Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye 2009 - I Loved You

It's been a great year. I know most people do all kinds of fancy stuff where they list all their most wonderfulest things of the year and all the most wonderfulest things they're looking forward to next year. And I love reading those!

But I'm too scared to do it because I know I will leave something or someone out and then I'll feel guilty until the end of the next year. So, here's a blanket statement: I really loved 2009 and I can't wait for 2010!!!!

But I will say this: 2009 was the first full calendar year in which I worked solely as an author. And for that, I am extremely grateful and consider myself one lucky dude. (In case you didn't know, I used to be an accountant. Oh, the horror.)

Here are a few things that might interest you:

1. Sorry for the late notice, because I thought it was tomorrow, but all day today and tonight, there will be commercials for THE MAZE RUNNER running during the Twilight Zone Marathon on the Syfy Channel. It's supposed to run 11 times I think. Set those DVRs!!!

2. The commercial will also run during an episode of Fringe (Fox) in a couple of weeks, on the 14th.

3. My book made it on another "best of 2009" list, this time from Barnes and Noble: CLICK HERE to see it. Thanks BN!!!!!!

4. I hope the word is getting out that the paperback for the first book in THE 13TH REALITY series is now in stores, from Simon & Schuster (Aladdin imprint). It's called THE JOURNAL OF CURIOUS LETTERS. I really think those of you who liked MAZE will like this book! Give it a try. Book 2 comes out in paperback in February, then Book 3 in hardback in April.

5. I've noticed a lot of new people are discovering my blog. Welcome guys! I'm really glad to have you here. If you have a question, please leave it in the comments and I'll answer them in a future post. You can also follow me on Twitter (CLICK HERE) and you can follow this blog (CLICK HERE).

Gotta run, but I really look forward to getting to know more of you and hanging out with you here on the blog in 2010. Happy New Year!!!

P.S. THANK YOU for all the nice words about The Maze Runner lately in the comments. I really appreciate it.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Catch Up (not Ketchup)

Hi everybody! Isn't it so annoying when bloggers promise they've turned over a new leaf and they are going to blog like crazy from now on, and then more than a week passes and you don't hear from them? Yes, that is so annoying.

I hope you guys are enjoying the time of year. I know I am. I really feel like I've turned a corner in my revisions for THE SCORCH TRIALS, so I'm feeling pretty good. My due date is January 4th, so I better be!

A few things:

1. Late notice, but I will be at the Fort Union Deseret Bookstore in Utah tomorrow (Saturday the 19th) from 1:00 to 3:00. It's my last signing of the year, so come one come all. There'll be treats! Well, maybe not treats, but there will be books.

2. I'm very excited that the paperback for Book 1 of THE 13TH REALITY is finally coming out!!!!!! It will be in stores on Tuesday the 22nd (if not already). I received a copy and I love, love, love how it looks. And it's only $7.99. Pretty cheap for 500 pages of good times. That's the cover up top in case you missed it.

3. My good friend and editor, Stacy Whitman (who helped me a lot with THE MAZE RUNNER), is starting her own publishing company. Her goal is to provide more multicultural science fiction and fantasy, which I think is a very noble cause. Take a second and check out her website - you'll be very impressed: CLICK HERE.

4. If you'd like to read or hear an interview with me on The Author Hour, CLICK HERE.

5. If you want to see a very long interview with me on a show called Books Alive that I filmed during my tour, CLICK HERE. I guess I need to accept the fact that I can no longer hide from the world just how big of a dork I am. Sigh. (Barb, the host, was so funny!)

6. I hereby declare and promise that I will never tease about good news again. I'm so sorry! I didn't think it'd take so long to get permission to announce it. Wait, I basically just teased you again. I'm awful. Truly awful. Oh come on, you guys can guess what it is. You're smart. Plus, I've seen it leaked on a couple of websites.

7. I also apologize for being so terrible at Twitter and Facebook. I'll set a New Year's resolution to be better in 2010!

8. Jeremiah, a faithful Dashner Duder, has set up a website for a battle between MAZE and Percy Jackson. I thought this was too cool for words. Please go vote your conscience! CLICK HERE.

9. It's Opening Day for AVATAR!!!!!!!! I'll be seeing it on the IMAX with my son at 3:00. Yeah boy!

10. The Falcons have no chance to make the playoffs. Oh, the horror!!!!

Okay, here are some Q&A from the comments:

First, as always, THANK YOU to those who left nice comments about my book. I never tire of hearing such things! Also, thanks for all the congrats on being chosen as a Kirkus best book of 2009.

Laura asked what my next big thing I'm going to do that's not book related. Hmmmm. My family is going to San Diego in January. Sea World, Legoland, etc. Should be fun.

Stacey asked what I did to celebrate selling MAZE to RH. It was kinda cool. My mom had just arrived from Georgia for a visit and we were all at lunch together when my agent called. That was celebration enough! (I'm going to leave out the part about me screaming like a girl and running around pushing old ladies down with glee.)

Jack Porter asked how many times 13th Reality was rejected. Zero. They'd actually rejected something else but liked my writing, asked for a new proposal. The rest is history! But I've received at least 30 rejections throughout my career.

