Monday, December 22, 2008

The Good News

Okay, I've strung this out long enough. By now this is probably going to seem anticlimactic, but here we go. Even though it's not official, it's way farther down the line than most book deals that are announced by Publisher's Marketplace. Plus, if it DOES fall through, I'll need you all to console me!

Simon & Schuster is buying the paperback rights to THE 13TH REALITY. This has kind of been in the works for months, but it's pretty much a done deal now. They're negotiating a couple of small things, but my publisher sure seems to think it's definite. For one thing, my friend Wendy Toliver said that when she visited S&S headquarters last week, they had my book displayed in their library. That's gotta be a good sign.....

So what does this mean? A lot of things. S&S is one of the biggest publishers in the world, and I'll now have them backing and promoting my series. They are a big reason why FABLEHAVEN has surged to become a NY Times bestseller, and we can only hope they do the same for me!

It also means that the paperback for Book 1 will not be released in 2009, as originally planned. Book 2 will come out in March '09, and for one full year Books 1 and 2 will only be available in hardback. This is not that unusual. TWILIGHT and many other series have followed this pattern.

In March of 2010, tentatively, Book 3 will come out in hardback at the same time as Books 1 and 2 come out in paperback. Got it? That release may be our biggest hope of hitting the bestseller lists.

Of course, you never know what will happen with THE MAZE RUNNER and Random House. Maybe it'll happen with them first. Or maybe I'm just too dang optimistic!

So there you have it. I think my mind is numb to this news because I've known about its possibility for so long. But if you'd told me 2 years ago that I'd have books published by Random House and Simon & Schuster within a few months of each other, I probably would've fallen dead on the spot. And I know this post doesn't make it sound like it, but I'm very excited.

Woot woot!

See? Told ya.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Why I Live in Utah

I went skiing yesterday. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves:

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Kingsley and Savage

I thought I'd give a big shout out to a couple of authors today, just in time to mischievously influence your holiday shopping. I do happen to know both of these people, but only through the authoring route. And I would never associate with bad writers. :-) Ugly ones, maybe (cue Scott), but not bad ones.

Ladies first:

Kaza Kingsley (definitely not ugly) is the author of the Erec Rex series, and she had some big-time news this year. The first 2 books (THE DRAGON'S EYE and THE MONSTERS OF OTHERNESS) were published by a relatively small press (Firelight). They did so well that the series was purchased by Simon & Schuster in an EIGHT BOOK DEAL!!!!!! That's almost unheard of. This delayed the release of Book 3 (THE SEARCH FOR TRUTH) until June 2009, but it'll be well worth it.

Anyway, Kaza and I have become friends over the Internet and have exchanged signed books, manuscripts, and cover blurbs. Our careers seem parallel in a lot of ways (the biggest way is the good news that I STILL can't tell you yet). Having said all that, I wouldn't be giving this shout out unless I thought her books were incredible, and they are. Seriously, very good stuff. And I'm one of the few to have read Book 3. It takes the series to a whole new level. Congrats, Kaza!!! CLICK HERE for her website.


The other author I wanted to mention is J. Scott Savage. His book is called FARWORLD: WATER KEEP, and it is good, good, good. He happens to be with the same publisher as me and he's also a very close friend. He's taught me more about writing, this business, marketing, you name it, than any other person. And let's face it, this is the only reason I continue to associate with him. :-)

Now, I'm not being biased here. The initial reason Scott (aka Jeff) and I became friends is because of my respect for his writing and knowledge. He's a wizard. And FARWORLD is an awesome book. You (and/or your kids) will love it! CLICK HERE for the website. (By the way, both of these websites are amazing - far better than most book sites.)

Both of these books/series deal with magic and other worldly stuff. But each puts its own unique twist on these concepts that makes them really fun reads.

You can buy them at any bookstore or internet site. Here are the links to Amazon:

I don't do much promoting on this blog - in fact, almost never. (Well, except for myself, which I do shamelessly nonstop.) But I really wanted to tell you about these two fine authors. Give them a chance - you won't regret it.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Revision, Round #2

I heard back from Krista yesterday. For some inexplicable reason I was depressed for about 2 hours, imagining all kinds of ridiculous things like I was causing her too much work and that she'd never buy another book from me as long as she lived. And people, the second round of revisions isn't even that bad! Why are authors so psycho?

Krista told me that she once did 7 rounds of revisions with an author and then bought 3 more books from her. She also said her revisions with me are "normal to minimal." So yeah, that's about a nine and half on the old idiot scale, there, Dashner. I hereby declare that my rookie angst is officially done and over. This is just how it's done. It doesn't mean that I'm a horrible writer.

Why am I even telling you all this? Hey! Look at me! I'm an idiot!

