Saturday, May 30, 2009

BEA Report Teaser

OK, sorry I've been so quiet, but I've had a complete whirlwind of a few days and couldn't quite gather my brain pieces enough to do a report yet. I promise a detailed and full posting is coming soon.

Until then, check out this awesome article in Publisher's Weekly about THE MAZE RUNNER and the YA buzz forum yesterday. And just for the record, when they refer to [wtf], both David and Krista actually said the real deal, which I took as quite an honor. :)

To read the article, CLICK HERE.

btw, I was chillin' with the likes of Scot Westerfeld (UGLIES) and Peter Lerangis (39 CLUES) at dinner tonight. (I'm such a star struck geekin fan boy, it's embarrassing.)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

New York, Random House

My wife tried to murder me.

Now I know why she's been so supportive of my author career. It was all part of her diabolical plan to murder me. Her foresight was amazing. Spend years encouraging me, helping me, giving me feedback, pushing me, rooting for me. Make sure I get with a major NY publisher, get a book to be promoted heavily at BEA, convince me to bring her to NY with me. All part of the plan of my demise.

But I foiled her and survived anyway. At least so far.

We've been here for roughly 48 hours. In that short span, we've visited the Statue of Liberty, toured Ellis Island, visited Ground Zero, saw a movie, walked six miles in Central Park, toured the St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York Public Library, and Empire State Building, walked all over Times Square and many blocks around it, had three amazing dinners, several life-threatening trips in cabs, and, last but certainly not least, attended a meet-and-greet with everybody at Random House.

But I had the last laugh! I'm still alive despite my wife's efforts. My feet and knee caps hate my guts, but I'm kickin' and breathin'.

It's really been awesome. Now I know why everyone comes back from NY yappin' about how much they love it. It's an incredible place, and I'm so glad the book industry is grounded here because I want to return many, many times.

But no real need to go into what we've been doing. If you wanna know about NY, google it. What I want to talk about is how incredible the last few hours were.

My wife and I walked the ten blocks from our hotel to the Random House office building and met my agent, Michael Bourret, in the lobby at 3:30. I had this sudden rush of nervousness right before that probably would've resulted in an unfortunate aneurysm (as opposed to a fortunate aneurysm) if he hadn't walked in shortly after us. It all melted away as soon as I saw him.

Seriously. I hugged the guy, introduced my wife, and boom, all was well. He made us feel comfortable and like we'd been friends for twenty years. We've spoken countless times on the phone, but still. There's something about meeting in person, and I can now say with complete confidence that Michael is one of my favorite people on planet Earth.

Next was Krista Marino, my editor for THE MAZE RUNNER. Almost the exact same experience. We met, we hugged, and suddenly it was like we'd all been together a thousand times before. I won't ramble on and on, but I could never say well enough what a complete thrill it was to finally meet these two awesome people in person for the first time. Just amazing and everything I dared hope for.

Krista took us to a small room where we met Beverly Horowitz, Vice President and Publisher for Delacorte and other imprints within RHCB. This lady is freaking awesome! Funny, down to earth, unbelievably wise about the industry - we just loved getting to know her.

(Cool side note: they gave us a bunch of books then said they'd mail them to our home. Is that cool or what?!)

Next I got to meet my publicists, Noreen Marchisi and Emily Pourciau. Again, same thing. Many emails and phone conversations, but way cooler in real life. I've run out of things to say! Everybody there was too awesome.

Okay, then came the shocker of the day. I don't know what I was expecting, but not this: somebody signalled that "it" was ready, then we all went to a different floor and walked into a large conference room. Inside, at least twenty Random House employees clapped and cheered as we entered, and the next hour was a complete blur.

I met people from marketing, sales, design, and many other things that I'm not smart enough to remember. I met the Big Boss, Chip Gibson, President of RHCB. Many incredible and genuine people. Everyone was so nice to us and told us all kinds of cool things that I probably can't even share! But I'll say this: just when I thought I couldn't get more excited about what RH has in store for MAZE, once again I was blown away. Completely blown away. Like, really, really blown away.

