The Old Dude's Ticker

Cemetery Dance has an announcement that "The Old Dude's Ticker" by Stephen King, which you can only read in The Big Book of Necon -- a hardcover oversized special edition.

Here's a snippit of Kin g's the introduction from The Big Book of Necon,

"In the two years after I was married, I sold nearly a dozen stories to various men's magazines. Most were purchased by Nye Willden, the fiction editor at Cavalier. Those stories were important supplements to the meager income I was earning in my two day jobs, one as a high school English teacher and the other as an employee of The New Franklin Laundry, where I washed motel sheets. Two of them, however, did not sell... The second was the one that follows, a crazed revisionist telling of Poe’s 'The Tell-Tale Heart...' I hope some of Poe's feverish intensity comes through here... and I hope the master isn't rolling in his grave too much."

The book is $40.

http://www.cemeterydance.com/page/CDP/PROD/booth01

Firejournal 4


The middle section of Fire Starter slows down significantly. The book started with an intense chase, culminating in an awesome battle at a farmhouse. We're talking, fireballs and burned agents of the shop. It was sweet. Then, after a brief description of their life on the run, Andy and Charlie are captured by the shop and brought into custody.
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Character Building
For hours I've listened as King builds his characters. In particular, he is working to build a relationship between Rainbird and Charlie, while Andy is dulled out on drugs.
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While the energy of the early story certainly slows, King's writing remains strong and engaging. Reading King's earlier work shows me how much stronger he's gotten as a writer. Fire Starter is good -- really good -- and King is even better today. Books like Under The Dome, while huge and full of characters with depth, never slow or drag while building those characters. It's as if King has learned to refuel in flight!
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You can do that?
The narration itself is interesting. Often King does things I didn't know were allowed. I've always liked it that King doesn't feel a need to obey every rule. For instance, in narration he says something like: after about 3 or 4 days. . . wait a minute! Isn't he writing in the all knowing third person? And this wasn't said from someones head, this was the narrator speaking. Is the narrator allowed to be unsure? Well, in this scene it helped the story along because it gave the reader a sense of confusion that the characters were experiencing.
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1984
King makes several references to George Orwell. Specifically, to Orwell's famed novel 1984. Also to Orwell's lead character, Winston Smith. In the novel, Smith quietly rebels against his State, represented by Big Brother. In Orwell's London, people are always watched on tele-screens, drugged when necessary, and put to work like drones.
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Of course, in Fire Starter, Andy McGee quickly connects the dots. Once he decides to no longer take the drugs that the shop is giving him, he is essentially rebelling against Big Brother. He feels euphoria, like Winston did, at his quiet disobedience.

Blockade Billy Arrives


A package was in our mailbox today. That's big news when you live in the stix! Of course, it was a package inside a package. The inside package was torn up, and the outside package contained an apology from the mail for damaging my package. However, only slight harm done to book.
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The book came shrink wrapped, which always leads to a dilemma. Do I break the shrink wrap open and enjoy my new book, or keep it perfect for some future generation to struggle with the same frustration. So, I helped those future generations by opening the book up! Actually, I never keep anything in shrink wrap. Even the signed Talisman/Blackhouse combination books, I broke them free. Hey, how do you know they're signed unless you open the shrink wrap, right?
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Anyway, the picture is of my oldest daughter and our proud new addition to the Stephen King collection. Which leads to another problem. . . do I read it, or keep it unread? Forget it, I'm reading it! You all can keep yours in shrink wrap and pretend that unread books are better -- I'm going to enjoy my favorite writer.

Stephen King Library Red Leather


For the moment. . . I've given up on collecting a full set of first editions. It is difficult to Convince my wife to fork over the moolah for a first edition Carrie, The Dark Tower (she doesn't see the need, since I have a second edition. . . I'm neglected) or even a true first of the Shining. I do have nasty reporductions of Carrie, Salem's Lot and The Shining. Gag. But, for the the time being, I'm just going to give up on the hunt. Gasp. I did manage to get a full set of first edition Richard Bachman's. Not hard, though.
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Most recently I have been buying copies of the Red Leather Stephen King Library books. I like these, and they do look cool on the shelf (though not as cool as a first edition Gunslinger, honey.)
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These are beautiful books that were originally published by Book of the Month Club. I'm not sure of the whole history of them. They are bound in faux leather and King's signature appears in gold on the front cover. They appear to be almost exact reporductions of the original hardbacks, with these exceptions:
1. The cover is obviously red leather instead of a bookcover.
2. They do not have a numberline or much copywrite information.
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Anyone know the full story on these books?

Robert Mccammon's Wolf's Hour

For those of you who are Robert Mccammon fans, it is noteworthy that Cemetery Dance is taking preorders for a limited edition of Wolfs Hour ($75).

In the world of Stephen King, Mccammon's Swan Song is often compared with The Stand. Of course, hardcover limited copies of Swan Song now go for around $500.

http://www.cemeterydance.com/page/CDP/PROD/O_MCCAMM03

Haven News

this is an article from digitalsphy.com by Catriona Wightman.

Adam Kane has signed up to direct Syfy's new pilot Haven.
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Kane, who has previously worked on Heroes and The Mentalist, will now helm the adaptation of Stephen King's novel The Colorado Kid.
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The supernatural show follows Damages star Emily Rose as an FBI agent investigating the murder of a local ex-prisoner.
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According to Syfy, the programme is set in a town "where people with supernatural abilities have migrated for generations because it mutes their powers, allowing them to lead normal lives".
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Lucas Bryant and Eric Balfour have also signed up for the show, which is currently shooting in Nova Scotia.
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http://www.digitalspy.com/ustv/news/a216637/heroes-director-signs-up-for-haven.html

