Friday, May 30, 2008

Book Expo America Day 2

Wow. Today was one of the highlights of my life. I'll give you an approximately time-accurate report of how the day went.

6:15 am - Woke up. Felt no grogginess because of excitement for the day. Showered and got dressed. Made several giddy sounds because I was alone and knew no one would ever find out. Doh!

6:45 am - Had breakfast with Brandon Mull. Had a custom made omelet that was delicious. Drank lots of orange juice and ate a banana. We were told to eat breakfast because the breakfast we were going to was only bagels and such and our hotel has awesome free food in the mornings.

7:15 am - Met Obert Skye for the first time (author of LEVEN THUMPS and the upcoming PILLAGE). Relieved to find out he's not a dork. Slighty worried cuz he seems funnier than me. We board up in the van with me, Brandon, Obert, and Chris and head for the Los Angeles Convention Center.

7:50 am - We enter the large hall and take our seats at a table for the Children's Author Breakfast. Almost wee my pants when I realize that on our seat is a book by each of the upcoming speakers, including an ARC of Neil Gaiman's upcoming book, THE GRAVEYARD BOOK.

8:00 am - The next hour and a half is simply one of the most enjoyable and thrilling things I've ever sat through. Eoin Colfer spoke first, and he was so funny my face hurt from laughing. Then came Sherman Alexie, who had the best line of the day. He looked over at the guests of honor next to him, and said, "That's *effin* Judy Blume." He expressed my sentiments exactly.

Sherman told a great story about a kid asking him a tough question about life and how he responded to it. Honest to goodness, I teared up.

Then SHE spoke. Judy. Blume. Judy Blume. She was forty feet from me. A live, breathing person. Who was Judy Blume. The person who wrote the books I read over and over and over when I was 8, 9, 10, 11 years old. It was a very big thrill for me, and I thank the good Lord above for putting that woman on the Earth. She's 70 now, and showed us a cool picture from 30 years ago of her, Dr. Seuss, and Maurice Sendak.

Finally, Neil Gaiman spoke. He showed us a special sneak preview (made just for BEA) of his upcoming movie, CORALINE. Then he told us some great stories about his children and how the ideas for some of his books were born. You must read the first 2 paragraphs of his upcoming book (I'm sure it's online somewhere). This man is, has been, and always will be a brilliant writer.

No, I didn't get to meet them. There were LOTS of people there. But it was one of the pinnacle moments of my author career so far. Seriously, I will never, never forget it.

9:47 am - I bump into George Hamilton in the bathroom. He's dressed in the fanciest suit I've ever seen and is as tan as ever. I say, "Hi, Mr. Hamilton." He says, "Hello" (I swear he said it with a British accent). I snicker after he walks away, then brag to everyone when I come out.

11:00 am - I have my first ever signing at BEA. On the way to my table, I walk right past Neil Gaiman and pat him on the back, saying "I love you, Neil." He turns and says, "Thank you."

My signing went very well. Everyone had warned me not to be disappointed because I'm new and probably wouldn't have many people show up. But we had a line the entire time and it had to be cut off when time was up. I was very happy.

12:00 pm - We meet and talk awhile with Dean Lorey, the author of NIGHTMARE ACADEMY and head writer for the last season of ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT. Great guy.

12:30 pm - Lunch with Chris, Obert, and Brandon. I've never seen a food court so packed.

1:30 pm - In-booth signing at the Shadow Mountain booth. Went very well for almost an hour and met lots of librarians and bookstore owners. Yahoo!

2:30 pm - Spent the rest of the day browsing and networking. Chatted with friends Jason Wright, Heather Moore, LuAnn Staheli, Anne Bowen, Brandon Sanderson, and some others. Met someone from my new agency, Lauren, which was way cool.

5:00 pm - Came back to the hotel, where I posted all this stuff.

6:30 pm - We're all meeting to go to some awesome restaurant in Malibu that's by the ocean. So, I gotta go.

Today was awesome, folks. I truly am the luckiest schmoe to ever walk the earth. Talk to ya tomorrow.


J Scott Savage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J Scott Savage said...

Sounds like you're having a ball. I'm jealous as all get out. BTW it's Dean Lorey. He e-mailed me and spoke very highly of everyone at Shadow Mountain. Keep up the great work!

Suzy-Q said...

Dashner!! I am OOZING With Envy!! You have NO IDEA!!! WoW!

You better bring me back some book signed by some author! You're just so dang lucky!!

Gosh, I'm so freaking jealous. I'm with you Savage.

It just kills me, James, that you don't covet signed books the same way I do :) I just don't get how anybody couldn't. Movie stars, who cares. But Authors?? wow.

Way to go!! You earned all this glory Dude! Seriously, you earned it!! Thanks for inspiring the rest of us!!

LaFemmeSimple said...

oooooooooooooooooh...I'm envious! Sounds like so much fun and you BETTER be taking pictures boy!

Any chance of bringing your most favortist baby sister in the whole world some presents? lol

See you next week!

James Dashner said...

Mmm, Mmm, dinner was some kinda good. I had the parmesan halibut.

Jason Wright gave me a lot of advice today on contracts and such. He's such a stud.

Savage, prep for next year, dude. It's in NY.

Suzy, that's very nice of you. Keep writing so you can have the same fun!

Sis, I don't have a camera. I'm a loser. Chris is taking some he's gonna email me.

Tamra Norton said...

Count me in as part of the I'm-so-crazy-jealous-it-almost-hurts-except-for-the-part-where-I'm-happy-for-you club!

Don said...

Great times for a great guy. You rock, Dude. I'm really glad to hear you're having such a blast.

Anonymous said...

Gaiman Karma procured. Excellent.

A Paperback Writer said...

Judy Blume. How cool is that?
Now, Neil Gaiman I've met before -- had a 5-minute conversation with him about post modernism while he was drawing a picture of a rat in my copy of Coraline in Edinburgh, Scotland in 2003. I don't always like everything he writes, but I can ALWAYS see the amazing talent he has.
Fabulous guy. Plus, he's cute. :)

Glad you enjoyed your day. I hope tomorrow's great too.

James Dashner said...

Thanks, guys! I'm glad you weren't here for me to throw up on you!

Marz said...

Oh jealous! Brandon Mull, Obert Skye, Judy Blume, AND Eoin Colfer??!! Oh that's so freakin' awesome. I've read multiple books by everyone of those authors. I bet it was so awesome to listen to them! Not sure I would have paid much attention.. Too busy drooling over the fact that I actually got to meet them!

Lu Ann Brobst Staheli said...

With all that eating you did, I think I should have made YOU haul around the bag of autographed books I collected!

Anonymous said...

I am looking for a Van Dashner who has a brother James. Could you be the one? If so, would you pass my name onto Van who is an old friend from the year I taught in Dupo.?..his senior year I believe. Back then I was Sandra I am Sandra Hochenedel. Just a shot. thanx

didi said...


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