Michael Jackson: GHOSTS

Stephen King had a part in creating the story for Michael Jackson's music video, Ghost.

The Stephen King Wiki gives this explanation:

Ghosts – also known as Michael Jackson's Ghosts – is a 1997 short film – or, alternately, a long-form music video – starring Michael Jackson and directed by Stan Winston from a story written by Jackson and Stephen King. 
The video runs 39:31, and first aired on 9 May 1997. On 8 December 1997, SMV Enterprises released the movie on VHS.
The Stephen King Wiki article  is HERE.

You Can't Kill SK Headed To New Orleans

Monroe Mann has given some exciting news: You Can't Kill Stephen King got accepted to the 2012 New Orleans Horror Film Festival.  I can't wait to see this film! http://nohff.com/

Link: Review Of Wind Through The Keyhole

The Star online has a great review of Wind Through The Keyhole.  Terence Toh boldly proclaims, "Stephen King can write anything!"

Whether it is apocalyptic thrillers (The Stand), human drama (Dolores Clairborne, Rita Hayworth And The Shawshank Redemption), or just outright horror (It, Thinner, Christine, etc), his stories never fail to enchant, holding the reader’s attention from their first pages until their conclusion.
And what genre does Toh put WTTK in?  Fairy tale.  Calling the novel  a "midquel" (I've never heard that term),  Toh says the book is "dark" and "unforgettable."  He thinks the book both adheres to and plays with "fairytale conventions."

I liked the review because it brought in elements I had  not considered.  Midquel.  Fairytale.  King can write anything.

The review is HERE.

Link: Bob LeDrew's THE KING CAST #28

Bob LeDrew has posted #28 of The King Cast.  LeDrew writes:
I’m back with a bit of a survey through the worlds of fatherhood in Stephen King, prompted by the death of my dad on August 11.
Also have some tidbits on the Dark Tower movie project, the new production of Carrie, and a little bragging. Enjoy!

check out my interview with Bob LeDrew HERE.

Lilja: Review of A FACE IN THE CROWD

I enjoyed Lilja's short review of Stephen King and Stewart O'Nan's book, "A Face In The Crowd."  It's a short review because it's a short book.

Lilja writes, " I have listened to the audiobook and I must say that I’m impressed with this little story."

The story revolves around a man who sees dead people in crowds.  (Remind you of The Sixth Sense?)

The review is HERE.

Billy Joel Sings 11.22.63

You've heard the song, "We Didn't Start The Fire" by Billy Joel -- right?

Matt Selman has posted at entertainment.time.com that he has written a version of the song as it would have been recorded if the events in 11.22.63 had taken place.  Of course, in 11.22.63,  the assassination of president John Kennedy is foiled by George (Jake) Ameberson.

Selman explains:
“A few ‘real’ references have been included because A) I inferred they would have also have occurred in the King Universe, and B) I ran out of new historical information, of which the book does not give much,” Selman says. “Also, for some reason unknowable alternative history reason, alternative history Billy Joel chose to put out this version of ‘We Didn’t Start The Fire’ in 2012.”
The full song  is at the link below.  Here is the part that picks up where serious time changes are established:

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No, we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it
Birth control, Ho Chi Minh, EARTHQUAKE IN LOS ANGELES

Full article: entertainment.time.com

Not Stephen King!

Ever notice the number of authors who get compared  to Stephen King?  Or how often we hear, "He/She's the next Stephen King."  Of course, no one writes like Stephen King.  Each writer has their own approach and style.

It is true that people  who enjoy reading Stephen King generally enjoy some of the same other  authors as well.

Here are 6 authors I think in some way fall in the Stephen King box.  Each is wonderful in their own right and has their own unique way of telling a story.

1. Dean Koontz  (My favorite novel: Watchers)
2. Robert McCammon (Swan Song)
3. Brian Keene (The Conqueror Worms)
4. John Saul (I have not read John Saul)
5. Anne Rice (I never finished a Rice novel -- that was written under her name)
6. Richard Laymon (Resurrection Dreams)

Who else gets  lumped in the "like Stephen King" category?

Carrie: The Beauty Of Prom Night

Ken Syme posted at examined, "New 'Carrie' set photos show Chloe Moretz dressed for the prom." There are about 40 photo's posted.  (HERE)

Bad Spanish Book Covers

Following up on the post about annoying book covers --
Francisco emailed me from Spain with what he thinks has to be the worst Stephen King book covers in the world -- the Spanish editions! Check them out for yourself.  He posted the links in the comments section HERE.

Francisco writes: "I don't know why Stephen King hasn't sued the publisher."

Harpers to publish short story

I posted last week that King would be publishing a new short story titled, "Batman and Robin have an altercation."  Lauren Walter has posted at Examiner, 
Stephen King has a new short story available on Tuesday, August 28, in the latest issue of Harper's Magazine. It’s King's first time featured in Harper's. The story features a middle-aged man and who has a weekly lunch with his Alzheimer’s afflicted dad. After three years of the same lunch and the same conversation, the man is saved from a violent assault by his father. (www.examiner.com)
Harpers gives this  introductory tease:
Sanderson sees his father twice a week. On Wednesday evenings, after he closes the jewelry store his parents opened long ago, he drives the three miles to Crackerjack Manor and sees Pop there, usually in the common room. In his “suite,” if Pop is having a bad day. On most Sundays, Sanderson takes him out to lunch. The facility where Pop is living out his final foggy years is actually called the Harvest Hills Special Care Unit, but to Sanderson, Crackerjack Manor seems more accurate. (www.harpers.org)
What does a man with Alzheimers have to do with "Batman and Robin have an altercation" ?  I don't know!  King's short story titles have been a little more daring lately -- example, Herman Wouk Is Still Alive.