(Many of these fine people told me they read the Dashner Dude, which worries me that they think I'm fluffing here. I promise I'm not! This is honest Dashner at your service.)

Afterward, Michael, Krista, Beverly, Lynette, and I went out to dinner. I don't even know what to say anymore. Almost three hours of pure fun. Absolute pure fun. I couldn't believe how fast the time went by, and I was very sad when it had to end. But now I have BEA to look forward to!

So, there you have it. First two days in NYC complete, another five to go. But tomorrow is my wife's last full day here, so we're going to make the most of it. Museum of Natural History, The Lion King, SoHo for dinner. Just pray I continue to defy the odds and prevent my wife from killing me.

Here are four random pictures. We got a good one with Michael and Krista, but it's on my wife's camera so you'll have to wait on that one. For now you just have these pics taken with my crappy camera phone:

NY Public Library, 100 years old and unbelievable:

Random House Lobby:

Statue of Liberty (duh!):

View from Empire State Building, looking south:

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

This and That

And yet another Dashner post where I just throw a bunch of random updates your way:

1. Are you between the ages of 13 and 19? Do you have a problem with making up stories that aren't true? Do you find yourself writing these stories down? Do you like to ignore your mom and dad while they speak because you're outlining scenes in your head? Do you have dreams of people inexplicably paying money to you for just doing a hobby? Do you hate it when people ask you a string of rhetorical questions? Do you hate it that the Dashner Dude isn't even quite sure if he just used the word "rhetorical" correctly?

Well, anyway, I'm presenting at a writer's conference just for teens coming up on June 6th. I really think it's going to be awesome, and I hope some of you (or your children) can make it. For details, CLICK HERE.

2. I'm almost done with the second draft of THE SCORCH TRIALS. I've been reading through it pretty quickly, taking notes on things I want to go back and change, add, or enhance. However, it's solid enough that I'm printing it out as I go for my wife to read. So far she loves it! It's an odd book, darker and creepier than the first, but I'm pretty pleased with how it came out. I can say this much: no one will be able to predict the direction it goes. mwaa haa haa.

3. I'm counting down the hours till my big New York City trip. It'll be my first time, and I'm going to savor every minute of the week I'll be there. My wife and I fly out on Sunday, and then we have four days to play before she comes back and I stay for Book Expo America. I can't wait!!!!!!!

4. Next Tuesday my agent and I are going to the Random House offices for a meet and greet with all the important players in the vast conspiracy to corrupt your minds with THE MAZE RUNNER. I just found this out yesterday, and I'm so excited! Please send me positive vibes so I don't make a fool out of myself and convince them to scrap the whole project.

5. So next Tuesday is also the first time I'll actually get to meet my agent (Michael Bourret) and my editor (Krista Marino) in person. Since I've always envisioned both of them as perfect superhuman geniuses without flaw or vice, I hope they live up to my expectations. hahaha. They have been steadily moving up the James Dashner Top Twenty Most Favored People List, inching ever closer to that top spot inhabited by my mom. Mom, you should be sweating bullets. (kidding! kidding!)

6. I didn't realize until yesterday that of the six authors on the YA Buzz Forum at BEA this year, two of them are Michael's clients! Myself and Jill S. Alexander, author of the upcoming THE SWEETHEARTS OF PROSPER COUNTY. That's one out of three, thirty three percent, a full third! Congrats, Michael.

7. Just a quick note on three things I LOVED recently: the STAR TREK movie, the season finale of LOST, and a YA book called GENESIS (not the one in the Bible).

8. Thanks for all the nice comments about the cover. Overall, you seem really pleased. I exchanged some emails with the artist, Philip Straub, and he's a stud. I'm honored to have his work on my book!

9. Later.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Cover for The Maze Runner

So, let's hear it. What do you think?

The artist's name is Philip Straub. Check out his website: CLICK HERE. I LOVE his work, and I'm so glad they ended up going with him. You can see the full piece (the cover only shows a portion) on his site.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Maze Runner Prepub Tour Day 6

Friday, 6:19 am:

Oopsie daisy, looks like I never quite updated yesterday. I had quite the jam packed schedule and spent the little free time I had with another Dashner Dude, my brother David. Yeah, he's a stud. Yeah, he used to be the lead singer of a heavy metal band called Lazarus. That's right.