Plan 9 v. The Langoliers


I read several comments recently that compared the Langoliers to Ed Wood's now famously bad movie Plan 9 from Out Space. "No!" I thought at once. "This wasn't nearly as wonderful as Plan 9!" Of course, Plan 9 sinks so low it can be nothing but enjoyable.
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Just for fun. . . let's do a quick review of Plan 9 and then see if the Langoliers rises to the occasion.
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Here's my notes from Plan 9,
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This is the funniest film I’ve seen!
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My favorite channel, TCM (Turner Classic Movies) gave this introduction to Plan 9 From Outer Space: "Here at TCM we pride ourselves in bringing you some of the best movies ever made. Coming up next, we will fail. We have the film that has for years been touted as the worst movie of all time. After watching it, you’ll agree."
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Plan 9 From Outer Space is about aliens attempting to make contact with humans. However, the earth leaders have denied their existence and refused to talk. The angry aliens turn to "plan 9" to destroy earth. What is plan 9?
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Plan 9 was made by Ed Wood Jr., who started the movie with his friend Bela Lugosi leaving his home. Lugosi, who was supposed to be the star of the film, died after shooting that opening spot. So what did Ed Wood do? He got his wife’s chiropractor to stand in. Of course, the chiropractor didn’t look anything like Bela Lugosi – but that’s okay, because he holds his cape up over his face to that we will all think it’s Bela Lugosi. But, we can all tell: "Hey, mom, that’s not Bela Lugosi!"
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Now to get financing to this film, Ed Wood made friends with a local Baptist Church. The Church was going to make 12 movies of the Apostles. But they only had money for one film. Wood convinced them that if they made one popular movie, the profits would be so great they would have money to make their other 12 films. So the Baptist put up the money. The movie was originally called, "Grave Robbers From Space" but the Baptist objected. So, it was renamed Plan 9 From Outer Space. Reportedly the Baptist made Ed and crew get Baptized before they put up the money. I’ll withhold any comment.
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The movie also stars Vampira, who would later sue Elvira for stealing her act. Director Ed Wood was voted worst director ever, and Plan 9 was voted wort movie ever. Wood was a transvestite (wore women’s underwear), but often clarified that did not mean he didn’t like women. No sissy, Wood stormed the beach of Normandy! (He claimed he did this wearing a red bra. Good thing he didn’t get shot and rushed to the hospital.)
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Some really great lines:
Policeman standing over dead body, "This is murder, and somebody is responsible." (Uh, yeah! Beats that murder where no one is responsible.)
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Grave digger 1: "Did you hear anything?"
Grave digger 2: "I thought I did. I don’t like hearing noises. Epically when there ain’t supposed to be any."
Grave digger 1: "yeah, kinda spooky like."
Grave digger 2: "Maybe we’re getting old."
Now wait! Getting old doesn’t cause you to hear things... it causes you NOT to hear things!
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Pilots wife: "The saucer is up there, the cemetery is out there, but I’ll be in there."
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Conclusion: "My friends, you have seen this incident based on sworn testimony. Can you prove it didn’t happen? Perhaps on your way home, someone will pas you in the dark, and you will never know it – for they will be from outer space!"
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Mistakes:
1. The police officer in the graveyard keeps scratching his neck and pointing with his gun.
2. When the UFO flies by the airplane, the string can be seen holding the UFO. Guess that’s it umbilical cord to the mother ship.
3. The scenes keep switching between day and night. That’s right, night turns to day and day turns to night. (9:13 , 9:25 , 28:10, 31:494. The inside of the flying saucer is awesome! What does an alien space craft look like? Why, a desk surrounded by black curtains, of course. See, the aliens have learned that walls are really unnecessary.
5. The outside view of the cemetery is different than the inside.
6. The aliens raise the dead... but he can hardly get out of the grave! Seriously, this resurrection stuff is a tough gig.
7. When the police inspect the grave, notice how shallow it is. Guess that six feet under is the stuff of legend.
8. Colonel Edwards arrives at Jeff and Paula's house with the detective, but he wasn't in the car when it pulled up!
9. Are those tombstones made of cardboard?
10. Ed Wood claimed he used models for the spaceships, but they sure look like hubcaps!
11. The minister at the funeral never says anything, he just stares at his Bible. Maybe it’s his first funeral.
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Now, for the big question: Is the Langoliers this good? Or, more aptly, does it rise to this beautiful level of badness? The comments are open, so feel free to share your deep thoughts on this subject.
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My opinion: Does Langoliers compare with Plan 9? -- Sadly, it does not. It's just not bad enough to fall in line with Plan 9, because if it was that bad, it would be wonderful!

Syfy upcoming Stephen King

In addition to filming a series based on the Colorado Kid, Syfy is running three Stephen King mini-series in the next few days.

Sunday, April 25
STEPHEN KING'S THE TOMMYKNOCKERS - PART 1/2
STEPHEN KING'S THE LANGOLIERS - PART 1/2

Thursday, April 29
STEPHEN KING'S DESPERATION - PART 1/2

http://www.syfy.com/schedule/index.php

Now for the big question in life: How does SYFY represent Science Fiction ?

Poll Results: Do You Read Joe Hill

10 -- yes
03 -- No
04 -- I plan to
06 -- Joe who?

As indicated previously, I was one of the "plan to."

Original post: Do you read Joe Hill:
http://talkstephenking.blogspot.com/2010/04/do-you-read-joe-hill.html

new audio clips


THE SHOP


Fire Starter has peaked my interest in the mysterious government institution "The Shop." The Shop is headed up by Captain James Hollister, better known as Cap. The Shop is a heavily guarded scientific institution backed up by a few not-so-nice hit men. Of course, the first handful of hit men turn out to be completely incompetent! (Namely, my already mentioned, a killer named O.J. go figure!)
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The Stephen King Universe has an entire section that looks at stories that incorporate The Shop. The book notes, "Two observations can be made. First, though operating in the prime reality, the Shop seems to share certain facets with the low men in yellow coats from Rolands reality (Hearts in Atlantis). Second, if there are thinnies between the prime reality and any of the others, the shop is almost certainly aware of them." (SK Universe 248)
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Formal Name: The Department of Scientific Intelligence
Location: Longmont, Virginia
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King says this about Shop headquarters in Fire Starter:
Two handsome Southern plantation homes faced each other across a long and rolling grass lawn that was crisscrossed by a few gracefully looping bike paths and a two lane crushed-gravel drive that came over the hill from the main road. Off to one side of one of these houses was the hill from the main road. off to one side of one of these houses was a large barn, painted bright red and trimmed spotless white. Near the other was a long stable, done in the same handsome red with white trim. Some of the best horseflesh in the South was quartered here. between the barn and the stable was a wide, shallow duckpond, calmly reflecting the sky.
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In the 1860's, the original owners of these two homes had gone off and got themselves killed in the war, and all survivors of both families were dead now. The two estates had been consolidated into one piece of government property in 1954. It was Shop headquarters. (Fire Starter, p.63)
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The Shop appears in:
Firestarter
The Tommyknockers
Golden eyars
The langoliers
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The Shop Crossovers:
This is from http://www.malakoff.com/sklnklst.htm.
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THE LANGOLIERS (Four Past Midnight)—FIRESTARTER“The Shop” is mentioned in The Langoliers. Presumably the same “Shop” as in Firestarter.
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THE TALISMAN—FIRESTARTER The Rainbird Towers, a New York condominium complex, is mentioned in "The Talisman." Rainbird is the name of The Shop operative assigned to Charlie McGee in "Firestarter."
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THE TOMMYKNOCKERS—FIRESTARTERAfter all the excitement was over in The Tommyknockers, “The Shop” came to Haven to investigate.

Mystery Of The Long Walk


I've been collecting first edition Richard Bachman books of late. These usually go for anywhere from $50-75. I found an interesting copy of the Long Walk recently. It is a first edition, rebound for school use ($30, ebay). The interior librarians markings indicate that it was entered into the school library in 1981. Of course, it wasn't revealed that King was Bachman until 1985, when he was writing Misery to be released as a Bachman.
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Now this is interesting because:
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1. I didn't know Bachman was popular enough to be appearing in schools.
2. This book is unusually dark, not something I would expect to find in a school..
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Required Reading?
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This is a softcover book that's been turned into a small hardcover. With this kind of binding, it is not the kind of book schools simply drop in its library book shelves. Schools do this (at least my school did) for distribution to students as required reading. They don't have the money to turn every paperback on their shelves into a hardback. But for class required reading, these cheap paperback books were rebound as hardcovers by our school so that they wouldn't get destroyed by students carrying them around in their million pound backpacks. (Remember those?)
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Just causes me to wonder: Was The Long Walk required reading at Memorial High School in Newark, California? That would be irony, wouldn't it! King gets banned from schools, but Bachman slips in as required reading!
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Even if it wasn't required reading, it's still noteworthy that at the very time King was being kicked out of school libraries, Bachman was walking right in the door! And the really nutty thing, I would consider Bachman much less "school" worthy than most King books. However, dark Mr. Bachman seems to strike a chord with high school students. He is, after all, Stephen King "on a really bad day."

