I’ve had a lot of readers asking about a paperback edition of The Painted Darkness because they missed out on the hardcover or they’re not eBook readers, so I’m pleased to report that a trade paperback is on the way — and the retail price will only be $9.99! In addition, if you like your books signed, please note that all of the preorders that Cemetery Dance sells for the next 10 days will be SIGNED by Brian Keene and myself — plus the book qualifies for FREE US SHIPPING for a very limited time only. Considering how fast the signed Limited Edition and Lettered Edition sold out, I really think this is a terrific deal. If you’ve been on the fence, this would be a great time to order a copy.
The Painted Darkness by Brian James Freeman
Featuring an exclusive introduction by Brian Keene
About the Book: When Henry was a child, something terrible happened in the woods behind his home, something so shocking he could only express his terror by drawing pictures of what he had witnessed. Eventually, Henry’s mind blocked out the bad memories, but he continued to draw, often at night by the light of the moon.
Twenty years later, Henry makes his living by painting his disturbing works of art. He loves his wife and his son, and life couldn’t be better… except there’s something not quite right about the old stone farmhouse his family now calls home. There’s something strange living in the cramped cellar, in the maze of pipes that feed the ancient steam boiler.
A winter storm is brewing, and soon Henry will learn the true nature of the monster waiting for him down in the darkness. He will battle this demon and, in the process, he may discover what really happened when he was a child — and why, in times of trouble, he thinks: I paint against the darkness.
But will Henry learn the truth in time to avoid the terrible fate awaiting him… or will the thing in the cellar get him and his family first?
Written as both a meditation on the art of creation and as an examination of the secret fears we all share, The Painted Darkness is a terrifying look at the true cost we pay when we run from our grief — and what happens when we’re finally forced to confront the monsters we know all too well.
Reviews and Praise: “The tone and building dread reminds me of classic Stephen King. Great velocity and impact, and super creepy. Don’t go in the basement!” — Stewart O’Nan,New York Times bestselling author of The Night Country and A Prayer for the Dying
“Brian James Freeman’s evocative tale about the dark corners of an artist’s imagination is elegant and haunting. This beautifully designed book with splendid illustrations by Jill Bauman is a pleasure to read and a joy to hold.” — David Morrell,New York Times bestselling author of The Shimmer
— Richard Matheson,New York Times bestselling author of What Dreams May Come and I Am Legend
“The Painted Darkness is a dark, terrifying, and deeply moving gem of a novella. Brian James Freeman managed to both scare me and move me to tears.” — Tess Gerritsen,New York Times bestselling author of The Keepsake and Harvest
“Wonderfully reminiscent of the quiet horror of Charles L. Grant, The Painted Darkness takes readers on a gently chilly walk through the forest of fears both conscious and subconscious. With Straubian lyricism, Brian James Freeman evokes not only the irrational terrors of childhood, but addresses the roots of creativity and the vital importance of art. A very impressive achievement.” — Bentley Little, author of The House and His Father’s Son
“The Painted Darkness delves into territory that fascinates so many of us — the fine lines between beauty and horror, faith and fear, art and the unconscious. Both a wonderful allegory and a gripping read, Brian James Freeman has written a taut, memorable tale.” — Michael Koryta, award-winning author of So Cold the River and The Cypress House
“Fast-paced, satisfying horror… a compelling read thanks to skillfully composed prose that builds tension and evokes emotional response. The paper edition includes several eerie full-page b&w illustrations by Jill Bauman.” —Publishers Weekly
Just a quick update that my anthology Dueling Minds, which features stories by Brian Keene, Gary A. Braunbeck, Tom Piccirilli, Tim Lebbon, Jenny Orosel, and Gerard Houarner, is selling out very quickly and there are no other editions planned at this time.
Even though the book was just announced on Friday, 85% of the signed Limited Edition copies are now spoken for and there are only 3 copies of the Deluxe Signed & Traycased Lettered Edition remaining.
I’m very pleased to finally be able to officially announce that my long gestating anthology Dueling Minds, which features stories by Brian Keene, Gary A. Braunbeck, Tom Piccirilli, Tim Lebbon, Jenny Orosel, and Gerard Houarner, will be published this year as part of the acclaimed Cemetery Dance Signature Series. The cover artwork is by Alan M. Clark and the interior artwork is by Erin S. Wells, both of whom are wonderful. For the serious book collector, I should note that this volume is a huge bargain because it is signed by all of the authors and artists, but the price is the same as the other books in the Signature Series.
This anthology is a print version of what I experimented with on my webzine, DuelingMinds.com, while in college way back at the turn of the century. For those who never had a chance to stop by the website, each issue of the webzine had four or five stories that were all inspired by the same piece of artwork, giving readers the chance to discover how different authors interpreted (and were inspired by) the exact same image.
In 2003, a small press publisher approached me and suggested a Dueling Minds anthology would work for his newly founded company. I agreed and quickly went to work searching for a cover artist. Normally choosing the cover art is one of the last parts of the creative side of putting together a book, but obviously in this case I needed the cover before I ever approached the authors since it was to be the inspiration for everything that followed.
Alan M. Clark was the first artist I spoke with and he was quite agreeable to the concept. He had also edited an anthology where authors wrote stories based on individual pieces of his artwork, so he recognized how much fun this sort of project could be. We looked through his portfolio and settled on one of my favorite pieces, which was originally inspired by a Ray Bradbury story.
Once I had the cover artwork, I contacted a handful of my favorite authors to see if they might be interested in contributing to this project. These authors took the challenge and ran with it, turning in their amazing stories over the next couple of months. I was already a big fan of their writing before this project, and the results of their efforts here just reinforced for me how truly creative these authors are.
In an unfortunate turn of fate, though, the original publisher closed up shop, leaving the book without a home for many years. Fast forward to 2011 when Richard Chizmar and I were kicking around ideas for new and creative titles for the Cemetery Dance Signature Series, which features small books from the genre’s best authors that are heavily illustrated by the most talented artists working in the business today.
Cemetery Dance had never offered a mini-anthology in the Signature Series, but the series seemed like the perfect place to experiment with this sort of unusual publication.
The artist and authors were contacted, all immediately agreed that it sounded like a fine idea and, all of these years later, we hired Erin Wells to create the interior artwork for the book since the Signature Series requires more interior illustrations than almost anything else Cemetery Dance publishes. That meant she created interior images that were inspired by stories that were inspired by Alan’s cover painting… which was originally inspired by a Ray Bradbury story.