News From The Dead Zone #118

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

More news about King’s publicity tour for Under the Dome is emerging. Both the New York and Portsmouth events are sold out, according to recent reports. Details about other events have not been made public. Check King’s message board for the most up-to-date information about the tour. The DC/Baltimore and Atlanta events will be straight signings, with no on-stage event, whereas for the others King will presign 250 books that will be made available for sale to attendees, although there may well be more attendees than books for some events.

November 10 – NYC (sold out)
November 11 – D.C. or Baltimore
November 13 – Atlanta
November 16 – Sarasota
November 18 – Minneapolis
November 19 – Toronto
December 1 – Portsmouth, NH (sold out)
December 2 – Manchester, VT

King is quoted in this article about the timing of the release of electronic versions of books: Stephen King, whose novel Under the Dome is being published in November by Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, said in an e-mail message that “we’re all thinking and talking about electronic publishing and how to deal with these issues,” adding, “but I can’t say anything right now.” The electronic version of the book isn’t scheduled to be released until early 2010.

Scribner will publish two Collector’s Editions of Under the Dome. The regular Collector’s Edition will have a special jacket with a belly band, a stamped case, four-color printed endpapers, a ribbon marker, and will contain a set of 27 special trading cards featuring drawings of characters from the book (drawn by cartoonist Matthew Diffee). These drawings will also be featured in the book—as a frontispiece image and on the 26 part title pages. The book will be shrink-wrapped and Scribner will print only 25,000 copies of this edition, priced at $75. Scribner is also offering 1,500 copies of a signed, limited Collector’s Edition. This contains all the special elements listed above, plus the book will be signed by the author. This is priced at $200 and will only be sold through their web site. “We’re doing this to generate additional revenue,” says Susan Moldow, publisher of Simon & Schuster’s Scribner imprint. “We used to have a regular business of signed first edition mysteries, but we stopped because there wasn’t an additional mark-up…This is fighting back against the disappearance of the book as an object,” she adds.

An Under the Dome excerpt will be in a fall issue of Entertainment Weekly.

Rand Holston at CAA is currently out with the film rights to Under the Dome. According to Publishers Weekly, the book’s heft may be making it tough for Hollywood execs to see the story working as a feature; one insider said all the activity in the book is causing some to think Dome makes more sense as a miniseries.

Marvel Comics and Random House’s Doubleday Broadway Publishing Group have reached an agreement to allow The Stand: Captain Trips to be distributed in the general bookstore market beginning in January 2010. The hardcover omnibus was originally released exclusively through comics shops in March after Marvel acknowledged that it did not have permission from the book’s original publisher, Doubleday, now a part of Random House, to distribute it to the general bookstores.

Issue #3 of Fall of Gilead is now out.

The special B&W issue 0 of The Talisman was distributed at Comic-Con. The standard version of this prequel will be available in comic shops in October. The first issue of the first six-issue arc, The Road of Trials, will also appear in October. The current plan is for a total of three arcs, each about six issues.

John Harrison, whose Clive Barker-based feature Book of Blood premiered at Montreal’s Fantasia film festival recently, is writing a four-hour miniseries based on Cell for the Weinstein Company, which had originally planned to turn the book into a theatrical feature (with Eli Roth attached at one point to direct), but decided to abandon those plans and will be shopping the project to networks instead. Having served as assistant director/composer on the Creepshow and helmed Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (including an adaptation of  “Cat from Hell”), Harrison considers Cell one of King’s best recent books, with opening chapters that will make an incredible first 30 minutes on screen. The filmmaker adds that he doesn’t see this as a zombie story so much as a Village of the Damned-esque chiller, and enjoys the fact that the infected populace possesses a hive mentality. While he has not been officially contracted to direct, he would certainly like to.

The remake of Children of the Corn will premiere on SyFy (formerly SciFi network) on Saturday, September 26 at 9pm Eastern/Pacific.

Here is King’s most recent Entertainment Weekly article: Memories of Michael Jackson.