Bangor Audience Screens SURVIVOR TYPE

A Bangor audience was the first to see Billy Hanson’s Stephen King short, Survivor Type.  The story is about a man stranded on an island who is pressed to incredible lengths in order to survive.

Laura Roberts at wabi.tv writes, “Stephen King's WZON helped bring the film to the Penobscot Theatre for its world premiere on Sunday.” and “Actor Gideon Emery starred in the film and joined Hanson at the premiere in Bangor.”

So what did Stephen King think of the film?  Roberts says that the film has already received high praise from Stephen King.  Quoting Hanson, the article says,
He said that we did a great job with it and his exact quote was, 'It's next to brilliant," which I mean, I feel I can die a happy man now," said Hanson. 
The Full Article Is HERE.

Book Covers That Annoy Me

Which cover is better?

The one I like was posted at Lilja's Library.  He notes that it is a French edition.

A book cover  should make you want to read the book!  Even The Stand, with good fighting evil, had the ability to draw you in.  But just the authors names on a cover in big print is not exciting.

Here are some dumb  book covers:

So, some questions here:

1. How do some book covers make it out of a staff meeting with the artist?  "Yeah, I was thinking I'd paint some green glowing stuff and it could shoot out under the book title."  Exec cries, "YES!  We'll sell millions!"

2. With a cover as super lame as Insomnia, why do we need two?  Did people buy two editions of the book for that cover?  I hope not!

3. Christine is kind of cool -- but wouldn't a car have been better?

4. I'm not sure what's  happening with The Dark Half. Does anyone know?  It looks like the cover for. . . nothing.

5. How come so often the foreign editions of the books are so much better?  Lilja devoted an entire section of his huge website to the foreign covers.  (Check it out HERE)

Here are a couple I like:

The Talisman
source: Lilja's Library

The Stand (uncut)
source:  Lilja's Library

Novels We Should Like

Stephen King wrote in a recent post at stephenking.com,
"I couldn't vote for Moby Dick. Everyone says it's great and blah-blah-blah, but I drown in whale-oil every time I try it. My bad, people, I admit it."
I've not read,  nor been tempted to read, Moby Dick.  It did ge tme to thinking about some novels I should like -- that everyone loves -- but I just don't.  Some books  have their own version of "whale-oil" that we  drown in.

  • Lord of the Rings.  I'm sorry. I sincerely, deeply apologize.  I know that for many of you, this is like saying you don't like Star Wars or something.  But I just have trouble with the whole fantasy genre.  I (gasp) think Lord of  the Rings is boring.  I KNOW, it's terrible of me to feel that way, I have great guilt about this and should probably see a doctor.  But I just can't get excited about three big novels about people walking around.  They walk and they walk and they walk and they walk -- they even walk with trees!

  • Bleak House,  by Charles Dickens.  I've started it many times, but only read about three pages of the giant book.  But, chalk it up to Dickens and my difficult  relationship.  I love him -- I hate him -- but mostly love.

  • Journey To The Center Of The Earth is a classic, but I couldn't get through it.  It just takes forever for them to get TO the journey.  Not only is there a lot of codes and maps and stuff, but then there are practice expeditions that suck up more space.  Yes, yes, once again -- very bad of me!  At some point I just wanted  Uncle Otto to get moving.  

  • The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells.  I've read the novel many times, but I'm not excited  or moved by it.  So why have I read and reread it?  Because I want to be moved!  I want to like it.  I think the radio and movie adaptations were far better than their source material.  But Wells was working with a fresh idea -- living creatures from another  planet actually landing and attacking with incredible machines.  What's neat is that it is written before cars -- so there are Machine's moving about London chasing horses and carriages.  

  • Finally, The Talisman is a novel I have not been able to swallow yet.  It remains a book I've started so many times -- but have  yet to fall in love.  I'm not alone in this camp, George Beahm wrote in his original Stephen King Companion:

Try as I did on several occasions, I just couldn't get into the story.  Having read (and reread) virtually all the King novels  and a number of Straubs  novels, I find that The Talisman remains and oddity on my King bookshelf: The unread book.  (I might add that I felt the same way, initially about,about Tolkiens trilogy, Lord of the Rings.  On the third try, I got into the story and it swept me away.  When I finished, I was sorry that the story had ended.) 
I'll try again, of course, but what's interesting to me is that I'm not alone.  I've talked to other people  who read widely and deeply in and out of this field, people who have read all of King and all of Straub, and they either loved The Talisman or couldn't get into the story.
I wonder if he ever read it!  May I also point out that the novel's cover does nothing to make you want to read  the novel?!  Red and black swooshes with the author's names.  Rates right up there with Insomnia. Of course, Insomnia is a book I have not made it through -- I can't stay awake for it!

Novels that Surprised Me:

Here are some novels I did not plan to like -- but I was pleasantly surprised.

Both of George Orwell novels, Animal Farm and 1984, came as a surprise to me.  I find them delightful, and did not plan to.  1984 is dark, heavy and at times slow moving -- but as a teen I thought it was brilliant.  I think I liked Animal Farm just because the entire idea of animals throwing the farmer off his farm and running the place with delightful.

Of Mice and Men grabbed me from the get go and never let me go.  The story is short, well written (like anything by Steinbeck) and unforgettable.  Written like a play, each section is set up with narration, and then is carried primarily by dialogue.  It's an easy read.  And it's an emotional roller-coaster.  I read it out loud to my Grandmother.

Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Anne  Burns was a shock.  I bought it on audio as a teenager, not knowing what it was.  But back then, audio tapes were rare, so it meant I listened to things I might not otherwise choose.  The first time I read it was on audio, and abridged version. This was in the days when abridgments were only three hours!  I read it again in print, and then later on an unabridged  audio edition.  It's great!  Not  Pillars of the Earth great, but great.  It is where I learned the country phrase, "Boy Howdy!"