Anyway, I've got a lot of stuff to tell you about, including an account of the Four Ladies of Utter Awesome (aka the FLUA aka the Random House reps in DC aka the GJDALOEWHEC - I'll tell you what that stands for later). This, and much much more.

However, I'm about to fly back home and don't have time to give everything justice. But as the Prepub tour is now on hiatus until June 4th in Salt Lake City, I'll be able to give ya some good details later on today. Probably after I take some serious nappage in my own bed.

In the meantime, here's a couple of cool things to chew on:

1. I found out my release tour in October will include EIGHT cities! New York, Washington DC, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Phoenix and Denver. I hope to somehow end up in Atlanta as well since that's where I grew up.

2. RH is printing 90,000 teaser chapter booklets and will have them displayed in coffee shops, bookstores, theaters and other places in ten cities.

I PROMISE to update later on today. Have a good one!

Friday, 4:50 pm:

Ah, home. Safe and sound. Fully napped and refreshed. Just finished playing football with the kids and wiping snotty noses. Did you guys know that the Dashner Dude blog easily broke its record for hits in one week? Congrats to the Duders!

Okay. I shall now pull it together and give the last update for the week. And, I hereby proclaim and announce that on Monday I shall reveal the cover for MAZE. Um, if Krista lets me. Pretty sure she will since the RH reps were showing everyone. I shall also quit using the words "I shall."

Dinner in Chicago. Wednesday night at Naha. Pouring rain and lightning exploding in the sky. Awesome. We had fine folks from Borders, 57th Street Books, Anderson Book Shop, Bookstall, Northbrook, Chicago, and Indian Trails Public Libraries. Also, several people from ALA/Booklist, including the Editor in Chief, Bill Ott.

Besides the usual awesomeness, two things stand out you'll find interesting. First, one lady got drunk off her nethers and said many interesting things. Second, a top secret mission called The Angela Project kicked off in full force. Angela was the only one brave enough to tell me she didn't really love the book this week. (Or, my real hope, the only one who in fact felt that way!)

I promised her that by the time she dies, she'll come around and have "I love James Dashner's books" engraved on her tombstone. It may take some hypnosis and perhaps even a bit of brain implants and electronic pulse manipulation, but the Project will succeed. Have faith.

A special thanks to the RH sales rep, Tim Mooney, one of the most down-to-earth, genuine guys I've ever met. So far 3-for-3 on the wicked awesome sales reps.

The next morning, one of my favorite drivers of the week took me to the airport. Thankfully, there was very heavy traffic because I didn't want to leave the car. I grew up in the south, and so did Mike. And he spent the entire drive telling me stories about growing up without running water, listening to ghost stories at his cousin's little store then walking home terrified, driving this really rich lady all over the country in a Hummer, etc. All kinds of goodies.

And he said something really sweet about his wife. They've been married forty years and he joked that it was because he "cain't get rid of her." But then he quickly grew serious and said, "I gotta tell ya the truth. Don't know what I'd do without that woman." You had to hear it from his mouth to get the full depth of how much he meant it. Mike's the Man.

Flew to Washington DC. I have two brothers there, but I didn't even bother telling them I was coming because I knew we wouldn't have time to get together. Well, I miscalculated because I ended up with 2 hours before my first event. So I called David and we went to my hotel and talked up a storm the whole time. It was really great. (My other brother Michael couldn't get out of work. Responsible. Bleck.)

Next we went to Politics and Prose, a very famous bookstore in the DC area. The lovely Jory Hearst had quite a few students read and love the book, but because of schedules only Mark and Devon could come. These guys were so cool and reminded me of me so much when I was that age it kinda freaked me out. We had a great time, and they also grilled me until I gave things away from Book 2!

And then came the last event of the week, and what a Finale. I don't know what made last night's dinner so special - maybe because I knew that was it. Maybe because we had fewer people so I got to know everyone a little more. Maybe because we had FOUR RH reps, all of whom made it a clean sweep: 7-for-7 on the wicked awesomeness.

