News from the Dead Zone #157

Next week is going to be busy in the Stephen King universe. Joyland and the all-star soundtrack for Ghost Brothers of Darkland County both come out on June 4. My review of Joyland can be seen here. It will also appear in issue 70 of Cemetery Dance magazine, together with an interview with Charles Ardai, Hard Case Crime’s publisher.

Here are the media appearances that are slated for next week to promote the two releases. Mellencamp and T Bone Burnett will be involved with some of them.

  • Monday, June 3rd: The Today Show and Meet the Creators (a live event at Apple’s NY Soho store that will be broadcast later in the week)
  • Tuesday, June 4th: Morning Joe and Charlie Rose
  • Wednesday, June 5th: All Things Considered and Late Show with David Letterman
  •  Thursday, June 6th: The Colbert Report
  •  Friday, June 7th: SiriusXM Live Conversation with Mojo Nixon

King has already done a few interviews about Joyland. Last weekend he was on the cover of Parade magazine (there’s a cool behind-the-scenes video online) and a couple of days ago he did a long interview with Terry Gross on NPR (On Growing Up, Believing in God and Getting Scared). Some people have been complaining about the lack of an eBook edition of Joyland (for now at least). Charles Ardai wrote an essay that explained their rationale: Why Cling to the Past? Exclusive essay by Stephen King’s publisher about Joyland. There’s a 15-second teaser trailer for the book on YouTube.

Concord Music group has announced that Ghost Brothers of Darkland County will be released as an illustrated digital book for iBooks on June 3rd. The comprehensive multimedia edition fuses the production’s story, soundtrack, artwork and video extras into a complete interactive experience. The soundtrack is streaming live at The Wall Street Journal.

That’s not all that’s new. “Afterlife,” the story King read in its entirety at UMass Lowell last December, is in the “summer reading” issue of Tin House magazine. You can get it from the various online bookstores, but it’s only $15 straight from the publisher, with free media mail shipping.

And I assume you’ve already ordered a copy of The Dark Man, the lavishly illustrated edition from CD that showcases Glenn Chadbourne’s awesome art?

Then, on June 17, Coliloquy is publishing the eBook Hard Listening, which has a collection of essays and e-mail exchanges from members of the Rock Bottom Remainders. The iPad/iBooks version is enhanced and interactive, with videos and audio files embedded in the text. There’s a great video of everyone in the green room getting a laught out of Mitch Albom’s Elvis wig. Steve is rolling on the floor with laughter. It’s a funny and fun book. Also of note, there’s a new King short story. However, I won’t reveal the title because three other authors were tasked with writing a story in King’s style and readers get a chance to vote on which one they think is the real King. After you vote, you can see how other readers voted and, separately, how other Rock Bottom Remainders voted. All author proceeds from the sales of Hard Listening will be donated to offset the late Kathi Kamen Goldmark’s medical bills. You can read an excerpt here.

And then, on June 24th, we get the premiere of Under the Dome. Here’s a long trailer and Hollywood Reporter’s 10 Things to Know about the series.

PS Publishing has added two more 30th anniversary King editions to their roster, in addition to the already announced Christine and Pet Sematary. In 2014 they will issue Thinner and Skeleton Crew. There’s a strong Cemetery Dance angle here, too. Rich Chizmar has written the afterword for Christine, and I wrote one for Pet Sematary.

Chris Evans (Captain America) has been cast as the lead in Tom Holland’s adaptation of “The Ten O’Clock People.” Filming is expected to begin in Atlanta this fall. The John Cusack film Cell is also scheduled to begin filming in September. Tod “Kip” Williams (Paranormal Activity 2) is directing.

I attended the Dollar Baby Film Festival that was held in conjunction with Comicpalooza in Houston last weekend. Here’s my report on the event at FEARnet.

News from the Dead Zone #156

Since we last spoke, my book The Dark Tower Companion came out in trade paperback and eBook (Kindle | Nook). The reviews have been rolling in, so if you’re on the fence about buying a copy, check them out here. One of my favorites says, in part, “Bev Vincent … is so fluent in Mid-World, one gets the feeling he has gone through a doorway and visited. Really, you have the sense that he’s been there.”