#1dashnerfan, to find publishers, you need to check out a book called Writer's Market. Very good.

Allison (Well Read Reviews) asked about the title for the sequel to MAZE. It's called THE SCORCH TRIALS and comes out next fall. You're gonna like it!

Aaron, yes, sometimes the drums hurt my ears. :)

And, wow, reading through the comments once again, I have to say thank you one more time. So many nice words! You guys are way too good to me. Thank you.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It's the Most Wonderful Time...

...of the year.

Isn't it? Duders, we've entered easily the most favoritestest month of the year for me. I love December, and the only downside is that since it's begun, it means it will end. But that would be a really pessimistic way too look at it, so I won't. I refuse to think that the holidays will be over and then football soon after that. Oh, the agony!!!!

We got dumped on with the white stuff today. (That's snow, for you folks from my hometown in Georgia.) I spent over an hour shovelling it, and I actually enjoyed it, especially after my wife forced me to put on a hat and my ears discontinued their path to frostbite. But I still think we should get a snow blower. Maybe. Or not. Maybe...

Hmmmm. So what's on my mind today?

1. Still knee-deep in revisions. On two books (The Scorch Trials and The 13th Reality Book 3: The Blade of Shattered Hope.) I'm not a big fan of revisions, but I'm so glad I'm not an idiot and recognize the importance of giving it my best shot. I feel very good about how these books are coming along!

2. My drums are awesome. Really, really awesome. I love playing them. Sometimes my ears hurt.

3. Remember that Droid phone I ranted and raved about? Well, it died after two stellar weeks. Now, Verizon does have incredible customer service and gave me a brand new one. (Wait, wasn't my first one brand new still?) So we'll see. But having said that, I really do love this phone! (My second one, not the first one.)

4. Please, please, please go check out this EXTENDED version of the book trailer for The Maze Runner. It's twice the awesomeness! CLICK HERE. And please spread the word because these guys worked so hard on it.

5. A lot of people have asked me about a certain comment left in the last blog post of mine. Patience, my friends! Patience. All will be revealed very soon.

6. Could someone please explain to me what's up with the movie The Road? I'm dying to see it, and have been for at least a year, and I know it's been released, but it's still not in any theaters around here. Viggo aka Aragorn, could you please remedy the situation? I'm also looking forward to Avatar, Sherlock Holmes, Up in the Air, and about one hundred other movies.

7. People keep telling me in the comments that I'm not posting enough. I have slowed down a bit, huh? Okay, I'll try harder.

8. Note to everyone in charge of college football: You're not smart. Sorry, don't know how else to say it. You're just not very smart. If we had a 16 team playoff to look forward to, it'd be the most amazing thing since the spaceship was invented. Can you imagine the talk and hype over the first round alone??!?! Please quit your jobs and let people with brains take over. That is all. And sorry if I was rude. I'm usually not, really.

9. Had the fortune of attending the book launch party for BEAUTIFUL CREATURES by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl last week. Amazing authors, amazing book, amazing buzz. One of the greatest perks of being an author is hanging out with other authors. You should all do it! Seriously! Go write a book. It's awesome.

10. Remember to follow my blog (CLICK HERE) and follow me on Twitter (CLICK HERE).

Have a great day. Lyrics and Q&A next post, coming soon....

Monday, November 30, 2009

Kirkus Best Books of 2009

I know you guys get tired of hearing good news and feeling like you have to say congrats (which you don't, I swear), but I sure love getting it!

This is one of the biggest honors we've received yet: THE MAZE RUNNER has been selected as one of the best young adult books of 2009 by Kirkus. You can see for yourself by CLICKING HERE and looking at page 4. Or, here is their writeup:

Warning: Not for claustrophobics, or those who worry about being killed by techno-demons in the night. An elevator door opens and an amnesiac boy stumbles out into the Glade, a sanctuary—as glades have been since antiquity— surrounded by a devious, humongous maze. In the Glade, Thomas, the newcomer, finds a company of similarly amnesiac boys, some of them residents for up to two years, with their own rules and a decision-making Council. Defeating the maze is foremost and made especially difficult by its population of Grievers—half-machine, half-animal horrors—that patrol its corridors. James Dashner’s moody, complex narrative manages to maintain a jet-propelled, jaw-wiring intensity. “The Maze Runner was heavily influenced by two books I loved when growing up—Ender’s Game and Lord of the Flies,” says Dashner. "Throw in Holes and the television show Lost, and you get the flavor of the story—frightening but hopeful.” The characters prove a gutsy bunch who use their heads. “The boys show an uncanny, gritty determination not to give up in the face of obstacles,” says the author. “Something I hope all of us would do when it came down to it.” (Ages 12 & up)

We're all very excited and honored by this selection. THANK YOU Kirkus!!! (Congrats to my good friend Sara Zarr for also making the list with her book, ONCE WAS LOST!)

Here are some Q&A from the comments:

Jade, I would LOVE to come to Australia. Make that happen, would ya?

LT Elliot, I really, really love the Droid phone. Love, love, love it.

Alyssa, there might be a chance of me coming to Atlanta in April for the release of Book 3 of THE 13TH REALITY. Stay tuned...

One Cluttered Brain, don't know yet about St. George. Sorry!