Emily Bruce, Nicole DuFort, Sarah Wingfield, and Lauren... wait. I never got Lauren's last name! I'm so embarrassed. Anyway, they were definitely worth the dubbing of FLUA as I mentioned earlier. Also the Give James Dashner A Lot Of Encouragement While He Eats Club. :) Thank you guys SO MUCH!!!

I loved the little postcards Nicole and Emily created with the cover. So, so cool. They put the phrase "WICKED is good" on the back, which is something most of you don't understand but it has to do with the book. Mwaaa haaa haaa haaa.

Anyway, we had a great, great time. Thanks to everyone from Barnes and Noble, Narnia Books, DC Public Library, and the University of Maryland. And Paul for taking me around and giving me a few very interesting history lessons on DC.

And so I came home. What a treat to see Frank again at the airport to drive me. My hope is that he asked for the job and that it kind of becomes a regular thing. And, in a fitting end to the trip, I finally got the nerve to sit in the front seat. Frank gave me some sound marriage advice on the road, and then it was home sweet home. So good to see my wife and kids. So good.

Well, that's it. I'll be home for a week or so and then it's off to New York City, my first time. I will never, never, never, never, never forget the last few days. My heartfelt thanks to my publicists, Noreen Marchisi and Emily Pourciao, for all the hard work to plan the tour. And thanks to all the sales reps, media escorts, booksellers, librarians, and all others involved.

With all of my heart (the oldest cliche in the book but there you have it), thank you. I hope my book delivers after all that. Can you say pressure?

Tune in Monday for the reveal of the cover. Or, um, you... um, might want to go take a peek at the Random House website. Bye!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Maze Runner Prepub Tour Day 5

Thursday, 9:43 am:

Sorry I'm lagging behind on the tour updates. Krista sent me her final queries before sending MAZE to whoever she sends it to for the very last time. Which means going to press can't be too far away! Anyway, I've been working on that this morning. The dinner last night was... you guessed it! Amazing.

I'll update more on that, my awesome, awesome, AWESOME driver this morning, and other adventures later on. Washington DC, here I come!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Maze Runner Prepub Tour Day 4

Wednesday, 5:15 am:
Oy. I'm tired. Four hours of tossing and turning. James doesn't do well when he's tired. Please for the love of humanity let me sleep on za plane. (Did I just say za plane? I really think I did. How embarrassing.)

The dinner last night was... you guessed it! Amazing. We ate at a restaurant called Troiani and the food tasted spectacular. Much better was the company. Random House sales rep Deanna Meyerhoff hosted, and so far I'm 2 for 2 on wicked awesome RH sales reps.

The night went the same as my first dinner: four tables, chock full of wonderful librarians and booksellers, with yours truly taking turns shifting about. My official shout out goes to Third Place Books, the University Bookstore, Pierce County Library System, King County Library System, Secret Garden Bookstore, and Queen Anne Books. Did I miss anyone?

I'm gonna tell you something. You won't believe this. No matter how many times you hear that someone likes your book, it never gets old! Simply amazing. The amount of relief and elation I feel that most people are liking the book is indescribable. I'm guessing I'll make it at least one full week before my insane neurosis begins to creep back in and somehow convinces me that my book sucks big time.

Deanna had printed several copies of the cover, and the response seemed very positive. That's a good thing.

Thanks to everyone for a wonderful night.

Upon my return from the restaurant, one of the greatest mysteries of the modern age was finally solved and revealed to me. Ladies and Gentlemen, at least those of you who are like me and grew up in humble circumstances and are more used to staying at the Hotel 6, I now present to you what it looks like to have your bed turned down by a professional:

Yes, what you see there is a robe with what I'm assuming is NOT real leopard skin. And man oh man was it a lot easier to slip into bed with that cover pulled down. I don't know how I'll return to the normal life!

Look for an update later......

