News from the Dead Zone #129

Of course the big news is the pending publication of Blockade Billy, a novella or novelette or novelesque, or something like that. It’s a baseball story with a twist, published by CD Publications this month. Of the book King says, “”I love old-school baseball, and I also love the way people who’ve spent a lifetime in the game talk about the game. I tried to combine those things in a story of suspense. People have asked me for years when I was going to write a baseball story. Ask no more; this is it.” The story reveals the secret life of William “Blockade Billy” Blakely, a man who may have been the greatest player the game has ever seen, although today no one remembers his name. He was the first — and only — player to have his existence completely removed from the record books. Even his team is long forgotten, barely a footnote in the game’s history. As you read the story, be on the lookout for a character with a very familiar name…

Scribner plans to release an audio version of the story in May. Publishers Weekly says (in part): this suspenseful short is a deftly executed suicide squeeze, with sharp spikes hoisted high and aimed at the jugular on the slide home.

The four stories contained in King’s next book, Full Dark, No Stars are:  1922 (The story opens with the confession of Wilfred James to the murder of his wife, Arlette, following their move to Hemingford, Nebraska onto land willed to Arlette by her father),  Big Driver (Mystery writer, Tess, has been supplementing her writing income for years by doing speaking engagements with no problems. But following a last-minute invitation to a book club 60 miles away, she takes a shortcut home with dire consequences), Fair Extension  (Harry Streeter, who is suffering from cancer, decides to make a deal with the devil but, as always, there is a price to pay), and A Good Marriage (Darcy Anderson learns more about her husband of over twenty years than she would have liked to know when she stumbles literally upon a box under a worktable in their garage).

King says that he “originally used Hemingford Home in The Stand because I wanted to put Mother Abigail in the American heartland. That’s Nebraska. Hemingford was in the right place. … I love Nebraska and keep going back to it in my fiction — when I’m not in Maine, that is.”

Haven, the new SyFy series inspired by The Colorado Kid, will premiere on Friday, July 9. “It’s definitely based on the characters of ‘The Colorado Kid, but I would say it’s about a girl named Audrey [Parker], who’s an orphan and becomes an FBI agent,” star Emily Rose says. “She ends up getting sent on this case up in Maine. When she goes up there, she kind of starts having these things happen to her, and she sort of starts feeling like she’s been called home. Paranormal things happen, and some exciting things happen for her, and it’s not only her unraveling this murder case, but kind of unraveling the case of herself, honestly. It’s pretty fascinating.” Lucas Bryant and Eric Balfour also star in the series.

Dolan’s Cadillac is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray. My advice: rent it or skip it. I’ll have a full review in an upcoming issue of CD magazine.

Recent Entertainment Weekly columns: Stephen King on the Academy Awards, and Stephen King on the Kindle and the iPad. You might also be interested in Stephen King’s scary list: commercial radio, contemporary country music

News From The Dead Zone #117

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

Still haven’t had a chance to read “Ur”? Well, you’ll have to wait a while longer. However, the story will be available as an audiobook on February 16, 2010. The reader has not yet been selected. The suggested retail price is $14.99 in CD format or $11.99 for the download edition which will be available July 2010.

“Morality” is now online at Esquire if you didn’t manage to pick up a copy of the magazine. The classic (and rare) short story Weeds is also online at the Cavalier web site.

Barnes & Noble will be publishing The Stephen King Illustrated Companion by yours truly later on this year.

A limited, black-and-white convention edition of Issue 0 of The Talisman graphic novel will be available for free exclusively at this year’s Comic-Con International in San Diego, taking place July 22-26. The special issue will be distributed by Del Rey at Booth #1129. The non-limited version will be available in comic book stores everywhere on October 21, 2009.

A sidebar about actress Emmanuelle Vaugier says that Dolan’s Cadillac is due out in December. Not quite sure in what form or what venues. It’s already been released on DVD in Sweden.

According to Camelot Books, these are the features of the Collectors Edition of Under the Dome:

  • Belly band
  • Jacket (will be the same jacket as on the trade state)
  • Housed in a stamped case
  • 4 color printed endpapers
  • Ribbon marker
  • Deck of cards (apparently this relates to the book)
  • Shrinkwrapped
  • 25,000 copies

A new message from King from his message board: “I’m delighted to tell you that I won not one but TWO Stoker Awards at this year’s ceremony, one for Duma Key (Best Novel) and one for Just After Sunset (Best Collection). My motto is, You can never be too thin, too rich, or win too many Stoker Awards. (If you’ve never seen one, the awards are most excellently cool.) My thanks to everyone who voted, and my congratulations to all the other nominees. Most of all, though, thanks to everyone who bought those books and enjoyed them. (And if you bought them and didn’t enjoy them, I still thank you.)”

