Isn't King good enough?

Posted: April 26, 2001, 19:12
Isn't King good enough to have written Desperation? Well, he is...if you ask Christina Starobin a poet, author and assistant adjunct professor at Ulster County Community College in Stone Ridge, N.Y. he is. She claims King stole ideas from her novel Blood Eternal and added them to Desperation.

Thanks to Ed for sending me the article.

Judge Shoots Down Writer's Claims Against Author Stephen King
John Caher
New York Law Journal
April 25, 2001

A federal judge in New York has dismissed with disdain a complaint by a writer and adjunct literature professor who claimed that prince of horror Stephen King stole her work.

U.S. District Judge David N. Hurd of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York shot down Christina Starobin of Saugerties, N.Y., for engaging in a "recurring and vitriolic attack upon the character and abilities of King."

Starobin v. King and Penguin Putnam Inc., 00-CV-0185, stems from a complaint brought by Starobin, a poet, author and assistant adjunct professor at Ulster County Community College in Stone Ridge, N.Y.

Starobin had written a novel, Blood Eternal, about vampires who run a car service in suburban New Jersey. The copyrighted novel was submitted to Penguin and then returned to Starobin on Sept. 20, 1996. Two days earlier, King copyrighted his novel, Desperation, which was published by Penguin.

The complaint alleged that King, whose 40-plus books have sold millions of copies, is essentially devoid of literary talent, could not have written Desperation on his own and pilfered from the work of Starobin during the three months her manuscript was in the possession of Penguin. About the only similarity Judge Hurd found between the two novels was that, in his opinion, neither was very good.

"There are no common characters, locations or occurrences shared by her novel and King's," Hurd wrote. "There are no common references to popular culture, historical events or common sequences of events ... . When the two works at issue are viewed as a whole, it is utterly beyond dispute that no reasonable person could regard them as similar, much less substantially so."

The judge added that he was not all that impressed with King's literary abilities either. Hurd said he had never before read a Stephen King novel, and was not exactly enthralled by the horror writer's tale of an evil spirit that emanates from a mine in the Nevada desert and possesses passers-by, transforming them into homicidal maniacs.

"Quite frankly, neither work was a particularly good read," Hurd said, referring to Desperation and Blood Eternal, both of which he said were read cover-to-cover.

Regardless, Desperation spent some 15 weeks on The New York Times best-seller list in hard cover and was highly successful as a paperback.


Starobin repeatedly contended that her literary credentials are superior to King's, and that assertion alone established an issue of fact as to whether King is capable of writing Desperation.

She attempted to bolster that point with this statement from her plaintiff's memorandum:

"Although plaintiff's having graduated Harvard cum laude, gone on to a Masters in English and Comparative Literature at Colubmia [sic] and a PhD in English at New York University does not mean intelligence [sic], it does mean a long number of hours reading books other than Grisham and other best sellers and exposure to philosphy [sic], plot and symbolism in heavy enough doses to become queasy with the superficiality espoused by [defendant] King."

Judge Hurd, however, termed Starobin's conduct "reprehensible," considered her character attacks on King unseemly and found it "disheartening that a person of plaintiff's education and self-professed abilities would resort to such attacks, particularly in light of the obviously baseless nature of her claims."

Starobin argued pro se. Peter A. Herbert, of Lankler Siffert & Wohl in Manhattan, appeared as co-counsel for King. Also representing the defendants, including the publisher, were Gerald E. Singleton, Maura J. Wogan and Yuki A. Hirose, of Frankfurt, Garbus, Kurnit, Klein & Selz in Manhattan.


Posted: April 21, 2001, 19:11
On April 23, celebrate the "World Day of the Book" with a special contribution by Stephen King. King has hand signed 10 special German editions of his new novel Duddits and will put them up for auction. The auction on the net will start in the morning at 8 am CET, ending at 8 pm. The proceeds will go to 2 German non-profit organizations.

Carrie: Special Edition

Posted: April 21, 2001, 19:09
MGM will release Carrie: Special Edition on DVD in August 2001. The 25th Anniversary Edition of Carrie includes not one but two 45-minute making of documentaries, Acting Carrie and Visualizing Carrie. Also included is what is the guaranteed-to-be-entertaining Carrie: The Musical featurette, text on Stephen King and "The Writing Of Carrie," an animated photo gallery and the original theatrical trailer. Retail is $19.95. Street Date is: August 28, 2001.

No Dark Tower comic book

Posted: April 2, 2001, 19:09
OK, the news about comic book versions of King's The Dark Tower isn't true. I don't know if it was supposed to be an April 1st joke or just a joke but it's not true.

Comic Book Galaxy posted an apologize today. Here is what they said:

This page, and all of the filthy lies that it contained, has been removed. We at the Comic Book Galaxy, apologize for any misgivings presented by our former associate, d. emerson eddy, and would publicly like to state that anything you read on this page previously this day was nothing more than LIES! LIES! LIES! perpetrated by someone who hasn't got a clue when it comes to what Marvel or DC are publishing next year.

King's office also denied any such deals today.

King's Dark Tower to become a comic book?

Posted: April 1, 2001, 19:08
Yes, it seams to be true. Comic Book Galaxy reported the following:

Well, Marvel has managed to do the near impossible, and gone bigger than Clive Barker. Basically, who's the biggest name in horror?

Stephen King, plain and simple. Starting off with a bang in October will be the new horror imprint, pioneered by four books spinning out of the mind of Stephen King. While the master of the macabre himself won't be writing any of the books, the ideas and characters are purely his. The only confirmed title we have at the moment, though, is a comic adaptation of the acclaimed Dark Tower series. From all I've heard and been sent, the title of the series should be Gunslingers, and while based on the Dark Tower mythos, it will have no impact or continuity with the novels themselves.

I wish I could tell you more about this truly groundbreaking development, but that's all I've been given, and told to sit on. I know that this is going to sour any further information I receive, but I think the comics readers needed, if not deserved, to be told the truth about what's going on in the next year or so.

Personally I have a hard time seeing King releasing the rights to The Dark Tower, he always seams extra protective about them...

Tyson moves in...

Posted: March 13, 2001, 19:08
BIG things are happening in Lilja's Library at the moment, maybe the biggest thing since sliced bread. The well-known King expert, Tyson Blue, has agreed to make Lilja's Library his official home when he reviews stuff that is connected to Stephen King!

