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

The Deluxe Lettered Edition of It: The 25th Anniversary Special Edition by Stephen King was limited to 52 signed and lettered copies. Please note that the traycase is such a deep black color that it shows up gray in most of these photos because of the white backdrop and because I’m not much of a photographer.

This custom-made Lettered Edition book features:

*  Cromwell Black Flanders Grain leather binding on spine

*  Asahi Japanese Bookcloth, Turquoise Blue for front and back cover binding

*  French Marbled endsheets

*  pages edged with hand-dipped silver gilding

*  hot-stamped with Black Matte and Silver Bright foils

*  Smyth sewn with cotton thread

*  cotton hinge cloth, sewn headbands, and black silk ribbon page marker

*  dust jacket with a different design than the other editions

This handmade, custom-made box features:

*  Black Matador with Lido Emboss covering material

*  Bridal Satin in a Sunflower color lining

*  Black Silkscreen print with silver foil stamp

*  box constructed with 100-point recycled chipboard

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Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King Lettered Edition Photos

The Deluxe Lettered Edition of Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King was limited to 52 signed and lettered copies.

This hand-bound, custom-made Lettered Edition book features:
* Cromwell “Charred Wood” Leather binding on spine
* black Skivertex Ecrases, Sanigal embossing with aqueous coating for front and back cover binding
* French Marbled endsheets
* pages edged with hand-dipped gold gilding
* hot-stamped, blind embossed with clear foil and simulated dusted gold foil on front and spine
* Smyth sewn with cotton thread
* cotton hinge cloth, sewn headbands, and brown silk ribbon page marker
* dust jacket with a different design than the other editions
* book printed on Mohawk Loop Laid Natural #70 paper

This handmade, custom-made box features:
* Skivertex “Brown” Spania with aqueous coating
* pastel copper baroque satin lining
* hot-stamped, black glossy foil and simulated dusted gold foil
* brass hinges and clasp
* box constructed with 100-point recycled chipboard

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Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King Lettered Edition Shipping Soon

Something very cool is shipping from the Cemetery Dance warehouse this week: the Deluxe Lettered Edition of Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King. I’ll try to take some formal photos later this week, but here’s a quick shot of the complete set of our editions (Lettered, Limited, and Gift from left to right):

Trade Paperback of The Painted Darkness Shipping Now!

The trade paperback of The Painted Darkness, which has a retail price of only $9.99, is shipping now.

Cemetery Dance Publications still has some copies that are signed by Brian Keene, who wrote the introduction, and myself that you can order right now.

You can also order from or if you’d like to use a Gift Card you might have sitting around or take advantage of your existing account on those sites.

So again, your ordering options are:

Thanks, as always, for your continuing support!

Signed Trade Paperback of The Painted Darkness for Just $9.99

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

“Spooky stuff!”
—  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


Behind the Scenes: The 25th Anniversary Edition of IT Limited Edition Artwork Portfolio

When it comes to my day job at Cemetery Dance Publications, I’m often tossing out random ideas for new projects, just to keep things interesting.

For example, I once suggested we put together a huge Limited Edition Artwork Portfolio featuring all of the artwork from the The 25th Anniversary Edition of It by Stephen King that we published in December, even though we had never really tried an artwork portfolio on that scale before.

Everyone agreed it seemed like a fine idea, so we made special arrangements with Glen Orbik, Alan M. Clark, and Erin Wells to collect all of their artwork from the book into an oversized portfolio. By oversized I mean the artwork alone is 11 inches by 14 inch. Obviously, the portfolio to hold the artwork would need to be even bigger. After the deals were made, we created a special signature sheet to be signed by all three artists. We publicly announced the project and we limited the portfolio to a one-time printing of just 500 sets.