Did you miss your chance to see Ghost Brothers of Darkland County when it played in Atlanta last year? If so, don’t despair. There are a couple of options available that will allow you to experience the show. First, you can order the soundtrack on iTunes or various other places. There’s a one-disc version that has the songs interspersed with select dialog from the play and a 2-disc deluxe set that comes with a trade paperback of the libretto and a DVD containing a Making of Ghost Brothers mini-documentary, featuring in-depth interviews with King, Mellencamp and Burnett along with the digital libretto and other bonus material. Then there’s the  3-disc version that has an additional CD that is just the music (no dialog) and a hardcover version of the libretto. The soundtrack will be available on June 4. Rolling Stone has been featuring individual tracks recently, including one of my favorite songs from the musical, Home Again.

On the other hand, maybe you’d rather see the play itself. If so, you may be pleased to hear that the show is going on tour, playing in 20 cities in the Midwest and Southeast beginning October 10 in Bloomington, IN, and ending November 6 in Grand Rapids, MI. Tickets go on sale Friday, May 17 at 10am at The full list of cities and dates can be found here.

June 4 is also publication day for Joyland. Check out issue 70 of Cemetery Dance magazine for my review and an interview with Hard Case Crime publisher Charles Ardai. Thus far the only review has been from Publishers Weekly, and it’s a good one. The audiobook will be narrated by Michael Kelly. Last week it was announced that Tate Taylor (The Help) has optioned the film rights.

Cemetery Dance has revealed some of Vincent Chong’s spectacular artwork for their limited edition of Doctor Sleep here and here.

A Dollar Baby Film Festival will be part of Comicpalooza in Houston on the Memorial Day weekend. Twenty of these short films will be screened. I will be attending as a special guest. Shawn S. Lealos is hosting the event, screening his adaptation of “I Know What You Need” and promoting his upcoming book Dollar Deal: The Stories of the Dollar Baby Filmmakers.

The film adaptation of A Good Marriage is getting in gear. Filming will start in Sleepy Hollow, New York. Joan Allen and Anthony LaPaglia star as husband and wife, with Kristen Connolly playing their daughter. Stephen Lang plays a retired investigator from the Maine Attorney General’s office who is obsessed with solving a crime. Peter Askin is directing from King’s screenplay.

Only six more weeks until the premiere of Under the Dome, the summer series on CBS. Dean Norris (Breaking Bad), who plays Big Jim Rennie, tweeted a picture from the set with King recently. Cast members and producers discussed the series recently at Wondercon. You can see video of that panel at the bottom of this page. It’s hard to turn on ABC these days without seeing a promo for the show, but just in case you’ve missed them, here’s the latest teaser trailer. Be on the lookout for a shout-out to The Simpsons when the show airs. The plan is for this to be an ongoing series rather than a limited miniseries.

JJ Abrams has stepped in with a proposal to turn 11/22/63 into a TV series after Jonathan Demme recused himself from the project.

Season 4 of Haven began production recently. Eureka’s Colin Ferguson joins the cast as (what else?) a mysterious stranger.

The Dark Tower comics from Marvel are nearing the end of their run. The second issue of Evil Ground, the prequel to The Little Sisters of Eluria, comes out this month. Then, in July, a one-shot called So Fell Lord Perth ends the series.

Could the Dark Tower adaptation find its way to Netflix? Chief Creative Officer Ted Sarandos has revealed that he has talked to Ron Howard about the possibility. He says that he and Howard plan to continue their discussions after Arrested Development is finished.

Hard Listening is a forthcoming e-book by members of the Rock Bottom Remainders. It is a collection of essays, stories, musings, group email exchanges, candid conversations, compromising photographs, and audio and video (semi-musical) clips, as well as interactive quizzes. It will feature a new King story, as well as stories by some of his collaborators written to imitate him.

On July 18, King will appear at The Bushnell in Hartford, Connecticut, in conversation with WNPR radio personality Colin McEnroe. Proceeds from the event benefit the continuing educational and preservation activities of The Mark Twain House & Museum. He and son Owen will headline the PEN Canada annual benefit on October 24. The Q&A discussion will be moderated by the award-winning mystery writer, Louise Penny.

Want to blow your mind? Check out this flowchart of The Stephen King Universe. You may think you’ve seen it before, but it was recently updated to include the Dark Tower series.


