FREE eBook This Week: #1 Bestselling Collection on Amazon in the US, UK, and Germany!

The other day I realized this blog had passed 20,000 hits, which I thought was pretty cool!

As my way of saying thanks to everyone who has stopped by, I’m giving my eBook short story collection Seven Stories away for FREE on Amazon for this week only.

US link: http://amzn.to/SevenStories
UK link: http://amzn.to/SevenStoriesUK
Germany link: http://amzn.to/SevenStoriesGerman

If you have a Kindle, or the Kindle App, or even if you just want to try out the Kindle Cloud for the first time, now is a great time to grab a copy of the collection before it goes back up to the regular retail price on Friday.

(Also: because these stories are going to appear in new collections down the road, the eBook will probably disappear from Amazon later this year, but those who download the eBook now will have it for as long as you want, of course!)

So please go ahead and download the eBook for free this week if you’re at all interested in my short fiction. What do you have to lose, after all? I hope you enjoy the stories.

Also, if you can, please help me spread the word about this FREE giveaway by posting the news and that link on your websites, blogs, message boards, Twitter, Facebook, etc.  Any help in promoting this would be greatly appreciated since I don’t have a lot of time to let readers know.

Thanks!

UPDATE: Seven Stories in now the #1 bestseller in Amazon’s “Free Anthologies” categories in the US, the UK, and Germany thanks to everyone who downloaded today!

A Student Needs Help With A Term Paper

We receive emails at work just about every week from students who need information for term papers, articles, and research reports.  I love that they’re writing about horror, or publishing, or the authors we publish.  I hate that they think we’re idiots and will write their paper for them.

I started this post back in November because one student’s email really made me laugh, but then I decided to wait to post it until after the semester was over, just in case this somehow got back to her professor.  Who knows with the Internet, right?  Here is the email that inspired this miscellaneous thought:

From: “XXXXXXXXXXX” <XXXXXXX@capecod.edu>
Date: Thu, 10 Nov 2011 11:52:15 -0500
To: “‘info@cemeterydance.com'” <info@cemeterydance.com>
Conversation: XXXXXXXX
Subject: XXXXXXXXX

11/10/2011

Dear Sir or Madam:

Hi!  My name is XXXXXX, and I am a fan of Stephen King.  I

am doing an analytical review of Blockade Billy for my English Composition

class.  I was wondering does your publishing company have any book critics

that have reviewed Blockade Billy and have published their review on the

Internet.  Could you tell me where to find these reviews?  Where do I find

these reviews on the Internet?  Could you cite these reviews in MLA format

with the author of the review, name of article, publishing source, and date

of publication or date of when the review was written?  Where would I go on

the Internet to find more reviews on Blockade Billy?  How was Blockade Billy

originally released by your publishing company, and how and when did

Scribner originally publish Blockade Billy?  Please e-mail me with the

answers to my questions and send me any other information about the novella,

Blockade Billy.  I need the information by next Friday.  Thank-you. My

e-mail is XXXXXXX.

Thank-you.

Sincerely,

XXXXXX

There’s so much in here that I love! The way she asks three times where she can find reviews of Blockade Billy on the Internet, for example.  And there’s something about “Could you tell me where to find these reviews?  Where do I find these reviews on the Internet?” that sounds almost musical to me.

But the best part, of course, is where she asks: “Could you cite these reviews in MLA format with the author of the review, name of article, publishing source, and date of publication or date of when the review was written?”

Well, yes, I can… because I actually paid attention during my college classes and wrote my own papers.  The better question is… can you?  🙂

Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

One of the more common questions people ask is: “Where do you get your ideas?”

For me, most stories come from the everyday things I see in my daily travels. Often a few unrelated events will come together in my mind at the same time, a character appears, and the story starts to tell itself. The stories often just spring to life, all on their own.

