Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Joyland Hardcover









Drive Through Our Favorite Novels

Stu Tinker's van, equipped with an image of 'It' on its side, that he drives around Bangor when giving one of his SK Tours.

I really enjoyed Emily Burnham's article in Bangor Daily News about former Betts Bookstore owner, Stu Tinker. The article is titled “A Stephen King tour of Bangor, led by an expert.” Cool! It's like driving through your favorite books.

Burnham says that Tinker leads the tours almost every day of the week . . . in warmer months!  She writes:
There are just that many King fans who want to come to Bangor to see for themselves the inspiration for so many iconic scenes in his books and movies — from Bangor International Airport, the setting for the TV movie of “The Langoliers,” to the Bangor Auditorium, known as the Derry Civic Center in the book “Insomnia.”
Tinker says that people come from all over the world to take the tour, naming in particular:South Africa, New Zealand, England, Australia.  He has been leading tours since the early 90's.  

Burnham notes that Bangor and Derry are virtually indistinguishable from one another.  
Several major landmarks are included in the tour, such as the Standpipe, the Barrens — also known as the Kenduskeag Stream Trail — and the Paul Bunyan statue that comes alive in “It.” But there are plenty of other lesser-known spots, such as the Rite Aid on Union Street that figures in “Bag of Bones,” the apartment King lived in when he sold “Carrie” to Doubleday Publishing, and the spot in Mt. Hope Cemetery that was the scene of King’s cameo appearance in the film “Pet Sematary.” There are also a lot of new Derry locations in “11/22/63,” King’s critically-acclaimed 2011 book.
BDN includes this info:
To book a tour with SK Tours, visit sk-tours.com or call 947-7193. A tour is $39.95 for two people; each additional person is $25. You can also like them on Facebook at SK Tours of Maine.

The full article is HERE
Check out the video!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Collecting Rules



Every collector has their own "thing" that they like to chase down.  Most of us love first editions.  But, as you collect,  you have to develop some rules, or you'll create a giant pile of stuff that will lead to a divorce or an eviction.

So I used to buy anything with King's name on it.  Now. . .

1. First edition hardbacks of books pre Duma Key.  So that means book club editions are out.  I used to hold on to them; but they're really only worth about $5, and it can get confusing in a collection to keep up with which ones are true firsts, and which ones are reproductions and book club editions.  Truth is, after Duma Key, the market seems so flooded with first editions, they don't really matter.  Besides, I stopped buying them because I know someone in my family is sure to give me the latest Stephen King novel.

When it comes to some rarebooks, second editions will have to do.  Such is the case with The Gunslinger, which is hard to find as a first edition, but hte second edition has the same cover and is almost identical.

2. Post Duma Key, special editions are preferred.  A signed copy of Under The Dome, the Cemetery Dance edition of Doctor Sleep and Full Dark No Stars are all good options.  When a new King book comes out, usually a specialty publisher will secure the rights to do something really cool with the book.  Donald M. Grant has "artist" editions of the Dark Tower books that are pretty cool.

3. No books on tape.  The tape days were great, but they're worthless.  Two exceptions: The original reading of The Stand and The Mist.  As the Mist can only be obtained in tape format, and The Stand in its 1978 format only exists on tape.

In general, audio books have no value.  So get them to listen to, not to collect.   I recommend a subscription to audible, which will give you the new release at midnight.

4. Toys --  not.  Sorry, but I read books, I don't really collect a lot of Stephen King toys.  I don't need a Pennywise -- whatever.  I do have a toy Christine; but I don't really "get it."  I mean, it's blue. . .

5. Red Leather editions are also out.  I have some, but I stopped collecting them because they're not that special.  yeah, it's bound red leather; but so what?  There are no special introductions, no pictures, nothing that makes the  book itself more desirable.  They don't even look that cool on the shelf.

6. No book cover -- no sale.  The book cover is part of the book, and that said, I want my books to have their covers!  I've thrown out more than one copy of the mid eighties novels because they didn't have a book cover.  Is a copy of Different Seasons without its cover valuable?  Not really.

7. Old magazines -- OH YEAH!  In the late seventies and early eighties, Stephen King was everywhere.  His stories could be found in detective magazines and, well, porn.  I don't buy the porn because . . . you know why.  But there is a LOT of stuff out there.  People magazine, Time, Disney, magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and so much more.  Even TV guide with a King article is pretty cool.  In fact, it's fun to get these old magazines and get a sense of time warp.

8. Books by King's family members are not really collectible's to me.  I don't seek first editions.  I've read some stuff by Joe Hill, and liked it a lot.  But I don't collect Hill, I read him.

9. Anything signed by King negates all other complaints.  Do I take books with no covers?  No.  Unless it's signed by King!  However, I actually prefer signatures that fans got from King as opposed to "flat signed" copies.  I know, most collectors prefer the flat signed, but I don't see the point.  If King wrote a fans name and a little note to them in the book, that makes it a little more personal.  It's connected to someone.

The mass flat signing that happens today is just a cold grab for money on the publishers part.  For the most part, I have no interest in slapping down lots of my savings to grab a book that was flat signed.

10. Bachman books are good, so long as they have Bachman's name on them, not King's.  This means  finding old paperbacks.  By the way, the bookclub edition of Thinner with Bachman's name is worth about $5.  But find Rage, Roadwork or The Long Walk as paperbacks, and you're in business.

Tell me some of your collecting rules.

Carrie Musical Can Hold Her Own



broadwayworld.com reports that Carrie The Musical is a summer sensation for FlynnArts Summer Youth Theater.  The musical opened the program July 18 at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts.

The broadwayworld article notes that 1988 flop and the 2009 "revamp."  So what's new?
2009 saw a major revamp of CARRIE by its creators, composer Michael Gore, lyricist Dean Pitchford, and bookwriter Lawrence D. Cohen, along with director Stafford Arima. The revision met with critical acclaim in a 2012 off-Broadway revival featuring Molly Ranson as Carrie White and Marin Mazzie as Margaret White. 
Of course, what's unique is FlynnArts choice to do Carrie as a "youth musical" with no one under the age of 19.  Broadwayworld raves, "There are no weak links in this cast, and many of the young actors display near-professional ability."
FlynnArts provides this age advisory for CARRIE, THE MUSICAL: Although bloody, Carrie is not actually gory. (The blood is a cruel prank meant to humiliate Carrie about the onset of her period.) Overall this is a tale of bullying and supernatural revenge (which will take an abstract form in this production - no gruesome violence.) Carrie's mother also demonstrates an abusive parenting style that some children (and adults!) might find disturbing to experience in close proximity. That said, we think most youth aged 11+ can handle the content with a parent or guardian present to field questions, and the ultimate anti-bullying message of the piece is a vital one for middle- and high-schoolers to grasp.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Comic-Con 2014 UNDER THE DOME



Is The Dome A Permanent Fixture?


Collider gives a great recap of the Comic-Con Under The Dome panel. The panel included Rachelle Lefevre, Alexander Koch, Mike Vogel, Dean Norris, Eddie Cahill and Colin Ford.

Is the show going somewhere?  Or is this Lost?  The article cites Baer as insisting that the show is moving "closer  toward  people getting out  of the dome."  The worrisome part?  He says, "one might get out this season."  ONE?  Suggesting that CBS is going to string this along for another season?  He then said that they have "three to five SEASONS of the show planned out," and that they have a "lot of story to tell."