Wednesday, 5:20 pm:

I've kinda run out of ways to say this. My school visit today to Alcuin Montessori was... you guessed it! Amazing. I loved those kids so much! So, so much. A big thanks to Megan, Keith, Gabriela, Nadia, Claire (who's going to be a writer and gave me a story she'd written!), Jonah, Madeleine, Sarah, Josh, Tim, and John.

Here's a fuzzy picture:

I also spoke to my publicist, Noreen Marchisi, and she told me many excellent things. Mainly that she's heard a lot of positive feedback from the bookselllers and librarians and the enthusiasm level is very high. Sweet!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Maze Runner Prepub Tour Day 3

Tuesday, 8:07 am:

I'm sitting in the San Francisco airport, waiting for my flight to Seattle. Two quick things:

1. My driver, Bob, was the coolest. He's 68 and gave me nuggets of wisdom the whole way. For example: the most dangerous time in our lives is not when we're hungry, poor, angry, or sad. It's the "meantime", when we are idle or bored. That's when bad things happen. Also, women have two powerful weapons over men. The first is, um, sex. The second is much more powerful: silence.

When I told him about my tour and such, he quoted Proverbs 18:16: A man's gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men (and women of course!). Bob, you're awesome.

2. As soon as I logged into the Internet here in the airport, I had a gem of an email waiting for me.

Krista sent me the cover for MAZE!!!!!!

However, I can't show it yet because it's not officially finalized. But I'll be showing it soon, probably by the end of the week. But I will say this: I LOVE it. Truly love it. I can't conceive of someone seeing it and NOT picking it up out of curiosity. I'm a happy dude.

Remember to tune in to this SAME blog post later today, where I will update it further. If you missed last night's very late update of my dinner, go read the previous post.

Tuesday, 4:31 pm:

I've had a fun day so far. Diane, my media escort from Xetera Media Services, picked me up at the airport and took me straight to my school visit at Washington Middle School. Diane is SO nice and fun to talk to. She also hosted Rick Riordan and Tamora Pierce this week, which is great company to be in!

About 25 seventh graders at the school had read MAZE, and boy did we have a lively discussion. I was really, really impressed with how smart these students are, and how in-depth their questions were. They grilled me and grilled me until I gave a couple things away from Book 2 that I shouldn't have!

Since I promised them, here are their names: Erasmus, Matthew, Katya, Jack, Mack, Ryan, Ellen, Ian, Aenea, Piper, William, Alice, Liz, Karin, Tristan, Annie, Justin, Mack #2, Graham, Dana, LinaRose, Sammy, Aisling, Matthew #2, and Patrick.

You guys are awesome and unbelievably smart! Pretty sure you're about ten years ahead of me on the old brains scale. A big thanks to their teacher Lisa Becerra and their librarian Laurie Amster-Burton as well. (Laurie's husband is a fellow client of Michael Bourret, Best Agent Ever!) Also Suzanne from the Secret Garden bookstore for setting all this up. Great people!

Diane gave me a little tour of Seattle then dropped me off at the hotel, then I went on a nice long walk and saw things like this:

The Seattle Museum of Art

The Seattle Public Library

Wish me luck at the dinner tonight. I may not post about it until tomorrow morning at the airport because my driver is picking me up at 4:30 am. Yeah, that's right. 4:30.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Maze Runner Prepub Tour Day 2

Monday, 2:35 pm:

I just got back from the biggest confidence boost I've had yet for MAZE. Ya know, it's been incredible to hear for months about how much Random House liked my book and how excited they were to promote it and all that. More than incredible. But deep inside me I had this worried itch because everyone reading it was an adult. What about my core target audience? Ya know, teenagers?

Well, I've heard from the first batch of suspects, and it was most excellent!

Let me back up. I actually had the morning off, which was sweet. I slept in, piddled around, got some work done, went on a walk, all very nice. My only hiccup was I walked about two blocks to this really awesome looking breakfast place, ordered, did the whole bit, then realized I'd left my wallet in the hotel. Doh! I hiked back, got it, returned, and started all over. The guy there was very nice for not hating me or calling me an idiot, two things I'm sure he was thinking in his mind.

