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Ah, Europe!

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So, I’m back from my overseas adventure and finally recovered from the jet lag. The 20 hour return trip was… withering… but I can’t tell you how nice it was to walk down the stairs into baggage claim and see my kids jumping up and down, enthusiastically shouting “Dad! Dad!”

My first stop was in London, where I met up with my traveling companions — Don Reo, his wife Judy and Damon Wayans (who has been a friend since I wrote MAJOR PAYNE). Here we are at Buckingham Palace (which is a significant location in Book 3, so it was nice to visit it in person.)

Judy was taking the picture, but you can imagine her on the other side of the camera. Actually, that’s not fair. Here’s a picture with Judy in it:

A high point of the London leg of the trip was meeting Nick Lake, my editor at HarperCollins UK. We went to a great, traditional English pub, where we drank Guinness and hung out. Really cool guy. NIGHTMARE ACADEMY launched very well there (in fact, Nick said it was one of the two best launches of his career) and I got to tell him a little bit about my plans for the future of the series, which he seemed to dig.

After London, it was on to San Sebastian, Spain via… private jet. Now, I (of course) didn’t hire this jet — I flew coach to Europe and back. But Don and Damon were kind enough to invite me and it was… really nice. The pilots left the cockpit door open, so you could see through the windshield, which was intensely cool — something you never get to do.

San Sebastian is a beautiful seaside Spanish city, full of narrow, cobbled streets and tapas bars filled with excellent food.

On most days, I imagine the city is fairly quiet, but not this time — the place was packed with visitors who had come to see the Springsteen concert (which is why we were there). Don Reo has been a long time friend of Clarence (the Big Man) Clemons — if you don’t know, he’s the sax player for the E-Street Band. Clarence invited him (and, by extension, the rest of us) to the concert.

The night before the show, we had dinner with Clarence at a wonderful seafood restaurant. At this time of year, the sun doesn’t really set in Europe until 11 pm, so everything starts later. We began eating around 9:30 and stayed there until well after midnight. The food was incredible — roasted peppers, fresh bread, anglerfish (which Damon insisted on calling “Angerfish”). None of us spoke Spanish and none of the waiters spoke English, but one of the other customers took pity on us and helped us navigate the menu and order.

The next night was the show. As great as it was, I’ll probably most remember getting there early and sitting in the middle of a nearly empty stadium, watching the band play songs for the sound check. From where we were standing, I could have thrown a football to any of the band members — if I had any ability to throw a football, that is. The whole thing felt like a relaxed, private concert:

Later that night, the show began and it was incredible. That same stadium filled with 65 thousand people and the energy was intense. We also got a chance to meet Springsteen, who was extremely nice, and said that his kids were huge fans of MAJOR PAYNE. I wanted to say “Why don’t you get them to read NIGHTMARE ACADEMY…” but it wasn’t really that kind of moment. :)

After Spain, Damon and I headed on to Paris, which is probably the most beautiful city I’ve ever seen. I spent a lot of time in the Louvre Gardens, which contains an astonishingly cool French carnival. Here’s a couple pics from it:

I also got to meet with Natacha Derevitsky, my French editor. Book 1 of NA comes out in France in January of 2010, so it’s still some distance away. She was very nice and it seems like the series is going to be in great hands there. She also told me that they plan to use some of the art from my website as the cover. It’ll be great to see the terrific work of my friend, J.P. Targete, used that way.

On the final day of the trip, Damon and I ate dinner at a restaurant that had a spectacular view of the Eiffel Tower. In fact, here’s the view:

Great friends, wonderful sights, just a terrific trip all around… although I was still thrilled to get home and see my wife and kids. I’m off to the Conestoga fantasy convention in Oklahoma tomorrow and hope to see some of you folks there. And I promise to continue the series of posts of different movies I’ve worked on when I get back.

Take care…

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10 Comments
  • tltrent

    Your trip looks fantastic! Can’t wait to meet you in Tulsa!!

    July 23, 2008 at 3:09 pm Reply
    • deanlorey

      Tulsa should be great fun. And it’ll be terrific to finally get a chance to meet you in person.
      See you soon…

      July 24, 2008 at 12:03 am Reply
  • brian_ohio

    Dang! That is some trip. Sheez! Springsteen in Spain. With Damon Waynes. I’ve thought about doing that myself.
    I sat at a sound check for Ozzy Osbourne (back when Randy Rhodes was still alive) and it was incredible. We could shout and talk with Randy. He was great.
    Anyway, I’m halfway through NA and must say, I love it. The Trout of Truth… that’s kind of orginal. 😉
    Looking forward to meeting you this weekend.

    July 23, 2008 at 4:34 pm Reply
    • deanlorey

      It’s funny you mention Ozzy Osbourne. My wife and I went to see the new Batman movie Monday afternoon. Just before the movie started, an older, grandfatherly guy kind of staggered up the steps. After the movie, Elizabeth (my wife) pointed out that it was Ozzy Osbourne. I guess they live around the Calabasas area.
      And I’m so glad you’re enjoying NA! Looking forward to meeting you this weekend as well…

      July 24, 2008 at 12:03 am Reply
  • melissa_writing

    Ozzy as grandfatherly . . . I think you just scarred me, Dean. And here I was thinking I’d buy you the first drink tomorrow…
    BTW, I get in at 4ish. Call me when you get in?

    July 24, 2008 at 1:02 am Reply
    • deanlorey

      I get in at 4ish as well. Would you e-mail me your cell number?
      And I’m still counting on you to buy the first drink tomorrow. Are you going to that dinner thing at the BBQ place? I’m planning on it. There was talk of a sandwich called a “Badwich” with every kind of meat on the menu.
      Sounds disturbing.

      July 24, 2008 at 1:19 am Reply
  • Anonymous

    Dinner with the Big Man!?
    Posted by mthaslett: What an incredible trip you had! What city did you see the Springsteen concert in? I may have a recording of the show. Let me know what night it was and I’ll listen for you in the crowd. I’m pretty sure I can pick out your distinctive “bruuuce!”
    Great blog, man! Keep up the great work!

    July 30, 2008 at 7:35 am Reply
    • deanlorey

      Re: Dinner with the Big Man!?
      Hey, thanks a lot! The trip was wonderful. I saw the Springsteen concert in San Sebastian, Spain. Let me know if you can hear me there. :)

      July 30, 2008 at 1:19 pm Reply
  • Anonymous

    re: dinner with the Big Man!?
    Posted by mthaslett: Oh, uh, you mean the city you say you were visiting. I was cross-referencing with a calendar for Springsteen’s tour and didn’t see San Sebastian. It was listed as “Donostia/San Sebastian” and somehow I missed it. Anyway, the Bruceleg network has not delivered on San Sebastian yet. Got Barcelona and Madrid, but no Dean Lorey at Donostia/San Sebastian. I’ll keep looking and let you know.

    July 30, 2008 at 2:52 pm Reply
  • Anonymous

    Man! Your wife is seriously holding out on me!
    Ruth: “What’s new?”
    Your wife: “Just fighting the heat.”
    How exciting, mister. So happy to hear about your travel adventures. By the way, GREAT disguise at Buckingham Palace. Damon, though, is looking way conspicuous. It’s amazing how a person practically screams, “I’m famous” when no part of their forehead is visible.

    August 23, 2008 at 10:22 pm Reply

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