Chart of Darkness

Last year Cemetery Dance published Kevin Quigley's book "Chart of Darkness." It was a look at King on the bestseller list. Part of the book was an actual chart, which Quigley has recently updated. Worth a look. What's also very cool is that he has hyperlinked all of the books to their review pages. Be sure to check out his fun facts at the bottom of the chart, very cool. Finally, his new book about Stephen King is now available from Cemetery Dance.

Find the chart here: http://charnelhouse.tripod.com/chartofdarkness.html

Buy his most recent book here: http://www.cemeterydance.com/sh/quigley01.html

Kindle Blockade Billy

Just suppose you can't wait for Blockade Billy to come out on May 25th. What would you do? You would take great pleasure in the announcement from amazon that you can own it today on Amazon Kindle. Of course, Stephen King has his fans... and he's made it no secret that he's a fan of Kindle. The book is selling on Kindle for $7.99. Here's the Amazon Press Release:
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SEATTLE, Apr 20, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) --Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) today announced that the new novella by bestselling author Stephen King, "Blockade Billy," is now available in Amazon's Kindle Store (www.amazon.com/kindlestore) for $7.99. The Kindle Store now includes over 480,000 books and the largest selection of the most popular books people want to read, including New York Times Bestsellers and New Releases. Over 1.8 million free, out-of-copyright, pre-1923 books are also available to read on Kindle, including titles such as "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes," "Pride and Prejudice" and "Treasure Island."
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"We're excited to be able to offer our customers Stephen King's new novella in the Kindle Store, especially after seeing customer enthusiasm for King's Kindle-exclusive novella 'UR,'" said Melissa Kirmayer, Director, Kindle Content. "'Blockade Billy,' a shorter format book with a limited physical print run, is not only a great example of the publishing freedom Kindle allows writers, but also the rich content Kindle customers can find in the Kindle Store."
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"Blockade Billy" tells the story of William "Blockade Billy" Blakely. He may have been the greatest baseball player the game has ever seen, but today no one remembers his name. He was the first--and only--player to have his existence completely removed from the record books. Even his team is long forgotten, barely a footnote in the game's history. Blockade Billy has a secret darker than any pill or injection that might cause a scandal in sports today. His secret was much, much worse... and only Stephen King can reveal the truth to the world, once and for all. Publishers Weekly writes of the book: "As King's fiction goes . . . a deftly executed suicide squeeze, with sharp spikes hoisted high and aimed at the jugular on the slide home."
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The Kindle edition of "Blockade Billy" features both the cover illustration by Glen Orbik and the interior artwork of Alex McVey from the limited-edition hardcover published by Cemetery Dance Publications.
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Stephen King has written more than 40 books, including "Misery," "The Green Mile," "Cujo," "IT" and "Carrie." He is the winner of numerous awards, including the Bram Stoker Award, O. Henry Award, Horror Guild Award and was the 2003 recipient of the National Book Foundation's Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.
"Kindle is a great way for authors to make different lengths of their writing available and to reach diverse audiences with their work," said Stephen King. "I'm excited to be able to offer 'Blockade Billy' in the Kindle Store."

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Kindle is in stock and available for immediate shipment today at http://www.amazon.com/kindle.

Blockade Billy Is Officially Published!

This is good news from Cemetery Dance. Bottomline, pretty soon you can start checking your mailbox -- if you ordered the book! Honestly, any King collector who isn't interested in getting in on a first printing of a limited edition book is as crazy as the Trashcan Man!
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Blockade Billy by Stephen King is Officially Published!
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Today is the official release date for Blockade Billy and we're making great progress on getting all of the preorders shipped as fast as possible. Stop by the Blockade Billy shipping page for more information or to join the conversation.
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We also wanted to say "thank you" to all of our long-time customers and to everyone who has just discovered Cemetery Dance in the last three weeks. Obviously the surprise publication of Stephen King's new novella has been exciting for everyone involved, and we hope those of you who are new to our company will stick around. We have a lot of great projects coming out this year, including several others involving King and his work.
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As USA TODAY noted in their terrific review of the book this morning, the Cemetery Dance 1st Edition/1st Printing of Blockade Billy is SUPER LIMITED compared to the 500,000 copies Scribner is printing of their edition, which is due out at the end of May. For anyone who was worried that this other edition might be collectible, we suspect that number says it all. In fact, we think their huge print run will actually make our tiny 10,000 copy 1st printing even more collectible in the years to come. If you want a copy of our limited first printing, you can still place an order today while supplies last!
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Also, to help meet all of the demand from his readers, Stephen King has arranged for several electronic editions to go on sale today. You can read more about them at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
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And finally, we're hearing from our friends in Europe that the Icelandic volcano may be affecting mail delivery due to the issues at the airports, etc. We're watching the situation and will respond accordingly if the Post Office issues any guidelines for shipping overseas. We want to make sure all of our customers receive their copies as soon as possible.
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U.S.A. Today review of Blockade Billy: http://www.usatoday.com/life/books/reviews/2010-04-20-kingrev20_ST_N.htm

Interview: Richard Chizmar of Cemetary Dance


The Baltimore Sun has an interview with Richard Chizmar, owner of Cemetery Dance. My only big question was: How do I get a coopy of that Buick 8 poster in the background?
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Favorite quote:
Q: What's Stephen King like?
A: He is as smart as can be. ... He's very gracious. And the biggest compliment I can give him beyond that is that he still does his work for all the right reasons. He loves it. He's passionate about it. He is the last person in the world you could say it's all about the paycheck. He could have taken a book like this and made a whole lot more money from someone other than us. But that's not what he's about.
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Rock Bottom Remainders in Philadelphia

I didn't know Stephen King was on the dockit to be playing with The Rock Bottom Remainders. However, this article from KYW News Radio seems to assume he is. Anyway, this is an interesting write up:
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The Philadelphia Free Library gets some fundraising help, this week, from a band of best-selling authors. A rock band, that is. The Rock Bottom Remainders features Stephen King, Mitch Albom, Scott Turow and Dave Barry, among others.The Rock Bottom Remainders are famous and famously bad, as front man Dave Barry concedes: “The original idea was that we would get together some authors with musical talent to raise money for good causes and the flaw in that reasoning was it turned out none of the authors had any musical talent.”
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Nonetheless, Library spokesperson Sandy Horrocks says the library is happy to be the beneficiary of Thursday's concert at the Electric Factory: “What an incredible opportunity to have best-selling authors come and make bad music. What could be better?”The Library gets all proceeds from the concert and the Pearson Foundation will give Philadelphia public schools five books for every ticket sold.