The producers explained that future episodes will include flashbacks into characters past.  (Great)  "We'll get to come face to face with his father," the article enthusiastically reports.  Here's the problem -- I don't care.  Do you?  I didn't start watching this to get attached to Barbie's father; I came for the Dome.  And that seems to be the one part of the story that they are not at all interested in telling.  Every now and  then the Dome does some neat tricks, but they are doing just about nothing to actually move the story with the Dome forward.

The ray of hope?  The report that Stephen King is "enthusiastic" when they decide to kill off a character is a good sign.  But I'm afraid we viewers are just being strung along with a riddle that doesn't have an answer.

This is interesting, "The writers, he said, call the ceiling of their office “heaven,” with photos of the dearly departed cast members tacked up there – including some viewers don’t even know about yet."  If not a bit creepy.

What do you think of Under the Dome?

For happier news. . .
'Batman v Superman' footage blows minds at Comic Con

Thursday, July 24, 2014

THEY ALL FLOAT


Does Stephen King Hate Christianity?

Politics and religion.  Don't talk about those, right?  Well, that is what boring people say.  They're afraid you might make enemies.  Strong people are able to talk about their beliefs, faith and politics without sinking into the mud.

Several Stephen King tweets have caught some attention recently, most notably citing Bible verses and applying them to current issues in the United States.

Jim Stinson at www.al.com/news has an interesting article titled, "Claiming Christians, conservatives are hypocrites on immigration: A tactic of Nancy Pelosi, Stephen King."

Nancy Pelosi I'm really not interested in.  And neither is Stinson.  His title works mostly to just tie King to the ultra liberal congresswoman.  Pelosi said recently that "Jesus was a refugee."  Well, Jesus lived in an occupied country; but he resisted all calls for him to lead a popular uprising and instead focused on spiritual issues.

Pointing out that liberals don't like it when  the Bible is used to oppose abortion and gay marriage in particular, Stinson then suggests that maybe Stephen King is behaving hypocritically when he in turn invokes the Bible to suggest we should be more generous toward undocumented children coming to our country.

Stinson writes, "Stephen King appears to always have a bone to pick with Christians in his novels and adaptations."   He then cites Carrie's mother, "The Mist," and the Christian warden in "The Shawshank Redemption."  (We wont' tell Stinson about Desperation, Insomnia and a few other little  novels that didn't show Christians in such a great light.)

Missionaries To Tattooeen: 

Stinson says, "It seems the real villain in many of King's works are Christians -- not murderers, monsters and psychokinetic killers."  REALLY?!  Does this guy have a persecution complex?

Okay, time to lay my cards on the table.  I'm a conservative, Christian pastor (Baptist) who reads Stephen King.  Do I get tired of the characterizations we encounter in books like Under The Dome, Carrie and so on?  Yeah, we do.  But here's the problem -- there are Christians out there who act just like those King characters do!  People can get mad at King for painting things they don't like, but the truth is, he's just painting what he sees.  It's like getting mad at the Simpsons because Flanders is such an annoying character.

Instead of being upset, I would suggest that what Christians ought to do is pay attention to the world's characterizations.  We should be interested in how we're coming across.  After all, the Gospel is at stake -- right?

If you're a missionary to a lost tribe on Tattooeen, you are very interested in what that tribe thinks of you and the message you bring.  If they object, misunderstand or misinterpret what you are saying; it is not the missionaries job to berate the hearers but to rethink the approach.  That is what modern Christianity must do in the American culture.  I am concerned that we are not clearly communicating what we believe outside of our own camp.  So we should be very interested in a Stephen King enters the assembly to tell us how we're coming across.

One person said in the articles comments that she was done reading Stephen King.  Well I guess that will show him. . . NOTHING!  How stupid to say, "If you don't agree with me, I can't read your books."  Maybe the failure to listen to each other got us Americans as polarized as it did.  To be certain, I'm a moral conservative.  I'm certainly not a fan of Mr. Obama or his policies, or his attorney General.  But does that mean I can't talk to Democrats?

One of the bridges church can make is actually a political one.  Some of my best friends in church were people who saw things completely different politically.  Yes, because of the cause of Christ, I fell in love with them.  And that lead to deep conversations in which we really challenged one another.  More than that, it became harder to just group everyone who believed different  than me in a single "bad" category. I might not agree, but I came to understand where they were coming from.  That's what is being lost!  The ability, or want, to know where someone else is coming from.

Is King hostile to Christianity?

What Mr. Stinson might ought to have done before he wrote his article is read my book, Stephen King, A Face Among The Masters.  I know, I know -- shameless self promotion here.  It would have helped him, though.
Some of King’s darkest novels include the brightest religious themes. Yet King has said that he does not see himself as God’s stenographer. He does not claim to know the mind of Christ, but makes no apology for discussing God, religion, and theological concepts in his books.
Gardner, Brighton (2014-05-04). Stephen King A Face Among The Masters (Kindle Locations 1728-1730).  . Kindle Edition. 
Is King hostile to Christianity?  I don't think so.  I think he's hostile to the behavior of some Christians.  If I had a discussion with him about religious things, we would deeply disagree on some key things; basic doctrine.  But that disagreement doesn't mean I would think he's "hostile" to the whole Christian faith.

Here's the problem: People who understand and appreciate the basics of the faith end up rejecting it because of the coldness of its adherents.  Is it possible for Christians to be liberal in love and conservative in theology?  Of course!  Because that is exactly what Jesus modeled to us and demanded of us.

When a guy like King starts to talk Bible, the last thing  believers should do is shout him down.

Getting Specific:
Stinson claims that in reality, King villanizes "tea-party Christians."

He then asks, "And while Nancy Pelosi and Stephen King worry about the proper application of Christian theology into immigration policy, do you think they will raise alarm about death threats made against Iraqi Christians by the al Qaida offshoot, ISIS?"

Let me reword that: Stinson is saying that if you want to play with our toys (the Bible,) then you have to hold to our political views on everything.  Problem with that?  YEAH!  Seems I remember Jesus saved his harshest attacks not for the liberal Sadducees but the hypocritical Pharisees.

The problem is closed doors.  When someone wants to use the Bible in a discussion, Christians should be glad for the opportunity to discuss things Biblically, not shout, "Hey, those are our toys, not yours!"

About The Border:
King tweted, "Much easier to be a Christian when the little children aren't in your back yard, isn't it?"

Ouch.  And that should sting. Let me translate for those who can't quite grasp what he's saying.  In other words, it's one thing to claim to hold to your faith when it is to your benefit.  When it 's about Hobby Lobby and the rights of a Believer.  But the sincerity of our faith is tested when we are challenged to show kindness to another.

The Bible is FULL of discussions about how Israel was to treat the "alien" among them.  Here's the problem for American Christians; you can't leave that at the feet of Israel.  The mandate is transferable to us.  It does not mean we have to let everyone in, or that the border policy doesn't need to be changed.

What it means is two fold:
1. On a personal level, Christians should show real love to the outcast.  (Gasp.)
2. On a national level, Christians should voice thoughtful, humane, ideas that go beyond just, "throw 'em out!"