It will be all kinds of reviews (books, audio books, DVD's and so on) and all of you that have read any of Tyson's other stuff knows that this is BIG!

The first review will soon be online but until then you can read a review (by me) of Tyson's own book "Walking The Mile - The Making Of "The Green Mile" in "The Review Section" and an interview with him (also done by me) in "The Interview Section".

Oh, and I will still be doing my own reviews as well.

More Book Report

Posted: March 8, 2001, 19:08
OK, this is starting to get confusing but apparently King's letter (essay) is appearing in both Walden Books magazine (Book Report) and in Borders (Inside Borders).

The difference seams to be that in Inside Borders King's letter is all hand written and in Book Report only parts of it is.

Book one: Zenith Rising will be back

Posted: March 7, 2001, 15:52
All of you that have missed Book one: Zenith Rising can relax. On King's official site he now says that when he continues The Plant, he will also put part one online again.

Here is what it says:

Q: Where have all the installments gone?

A: The Plant is furling its leaves for the time being while Stephen works on other projects. When the installments of Book 2 go online, we will also make Book 1 available again for those of you who missed it the first time round. If you would like to be notified when it comes back with new installments, please join the mailing list and we'll send you an email.

Production info about Dolan's Cadillac

Posted: March 5, 2001, 20:47
According to Upcoming movies production of Dolan's Cadillac is scheduled to start in May 2001 and it's premier is set for 2002. Here is some other info about the movie from the same source:

Production Companies:
Franchise Pictures (Get Carter, Battlefield Earth)
Cruise/Wagner Productions (Mission: Impossible II)

Kevin Bacon (Tom Robinson)
Sylvester Stallone (Jimmy Dolan)

Stacy Title (The Last Supper and Let the Devil Wear Black)

Stacy Title
Jonathan Penner

Book Report

Posted: March 4, 2001, 19:06
Most of you have heard of the bookstore chain Walden Books. They have a free monthly newsletter called Book Report. In the March 2001 issue (that is out now) they have a 2 page spread revealing King's thoughts about how refreshing it was for him to write the first draft of Dreamcatcher the old fashioned way, BY HAND!!!!

The issue also has one additional page with an article about his hometown Bangor.

King's speech at Vassar confirmed

Posted: March 4, 2001, 19:05
The Alumnae/Alumni Association as well as C.B., a contact at Vassar College (in NY), have confirmed that King will be a speaker at their Spring Graduation Commencement (nothing yet from the Office of College Relations, though). The date for Vassar College's 137th Commencement is May 20th @ 10:00am-1:00pm in the Outdoor amphi-theater which is located on Sunset Lake. (Side Note: Behind the lake is Sunset Hill and then orchards.

This will be followed by a "Religion Reception" between 1:00pm-4:00pm in Jade Parlor and a "Reception" between 1:00pm-3:00pm on the Library lawn. It has been open in the past but please, don't go unless you have family graduating or are attending the reunion the next day. I'm sure that somewhere, somehow we will see/read King's speech.

Commencement address

Posted: March 1, 2001, 19:05
King will probably be giving the commencement address at Vasser (Poughkeepsie, NY) for this springs graduation (probably on May 20th).

For those of you that don't know (I didn't) a commencement is a college (university) graduation! This address is kind of like a keynote speaker at any type of conference.

King expert Bev Vincent gets his own column

Posted: February 28, 2001, 19:04
Here is some interesting news for all you King fans out there! Bev Vincent (who readers of this site know as an King oracle) is finally getting a forum to share his King knowledge in.

Bev will be taking Tyson Blue's place as Cemetery Dance's King columnist. The first one will be in the next issue, which we look forward to with excitement!

A response to the letter in Bangor Daily News

Posted: February 26, 2001, 19:04
King should prevail
Wednesday, February 21, 2001

Having reviewed Stephen Podolsky’s scolding of Stephen King (BDN, Feb. 17-18) for suing his insurance company to recover what he believes to be his, I must respond.

Podolsky says King has enough money, therefore he doesn’t need more. Then he speaks of the lawyer’s cut, should it settle, and goes on to say that the insurance company claims it paid the maximum allowed for his policy, adding that we all will suffer if King should recover what is justly his through higher insurance rates. I doubt even Podolsky believes those gentle, loving insurance peddlers are being forthright in claiming they have paid their debt to King. I’ll lay you odds they didn’t.

King believes he has been shortchanged. Just because he’s who he is has no bearing on his decision to go forth with a lawsuit. Indeed, as Podolsky points out, he will never “replace the pain and suffering” he endured with money. What did he buy the policy for; perhaps to have an insurance agent stop by periodically and pat his hand and reassure him they care about his pain? Insurance companies operate solely for money.

Many of us have had to go to court to recover what’s ours from insurers who will spend more to prevent payment than to settle. They have been able to purchase their way with political lobbying and protective legislation, and we pay.

My hope is that King prevails. If he does, perhaps a long overdue expose of an uncontrolled insurance industry will be upcoming. Would it be an honest mistake or would it be a form of extortion? Maybe he’ll lose. But he has every right to test them in spite of his wealth or Podolsky’s predisposition to pamper the opposition.

George F. McCann

No more Stud City?

Posted: February 24, 2001, 00:57
I recently spoke to Sean Parlaman (the guy behind Stud City) about the movie. He then told me that at the moment the movies feature looks rather dark. He told me that his own attempts to head a production of Stud City are over, but that he is hoping that either King's office or a producer in Hollywood, who previously expressed interest in the movie, will find a way to get this story told in a way which respects the original short story and his vision of it in his screenplay.

Let's hope that just that will happen. In the meantime you can head over to The Review Section and read my review of the script for Stud City.

Review of Dolan's Cadillac script

Posted: February 19, 2001, 20:46
_ has a review of the upcoming movie version of Dolan's Cadillac. Judging from it, this will be a rather good movie.

A letter to the editor of Bangor Daily News

Posted: February 19, 2001, 19:03
King could write it off
Saturday, February 17, 2001

I have always been a Stephen King fan and always will be one. Stephen and Tabitha have given so much to our community and charity organizations.

But I am puzzled as to why one of the wealthiest persons in the world (earnings of $65 million in 1999 alone) would sue his insurance company for $10 million (BDN, Feb. 13). Stephen King survived a horrific accident in 1999 and it is amazing he came through it alive. He endured many surgeries and months of rehabilitation, pain and suffering.

Ten million dollars won’t replace any of that pain and suffering. His insurance company paid him $450,000, which the company claims is the limit in that case. They add that King did not have the proper coverage.