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 #116

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

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

News From The Dead Zone #115

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

Look for the July issue of Esquire , on newsstands shortly, for a new story called Morality. You aren’t likely to miss it–the story is painted on the body of model Bar Refaeli on the front cover. Here is the story description: Chad, an aspiring writer who is teaching school until he lands a publishing contract, and his wife, Nora, who is working as a home nurse for a retired minister, are like most people these days struggling financially.  Nora is approached by her employer with a proposition that could make their dream of a home in Vermont a reality.  But will it be worth the moral consequences? And here is a link to the cover.

King’s summer picks are now up on his official web site. He also has an Entertainment Weekly column touting 7 Great Books for Summer.

Scribner is keeping wraps on the cover art for Under the Dome until September, at which time they will launch it with a special promotion. There will be an excerpt of the novel in a summer issue of Entertainment Weekly.

The production of the Ghost Brothers of Darkland County CD/book package is slated to commence on June 15, when producer T Bone Burnett begins laying down the tracks in Los Angeles for the 18 new songs John Mellencamp has written for his musical theater collaboration with King. King’s dialog will later be assembled in John’s Belmont Studio. The cast for the production is still not finalized. Projected release of the completed project is next January and will be in more than one configuration, with a “deluxe” version to include a book containing the show’s full text and song lyrics, a CD featuring the show’s dialog and songs, and a second CD with only the songs.

According to a recent interview, Eli Roth is no longer attached to direct an adaptation of Cell. “I walked away from it,” he says. “I love Stephen King and I love the book, but I want to write my own stories.”

“The Things They Left Behind” has been optioned by 1492 Pictures in partnership with Reliance Big Entertainment.

News From The Dead Zone #114

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

Scribner has issued this plot synopsis of the upcoming 1120-page novel Under the Dome:

On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester’s Mills, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener’s hand is severed as “the dome” comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. No one can fathom what this barrier is, where it came from, and when—or if—it will go away.

Dale Barbara, Iraq vet and now a short-order cook, finds himself teamed with a few intrepid citizens—town newspaper owner Julia Shumway, a physician’s assistant at the hospital, a select-woman, and three brave kids. Against them stands Big Jim Rennie, a politician who will stop at nothing—even murder—to hold the reins of power, and his son, who is keeping a horrible secret in a dark pantry. But their main adversary is the Dome itself. Because time isn’t just short. It’s running out.

It looks like It will be remade as a feature film. Warner Bros. has hired Dave Kajganich to adapt the novel, with Dan Lin and Vertigo’s Roy Lee and Doug Davison producing. Though it’s hard to take stories seriously at this point, when the script hasn’t even been written, the rumor is that it will focus on the adult Losers rather than flipping back and forth between the two eras. Kajganich is also attached to a remake of Pet Sematary.

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 #112

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

February 10, 2009: A brief update about yesterday’s announcement concerning King’s new novella, “Ur,” which features the Amazon Kindle. An Amazon official estimates that “Ur” would run about 100 traditional print pages. There’s a video of King reading from “Ur” on YouTube and an interview here.

Shivers 5 Free Read: “One More Day” by Brian Freeman

chizmar14Cemetery Dance Publications is proud to announce the fifth entry in this award-nominated and best-selling anthology series!  Shivers V contains over twenty short stories from today’s most popular authors, including Stewart O’Nan, Graham Masterton, Mick Garris, Chet Williamson, Simon Clark, R. Patrick Gates, Ronald Kelly, John Skipp & Cody Goodfellow, Al Sarrantonio, Rick Hautala, Kealan Patrick Burke, Robin Furth, Nick Mamatas, Scott Nicholson, Del James, and many others.  Featuring original dark fiction with a handful of rare reprints, Shivers V is available only as a beautiful perfect-bound trade paperback from Cemetery Dance Publications.

Today we’re pleased to present Brian Freeman’s story “One More Day” for free here in the Free Reads section:

“One More Day”

by Brian Freeman

Michael wasn’t sure exactly how long he had been chained naked to the floor of the Big Man’s Punishment Room, but he did know the Big Man would be coming back soon.  Then the bleeding and the screaming and the torture would start again.  Michael wasn’t sure he could survive another night.

The coldness of the Punishment Room had long ago seeped through his skin and taken hold of his bones.  The smooth concrete floor and the metal drain near his feet were stained with dried blood.  On the wall across from him was the wide mirror that relentlessly showed his reflection.  He couldn’t help but stare into it, watching himself deteriorate.