The conservative argument goes like this: "Don't use the Bible for your argument unless you're ready to use the Bible as a standard for everything."  I say, be happy there's a starting place of common ground.

Grover Gardener: The Return of The Stand



This is good!  Grover Gardner, who has narrated LOTS of audio books, was the reader of both the abridged and unabridged editions of The Stand.  In a recent blog post, Gardner discussed the recent recording of the 1990 version of The Stand.

Mr. Gardner graciously gave me permission to reprint his blog post here.  It comes from Grovers Audiobook Blog, and was originally posted on February 14, 2012.  


The Return of The Stand
by Grover Gardner

Well, it's out on Audible today--Stephen King's The Stand. This is not the edited version I recorded twenty-five years ago, it's the complete, uncut edition published in 1990, all forty-eight hours of it! It took four weeks to record, and I had to pace myself so I wouldn't sound fatigued or thread-bare at any point. I'm pleased with the recording, though I'll be interested to see how it holds up against the earlier version in the memories of King devotees. The old version was only available on cassette and has been out of print for a decade or more. I still get emails from people asking if I have a copy they could borrow and duplicate for themselves. Alas, no, I never got one. But now there's no need. The new version is complete, and in my humble opinion I'm a better narrator than I was twenty-five years ago, so I was delighted to have a chance to re-record it.

There are few better writers for audiobook narration than Stephen King. He gives you all the right cues, creates wonderful characters, keeps the story moving and injects emotional twists and surprises at every corner. Never a dull moment in the booth with this guy.

The odd thing is, as I read the uncut version in preparation, I found that I remembered very little of the story and the characters. The opening scene remains vivid--the clunky old Chevy containing the first victims of the superflu plowing into a lonely little gas station in rural Texas. And I remember Randall Flagg (who could forget Randall Flagg?). But beyond that most of the book felt completely new to me. Perhaps it was the added material that threw me off, I don't know. But it's just as well, since there was no temptation to replicate any voices or characters or moods from the earlier recording. What you hear is as fresh as last month, not a recycled rendition from 25 years ago.

I'll be interested to see what "the critics" say. The proponderance of male characters seemed to hail from the Midwest or Southwest, so there were an awful lot of "good ol' boys" to sort through and make distinguishable. The most difficult characters for me were Harold and Frannie. Harold is a pimply, overweight, pompous-sounding 16-year-old, not an easy person to replicate. And eighteen-year-old Frannie is the emotional core of the book, enormously smart and feisty, but extremely vulnerable--and pregnant. I played around with a Maine accent for her and it sounded just awful, so I let my native East Coast tones predominate. A fifty-five year old man is already handicapped in this regard, and I didn't want her to come off as a caricature. So she's voiced in a pretty straight-forward manner. I gave her father and some of the other Ogunquit characters a dose of down-east, so hopefully that will placate the die-hards.

My favorite character, of course, is Tom Cullen (who doesn't love Tom Cullen?). In the uncut version he really gets fleshed out, and it's truly wonderful to experience his transformation from a fool to a hero. In one critical scene I took a risk that, under normal circumstances, I would have avoided like...well, like the plague. But to do other than what I did seemed like such a cop-out that I took the plunge. I'm curious to see if anyone even notices--and whether they like it or hate it.

But by far the biggest, most overwhelming challenge, of all the challenges in a story so fraught with them, was that of coming up with seventy-plus ways of saying, "NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!" It seems that every character, at some point in the book, shouts or screams or bellows or rasps the word, "NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!"

Anyway, it was a terrific experience and it's great to have the story out there again for everyone to enjoy.
.....................
reposted from March 2, 2012

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Stephen King Vacation






Want to take a literary vacation?  I'd love to!  Check  out shortlist.com's article, A Literary Travel Guide To The USA.  It includes such legends at John Steinbeck, Pacific Grove, CA, Jack London, Glen Ellen, CA, William Faulkner – Oxford, MS, Harriet Beecher Stowe - Hartford, CT, Mark Twain, Hartford, CT, Cormac McCarthy – Knoxville, TN, Ernest Hemingway – New Orleans.  (Yeah,  they missed Poe, Baltimore)  But they didn't miss Stephen King.

The article advises trip goers to visit Bangor for a taste of King's literary Derry.  The added bonus is that Bangor is King's home town.  How often he's still in residence there I have no idea; but somehow I get the feeling he spends a lot of time in Florida these days.

Shortlist offers as a "Must-see" the Mount Hope Cemetery, which was an inspiration for  Pet Sematary and was used as a filming location for the movie.  Of course, there is also the Thmoas Hill Standpipe from IT.

The shortlist article also gives suggestions on where to stay.  Since the Stanley Hotle is clear out in Colorado, and King is not offering his  house up on Airbnb, the article suggests The Hilton Garden Inn,
boasting a an eerily similar entrance and interior as bucolically grand. Don’t be upset at the lack of bloodless elevators and ghoulish staff, mind - king rooms are available.
King rooms are available? That would be cool -- but it just means suites. Man, now I'm wishing for a Stephen King themed hotel.  COME ON AMERICA!

Is The Stanley Hotel Really Haunted?


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

T.R.U.E investigates the Stanley Hotel


I'm creeped.  They should have gotten these people to film The Shining miniseries.  The photography on the approach to the hotel really is unnerving.  Sometimes professionals make things feel a bit sterile.  But this really does make the hotel feel secluded.

This episode will give you the true "prequel" to The Overlook.

THE SHINING PREQUEL is moving forward


If you're like me -- and no one is -- then you sighed a bit when you first heard the news that Stephen King's The Shining was being looked at for a prequel.  Really?  Do we need to have a prequel?  Really?  King already gave us a pretty well written sequel.  I  liked it a lot.  But a prequel?

Then something happened to change my mind; I'll tell you what in a moment.

This past week the hollywoodreporter.com confirmed that music video director Mark Romanek is in negotiations to direct the prequel, titled, Overlook.

The article notes:
The film will tell the origin story of the haunted hotel through the eyes of its first owner, Bob T. Watson, a robber baron at the turn of the 20th century.
Former Walking Dead showrunner Glen Mazzara wrote the script. James Vanderbilt, Brad Fischer and Laeta Kalogridis are producing.
Did you catch that Mazzara "wrote" the script.  Of course, as Richard Matheson and Stephen King both attest, a lot of scripts get written that  never happen.  But actually having something on paper makes it all feel a little more real.

But what's their source material?  How about Stephen King.  No, not the Stephen King who gave us Mr. Mercedes, IT and The Stand.  How about a Stephen King who had only published two books, Carrie and Salems' Lot.  For good or for bad, that was a different Stephen King.  The young man was more likely to go for the punch, to try and creep you out, scare you and if all else failed, just be as gross as possible.  The older Stephen King is more focused on the art of storytelling.  (I like both.)

So what's exciting about Overlook is that the source is Stephen King's own prologue to The Shining, which was cut from the book prior to publication in 1977.  What's more, I've read that prologue, and it's great.  That's why I'm excited.  I mean, it's creepy and gross and all out scary!

By the way, I like the miniseries quite a lot.  It's almost pointless to compare it to the Kubrick film because they really are two different stories.  The miniseries is slow; just like the book.  It aptly brings the novel to life.