Laura and Nichole, about those drums. My best friend, Ben Egan, had a set when we were teenagers. He was very good on them, I was very bad. But he taught me how to play, and I got to where I could kinda do it. Then I went to a studio with my brothers last summer and played for awhile and fell back in love with them. Hence the gift. And I'm getting better and better, but not quite band worthy yet. Haha. My ultimate dream is to jam with Stephen King and his band of authors.

As for a video? Hmmmm. Maybe. Maybe.

dcaprice1224: YES! There is going to be a second book AND a third book. THE SCORCH TRIALS comes out next October, and THE DEATH CURE comes out in October 2011. Just think, when that happens, we'll only have 2 months left to THE HOBBIT in theaters!!!

Debbie, yes, I like celebrating for as long as humanly possibly. I milk it like you wouldn't believe. Just ask my wife.

Deb, don't count out the Falcons just yet. If they beat Phillie next week they are back in the playoffs.

Alyssa, you can see all my books by scrolling down and looking at the right side of my blog.

Kirsten, you know I can't show favoritism or it becomes too obvious!

Most of all, thank you for the birthday wishes. I only have 2 more before I quit counting.

If you haven't "followed" me on this blog yet, please do by CLICKING HERE.

And if you haven't followed me on Twitter yet, CLICK HERE. I promise to get better at it!

Lyrics of the Day:

Don't waste your time on me,
You're already the voice inside my head.

I Miss You, Blink 182

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Checking in...

Hey! Ah, man. I averaged three posts a week for that one week and then ruined it all by averaging zero per week last week. And I used the word "week" four times in that last sentence. Bad writing.

Not a whole lot going on, but here's what's on my mind:

1. My birthday is on Thanksgiving this year. Which is good in the sense that I can eat lots of food and sit around watching football all day, but bad in the sense that I get a two-for-one special day situation. I know, not as bad as Christmas, but still. My wife made it up to me by celebrating early and getting me one of the coolest surprise birthday presents of all time:

2. I'm slightly addicted to the drums. And really getting pretty good if I do say so myself.

3. I had a great time in Michigan last week. Thanks to everyone involved: the schools, the students, the teachers. Thanks to both Barnes and Noble and Borders for hosting events and to all those who came. And I really enjoyed my luncheon at the Borders headquarters. Awesome people and it looks like they're going to promote The Maze Runner a lot this Christmas. Sweet!

4. But most of all I have to thank Mr. XXXX XXXXXXXX. (He insists on staying anonymous.) I didn't know people like this still existed in the world. He is genuine, funny, and completely and absolutely selfless. He personally funded this entire trip so that many students could have the experience of meeting an author (we did 5 schools). And he is by no means rich. I was truly blown away.

5. Mr. XXXXXXXXX also kept me laughing the entire time with constant one liners and countless "sayings", like "kill one cockroach and a thousand come to the funeral" and "women are like streetcars, a new one comes along every 15 minutes." (Don't get mad over that last one - his dad told him that when he got dumped one time to make him feel better. Haha.)

6. Thank you XXXX. I couldn't possibly say it enough times. You are a good man.

7. I've really sucked it up on Twitter lately. I promise to do better!

8. Especially considering my new phone makes it easier. So, I've always coveted the iPhone. But I held off because I LOVE Verizon so much. You can't beat their coverage and their incredible customer service. So when they came out with this new Droid, I couldn't resist. I don't know if it's as good as the iPhone, but it's awfully close. I love, love, love it!

9. I know all you iPhone users will look down on me. I don't care. I win.

10. By the way, I'll be 37. That is freaking old.

11. Maze was chosen for the Texas Lone Star Reading List. It's quite an honor and we are thrilled! Thank you Lori Loranger and everyone else on the committee!!!!!

Q&A from the comments:

LT Elliot asked which kind of cheese I prefer: Well, honestly, I'm a blue collar cheese lover. Cheddar and Pepper Jack!

Erin G: Yes, I knew you were kidding! Haha.

Diva Donna: Yes, I know I owe you guys dinner. Soon!!!!

Shannon O'Donnell: Yes! I would love to come to Montana. I'll email you....

FirstRainbowRose: Nothing in Provo anytime soon. Sorry! Stay tuned for all events....

Matt Hayes asked if I like 13th Reality or Maze better. Hmmmmm. Too close to call!

Dave asked who is publishing 13th Book 3. Shadow Mountain will do the hardback in April, Simon & Schuster the paperback.

ErinG asked if I would still write books if no one paid me for it. Easiest question I've ever gotten: YES!

DkuzNY asked if Maze is going to be made into a movie. I certainly hope so, and though nothing has happened yet, there's definite interest and I really think it will happen.

Jack Porter, great usage of the Maze slang words!

And Aaron, no, I did not die. Thanks for your concern!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Good News, Michigan, and Q&A

Happy Friday! I'll have you notice that I've blogged THREE times this week. That is 3. Three times. Which means this week I'm averaging three times a week. Thank you.

I have two bits of AWESOME news. Then I'll answer some of your questions from the comments.