But getting the actual portfolio to look and feel the way we wanted took almost three months and four prototypes. The first prototype was too flimsy and didn’t feel elegant enough. For the second prototype, we used a heavier material and we also tried an alternate closure for a different look, but the closure didn’t really keep the portfolio shut and we were concerned the artwork would just fly out if someone moved it too quickly. The third prototype nailed the material weight and closure just right, but they accidentally made it at 2/3s the final size, so we had a fourth prototype made just to be sure everything was perfect. These prototypes are constructed by hand, one at a time, so they’re not cheap, but they’re well worth the cost when you consider the alterative: producing a less than desirable collectible. The final prototype was everything we envisioned and we gave it the green light.

The finished portfolios will begin shipping in late March, but below are some photos of the final approve case they sent us today. For the first photo, keep in mind how large our special edition of It by Stephen King is and that’ll give you a good feel for how huge these portfolios are.


Dueling Minds Anthology Sales Update

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.

Dueling Minds Limited Edition

Dueling Minds Anthology Officially Part of the Cemetery Dance Signature Series

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,, 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.

Funny how things work out sometimes.

This Month’s Question: Why Horror?

As I mentioned the other week, my new feature called “The Question of the Month” over at FEARnet is a mix of “The Final Question” from Cemetery Dance magazine and also original content.  What I forgot to mention was that last month’s column ran before my blog was launched, so I’m going to post that content here today to catch everyone up.

The feature has a simple premise: each month I’ll ask a handful of horror/dark suspense authors to answer the same question and then I’ll publish their responses exactly as I receive them. In theory, this should give you some insight into how these authors think and where their work comes from.  Each month you can read the answers here on this blog or over at

This month’s question is: why horror?

Given the immensity of the gulf between what we desire and what we must live with, given also our own dread of what lies in us of both monstrosity and transcendence, horror was an inevitability.
— Peter Straub

Because there’s nothing so extreme — from there you can work your way back to courage, loyalty, community, tenderness.   Then there’s that old sex ‘n death thing….
Jack Ketchum

Horror is a genre in which I can throw characters into dire situations, strip away the veneers of their self-imposed personas, and then explore with them their most basic human emotions and reactions.
Elizabeth Massie

I misspelt “humor” on the application.
Kealan Patrick Burke

I read horror for the same reason I read any other kind of fiction. I want strong stories about interesting and sympathetic people. The bonus with horror, as with science fiction, is that the writer can conjure a world of his own to comment on our world. Ramsey Campbell and Christopher Fowler are two good examples. They twist reality into hyper-reality so that a visit to a pharmacy can become a horrific comment on the medical system. Their monsters are not only the great dark Them, they’re also Us.
Ed Gorman

Why horror? … Indeed. Because horror in all its manifestations says … and sometimes whispers … the deepest, darkest secrets about what it means to be human…. Horror addresses and, when brave, confronts the twin terrors of existence … and non-existence.
Rick Hautala

Horror! What a rotten name for an amazing genre. Because Horror’s great appeal isn’t just the screaming and the gore–it is a voyage into our spiritual natures. It asks questions about that “otherness” that’s so important in our lives, but which we cannot taste, touch, smell, see or hear.  Horror allows us to encounter that dimension, which we intuitively believe in, but lies just beyond our fingertips.
Simon Clark

Because, as–for instance–H. P. Lovecraft so deftly asserted, the greatest fear we can experience is, not the fear of the dark, or the fear of death, mutilation, rape by monsters, impregnation by para-dimensional abominations, or what have you, but the fear of the unknown.  No genre transfigures this fear more potently to the reader than the horror genre.  Even in great “literature,” I’ll contend.  True, great literature often exists on a much more important level than horror (though not always!) but it seems to me that horror must stimulate the reader’s mental pressure points more effectively and more consistently than other genres. It must!  And with that mental stimulus comes the provocation that makes us ponder our inner-selves.  Provocation is the key, and it can be just as legitimate in horror as any other field of creativity.  I very passionately appreciate the works of, say, Faulkner, Kafka, Sartre, Marquez, etc., and regard their literary contributions as paramount and more significant than even that of the most astute horror writers.  Ah, but horror is so much more fun, isn’t it? And the provocation of thought that it induces in us is just as functional.
Edward Lee