Finally, I was surprised by Paul Sheldon's novel, Misery's Return. In fact, I didn't like it at all when I first started.  I wanted the story to stay focused on Paul and his dealings with Annie.  But as the novel went  on, I was drawn in.  Having the girl buried alive might have helped!

What books  should you like. . . but don't?  And, what books surprised you?

The American Version Of THE SHINING Heads Across The Sea

The Independent writer Nick Clark has posted news that The Shining is being released in Britain with 24 minutes of previously cut material.  Jane Giles, from the British Film Institute, explained, ""When we realised the US version of The Shining hadn't been released in the UK we thought it would be a very interesting thing to do."

Clark writes:
Kubrick cut the film for Europe after the longer version was poorly received by critics. However, he gave his blessing to both versions. The European version removes background storyline as well as plotlines such as Jack's battle with alcohol problems and beating his son. Among the shocks to be added back in are the appearance of skeletons seated round a table in the hotel.

Money Needed To Turn North Yorkshire Into 1930s America

The Americans are coming!  The Americans are coming!  Actually, 1930's America is headed to North Yorkshire.

According to Mark Foster at www.darlingtonandstocktontimes.co.uk, interior shooting for the Stephen King film, "The Death of Jack Hamilton"  is now completed and work is about to start on the exteriors.  The crew will utilize North Yorkshire locations for action sequences.

And, Forster reports that Stephen King fans have a unique opportunity to get  involved in the Stephen King gangster film, The Death of  Jack Hamilton as more funds are needed.  Director Jamie Anderson says, “The prospect of bringing 1930s America to 2012 Britain is a mammoth task to accomplish, and one that requires as much financial backing as possible."  That's where the money needs come in!  The film crew needs to dress the exteriors in order to recreate the American mid-west.

So what do you get for investing?  Foster says that "rewards" for investors range from free screenings and DVD to "an executive producer credit on the movie itself."

The films website is HERE.
The "official teaser" is HERE.

Carrie Dress Of Drapes

Dread Central: Presenting Carrie White

image credit: Dread Central

Uncle Creepy at Dread Central posted, "Entertainment Weekly scored the very first images of Chloe Moretz as Carrie White and Julianne Moore as her crazy mama!"  (HERE)

Not quite as . . . clean and neat. . . as the original, is it?  Or even the remake.  This looks like a girl who really could take down the house!

Fleming: Kings Reaction To WB Passing On Dark Tower

Mike Fleming at Deadline has a summery of the events surrounding Warner Bros. decision to pass on the Dark Tower, where the property presently is and most interesting to me -- the reaction of Stephen King.  Fleming's article, "'Ted’ Backer MRC In Talks To Finance Stephen King’s ‘The Dark Tower" is at www.deadline.com

Fleming writes:
I just interviewed the author; King knows his way around a good story, and here is how he described what is waiting for whoever steps up to fund this movie: The Dark Tower, to me, and I’m not unbiased because I’m the writer on this thing, but to me it looks like gold on the ground waiting to be picked up.”
Fleming summarizes the situation with what is on all of our hearts: "I hope that Howard and his posse reload and try again, but this is a major setback for them."

Hollywoord Reporter Talks CARRIE With Julianne Moore

The Hollywood Reporter has an interview with Julianne Moore, who played Carrie’s mother in the upcoming film.  Thought he article focuses on her portrayal of Sarah Palin, they did eveutally get to the new film version of Carrie.  Filming has wrapped up for the film, and the Hollywood Reporter asked what that experience was like.
Moore: Kimberly Peirce directed it. I love her. She was so specific in exploring the relationship between the mother [Moore's role] and the daughter, played by Chloe Moretz. She allowed me to create something of my own. I took more from Stephen King's novel than Brian De Palma's original movie. In the book, she's a fundamentalist and has her own church. But in the film, she's obviously mentally ill. 
THR: So you're probably not going to, um, look your best in this movie. 
Moore: It's certainly different, my look. . . . I look awful! I have to do a comedy next! I could not wear any makeup -- it's a long way from the red carpet.
The Reporter then asked how nervous she was without the makeup.  Moore responded that she had to let her vanity go to allow the character to work.  She said, “Anyway, with actors, all our ages are out there for all to see -- you can't hide anything, really. And it's kind of a relief. This is my age, this is what I look like without makeup on -- who cares? That youth culture -- that lying about your age -- it's all denial of death anyway.”

The full interview with Julanne Moore is at www.hollywoodreporter.com

Wilderness Of Error author interviews Stephen King

I am anxiously awaiting the publication of a book by Errol Morris.  The book is titled, "A Wilderness of Error, the trials of Jeffrey MacDonald."

As I poked around, learning more about Morris, I found he had  done an interview with Stephen King when King published 11.22.63.   (HERE)

Morris points out that King has his hero spy on Oswald in 11.22.63.  King responds, "The guy and his wife spoke Russian the whole time. That was the worst part of writing the book. I hope it’s not too boring."  Interesting, since that is about the point where I found myself wondering when the book would get moving again.

Here's something cool; King says that in a way 11.22.63 is a rethinking premise behind the The Dead Zone.  That is, if you know the future (or the past) and can change it -- then you should.  But in 11.22.63, we get a different answer from King . . . you should not!
This book is, in a way, like a photo negative of my novel “The Dead Zone.” In that book, Johnny Smith is the guy in the high place with the rifle who feels like he’s seen the future. He’s seen this guy, Greg Stillson, and he sees what he’s going to do when he becomes president, because he has this precognitive talent. And he feels like he has to kill him. At the last moment, fate intervenes. I got really uncomfortable with the idea of saying, “Well, under certain circumstances, assassination is a good thing.” And this book is a chance to do it the other way and to take the assassination back.
Morris also wrote a positive -- insightful -- review of the novel.  Morris offered all out relief that King did not worry about the machinery of Time Travel or swim through the depths of philosophy on the subject -- the author stuck to the story and allowed time travel to be little more than a vehicle to carry the story.