Anyway, all is well, and I'm excited to work on THE MAZE RUNNER once again. This round will be far more pleasant than the last round. And since Krista's going on vacation, I have until January 5th! Plus, this time she made her line edits in the electronic document using track changes, so all I have to do is click "accept" or "reject" for each one. (Who am I kidding, I'll be hitting "accept" 99% of the time.)

Of course, I tossed and turned in bed for about 3 hours last night pondering my fixes. Seriously, these last few tweaks are once again going to take this book to another level. I am one lucky dude to have Krista as my editor!!!!! (And lest ye think I'm brown-nosing, I'm pretty sure she doesn't read my blog - the woman's too busy.)

In other news.....

Tomorrow is Authorpalooza XXLCXXVIIXX, to be held at the West Jordan Barnes and Noble. To be honest, I have no idea who will be there, but probably 10 to 15 authors, including me. It goes from 2:00 to 4:00.

I wanted to share another couple of very nice shout outs for my book that came from highly respectable humans. The first is from my very good friend, um, I mean, this complete stranger that just happens to be a National Book Award finalist. Her name is Sara Zarr. I think. I'm not sure because I, um, don't know her. CLICK HERE.

The other is from Bobbi's Book Nook, run by a very respected reviewer in Kentucky. CLICK HERE.

My last thought: Buy books for presents this year. And this isn't a plea for mine, because if you're here, you've probably already bought mine. But of all the types of presents out there, what could be more valuable and cherished than a good ole book? Save the book industry! Buy books. Buy bookstore gift cards. Not video games. Not toys. Not stupid things. Books.

Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Teens Read, Too

Couple of quick things:

First off, if you haven't checked out the website, teensreadtoo, you should. It's a really great resource. And especially, ahem, since they recently gave me such a glowing review! I thought I'd put a link on here and give them a shout out. Thanks, guys! CLICK HERE to read the review.

Also, sorry I forgot to announce this, but I will be at the LAYTON BARNES AND NOBLE tonight at 7:00. Come and see me! And, very important: the Thursday signing in Bountiful was cancelled a long time ago, but was left on the tour date list over at Sorry for any inconvenience.

Ya know, I'm pretty proud of the reviews we've received for The 13th Reality. In fact, the only slightly negative review came from School Library Journal, and even that one was wasn't so bad. But to have such good ones from the Chicago Sun-Times, Kirkus, the Atlanta Journal and Consitution, the Salt Lake Tribune, the Columbia Tribune, etc., is very rewarding. And even more validating are reviews from sites like teensreadtoo and authors like Brandon Sanderson and Brandon Mull.

You can see some of those reviews if you go scrolling through my old blog posts.

I really don't mean to brag - my book is really a collective effort from a LOT of people. I'm just saying that I'm very proud and very pleased. But ultimately all that matters is what you, the reader, thinks. And if you're here, I'm guessing you liked it. So thanks!

I just heard about the governor of Illinois trying to sell the open senate seat. Yowza.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Book 2 Going to Press

Sometimes I forget that the original purpose of this blog was to give you guys an inside look at the life of an author and the publishing industry. A lot's been going on to get Book 2 ready for press - it's being sent tomorrow. Not a whole lot on my end other than little questions here and there, but it's always fun to be involved.

For example, one item we had to resolve was the title for Book 3 because we really wanted to include that for readers to look forward to. Ever since the first book came out, people have been googling "The Hunt for Dark Infinity" and wondering what in the world it might mean. Although we weren't quite ready to include an excerpt like we did for that one, we wanted to have the title at least.

It hasn't been completely settled yet, but once it is, I'll see if I can reveal the title before Book 2 comes out.

The inside illustrations by Bryan Beus were also shown to me, but I'm not sure if I had any power to change anything if I'd wanted to. Not that it matters - I love them! Book 2 will have 10 full page illustrations, and I really like each one. Bryan, you da man! Maybe one of these days we'll actually meet.

Let's see, what else. It ended up with a few blank pages at the end because of the signature count. I can't remember what the number is, but I guess book lengths are always a multiple of something. I think it's 16. They asked if I had any ideas for what to slip in back there (Michael Scott, don't say it!) but I didn't. I wasn't confident enough in Book 3 yet to include an excerpt. I think they ended up putting a couple of ad pages for other books and one announcing Book 3's title.

Nothing else is popping in my head, but I know I've spoken to Lisa about a million times the last couple of weeks. Anyway, it's all very exciting when your book finally goes to press. There's no pulling back at that point! I should have some copies in my hands by mid-February. Can't wait.

Other tidbits:

The event on Friday for Salt Lake Youth City was really awesome. They made toys for needy kids, played games, I did a little presentation, then Santa came and gave them all a copy of my book and a candy cane.