News from the Dead Zone #152

The cover art for Joyland (see right) was released today. The book, from Hard Case Crime, will be released on June 4, 2013. The original publication will be in paperback only. Other editions (hardcover, electronic, audio) are possible but not currently scheduled. Joyland takes place in a small-town North Carolina amusement park, where college student Devin Jones arrives to work as a carny for the summer, but he ends up experiencing much more than he bargained for when he confronts the legacy of a vicious murder and the fate of a dying child. Read the entire press release.

Three months after Joyland, we’ll get Doctor Sleep, the sequel to The Shining. The publication date was announced earlier this week: September 24, 2013. The story picks up with Dan Torrance (formerly Danny), who is now middle-aged and working at a hospice in rural New Hampshire. He meets Abra Stone, a very special twelve-year old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals known as The True Knot, quasi-immortal creatures that live off the ‘steam’ that children with the ‘shining’ produce when they are slowly tortured to death.

Have you ever read “Weeds,” the rare King story that was the basis for “The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill” in Creepshow? If not, check out Shivers VII, which also features stories by Clive Barker, Ed Gorman, Bill Pronzini and many others, including me!

King’s short story “Batman and Robin Have an Altercation” appeared in the 9/12 issue of Harper’s Magazine, the first time he has published with them. “In The Tall Grass,” his collaboration with Joe Hill, first published in Esquire last summer, will be released as an audio book and an eBook in October. I wrote an essay about the story behind the story of “A Face in the Crowd” (which came out as an eBook and in audio on August 24) for FEARNet: Faces in the Crowd.

Movie news: Joan Allen will play the lead in The Good Wife, which should start filming next month. Rachel Nichols is in negotiations to join Justin Long in The Ten O’Clock People.

A group of filmmakers are working on a documentary called Unearthed & Untold: The Path to Pet Sematary. They have have already shot every location and filmed over two dozen interviews with the cast, crew and Maine locals who worked on the production, most of whom have never been interviewed on camera about their role in the film. John Campopiano says, “Our goal is to show the unique bridging of a relatively small Hollywood production with a small Maine community who continue to think highly of its involvement in the film. We’re also seeking to explore the legacy the film has established and how its core themes are being taught and explored in the film and academic worlds.”

Warner quietly exploring the possibility of a prequel to The Shining. The studio has solicited Laeta Kalogridis and her partners to produce the proposed film, which would focus on what happened before the Torrances arrived at The Overlook. A WB spokeswoman cautioned that the project was in a very early stage and not even formally in development.

King, Dave Barry and The Rock Bottom Remainders, appeared on The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson. You can see it in its entirety here.

Earlier this week I received an advanced copy of Carrie: The Musical – Premiere Cast Recording from Ghostlight Records. For the first time ever, the music from the infamous Broadway adaptation is available, revised and updated for its recent reincarnation that closed after less than 50 performances (which is about ten times more than the original version). One motivation behind the reboot was to come up with a musical that could be licensed for productions across North America. The CD booklet has a reflection on the show’s history written by Lawrence D. Cohen, who wrote the book for the play as well as the script for the Brian De Palma film. Here’s a video for the opening song, “In.”

Matt Selman, an executive producer of The Simpsons, has undertaken the task of writing Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire” as it would have been recorded in the universe of 11/22/63.

James Smythe has gotten as far as The Dead Zone in his chronological reread of King’s books.

Here is a trailer for Season 3 of Haven, which premieres this Friday night on SyFy.

The Wind Through the Keyhole will be out in paperback on November 6th.

Finally, I have to share this enthusiastic (6 out of 5!) video review of The Stephen King Illustrated Companion.

News from the Dead Zone #151

My 150th post was so memorable, so legen—wait for it—dary that I was hesitant to follow it up. Nah, I’ve just been busy with other stuff (a likely story). So, here it is, #151. All the news that’s fit to print, and even some that isn’t.

The hottest news is the pending publication of “A Face in the Crowd,” an e-book and audiobook short story co-written with Stewart O’Nan, release slated for August 21. You can read the plot synopsis at King’s website. If you find yourself saying, “Hey, that sort of sounds familiar,” there’s a good reason. King talked about this story idea in Faithful, also co-written with O’Nan, while discussing the Face Game, something he’d do to amuse himself while watching baseball games. “What if a guy watches a lot of baseball games on TV because he’s a shut-in or invalid…and one night he sees his best friend from childhood, who was killed in a car crash, sitting in one of the seats behind the backstop…After that the protagonist sees him every night at every game.” You can read the full passage from Faithful here. The idea stuck around. King mentioned it again at the end of his appearance at the Savannah Book Festival, where Stewart O’Nan was in attendance. You can hear King talking about it at the 1 hr 5 min mark of this video.