Does King need $7 million more? (His lawyers would get $3 million.)

Why wouldn’t he write it off as a tax break? The average working man’s and woman’s insurance rates go up every time an insurance company pays out in lawsuits.

Stephen Podolsky

King interviewed on The Mitch Albom Show

Posted: February 16, 2001, 19:02
Here are some of the topics he talked about:

King's health:
King seams to be "doing pretty well". His doctor advised him to have more surgery though. It would be to remove "a big piece of metal" that he still has in his hip.

Brian Smith:
said, "I was never angry, not from the very beginning." He also said that a cop who visited him in the hospital told him that the can of Pepsi on the table next to his hospital bed had "a bigger IQ" than Smith.

The Rock Bottom Remainders fall tour:
King said America Scores might send them out on tour again.

King said that it would be released on March 24th ( says March 29th). He said "Think of it as Independence day crossed with Stephen King sensibility" and warned "After reading this book, you'll never want to go into the bathroom again."

The Dark Tower-series
He hopes to be going back to work on the series soon (hopefully this year). King said that he's 53, has been working on DT since he was 22, and it is "Time to put the pedal to the metal and get this thing done...There's only so many years left between me and Alzheimers.

King directing:
King said he wants to direct one more adaptation of one of his books. He also said he learned a lot (mostly what not to do) while directing Maximum Overdrive.

Why was Getting It On rejected

Posted: February 15, 2001, 19:02
Darrin passed along this really cool excerpt from The Missouri Review that includes an internal memo stating WHY Knopf decided, in 1971, not to publish a novel called Getting It On by a certain young author named Stephen King. You might know this novel as Rage:

The Missouri Review
Volume XXIII, No. 3
Pages 133-134

"Publication is not Recommended: From the Knopf Archives"

KING, Stephen

A high school student who has been expelled for accidentally hitting a girl over the head with a baseball bat gets a gun out of his locker, kills the Latin teacher, and takes over the Latin class. He calls this "getting it on." While the police, national guard, and other assorted "pigs" are trying to figure out how to get him out of the classroom, he's regaling the kids with his life story (his parents hate him, of course), and then the class turns into a group therapy session, with everyone telling their "real" feelings about things. I didn't stick around for the ending, but I'm sure it would make beautiful (and nauseatingly typical) television.

S. MacGillivray 11/3

Did S.MacGillivray make a mistake or what...

King sues his insurance company for $10 million

Posted: February 13, 2001, 19:01
Author sues insurer in dispute over coverage for injuries from 1999 crash
By Associated Press, 02/13/01

BANGOR, Maine -- Horror writer Stephen King has sued his insurance company for $10 million, claiming it failed to provide full coverage for injuries he sustained when struck by a van in western Maine two years ago.

The lawsuit against Commercial Union York Insurance Co., which has branches in Portland and Bangor, was filed last week in Penobscot County Superior Court.

King and his wife, Tabitha, will seek the umbrella policy's $10 million limit plus interest of 1.5 percent per month, according to their attorney, Warren M. Silver of Bangor, who said the figure falls well short of the Kings' physical and financial damages.

"He has had some very significant problems and continues to have them," Silver said. "He is having trouble, but has been able to deal with the pain, and continues to work because he is such a strong person and focused person."

King, 53, was injured in June 1999 when a van driven by Bryan Smith of Fryeburg struck the author as he was walking along the shoulder of Route 5 near his vacation home in Lovell.

King suffered a broken leg and hip, punctured lung, broken ribs and other injuries. He has undergone five surgeries since the accident, and Silver said another operation will likely be performed this summer.

In a statement issued through its law firm, Commercial Union said King's umbrella policy is designed to cover only his liability to others, and specifically excludes personal injury caused by an underinsured motorist.

Commercial Union paid King $450,000 under his uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, a figure that represents the policys $500,000 limit less the $50,000 liability settlement with Smith.

"Mr. King had a very serious accident and his insurance policies responded as intended," said the statement released by the Portland law firm of Norman, Hanson & DeTroy.

In his lawsuit, Silver said the restriction on the umbrella policy is not allowed under Maine law.

Smith, who told police he had been distracted by his dog before hitting King, later pleaded guilty to driving to endanger and his license was suspended for six months.

Nine months later, Smith, 43, was found dead in his home after an accidental overdose of a prescription painkiller.

Kings lawsuit states that as a result of Smiths negligence, King "sustained very serious, substantial, and permanent physical injuries" and has "endured pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, loss of capacity of enjoyment of life, and significant lost income."

Despite the lawsuit, the Kings have retained their policy with the company, according to Silver.


The Man in the Black Suit to become a music piece

Posted: February 9, 2001, 13:01
Stephen King's short story The Man in the Black Suit is being made into a music theater piece by American Opera Projects, premiering in 2001.

The music is by Eve Beglarian; the libretto is co written by Beglarian and Grethe Barrett Holby.

Read more on the composer's homepage.

Stallone and Bacon in a Cadillac?

Posted: February 7, 2001, 20:45
Here is an article from The Hollywood Reporter about Dolan's Cadillac:

LOS ANGELES (The Hollywood Reporter) --- Sylvester Stallone is set to star and Kevin Bacon is in negotiations to join him in Franchise Pictures' thriller Dolan's Cadillac, based on a Stephen King novelette that Paula Wagner will produce through her C/W Prods.

The project is scheduled to start production in May with writer-director Stacy Title ("The Last Supper") directing from her own adaptation.

In "Cadillac," an innocent woman who witnesses a mob hit is murdered to protect a local boss (Stallone), and her husband (Bacon) exacts revenge.

Bacon is also in negotiations to join the cast of the action-thriller "24 Hours" for director Luis Mandoki and the Canton Co./Senator Entertainment AG. "Hours" is targeted for a mid-March start, after which Bacon would segue to "Cadillac."

The project marks Stallone's fourth film for Franchise. He starred in "Get Carter" and the upcoming "Driven" and goes before cameras in mid-April in Toronto in the company's black comedy "Avenging Angelo" with Madeleine Stowe.

Stephen King Checks Into Asylum

Posted: February 7, 2001, 18:59
Stephen King Checks Into Asylum
Feb 6 2001 11:26PM

HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - In a landmark effort by the prolific author and screenwriter, Stephen King has adapted Patrick McGrath's novel "Asylum" for Paramount Pictures, the first time he has tackled a work other than his own for the screen.