At 12:30, Dandy Conway, the Random House sales rep for this area, picked me up. For at least thirty minutes before she arrived, I sat in my room worrying about everything from spontaneous combustion to looking like a dork in front of the kids to world hunger to looking like a dork in front of the kids. It was such a relief when the time finally came.

Dandy, you're awesome! You made me feel right at home and I really enjoyed getting to know you. She even let me be the navigator as we drove to the school. And I didn't get us lost, which was a big bonus.

Jen Laughran from Books Inc. (she's also an agent for the Andrea Brown Literary Agency) met us at Brandeis Hillel Day School. I already feel like Jen and Dandy and I are old friends and could hang for hours talkin' about nothin'. Anyway, soon we met with about twelve 7th graders, all of whom had read advance copies of MAZE beforehand.

I couldn't wait any longer. I'd barely said hi when I point blank asked the group if they liked the book. The resounding calls of "YES!" and "I LOVED it!" were too genuine to fake, and my worries finally washed away.

It was a really fun hour, a definite highlight of my author career so far. They asked me a million questions, the first time I've had the opportunity to really dig in and discuss plot points and specifics with readers on this book. I loved every minute of it. I can't describe the immense relief of seeing actual target readers tell me, and more importantly show me, how much they enjoyed my story. It was amazing. Just amazing.

We ran out of time before I could get everyone's name, but I do remember Phoebe, Abigail, Sam, Arbel (sp?), Izzy, and Dannika the teacher. Sorry guys! You were all awesome, and will always be the first group of MAZE readers, so you're what I call special. Thanks.

Whew. Now I have 2 or 3 hours to work on SCORCH, then Dandy's coming to pick me up for our dinner tonight at the One Market Restaurant. About twenty booksellers and librarians are coming, so I'm excited and nervous to see what that's like.

I'll update this same post when I get back tonight and give you a report.

Monday, 9:56 pm:








That was amazing. I'm an author and should come up with a better word, some kind of nifty run of never-before-seen superlatives, but I can't. Tonight was... freaking awesome. Better?

I just spent three hours with some of the greatest literary professionals in the country, and my little brain could barely handle it. It was a whirlwind of conversation and laughs and industry discussions and getting to know each other. And, to my great honor, a lot of MAZE praising. If these people like it, I'm feelin' pretty good about my chances!

The evening went very simply. Dandy picked me up and we drove to the restaurant about 15 minutes early. There was a private room that was already set up with these cool menus sitting on the plates:

Dandy put out nameplates, and each table had a seat marked "Reserved" for yours truly. The first half hour she and I greeted people as they arrived so I could meet them individually. Then drinks were served and we all mingled for awhile. Once we took our seats, Dandy got things started and had me speak for a few minutes. I honestly have no idea what I said. Seriously. Can't remember. But they laughed a few times, hopefully for the right reasons. (Um, please tell me my fly was up.)

The rest of the evening I took turns at each table, spending roughly a half-hour with each group. I really enjoyed this - far more than I'd dared hoped for. Everyone was down to earth and genuine in their hopes that my book finds success. They all seemed to really like it and many promises were made as to them pushing it in their stores and libraries. All of which made me want to shout with glee and do the Elbow Dance on the tables. (Something my nephew invented. Don't ask.)

Dandy was in charge of moving me around, and it always seemed way too early when she dragged me from one to the other. I had a great, wonderful, fabulous time. Truly.

So, a big shout out and thanks to Dandy and all the fine folks from Books Inc, Book Passage, Clayton Books, Hicklebee's, Kepler's, Rakestraw Books, The Storyteller, Towne Center Books, Alameda Juv. Hall Library, Brook Haven, SF Public Library, and The Girl's Middle School (Walter - thanks for those parting words!). You put me at ease and made me feel like a real bonafide author. Thank you very much.

So, guess I better get to bed. Early flight tomorrow to Seattle. I think I'll try to get brave and ask my driver if I can sit in the front seat.....

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Maze Runner Prepub Tour Day 1

It's a stretch to call this Day 1, but, well, ya know. I did leave on a big jet plane and I'm sitting in a very nice hotel bed, so for me it has begun.

