? Yeah, I should be that guy. I'll go around asking people what they want in life and then tell them that it WILL happen, emphasis on the word WILL, all caps preferably. Maybe I'll even pull out all the stops and do the quote thingy with the first two fingers on each hand for certain words.)

Anyway. I'm sorry - this blog post has told you absolutely nothing. I hope my brain's not frying already after only two days. I guess I feel like I've spilled a lot of details on Twitter and I can't bring myself to repeat.

So... I don't know. What do YOU guys want to hear about? Let me know in the comments so I don't embarrass myself with such a pathetic blog post again.

My sincere thanks to everyone involved so far with the tour. I don't dare mention names - I just can't do it. I would leave someone out and I can't risk that. (So instead I mention no one? Great logic Dashner!) But so far every aspect of this trip has been wonderful and you've all made me feel important and loved. Thank you very much.

See you all over on Twitter and back here very soon. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

THE MAZE RUNNER: Now Available!

October 6th. I just looked at my cell phone, and it definitely says October 6th.

It actually came. This day actually came! I'm pretty sure I don't have to say this, but I will: I'm very excited.

So I've been thinking all morning about clever things I could say - especially considering that (hopefully) we'll be getting a lot of new visitors to the Dashner Dude. I began this blog 2 years ago, offering a glimpse into the life of a struggling author. At that time, if you would've told me where I'd be in 2 years, I'm pretty sure I would've dropped dead on the spot. (Which brings up all kinds of trippy space-time continuum condundrums, but let's not go into that.)

But, maybe for the first time in my life, I think I'm speechless. I don't know what to say. I don't know what to expect, either. Random House is throwing an unbelievable amount of support behind this book, and I know the goals are high. So I do feel a ridiculous amount of pressure for Maze to sell.

But I also know I can only do so much. The story is written and brilliantly edited, the cover beautifully designed (yay RHCB design team and artist Philip Straub!). The distribution and bookstore support is overwhelming. I guess we just sit back, wait, and see how it does!

I wanted to thank a few people in this post, and even started it, but then I realized I was just repeating what is already well stated in the acknowledgements of the book. But I do want to say the names of my wife Lynette, my agent Michael Bourret, my editor Krista Marino, my publicists Noreen Marchisi and Emily Pourciau, my publisher Beverly Horowitz, and my international rights agent Lauren Abramo. People, I love you and thank you.

And to all those bookstore and librarian folks out there who have already thrown your support behind Maze, thank you thank you thank you! I love you, too. :)

Okay, so tonight is the launch party and then I head off for the release tour. I have a very busy schedule, but I'll try to blog whenever I have the chance. Here are a few items of interest:

1. I plan on using twitter a lot during this tour - I think it'll be fun for people to have a glimpse into what it's like. If you'd like to follow along, then go to

2. I'll be coming to the Salt Lake City, Seattle, San Francisco/Oakland, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York City, Washington DC, and Phoenix areas. I'd really love to meet as many of you as possible! CLICK HERE for the full schedule.

3. The official launch party is tonight at The King's English bookstore in Salt Lake City at 5:00 pm local time. I'll be doing a reading and Q&A, but we should be there until 7:00 if you can't make it on time. The address is 1511 South 1500 East. And my wife is making treats!

4. Look for details soon on the post-apocalyptic panel that will be streamed live from the Barnes and Noble in Manhattan on Thursday October 15th at 7:00 EST. The panel will include me, Scott Westerfeld, Michael Grant, and Carrie Ryan.

So... I guess that's it. My book is out and I hope you'll give it a chance and read it. Thank you so much for doing so!

I read all of my blog comments via my phone, so please let me know where and when you see the book or buy it, what you think of it, anything. I'd love to hear from you guys as I'm out and about.

I'll end this post with the tagline from the book that's on the bookmarks and ads, which ironically also describes what The Maze Runner and Random House have done to my life:

Everything is going to change.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Launch Party at TKE and etc.

The latest:

1. We're just five days away from the release of THE MAZE RUNNER! I'd like to personally invite everyone on Earth to the official launch party, to be held at 5:00 pm at the very excellent indie store, The King's English in Salt Lake City, Utah. The address is 1511 South 1500 East, just north of the Starbucks.

Please come! It'll be the first chance to get a signed copy of the book. Also, since it's kind of early in the day, I'm a little worried about the turnout (that's called neurosis). I'll be doing a talk and Q&A at 5:00, so come on time if you can - but we should be there until 6:30 or 7:00.

2. Then I head for Seattle, then San Francisco/Oakland, then Chicago, then New York City, then Washington DC, then Salt Lake again, then Phoenix, and we wrap up in L.A. For the full tour schedule of events, please CLICK HERE.

I would really love to meet as many of you as possible!

3. I received my schedule for the tour - wow. I'm going to be one busy dude. Lots of interviews, lots of school visits, lots of signings. I'm a little nervous, but mostly excited.

4. One event is going to be pretty incredible that I think all of you can experience, no matter where you are. I don't know all the details yet, but on October 15th at the big Barnes and Noble in Manhattan, I'll have the honor of serving on a panel discussing post-apocalyptic and dystopian fiction with three other amazing authors: Scott Westerfeld (UGLIES, LEVIATHAN), Michael Grant (GONE, HUNGER) and Carrie Ryan (THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH).

The event will be filmed and streamed on the B&N website. I'll post the details once I know more.

5. In other news, I received my editorial letter and manuscript comments from Krista (Marino) yesterday for THE SCORCH TRIALS, Book 2 of the trilogy. I don't think she really reads my blog, so I can say this without anyone accusing me of brown-nosing: she is freaking brilliant. I can't tell you any specifics because it would just be spoilers, but she nailed so many things that will enhance the book and take it to another level, just like she did with the first one. I am a lucky author to have her as my editor.

6. I can't sleep at nights. I mean, usually I can, but I'm just too excited and antsy this week.

7. Did you watch the series premiere of FLASH FORWARD? As a die-hard fan of LOST, I'm really hoping this can fill that series' shoes once its done for good next spring. I am officially intrigued, especially by that brilliant ending of the first episode. Oh how I loved that!

8. That made me think of something: I'd like to take this opportunity and thank the people responsible for DVRs, TiVos, etc. You are more important than Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Peter Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, and Mother Teresa all rolled up into one. That is all.

9. Speaking of LOST, I'm going to be so, so, so sad when it's over. Any writer should study that series on so many levels to learn about storytelling, characterization, how to structure chapters (the individual episodes are so brilliant!), etc. Sidenote: people don't realize how important the music is in that series! If FLASH FORWARD had the same music person, it would've been twice as powerful.

10. Well, that was kind of a random end to our list today. I have so many thoughts and feelings churning inside me as we get closer to launch day. I'll share more of those soon. I hope everyone is enjoying the best time of year: fall.