Perhaps you remember when ABC ran The Shining miniseries, TV guide ran the prequel.  But here's the thing -- it's an abridged prequel.  King actually gave much, much more.  A friend, I'm not saying who, but they do happen to run a very popular Stephen King blog that I think is great -- shared the full manuscript with me a while back.  It blew me away.  And the thought of those dusty pages being turned into a film makes me very excited.







Sunday, July 20, 2014

Huffington Post Blog Accuses Stephen King Of Not Being Able To Write

Michael Conniff posted a blog post at Huffington Post titled, "Why Stephen King Can't Write." (huffingtonpost.com)

Conniff declares that he likes everything Stephen King stands for, and cites a list that really has nothing to do with things King actually "stands" for.  Like -- He has a library next to his house.  Well, if that's the case, put me on the list, I also stand for having libraries next to your house!  I stand with you both!

Wait, you might be wondering who it is that Huff Post has decided is worthy of the platform of smashing Stephen King.  Michael Conniff is a well known author.  In fact, he's sold 11 books.  Not 11 million.  Not 11,000.  11.  ELEVEN.

So exactly how does the esteemed author think Stephen King has failed the writing world?  (Never mind that Stephen King actually wrote the book On Writing!)
 
Of course, after pointing out that Stephen King has sold a few more books than he has, Conniff resorts to telling ust hat sales don't matter, only the words on the paper matter.  And that might be true, but in the world of writing, readers  are the judge of those words.  And it appears the American public judges King worthy of continued sales.  And, 11 people have bought Mr. Conniff's books.  11.

Conniff builds his case on King's latest novel, Mr. Mercedes.  This is frustrating because King used a different style for Mercedes than his usual third person past tense.  Everything is told in present tense in Mercedes, a style King has never used for an entire novel.  So to judge the whole of his work, his ability to write, on this one novel seems like nothing more than a sulky uneducated jealous writer wanting to get some punches in on the big guy.  (Thanks Huffington Post for giving Conniff the platform to do this.)

Conniff accuses King of, "bad writing." After giving us an example paragraph, he then calls King out on "strike two" and asks, "what in the name of all that's scary is a "rank of doors"? Is it some kind of hierarchy or grading system or a band from the Sixties?  I have no idea, and if you're honest, neither do you. It's a stinkeroo."

Here's King's sentence: "When Augie reached the top of the wide, steep drive leading to the big auditorium, he saw a cluster of at least two dozen people already waiting outside the rank of doors, some standing, most sitting."

Made sense to me.  Need it broken down?  Is something unclear?  Wold Conniff think it owuld be better stated, "he saw a cluster of at least two dozen people already waiting outside a bunch-o doors."
Wait, Conniff then gives King a big "strike three."  Which is easy when you make up the game, and you're the Umpire.  The bottom line of his third complaint is that Conniff doesn't like complicated sentences.  He would probably prefer my the books piles up in my children's rooms.  In fact, Conniff declares that King's sentence is "completely incoherent."  And it is -- for him.

Conniff rants, "Wide? Steep? Big? Doors mysteriously ranked? Mazelike non-maze? They prickle me not."  Genius.

Then he makes the charge that because King is focused on  the story, he doesn't care about the words he uses.  He's just barfing up words to push the story forward.  Which is, of course, the opposite of what he argues in On Writing.  A whole portion of On Writing deals with the tools of the craft -- words.

Wait, Conniff isn't done.  He then suggests that it's the movies that save Stephen King's stories.  (REALLY!)  Conniff writes:
it takes movies like "The Shawshank Redemption" and "The Green Mile" to bring his ideas to life. 
Finally, Conniff confesses, "I've never loved his writing."  Of course, he's cited how many books he actually read? Mr. Mercedes and On Writing.  That's it.  I don't know if he's read more, because he doesn't say, and without using WORDS, I have no way of knowing what Conniff has read.

Finally, the Huff Post blogger decides to smack all of us who like King -- because, of course, we're buying Stephen King books and not Michael Conniff books.  (Well, 11 of you might have switched teams here.  11.)    Connif says, "In a way, you can't blame Stephen King for his shortcomings as a writer. Like his audience, he just wants to find out what happens next."  In other words, King so intense into his story, he doesn't care how he gets there.

So Conniff never addresses Kings ability to build characters, advance plot, create suspense and draw the reader right into the mind of some pretty terrible people.  He doesn't look at King's real gift, characters.  Why?  Because simply put, Conniff can't handle the way Stephen King writes and sentence.  His arrogance and pride blinds him to the fact that he's tossing stones at an American Master.  

Obviously, Mr. Conniff needs to read my book, "Stephen King, A Face Among The Masters."  Then he will be better equipped to understand why Stephen King's work is important.

All That's Left to Know About the King of Horror on Film



Check out the www.horrortalk.com review of Scott Von Doviak's book, ""Stephen King Films FAQ: All That's Left to Know About the King of Horror on Film.

There  are over 100 titles based  on Stephen King's work.  Does that surprise the fan base?  Nope.  (The article refers to  the book as a "novel."  Of course, it's not a novel.)

Steve Pattee gives us the lay of the land, explaining that the first  part of the book reviews  the movies by decades, then it offers  individual sections forshorts; miniseries, TV series, and TV movies; sequels and remakes; and a final chapter for "oddities and ephemera", which is just what it sounds like: things that just couldn't fit in the other chapters.

Pattee writes:
I've read numerous books on film in the past, and there are two different types of writers. The first gives a brief synopsis of the film – maybe adding the actors and directors involved – before moving onto the next making it nothing more than a glorified list. The second type takes his or her time with each title, perhaps giving a background or personal thoughts in addition to the synopsis. I prefer this latter type, and in Stephen King Films FAQ, Von Doviak exceeds my expectations.


Friday, July 18, 2014

Swanson Reflects On King's Impact

How has Stephen King impacted the world of writing?  Like an earthquake. Often when reading King I've thought, "I didn't know you could do that!"  I mean, I always  wanted to -- I just didn't know it was allowed.  And maybe it wasn't, until King did it.

Here is Jeremiah Swanson's article about King's influence on his own writing.  Swanson is author of, And Death Will Seize The Doctor.




I first became aware of King in the mid 80’s, watching his movies when they came on cable back when having cable was a big deal. I remember watching his movies while hunched over greasy pizza boxes and grape sodas, munching away as his newest (to me, anyway) monster or cult or dog or car or kid with psychic powers caused mayhem behind the safety of my television screen.

I always loved King. Even before I knew what a genre was, I knew I loved the kind of stories he told, horror stories. I understood, long before I could articulate, the truth behind all good horror stories, the truth that is so present in all of King’s works. That truth is simplicity itself: people want to live. No matter how dark or scary it gets, people have a drive for life. That truth is what all good horror is about; awakening and sharpening the instinct, drive and desire for life. In our daily grinds we can sometimes get to where we forget we are alive at all; that we are unique beings here but for a short time and when we’re gone, will be gone forever. But in King’s work-as in life when we have a near miss on the highway or are sitting in the doctor’s office waiting nervously for her to come back with the results- we are shocked into being reminded that we are alive, now, but there is also this thing called death that always seemed somehow far and mythical but now is suddenly very close and very real. We are reminded how we so very much want to keep on living. We are reminded of just how much death will be taking from us, and we are spurred on to fight it.