It all started when my "Driver" showed up at my house 15 minutes early. I saw him through the window and had my first ridiculous moment of the tour. I honestly didn't know if I was supposed to grab my bags and go out there, or if he'd come to the door at the appointed time.

I frantically texted my friend Aprilynne Pike, and she told me to quit being an idiot and just wait for him. Sure enough, he came to my door at precisely 11:30 am and knocked. I opened the door, of course acting like I hadn't been watching him all this time. In summary, this had to be the single stupidest 15 minutes of my life so far. Why I'm telling you this, I have no idea.

Anyway, he was a total stud. His name is Frank Brunson (yes, his name is Frank Brunson and I have his card to prove it. Frank Brunson! I mean, come on! That is so awesome!) and he treated me so nicely. The night before he'd been the driver for the Eagles (the band, not the football team) as they were in town for a concert. This made me feel uber cool for no rational reason whatsoever. Anyway, we chatted the whole way to the airport, and of course I didn't say goodbye until I'd given him a teaser chapter booklet, which he promptly asked me to sign.

Things didn't go so smoothly with the next part. My flight was delayed because of heavy traffic at the SanFran airport. So I spent almost an hour and a half sitting next to a dude with really ugly feet and subway sandwich smell. Why didn't I move to a different seat, you may ask? Because he was an awfully nice fellow, that's why. I never did tell him I was an author, so I doubt he'll read my less-than-flattering description of him.

The driver who picked me up at the SF airport was also nice and very talkative. But somehow I never quite got his name. But he's from Chile and has lived in the US for 30 years and hates jerky celebrities. I don't dare repeat some of the cool stories he told me!

He dropped me off at the Palomar Hotel right in the smack dab middle of the city. I hadn't been in my room for 5 minutes before two very strange things happened. First, this dude knocks on my door and offers me a bottle of water and some strawberries. I told him no thanks and he laughed, then told me it was free. Boy did I feel stupid! I, um, gladly took the offer of course.

He hadn't been gone a minute when I hear another knock. I open it up and there's this nice old lady offering to pull my bed down. Kind of freaked me out and I said no thanks. But as soon as I closed the door I wanted to kick myself in the ***. What was I thinking? Here I had a chance to get treated like Bruce Wayne and I said no. Oh well.

Not much else happened today (i.e. I think I've bored you enough and it's late), other than me walking about forty thousand miles around the city trying to find my way back from Chinatown. But this is a beautiful place and I really enjoyed it. I have got to get back here with my wife!

Well, tomorrow's a big day for me. Yes, I'm nervous. Wish me luck. I'll try to post about it in installments as I find time. Talk to ya soon!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Latest Authorish Stuff

Thought I'd give an update today on all things author.

1. I received the schedule for my prepublicity buzz tour for THE MAZE RUNNER! It's gonna be a hectic five days, but I absolutely can't wait. I'm flying to San Francisco on Sunday, be there Monday, then Seattle on Tuesday, Chicago on Wednesday, Washington DC on Thursday, then back home on Friday. My day in SLC will be on June 4th.

2. I just want to give a shout out to all those booksellers, librarians, and educators who have RSVPed for the dinners in each city. I was very impressed with the list and can't wait to meet all of you! If you happen to stumble onto my blog before I come, say hi in the comments.

3. Each day I'll be meeting with a school group of 7th and 8th graders who have read the book. I'm excited to meet you guys too! And I really hope you don't think my book sucks. If you do, please tell me nicely. Like, "Mr. Dashner, I mean, James? Can I call you James? Yes, well, your book sucks. In a good way."

4. Did you know that publishers treat you like royalty when you go on one of these tours? I know I never grew up, but this is just too cool. Fancy hotels, fancy restaurants. Words like "your driver" and "media escort." I have a feeling I'll spend the whole week thinking they surely picked up the wrong guy. But I won't tell anybody! All I can say is I'm beyond honored, so THANK YOU Random House.

5. I'll try to blog each day of the tour. I'll try very hard. It'll be fun for you guys to get a glimpse into what it's like. So stay tuned in next week!