About the MacDonald case:

Morris is set to publish a true crime novel on the MacDonald murders.  The book Fatal Vision brought the case worldwide fame, though it was already on the media's radar long before!  And ever since I was a child I have found this one particular case interesting.  It really is a "did he do it?"

One thing that is so interesting about this murder is that the people who confessed are not the one's who are in jail.  People confess often to things they did not do, and the lady in question used a lot (LOT) of drugs.

A while back  there was an interesting book that rebutted Fatal Vision, titled Fatal Justice.  I thought it was well done.  However, there are so many things that leave the reader scratching their head at the end of any of the books about this case.  How could intruders enter the home and not awake the neighbors?  How many people were really in the house?  Why did MacDonald tell his father in law that he hunted down and killed one of the murderers?  Why were only weapons from within the home used? Why wasn't MacDonald more severely injured?  And then Fatal  Justice comes along and raises a whole new set of questions!  (Here is Ted Gunderson's interview with Helena Stoeckley, who claims to have been the woman in the floppy hat.)

I look forward to Morris' verdict, and hope he offers one!  According to the Atlantic, the books (as the title implies) argues for MacDonald's innocence.  The Atlantic's review of the book is HERE.

Morris' book, A Wilderness Of Error, is at Amazon HERE.

The Dark Tower Movie

After posting that Warner Bros. had passed on The Dark Tower, Dread Central issued a new article from Uncle Creepy stating not so fast, the Dark Tower might yet rise again.

Dread Central cites Deadline:
Media Rights Capital is in serious talks to take on The Dark Tower after Warner Bros. declined to make what potentially amounts to three feature films and two limited run TV series. 
The article is HERE.

Question: Is the Dark Tower movie  something that still gets King readers excited, or have we become a bit numb to the whole thing?

Batman and Robin in an Altercation: new story by King

Check out this article  at Lilja's Library: "Batman and Robin in an Altercation: new story by King."  HERE.

Richard Bachman Pays Tribute To Stephen King

photo credit: www.daveart.com

Brian Stubits at CBS sports has a great article about Richard Bachman.  No, not that Richard Bachman !  Try the Hockey player.  But the Dallas Stars goaltender is taking advantage of his name’s connection to the world of Stephen King.  Check out his new mask by artist Dave Gunnarson.

The mask sports a rendition of the Kubrick version of The Shining– including the ghostly image of the two dead girls.

Here is some of Gunnarson's description from his website DaveArt.com.
To make it even more scary we decided to use only one color all over the mask, and it is all painted in a scary mix of calm paint and an uncomfortable feeling all over the mask. It is all created with old school airbrush paint mixed with oil paint tech. 
The left side has just an evil sinister feeling, and if you look close into the star you find the same carpet as in the hotel! On the right side we present the rage.
Of course, Stubits asks the question we all immediately want to shout out – HEY!  Why not pay homage to a story Richard Bachman wrote?  How about: The Running Man, or Thinner . . . wait, I just realized why.  Because the helmet is of the MOVIE – and those movie’s were not , uhhhh . . . they were not. . . beautiful.  So why The Shining?  Probably because it’s just that cool!

photo credit cbssports.com.

Brian Stubits article is HERE.

Thanks to Bryant Burnette

Why Collect?

picture credit: WSJ, Anne Isabelle

I liked Laura Kreutzer article in the Wall Street Journal titled, “Treasure or Trash? It Depends Who You Ask.”

Kreutzer writes:
Take, for example, my husband's extensive collection of Stephen King books. I'm fairly certain that if Mr. King decided to aggregate and publish all of his old grocery receipts, Clay would be standing in line at the bookstore to purchase a first edition.
Although a part of me can appreciate the creativity of demon-possessed automobiles or pets suddenly coming back to life as bloodthirsty zombies, I question whether they need to occupy so much critical real estate, especially when they don't really get used.
"It's a collection," Clay said, defending his right to the complete works. "They're coming."
Kreutzer’s full article is at wsj.com

It  brings  up the  question: Why do we collect?  Why do first edition hard cover books matter so much?  I mean, we could  read  almost everything King has written right off Kindle, right?  Or,  we could read paperbacks.  So why collections that take so much space?

My thoughts only:
1. Men like to collect  stuff.  Stephen King is cool.
2. As  Kreutzer points out, a lot of King readers wish they could write like King!  He writes what we would write if we had  his super-powers.
3. For some reason,having an actual  hard cover first edition is cool.  I don't know why.  I like older firsts better than more  recent  stuff.  In fact, I  really stopped buying first editions and opted instead to buy limited editions (Cemetery Dance, etc) when they come out.

But, alas, it all still begs the question. . . WHY

Shawn Lealos: News About Dollar Baby's and more

"Action" . . .
Shawn S. Lealos, a writer and filmmaker (he did the dollar baby of "I Know What  You Need") has posted some really exciting news!

Dollar Deal:

First, we have known for a while that Lealos plans to write a book about the Stephen King Dollar Baby filmmakers.  He has announced that  he will be conducting the interviews and penning the book this fall.

Lealos writes:
As many people who know me are aware of, I have been planning to write a book about the Stephen King dollar baby filmmakers for a few years now. That book will finally get underway, as I start interviewing the filmmakers at the end of August and into September. The exciting news is that I have over 20 different dollar baby filmmakers lined up to interview.
The book should be available and on sale by the end of 2012. Early in September, I will build a new website, specifically for the book, and will keep it updated as the book progresses with director bios, photos and more. Keep an eye out here at shawnlealos.net for more news on that.
What's exciting about this is that Lealos is just the right guy to write this book.  Having made a dollar baby himself, he knows the ins and outs of the process and will produce some home run interviews,  I'm sure!  I'm mean, think about it -- he has TWENTY  filmmakers who have agreed to be interviewed.