The picture is set in an English insane asylum, where the superintendent's wife falls in love with one of the patients, a murderer.

Jonathan Demme ("Beloved") has long been attached to direct the picture with actors Liam Neeson and Natasha Richardson also on board, pending Demme's availability.

King has adapted a number of his own books, including horror-thrillers "Creepshow," "Children of the Corn" and "Pet Sematary." His work has also been adapted by others for titles such as "The Green Mile," "The Shining," "Carrie," "The Shawshank Redemption," "Stand by Me" and "Apt Pupil."

The original "Asylum" adaptation was written by Chris Baylis with other rewrites penned by Patrick Marber.

Kevin Bacon in Dolan's Cadillac

Posted: February 6, 2001, 20:44
Rosandra reported that Kevin Bacon are currently negotiation to join the film as a husband who gets King-style revenge for his innocent wife's murder (a mob hit to protect the local mob boss).

Black House

Posted: February 5, 2001, 18:59
Black House set for a September 15 release.

The Plant Income/Expense Report

Posted: February 3, 2001, 15:49
Here are The Plant Income/Expense Report from King's site:

The Plant Income/Expense Report Through 12/31/00

Deposits to Philtrum through 12/31/00 $721,448.61

Compositing and design services $14,000.00

Print Ads $139,616.75
Ad Design $1,150.00
Total Ad $140,766.75

Web Hosting and Maintenance 102,849.59

Total Expenses 257,616.34

Net Profit $463,832.27

In The Plant FAQ the King also says that installment 7 may come within a year. Let's hope this means sometime in 2001!

Q: When does the next installment come online?
A: Installment Seven may come online within a year or so.

The Plant has furled its leaves

Posted: February 1, 2001, 15:47
The Plant has furled its leaves for the time being. All six parts and Zenith Rising have been removed from King's official site.

Dolan's Cadillac to be a movie?

Posted: January 30, 2001, 20:43
Brian Freeman reported the following interesting info today:

Here is an article that was in the Hartford Courant.

You know all those stories about name talent in Hollywood being booked and double-booked into pre-strike movies - and how there are almost no stars of marquee value left with free space on their schedules? Well, now we can tell you that even boxoffice-challenged Sylvester Stallone is hurrying into a pre-strike project - and a promising one at that.

It's Dolan's Cadillac, a Stephen King story in which Stallone will play a Las Vegas kingpin who thinks he's gotten away with murder, though the spouse of the victim has big revenge plans.

The Cruise-Wagner project (as in Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner) is scheduled to start the last week of April in Mexico. That's last minute for production and post-production, considering the strike could start June 30th.

Re-make of Salem's Lot?

Posted: January 30, 2001, 00:51
4 Filmmakers has a re-release of Salem's Lot listed on their site. Whether this movie really will be done remains to be seen though...

Here is what they have listed:

Title: Salem's Lot
Status: Development
Logline: Vampires take over a small New England town.
Notes: Based on the novel by Stephen King.

Studios Involved: Warner Brothers
Directors: P.J. Hogan
Studio/Prod. Co. Executives: Kevin McCormick
Writers: Joe Gangemi
Genres: Adaptation, Horror, Remake
Producers: Denise DiNovi
Project Types: In Development
Actors: None
Production Companies: Village Roadshow, DiNovi Pictures
Exec. Producers: None
Co-Producers Assoc.: None
Producers: None

Documentary about King

Posted: January 26, 2001, 18:58
NBC is doing a new documentary about King for Headliners and Legends.


Posted: January 15, 2001, 14:29
Hodder & Stoughton is now starting to promote Dreamcatcher and plans to re-release all of King's older books.

Tom Gordon as Tom Gordon?

Posted: January 1, 2001, 23:14
Tom Gordon might star as himself in this movie. If the financing can be arranged. The movie will be directed by horror-film maestro George Romero. Several attempts to reach Gordon were unsuccessful, but King said he seems excited about the prospect.

"I've worked with George, and he takes good care of people," King said. "Tom won't have to be Wesley Snipes or Cuba Gooding Jr. He's a young enough guy to be adventurous."

The Talisman on ABC

Posted: December 27, 2000, 01:11
Steven Spielberg brings King's novel The Talisman to ABC as a four-hour miniseries.

Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy will serve as executive producers of the project. Neither ABC, Spielberg's DreamWorks or Kennedy-Marshall Co. would comment on the project, which is in the early development stage.

There's no official word yet on an airdate for the TV adaptation, and sources stressed that ABC has yet to see a script for the mini. My guess is that it'll be out in late 2001 or early 2002. King, who was seriously injured in June when he was hit by a car near his home in Maine, is not believed to be involved with the production. Neither is Peter Straub.

The Plant

Posted: December 20, 2000, 15:44
King completed the first part of The Plant on December 18:th 2000 when he released part 6 and book one (parts one through six), Zenith Rising. King will (hopefully) begin release book two on the official site sometime this summer.

Here is how The Plant was released:
Part 1 (July 24, 2000) $1
Part 2 (August 21, 2000) $1
Part 3 (September 25, 2000) $1
Part 4 (October 23, 2000) $2
Part 5 (November 20, 2000) $2
Part 6 (December 18, 2000) Free
Zenith Rising (December 18, 2000) $7

King writes about The Plant in The Time

Posted: December 18, 2000, 14:28
DECEMBER 18, 2000
How I Got That Story
The novelist ponders the lessons he's learned from cyberpublishing


In July of this year, I began publishing a serial novel at my website, The idea was one episode a month, pay as you go...and pay by the honor system. My inspiration was the newspaper vendors in New York City during the first half of the century. Many of those hired for the job were blind, because the distribs felt that even slightly dishonest people wouldn't steal from a blind newsboy. My experiment has far from run its course, but the first phase of it concludes later this month, when Part 6 of The Plant--by far the longest--goes up, this time for free.

In the modest hoopla that has surrounded the publication of The Plant, very few media analysts bothered to talk about the story itself (possibly because they didn't bother to read it). The Plant happens to be about a voracious supernatural vine that begins to grow wild in a paperback publishing house. It offers success, riches and the always desirable Bigger Market Share. All it wants from you in return is a little flesh...a little blood...and maybe a piece of your soul. What made The Plant such a hilarious Internet natural (at least to my admittedly twisted mind) was that publishers and media people seem to see exactly this sort of monster whenever they contemplate the Net in general and e-lit in particular: a troublesome strangler fig that just might have a bit o' the old profit in it. If, that is, it's handled with gloves.