Even in a world overflowing with the horrible beasties and circumstances his amazing imagination can fill them with, there is something incredibly life affirming about his characters who do not give up, who keep on fighting, who keep on wanting to live even after it seems they’ve lost everything worth living for, and indeed, any chance of living at all.

The story that encapsulated that drive the most was Cujo, the tale (pun?) that did for me with neighborhood dogs what Jaws did for generations of beach goers. I always thought Cujo was scarier than Jaws, actually. With Cujo, you couldn’t just get out of the water. In fact, with Cujo, you couldn’t even get out of your car. Not even if you were broken down in sweltering heat with your son dying beside you, he wouldn’t let you out. You had to hold on and find a way, or succumb and die.

The movie was much kinder than the book. (SPOILER ALERT) In the movie the lead character escapes with her son. In the book, the boy dies. I must say, I always found the book’s ending more…I don’t want to say satisfying, but perhaps edifying than the movie’s. I was always more interested in the consequences of violence and the costs to survivor’s who opt not to be overwhelmed, who try to live with their guilt, than with the violence itself. King always does this better than most other writers, and I credit his portrayal of these circumstances as having a huge influence on my writings, particularly in my book, And Death Will Seize the Doctor, Too.




In my story, Christian Thompson has the power to heal with a touch of his hand, but for every person he cures, he must first kill someone else.

His talents grant him entry into a secret organization with other paranormally gifted people who help him try to use his gift for the greater good. His handlers create a situation for him where he can extract the life from death row inmates after staged executions. He hates the idea of killing, but if taking the life of someone who was going to be executed anyway meant the lives of others can be saved, he’ll do it. While killing never gets easy, over time, it does get easier. Tolerable. Until he discovers one of the men he killed was actually innocent of the crime for which he was convicted. He is so overcome with guilt he quits, vowing to never take another life. For years he sticks by that promise, but when a person he loves becomes deathly ill, he has to come back for one last job. And when he does, he is forced by circumstances to commit a murder so horrible, so ghastly that he knows he can never wash himself clean again. But he also knows he can never stop trying. He doesn’t have that right.

That type of impossible situation and relentless drive in the face of hopelessness is one of the hallmarks of Stephen King’s writing. And while I do not pretend at all to have his talent for portraying it, I am eternally grateful for his being able to do it so well that it made me even want to try.

AND DEATH WILL SEIZE THE DOCTOR, TOO is available now at: 
 AMAZON.COM

Jim Carrey Flees Room 217

photo: Olivia Lewis | UCD Advocate

$15 will buy you a tour of the Stanley Hotel, the inspiration behind Stephen King's novel The Shining.  Kubrick didn't use the hotel as his filming location, but mini-series director Mick Garris did.  The creepy spooks aren't just the stuff of novels and movies, seems some people actually believe the old place is haunted.

Advocate "In Focus" editor, Lindsay Maynard, took the tour and wrote a very nice article.  It seems this time of year there are always a pile of stories about the Stanley Hotel.  Maynard's is a lot more fun than most!  She wholeheartedly embraces the spooky elements.  In fact, she says the hotel is deemed one of the "most haunted."  Not most haunted in America. . . just "most haunted."  I assume she means in the world!  Yikes.

HERE is the article, titled "Tour Estes Park's most haunted hotel."

Maynard has an interesting story about Jim Carrey, who stayed in room 217 -- but not for an entire night!  Seems a few hours after checking in, he left the room and "never returned."  Why?  Seems he's never said a word about it.  Could it be that the woman in the tub bothered him?  She was so very pretty!  Or perhaps the two dead girls made it hard to settle down.  I dunno. 

About King's visit, Maynard writes, "While stuck in the mountains, King and his wife begged the innkeeper to let them stay for the night. They were the only guests to occupy the hotel and they stayed in Room 217, where they experienced uneasy tension throughout their visit. Seven days later, the outline for The Shining was created."

I'd never heard that they "begged the innkeeper to let them stay for the night."  Sounds familiar, though.

Some interesting facts gleaned from the article:
  • Ghost Hunters has visited the hotel nine times!
  • Travel Chanel's "Ghost Adventures" has also paid their respects.
  • In June 1911, during a power outage, a chambermaid named Mrs. Wilson entered room 217 to light a candle.  A gas leak caused the room to explode!  What's amazing is that she lived, and was given a job at the hotel for life.  Maynard says that she is known to appear from time to time and even put away clothes for guests.  Nice ghosty.
  • On the fourth floor, there is sometimes the sound of unseen children playing.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Stephen King's Bad Guys Are Terribly Real



Have  you noticed how unnerving some of King's killers are?  It's because they seem all too real.  That's because, I think, King often bases them on real people.  There was a real Annie Wilkes and a real Mr. Mercedes.

salon.com posted an interesting article  titled, "“Mr. Mercedes”: How Stephen King’s killers mirror real-life murderers."

Mike Berry notes that the timing for Mr. Mercedes could not be less propitious, and reminds us in a side note that Black House arrived in stores September 11, 2001.  I didn't know that.
The novel’s publication date comes a little more than a week after Elliot Rodger stabbed three people to death in his apartment near UC Santa Barbara, killed three others in drive-by shootings, ran down pedestrians in his BMW and then fatally shot himself with his own gun. In the wake of the Isla Vista tragedy, this straight-ahead thriller now makes for uncomfortable reading, in a way Mr. King undoubtedly did not intend.
Of course, King gives  us two types of  bad guys.   There's  the Randall Flagg naughty boy;  he's the devil  and he'll do as he likes.  And then there is the more creepy real life murders

The scary thing about Mr. Mercedes is that he could be -- anyone.  Thus Mike Berry notes Hartfield starts off as one of King's "least interesting villains."  He reminds me of Norman Bates; only, Psycho was scarier.  Norman was scarier.  It might be the difference in media (print verses movie, Hitch verses  King.)  But what both characters emphasize is that we never really know what's going on inside someone elses head.  And that's scary.

What Berry keenly  notes is that Hartfield didn't "snap." And most killers really don't.  They plan, plot  and  think over their crimes.  They relish messing with the police and reliving their crimes.

Here are some easily overlooked villains in the Stephen King canon: 

1. Jo St. George.  A child molester, wife beater and thief, it seems ole Joe doesn't get his due in the Stephen King universe.  His wife, Dolores finished  him off in what can only be described as a brilliant execution.  I loved it!  In fact, I think Dolores Claiborne might be one of those overlooked gems that Stephen King has churned out.  And though the focus of the novel is on Dolores, Jo is one mean  dude and the reader sympathizes with Dolores' vigilante style  of justice.

Let me tell you, as creepy as Mr. Mercede's is -- and as sick as his relationship with his mommy is -- he doesn't molest little kids.  Driving cars into crowds is very, very bad.  But there is something that so deeply crosses the line with child  molestation that it stands on its own in terms of wickedness.  Allow me to go a bit preacher on this one.  Jesus said it would be better to have a millstone hung around your neck and thrown into the ocean  than to have to stand before him on Judgment day and have to answer to harming a child.  In other words, God has a special  place in hell -- literally -- for that kind of wickedness.