Dollar Baby Screenings

He is also posting news that Comicpalooza (The Texas International Comic Con in Houston) will be hosting a series of Stephen King dollar babies.  

Lealos says he organizing the dollar baby screening and has listed some of the films to be shown as: Night Surf, Umney's Last Case, I Know What You Need, Maxwell Edison, All That You Love Will be Carried Away, Grey Matter, Last Rung on the Ladder, Paranoid, Lawnmower Man, Cain Rose  Up, Strawberry Spring, and Home Delivery.

The full article is HERE.

Check  out my interview with Shawn S. Lealos HERE.

YOUTUBE: Stephen Rebello Talks About The Making of Psycho

This is cool!  Stephen Rebello, author of Alfred Hitchcock and The Making Of Psycho has a short video where her discusses the film Psycholand and the movie as a reflection of popular culture. Check it out, as he also shows off his incredible collection of vintage movie posters.

Nina shared with me,
"Stephen Rebello is an expert on Psycho and his book on the subject is being turned into a movie starring Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren."
I can't wait for that movie!

Here's the youtube video:

You can buy Rebello's book HERE.
Thanks to Nina.

Misery Journal #4: Annie and the Overlook Hotel

Misery is scary.  I mean, it is messed  up scary.

The Shining

Know what it's a lot like?  The Shining.  Think about it: A man trapped (as Danny was trapped) while he watches the person who controls his life go steadily more and more insane.

It turns out that Paul is not Annie's first captive.  Discussing a photographer she murdered, Annie tells Paul:
He was going to go up to the old hotel and sketch the ruins. His pictures were going to be with an article they were doing. It was a famous old hotel called the Overlook. It burned down ten years ago. The caretaker burned it down. He was crazy. Everybody in town said so. But never mind; he’s dead.
That's pretty neat!

Sledgehammer or AX ?

Now, for the worst part: The famous scene in which Annie breaks Paul's legs. . . that's not in the book.  No sir.  No leg breaking here.  It's worse -- fantastically worse.  Instead of breaking is legs,  she chops off his foot with an ax and cauterizes with a blowtorch.

What King is really good at is build up.  Annie doesn't just swing and ax and ouchie. . . Paul has a new boo-boo.  No, King builds  up to this.  It is painful as he watches Annie set up shop and prepare to do the deed.  More than that, there is a lot of dialogue here as Annie talks on and on.  And, she just happens to mention she gave him a pre-op shop.  As she rambles, the reader and Paul both wonder the same thing -- why did a serial killer just give Paul a pre-op shop?  What kind of operation is Mr. Sheldon in for?

I would have thought so much talking without action would be a writing no-no. . . but it actually builds incredible suspense.  As a reader, you connect deeply with Paul because you are wondering, "Where's she going with this?  What's that crazy lady about to do?"

Once Annie has decided what she is going to do, and has explained to Paul why she's going to do it -- she drops into something like a trance.  She's no longer just crazy Annie, she is now deadly Annie.

he understood that when this was over, she would have only the vaguest memories of what she had done, as she had only the vaguest memories of killing the children and the old people and the terminal patients and Andrew Pomeroy.

The careful buildup doesn't mean King cheats the reader for a moment once the chopping begins.  I'd offer  up some  quotes here. .  .  but I won't.  The writing at this point is unusually vivid -- and should be read in context.

LINK: Hernandez Review Of The Gunslinger

I enjoyed Josef Hernandez's short review of The Gunslinger.

Hernandez rightly points out that the book has no "actual  plot."  YES!  Plot will come,  in the sweet bye and bye with the Dark Tower -- namely in book two.  But  the first book serves to set the tone.

He says about the revised version: "I found myself enjoying it more than I have in the past. That may be because King has gone back over it and smoothed out the edges a bit as well as added some things that would come up later in the series to make it flow better. Or it could just be that I have a better appreciation for the series now than I had in the past."

I know Dark Tower purist were not happy with the revisions -- I'm all for it!  I haven't read the revised book, but I will when I reread the Dark Tower series.  Why not issue the book the way King wants it to read?  It makes sense after so many years of writing, to go back and rework the novel.  More than that, the writing itself was reworked.

Hernandez also says that to him, King's obsession with The Dark Tower "has become too much."  Certainly not!

He writes:
In its own right, “The gunslinger” is a good book, although not one of King’s best, but leaves the reader wanting for more. The revised edition is much better than the first edition that was published as it is easier to read and the story flows smoothly. If you are looking to enter into this world for the first time or to travel with Roland once again, “The gunslinger” will serve as the doorway into the mind of Stephen King as he chases his elusive dreams.
The full review  is at examiner.com

Misery Journal #3: Journal Of A Serial Killer

I’m loving the book.  I’ve assumed I had a good grasp on Misery because the movie was so very faithful.  Fans could not ask for a better adaptation of the book. That said, no screen adaptation could reproduce what King has done on the page.


“Over the years Paul had grown more and more resigned to the fact that he could not read stories as he had when he was a kid; by becoming a writer of them himself, he had condemned himself to a life of dissection.” – Misery, p.151
When you do something often, it can become difficult to enjoy the art itself.  Misery touches on a period in Paul’s life when he found it difficult to enjoy other people’s writing without being a critic.  Makes sense – dancers each think they can do better than the person on stage; writers can be tempted to think they can write a better book than another writer.  Even preachers can struggle to listen to someone else preach, because they sit there thinking, “I wouldn’t have done that with  that text. . .” or “I would have said that much better.”

It is a sad thought – because a person perticipates in a form of art, they can reach a point where they no longer enjoy other people’s finished product.  I wonder if movie directors find it difficult to watch movies; or if cooks have trouble eating someone elses food.  Don’t laugh, just watch food network.

