Conestoga and some really nice news…

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Yesterday was one of those good days. I got a flurry of e-mails from various folks at HarperCollins, letting me know that NIGHTMARE ACADEMY was just named one of five finalists for “Children’s Novel of the Year” from the SCIBA (Southern California Independent Booksellers Association). Last year’s winner was the amazing book THE ADVENTURES OF HUGO CABRET by Brian Selznick, so I’m pretty astounded to be included this year. The awards ceremony is October 18th. I went last year (even though I wasn’t nominated or anything) and had a great time. I just really love this organization. The Southern California Independent Booksellers have been incredibly kind to NIGHTMARE ACADEMY and I’m planning on doing a lot of SoCal events for the release of Book 2.

Anyway, moving on before I bore you to death with my glee…


This was actually the first convention I’ve gone to since my book came out and it was terrific fun. Writing is pretty solitary, so it’s great to get out of the cave and meet readers as well as other authors. I already knew Melissa Marr (she was one of the planners of the convention through “Fangs, Fur & Fey”) but it was fun to have a chance to hang out a little. I only have a handful of author-friends and she’s a really close one, so any chance to get together is welcome. She had all kind of miseries rain down on her — cancelled flight, hotel reservation lost — but she kept her cool and was one of the driving forces behind the convention, along with Elspeth Bloodgood (very nice) and Jeaniene Frost (who always seemed very busy and very friendly — wish I had chatted with her more!)

My good friend Steve Hickman was the Artist Guest of Honor at the convention, and it was really nice to get to hang out with him a bit. We ate a couple steaks together and he presented me with a really lovely early sketch of the painting that ultimately became this:

I’ll see him again next month at DragonCon, which should be fun. By the way, if you can’t tell because of the size of the image, those are the Hags flying Charlie and friends through the Nether.

It was also great to finally meet Tiffany Trent (HALLOWMERE) in person. The first night we were there, she patiently explained the unusual mating habits of a variety of animals. I will never look at an octopus the same way again — or the word “packets”. Very sweet person, very cool, looking forward to seeing her again.

There were so many other great people there that I hesitate to list them because I don’t want to leave someone out…

Patrice Michelle was really nice. We were on a fun panel together where a stunt troupe called “The Twisted Blades” staged fight sequences from our novels. It was moderated by Marie Brennan, who was ALSO very cool (and sort of brilliant — or at least she talked very fast and knew big words). Thank God she was also incredibly sweet or she would have been too intimidating.

On Saturday night, a group of us hung out in Melissa’s room and I got to spend some time with Mark Del Franco, who was awesome. Just a warm guy and funny, with a really nice energy about him — not to get too new-agey. Also, Illona Andrews was there, who turned out to be one of the funniest storytellers I have EVER met — and I’ve seen some pretty good ones. She has a thick Russian accent and her tales of pigs and corpses and life in Russia was just… breathtakingly hilarious.

Who else?

Jennifer Lynn Barnes was very nice and is sort of a genius in that way that makes you want to kill yourself because she’s only, like, 23 or something and has already published numerous books and is doing some shockingly complicated and cool university research on monkey learning, which brings her to “monkey island” on occasion — and why she’s not currently writing a book called MONKEY ISLAND, I have no idea. Also in the “young and brilliant” category was Sarah Rees Brennan, who was visiting the states from Ireland and whose first book comes out next year.

Man… who am I missing? Dakota Cassidy was a hilarious character who hissed “you’re dead to me” every time I passed her because I failed to hang out with she and her group on Friday night. In fact, I caught grief from all of them — Mark Henry (VERY funny) as well as Jaye Wells and Leah Hodge (who were both equally as funny — in fact, they were all on a panel ABOUT being funny — at 9 am in the morning — which is not a funny time to talk about being funny). Mark and I hung out on Sunday at the airport while we waited for our planes, which was a nice way to pass the time.

Let’s see, Rachel Vincent was also really nice and I got to see Maria again, who runs Melissa Marr’s WICKED LOVELY fansite. Her dad took her to the convention (how cool is that) and it was great to meet him as well.