The hallucinations were growing stronger and more vivid with each passing day.  His body was exhausted and his eyes burned from the horror of the things he had seen and done… but still, he prayed to live for one more day.

That was how you made it through this sort of thing–or so he had decided early on as the days and the nights blurred together.  There were no windows in the Punishment Room, of course, just that damned mirror, but Michael believed the Big Man didn’t come to see him until after dark.  It was just a hunch, though.  The time between visits was horrible and the nights were full of their own terrors, but now the nightmares weren’t nearly as bad as what happened when Michael was awake. In fact, the nightmares were almost comforting in their own bizarre way.  At least in his dreams, he was in control.  He didn’t have to do the terrible things the Big Man demanded… or face the consequences for non-compliance.

Assuming Michael managed to escape this hellhole with his sanity and his life–and those odds were looking worse and worse with each passing visit of the Big Man–he wasn’t sure if he’d be able to go on living with the knowledge of what he had done to survive… but then again, that was a dilemma he wouldn’t mind being forced to deal with, given the finality of the alternative. He took the pain and the punishment one day at a time, hoping each day would be the last time he ever came face to face with the Big Man.  And when the Big Man entered the Punishment Room like clockwork and made his unspoken demands, Michael would do what he had to do to keep on living for another day, his eyes never leaving his own reflection in the mirror.

Every night the Big Man gave him the same two options, and Michael hated the cold eyes staring back at him in the mirror as he made his choice.  He never stopped staring at himself, judging himself for what he had done, contemplating how he had ended up here in the first place.

Michael knew he might eventually escape from this endless Hell–there was always a slim chance, he was certain of that–but there was no escaping his own tired, bloodshot eyes.  Some days he gazed at his reflection for so long he felt like he was watching someone else, a spooky feeling under the best of conditions.  The growing darkness in his eyes scared him, but what else could he do all day long?

So he sat and he waited and he watched the mirror.  He barely recognized the man in the reflection, the man sitting upright against a bloodstained cinderblock wall.  The prisoner’s hands were chained to heavy anchors in the floor, but he had enough range of movement to do what the Big Man demanded… if he didn’t want to suffer more than necessary.  If he didn’t want to choose his other option.

Day after day after day passed.  The nightmares grew worse, the Big Man’s terrible choices became more maddening, and soon Michael saw movement in the mirror when he was all alone.  Darkness shifting and jumping in the corners.  His own eyes, big and red and tired, peering back at him, searching for some escape from the terror.  The eyes in the mirror moved while his own eyes remained still.

And as always, after another string of endless hours spent staring at himself, watching those strange eyes he didn’t recognize, Michael heard the footsteps echoing down the stairs.  Then the door hidden in the corner of the room opened.

Michael’s heart began to race and he closed his eyes.  He didn’t want to know what the next punishment would be–and he definitely didn’t want to see who the Big Man might have brought with him today.

Yet keeping his eyes closed meant nothing when he heard the small voice whisper: “Mikey?”

His eyes flew open and he stared in horror at his little sister.  He had practically raised Alicia.  He had changed her diapers and taken her to the doctor when she was sick; he had enrolled her in elementary school and helped with her homework; he had explained the real reason why the boys on the playground were picking on her; he had encouraged her to make friends and learn as much as she could and to take chances and think for herself.  Alicia meant the world to him and he would have done anything for her, to protect her.  He would never hurt her… and she would never hurt him.

Alicia wore her best Sunday dress and she had obviously been crying.  She knew why she was here.

Towering above her was the Big Man dressed all in black with the mask protecting his face.  He led Michael’s little sister by the hand–his gloved hand was huge, engulfing her small fingers–but his grip wasn’t tight and Alicia didn’t struggle the way Michael had when he first awoke in this terrible place.  Her eyes were big, yet she showed no fear.  She understood what had to be done.

In her left hand, Alicia held a pair of pliers.

“Oh Alicia, no,” Michael whispered.  He tried to believe that she was a hallucination–maybe he had finally lost his mind for good, maybe this was just another nightmare–but he had known the truth the instant he heard her voice.

The Big Man let go of Alicia’s hand and she crossed the room and sat down on the floor in front of her big brother.

“I’m sorry,” she said.