2. In 11.22.63, King gave us a real life killer, Lee Harvey Oswald.  By mixing fictional characters with historical, King offered a strange blend of realism. Oswald wasn't a passing character in the book, but someone we followed at some length, getting to know and to some degree understand. Yeah, he was creepy.

3. Charlie Decker, a high school student in the Bachman novel, Rage, holds his classroom hostage  and has a long talk-session with them.  The novel is tense as the reader is left wondering if these students are going to make it out alive.  And, the book  is scarier now than when it was written, since it's actually been connected directly to several  schools shootings.

That ever helpful source, Wikipedia,  gives these examples of real life school  shootings that were in some way connected to or supposedly inspired by rage:
  • Jeffrey Lyne Cox, a senior at San Gabriel High School in San Gabriel, California, took a semi-automatic rifle to school on April 26, 1988 and held a humanities class of about 60 students hostage for over 30 minutes. Cox held the gun to one student when the teacher doubted he would cause harm and stated that he would prove it to her. At that time three students escaped out a rear door and were fired upon. Cox was later tackled and disarmed by another student. A friend of Cox told the press that Cox had been inspired by the Kuwait Airways Flight 422 hijacking and by the novel Rage, which Cox had read over and over again and with which he strongly identified.
  • Dustin L. Pierce, a senior at Jackson County High School in McKee, Kentucky, armed himself with a shotgun and two handguns and took a history classroom hostage in a nine-hour standoff with police on September 18, 1989 that ended without injury. Police found a copy of Rage among the possessions in Pierce's bedroom, leading to speculation that he had been inspired to carry out the plot of the novel.
  • Barry Loukaitis, a student at Frontier Middle School in Moses Lake, Washington, walked from his house to the school on February 2, 1996, and entered his algebra classroom during fifth period. He opened fire at students, killing two and wounding another. He then fatally shot his algebra teacher, Leona Caires, in the chest. As his classmates began to panic, Loukaitis reportedly said, "This sure beats algebra, doesn't it?" — a line erroneously believed to be taken from Rage. (No such line appears in King’s story. The closest is when Charlie Decker quips, "This sure beats panty raids.") Hearing the gunshots, gym coach Jon Lane entered the classroom. Loukaitis was holding his classmates hostage and planned to use one hostage so he could safely exit the school. Lane volunteered as the hostage, and Loukaitis was keeping Lane at gunpoint with his rifle. Lane then grabbed the weapon from Loukaitis and wrestled him to the ground, then assisted the evacuation of students.
  • In December 1997 Michael Carneal shot eight fellow students at a prayer meeting in West Paducah, Kentucky. He had a copy of the book within the Richard Bachman omnibus in his locker. This was the incident that moved King to allow the book to go out of print.
SOURCE: wikipedia.org/wiki/Rage
Berry raises the concern  that Rage  can be misunderstood as celebrating the violence it actually condemns.  Comparing Rage to Mercedes, Berry writes,
[Rage] was written by a young author not fully in control of the tools of his craft. “Mr. Mercedes” is the product of an old hand, an accomplished writer of popular fiction who generally knows what he’s doing. There’s really no need to fret that the book might inspire further mayhem.
4. The Needful Thing's cast.  Leeland Gaunt is supposed to be the devil himself.  He's one bad  dude.  But he's not the scary part of Needful Things.  The town-folk are!  Willing to cut each other up in the street, slay dogs and burn their town right  to the ground, the last novel of Castle Rock was a dozy!  It is long, but it's also under-appreciated.  King really shows how the devil  works, getting us to take one small step into sin and finding that soon we are willing to do things we never thought was in our own character.

Berry misses his opportunity to really dig deeper into Hartfield's psychology.  It does seem to be what the article promised.  Instead, Berry gives us as much a review of the book itself as a deeper look at Brady Hartfield.  He declares that the novel ranks in the "middle" of King's work in terms of quality.  And where  would that be?
nowhere near the pinnacle of “The Shining” but well away from the abyss of, say, “Dreamcatcher.” 
Humm.  I liked The Shining a lot.  But I'm not sure it was the "pinnacle."  It's brilliant, absolutely brilliant, and yes -- Mr. Mercede's isn't The Shining.  But it's not King's absolute  best.  Disagree with me?  It might be a while since you've actually read the book.  The  novel is very closed  in, which is both creepy and at point tedious.  I like sprawling novels like The Stand, and, believe it or not, Doctor Sleep.

And as for  Dreamcatcher, which Berry put at the bottom of the pile; I enjoyed it!  Well, for a while.  It's both crazy and engaging.  Stick with the book, not the movie on this one.  Is it a masterpiece?  No.  But it's fun.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Night Flier: Tone

Fan Poster by fan Juan Hugo Martinez
source: FlyTheDeadlySkies
updated.

I like this movie. A lot. Since it's not a flick you're likely to just jump right into, let me sell this one a little bit!

Night Flyer is based on a Stephen King short story. The movie is straight horror. That doesn't mean there isn't character development, or some good drama -- but this baby is really about a very nasty vamp. Not the kind you'll meet in Twilight, I mean the real kind of vampire. The breed you should be scared of -- not the type you'd ever want to smooch with.

What I really like is the tone. That's really hard to explain isn't it? But I just like the feeling this movie gives me. A reporter chasing a murderer who owns a plane. Lots of rainy scenes. Smoke filled bars. Low life reporters.

There is one particularly wonderful scene that stands out above -- well, most anything I've seen! When Stephen King wrote Dreamcatcher, he noted that we make some pretty terrible discoveries in the bathroom. Well, it's in the potty that we get to see an invisible vampire taking a potty break. So how do we SEE that? He's peeing blood. And that's all you see! I thought that was worth the entire movie!


A rare shot of KNB EFX adding the special effects make-up to Dwight Renfield!
SOURCE: facebook.com/FlyTheDeadlySkies 
Check out their facebook page at: www.facebook.com, which has this interesting "Fright Fact":
NIGHT FLIER FRIGHT FACT: In the scene where Katherine is looking at Richard's bylines, the framed copies of "Inside View" contain many references to other stories by Stephen King: "Springhill Jack Strikes Again!" - Strawberry Spring. "Headless Lamaze Leads To Successful Birth!" - The Breathing Method. "Kiddie Cultists in Kansas Worship Creepy Voodoo God!" - Children of the Corn "Satanic Shopkeeper Sells Gory Goodies!" - Needful Things. "Naked Demons Levelled My Lawn!" - The Lawnmower Man "The Ultimate Killer Diet! Gypsy Curse Flays Fat Lawyer's Flesh" - Thinner.
Behind the scenes footage:

Thursday, July 10, 2014

How To Charm A Constant Reader


How to charm a constant reader -- A Stephen  King charm bracelet.
How to drive them crazy -- tell them it's already sold, and it was one of a kind.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Shining Twin Makes It Out Alive


Stephen King: Tots and Terror


Here is an interesting ebay item, a 1981 TV guide with an article by Stephen King on tots and terror.  To tell you the truth, this is the stuff that really makes collecting fun.  Yeah, it's nice to get a first edition of the latest book -- but old weird stuff is even better.

As a collector, I'm not excited about things made for collecting.  Yes, the new covers for Carrie, The Shining and other early books look great.  And their limited editions.  But limited edition just says to me, "We know you're a sucker."  I'd rather goon the hunt than write a big check.