1. I am very honored and excited to announce that THE MAZE RUNNER is listed #1 on the Indie Next List for this winter. This is done by Indiebound/American Booksellers Association, which represents all the many wonderful and supercool independent bookstores across this great country.

You can read about it (CLICK HERE) and see the full list of selections (CLICK HERE). Congrats to all my other author peeps as well (I'm looking at you Bree Despain)!

Now, I'm not sure what it means that I'm listed as #1. But considering I've never seen myself listed as #1 on any type of list, I will take it and love it.

2. I'm also being honored by the Hudson Booksellers Book Committee. We've all seen their stores in the airports, have we not? It's one reason I don't mind being early for flights! I hang out in that place till the last second.

They've chosen MAZE as one of five best books for young readers for 2009 and it will be prominently displayed in their stores in December and January. I can't wait to see that! That'll definitely be one of those surreal moments for me. Anyone need to be picked up at the airport?

3. So, a very heartfelt and sincere thanks to Indiebound and Hudson. You have certainly made my week.

4. Important Appearance Notice!!!!!

I will be in Michigan next week, visiting some schools (all arranged by the very cool Charlie Stratton) and having a luncheon with the good people at Borders corporate. I also have two public events - please come see me if you live within 1,000 miles!!!

Tuesday, November 17, 7:00 pm
Borders Ann Arbor - Waters Place
3140 Lohr Rd.
Ann Arbor MI 48108

Thursday, November 19, 7:00 pm
Barnes and Noble Huron Village
3235 Washtenaw Ave.
Ann Arbor MI 48104

5. Now, for some Q&A:

Mr. Vincent and Mary asked when THE MAZE RUNNER will be released in the UK. The rights have definitely been sold there (Scholastic/Chicken House), but I don't have a release date yet. I'm guessing spring or summer of 2010?

Erin G asked if I still love peanut butter toast with tomato soup. YES!!!!!!

CTW asked if I'll be doing any signings in northern Utah this Christmas. Nothing scheduled as of right now. Sorry! Always check back here on the blog for events.

Many people have asked about the release date for THE SCORCH TRIALS. No exact date yet, but probably October of 2010. Or that vicinity. I put up a countdown on the right side of the blog.

Blue asked if it's not better to just wait until a series is done and then read the whole thing at once. Hmmmm. I don't know. I think there's a definite joy in waiting and anticipating something you look forward to. Agonizing sometimes, yes. But fun. Fun to talk about the story and speculate while you wait. Fun to long for it. Isn't that the magic of Christmas? The waiting?

Lula didn't necessarily ask a question, but made comments about the greatest college football team in the land (if not by record, by everything else), Georgia Bulldogs. Lula, you are wise and awesome.

Jen Jenkins asked if it's too motherly to say she's proud of me. Absolutely not!!!!! Nor is it too grandmotherly or first cousin once removedly.

Tamara Hart Heiner asked what it's like to be with more than one publisher. It is cool in many ways, most ways. I certainly would be a complete idiot to complain at all. I guess the only slightly hard part would be figuring out how to show them all your faithfulness to them. :)

Anonymous asked about advance copies of SCORCH. Those will probably be available in May. As for who gets them? Let the battle begin! One good way to set yourself up: have a book blog and talk lots and lots about how much you like MAZE. :)

MattE asked about my 13th Reality books. Matt, it's going to be a 5 book series. My favorite characters are Edgar and Mothball. Sally, too.

And to everyone else - THANK YOU for the comments. I read them all, often more than once. And they really help get me through each day. Thank you very much. I'm thrilled that so many of you are enjoying my books.

Lyrics of the Day:

And I don't want the world to see me,
Cause I don't think that they'd understand.
When everything's made to be broken,
I just want you to know who I am.

Iris, Goo Goo Dolls (Has there ever been a group of people more confident in themselves that they can go by Goo Goo Dolls and not apologize for it?)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Paperback Cover, The Hunt for Dark Infinity

Oh, man, I'm so excited to show this to you guys! What do you think? This will be released by Aladdin (Simon & Schuster) on February 23, 2010. Just 3 months away! It's the second book in The 13th Reality series. The artist is Owen Richardson. I so love it!!!!

If you missed it, the first book (The Journal of Curious Letters) will be released in paperback on December 22 of this year. Then Book 2 in Feb, then Book 3 (The Blade of Shattered Hope) will come out in hardback in April. Here is the PB cover for Book 1 (this was done by a different artist, John Picacio):

The hardbacks were actually done by a different artist as well, Bryan Beus. I'm so lucky to have had so much different talent to experience. :) These guys are all amazing. And a big thanks to my Aladdin editor, Emily Lawrence. She's awesome.

I know it's slightly confusing that I have two series going on at the same time. It just worked out that way. I actually wrote the original draft of The Maze Runner before The 13th Reality. If you've read either one, please try out the other! I really think you'll like both.

To preorder these paperbacks, you can CLICK HERE.

I'll answer questions from the comments in my next post, I promise!

Monday, November 9, 2009

How are sales?

Hey guys. What's up? I know I didn't blog last week. I wanted to, but I was performing a social experiment to see how the world would react if I went a full week without blogging. No results of interest. Yet.