For example, there’s a strange house in our neighborhood, one that doesn’t quite fit in:

Every now and then, when I’m walking our dogs, I see a pale boy pacing around the back yard of this house, talking to himself:

A few months ago, they put bubble wrap in all of their windows:

A few weeks ago, they put a giant wooden owl on the front step, blocking access to the front door:

Finally, two nights ago, I was walking the dogs in the dark during a torrential downpour. As I passed this house, I realized the yard and sidewalk were swarming with giant earthworms, the biggest I had ever seen:

There were thousands of them, and what made this really strange was one simple fact: I walked the dogs for two miles that night and there was not a single earthworm to be seen anywhere else in the neighborhood.  Not one.

When you put those five things together, you start to set the stage for a pretty strange story, don’t you think? You do if you’re wired like me, at least.

So, where do my ideas come from?

I have absolutely no idea.

This Month’s Question: What Horror Novel Should Everyone Read?

The Question of the Month has a simple premise: each month I’ll ask a handful of authors to answer the same question and then I’ll publish their responses exactly as I receive them. In these posts you’ll discover how these authors think, giving you insight into where their darkest tales come from. These responses are listed here in the order they were received.

This month’s question is: If you had to recommend just one horror novel for everyone to read, what would it be and why?

Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House. Why? Because it’s not only the scariest novel I’ve ever read, it’s also a “literary” novel, so it can demonstrate to snobs and skeptics that the genre can have intellectual heft.  In addition, it’s a mainstream work of fiction with no overt sex or violence, so it has the potential to win over milquetoast Middle America, those wimpy readers who flinch and flee at the sight of blood. It’s the perfect poster boy for horror. As far as I’m concerned, Jackson’s masterful novel should be required reading for every human on the planet.
— 
Bentley Little

I’m going to hail Richard Matheson’s Hell House, because I still recall finding it impossible to put down and wishing I hadn’t stayed up after midnight by myself to finish it. Truthfully, it’s the only book that made me realize that looking over your shoulder because of what you’re reading isn’t always an exaggeration. Forget the timid movie adaptation and go straight for the real thing—Matheson certainly does.
— Ramsey Campbell

The Shining by Stephen King.  I love that man.  I love that book.
— Nancy Holder

The one horror novel that I would recommend that everyone should read is Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. As an inward and an outward journey of discovery it exposes the narrator to the nature of evil. Both it and its palimpsest (Coppola’s Apocalypse Now) resonate for a generation (mine) that went to college, San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury, or Vietnam in the ’60s. Those of us who did those things (I did all three) understand perfectly Kurz’ (or Brando’s in the film) cry at the end: “The horror! The horror!”
— Robert Booth

My answer is Reprisal by Mitchell Smith. Reasons: the nightmarish scope of his human imaginings, the austere and limpid grace of his prose.
— Michael Shea

Dracula by Bram Stoker. As a King “expert” it would be expected of me to recommend The StandIt or even the under-rated Bag of Bones. But, our whole genre is founded and fed by certain great classics. Stoker’s great novel has influenced the horror genre more than any other, and no horror book has had a greater impact on popular culture. Yet, most of those who still read entire books have not actually read this novel. Surprisingly that goes for many horror or dark fiction genre readers. Yes, it is written with a Victorian sensibility and the epistolary style is difficult for many but the payoff from this carefully crafted novel, full of the back-imagery of our minds, is immense. The sexual tension, the multi-layered representational use of blood, the ancient fear of the unknown, and the tools of a newly scientific age, all combine with tremendous characterization and a rollicking good story. Best of all, when the tale is done, a mighty genre lies downstream from its headwaters.
— Rocky Wood

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury.  This is a classic novel for a reason. The story evolves from two thirteen-year-old boys, James Nightshade and William Holloway, who are still at that age where the world is full of unknown mysteries and anything can happen. They are opposites, one adventurous and daring and spur-of-the-moment, the other cautious and grounded and wary. They are at the crossroads of innocence and adulthood. And when a dark carnival comes to town, they find themselves drawn to the darkness by all the possibilities.