The most dismaying thing I learned in the course of The Plant's run (a run that's not over but only lying dormant until next summer) is that there's a profound crevasse of misunderstanding between the smart guys of the business world and the talented goofballs who make entertainment in this increasingly entertainment-hungry society. Publishers, investors and media watchers see a venture like The Plant and say, "Ah, King is moving into e-commerce!" in the tones of 1940s newscasters relaying the news that Hitler is moving east. King, in the meantime, is thinking something along the lines of, "Hey guys! My uncle's got a barn! Let's put on a show!" It's a goofy thing, in other words. Not a business thing at all. Which, may I add, isn't the same thing as saying there's no money in it. Or cultural clout. Just ask the goofball who thought up Napster.

Am I displeased with how things have turned out? Nope. I've had terrific fun working on The Plant, and so far it's grossed about $600,000. It may end up over a million (the figures will be posted on the website early next year, down to the last crying dime). Those aren't huge numbers in today's book market, but The Plant--pay attention, now, because this is the important part--is not a book. Right now it exists as nothing but electronic bits and bytes dancing gaily in cyberspace. Yes, it's been downloaded by hundreds of thousands of people, either in its various parts or in its entirety, and some readers may have printed hard copies (even decorated them like medieval monks illuminating manuscripts, for all I know), but mostly it's just an electronic mirage floating out there all by itself, like Samuel Coleridge's stately pleasure dome, with no printing costs, publisher's cuts or agents' fees to pull it down. Advertising aside (I did some, not much), costs are low to the point of nonexistence, and the profit potential is unlimited.

Do Parts 1 through 6 constitute an entire novel? In the sense that there's a beginning, a middle and a resolution, yes. Readers will be as satisfied as they would be with, say, the first volume of a trilogy like Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials (not that I am claiming the same literary quality; never think that). Right now I'm returning to print publishing because I love it and because I have a contract to fulfill--two books remaining.

Is there anything about the coverage of Steve's Excellent Adventure that bothers me? Probably the implication that by using the honor system, I was either displaying a naive belief in the honesty of my fellow man or (worse) indulging in a bit of electronic bungee jumping. Neither one. By offering the story in installments and promising to pull the plug if payments fell off, I felt that I had armed myself with a stick to protect my carrot. It worked, too. Part 5 payments fell steeply, but only after I announced the venture was nearing its end. I'm afraid that did bring on a certain amount of looting.

The real test of The Plant's marketplace viability may come in late December and January, when Philtrum Press--my publishing company, which has offered books at odd intervals for almost 20 years--will e-market all six parts (The Plant, Book One: The Rise of Zenith) for $7, about the price of a paperback. And for that, my friend, you'll need your credit card.

My mamma didn't raise no fools.

King made $65,000,000 last year

Posted: December 14, 2000, 14:27
Here is the list of athletes and celebrities who made $25 million or more last year (King is on 6:th place) according to Forbes (in totals in millions of dollars):

George Lucas: 400.0
Oprah Winfrey: 150.0
David Kelley: 118.0
Tom Hanks: 71.5
Tom Clancy: 66.0
Stephen King: 65.0
Backstreet Boys: 60.0
Steven Spielberg: 60.0
Bruce Willis: 54.5
David Copperfield: 50.0
Julia Roberts: 50.0
Rolling Stones: 50.0
Michael Schumacher: 49.0
Shania Twain: 48.0
Tiger Woods: 47.0

King on Fraiser

Posted: December 9, 2000, 14:25
In a mail to SKEMERs, King's assistant reported that King will do a voice over on the Frasier show on December 12th. King will be doing a voice over as one of Frasier's call ins (as the caller identified as Brian).

No Desperation after all?

Posted: December 6, 2000, 23:27
Seams I jumped the gun here. Josh Bingham from Winchester Films told me in a mail that they no longer control the rights to Desperation. I'm sorry for this.

Desperation on again

Posted: December 1, 2000, 23:26
According to the site Winchester Films will produce the movie version of Desperation. No word on when though...

Payments for part 4 of The Plant down to 46%

Posted: November 29, 2000, 14:25
Tuesday November 28 09:00 PM EST
Stephen King puts "The Plant" on ice
By Gwendolyn Mariano, CNET

Stephen King is pulling the plug on "The Plant."

The best-selling author said on his Web site that he will temporarily suspend the serial novel after the sixth installment, due Dec. 18, to pursue other work.

King posted the first installment of the novel on the Internet this summer as an experiment, saying he would continue the story if 75 percent of readers voluntarily paid for it. But with the fourth installment, for example, less than half the readers were paying for the story, according to his assistant.

To thank loyal readers, King said the upcoming installment would be free. He promised to resume the story in the future.

"Don't despair," King wrote. "The last time 'The Plant' furled its leaves, the story remained dormant for 19 years. If it could survive that, I'm sure it can survive a year or two while I work on other projects."

The little-noticed decision, posted Nov. 9, temporarily ends a novel experiment in online publishing that tested the honor system as a way to thwart Internet piracy--a problem that reared its head in King's first Internet foray, "Riding the Bullet." Although readers downloaded some 400,000 free copies of the 66-page novella, hackers broke through the book's anti-copying technology the day it was made available and posted unauthorized versions on the Internet.

In an effort to win sales without resorting to fallible encryption technology, King revived the serial format for "The Plant."

Payments dip

For the first few installments, enough readers paid a voluntary download fee. But by the fourth installment, paid readers had dipped to 46 percent of all downloads, according to King's assistant, Marsha DeFilippo. She added, however, that King had decided to put "The Plant" aside before he had the final figures for his fourth installment. Those figures became available last week.

King said that he will turn his attention to other work, including his novels "Dreamcatcher," "The Dark Tower" and "Black House," a sequel to "The Talisman."

Some readers are unhappy with King's announcement.

"Some people have been supportive," DeFilippo said. "(But) more people have been upset."

Although "The Plant" was a significant experiment within the publishing industry, analysts said the test was not earth shattering.

Flawed idea?

"I think that whole motto of sort of nickel-and-diming people of this per chapter basis was a mistake," said Forrester analyst Dan O'Brien. "Every chapter was another test of whether people would pay the threshold that (King) determined. I thought it got in the way of the relationship between the writer and audience--it was too mercantile."