The Maze Runner has been out now for about a month. First off, that's hard to believe. I spent a year and a half counting down the days till its release, and now it's passed by, several weeks. I even remember thinking sometimes that once this book was out, life would never be hard again. Tee. Hee. Humans would be idiots if they weren't so darn cute.

Anyway, almost everytime I talk to someone, they ask me how sales are. People have asked it in the comments on this very blog. People have asked me in email and on twitter. Complete strangers have asked me at signings. Lots of people want to know.

Trust me, no one on Planet Earth wants to know more than I do!

It's a very, very difficult question to answer. Now, that sounds like what someone would say if the news is bad news. No bad news here. Random House, my agent, my editor, me - we're all very pleased at how it's doing and how it's building. Each week has pretty much had more sales than the one before it. And we're just about to hit the Christmas season.

But I can't share numbers with you. Not only because my publisher would kill me, but because they wouldn't make sense. The vast majority of people don't understand how this industry works. Just because I have a ton of support and marketing from RH doesn't mean I'm selling millions and hitting all the bestseller lists.

I know I have other books out. But for all intents and purposes I'm a debut author nationwide. Hence the B&N Discovery thing. Also, my book is packed into a genre with a lot of books and readers who are currently in love with romance. And series take time to build usually. Had you heard of Harry Potter or Twilight when there was only one book out, and for just a few weeks at that? Most of you probably just answered no.

Now, having said all that, my book is doing great! All the reviews and trending point to strong word of mouth. I have zero worries, and I'm the biggest worry wart in the history of time. (Ask my mom.) So that should tell you a lot. The numbers are solid and growing. I really think that by the time Book 2 (The Scorch Trials) comes out next year, it'll debut on the NYT list. And who knows? Maybe Maze will hit it before then. We shall see.

So, there's your non-answer. How are sales? Great. Is that good enough? I hope so.

I think I can tell you this one little nugget: You can go back and see that my announced first print run was 100k. That's usually a bit of an exaggeration, but my real one was close. And I heard from a little birdie that Maze is already in its 3rd printing. So there you have it. Speculate as much as you want.....

I can honestly say that what thrills me the most is how many people seem to be enjoying it. Even those who give it somewhat negative reviews usually do so because they're ticked off that it's a trilogy and they didn't know that going in. They accuse me of milking the industry for more money. Hahahahahahahahahahaha. Not true. This was a series from almost the very first. And series are what people love in my genre.

Anyway. Thanks for visiting, and have a great day! Wednesday I'll try to answer some of the questions you guys have asked me in the comments.

Lyrics of the Day:

Don't ask me what you know is true
Don't have to tell you
I love your precious heart
I, I was standing
You were there
Two worlds collided
And they could never tear us apart

Never Tear Us Apart, INXS

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.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Banned Books Week

We all know about the battle against censorship. We all know the importance of free speech. My publisher supports this battle all year long, but this is a special week in which to shout from the rooftops and draw lines in the sand.

Imagine if the censors had their way throughout the years. There'd be no ARE YOU THERE GOD, IT'S ME MARGARET by Judy Blume, or THE GIVER, by Lois Lowry, or THE CHOCOLATE WAR by Robert Cormier or A DAY NO PIGS WOULD DIE by Robert Peck. Countless others. Some people even wanted to ban HARRY POTTER, which is the silliest silliness in the history of silly silliness.

Please spread the word that we can never let ourselves take the first step on that treacherous slippery slope. Check out this website by the Random House First Amendment Committee: CLICK HERE. I love the part where you can read quotes from authors like Judy Blume and Lois Lowry about censorship.

Have a great day. I'll return to my normal giddy ranting about how close we are to my release day soon.

Friday, September 25, 2009


Just a quick post to say that The Book Academy conference was truly amazing yesterday. Over 300 attendees and very well organized. My favorite part was Brandon Sanderson's keynote address. I had a lot of fun serving on a panel and teaching a class, too. Kudos to the folks at UVU!

Also, THE MAZE RUNNER had a great article about it in Publisher's Weekly yesterday. To read it, CLICK HERE. My sincere thanks to Shannon O'Connor at Doylestown Bookshop in Pennsylvania.

If you missed the new cover for The 13th Reality paperback, CLICK HERE.

Eleven days to Oct. 6. Eleven days. Can't wait for single digits!

Lyrics of the Day:

I know someday you'll have a beautiful life
I know you'll be a sun
In somebody else's sky
But why
Why can't it be
Why can't it be mine?

Black, Pearl Jam

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cover - The 13th Reality Paperback

I wanted to show everyone this awesome cover by John Picacio for the paperback of Book 1, to be released December 22, 2009 by Aladdin (an imprint of Simon & Schuster). I really love it!

I'm kind of waiting until THE MAZE RUNNER comes out to give an in-depth introduction to this series so that I don't have to do it twice. But here's the short version because we're getting more and more new people to the Dashner Dude:

The 13th Reality is a 5-book series by a small publisher called Shadow Mountain. The first two books are out in hardcover. (Book 1: THE JOURNAL OF CURIOUS LETTERS), Book 2: THE HUNT FOR DARK INFINITY)

Simon & Schuster purchased the paperback rights to the series, so it's now a joint venture. They made the decision to publish the PBs with different covers, but keep the incredible inside illustrations by Bryan Beus.

