Launch Party Thanks

My launch party for Dare Me was this past Friday, and it was awesome. Not only because it was at a bar, during happy hour, and not only because the turnout was wonderful. It was an excellent event because of the vibe created.

I’ve done a fair amount of signings/events, and it’s near-to-impossible to feel anything more than a bookish flair when you’re in a library or bookstore. But at McGreivery’s, surrounded by Halloween decorations, people burning off steam on a Friday afternoon, and a genuine interest in my work, I felt more than happy to be perched in my corner, taking it all in.

Writing is a solitary act. It’s 5:15 AM as I write this. My house is quiet and the sun isn’t up, but I’ve been awake for close to an hour, clacking at my keyboard. And this is my job morning after morning, including summers.

So when I am afforded the opportunity to go out and meet with people who enjoy what I’ve created, especially in an environment that it less stuffy and more “shot-friendly”, it’s difficult not to be appreciative. All those hours alone so that I can get together with people and say, “Damn, we did this,” are worth it.

Because, yes, I did. But so did you. Because I’m not here without your support. So I offer my sincerest THANKS! I fully intend to keep up my end of this relationship, and I know you’ll do the same.

Read Dare Me, love it, and then share with people how you feel. Offer some of that vibe. Do it in the real world or virtually, but let them know about this party they can get in on.

Because as the saying goes, the more the merrier.


Pub Day Q&A

In case you didn’t know, it’s PUB DAY! 

But before that, as promised, the winner from Challenge #5 is Megan Cruz, a local news reporter who admitted to living dangerously by riding in the trunk of her friend’s car. All right, Megan, for your honesty, you win a signed copy of Dare Me. Send me your mailing address 🙂

*Drum roll* *Confetti* *Champagne* (You get the idea)

Dare Me has finally made its way into the world and I can only hope those copies find some good homes. I know you all are providing such. And for those who want a little more info about this daredevil tale, I’ve provided a Q&A that my publisher is using for promo purposes. The insight should add to your reading pleasure.

So, read, enjoy and thank  you all for supporting me. I sincerely hope you like this story so much you’ll force others to read it. At gunpoint. Or just talk about it a lot on Facebook and Twitter, whatever’s more your style.

I raise my glass as you raise your books. Cheers!

Q: This whole book is based on the premise of completing dares.  Did you get the idea for this book because of a dare you witnessed? If so, what was the dare?

The premise is more from the culture of teens watching dares and stunts via YouTube, Facebook, Jackass, and Tosh. O. If teens are spending time devoted to anything, there has to be an allure, and then something deeper. I wanted to see what that would look like and why these boys would continue beyond one stunt into the elaborate game of one-upmanship they enter.

Also, there was no one stunt that I witnessed that set this in motion, but rather the collage of them, both in my own life and vicariously. The bridge jump has many factual elements. It’s safe to say I have been there and have done that.

Q: Ben becomes a part of the Daredevil Crew initially to become a legend at his high school.  Why do you think most teens participate in these groups, and how do you believe it helps them cope with today’s societal pressures?

I believe teens today—as teens of my youth and prior—push envelopes to see how far is too far. Because of the stage the internet provides, these actions now have a greater audience, and with that comes sweeping feedback.

Teens and adults love the risk-taker. Our legends are built on such men and women. It only makes sense that the combination of this classic desire to risk, coupled with the unique elements of today’s virtual existence, creates a perfect vehicle for being seen, which, at heart, is what everyone wants, regardless of age.

The actions get reinforced from an online community who values the behavior, and that recognition turns into reinforcement, and becomes acceptance.

To risk it all may seem unintelligent, but I think the activity speaks from a very emotional place.

Q: Do you personally identify with characters in your book, or have you, as a high school teacher, based your story off students you have taught?

Some author once said that all of our characters are a part of us, and I agree. I identify with all of mine for different reasons. Do I agree with everything they do? Not even close. But I understand their motivations, and hope what I provide with these individuals offers others a chance to consider alternate perspectives.

I have also based characters off students. Not exact replicas, because that, by its very nature, is no longer fiction. Rather, I use traits, reactions, quirks, etc. I am surrounded by uniqueness and thousands of stories on a daily basis. It would be a disservice to my students if I didn’t incorporate them in some way.

Q: What do you believe is the real thrill that teenagers experience from completing dares like the ones mentioned in your book?

The short answer: it’s fun. The rush of risking your life—or at minimum, injury—is visceral on a biological, neuro-chemical level. The body loves it.

The long answer: it’s all about the identity ritual. Every group has a way of marking itself, be it fashion or music or language. Teens who participate in such risky behavior are no different. They want to show others that this is who they are: unafraid, brave, a bit crazy, and willing to do whatever. It sets them apart from the rest, builds a bit of cred, and for someone with nothing to lose, is the sort of validation sought.

Q: Ben is constantly thinking about how Sir Isaac Newton’s Laws of Relativity compare to his everyday life, budding romance, and the dares he is performing with the other boys.  What inspired you to use Newton as a control piece in your story?