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http://www.kyw1060.com/Celebrity-Concert-to-Benefit-Phila--Free-Library/6830574

Do You Read Joe Hill


I see a lot of articles these days about Joe Hill (Joseph King). I haven't read anything by him yet, but I'm impressed with what I do see. One of these days I'm going to dig in and read some of his stuff. It's just that there is so much S.K. has written that I'm still trying to catch up with!
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Why Hill does capture my attention:
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First, it was really cool that he didn't go to publishers with his fathers name attached to him. He changed it and got published on his own merits. That is admirable! No coat-tailing on that one. He's his own man.
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Second, I liked his explanation recently that writing was natural to him since he grew up in a family of writers.
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Third, I'm very interested in his writing style since he declares his personal hate for adverbs. How he tells a story, the words he uses, should be interesting.
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Finally, and this is important, I really like his attitude. Now hold on, because I know that sounds stupid. But in the interviews I've seen he's come across as very humble. He doesn't take cheap shots at anyone, and doesn't seem to resent his fathers success or people's interest in S.K. But he's still comfortable in his own skin.
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There's a poll on the blog page this week. let me know if you plan on reading his work.
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His blog is here: http://joehillfiction.com/

FRANK MULLER DAY!


Hello, and welcome to Frank Muller day at Talk Stephen King. Please do post your thoughts on this amazing artist. Below you'll find my posts on Muller.
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Frank Muller is important to the Stephen King community because he put so many of King's books to tape. For many of us for many years, he was the voice of a Stephen King book. Of course, King himself and many others have done wonderful work putting King's stories to audio. Muller's voice was distinct.

Notes from frankmuller.com


As I was listening to the Mist on tape the other day, I found myself drawn back in time. The reader is Frank Muller, and his narration was good. Really good. I wanted to learn more about this guy. I've heard his voice for horus upon hours, but know literally nothing about him. So, I decided to do a little research.
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A natural place to start is http://www.frankmullerhome.com/ This website is very well done.
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My favorite quote: "(When Frank reads) the blind will see, the lame will walk, and the deaf will hear." - Stephen King (Humm... I thought that was another guy...)
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The website notes, Claudia Howard, an Executive Producer at Recorded Books, estimates that for each of the titles Frank has recorded there are at least 5,000 copies in existence in public libraries today. Frank has recorded over 200 books for over 100 authors, so that suggests there are 1,000,000 copies in existence! Libraries report that popular audio books circulate 10 to 15 times annually, so each of Frank's performances could be reaching between 50,000 to 75,000 new listeners every year. Multiplying that estimate times the number of copies would conservatively suggest that 10,000,000 readers are reached each year. If you then multiply that by the number of years each author's audio books have been in existence, you begin to get an inkling of the incredible number of individuals who have experienced literary works through Frank's skills as a storyteller.
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here's a great video from the muller site, includes comericals Muller was in, clips from soaps, and more. . . so just check this out, because it's neat! http://www.frankmullerhome.com/videopage.html
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Muller Jenkins and King


In a short article on the Christianity Today website, author Jerry B. Jenkins reveals his friendship with Stephen King. Jenkins is the co-author of the popular series of Christian fiction novels "Left Behind." The series speculates as to what would happen if God's people were raptured out of the world. '
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This quote grabbed me, "The two authors, one specializing on God and the other on the devil, are sharing the cover of the next issue of Writer's Digest." Really? Though King's work might be darker, it certainly has deep redemptive themes. And, I might point out, that Jenkins novels deal an awful lot with the devil. I mean, it is about Anti-Christ, the Beast of Revelation and the ultimate destruction of planet earth.
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Christainity today says that Jenkins and King became friends because they shared the same voice actor, Frank Muller.
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This is from Jenkins blog:
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Several years ago my assistant buzzed me and said, “Stephen King on the line for you.”
I have any number of friends who would pull such a prank, but I fought the urge to say, “John Grisham here.”
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It turned out that it was really him. We happened to have the same audio reader (a brilliant voice actor named Frank Muller) who performed our books on tape and disc. Frank was about my age but had married late and had kids the age of my grandkids. In the fall of 2001 he’d had a horrible motorcycle accident and was left severely brain damaged. I showed up on Stephen King’s radar because we were both trying to help out. He had called to suggest other ways we could assist the family, including visiting Frank in rehab.
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During the conversation I said, “It may surprise you to know that I’m a reader of yours.” I told Stephen that while I wasn’t into horror fiction, I had read many of his short stories and that The Green Mile was one of my favorite novels.
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He said, “It may surprise you to know that I’m a reader of yours.”
Surprised doesn’t begin to describe it. Frank had given him copies of some of the Left Behind series.
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Stephen and I enjoyed a nice chat and then spent a day together a few months later at Frank’s rehab center. We began an e-mail relationship that continues to this day, and we still laugh about having our driver swing through McDonald’s drive-through so we could enjoy Big Macs on the way back to the airport.
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Lilja's Library Interview With George Guidall


In an interview with George Guidall, there was some interesting discussion of Frank Muller. By the way, Lilja notes that Guidall has put over 800 unabridged books on tape.
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Lilja: You are picking up after Frank Muller who read The Dark Tower books before you. First by reading the revised and expanded edition of The Gunslinger and the three last books. How did this happen and do you feel Muller's shadow hanging over you? Many fans thought he was "the" King reader.
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George Guidall: Frank Muller and I have been friends since before I began audiobook narration. We shared the stage in a production of a Faydeau farce, entitled Flea in Her Ear back in the '70s. It's a strange feeling recording "his' material. He IS "the" King reader, as you say, and it is not my intention to minimize that fact. Actually, recording this material brings me closer to him in a way. I think of him constantly while I do it. It's unavoidable. His tragic accident has deprived many people of extraordinary listening pleasures. Anyone wishing to contribute to his long and arduous recovery can contact the Wavedancer Foundation for information. The funds would be greatly appreciated.



Recorded Books: Frank Muller Reader Review

This is a re-post frm recordedbooks.com, with permission.
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Frank Muller earned critical acclaim as a superstar of audio. His narration of Pat Conroy’s Beach Music won an Audie Award. His performance of Jack London’s brawny, masculine classic The Call of the Wild gained the attention of listeners and reviewers alike, placing him at the pinnacle of the audiobook industry.
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Conroy and audiobook listeners across the country love Muller’s narrating style. “Muller’s rendition of The Prince of Tides,” one listener wrote, “allowed me not only to hear with my ears, but also to feel with my heart.” Kliatt’s review of The Call of the Wild echoes that listener’s sentiment: “Actor Muller reads with expression and variety that match the varying moods, feelings, and attitudes of all the characters, dog included, and that lend plausibility to almost unbelievable events.”
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It was his ability to bring great literature to life that made him the natural choice to narrate The Old Man and the Sea, A Christmas Carol, and other classics. Muller’s masterful interpretation enhanced the majesty of these texts and his narrative voice delivered power and insight beyond the printed word.
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Muller, who Library Journal called “the first true superstar of spoken audio,” narrated over 12 dozen titles for Recorded Books. In addition to classics, look for his performances on works by horror master Steven King, gripping thrillers by John le CarrĂ©, the mesmerizing vampire chronicles of Anne Rice, the quirky suspenses of Elmore Leonard, and even some comedies.
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On November 5th, 2001, Frank Muller was in a very serious motorcycle accident near Los Angeles, California. John Grisham and other authors held a benefit on his behalf in New York on February 2nd, 2002. On June 4, 2008, Frank succumbed to injuries suffered in the accident, leaving behind a legacy of fine audiobook performances to be cherished by listeners young and old.
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Average Narrator Rating: 5 Stars
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Here are some of the things others have said about Frank Muller and the books narrated by Frank Muller : “All-star reader Frank Muller effortlessly slips from the French strains of Bogus’ fussy Parisian urologist to the guttural Germanic tones of angry Austrian skiers.”
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According to Recorded Books, Muller has read about 118 books for their company.
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Random Frank Muller Links