Haunted houses, bloody footprints, hitchhiking ghosts, and devil dogs–the stories I heard in the backyard as a kid were the first stories that made my imagination boil, and there was something about them I understood. Or wanted to, because those stories always left questions. Did that really happen? Could it happen to me, and what if it did? The tale became a springboard to an answer or conclusion that made the reader/listener reach, and that’s a very good thing.
— Norman Partridge

Why not?  Nothing wakes you up in the morning or lets you know you’re alive like a good scare does.
Brian Keene

It’s not that I made a conscious decision to write in the horror genre.  It’s just that when I wrote, what came out of me didn’t fit anywhere else.
Ray Garton

This Month’s Question: What Is The Future of Horror?

My new feature called “The Question of the Month” over at FEARnet is a mix of “The Final Question” from Cemetery Dance magazine and also original content.

The feature has a simple premise: each month I’ll ask a handful of the genre’s authors to answer the same question and then I’ll publish their responses exactly as I receive them. In theory, this should give you some insight into how these authors think and where their work comes from.  Each month you can read the answers here on this blog or over at

This month’s question is: What is the future of horror?

Writers in pain. Their wounds, unconscious or otherwise, define the genre.
— R.C. Matheson

I don’t know what the future of horror will be, but I always live in hope that whatever it is, it’ll be a bit more subtle, quietly disturbing, surreal, and otherworldly than a lot of the trends we’ve recently seen. Something that instills genuine dread rather than aiming to shock or gross out. Not because I dislike accessible, splattery fun, but just to shake things up a bit. I’m loathe to use the word “cerebral,” but something with a bit more depth would be nice. Can we rewind to the ’80s and welcome Clive Barker as the future of horror, please? That would be grand.
— Brett Alexander Savory

The future of horror is the past–the sins of the past, that is, repressed and otherwise, which have been at the heart of virtually every horror story since Horace Walpole wrote the first gothic novel way back in 1764.
— Dale Bailey

The great thing about horror is that it doesn’t give a crap about the future or the past. It’s immune to trends. Humans will never lose interest in sex or death.
— Scott Nicholson

My hope is that horror will blaze a course through this present fascination with extreme violence without any subtext or meaning—simple shock and brutality—and start re-exploring the concepts that make the genre so powerful. Without a human element to these stories, the characters are just so many pieces of wood waiting to be hewn and chopped into kindling. If horror is to have a future beyond revolting people and making them scream with cheap scares, writers, readers and moviegoers alike need to rediscover that the best horror is about bad things happening to characters in whom we have an emotional investment.
— Bev Vincent

The future of horror is…assured.  The arc of expression seems to be following the media arc as a whole: less attention to print, more to video games and movies, but horror reinvents itself to fit.  Horror will prosper as long as people get a frisson down the spine from things that go bump in the night.
— Holly Newstein

The future of horror? The past. As always.
— Glen Hirshberg

People (or Soylent Green, if you prefer the packaging). Us.  With our capacity for feeling and inflicting pain, our reaction to mystery and the unknown, our appetite for the world and each other, we’ll be drawn to horror like lemmings to a cathartic sea for a while.  The Greeks dug it, we dig it.  However the source medium may evolve, as long as there are people, there will be both the inspiration and audience for horror.  Horror will truly be dead when we’ve split angel from demon and cast off the monsters inside us.  And we’re a long way off from that feat of genetic engineering.  Or exorcism…
— Gerard Houarner

It’s vampires who sparkle in the sunlight, like David Bowie in his sequined androgynous glam-rocker phase, or maybe it’s werewolves who crap strawberry scented sprinkles.  I’m pretty sure it’s one of those.
— Gary Raisor

What is the future of horror? WHO THE FUCK KNOWS? But I betcha we’re about to find out! (P.S.: The future of horror starts right… about… now.)
— John Skipp

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