News From The Dead Zone #113

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

This weekend’s issue of USA Weekend magazine features a King cover story, 35 Scary Years with Stephen King. The article is also online at the USA Weekend website. To find out what newspapers carry the insert in your area, go here.

Here’s an article where King’s agent, Ralph Vicinanza, discusses “Ur.” The story is now available for iPhone users, too, but not for general audiences yet.

Director Mick Garris and producer Mark Sennet met with Maine Governor John Baldacci last week to discuss the possibility of filming Bag of Bones in Maine and to explore financial incentives for the film. Bag of Bones has a $20 million budget, and Sennet expects to spend $10 million wherever the film is made. Filming could begin as early as this summer.

Here’s a new website for the film adaptation of Dolan’s Cadillac.

Here are interviews with Robin Furth and Tony Shasteen from New York Comic Con, discussing the Del Ray graphic adaptation of The Talisman. There have been reports of an Issue 0 installment featuring an episode that does not appear in the book itself, but serves as a prequel to the whole story.

In Entertainment Weekly: Torture and “24” and I love Breaking Bad

News From The Dead Zone #104

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

Producer Nick Wechsler has optioned screen rights to “Throttle,” a 60-page novella written by King and Joe Hill. The protagonists are father-son members of a motorcycle gang that’s chased through the desert by an 18-wheel tanker truck. The novella, inspired by the classic Matheson story “Duel,” will be published in 2009 in the tribute anthology He Is Legend. “It has elements of iconic films like Duel and Breakdown, but with a horror element that I want to push,” Wechsler said.

Graduation Afternoon will be reprinted in the first issue of the new Australian magazine BLACK: Australian Dark Culture.

Here’s a short interview with Christian Slater about the adaptation of Dolan’s Cadillac he is starring in.

A remake of Children of the Corn is gearing up for production this August in Eastern Central Iowa, produced by Anchor Bay Entertainment for a Sci-Fi Channel premiere. Donald P. Borchers – producer of the original 1984 film – is directing the movie from his own screenplay. The film is currently casting with the following synopsis making the rounds: Former Vietnam vet BURT’s marriage to former prom queen VICKY is on the rocks, but Burt hopes to rekindle their old flame with a second honeymoon driving trip. Unfortunately, their journey takes them into the heart of darkness – a seemingly deserted rural community that conceals a grim secret among its rows of tall corn. It was also revealed that this will be a period piece set in the 1970s.

More details and an artwork preview of Dark Tower: The End-World Almanac can be found here.

News From The Dead Zone #103

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

Marvel has announced details of their planned graphic novel adaptation of The Stand, which is scheduled to launch in September. The series writer is Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. Illustrations will be by Mike Perkins, with color art from Laura Martin. The current plan is to do six five-issue arcs, though that is still flexible. They will be basing the adaptation on the uncut version of the novel.

The Dark Tower: Treachery, the third arc of that series, also debuts in September.

The ultra-rare King short story “The Old Dude’s Ticker” is being reprinted in The BIG Book of NECON edited by Bob Booth, from Cemetery Dance. The story only appeared previously in NECON XX. NECON, in case you are unfamiliar with it, is an annual Horror Writers convention in Rhode Island. I’ve been going to it for the last several years. “The Old Dude’s Ticker,” co-attributed to Edgar Allan Poe, is a riff on “The Tell-Tale Heart.”

Filming began last week on Dolan’s Cadillac in Regina and Moose Jaw, Canada. The cast includes Christian Slater (Dolan), Wes Bentley (Robinson) and Emmanuelle Vaugier. Jeff Beesley is directing from a script by Richard Dooling (Kingdom Hospital). Filming will also take place in Quebec and Las Vegas.

It looks like there’s starting to be some activity in the adaptation of Bag of Bones. A couple of news items reported that location scouting was taking place in Michigan. The West Michigan Tourist Association has been seeking volunteers who’ll give up their “time kissed” lakefront cabin in the trees as a stand-in for “Sara Laughs.”