So… geez. Fun time.

I’ve been doing a lot of travel lately and it’s not about to stop. My wife and kids and I leave for Whistler, British Columbia on Friday. It’s our family trip this year and we’ll be staying a week. Never been, but I hear it’s great. I’m really looking forward to it.

After that, DragonCon in Atlanta will be coming up. So… busy times ahead…

Take care…

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  • stevenagy

    Moving on?
    Heh … congrats. :-)

    July 30, 2008 at 2:49 pm Reply
  • brian_ohio

    It was so great to meet you, Dean. I actually Blogged about our meeting today. Oh… and our handshake. Interesting stuff.
    You actually unrolled that sketch Steve created for me to see. Brilliant. Honestly. And such a humble guy, too.
    Anyway, Congrats on the nomination. That is awesome. I hope we can meet again someday soon. You were very kind and a pleasure to talk to.
    Enjoy your travels!

    July 30, 2008 at 2:58 pm Reply
    • deanlorey

      Hey, Brian! It was GREAT meeting you in person, as well!
      I just went and read your LJ blog about the event and I was glad I did. I was going to mention you in my blog post but… to be honest… I wasn’t sure about your last name. You introduced yourself as “Brian Ohio” and I thought “Is his last name REALLY Ohio? Or is that just where he’s from?”
      Now I know!
      Anyway, you’re a great guy and it was a pleasure meeting you and your wife and hanging out. PLEASE keep in touch…

      July 30, 2008 at 3:04 pm Reply
  • jenlyn_b

    Congrats on the SCIBA nomination- that’s awesome! I can’t wait to pick up your books. I totally bragged to my family about meeting you, and they were very impressed (they don’t read a lot of YA or urban fantasy, so they rarely know who my author-friends are, but they’ve all seen your movies).
    Anyway, it was really great getting to hang out this weekend- I had a ton of fun!

    July 30, 2008 at 4:25 pm Reply
    • deanlorey

      I can’t believe your family has seen my movies! After meeting you, I was imagining a family of geniuses walking around, talking about quantum physics and wormhole calculations — not the kind of folks (like me) would who would get a kick out of MAJOR PAYNE. :)
      And it was great hanging out with you, as well!

      July 30, 2008 at 5:12 pm Reply
      • jenlyn_b

        Are you kidding me? My family LOVES comedies like Major Payne and Happy Gilmore. They’re my mom’s favorite kind of movie, and my brother could probably recite more quotes verbatim than you could. We’re totally your kind of folks.

        July 30, 2008 at 5:46 pm Reply
        • deanlorey

          I’ll have to meet your brother some day and we can trade quotes. :)
          And it also sounds like I need to meet your mom, too. Heck, just bring the whole family over!

          July 30, 2008 at 9:36 pm Reply
  • frost_light

    Hey Dean, I really enjoyed meeting you! Between the two of us, I think we can trick Melissa into watching some horror movies – or should we call them “dark dramas” to lure her? ;-).
    Next time, hope we have more time to chat!

    July 30, 2008 at 4:34 pm Reply
    • deanlorey

      “dark dramas” sounds good… or “edgy visual literature.”
      And I’m looking forward to seeing you again some time soon. :)

      July 30, 2008 at 5:13 pm Reply
  • jayewells

    Dean! Congrats on the SCIBA nomination. It was a blast hanging out with you–until you got intimidated and ran off. I can’t blame you really. I wanted to run away from me a few times too.

    July 30, 2008 at 5:08 pm Reply
    • deanlorey

      Thanks for the congrats… and I’m easily intimidated, so don’t take it personally. :)
      I really had a great time with you guys, particularly exploring convenience store names in the Greater Tulsa area.

      July 30, 2008 at 5:15 pm Reply
  • neutronjockey

    A pleasure to meet you. Thanks for fielding all the tough questions. 😉

    July 30, 2008 at 5:13 pm Reply
    • deanlorey

      Same here! And I love tough questions — after 10 am, of course. :)

      July 30, 2008 at 5:16 pm Reply
  • leahhodge

    Congrats on your awesomeness!!! I’m looking forward to reading your book to my kids. You didn’t mention in your post about how much you’re going to miss us. We were like family until you shunned us. But it’s okay, I vented all my disappointment about your rejection on my blog.