So, here's the assumed schedule for the series:

Book 1 pb: December 22, 2009
Book 2 pb: February 2010
Book 3 hb: April 2010
Book 3 pb, Book 4 hb: April 2011
Book 4 pb, Book 5 hb: April 2012
Book 5 pb: April 2013

Yeah, I'm sure you have that memorized now. Would've been a lot easier to say they'll come out every April till it's done.

Anyway, if you end up liking MAZE, I think you'll like this other series of mine. It's full of mystery, riddles, action, other realities, futuristic weapons, monsters, teleportation, and things called barrier wands, tingle wraiths, gnat rats, fangen, ragers, shurrics, sleeks - oops, I'm getting into Book 3, better stop.

Well, I guess I explained it in more detail than I thought. Maybe I'll just link to this in a month or so for our (hopefully) many new Duders once MAZE comes out.

I know it's kind of confusing that I have 2 series going on at the same time, but there you have it. Any questions?

In case you missed it on Monday, we got a great review from Publisher's Weekly for MAZE: CLICK HERE to read it.

Lyrics of the Day:

One day, one night, one moment
My dreams could be tomorrow
One step, one fall, one falter
East or west
Over earth or by ocean
One way to be my journey
This way could be my Book of Days

Book of Days, Enya (yeah, that's right. Enya.)

Monday, September 21, 2009

PW Review of The Maze Runner

We were very excited to wake up this morning and see that Publisher's Weekly gave us a great review! Here it is (don't worry, no spoilers beyond back-of-the-book blurb):

The Maze Runner James Dashner. Delacorte, $16.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-385-73794-4

Dashner (the 13th Reality series) offers up a dark and gripping tale of survival set in a world where teenagers fight for their lives on a daily basis. It starts when Thomas, a teenage amnesiac, wakes up in the Glade, a fragile oasis in the middle of an enormous maze. Here, a group of teenage boys eke out a hazardous existence, exploring the Maze by day and retreating to the Glade at night. No one knows how they got there; no one has ever found a way out (“Old life's over, new life's begun. Learn the rules quick,” the group's leader tells Thomas). Bizarre technological monsters called Grievers patrol the Maze's corridors, almost certain death for any who encounter them. Thomas struggles to regain his memories, but the arrival of a young woman with an ominous message changes the rules of the game.

With a fast-paced narrative steadily answering the myriad questions that arise and an ever-increasing air of tension, Dashner's suspenseful adventure will keep readers guessing until the very end, which paves the way for the inevitable continuation. Ages 12–up. (Oct.)

You can see it online, too: CLICK HERE.

We've had 3 trade reviews now, all extremely positive. I hope you guys agree!

In other news:

1. The Falcons are 2-0. Yes.

2. I had an awesome time at the LUW Roundup conference, and I'm looking forward to the Book Academy conference this Thursday at UVU.

3. We had another foreign rights sale: Spanish (North and Latin America). Yes! Spanish! I'm really, really excited about this one.

4. You can see all the details of my upcoming tour for MAZE by clicking HERE. I really hope to meet a lot of you - come see me!!!

5. Two weeks to release day. Two weeks. TWO WEEKS!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Don't Read Spoilers

I have a small concern. I've been reading many of the advance reader reviews on the internet (something Sara Zarr keeps telling me to NOT do) and I'm really surprised at how some of them are chock full of spoilers. A few are even telling things that happen clear up to the very end.

THE MAZE RUNNER depends heavily on surprise and intrigue. So... two things. Please put SPOILER ALERT before you spill the beans on significant plot points, and for those of you waiting to read it, please don't read the spoilers! I promise your experience reading this book will be so much better if you know little going in.

I don't know, is this a reasonable concern? I'm very thankful for the reviews and the time that went into them. Very much so. Especially you awesome bloggers out there (most of whom are totally great on warning about spoilers). I just want readers to have the best experience possible, and if you know certain things, the book might be ruined. In my opinion.

It's like when someone told my mother-in-law how THE SIXTH SENSE ended. Unforgivable! That person should've been sent to jail for life. Wait, I think it was my wife... haha. Love you sweetie! No, really! I do! Fine, I'll do the dishes...

In other news...

1. Okay, the winner of the forum thingy from my last post is Alysa. (Congrats!) So now I owe books to Jenn, LouMac, and Alysa. Make sure I have your address (email addy is in last post). Also, I'm waiting to see if they have more ARCs. If not, then you'll just have to get a hardback I guess.

2. If you missed the thing about the forum, go over to and sign up. I'll be doing official chats over there starting on Sept. 28th.

3. We are 17 days and 21 hours away from the release! Roughly.

4. My full tour schedule is up on the new website, I'll be coming to 8 cities, and I hope to see many of you while out and about. Just click on the author section to see the tour details.

5. If you haven't played the game on there yet, do it! Even the great Shannon Hale got addicted to it and ignored her children. Serious, they were taken by the state child services just last night. Isn't that awesome?

6. I received some fun stuff in the mail: bookmarks and teaser chapter booklets for MAZE. Here's a picture (sorry my camera phone is so sucky - not sure where that glare came from):

7. I'm off to the LUW writer's conference at the Homestead in the mountains for 2 days. It's gonna be fun - I get to MC the awards dinner. Let's hope I don't make a fool of myself.