O'Brien said that an alternative model could have been used, such as one similar to a magazine subscription. Readers would pay up front and receive 12 issues or 24 issues through a contract between the publisher and reader.

"I think a writer who had a track record and reputation and a fan base could reasonable try that," O'Brien said. "Give me $15, and I will write a book in chapters--but that's not what Stephen King did."

DeFilippo said that King's intent, however, was to prevent piracy. She said that after people broke the code "Riding the Bullet," King thought "The Plant" would circumvent those problems because it wasn't encrypted.

"One of the reasons he wanted to do this himself was so that those restrictions could be removed," DeFilippo said. "He has no problem with someone sharing as long as they're not charging for it."

King said on his site that if people printed copies and gave them away, he wouldn't be able to stop them.

"I can't stop you from doing anything, which is the beauty of this thing--think of it as Web-moshing," King writes. "But don't sell them. Two reasons: First, it's against the law, and second, it's nasty behavior. Respect my copyright. As a writer, it's all I've got."

Stephen King vs Microsoft

Posted: November 25, 2000, 14:24
Mibrary Announces Finalists for the Inaugural Alan Kay Award for eBook Innovation Winner to be Announced at Book Tech West Conference
by Gayle Fee and Laura Raposa

NEW YORK, Nov. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Mibrary, the roaming digital library software company, today announced the finalists for the company's first annual award recognizing the largest contributor to the advancement and popularization of electronic books. The winner of the will be announced prior to the keynote address at the BookTech West 2000 conference in San Francisco on December 11. Mibrary's award is named for Dr. Alan Kay, widely considered to be a founding father of the eBook.

The finalists, from which the winner of the Alan Kay Award for eBook Innovation will be chosen, include:

* Stephen King's Philtrum Press: For the tremendous exposure he gave to the electronic book format through the release of his best-seller "Riding The Bullet", as well as publishing his newest novel, "The Plant" exclusively in electronic installments.

* Gemstar (NASDAQ:GMST): For the company's development and licensing of two of the most popular dedicated electronic reading devices, the REB 1100 and the REB 1200.

* Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT): For the company's Microsoft Reader and ClearType technologies, which brought ebooks to over 1 million consumers in the past six months alone.

"It is a great honor to be mentioned in connection with this award," said author Stephen King. "The e-book revolution has been one of the most exciting things to happen to me in the last two or three years, and I am delighted to think that I have had even a small part to play in changing the way the culture reads and expanding the market place for good books."

The winner of this annual award will be selected by popular vote at the Mibrary Web site Final balloting to determine the winner will conclude at midnight on Friday, December 1st.

The winner will receive the Steuben Pillar Crystal created by noted designer David Dowler. In addition, Mibrary will make a $5,000 contribution in the name of the winner to the Association of American Publishers' "Get Caught Reading" program. "The future of publishing -- both electronic and print -- depends on how well we capture the imagination of a new generation of readers, and that's what 'Get Caught Reading' is all about," Pat Schroeder, president and CEO of the American Association of Publishers said at the outset of the voting. "We're delighted that Mibrary has made support of 'Get Caught Reading' an integral part of this new award that recognizes special contributions to the development of eBooks."

"We're excited to see who will eventually be named the winner of Mibrary's first Alan Kay Award for eBook Innovation," said James Alexander, Chief Executive Officer of Mibrary. "Each of the three finalists have contributed immensely to popularizing the ebook and proving that it is a viable route for the publishing industry."

About Mibrary

Mibrary provides roaming digital library software and infrastructure delivering convenience and portability for consumers while giving online retailers an automated, outsourced option for delivering high customer satisfaction at a reasonable cost. The Company's hosted application and deployed infrastructure are built around its patent- pending Mibrary KeyChain(TM) technology. Mibrary KeyChain is a pervasive computing solution that helps consumers manage their entire digital content collections in one place while providing access to this content anytime, anywhere through tethered or wireless devices. Mibrary and Mibrary KeyChain are trademarks of Inc. Visit for more information about the company.

King and Mellencamp's musical ready in late 2001?

Posted: November 1, 2000, 19:20
Monday,October 30,2000

Broadway is about to become the Great Fright Way, thanks to Stephen King, who's penning a new horror musical.

The best-selling author has joined forces with rock singer John Mellencamp to write a macabre rock opera that will feature a haunted house and rapping ghosts.

The show - based on an idea by Mellencamp - is about two brothers with a strong, mutual hatred.

Tempers reach the boiling point when their father takes them for a visit to an old cabin they have not visited since they were young kids.

In an eerie twist, it emerges that their father had two older brothers who not only loathed each other, but killed one another while staying in the same cabin years earlier.

The ghosts that inhabit the cabin sing in a variety of musical styles, from rap to rock to country.

Mellencamp says he plans to cover "any type of music that Americans have invented. Our goal is to end up on Broadway."

King has already written a synopsis of the show and won over financial backers. He has also convinced Mellencamp to look past the horror meister's dubious track record in musical theater.

In 1988, the Broadway show of King's 1974 novel, "Carrie" - about a girl with supernatural powers - closed after just five performances. It lost close to $7.5 million.

King's latest venture comes 16 months after he was nearly killed in Maine when he was run down on the side of a road. The author of "The Dead Zone, "The Green Mile" and "Bag of Bones," King is currently riding high with "The Plant," the world's first successful "e-novel."

Mellencamp - who used to go by the name of John Cougar - has had more than a dozen Top 10 hits, including "Jack and Diane," "I Need a Lover" and "Authority Song."

The duo's Broadway show could be ready for the fall 2001 season.

King signing

Posted: October 26, 2000, 19:17

Thursday, October 26, 2000
About 140 attend Stephen King book signing in downtown Bangor By Dale McGarrigle, Of the NEWS Staff

BANGOR — A small, ever-changing group milled for two hours Wednesday on the corner of Harlow and Central streets.

Now, clusters of people, while not the norm, are not unheard of in downtown Bangor, especially at lunchtime. But all of these people were holding books, and many grasped cameras as well.

Those pressing their faces to the Harlow Street window of BookMarc’s bookstore soon figured out what was happening.

One of Maine’s favorite sons, best-selling author Stephen King, was holding a rare book signing, this time for his new nonfiction book, “On Writing,” and his fans flocked from around the Northeast and beyond for the event.

The signing marks the fourth time in its 10-year history that BookMarc’s has hosted King. The signing is thought to be the first one that the recuperating author has done since being struck by a van June 19, 1999, a fact that BookMarc’s owner Marc Berlin recognized.