I began it as an interesting juxtaposition, a demonstration of the missed warning signs life throws at us—the ones we see in hindsight—but also as a play on the inability for any of us to overstep the natural laws. It was during my conversation with Lisa Cheng about the necessary revisions to the first draft that the idea solidified. She enjoyed the scientific touch and wondered if I could play it up more. It became one of the best threads throughout all of the dares.

DARE ME Countdown Giveaway Challenge #5

All right, here we are at the last challenge. Which means two things. One, we have a winner from yesterday, and two, Dare Me hits the shelves tomorrow. Make sure you are buckled in and the seatbelt is secure. Yesterday’s winner is Mark Ayotte. Check out the amazing stunt compilation below from him and then meet me on the other side of the craziness.

That was awesome, right? Thanks, Mark! Send me your details 🙂

And now, the last challenge. But first, some required reading–the first paragraph in the Acknowledgements section of Dare Me:

This story is about our culture, our desire to be seen, and what we are willing to risk for that visibility. It is not a glorification of the daredevil, but rather an examination of why.

The challenge: What is the craziest stunt/dare you performed AND what did you learn?

Tell me your story. Post anonymously if you need to, and tomorrow, when Dare Me drops, I’ll be sharing your feat of awesomeness with the world.

Go, dig into your memory and consider about all the crazy things you’ve done. Then examine what you learned. Drop that story here, on Facebook or on Twitter. I look forward to them. And thanks for playing along.

DARE ME Countdown Giveaway Challenge #4

Thank you all for taking yesterday’s science challenge. I knew it would be difficult, but also that someone would rise to Newton’s standards.

Fortunately Beth Fehlbaum’s answer hit the mark: I think that Law # 1 most applies to life, because unless a person decides to take responsibility for their own lives, they have no one to blame but him/herself if it’s not going well. I’d sum it up as, “You have to be your own best friend.”

That’s perfect, and part of what Ben comes to realize throughout the story. So, Beth, hook me up with your contact info and a copy of Dare Me is coming your way.

And for today’s challenge, something easier, but equally educational…

The challenge: Send me the best YouTube dare that you can find.

Ben, Ricky, John and Trevor do some insane stunts, but I know what else is out there from my hours and hours of research. So find those awesome dares and shoot me the link here, on Facebook or on Twitter. The best dare will air tomorrow and you win a signed copy of Dare Me.

Please make sure the dare is awesome, but I am uninterested in seeing anyone getting seriously injured. Let Tosh. O handle that.

Go, have fun, enjoy Sunday, send me links, and tomorrow I will reveal the last challenge.

DARE ME Countdown Giveaway Challenge #1

First challenge: Give me a quote.

I love quotes, famous, infamous, the everyday. My classroom walls are covered in hundreds. My students love them, choose favorites and point theirs out to each other. Those pearls of wisdom stick.

So imagine yourself, on the edge of that bridge, as Ben is on the cover. What would you say to him? How would you make him believe he’ll be fine, that in fact he is brave? What dash of daring words can you provide?

Leave those in a comment below or hit me with your best @eric_devine. If you send a link alone, please reference Challenge #1, or I’ll think you’re a spammer, and I’ve seen enough weight loss ads, thank you 🙂

Now, go, pen your own, steal someone else’s; just give us all some inspiration. I’ll reveal the winner in tomorrow’s post and new challenge.


TLT: Teen Librarian’s Toolbox: Careening with our youth culture: the daring nature of Dare Me (a guest post by Eric Devine and GIVEAWAY)

I was invited to write a guest post on “Why Dare Me“? It’s an excellent question. Those of you who know me may have a clue. However, for those who don’t, here’s some insight:

TLT: Teen Librarian’s Toolbox: Careening with our youth culture: the daring nature of Dare Me (a guest post by Eric Devine and GIVEAWAY).

I spent a lot of time as a teenager risking my life. And not in some symbolic sense. I put myself in harm’s way on so many occasions that when I tell stories of my youth, someone always says, “I cannot believe you’re still alive.”

Neither can I. And I blame the Internet.

Really, the lack of it. When I was a senior in high school (’96) our library got its first computer with Internet. At home, the same happened. But in its infancy, PCs with Internet connection weren’t that alluring, so I had to find entertainment elsewhere.

The problems my friends and I faced were classic: boundless energy, lack of supervision, devil-may-care attitudes and “stupid creativity”. I use that term because had we channeled our energy into anything positive, who knows what we could have achieved? Instead, we were all fortunate to simply maintain our lives, but not without scars and not without stories.

Like the one time we jumped off the ledges at this local abandoned quarry:

(this is not us, but the location).

My friend jumped, but for some reason believed in cartoon physics–that if she just stepped back she’d defy gravity. Instead, she belly flopped from that height, came up, gasped for air, and went right back under.

I was a lifeguard, so I swam under and rescued her, dragging her to the ledge where she vomited a gallon of water.

We kept jumping.

Read the rest of the post here.