Journal Of A Serial Killer

Misery is nerve racking throughout; but mid novel, King really ups the anti.  While Annie is out, Paul leaves his room.  First, obviously, he wants to see if there is a way to escape the house.  Second, he needs to steal food and meds, since Annie is not there to care for him.  What Paul finds on his journey through Annie’s house is at first just flat out disgusting.  Annie loves food, and does not love cleaning.  So her house is pretty trashed.

As Paul explores, he finds something deeply disturbing: A journal.  It is full of news paper clippings, neatly organized in chronlogical order.  They include articles about Annie’s family – her father and husband – and their deaths.  Paul discovers the entire scrap book is a book of death!

Annie, a Nurse, is a serial killer.  She killed her family, killed old people in the hospital, and then moved on to kill babies.  At one point, Paul has the body count at thirty.

  • Here are some of the headings he thumbs through: 
  • Five Die In Apartment House Fire
  • Bakersfield Accountant Dies In Freak Fall
  • USC Student Dies In Freak Fall
  • Head Maternity Nurse Questioned In Infant Deaths
  • Three More Infant Deaths In Boulder Hospital

As Paul goes through the notebook, the reader begins to sense his dread.  He is trapped in the home of a serial killer.  I love the way this turns the tables!  Usually it is a woman who is helplessly left in the clutches of a man, tied up or blindfolded so she cannot escape.  But King has a man, bound to a wheelchair – in excruciating pain – at the mercy of a very wicked and sick woman.

I was wondering if it is realistic for a serial killer to keep such neat, clean notes of their crimes.  Actually, I think it’s very realistic!  Criminals seem to have a need to document and remember their crimes.  Ted Bundy revisited his crime scenes.  The book is a way for Annie to keep her victims near her.


I’ve been reading Misery as I also press through several frustrations . . . like my computer going to Blue screen.  It’s fixed, but I lost a sermon – which represents 10-15 hours of work.  I’ve been telling everyone that the lost sermon is the “greatest sermon ever.”  After all, no one will ever know, right?!  Reproducing a sermon already written is impossible.  Have to just assume God had another plan and struggle with the text again.

And, as I fight with a computer – I’m listening to Misery.  How appropriate!

Sound Track For Carrie Musical

Broadway World has noted that Amazon.com is releasing a CD titled, "premiere cast", a recording for CARRIE: THE MUSICAL.  The CD is set to be released September 25.

Broadway World gives this brief history of the musical:
Off-Broadway's reworked and re-imagined production of Carrie, the musical, had its first preview on January 31, 2012, at the Lucille Lortel Theatre. The show opened officially on March 1, 2012. Carrie was forced to cut short its previously announced extension and closed following the evening performance on Sunday, April 8, 2012, after 34 previews and 46 performances. 
Based on Stephen King's bestselling novel, the musical of Carrie hadn't been seen since its legendary 1988 Broadway production. The show's original authors joined with director Stafford Arima (Altar Boyz) and MCC Theater for a newly reworked and fully re-imagined vision of the gripping tale. 
The full article is HERE

CD Offers Stephen King Movie Trivia Book

This is cool!  Cemetery Dance is a busy publisher.  On the heels of anouncing The Illustrated Stephen King Trivia Book, they are releasing news of the New Stephen King Movie Trivia Book.

Cemetery Dance offers this description of the book:
The Illustrated Stephen King Movie Trivia Book by Brian James Freeman (The Illustrated Stephen King Trivia Book), Hans-Åke Lilja (Lilja's Library: The World of Stephen King), and Kevin Quigley (Wetware: On the Digital Frontline With Stephen King) features more than 1,000 questions to test your knowledge of the movies, miniseries, and television episodes based on ideas conjured from the imagination of the King of Horror, along with more than 50 special illustration-based questions from Cemetery Dance favorite artist Glenn Chadbourne!
In addition, the book concludes with a special afterword by Mick Garris, director of The Stand, The Shining, Riding the Bullet, Desperation, Bag of Bones, and many others!
The Illustrated Stephen King Movie Trivia Book includes material right up through this year and no Stephen King collection will be complete without it!
You can purchase the book HERE.


My daughter having fun on Polyvore.  Check it out HERE.

Tabitha and Stephen King Foundation Award Grants to Maine Libraries

In the clutter of several Stephen King news articles – I found this one in particular interesting. This short piece of news was posted at www.maine.gov by Valerie Osborne, August 8,2012.
During the month of July several Maine libraries received news that they had been awarded grants from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation. Once again, Maine libraries are so fortunate to benefit from the generosity of this Foundation. Libraries have shared with us their delight in learning that their library was a recipient of a grant from the Kings in this latest round of awards. Keep in mind that the list includes only those libraries that shared this information with the Maine State Library.
Abel J, Morneault Memorial Library (Van Buren) $20,000 bathroom and entry way renovation 
  • Edythe Dyer Community Library (Hampden) $10,000 boiler replacement
  • Bingham Union Library $6,000 replace furnace
  • Lincoln Memorial Library (Lincoln) $1,500 Read it Forward Program 
  • Treat Memorial Library (Livermore Falls) $25,000 HVAC project
  • Millinocket Memorial Library $30,000 to replace windows
  • Brownfield Public Library $800 new conference table
  • South Berwick Public Library $50,000 shelving for new facility

Remainders Last Show On THE LATE SHOW

CBS has posted the August 6 episode of The Late Show with Craig Ferguson.  The Rock Bottom Remainders played their last gig on the show, and Ferguson interviewed King.

Ferguson expressed confusion about the cover of the Wind Through the Keyhole.  He also noted that on the jacket cover, King seems like an "angry lookin' man."  They also discussed writing.  Ferguson said King is a "genre of his own."  I like that!  King says he read a lot of Poe and Lovecraft, but was impacted most by California writers like Richard Matheson and Ray Bradbury.