The final season of USA’s The Dead Zone is now available on DVD in a three-disc set containing thirteen episodes, commentary and behind-the-scenes segments.

News From The Dead Zone #101

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

If you missed last night’s airing on C-SPAN 2 of a Writing Discussion with Stephen, Tabitha, and Owen King, it will run again on Saturday, May 17, at 8:00 a.m. It’s worth catching, because he read from the first pages of the book he is currently working on, which sounds like a re-imagining of a failed novel from the 1980s called The Cannibals at one time and Under the Dome at another. The snippet he read had to do with a woman getting a flying lesson. A twenty-five year old quote from King about the novel: “I’ve gotten about four-hundred-and-fifty pages done and it is all about these people who are trapped in an apartment building.  Worst thing I could think of.  And I thought, wouldn’t it be funny if they all ended up eating each other?  It’s very, very bizarre because it’s all on one note.  And who knows whether it will be published or not.”

King was on the NPR program Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me yesterday playing a game called, “You’re the Warmest, Fluffiest, Most Unthreatening Friend Ever.” Three questions about nice things to ask the man who has scared us to our wits for decades.

Christian Slater and Wes Bentley have signed up to star in the adaptation of “Dolan’s Cadillac.” The thriller follows a young man (Bentley) who seeks to avenge his wife’s murder by the untouchable Las Vegas mobster Jimmy Dolan (Slater). Emmanuelle Vaugier rounds out the key cast on the project, which is scheduled to begin shooting in Saskatchewan and Quebec on May 14. Erik Canuel will direct from Richard Dooling’s adapted screenplay. (Dooling, as you may recall, was King’s collaborator on Kingdom Hospital)

News From The Dead Zone #58

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

Lilja reports that Scribner will publish the next Richard Bachman novel, Blaze, on June 12.

Everyone got excited last week when Hollywood Reporter announced that King was in talks with J.J. Abrams to bring the Dark Tower to the screen. Abrams is well known for his work on LOST, and he and King have formed sort of a mutual admiration society. However, it must be emphasized that this is very, very, very preliminary, and nothing might ever come of it. Keep in mind how long a movie based on The Talisman was in discussion before it showed any promise of becoming reality.

I finally had a chance to read through the Marvel Spotlight on the Dark Tower series. It has a two-page letter from King and interviews with Robin Furth, Jae Lee, Richard Isanove and Peter David. The Road to the Dark Tower even gets a couple of mentions, including in Peter David’s interview. Peter David wrote on his website about his experience at the midnight signing at Times Square, and took part in a TV interview at WCSH (Portland, ME) that was up on the web site last time I checked. The same page had an archival interview with Tabitha King if you scroll down to the bottom.

Newsarama released the conventional cover for issue #4 of Gunslinger Born. They also got the David Finch variant artwork for issue 2. See right and click on the images for larger views.

Two new Entertainment Weekly columns: The Secret Gardiner and A Modern Fairy Tale.

Dennis Hopper is in negotiations to star in Dolan’s Cadillac, a movie that was in preproduction a few years ago with Kevin Bacon and Sylvester Stallone attached to it. Then there were rumors of Freddie Prinze, Jr. The report said that production would begin in a couple of months. We’ll see.

The February selection of a signed book through The Haven Foundation will be Hearts in Atlantis (hardcover).  The price will be $60 plus shipping.  The books will go on sale beginning at 12 noon Eastern Time on February 23rd.  Haven has a total of 25 copies available and will be offering them in small lots at random times throughout the day so that they will not sell out within the first 2 minutes of going on-sale as they did in January.  The March selection will be Dreamcatcher (hardcover), also at $60 plus shipping, and the April selection will be Black House (hardcover) signed by both Stephen and Peter Straub for $80 plus shipping. NOTE: Anyone who has purchased a signed Stephen King book through The Haven Foundation will not be eligible to purchase another signed copy. There is a one signed book per household lifetime limit in order to give as many people as possible the opportunity to get a signed book.

Award news from this past weekend: Stephen King’s Desperation won The Art Directors Guild’s Excellence in Production Design Award for best TV movie or mini-series. John Stokes (TNT’s Nightmares and Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King) won for television movie/miniseries/pilot at the 21st Annual American Society of Cinematographers’ Outstanding Achievement Awards.