“We made a special effort not to push the envelope,” Berlin explained. “We know what he can do [in terms of books signed], so we went on the conservative side.”

King commented obliquely on his brush with death. One woman said, “It’s wonderful to have you here,” to which he replied, “It’s wonderful to be anywhere in the world.”

Almost all the fans had previously bought “On Writing” at BookMarc’s, at which time they were given a number as a reservation for the signing.

Berlin estimated that more than 90 percent of those getting books signed came from Maine. The rest, he said, likely came after news of the signing hit the Internet a couple of weeks ago.

King’s latest book is both a primer on writing and a miniature autobiography, with a postscript on the accident that left him severely injured.

King sat, a pillow underneath him, behind a card table near the store’s Harlow Street door.

The orderly line stretched across to the Central Street door. Berlin served as gatekeeper, letting in about 20 people at a time. Each person could get two books signed. Off to the side, soaking in the atmosphere, was a trio of Skemers. These Skemers weren’t plotting anything; instead they are members of a Stephen King e-mail group.

Skemer Dani Davis of Orono collects only hardcover, trade first editions of King’s work. She’s missing only “Cycle of the Werewolf,” “Carrie” and “Hearts in Atlantis.” Davis was attending her first King signing.

“What I like most about his work is that it’s so easy to identify with the characters,” she said. “It’s so easy to get caught up in the book.”

Fellow Skemer Cheryl, a.k.a. C.J., who didn’t give a last name, drove 4½ hours from her New Hampshire home for her first signing. She runs the 90-member “King’s Home Away From Home” club on Yahoo.

“You’re right in the story, and feel like you’re part of it,” she said. “I love the New England aspect of it, since I’m from New England myself.”

Michael Altemeier, 14, skipped school and flew in from Dallas for the event, landing in Bangor at 8 a.m. Wednesday. Altemeier, who owns about half of King’s books, is a budding writer himself.

“I think I am the biggest King fan,” he said. “I’d never seen him live, so this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Holly Newstein drove 11 hours from her home in Reading, Pa., to be at the event.

“I’m a big fan of Stephen’s,” she said. “I was up here two years ago for the ‘Bag of Bones’ signing. This is one of his first since the accident, and I’m just delighted he’s still here.”

Chris Mullen drove four hours from Manchester, N.H., to get a signed book for a big King fan, his brother Jeff, whose birthday is today.

Is Mullen himself a fan?

“I watch his movies. He has a great talent,” Mullen said.

At the other end of the line, King signed books, posed for pictures and talked with his fans. About one-third of the people at the signing had some connection to the author, however tangential.

The son of a doctor who treated King’s family told the author his father’s name, and King said, “He ought to read the book. He might have prescribed some of the stuff I wrote about.”

Another hot topic was baseball. Several wanted King to buy his beloved Boston Red Sox, which he refuses to consider.

Who’s his pick in the World Series? “The best thing about the World Series is that one team from New York is going to lose.”

More than a few fans came bearing tribute. Teen-ager Cody Mitchell of the Boston area presented King with a modified action figure, meant to represent Roland, the gunslinger from the “Dark Tower” series. King first placed it in his pocket, then stood it in an empty Styrofoam cup.

He seemed genuinely touched when a young girl named Lexie presented him with her red drawing of King’s West Broadway home, emblazoned with the message “Happy Halloween.” On the side of the table were Boston Red Sox and bat — the flying kind — beanies.

Finally, Altemeier stepped up to the table, shaking, as his mother videotaped the historic meeting. When King inquired how he was, he said, “Absolutely, absolutely perfect.”

King replied, “You can’t be from around here, since you act like I’m incredibly important.”

Others told about their experiences with King’s books. One woman named Chelsea recalled: “My mother read ‘Carrie’ to me when it came out, but she read it in a happy voice.”

A pregnant woman wearing a T-shirt which read “Stephen King fan under construction” asked King to sign her belly. When he politely declined, she asked him to initial her shirt instead, which he did.

He did sign the arm of one man, who explained that he was going to have the signature turned into a tattoo.

When one woman near the end exclaimed how much she enjoyed the book, King replied, “You probably had a chance to read the whole thing online.”

Near the end of the two-hour session, King was visibly tired. Still, he willingly posed with squealing members of a group of female Japanese exchange students.

By the time the session was over and King had left the building, Berlin estimated that 140 to 145 people had gotten books signed.

“The fun of it for us is seeing how much people enjoy it,” he said. “People are so appreciative.”

* * *

10/26/2000 10:04
Stephen King book-signing draws fans from Maine and away By Associated Press

BANGOR, Maine (AP) Stephen King always draws a crowd, but some fans went to great lengths to see him at a rare appearance in his home town.

A 14-year-old from Dallas skipped school and flew to Bangor and a woman drove 11 hours from Pennsylvania to join dozens of local residents for a book-signing event Wednesday in dowtown Bangor.

Michael Altemeier skipped high school and flew from Dallas to meet the author. "I think I am the biggest King fan," he said. "I'd never seen him live, so this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

An aspiring writer himself, Altemeier owns about half of King's books. His mother videotaped the meeting as Altemeier, shaking with excitement, reached the front of the line and talked to King.

"You can't be from around here, since you act like I'm incredibly important," the best-selling author said.

Holly Newstein thought it was worth the drive from Reading, Pa.

"I was up here two years ago for the 'Bag of Bones' signing. This is one of his first since the accident, and I'm just delighted he's still here," she said.

King was seriously injured when he was struck by a van in North Lovell in June 1999. He sustained broken bones in his right leg and hip, broken ribs, a punctured lung and a head injury.

King alluded to the accident when one fan told him it was wonderful that he was at the event.

"It's wonderful to be anywhere in the world," King said.

Some of the fans came bearing tribute to the writer.

Cody Mitchell, a teen from the Boston area, gave King an action figure meant to represent a character from the "Dark Tower" series. A young girl gave him a "Happy Halloween" drawing.

While the author obliged those who asked for photos during the two-hour event, he declined to sign a pregnant women's belly. He was persuaded to initial her T-shirt, which read "Stephen King fan under construction."

He also signed the arm of one man, who said he was going to have the signature turned into a tattoo.

"The fun of it for us is seeing how much people enjoy it," King said. "People are so appreciative."

Mick Garris talks about Desperation and more...