He began to cry.  So did she.

The Big Man watched the events unfold with his usual detached silence.  This was his room–he controlled what happened and when, yet he said nothing.

“I am, too,” Michael replied, staring at the grimy metal drain in the concrete floor.  He couldn’t even look his little sister in the eyes as he considered his options one more time.  He could finally take his own life and end the pain for good–which would also allow his little sister to go free without suffering through the horror of what was to come–or he could do what the Big Man silently asked him to do.

These were the same two options Michael was presented every evening–just with a different person waiting in front of him, holding a different tool or weapon–and as Michael grew more tired, as the eyes in the mirror became darker and darker, the two options seemed more and more similar.

Michael looked at Alicia, and she nodded and tried to hand him the pliers.

She was closer to him than anyone in the world, but deep down Michael knew he wanted to live for another day.

Another hellish, terrible day.

Another day of hoping to escape.

Another day of praying to live to regret what he had done.

Just one more day.

So he looked up and he watched in the mirror as the stranger he didn’t recognize took the pliers and did what needed to be done.


Later, after the Big Man had disposed of yet another body, the pool of Alicia’s blood continued to drip down the metal drain while Michael stared at the stranger’s eyes in the mirror.  He didn’t blink for the longest time, but his mouth moved silently.

After a few minutes of this unspoken conversation with his reflection, Michael pulled his left hand close to his mouth, the security chains growing taut between him and the heavy anchor in the floor.  He began to chew on his wrist.

The blood came soon after.


“Oh my God!  I can’t stand to watch this anymore.”

Like always, the gray haired lady had been given the best seat in the house: she sat in a stiff, plastic chair directly on the other side of the large two-way mirror facing the prisoner.  The viewing room was cold and sterile, and the witnesses for the State murmured at the latest development occurring before their eyes.  Michael Cooper, prisoner 82726782B, really was chewing at his wrist.

“That’s acceptable, Mrs. Lawson,” the Government Official said from his chair in the control booth.  “You know Mr. Cooper’s punishment ends as soon as you tell us he’s been rehabilitated and your family is satisfied that society has been repaid for his crimes.  Is this what you’re saying?”

The little old woman rubbed her face with her brittle fingers and contemplated what had happened since the prisoner ran out of appeals, what had been done on the other side of the mirror, the horrors she had witnessed.

She whispered: “I just never imagined it would be so… gruesome.  The way he keeps staring at me….”

“You can set him free whenever you’d like.  That is how the system works, after all.”

The old woman sat behind the mirror, watching the boy who had killed her granddaughter.  She watched him and her heart dropped into her stomach and she heard her granddaughter’s sweet laughter at a Thanksgiving dinner long lost to the past.

The old woman flinched as the boy chewed at his bloody arm, and she asked herself again and again how much more she could really stand to see, to hear, before she’d go mad.  How much more punishment did this boy deserve until everything had been made right?  And how much more could she take?

Then she heard her granddaughter’s laughter again, and she remembered that cold day many years before when she found the little body huddled on the bedroom floor, stripped and broken.

There had been so much blood.

Her little granddaughter never had a chance.

The old woman remembered all of this for the millionth time and then she said: “I think I can stand the sight for another day.  Just one more day.”

And then she watched the prisoner consume his own flesh while the witnesses for the State whispered their words of reassurance.

— end —

News From The Dead Zone #111

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

King’s next novella, “Ur,” was inspired by the Amazon Kindle book reader. At today’s launch of the Kindle2, Amazon announced that “Ur” would be available on the newest version of the device. Early indications were that it was to be an exclusive release, but there may be a non-Kindle version available for purchase as well. Stay tuned for more details as they become available.

Here’s a description of the story: “Following a nasty break-up, lovelorn college English instructor Wesley Smith can’t seem to get his ex-girlfriend’s parting shot out of his head: ‘Why can’t you just read off the computer like the rest of us?’ Egged on by her question and piqued by a student’s suggestion, Wesley places an order for’s Kindle eReader. The [pink?] device that arrives in a box stamped with the smile logo – via one-day delivery that he hadn’t requested – unlocks a literary world that even the most avid of book lovers could never imagine. But once the door is open, there are those things that one hopes we’ll never read or live through.”