The next book to be published will probably be Joyland, which will be out from Hard Case Crime next June. Neil Gaiman spilled the beans about this crime novel in an interview with King published in the Sunday Times in April. The book will only be available in paperback at first because King wants people to experience it as a physical book. Presumably there will eventually be an eBook, too. Set in a small-town North Carolina amusement park in 1973, Joyland tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a carny and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever. Publisher Charles Ardai calls the it “a breathtaking, beautiful, heartbreaking book. It’s a whodunit, it’s a carny novel, it’s a story about growing up and growing old, and about those who don’t get to do either because death comes for them before their time.  Even the most hardboiled readers will find themselves moved.”

Doctor Sleep, the sequel to The Shining, originally slated for a January 2013 release, has been pushed back to give King more time to work on revisions. A new release date has not yet been announced, but you can hear King read the opening section on the audiobook version of The Wind through the Keyhole.

Part 1 of “In the Tall Grass,” a novella co-written with Joe Hill, was published in the June/July issue of Esquire, with the conclusion following in the August issue. It’s a nasty little story about what happens to people who unwisely choose to listen to the Canadian rock group Rush while traveling cross-country.

Movie update: The remake of Carrie is currently in production, with Chloë Grace Moretz in the starring role. Julianne Moore, Judy Greer and Portia Doubleday are also in the movie, which is directed by Kimberly Peirce. Justin Long is starring in a feature film adaptation of “The Ten o’Clock People,” directed by Tom Holland (The Langoliers, Thinner). Both are slated for 2013 releases. At Cannes, there were reports that “The Reach” and “A Good Marriage” would be turned into films, too, but there’s been no further news since then, nor has there been anything else about SyFy’s plans to turn The Eyes of the Dragon into a 4-hour TV movie. There are still rumblings about a 2-movie remake of It, too, but who knows if that project will take off or not.

King played with the Rock Bottom Remainders at their last-ever gigs in California recently. Before the shows, King said,  “A few years ago, Bruce Springsteen told us we weren’t bad, but not to try to get any better otherwise we’d just be another lousy band. After 20 years, we still meet his stringent requirements. For instance, while we all know what ‘stringent’ means, none of us have yet mastered an F chord.” Kathy Kamen Goldmark, who came up with the idea for the band, passed away shortly before these shows. You can find some clips of their performances on YouTube. Here’s an article about the band in the L.A. Times.

King will take to the stage at the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell, offering fans the chance to hear him read his work, ask him questions and listen to him discuss his passion for writing and his advice for aspiring authors on Friday, Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m.  See more about the event here.

Mark and Brian of KLOS hosted a wide-ranging interview with King recently You can listen to it here: Part 1 | Part 2.

Ghost Brothers of Darkland County may make the move to Broadway. Director Susan V. Booth plans to workshop the play in New York in September to try to arrange financial backing. In case you missed it in the awesomeness that was NFtDZ #150, here is my review of the Premiere at FEARnet.

James Smythe, a writer for the UK newspaper The Guardian, has read every King book and is now reading them again and reviewing them along the way. If you’re interested in following along, his first post on Carrie can be found here.

Season 3 of Haven is currently filming in Nova Scotia. The SyFy original series, based on The Colorado Kid (loosely based, that is), returns with thirteen new episodes on September 21. Hmmm. There’s something special about that date. Now, what could it be?


News From The Dead Zone #67

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

Tonight’s the night for “A Toast to Stephen King,” featuring Margaret Atwood, Clive Barker and George Stroumboulopoulos. The event takes place at 7:30 p.m. in John Bassett Theatre, 255 Front St. W., Toronto. King is presigning a limited number of books for the event, but there’s been no word yet about how they will be distributed. He will not be signing any other books.

The issue of Esquire featuring the new, long story “The Gingerbread Girl” is starting to show up in stores. Angelina Jolie is on the cover. “The Gingerbread Girl” takes up over 20 pages of the issue.

Blaze comes out on Tuesday. Scribner has launched a web site for the book and the first media review appeared in the L.A. Times.

The NY Times reviewed last week’s Rock Bottom Remainders concert. Rock On, But Hang Onto Your Literary Gigs. There’s video from their Good Morning America appearance on the ABC web site.