King emphasizes he is a regular guy -- his wife is not scared of him.  His job is to drag the trash. . . write a book.  Funny -- you sorta gotta see it.

King says that print interviews like to ask when he was like as a kid, with the real question being what happened to him as a kid that messed him up so bad.

Funny, King notes that he does not know how popular he'll be after he dies, but then says, "I'm not sure I'll care!  I don't think I'll be hanging around libraries as a ghost 'reeeeed my booook'."

They also discuss things that scare us all. . . like clowns!  "That clown figure is the same in a lot of cultures, societies.  Children have the same reaction to them everywhere."

The show is great.  CBS  online is a little. . . commercial intensive.  I can't complain, I am watching their show for free!  Check it out.

The episode is at  www.cbs.com

The Overlook's Past Matters

With many of us -- most of us -- rolling our eyes in disgust at the idea of a prequel to The Shining, I thought it was worth noting King's comments on the Hotel's past.

I was reading through Stephen King goes to Hollywood, when this quote got my attention:
“My screenplay, which Kubrick chose not to use, was considerably different from the script that came out at his end.  For one, my screen play was pegged even more heavily than the book on something Kubrick never touch on: the past of the hotel.  It says in ‘Salems Lot, ‘An evil house calls evil men.’  That was the idea in THE SHINING.  The hotel was not evil because those had been there, but thsoe people went there because the place was evil.”
–Speaking of The Shining with Christopher Evans
King is saying that  the Hotel's past matters to the texture of the story.  Of course, I think King's version of The Shining (the ABC mini-series) gave a lot of history and back story. I enjoyed that Mini-series a lot!  I wonder how much of King's original script, the one given to Kubrick, was used to create the mini-series.  I  wonder what happened to that script.

Smythe's review of The Stand

James Smythe at gaurdian.co.uk has posted a unique review of The Stand.  (HERE)  The article is the the next installment of his journey to read the King books in chronological order.  Like most King readers, the Stand is a favorite of Smythe's.  And, like many of us,  he discovered the Stand while  he was young.

Smythe begins with the conclusion that The Stand is essentially the book of Job -- with a little fantasy thrown in.

About the line-up, Smythe writes:
Where King's previous antagonists were small fry (or protagonists flipped on their heads), Randall Flagg is never less than pure evil. He has a counterpart, as all evils should: Mother Abigail, 108 years old, who communes with God, and who is the frail good to Flagg's evil. 
Job and Revelation:

And, about the Biblical book of Job (pronounced Jobe) Smythe  offers:
I read once that The Stand was essentially the Book of Job, with the survivors in Job's place: tested by good and evil both; pushed and challenged to see how much they could endure, as if their suffering were a game. There's a little more epic fantasy here than in the Bible, maybe, and it ends not with a war, but with an accident; with the chaos of Trashcan Man finding a weapon, and with Flagg's showing off going to far. But I can still see it. Good wins by default, because evil cannot. Those were the rules in the Old Testament, and they're the rules now.
That's an interesting perspective.  The Stand is very much like Job!  However, in Biblical terms, I think the Stand is more like the book of Revelation.  (No "s" in Revelation.)  Plagues are poured out on the world, evil rises up and people must choose which side they will turn to.  As evil rises, the good must decide if they will  bow down  to evil (take the mark of the beast) or stand up against evil (the mark of God.)  Yet, in the end, man cannot stand against evil alone, only the work of God can end it.  Thus in revelation fire comes from heaven and destroys the enemies of God, while in the Stand, the finger of God brings an end to evil.

What I like about The Stand as end-time fiction is that it does not play the rapture game.  The rapture is a ridiculous view -- new to the scene theologically -- that God will rapture out his people before the Great Tribulation.  In this case, King gets it more right than the Left Behind series!  God does not rapture his people out in the hour of evil, he expects them to "stand."  In fact, Christ clearly said that those  who "stand to the end will be saved." (Matt. 24:13)

Here's a fuller  post of mine on The Stand and the Bible.

An American Lord Of The Rings

As I read this, I keep wanting to shout, "me too, me too!"  For instance, Smythe notes that King said in the introduction that  he wanted to write something like Lord  of the Rings.  He notes, "I didn't read Tolkien when I was a kid, I read this."  YES!  Me too.  I did read Lord of the Rings -- for as long as I could.  I find Lord of the Rings difficult.  I know this will offend many, but it does not connect with me at all.  It seems like they just walk around a lot.  (I just realized that in The Stand. . . there's a lot of walking around!)

That said, what does  connect with me is The Stand.  It is more than an American version of Lord of the Rings, I think it reaches far beyond.  The Stand doesn't build an unknown world as a stage for its characters to play on -- in the Stand, the characters are on our stage.  

Some of my favorite lines (from the Smythe review)
  • The Stand is a masterpiece. . . 
  • When swine flu broke out in 2009, I lost track of the number of tweets referring to it as Captain Trip.
  • About Flagg: "I've mentioned him before – in my Carrie and Night Shift rereads – but here's where he makes his grand entrance."
  •  This is my most reread book.
  • as I read The Stand again, I realised that I am wholly, totally indebted to King's book.

Might Russell Crowe Be Roland Deschain?

The Dark Tower might be back on track !  And, a new Roland is a real possibility.

Mike Fleming at Deadline has posted  news that Akiva Goldsman has given Warner  Brothers a new script for the first installment of The Dark Tower.  A decision to green light the film or not will be made "within two weeks."

And for the big question. .  . who would  be playing Roland Deschain?  How about Russell Crowe?  Fleming writes: "I’m told that director Ron Howard and producers Brian Grazer and Goldsman have been talking with their A Beautiful Mind star Russell Crowe about playing Deschain."

Fleming clariies that there is "no deal with Crowe" at the present time.