USA Today: Stephen King scares up support for fallen friend http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/spotlight/2002/02-01-king-spotlight.htm

Audio files: Golden Voices
http://www.audiofilemagazine.com/gvpages/muller.shtml

Recorded Books review of Muller's reading the Green Mile. Also audio clips.
http://mapleleafaudio.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=rb.show_narr&narr_id=2365

Wavedancerdotcom, memory of Frank Muller
http://www.needcoffee.com/2008/06/13/frank-muller-rip/

List: Frank Muller reading Stephen King


Apt Pupil
Dark Tower 1

Dark Tower 2

Dark Tower 3

Dark Tower 4

Different Seasons (Box Set)

Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption

The Body

The Breathing Method

The Green Mile

The Little Sisters of Eluria

The Mist

The Night Flier

Black House

The Talisman


AWARDS (for King readings):

Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption* - Publisher's Weekly Listen Up Award (1995) & AudioFile Magazine Earphones Award

The Green Mile* - Audie Award - Best Unabridged Fiction (1997)

The Talisman* - AudioFile Magazine Earphones Award


Links:


Calgary Sun: Haven To Be Filmed In Luneburg


LUNENBURG, N.S. — The picturesque town of Lunenburg, N.S., is going to be the backdrop for a television series based on the work of horror-writer Stephen King.
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Lunenburg will fill in for the fictitious Town of Haven, Maine where the inhabitants have no idea they are descendants of cursed ancestry.
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Thirteen one-hour episodes are planned and the pilot for the series is pulling out all the stops for production in order to attract a large audience.
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Filming will take place over three days beginning April 20.
The proposed cast includes Emily Rose, Lucas Bryant, Eric Balfour, Richard Donat and John Dunsworth.
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picture, wikimedia.



Betts Bookstore Spotlighted


Under the headline, "Laid off, Fairfielder finds new career selling Stephen King collectibles" Karen Kovacs of Fairfield Citizen offers a great person of interest story on David Williamson. Williamson is the owner of Betts Bookstore. A collector himself, Williamson bought the store when he was laid off.
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Just a personal note -- I really liked this article. I hope you'll check it out. More than that, I am hopeful that the King community will continue to support Williamson the way they did when the store was located in Bangor. Our contact with Williamson has been fantastic. He certainly knows the market, and has a keen eye for being able to find exactly what you're looking for. Also, when dealing with King collections it's important to know what things are worth. As the article notes, "Williamson knows first-hand how the collectible market operates, because he has been one of its consumers for almost two decades." Anyway, back to the story . . .
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What was Stu Tinker's response to the idea of selling Betts to Williamson? "He said he would rather sell his business to someone like me because he knew it would be in good hands," Williamson explained.
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This is the best quote: "I love what I am doing. It's such a gift to me to be able to be with my family on a day-in, day-out basis, too."
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By the way, he is also the model Michael Whelan (a personal friend of his) used for the character Father Callahan in the Discordia project.
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If you're going to purchase Full Dark, No Stars you might as well purchase from Betts. http://www.bettsbooks.com/w95020ai.html
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you can also read an interview with David Williamson at King's website:
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The photo is from stephenking.com

Invite Pennywise To Your Birthday Party!

I think this comes under the heading of. . . "Really!?"

Actor Dominic Deville has a new business -- you can hire him to dress up like Pennywise the clown and visit your childs birthday party. What will he do? In his own words, "scare children senseless" as a "birthday surprise."

Now that's not all! The austrian Times says he teases guests with texts, phone calls and booby-trapped letters that warn he will throw a cake in their face.

Mr Deville's look appears based on the monster clown played by Tim Curry in the 1990 TV adaptation of the Stephen King novel It. In fact he admitted he set up the chilling business concept after watching his favourite horror movies. "It's all in fun and if at any point the kids get scared or their parents are concerned, we stop right there," he said.

http://www.news.com.au/world/evil-clown-stalks-kids-as-birthday-treat/story-e6frfkyi-1225853864102?from=public_rss

Lecture On Drinking And Writing

So, you can't drink and drive. Can you drink and write? Strangely, some not only can, they can do it well! Stephen King was one of those strange creatures.

Fangoria has this rather interesting news:

It’s a common belief that art imitates life, especially in the case of writers. It’s no secret that Edgar Allan Poe’s alcoholism and the untimely death of his young bride played a large role in the creation of “The Black Cat” and “The Fall of the House of Usher,” or that Mary Shelley’s terrible home life led to her dark Gothic masterpiece, FRANKENSTEIN. Now a current horror icon is having his life and work dissected.

On May 20, Dr. Seth C. Kadish will host A World of Fright: Alcoholism and the Work of Stephen King, a lecture analyzing the role of substance abuse in King’s life and its effect on his stories. It will take place at 7:30 p.m. at Against the Mainstream Society in Los Angeles (4300 Melrose Avenue)

Admission is $10. Proceeds will go to Writers in Treatment, a program to help authors under the influence kick the habit. Coffee and tea will be served.

Tickets here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/106803
Full Fangoria article here: http://www.fangoria.com/index.php?id=542:stephen-king-the-substance-behind-the-stories&option=com_content&catid=1:latest-news&Itemid=167

Los Angeles Finds Stephen King!


Usually it's Hollywood that has its eye on Stephen King, but now the Library Foundation Of Los Angeles will be giving him an award for his contribution to literature.
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STEPHEN KING & THE AHMANSON FOUNDATION
Wednesday, May 19, 2010 6:00 PM
Stephen King will receive the Literary Award for his contribution to literature.
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On Wednesday, May 19, 2010, the 15th Annual Los Angeles Public Library Awards Dinner will be held at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza.
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The Library Foundation of Los Angeles hosts the Library Awards Dinner each spring to help augment critical funding. The proceeds of the 2010 Awards Dinner will help the Los Angeles Public Library provide reading enrichment and literacy programs and related books and materials, educational and cultural activities for all ages, and public access to the latest electronic information resources.
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Slipcase For Blockade Billy

Interesting news today from Cemetery Dance if you like slipcases. They do seem to incresae the value of a book, and look cool on the book case. So, just my thought, if you're buying the book, you might as well opt for the $16.95 slip case.