A magazine is fun because it holds the era in its pages.  So not only is there the article by King, but it is surrounded by the culture it was crafted in.

I love the art in this. King says Bambie is the scariest movie.

You can still buy it at ebay.com for $5 plus $5 shipping.  So that ten bucks.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

What You Didn't Know About Shawshank

ifc.com has an interesting article titled, "15 Things You May Not Have Known About The Shawshank Redemption."

Actually, I did know  most of it.  But here's a fact that was new to me: The title was changed to avoid confusion.  (Yes, I knew the title was changed.)  But apparently it held the original title for quite a while in pre-production, creating some interesting situations.  Check it out:
Darabont wrote the script in eight weeks before pitching it to Castle Rock Entertainment. He decided to drop the “Rita Hayworth” part of the novella because actresses sent their resumes in for consideration thinking it was a Rita Hayworth biopic. During the casting process, Darabont even received a call from an agent who represented a supermodel; he swore the script was the best she had ever read and that she’d be perfect for the (non-existent) part of Hayworth.
Also, it turns  out that voice overs are not that easy!  Seems like they should be, doesn't it?  But we're not in the movie making business.  
Originally, all of Morgan Freeman’s voiceover was recorded before any of the film was shot. The fact that much of it syncs up to the onscreen action (see: the scene on the roof where the inmates drink beer) isn’t simple editing. Darabont would playback the recorded voiceover on-set during each take for the actors to specifically play off of the audio. But the audio quality of his voiceover was too poor to include in the movie due to tape hiss, so Freeman had to re-record the entire voiceover in post-production.
Read all 15 at ifc.com

Mr. Mercedes Final Thoughts



Mr. Mercedes Journal #5

There's spoilers here, so if you read on, it's your choice.

If finished reading Mr. Mercedes the other day.  I liked it a lot.  And, I'm ready for the ghosts, vampires, monsters and evil clowns to come back to the Stephen King universe.  That is to say, the book is better than most detective stories; but it's not the same as an old car that is possessed by the spirit of her former owner.  Mr. Mercedes is a good read, but it's not delicious.

The book held me in suspense all the way to the end.  It did not leave me asking for more.

The Clunky Parts:

Sometimes it seems like clues come a little too easily for our main characters.  It's a lot of, "oh, how lucky we are -- another clue, right in time to keep both trains ticking along at the right pace to  have a big blow out at just the right spot."  It feels plotted.  Also, the ending, frankly, feels  contrived.  Hodges walks away with nothing more than a slap on the wrist, after endangering the entire city?

King has said you always  have to deal with the problem, "Why not just call the police?"  Well, Hodges at one point decides to call the police, but they are all so amazingly excited about another turn of events, he chooses not to tell them what he knows because they won't be focused.  This comes across as pretty thin, plot wise.  Makes police seem cartoonish and single minded.  Goodness, they couldn't possibly think of two cases at once, could they?

I also think that King misses just how much respect us common people will give a police badge.  Twice in the novel King portrays people arguing with Hodges after he shows them his badge.  First it's the nosy neighbor.  He forces the group to explain who each of them are and questions them about why they are driving what they are driving and so on.  But when you meet a police officer and company, you really don't go about questioning everyone there.  You usually play it kind of safe around people who carry a badge.

Further, King has Hodges run in to a custodian at the final countdown.  There is an argument  that is simply unbelievable; and this isn't the moment things need to get unbelievable!  So a custodian is arguing with a man with a police badge?  Really?

What Makes The  Novel Work:

Characters.  I love the characters in Mr. Mercedes.  And for them, I'll be back!  The trio is a blast.  Awkward, feisty -- they have the chemistry of the original Star Wars cast as they banter.  Hodges is the most cardboard of the three; a burned out cop who comes back to deal with one last, open case.

King gives his main characters room, space and permission to grow and change as the novel progresses.  Once mousy, quiet and timid Holly becomes more engaging as she gets familiar  and comfortable with the other characters.  By the novel's end, she's changed/progressed dramatically.

Jerome, an intelligent young black man who likes to play with stereotypes falls for Holly.  Is this totally believable?  Nope.  But I like it, and sometimes the  nice thing about a novel is the writer gives us what we want, not what would really happen.

But what really works is  the killer  himself.  There is an  interesting relationship between Brady and his mommy.  Brady could  have stepped right out of Psycho.  The scary parts of Mr. Mercedes is when King takes us inside Mr. Mercedes head.  Not a fun place to be because the reader is able to identify with someone they don't want to identify with!

The letter Mr. Mercedes wrote to detective Hodges was great!  I mean, it was totally believable that a crazy guy wrote this.  And it gets under your skin.

King has never quite taken us inside the mind of a killer the way he does with Brady Hartsfield’s; but he came close with Annie Wilkes.  Annie acted on impulse, while Brady plots and plans his next  move.  Annie wasn't as self aware as Brady.

My final word: I liked it.  Now give us a haunted cruise ship or something.

In general this is not a genre I would read much; so it was a joy to have King introduce me to something new.  But I'm ready now for some creepy cats and hungry clowns.

Of course, right after finishing Mr. Mercedes, I read "In The Tall Grass."  That fit the bill for something creepy!

Chronicling All Of The Music From The DARK TOWER Series

Ria Misra has posted a great article that lists every song in the Dark Tower book series.  Check it out at io9.com

Here's a sample -- from book 2, The Drawing Of The Three:
  • "Just A Gigolo/Ain't Got Nobody" - David Lee Roth (p. 93)
  • "Bridge Over Troubled Water" - Simon and Garfunkel (p. 112)
  • [Unknown Billie Holiday Song] - Billie Holiday (p. 123)
  • "Boy Named Sue" & "Folsom Prison Blues" - Johnny Cash (p. 124)
  • "People" - Barbara Streisand (p. 170)
  • "Pink Shoe Laces" - Dodie Stevens (p. 196)
  • "Take the 'A' Train" - Duke Ellington (p. 215)
  • "Oxford Town" - Bob Dylan (p. 236-8)
  • "Twilight Time" - The Platters (p. 295)


Thompson's Review Of BEYOND FEAR



Check out Zac Thompson's review of Joseph Maddrey's book, "Beyond Fear: Reflections on Stephen King, Wes Craven, and George Romero’s Living Dead" at Bloody Disgusting.

Thompson explains the thesis of the book, "What was it about Craven’s sense of spirituality that inspired the resurrection of child-killer Fred Krueger?  Why are King’s ordinary characters revered so much by many readers?  Maddrey asks these questions and finds his answers through his cinematic breakdown."

More exciting is the books focus on Stephen King's novels:
Maddrey dissects King’s growing line of successful books. Each novel gets a spotlight, even the more recent ones. Our author hits on the right spots, discussing the political overtones of “Under The Dome.”  I never knew there was connection between Paul Edgecomb of the “Green Mile,” to Johnny Marinville in “The Regulators.” The short story, “Rage,” which is about a school shooting, is even more relevant because of Maddrey’s introspection.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Spending The Stephen King Money


You've read  Joyland, right?  You know, the 2006 Emily Schultz novel.  -- OH, wrong Joyland, right?  Turns out, a lot of people are accidentally buying the Schultz novel instead of King's book.