King appeared at the Kindle2 launch and read from “Ur.” There are pictures of him reading from his Kindle here (images 4 & 5 of the slideshow) and a Q&A with King at USA Today.

News From The Dead Zone #110

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

USA Weekend will have a cover story on Stephen King in its March 6-8 issue. Lorrie Lynch flew up to Maine to talk to him in December. “We got into a discussion of popular authors vs. the academic elite, a subject he has strong opinions about, and I asked him if his mainstream success over the past 35 years paved the way for the massive careers of Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling and Twilight author Stephenie Meyer.” Click read more for King’s feelings about those two as well as some other best-selling authors.

There’s a new video interview with King at Borders to promote the release of Stephen King Goes to the Movies.

Captain Trips, the first series of graphic novels adapting The Stand, will be released in a hardcover omnibus edition on March 10th.

Dark Tower: Guide to Gilead will be out this month. Since the Golden Age of Eld — when Gilead was first named the capital of the fledgling Kingdom of All-World — the city has served as Mid-World’s most influential urban center. In the latest DARK TOWER handbook, explore Gilead’s seedy Lower Town and its affluent West End corridor! Learn about the religions of Buffalo Star and the Queen o’ Green Days! Marvel at the legend of Lord Perth! Beware the threats posed by the Blue-Faced Barbarians and Kuvian Night Soldiers! The Guide to Gilead is the only way to navigate the past, present and future of this magnificent metropolis!

This will be followed on March 11th by a single-issue installment Dark Tower: Sorcerer, “probing deeply into the incredible life of Marten Broadcloak. We learn his deadly secret agenda and true goal is not to serve the Crimson King, but to climb to the top of the Dark Tower itself and become the overlord of all existence!”

There’s a new Dark Tower critique out: Inside the Dark Tower Series: Art, Evil and Intertextuality in the Stephen King Novels by Patrick McAleer. “Stephen King is no stranger to the realm of literary criticism, but his most fantastic, far-reaching work has aroused little academic scrutiny. This study of King’s epic Dark Tower series encompasses the career of one of the world’s best-selling authors and frames him as more than a “horror writer.” Four categories of analysis–genre, art, evil, and intertextuality–provide a focused look at the center of King’s fictional universe. This book reaches beyond popular culture treatments of the series and examines it against King’s horror work, audience expectations, and the larger literary landscape.”

A new stage version of Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption will have its world premiere at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin on May 19 with previews starting on May 14. Adapted by Owen O’Neill and Dave Johns and directed by Peter Sheridan.

According to an article an earlier article in USA Weekend: Stephen King has gone multimedia. “N.,” one of the tales in the best-selling author’s latest short story collection, Just After Sunset, was turned into an original Web video series in conjunction with Marvel Comics. The collaboration has inspired King, 61; he’s thinking about doing a YouTube video for his novel Under the Dome, out later this year. Such projects are definitely fun, King says. “But with all these multimedia things, the story is the story still, the book is the book, and that’s the source material. As J.R.R. Tolkien might say, ‘That’s the one ring.’ It rules the other one.”

Del Rey announced the adaptor and artist on the comic book and graphic novel versions of The Talisman which debuts early this fall. The book will be penciled and inked by Tony Shasteen, and will be scripted by Robin Furth. Lettering and project management will be handled by Dabel Brothers Publishing.

King’s best of 2008 columns:

And two other recent EW columns:

Have you visited the virtual office at King’s official web site yet? The Cafe Press storefront is also open.

News From The Dead Zone #109

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

Just After Sunset is now out. King sat down with the people at Borders to conduct this interview about the book. Here are recent reviews:

New issues of Dark Tower: Treachery and The Stand are out this week from Marvel.

Under the Dome will be released by Scribner in the Fall of 2009, according to SK’s MB moderator. In a new interview with Salon magazine, King says, “it deals with some of the same issues that The Stand does, but in a more allegorical way.”

The master of suspense picks three contemporary classics for Barnes and Noble Review.

King has an essay entitled “The Genius of “The Tell-Tale Heart” in the MWA collection In the Shadow of the Master: Classic Tales by Edgar Allan Poe and Essays

King weighs in on the election campaign in this Entertainment Weekly article: The HD Candidates.