Cemetary Dance says, "We will be able to produce a Limited Edition slipcase for the 1st Edition/1st Printing hardcover for an extremely limited time only. After that, NO MORE will ever be made. We'll take orders for just ten days and then place our order with our manufacturer, so there will be no extras to sell later on. Order now or miss out! We will not be offering this again after the ten days is over. So if 500 collectors order a slipcase, there will only ever be 500 copies of this Stephen King 1st Edition, 1st Printing hardcover with a slipcase!
The 1st Edition, 1st Printing hardcover with the Blockade Billy baseball card and the Limited Edition slipcase is going to be a must-have for the serious Stephen King collector. And if you're just starting a collection, there's no better way -- you'll never find a deal like this again!"


Here's the page on the website to order today: http://www.cemeterydance.com/page/CDP/PROD/x_bbslip

Firejournal 3


I'm about halfway through this book, and still loving it.

Fire Starter does have a lot of flashbacks, which King really likes (anyone remember Wizard and Glass?) Here's the frustrating thing with flashbacks -- we already have a clue how it's going to turn out! So for a suspense novel like Firestarter, it feels like the flashbacks slow things down a bit. Especially when the flash back contains extended escape scenes.

I like the illusions to "potty training" in regards to teaching Charlie not to use her fire powers. Also, Charlie's own terror at what she can do is a nice touch.

The Shop: There needs to be a note sometime on The Shop. I'm sure this government agency has been referenced before. They seem to do a lot of science experiements for DOD, but are also pretty incompotent when it comes to catching people. I think maybe The Shop should fire Cap, O.J. and the rest of their team and rent out some CIA badboys.

Horror.com: Dolan's Cadillac DVD Review




Frank Muller Day -- This Saturday

Hi all,

After listening to some recordings this week, I'm going to have a "Frank Muller day" this Saturday.

Reason: I've listened to this guy for hours, but don't know much about him. So, I'm going to dig around and find out what I can. If anyone wants to offer posts, thoughts or has ideas, let me know.

See ya Saturday for Frank Muller Day.

Blockade Billy Stirring Things Up

And. . . this was released today from stephenking.com,

LATE BREAKING NEWS
Stephen and Cemetery Dance have made an arrangement with Scribner to make available a less expensive hardcover edition of Blockade Billy, with an on-sale date of May 25th, the same date the audiobook goes on sale. The Scribner edition will be available in all U.S. retail outlets. Both the Scribner book and the Simon & Schuster audiobook will feature a bonus short story. In the meantime, an eBook edition of Blockade Billy should go on sale through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Sony on April 20th.

A Voice From The Cemetery


This was released today from Cemetery Dance.
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Update on Blockade Billy by Stephen KingFrom CEMETERY DANCE Publisher Richard Chizmar.
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First and foremost, I want to say that working on Blockade Billy these past couple months has been one of the most rewarding – and definitely the most fun – experiences I've had in over two decades of publishing. As I noted in the press release, "Stephen King and I have corresponded about baseball and books for almost 20 years now…so to combine the two is a dream come true for me."
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When Stephen King's agent, Chuck Verrill, emailed last year and told me that Steve thought BILLY would be a good fit for CEMETERY DANCE because he knew how much of a baseball fan I was, I knew this book was going to be something special. But I didn't know the half of it…
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If you had told me then that word of our secret, little Stephen King baseball project would end up traveling all over the world, drawing attention from Entertainment Weekly, USA Today, Time Magazine, GQ, New York Magazine, ESPN, ABC, Sports Illustrated, Fangoria, PerezHilton.com, Gather.com, The Independent (UK), The Guardian (UK), Reuters, Examiner.com (New York), Publishers Weekly, Publishers Lunch, Shelf Awareness, The Washington Post, LA Times, Bloomberg, The San Francisco Chronicle, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Miami Herald, The Boston Herald, Bangor Daily News, Baltimore Sun, Maryland Daily Record, Sacramento Bee, a newspaper in South Africa, and dozens of blogs and websites…I would have thought that you were crazy.
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If you had told me we would end up selling all 10,000 first edition trade copies to individual readers (which is exactly what will happen in the next couple weeks), I would have sworn up and down that you were crazy.
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If you had told me Stephen would graciously allow us to reprint another 10,000 copies of the trade edition and all of them would be swallowed up by just libraries (that's right, not a single retail account in the bunch), I would have known that you were crazy.
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And, finally…if you had told me that retail demand – make that retail frenzy – for our secret, little Stephen King baseball project (which was always meant to have a very limited printing) would lead to Steve and CEMETERY DANCE working out a deal with Scribner to make Blockade Billy available to all his Constant Readers, I would have asked what planet you were living on... which, incidentally, is exactly what the head buyer at one of the country's biggest booksellers asked Cemetery Dance Marketing Director Brian Freeman when he explained to them that they would not be receiving any copies of our edition of the book!
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But Blockade Billy really did take the world by storm, blowing away the expectations of everyone involved – and we're very proud of the role we've played in bringing Stephen King's first baseball story to readers. In just one week our World's First Edition/First Printing will begin shipping…and that's only the beginning. Who knows what kind of news our secret, little Stephen King baseball project is going to generate next.

Hunting The Mist Unabridged -- Alas

Well, at last, I found a copy of The Mist Unabridged. Not the 3D version, but the old audio tape edition read by Frank Muller. An ex-library copy that came from a collector. So how did I find it? Well, it turned out not to be so hard.
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David at Betts bookstore has the amazing ability to find Stephen king books. He had posted recently that he likes helping people find books, so we sent him an email. A tough order, he acknowledged, but he might know a source. Sure enough, he came through! The tapes arrived today, with very kind instructions on how to properly transfer them to CD for personal use. So, from me, a big thanks once again to Betts bookstore. Not sure if he could ever find another copy of the Mist, but if you're looking for a particular King book then Betts is still a great place to start. http://www.bettsbooks.com/w95020ai.html
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I know, the masses are eating up the 3D edition and the movie. But I really like this edition for a couple of reasons reasons. First, it's read by Frank Muller. He was absolutely the best reader ever when it came to Stephen King. Frank reads with a clear voice that keeps a steady pace without rushing. He doesn't give long pauses or play with words, but he also doesn't ram right through it. His reading was truly unique.
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I also like this recording because it's King's words building the story, not special effects (either audio or visual) And, when it comes down to it, that's why we read Stephen King, because he has the ability to draw pictures in our minds that cameras just can't catch. As the New York Times put it, "The first sentence starts the reader's internal movie projector humming."
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Take special note of the Publishers Weekly quote. If ever there is a case for bringing this edition back, they have hit a home run. "Muller's reading is one of the best audio adaptations of king's work that has yet been done and there are moments in it that are truly frightening even without special audio effects and eerie music. Relying only on Muller's talents, Recorded Books has made a movie for the mind and given a sometimes unsettling life to one of the best horror stories of the last 25 years," Publishers Weekly.
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"King's classic tale of a nightmare invasion of monsters receives a vivid, memorable narration by Frank Muller: It's hard to stop listening to this compelling psychological thriller."
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Just an FYI, it was published in arrangement with NAL. which means that if anyone wants to write and ask that this be re-published on CD, best to contact NAL.
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Seems like Recorded Books was primarily selling to three groups in the 80's and 90's (when this was in print) 1. Libraries. 2. The Blind. 3. Lending club. They had a popular system where you could rent books on tape. Remember, audio books really didn't get super popular until the late 80's, at least as a product for mainstream sales.
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Another nod from the Simpsons