Schultz writes at her website:
I'm Emily Schultz. My first novel came out eight years ago. It was called Joyland. Last year Stephen King released a print-only novel with the same title. That was cool, until a few King readers bought the e-book version of my novel by mistake and started leaving negative and confused Amazon reviews. I asked Amazon to change their search results to keep people from buying the wrong book but never heard back. 
Apparently there were a lot of confused readers as this week I got a—for me—big royalty check for those mistaken books. I'm not so upset anymore. Sure, it's more a pleasant surprise than a fortune, and I'm stuck with those reviews, but I thought a blog detailing how we're spending the Stephen King money would be a nice way to end this funny and strange story. 
So what do you do when Stephen King's money starts to roll in?  Well, obviously, if you're a writer, you write about it!



Schultz has started a delightful blog titled, "Spending The Stephen King Money"  With each purchase she records, she also asks the question, "Would Stephen King like it?"  This includes:
  • furniture from Ikea, a haircut for Brian, 
  • the deductible for bumper repair, 
  • books, 
  • Dinner for two at a place called "Junoon" . . . and more.
She notes that she bought a new Apple computer, and asks if Stephen King would approve.  "WOULD STEPHEN KING ENJOY IT: According to his book On Writing, King writes 10 pages a day. I think he knows the importance of a good machine."

I think this is brilliant and quite a bit of fun.  Naturally, we wonder, what does Stephen King think of this, though.  After all, it is his book that's losing the sales, right?  King told Entertainment Weekly that he is “I’m delighted for her."  And, what's more, "I’m going to order her book.”  So there's a real sale!  And, from none other than Stephen King.  Schultz said in turn that she would be buying King's book. Of course, she'll be buying King's book with King's money.  A nice way to go!

Want To Be Buried In Pet Sematary?

www.examiner.com posted  a news article about a Pet Sematary that now allows humans to be buried with their pets.  Of course -- the connection is obvious!

The article says, "It sounds almost like Stephen King's 'Pet Sematary.'"  Well yeah!

The article then moves on to discuss pet-ghosts.  Such as  the Ghost Cat in the tower of London.
The Ghost Cat-Tower of London 
In All Hallows Church, there is a story about an organist that died, and before he died, his one wish was that he wanted his cat to be buried with him, once the beloved pet died also. Well the Vicar didn't agree with that, so he didn't bury the Persian cat with its deceased owner. Now as the story goes, the cat haunts the All Hallows Church wandering around looking for its owner.

King takes on Amazon

Stephen King, along with hundreds of authors like Nora Roberts and Donna Tartt signed an online letter criticizing Amazon.com.  Amazon has been restricting access tow orks  publishedby Hachette Books Group over  e-book prices.

Hillel Italie at The Telegraph explains, "Amazon has slowed delivery on books by Preston and other Hachette authors, limited discounts and removed pre-order tags for upcoming releases."

Italie's article focuses on author Douglas Preston, author of "The Codex."
In a telephone interview Thursday, Preston said he was receiving so many emails of support that he felt like "a data entry clerk." Known for such thrillers as "Blasphemy" and "The Codex," Preston said he admired Amazon and appreciated how many of his books have sold through the online retailer. But he objected to Amazon's "scorched earth tactics." 
"A lot of pain is being inflicted on innocent third parties," he said, referring to authors whose books have been affected. 
Preston's next book, "The Lost Island," is a collaboration with Lincoln Child that comes out in August. Only the audio edition can be pre-ordered.
Read more here: http://www.macon.com/2014/07/03/3180930/king-caro-among-those-backing.html#storylink=cpy

Friday, July 4, 2014

AMERICAN LANDSCAPE -- Stephen King Style



For years Stephen King has served us up stories about ourselves. Probably what makes him so popular is that he doesn't write about Count Dracula in a far off land, he brings it all to America. I'm pressed to think of stories that even involve other countries!

The America in Stephen King's fiction is a unique place. Here's a glance at the America of Stephen King's creation:
  • Christine is a kind of American Grafitti -- cars, girls and Rock and Roll.

  • IT is a trip back to the 1950's. (For, uh, those who were alive in the 50's.) Seems like The Body falls into the same category.

  • The Dead Zone shows the nasty side of American politics.

  • The Tommyknockers is a 1940's style Scifi.

  • In the Stand King boldly destroyed America, and then made his characters our new founding fathers as they established the Free Zone.

  • Both Rita Hayworth and The Green Mile explore something of the American prison system.
  • Under The Dome shows us America  in miniature.  
  • If you haven't seen it -- there is something strangely All American about Silver Bullet, based on Cycle of the Werewolf.
No wonder George Beahm could write a biography called: "Stephen King, America's Best Loved Boogey Man." Americans love King because he writes about places we feel we know. We don't have to go to a haunted castle, the house next door might be something terrible. He brings the horror home to America. There might be monsters headed to the grocery store. What if your cell phone rang and zombies took over? It's what we know, given a slight twist, that makes things scary!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Awesome Cover For THE SHINING


I found this on my favorite Stephen King website, www.liljas-library.com

Lilja posted:
The 44th language that a King book is translated into has been found. Today I found out that The Shining has been translated into Breton. Breton is a celtic language that's spoken in western France, the Brittany region and what’s extra interesting is that only 200,000 people have Breton as their native language. Very impressive that they now got their own translation of a King book if you ask me.
While you're at Lilja's Library,  you can send him a photo of yourself  and Mr.  Mercedes and be sure to take the "Author Photo Quiz."  --no,  it's not that easy!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Under The Dome Telephone

How did the crew over at The Wire miss the entire first season of Under The Dome?  What's worse, realizing they'd missed something that might  be important, they decided to catch up on it -- by playing telephone.

They explain:
Last summer's silly sensation Under the Dome returns for a second season on Monday. The show, a Stephen King adaptation that is, upon closer inspection, about a town that finds itself placed under a mysterious dome, was at turns junk and addictive and infuriating, and somehow all of us here at The Wire missed out on it.
Now how do you miss Under The Dome?  That  question aside, the group decided to take turns watching the episode, then passing it on to the next person.  They chose not to watch episodes they weren't writing about.

What follows is. . . hilarious, and a mess.

Here's a taste:
David: Americans don't mind domes as long as they have their propane and sunlight. After that, they start getting antsy. If someone refers to a monarch in a vision, they're probably talking about butterflies. There is no visual symbolism outside of this show that isn't to do with pink stars or black clouds, and one is obviously the most beautiful thing in the world whereas the other is the most terrifying. Also, imagine if CBS hadn't picked up this show for a second season. People would have been so mad at that incredibly open-ended, vague cliffhanger
and. . .
Ben: If Under the Dome has taught me one thing, it’s that drifters can do EVERYTHING. Seriously, Barbie (aka the almost-Monarch) has delivered a baby, operated on a gunshot victim, convinced the widow of the guy he killed to become his lover, and managed to still kickass in an episode he spent the entirety of with his hands cuffed behind his back. Sure, he finished season one about to be publicly hanged (another thing I learned: quaint townspeople will turn out in droves if you tell them there’s a hanging), but I’d vote Barbie for Councilman at this point, and we all know how big of a deal that is, considering Big Jim wields absolute power over his constituency. Also: propane = power.

Okay, catch up on their summaries at: thewire.com