The puke bug is storming through our house. First the baby, then Kayla, now Bryson. I'm pretty sure we've broken the record for most barf-soaked sheets running through a washing machine in one weekend. Yeah, it's disgusting.

Still haven't heard back from Krista on my rewrites. I'm sure all the publishing industry layoffs last week made for tough times. But there is good news for people who write for children and young adults: most of the layoffs seem to be in the adult divisions. Kids need to read no matter what!

Don't forget you can become a "Follower" of this blog by scrolling down on the right side of this page and clicking on the thingy. I have no idea what that means, but you won't be cool unless you do it.

Speaking of cool, I finally tried to become somewhat active on Facebook (search James Dashner). It's been really trippy to suddenly be in contact with all these people I went to high school with. (Oh, sorry, "with whom I went to high school.") I just assumed they were all dead. (not really) It's been really fun to hear from them - most had no idea I'd become an author. If any of you have made it to the blog, let us know. Duluth High School, Class of '91!!!!!!! (Holy crap, I'm old.)

I guess I'll try to tackle Myspace next. Ugh.

Falcons lost yesterday in a barn burner. It was a very bad loss. Hold me.

Remember I told you I had good news to announce about 2 months ago, and never did? Well, it's getting very close now. Sorry, took longer to solidify than I'd imagined. Stay tuned.

Have a great week!!!!!!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Back to Normal

Today was literally the first day since I quit my job several months ago that I didn't have a very pressing deadline or was on the road travelling. So it's been nice to get into a routine and figure out what I need to accomplish the next 3 months before Book 2 of THE 13TH REALITY comes out.

Most important, of course, is Book 3 of that same series. I'm very excited to work on that. Extremely excited. Like, really, really excited. Bumblebees on crack excited. Yeah.

So I headed to Kmart early this morning, like any upstanding young author would do on his first day of stress-free work. I bought the following: 2 mini-packs of Kleenex, a bag of cough drops, a sweet planner/notes portfolio, and the game Othello. I bet no person in the history of Kmart has ever bought that combination before. I'm special.

Yeah, I'm still lingering sickly. Coughing, runny nose. Nothing too bad, but just enough to annoy me. I curse the very first germ that gave birth to the trillions since.

One of our most faithful followers here at the Dashner Dude is worried I didn't get her email telling me how much she liked the Advance Reader Copy of THE HUNT FOR DARK INFINITY. Q, my good friend, I did receive it, and you made my day. I'm so glad you didn't hate it.

I still haven't heard from Krista on my rewrites. Maybe once I do, I won't be so stress free anymore.

Don't forget the big Christmas party at The King's English tonight! It starts at 5:30. And I'll be at Liberty Park tomorrow afternoon doing a thing for Salt Lake City Youth. Apparently Santy Clause is going to give away 200 of my books to children in need. Is that awesome or what?! (For the life of me I can't figure out how his creepy little elves got the rights from my publisher to make those in the NP toy shop. Fascinating stuff.)

Talk to ya soon.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Boohoo, Vacation Over

Dang. How does 2 weeks go by so fast? Tomorrow we head back to the mountains, leaving the trees and hills of Georgia behind. Wow, that was poetic. For me anyway.

We had good times. Well, except for the fact that every single person in my mom's house got sick. Yeah, that was fun. It was one of those nasty cold thingies that just won't go away. I'm finally feeling pretty good today.

Highlights: Seeing family, going to the Coca Cola museum, going to the Etowah Indian Mounds, seeing James Bond, seeing the Lake Lanier Lights, eating food, watching the Falcons win 2 more games, beating my sister-in-law Paige in 3 separate games. But mostly spending time with my mom and the rest of the family. Did I mention food?

Lowlights: Using 246 boxes of Kleenex, 38 bags of cough drops, and watching the stupid yellow jackets beat the mighty Bulldawgs. Oh, the horror.

I should be hearing back from my editor any day on what she thought of the rewrites for MAZE. I'm nervous about it. Very. I'll let you know what she says.

This Thursday night is the big annual Christmas party at The King's English bookstore in Salt Lake City. A lot of wicked cool (my son's been saying that lately--it's very annoying) authors will be there, including, ahem, me. Okay, Shannon Hale will be there, too. Come see us!

I'm excited for the next 3 months. Not a lot of school visits, not a lot of travel. Just plain old, good-fashioned book writing. I also plan to answer a lot of these emails that are stacked up! So stay tuned and don't give up on me......

Hope everyone had a fun Thanksgiving. May the upcoming holidays be filled with lots of joy, food, and Falcons wins. Check back here often in December--I'm gonna be in the blogging mood.