Check out my message board for a summary of what King has to say about his upcoming novel Duma Key during his recent interview with Hardcase Crime’s Charles Ardai.

Eli Roth has been talking about Cell quite a bit lately, including at Ain’t It Cool News.

You didn’t forget to pick up issue #5 of The Gunslinger Born this week, did you?

News From The Dead Zone #66

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

For the first time in many years, Stephen King will be playing with the Rock Bottom Remainders again. The show takes place on Friday, June 1st at Webster Hall in New York City. The show is being billed as their 15th anniversary “Still Younger Than Keith” concert. Other band members and guests include Dave Barry, Amy Tan, Ridley Pearson, Scott Turow, Mitch Albom, Frank McCourt, Andy Borowitz and Roger McGuinn from the Byrds. The concert is a benefit for 826NYC, the New York affiliate of the organization Dave Eggers founded to get kids writing; the AAP’s Get Caught Reading program; and the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression. On May 31, some of the RBR band members will be appearing on Good Morning America to talk up the charities the band is supporting.

Among those paying tribute to King at the gala in Toronto on June 8th will be Margaret Atwood and Clive Barker, and former Spin editor Chuck Klosterman is handling the evening’s on-stage interview.

King’s newest story, “The Gingerbread Girl,” will appear in Esquire’s July issue, on stands June 15. Here’s how it’s described on King’s web site: “In the emotional aftermath of her baby’s sudden death, Em starts running. Soon she runs from her husband, to the airport, down to the Florida Gulf and out to the loneliest stretch of Vermillion Key, where her father has offered the use of a conch shack he has kept there for years. Em keeps up her running—barefoot on the beach, sneakers on the road—and sees virtually no one. This is doing her all kinds of good, until one day she makes the mistake of looking into the driveway of a man named Pickering. Pickering also enjoys the privacy of Vermillion Key, but the young women he brings there suffer the consequences…”

The Publishers Weekly review of Blaze is now up at Amazon. The Booklist review is available at Lilja’s Library. Publication date is June 12th.

The King-edited 2007 Best American Short Stories is now up for pre-order at Amazon. It features 20 stories selected from over 400 King read last year, along with a list of 100 others worthy of mention that didn’t make the final cut.

On July 28, The Stand by Me Celebration and Rolling Roadshow invites fans to re-live the classic coming-of-age film in Brownsville, Oregon where it was filmed. Fans can re-live the film during a 1-day celebration that includes viewing the film on a giant outdoor screen, a blueberry pie eating contest, 1950s vintage car cruise-in, sock hop, and a scavenger hunt for the dead body. There will be guest appearances by cast members.

Issue 5 of The Gunslinger Born comes out on June 6th. Lilja has the sketch and variant covers on his web site.

The Dead Zone launches its sixth season on USA Network Sunday, June 17 at 10:00PM/9:00 Central.

News From The Dead Zone #64

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

Marvel has a Q&A with Robin Furth at their web site. Lilja interviewed her for his Dark Tower week, too, as well as colorist Richard Isanove and scriptwriter Peter David. He reviews the upcoming fourth issue here.

King accepts his Grand Master Award at the Edgar Awards tomorrow night in NYC. Charles Ardai from Hard Case Crime interviewed King at a symposium that is part of the awards event today. DVDs or tapes of the event can be purchased from the MWA.

The New York Post reports that King will perform with the Rock Bottom Remainders at Webster Hall in NYC on June 1st as part of Book Expo America. This is the first time in several years that he has played with the band.

USA Network has picked up The Dead Zone for a Sixth Season of 13 one-hour episodes. The series returns Sunday, June 17 at 10/9C with a “dramatic premiere that will change everything in Johnny Smith’s world.”

News From The Dead Zone #63

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

This is “Dark Tower Comic” week at Lilja’s Library. He started with an interview with Marvel’s editor-in-chief Joe Quesada on Monday and followed up with an interview with editor Ralph Macchio. Two other Marvel-related interviews are online, one with Robin Furth and the other with Jae Lee and Robin Furth.

Frank Darabont gave his first interview after wrapping The Mist to MTV.

We’re less than two months away from the publication of Blaze. Ron McLarty will read the audio version of this Bachman novel. The author photo is vintage King, from 1973.

King’s latest Entertainment Weekly column: How to Bury a Book.

Here’s a blast from the past: a bunch of classic RBR photographs.