My wife gives the "oh yeah" go ahead to Crowe. . . I have no idea why.  She  says he has the "rugged masculinity" that characterizes Roland.  "After all," she declared with a bit  too  much delight, "he was Gladiator."  Oh well, my vote is still for Clint Eastwood.

The full article is at www.deadline.com

Misery Journal #2: Prequel To On Writing

I am about half way through the Stephen King novel Misery.  Originally slated to be a Bachman novel, Misery was ultimately published under King’s own name.  This is because the big secret was uncovered. . . Stephen King was indeed Richard Bachman.  Misery is an unrelentingly painful book, with very few spots of sunshine.  I like the book very much.

Some observations as I’ve been reading:

1.  The writing.

The book itself revolves almost completely, thus far at least, around the two central characters of Paul and Annie.  Further, King never switches view points.  The reader receives all information from Paul Sheldon’s point of view.  This means that the reader is immersed in Paul’s internal thought processes and perspective.  When he blacks out, the narrative blacks out with him.  When Paul suffers, believe me, King is a skilled enough writer to carry the reader right into his suffering.

In one scene, as Paul explores the house, King brilliantly breaks up the intensity of the Paul’s thoughts and the action sequence by bringing in the voice of a sports caster.  Of course, that voice is in Paul’s head!  In another scene, the typewriter itself becomes a character and talks to Mr. Sheldon!
I thought you were supposed to be good, the typewriter said— his mind had invested it with a sneering and yet callow voice: the voice of a teen-age gunslinger in a Hollywood western, a kid intent on making a fast reputation here in Deadwood. You’re not so good. Hell, you can’t even please one crazy overweight ex-nurse. Maybe you broke your writing bone in that crash, too ... only that bone isn’t healing.
At another point he hears the Red Queen lecturing Alice.

To the reader, these scenes (the sportscaster, the typewriter, the Red Queen) help break up the long sections of monologue running through Paul’s head.

The movie opened Misery up quite a bit by adding the character of the Sherif and his wife.  This broke up the long scenes between Annie and Paul.

2. Annie's many tortures

Annie has many ways of torturing Paul.  This is mostly because she herself is a tortured soul. (Hurt people. . . hurt people.)  Here are a few ways thus far that Annie has tortured Paul:

  • She left him without food or care for several days.
  • She messes with his meds.  In particular, she gets him addicted and then refuses access to medication.
  • She beats him at times.
  • She forced him to burn his book, Fast Cars.  This was probably one of the most painful things!
  • She reminds him often of his hopeless situation.  She encourages him to scream, because no one is coming.
  • . . . and don’t I know, there is so much more to come!

3. Prequel to On Writing

Since "prequel" talk is in the air. . . I think Misery serves as a prequel to King’s book, “On Writing.”  Or it is the novelized version.  I know this is not intentional, but in Misery, King takes the reader deep inside the writing process.

When Paul agrees to write a sequel to his latest Misery novel, Annie is not pleased with the first few pages.  She calls the new work a “cheat.”  She clarifies that she has no problem with a writer using plot lines that might seem unlikely – so long as they are consistent within the confines of the work.  What is unfair is to just pretend something didn’t happen!

This is from Paul’s head:
deus ex machina, the god from the machine, first used in Greek amphitheaters. When the playwright got his hero into an impossible jam, this chair decked with flowers came down from overhead. The hero sat down in it and was drawn up and out of harm’s way. Even the stupidest swain could grasp the symbolism-the hero had been saved by God. But the deus ex machina— sometimes known in the technical jargon as “the old parachute-under-the-airplane-seat trick,” finally went out of vogue around the year 1700. Except, of course, for such arcana as the Rocket Man serials and the Nancy Drew books. I guess you missed the news, Annie. 
Annie explains the problem with an illustration from the Rocketman short films she used to watch every week as a kid.  She was upset one week when the story picked up, but made changes to the previous week.  Annie tells Paul, “The car went over the cliff, and all the kids in the theater were cheering because Rocket Man got out, but I wasn’t cheering, Paul. I was mad! I started yelling, ‘That isn’t what happened last week! That isn’t what happened last week!’” and, ““He didn’t get out of the cockadoodie car! It went over the edge and he was still inside it! Do you understand that?”

Paul realizes that he can’t just write a quick book to please Annie, he is going to have to put real thought into this novel – because if he doesn’t bring Misery back to life somehow, Paul knows Annie is going to kill him.

Can a writer write for his life?  That was also a theme of The Dark Half.  Not just his dinner or his house. . . can he write if his life depends on it?  You betcha! But not joyfully.  Writing done at gun point is not the result of the overflow of the heart.  It’s mechanical and painful.
The typewriter sat there, smirking at him. “I hate you,” Paul said morosely, and looked out the window. (Misery)
TRYING TO HAVE AN IDEA wasn’t the same thing as GETTING AN IDEA. GETTING AN IDEA was a more humble way of saying I am inspired, or Eureka! My muse has spoken! (Misery)
4. What Annoys Me
Thus far, I only have one major complaint: I do not enjoy reading Mr. Sheldon’s writing.  I enjoy Stephen King very much!  But King feels the need to take us inside the novel Sheldon is writing. . . page by page, thus far!  I honestly don’t care about Ian, Geoffrey, or the doctor or the rest of them!  Very naughty of me, I know.

King doesn’t just give us a taste of Misery’s Return – he gives us full chapters.  If I were not listening to the book, I would be tempted to scan at this point.

Preview: King on Craig Ferguson show

Broadway.com has a preview of Stephen King on the Craig Ferguson show.

On the August 6th episode of CBS's THE LATE LATE SHOW WITH CRAIG FERGUSON, Craig chats with author Stephen King about his inspiration and plans for the future (as a ghost!). The episode airs August 6 at 12:37am ET/PT.

HERE is the original link.