6. I've been through the second draft of the sequel (THE SCORCH TRIALS) up to about 100 pages. In all honesty, I'm very, very pleased. And relieved. Still some work to do, but it's pretty solid. Anyone who likes MAZE is gonna love this second one. In my humble opinion.

7. RH asked me to write a letter to booksellers to send along with my ARC. I thought that was kinda cool. I basically talked about how MAZE was influenced by ENDER'S GAME and LORD OF THE FLIES. And that despite the darkness along the way, my story is really about hope. Too cheesy?

8. For those of you going to BEA (Book Expo America) in NY at the end of the month, I will be doing two signings. Both are on Friday: 11:00 in the RH booth for MAZE, and at 1:30 on the autograph floor for THE 13TH REALITY (Book 1 to get some new exposure). Then the Buzz Forum is at 2:30 that same day, where Krista Marino (my editor) will be doing a presentation on MAZE. I'll be there the whole three days, so come find me!

9. I recently discovered a song that, for some reason, perfectly describes the mood and feel of SCORCH. You should go listen to it on iTunes or whatever. It's called EPIPHANY by Staind.

10. Seems like there was something else. Hmmm. If I remember, I'll come back and put it here.

11. The world won't know about them for another year and a half, but you should be afraid of Cranks. You should be very, very afraid.

Monday, May 4, 2009

WINGS by Aprilynne Pike

In the last year or so, I've become good friends with Aprilynne Pike, about to make her debut TOMORROW. She got a very sweet deal for this series, and Harper Collins is promoting it big time.

It's not every author who gets this kind of backing: prepub tour, release tour, floor displays in all the major bookstores, a cover quote from Stephenie Meyer, etc. (If you don't know who Stephenie Meyer is, well, she's this lady who wrote a book about some town called... Spoons I think? And it has a lot of... what, vikings? No, vampires. Yeah, vampires. I think.)

Anyway, I just wanted to give a shout out for Aprilynne. She's an incredible writer and you're going to be hearing about this series quite a bit. I'm really rooting for her and you guys should totally check out her book. Did I mention it comes out TOMORROW?

You may be lucky enough to live in a place she's coming to visit on tour. To read about her book, see her schedule, check out her blog, etc., go to her website: CLICK HERE. You won't be sorry!

On another note, one week from today I'll be on my very own prepublicity tour!!! I'm getting very nervous. I mean, my hair! Whatever will I do with my hair? And should I get my nails done? What about my feet? Will these people be looking at my feet? Do they ever ask you to remove your shoes? And socks? Well, maybe they do. You never know.

Bah, have no fear. My wife plans to force me into a clothing store and I plan on wearing deoderant each and every day I'm gone. All will be well.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Top Ten Rejected Titles

I have a thing about Top Ten lists, ever since watching Letterman as a kid. I try to always have one when I present or MC a conference, so I thought I'd share the list I did last weekend.

To understand three of them better, FYI: Julie Wright, J. Scott Savage, and Dean Lorey are authors who were also guests. So, yeah, you kinda had to be there, but here ya go.

Top Ten Rejected Titles by this Year's Conference Attendees:

10. The Very Old Ladies Detective Agency, Book 1: The Case of the Missing Teeth

9. Morotica: Short Stories of Sexy Mormon Fiction

8. Pants: A History

7. Harry Potter and the Colonoscopy Gone Wrong

6. I Can't Quit Talking: The Julie Wright Story

5. Adverbs for Dummies: How to cleverly and excitingly add lots of superbly written lovely adverbs to make a sadly short book into a wonderfully long one with dumbfoundingly good descriptions.

4. Fungus McGillicuddy and the Toilet of Doom

3. Get Your Fat On: How to Gain Fifty Pounds in Fifty Days

2. Dean Lorey's 101 Ways to Take a Shower

1. J. Scott Savage: My Life in Pictures

In other news, my agency sold the audio rights for Books 2 and 3 of THE MAZE RUNNER to Listening Library, so it's now official that the entire trilogy will be on audio, both on CD and for download. LL is the same company that does Harry Potter, Twilight, and many others.

Only one week until I leave for my prepublicity buzz tour!!!