Are you still watching the Simpsons these days? The spoof episode on the Green Mile (American History X-Cellent) was enjoyable. But there aren't many Simpson's I don't like! Anyway, here are a couple of reviews concerning the section that spoofed the Green Mile:
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TVfanatic.com had this to say: "Is it a crime to want nice things and then to steal them from a public museum where any gum-chewing monkey in a Tufts University jacket can gawk at them? Turns out, yes. Because that's exactly what put Mr. Burns away.
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While much of the actual prison scenes of "American History X-Cellent" were a parody of The Green Mile, a movie the show has already parodied seasons prior, they were surprisingly still funny since they involved one of our favorite characters on the show."
http://www.tvfanatic.com/2010/04/the-simpsons-review-american-history-x-cellent/
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Sharon Kroll at AOL television notes, There's far more 'The Shawshank Redemption' and 'The Green Mile' on 'The Simpsons' when Montgomery C. Burns goes to jail than 'American History X,' but I guess 'The Montgomery Redemption' or 'The Green Monty' just didn't sound as funny. The only similarity to the Edward Norton Neo-nazi flick is that Mr. Burns also has Nazi leanings (like that's a surprise): When he surrenders his personal effects, the guard lists one "Social Security card." "That's just an SS card, you dumkopf!" Burns huffs.
http://insidetv.aol.com/2010/04/11/the-simpsons-american-history-x-cellent-recap/
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Watch the episode here: http://www.hulu.com/watch/139657/the-simpsons-american-history-x-cellent

Audioclips

The moderator at stephenking.com has this note:

We now have audioclips for the titles which Penguin is releasing this month and next, including the much anticipated mass market audiobook edition of IT. You can access them in the Audiobooks section of the main site (you can sort by date by clicking on the Released tab at the top of the page so that the April and May releases will be grouped together) and we will soon have a promo page where you can access just those titles all in one spot. Enjoy!

http://www.stephenking.com/library/audiobook/

Firejournal 2


Wow, I really like this book.
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Took my family camping this weekend, which meant a lot of hiking and exploring some caves. Wonderful! And on the long ride home all the girls fell asleep. Alas! Some uninterrupted reading time as I listened to this wonderful novel.
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Just a few notes:
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Bad Guys:
The "bad guys" (the shop) are certainly despicable. But in a big government sort of way! I really like having a goon named "O.J." I mean, the government is cast in the light of Capricorn One. . . which O.J. starred in. "Nah," you say, "it can't be a play on that O.J.!" Really? Well, the dude's other nickname is "the juice."
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I like these people:
King started the book with straight action. In fact, I was worried this would be light on character development. However, as the reader goes deeper into the novel King has a skilled approach to characters. Much better, if I may say, than Grisham. Often in a Grisham novel I find myself really not caring if the lead character lives or dies.
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Charlie and Andy are carving a place in my heart. I'm asking myself, why? What did King do to endear me to these people? I chalk it up to one thing: Good dialogue. Really! Other than just raw action, what King offers is convincing conversation. he doesn't drag it on and on, but what he does give is sharp. Andy becomes human as he talks to the farmer, Irv.
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Adverb anyone?
By the way, there are a lot of adverbs in this book. I know that in On Writing King ranted against adverbs. And he admitted it was a case of "do as I say, not as I do." But at least in this case, I've liked them.
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Heating Up
Now, for what I really enjoyed: The shoot-out at the O.K. Corral. Okay, actually it was just a farmhouse where two old people had taken Charlie and Andy in to their home. But the action, descriptions and and raw horror was splendid. Charlie manages to reduce grown men to burning "rags" and burns down the entire farmhouse! Sweet. And what's truly enthralling is when Andy realizes Charlie enjoys it!

Stealing Stephen King

Randy Cohen writing for the New York Times "The Ethicist" section was asked about illegal downloads. The question was pretty simple, the answer long and surprising. Simply put, the question was: If I buy the hardcover, can I steal the download? Here's the full question:

I bought an e-reader for travel and was eager to begin “Under the Dome,” the new Stephen King novel. Unfortunately, the electronic version was not yet available. The publisher apparently withheld it to encourage people to buy the more expensive hardcover. So I did, all 1,074 pages, more than three and a half pounds. Then I found a pirated version online, downloaded it to my e-reader and took it on my trip. I generally disapprove of illegal downloads, but wasn’t this O.K.? C.D., BRIGHTWATERS, N.Y.

a few great quotes from the answer:

1. First quote -- A new brand of ethics:
An illegal download is — to use an ugly word — illegal. But in this case, it is not unethical. Author and publisher are entitled to be paid for their work, and by purchasing the hardcover, you did so. Your subsequent downloading is akin to buying a CD, then copying it to your iPod.

2. Second quote -- A swipe at King:
Your action is not pristine. Downloading a bootleg copy could be said to encourage piracy, although only in the abstract: no potential pirate will actually realize you’ve done it. It’s true that you might have thwarted the publisher’s intent — perhaps he or she has a violent antipathy to trees, maybe a wish to slaughter acres of them and grind them into Stephen King novels. Or to clog the highways with trucks crammed with Stephen King novels. Or perhaps King himself wishes to improve America’s physique by having readers lug massive volumes.

A violent antipathy to trees? This guy is writing in a newsPAPER.

3. Third quote -- the bottom line:
Your paying for the hardcover put you in the clear as a matter of ethics, forestry and fitness training.

So. . . if I buy a copy, I can steal a copy? As a consumer, I really like this new brand of ethics. As a collector, this is great stuff! Buying the hardcover of a King novel should give me the download? Really? Unfortunately, I don't think so.

Follow the logic, okay. If buying something in one format should give me access to all other formats then. . .
  • When my parents Beatles vinyl records became 8-tracks, they should have been able to get free 8-tracks. Wait. . .
  • Then when the audio tape was released of the 8-track, then they should have been able to get a free audio tape. Wait. . .
  • Then when the same recording was put to CD, they should have gotten a free CD. And. . .
  • When the CD became an MP3 they should have gotten a free MP3. All for buying an 8 track back in 1960--something.

Or, let me put it this way:

  • My wife had a video of The Lion King.
  • We bought a DVD of the Lion King.
  • Soon we will buy a blue ray.
  • But according to the new ethics, we are in our right to steal a copy from the publisher.