    July 30, 2008 at 6:24 pm Reply
    • deanlorey

      Okay, now I’m really afraid to read your blog. :)
      And I WILL miss you… until Conestoga 2010! Wooo! And let me know what your kids think about the book. Just FYI — I refuse to pay for their long term psychiatric care.

      July 30, 2008 at 9:39 pm Reply
  • patricemichelle

    Hey Dean,
    Congrats on your awesome news!
    It was so nice to chat with you at Conestoga! I’m going to get your book since I couldn’t get it there, and am hoping to finagle a signed bookplate from you! I hope you have a great trip with your family.

    July 30, 2008 at 8:14 pm Reply
    • deanlorey

      You will NEVER have to finagle to get a signed bookplate! I’ll get you one. :)
      And thanks for the good wishes about the trip — we’re really looking forward to it.

      July 30, 2008 at 9:39 pm Reply
  • sarah_prineas

    Yay for the SCIBA award!! Congratulations!
    It sounds like a great con. So bummed that I didn’t make more of an effort to get there. Hip hip for busy times!

    July 30, 2008 at 8:16 pm Reply
    • deanlorey

      I really WISH you could have been there! I kept thinking you were coming, actually. I know you told me you weren’t, but my mind stubbornly refused to believe it. Next time!

      July 30, 2008 at 9:40 pm Reply
  • mdhenry

    Awesome news! Had a great time hanging out and talking trash about Jaye and Leah. They can’t see this, right?

    July 30, 2008 at 9:00 pm Reply
    • deanlorey

      No, they can’t read this. I’ve banned them. Go ahead and share your true feelings about them… :)

      July 30, 2008 at 9:41 pm Reply
  • emrowan

    Congrats on being a finalist for SCIBA! What great news!
    I’m like Jen in that I bragged to my husband (a huge fan of ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT) about meeting you. He was certainly more familiar with your work than any other author there. :) Now I need to go buy NIGHTMARE ACADEMY!

    July 31, 2008 at 12:42 am Reply
    • deanlorey

      Thanks for the congrats! Please say hi to your husband for me and tell him he has excellent taste in TV shows. :)
      And let me know what you think of NIGHTMARE ACADEMY!

      July 31, 2008 at 1:05 am Reply
  • sarahtales

    Yay and congratulations! Plus, thanks for the reading – the killer monsters almost cured the cupcake cravings. :)

    July 31, 2008 at 6:05 am Reply
    • deanlorey

      NOTHING could cure those cupcake cravings — I’m still thinking about them!

      August 1, 2008 at 7:07 pm Reply
  • Anonymous

    Even though you’re still dead to me
    It was awesome to meet you, and I’m stoked to know a guy who wrote a movie with a Wayan in it :) And I did a panel with Steve–he was FAB!
    DC :)

    August 1, 2008 at 4:39 pm Reply
    • deanlorey

      Re: Even though you’re still dead to me
      Isn’t Steve great? And I hope I’m never not dead to you — being dead to you is too much fun. :)

      August 1, 2008 at 7:07 pm Reply
      • Anonymous

        Re: Even though you’re still dead to me
        Steve was awesome, and so was his pal, though his name escapes me. They really helped to dispel some of the myths about covers and authors and the truth about the fact that we don’t always get to communicate exactly what we’d like.
        And now, you’re back to being dead to me. Even if I think you can take a good joke like a real champ and that it brings a tear of admiration to my eye. LOL
        And congrats!
        Dakota :)

        August 1, 2008 at 8:53 pm Reply
  • brennas_life

    Here is a belated Congratulations! Nightmare Academy is definitely worthy of the award, and we all know how hard you have been working on the series. It’s nice to get that recognition every once and awhile. :)

    December 7, 2008 at 5:16 pm Reply

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