8. Everyone have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

James Dashner Forum

Okay, for months we've been toying with the idea of making a forum for all the faithful Duders. Well, we finally have our chance! Random House has their own forum website for its young adult authors, so this works out perfect.

It's called Random Buzzers. aka There are a couple of links for my stuff on the main page.

All you need to do is register with the site (it's free) and then you can post, reply, whatever. They already have a section set up for us. (Beginning Sept 28th, I'll be doing a weeklong series of chats with the random buzzer members. But we might as well get things started!)

CLICK HERE to go to the section for my name. (You have to join and login before you can do anything.) I figure this will be a great testing ground to see if a forum is worth the effort. Duders, don't let me down! If you join, please leave a comment telling us your user name, and I'll give away a book or two.

That reminds me - Jenn, I know I owe you a book! And I never announced the winner from those of you who left silly comments over at Aprilynne's blog contest for my book. The winner is... LouMac!!! Please email me, dashnerjames, gmail.

Okay, we'll see how that goes.....

By the way, if you missed it, please go and check out the official website (, which just went live on Friday. The online game is so awesome and addicting. Let us know in the comments if you're able to achieve all ten missions!

Lyrics of the Day:

You wear guilt
Like shackles on your feet
Like a halo in reverse
And when our worlds they fall apart
When the walls come tumbling in
Though we may deserve it
It will be worth it

Halo, Depeche Mode (Trying to give the young whippersnappers some lessons in music)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Maze Runner Website

Holy crap! I know I just posted a blog this morning, but you guys gotta go check out the official website. It just launched:

Be sure and go to the "join the discussion" link because they're giving away 5 ARCs. Also, they have the entire tour date schedule up.

And you HAVE to play the online game. It's amazing!

Wow, I am just blown away. THANK YOU RANDOM HOUSE!!!!!

Three Exciting Things

Just a quick post to report some good news:

1. I finished the first draft of THE BLADE OF SHATTERED HOPE, Book 3 of THE 13TH REALITY. It clocked in at 97,230 words, 63 chapters, and lots of coolness, death and mayhem. Now for editing..... Bleck!!!

2. My agency sold rights to THE MAZE RUNNER trilogy in Brazil. Publisher: V&R Editora.

3. Then they sold rights to the United Kingdom (which sounds so much cooler than UK, but not as cool as The British Empire). Publisher: Scholastic/Chicken House. (Interesting sidenote that I thought was neato: the acquiring editor is Barry Cunningham, who discovered Harry Potter when he was at Bloomsbury in England.)

This is now the current list of foreign rights, in order of sale:

Russia, Ast
France, Pocket Jeunesse
Greece, Platypous
Taiwan, Sun Color Culture Publishing
Brazil, V&R Editora
United Kingdom, Scholastic/Chicken House

I'm so excited at the prospect of my book being available across the world like this. One of my favorite things for sure. Hopefully more will be coming soon. A big thanks to Lauren Abramo and Dystel & Goderich (and the foreign agencies and publishers of course - I don't really know much about you, but thanks!)

Lyrics of the Day:

I was struck by lightning
Walking down the street
I was hit by something
Last night in my sleep
It's a dead man's party
Who could ask for more
Everybody's coming
Leave your body at the door

Dead Man's Party, Oingo Boingo (Delightfully creepy lyrics from an 80's song)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Kirkus Review of The Maze Runner

We're really excited to have such a positive review! WARNING: Major Spoiler Alert!!! If you don't want to read the synopsis part, scroll down and I'll post the last couple of lines only.


Dashner, James

Boys come to the Glade via an empty freight elevator with no memory of how they got there or of their prior lives. This disorientation is made more frightening when they realize that to survive they must lock themselves in every night to avoid the horrors of the Grievers, beings that are part machine, part animal—and altogether deadly. The boys in the Glade send out Runners each day to find a way out through the Maze that surrounds their one patch of safety, with no success. Life goes on until one day the elevator delivers a girl. She brings a message: She is the last child to be sent, and there will be no more deliveries of food or supplies. Now the Glade is cut off, and as the Grievers gather for an all-out attack, it’s clear that it’s now or never—the Maze must be solved. Dashner knows how to spin a tale and make the unbelievable realistic. Hard to put down, this is clearly just a first installment, and it will leave readers dying to find out what comes next. (Science fiction. 12 & up)

End of Spoiler Alert!!!

Here are the last couple of just-reviewish lines:

Dashner knows how to spin a tale and make the unbelievable realistic. Hard to put down, this is clearly just a first installment, and it will leave readers dying to find out what comes next. (Science fiction. 12 & up)

In other news, I received a copy of the hardback from Krista! (My box of author copies will come later - I'm guessing Krista stole this one out of the very first box to RH and got it right in the mail so I could see it. She's so awesome!)
Here are some pics. Notice the front flap says "A Junior Library Guild Selection." Did I ever tell you guys about that? I can't remember.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

T Minus 33 Days and Counting

A few things:

1. 33 days. The Double Triple. Eleven Times Three. Ye Olde Thrice Thrice. It's coming!