Here's the thing: The Times is not saying you can transfer your existing copy to another format. That is generally accepted. IE, there's nothing wrong with transferring your tapes to CD's. But there is something wrong with taking it via download. You're not transferring your item, you're taking a new copy in a new format. That, I'm sorry to say, is stealing.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/04/magazine/04FOB-ethicist-t.html

Quigley's New Book About King


On the same day that Blockade Billy was announced, Kevin Quigley at charnelhouse broke the news that Cemetary Dance was also publishing his book titled "Wet Ware: On the digital frontline with Stephen King."
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The book focuses on King's "experimental" publishing. That is, digital, video games and online books. The book is described as a "pocket history." Included is discussion about the serial publication of The Plant, the Kindle-only release of UR and the "landmark" e-book Riding The Bullet.
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Cemetary Dance has this about the Author:
Kevin Quigley's website, Charnel House has been a premiere Stephen King resource for nearly fifteen years. Charnel House was the first website to feature full-length reviews of every Stephen King book; today, it also includes up-to-date King news, a section focused on books about King, and a comprehensive listing of unpublished and uncollected shorter works. Quigley is also the author of two previous chapbooks on King — Chart of Darkness and Ink In the Veins — and co-wrote the upcoming Stephen King Illustrated Movie Trivia Book. In addition to his works on King, Quigley is also the author of several novels, and has recently published a collection of poetry, Foggy At Night In the City. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts with his partner, Shawn.
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The book is published with a glossy cover and is selling for $10.
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Purchase the book here:http://www.cemeterydance.com/sh/quigley01.html
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Charnelhouse website: http://charnelhouse.tripod.com/

Bev Vincent Essay



Bev Vincent, author of the Stephen King Illustrated Companion and The Road To The Dark Tower, has an essay on thomas Harris's Red Dragon in Thrillers: 100 Must Reads. According to Vincent's webpage the book should be in stores this Summer, July 2010.
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I look forward to the essay, since I enjoyed Red Dragon so much. In fact, I think it was the strongest of the Hannibal novels.
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Vincent notes that the book is a fund raiser for the ITW (International Thriller Writers).
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Firestarter Journal #1


I started reading Fire-starter the other day. As I did with Under The Dome, I am going to take down notes as I go. This is a lot easier than doing a longer review once I've finished reading.
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I've held back from reading this because I saw the movie. And, let's just say, it's a typical Stephen King movie -- it didn't work for me. With the release of several early King novels in audio book format, I decided to give Fire-starter a fresh chance. So far, I'm glad I did.
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Genre: As usual with King, this isn't so much about horror as it is characters.
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Notes:
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1. I really like the pacing King has in this novel. As he usually does, King starts in the middle of the story. Act 2, if you will. As the story opens, Andy and his daughter Charlie are on the run from a shadowy government agency called "The Shop."
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2. Dedicated to Shirley Jackson "who never needed to raise her voice." King includes her books, The Haunting of Hill House, The Lottery (a freaky short story), We Have Always Lived in the Castle and The Sundial. I liked Shirley Jackson's work, and like King she has suffered from Hollywood adaptations of her work that really don't represent her well! (though I did hear one awesome radio drama on the Lottery) Anyway, King's appreciation for Jackson is well stated -- it's like a nod from the master of horror, go read this ladies books!
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3. Opening quote: "It was a pleasure to burn." --Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451.
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4. Andy McGee has the power to "push" things into someones mind. In particular, the novel opens with him pushing a cabbie to think a $1 bill is a $100 bill. Interesting, later -- back at the shop -- the dollar bill has been confiscated and continues to effect those who look at it. When Andy uses his power, he is left with severe migraine headaches.
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5. Several extended flashbacks give details to Andy's meeting his wife, Vicky. The best flashbacks regard Charlie, who burns up teddy bears, leaves pillows smoldering and even injures her mother. The parents have fire extinguishers all over the house. The extent of Charlie's power is not revealed early on, obviously it will be the subject of the book.
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picture: Michael Whelan

Stinkin Thinkin

Collecting isn't always rational. My wife, who is generally supprotive of my collecting Stephen King, gave me a look yesterday that said volumes. Here's what happened:

I spotted a Dark Tower second edition for under $50 on ebay.

Now, she's the finance manager at our house, because 1. She doesn't worry, so it doesn't stress her and 2. She's good with math. So I ask the finance manager, "Don't you think it would be great to have a Dark Tower second edition?"

She stares numbly, glances toward the bookshelf, "Don't you have one of those?"

"Well, yeah. But if I bought another one, then mine would be all the more valuable."

This is where the look came in. Silence for a moment, then she asked how my copy becomes more valuable if I buy another one.

"Well, there's less out there. Supply and demand. I'm lowering the supply."

She did not appreciate my point of view.

Full Dark, No Stars: Titles & Synopses

stephenking.com has posted the titles and synopses for the upcoming book of four novella's, Full Dark, No Stars.

1922
The story opens with the confession of Wilfred James to the murder of his wife, Arlette, following their move to Hemingford, Nebraska onto land willed to Arlette by her father.

Big Driver
Mystery writer, Tess, has been supplementing her writing income for years by doing speaking engagements with no problems. But following a last-minute invitation to a book club 60 miles away, she takes a shortcut home with dire consequences.

Fair Extension
Harry Streeter, who is suffering from cancer, decides to make a deal with the devil but, as always, there is a price to pay.

A Good Marriage
Darcy Anderson learns more about her husband of over twenty years than she would have liked to know when she stumbles literally upon a box under a worktable in their garage.

Stephen King Re-imagined: Thinner


Laz Marquez website offers the last of his Stephen King re-envisioned project. I was surprised to see Thinner as the book he chose to do, since it wasn't written under the King name and is usually a lot less popular than King's other work. But I like the poster a lot! He notes the following:
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This was one that I was surprised to see a higher demand for (It came in at a tie with "IT"). I was drawn to going for this one, as it was full of potential and more of an obscure Stephen King film. In the end, I'm glad that the concept I had initially worked out and am extremely happy to have it book-end the set.
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Meeting People From A S.K. Novel

Stephen King stories have always rested on the strength of his characters. His stories are usually less plot driven and more character driven. Thus, King has explained that he does not write with an outline; he tries not to "plot." In fact, he's said that books he plotted (Insomnia) have come out the weakest.

King's approach to writing is to take characters we might identify with and then drop them into an unusual situation. A "what if" -- a dome covered a city ; a spaceship was buried in a small town ; a clown terrorized children ; a cellphone transmitted a deadly message ; a man painted the future; a mist rolled in and monsters came with the mist?

I know you from somewhere. . .

What's freaky is that King so perfectly describes the people in our world that I am often left thinking, "I know that person!" In fact, I know that Big Jim was a play on Dick Cheney -- but I swear I've met him! I've done some counseling with more than one Jack Torrance (well, Wendy), and we're all a little afraid we might be more like Herold than Stu.

I talked on the phone once to a lady I swear was Annie Wilkes. No foolin'! She was cursing and screaming at me, then the next day called sweet as peaches -- until I didn't do what she wanted, when she again wen psycho. Oh, and who doesn't have a friend who owns Cujo?

Of course, what you can't do is say to a friend or coworker "Hey, you remind me of a character from a Stephen King novel!"

King Hits Too Close To Home

Sometimes King's characters and situations are way too real. The novel Rage so accurately described teenage tension that it has acted as almost a manual on a school shooting. In fact, some school shooters were found with the novel on them. This made King so uncomfortable that he asked the book no longer the printed. It's the only work of his that I know of that is not in print.

The story of teenage girls mercilessly harassing another girl can be true of every high school in America. But this story rang true to me this week: http://www.slate.com/id/2249307/?GT1=38001

Now what makes the King story so powerful is that he equips hsi characters with something we wish we had. In this case, I found myself wishing that someone could have given the girl in the news story Carrie's powers.