And while that’s the core of the story, it’s not the whole story.  Something Wicked This Way Comesalso explores a part of human nature deeply rooted in all of us … wishing things were different.  The aging school teacher who wants to be young again. The disabled ex-football player who dreams of playing again.  The father with a bad heart who fears experiencing life to its fullest because it might mean his death.

And of course, there’s the dark carnival and the small town and the library.

How can you go wrong!
— David B. Silva

‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King.  It’s my favorite book by the best writer in the field.  It shows King at his best, with wonderful characterizations of a small town filled with fear.  I was 20 years old when I first read it and it dazzled me.  It showed what horror writers were capable of and I never looked back.  Even three decades later I remember the story vividly.  No other book has ever hit me so hard and I recommend it at every opportunity.
— 
John R. Little

This, at least for me, is a deceptively difficult question because so many exceptional books so easily come to mind. On a strictly personal level, Clive Barker’s The Books of Blood and, before that, Richard Matheson’s Hell House, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula were all huge influences that I believe remain as exceptional “ambassadors of horror” for new readers. However, if I must choose only one, (and possibly a bit of an uncommon or even contentious choice as it is often labeled as “fantasy” rather than horror) I’d have to select Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes. The novel is beautifully written, can be appreciated equally by readers of all ages, and touches upon some of our deepest universal fears and aspirations including our fears of growing old, of dying, of lost opportunities, and of lost friendship, among others. The book examines horrors of both supernatural and entirely mundane, human origin and manages to be mutually terrifying and life-affirming and a thoroughly entertaining read.
—  Norman L. Rubenstein

Photos of It: The 25th Anniversary Special Limited Edition by Stephen King

Cemetery Dance Publications has officially published It: The 25th Anniversary Special Limited Edition by Stephen King and I thought you might like to see some photos of the Slipcased Gift Edition and the Signed & Traycased Limited Edition. The Gift Edition is shipping this week to all those who preordered a copy and the Limited Edition will begin shipping next week when the traycases arrive.

As you can see, I am not a professional photographer and I specialize in blurry and slightly out of focus shots:

Limited Edition in Traycase (L), Gift Edition in Slipcase (R)

Limited Edition in Traycase (L), Gift Edition in Slipcase (R)

Limited Edition (L), Gift Edition (R)

Limited Edition (L), Gift Edition (R)

Continue reading Photos of It: The 25th Anniversary Special Limited Edition by Stephen King

Tomislav Tikulin’s Beautiful Cover Painting For Gideon’s Corpse by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

On Tuesday, Cemetery Dance Publications announced a deluxe special edition of Gideon’s Corpse, the forthcoming novel from New York Times bestselling collaborators Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.

This signed Limited Edition is already more than 70% sold out, just 48 hours later, and today I wanted to show off the stunning cover painting Tomislav Tikulin (who also painted the cover for the special edition of Gideon’s Sword) has turned in. Click on the image for a much larger version:

Preview of It: The 25th Anniversary Special Limited Edition by Stephen King

Cemetery Dance Publications will be shipping the Gift Edition and Limited Edition of It: The 25th Anniversary Special Limited Edition by Stephen King next week, and I thought you might like a sneak peek at the Gift Edition.  I took these photos very quickly, and please note that we don’t have the slipcases for the Gift Edition yet, so this is just the book itself, but I’ll post new photos of the finished Gift Edition and the signed and traycased Limited Edition later this month.

IT by Stephen King Gift Edition

This exclusive Cemetery Dance Publications deluxe Limited Edition features a brand new afterword by Stephen King, full-color wrap-around color artwork by Glen Orbik, and nearly thirty original color and black & white interior illustrations by Alan M. Clark and Erin S. Wells.

Here are two more shots featuring the Gift Edition (no slipcase), the Viking hardcover, and the Hodder & Stoughton hardcover to give you an idea of the size:

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