2. Good friend and fellow author Aprilynne Pike (WINGS, being made into a movie by freaking Disney with freaking Miley Cyrus!) is being so kind as to give away a signed copy of THE MAZE RUNNER on her blog. To enter, you only have to comment (about anything!) on her blog.

We should have code words to show who made it over there via The Dashner Dude. Hmmmm. Since Aprilynne is a friend and understands my idiotic sense of humor, let's do this: Say what you want in her comments, but sign off by saying something absurdly ridiculous and silly, like, "Wee Willie Winkie had a stinky pinky." Come on, be brave! Anyone who does it will be entered into my own contest for another copy of MAZE.

To visit her blog, CLICK HERE. The contest is open through Labor Day weekend.

3. Now, I'm pretty sure nobody's gonna classify MAZE as a romance anytime soon, but luckily The Romantic Times has a broad vision of books they like. In our very first trade review, we couldn't be more pleased! They made MAZE a "Top Pick" for October and did a really nice feature, including an interview with me. Look for it on magazine shelves at your local bookstore or library. Thank you RT!!!!!

4. I'm very, very, very close to completing the first draft of Book 3 of THE 13TH REALITY. It may even happen today. Or tomorrow. I'll definitely tweet about it when that happens, and probably update this blog post. That's always an exciting moment in which my wife and I celebrate by running naked through the park and tackling old ladies. If you'd like to join us, give me a call. My number: 555-555-5553.

5. College football starts tonight. Pro football starts a week from tonight. Georgia is ranked #11, the Falcons should build on their playoff season from a year ago. And there was much rejoicing.

6. Have a wonderful weekend!

Lyrics of the Day:

Why can't we have unhurried hearts?
To beat in time with our stops and our starts.
Why can't we have unhurried hearts?
To keep the time when things fall apart.

Unhurried Hearts, Harlem Shakes

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Best Day of the Year

The latest:

1. I would argue that today, September 1st, is the single best day of the year. (You could argue that it is not, but then you'd be making a complete and utter ninny of yourself in front of all these people. Don't do it!)

It's the best for a lot of reasons: It begins my favorite time of year, the four months of Sept-Dec. It's the official unoffical beginning of Autumn, Football, Crisp Air, Leaves Changing, Halloween, Thanksgiving, My Birthday, Christmas (or your respective Holiday), New Years, Snow, Skiing, etc.

And now, of course, I have another awesome thing to add to Fall (at least for the next 3 years): the release of a book!

2. Today is also awesome because CATCHING FIRE was released. I was very fortunate to read an ARC of this book, and I can vouch that it's very good. If you haven't read the first one in the trilogy, HUNGER GAMES, get on that bandwagon immediately! (or you'll look as stupid as the neo-Nazi child-hating ninnies who argue against Sept. 1)

3. Today also marks exactly FIVE weeks until the release date of my very own book, THE MAZE RUNNER. For those of you scratching your heads trying to do the math, that also equals 35 days. It's also equal to 3.5 Decadays, a term I'm pretty certain I just made up. Epiphany: it's also exactly one half of a Decaweek! How cool is that?

4. I had a really awesome experience this past Saturday - participating in the 2nd annual Writing for Charity event in Ogden, UT. We had a lot of people show up and raised $8,000, which will go to the Treehouse Museum (am I the only idiot on Earth who forgets what order the "e" and "u" go in that stupid word?) and to put books in the hands of needy children.

5. Evidently I AM the only person on Planet Earth and The Solar System and The Galaxy that didn't know what the word "docent" meant. I was ridiculed and spat upon by the other authors for said ignorance.

6. At dinner afterward, I had the singular pleasure of being forced to pay for Brandon Mull's dinner because he "forgot his wallet." I only tell you this to embarrass him.

7. Shannon Hale was the MC, and she is one funny gal. Anne Freakin' Bowen organized the whole affair, and did just an amazing job. Kudos to her and all the staff at the Treehouse Musuem (ha! I did that on purpose!)

8. Here's a picture of the participating authors, all of whom volunteered their time. The person who can name the most authors in the picture gets a signed copy of THE MAZE RUNNER. If someone gets them all, the contest ends at that very exact second.

9. I'm smack dab in the middle of writing the climax for Book 3 of THE 13TH REALITY. Right now the book stands at about 90,000 words and I'll probably finish the first draft this week. It has a very strange ending, but I've come to expect that from myself.

10. I think I tweeted this, and maybe I even blogged it, but just in case: I've decided to postpone my ACL surgery until after my release tour (8 cities, schedule coming soon!) so as not to take any chances that complications could ruin the whole thing and make me wallow in misery for the rest of my life.

11. If you haven't followed me on Twitter yet, please do! CLICK HERE. I promise I never mention anything about going to the bathroom. Well, I did once, but it was special circumstances. I'll also never mention the words "Demi" or "Moore".

Lyrics of the Day:

No, his mind is not for rent
To any god or government.
Always hopeful, yet discontent,
He knows changes aren't permanent.
What you say about his company,
Is what you say about society.
Catch the witness, catch the wit,
Catch the spirit, catch the spit.

Tom Sawyer, Rush

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!