Posted: October 23, 2000, 19:15
"Stephen King Projects: Director Mick Garris (The Stand & The Shining mini-series) was a part of the Blair Witch Webfest over the last few days and spilled details on the status of various other Stephen King novels becoming films. Garris has written a film adaptation of King's recent web novel entitled Riding the Bullet though it hasn't moved ahead from there yet. The future of the Desperation movie is finally looking a little brighter, scooper 'TylerDFC' had this to say: "I asked him what was being cut and if it was being toned down from the novel due to the US congressional "witch" hunt. He said the reason that it is hard to get off the ground is that they do not want to cut anything out of it and keep it brutal and hard hitting. As a note if you haven't read Desperation it is extremely violent and brutal with entire families being murdered" (Ed. Note: As long as they keep that creepy scene in there with the wife trapped in a pitch black room with spiders, snakes and scorpions crawling all over everything, I'll be happy). King's Sun Dog IMAX project hasn't progressed much, though its definitely set to be in 3-D, while Garris has one non-King project on the way - he's possibly working with "L.A. Confidential" novelist James Elroy on the film "Clandestine". Thanks again to 'TylerDFC'."

King and Mellencamp is developing a Musical

Posted: October 23, 2000, 19:07
Exclusive: Mellencamp, Stephen King Developing Musical

Two of pop culture's biggest names -- Stephen King and John Mellencamp -- are uniting to write a musical, and naturally, it's a ghost story. "Our goal is someday to end up on Broadway," Mellencamp tells Billboard. "We're not going to take it straight to Broadway." The artist knows he and King are bound to make mistakes along the way, "but that's part of the fun of it. See, that's the great thing about this for Steve and I both; we don't really have to do this."

The untitled work was Mellencamp's idea, but King, one of the top-selling authors of all time, quickly agreed to work with the singer, whom he's long admired. "I'm like everyone else, I think he's great," says King. "He's from the Midwest; he's got a nice, sort of 'common people' thing."

For King, the story was appealing. "I was in Florida, so John came down and told me the plot," he says. "It was kind of a ghostly thing, which is why he thought of me, I guess. I liked the story."

The play, according to Mellencamp, is about "two brothers; they're 19 years old or 20, maybe 18 or 21, who are very competitive and dislike each other immensely. The father takes them to the family vacation place, a cabin that the boys hadn't been to since they were kids."

"What has happened is that the father had two older brothers who hated each other and killed each other in that cabin," says Mellencamp. "There's a confederacy of ghosts who also live in this house. The older [dead] brothers are there, and they speak to the audience, and they sing to the audience. That's all I want to say, except through this family vacation, many things are learned about the family, and many interesting songs are sung."

Mellencamp says he's written four songs already for the project, including tracks called "My Name Is Joe" and "You Don't Know Me." Each song is written with the character's personality and age in mind. "I plan to have every person sing from their generation," he says. "This is what I'm thinking right now, but it may not work out this way. When the 18-year-old sings, he'll be rapping at you. When the people in their 70s are singing, they'll be singing in the style of Broadway or the style of Sinatra or country. I intend to cover any type of music that Americans have invented."

While the road is littered with unsuccessful musicals by pop artists, both Mellencamp and King are adopting a "why not?" attitude. "We talked about [Paul Simon's] 'Capeman.' John and I both agree that maybe it didn't work, but that this might," says King. "That's really part of my attraction about working with him. He has a lot of courage and ability to go in there and say, 'This isn't supposed to work, but we're going to do it anyway.'"

Copied from Lilja's Library:

Animation of The Eyes of the Dragon

Posted: October 8, 2000, 23:04
Dark Horizons reported the following:

The Eyes of the Dragon: Stephen King's fantasy epic has had its film/tv rights optioned to WAMC Entertainment whose proposing turning the novel into a $45 million budgeted animated feature. Talking with ScreenDaily, WAMC's French owner Sidonie Herman said "The storyline and characters provide all the ingredients for a classic fantasy, sword-and-sorcerer animated tale, but are also blended with Stephen King's own brand of suspense and dark humour". A screenplay for the project is being worked on right now and is due for completion early next year though one surprising movie is that while character designs will be done in the US, set and background animation will be done in Europe to try and better capture the novel's medieval setting.

...and ScreenDaily reported the following:

WAMC set to animate Stephen King’s Dragon
Francoise Meaux Saint Marc in Cannes
October 04, 2000

Los Angeles-based financing outfit WAMC Entertainment, headed by Frenchman Sidonie Herman, has optioned Stephen King’s novel The Eyes Of The Dragon, which it plans to adapt as a $45m animated feature.

WAMC – founded by Herman in 1995 – specialises in securing international production financing for North American and European film and television properties, mostly in the animation area.

The novel, which King wrote for his daughter in 1987, is set in a kingdom still inhabited by dragons, magicians and chivalrous knights. "The storyline and characters provide all the ingredients for a classic fantasy, sword-and-sorcerer animated tale, but are also blended with Stephen King’s own brand of suspense and dark humour," Herman told ScreenDaily.

The project’s screenplay, due for completion by early 2001, and character design will be originated in the US, while sets and background will be created in Europe, where Herman believes animators are likely to best capture the book’s medieval setting.

WAMC has worked with several leading North American and European production companies including the US’ Film Roman, Hearst Entertainment and Porchlight Entertainment, France’s TF1 International and Ellipsanime and Germany’s Cinevox, Studio Babelsberg and CLT-Ufa. It claims to have raised $57m in production finance in North America and Europe, and has also recently set up an international sales department, headed by Dominique Bovio.

Bryan Smith dead

Posted: September 23, 2000, 13:11
Saturday September 23 12:19 PM ET
Driver in Stephen King Crash Dies

FRYEBURG, Maine (AP) - The driver responsible for the crash that left Stephen King seriously injured last year has been found dead in his home.

Bryan Edwin Smith, 43, had not been seen or heard from for about three days when police were summoned to his mobile home Friday evening, at the request of Smith's brother.

Authorities found Smith's body in his bed. An autopsy was planned, but there was no sign of violence or foul play, said Capt. James Miclon, who found Smith.

"He was on a variety of medications for his health," Miclon said Saturday. Miclon did not say what ailments Smith had.

King was walking along a road in North Lovell, where he has a summer home, when he was struck by Smith's van. The author sustained broken bones in his right leg and hip, broken ribs, a punctured lung and a skull laceration.

Smith pleaded guilty in January to a misdemeanor driving-to-endanger charge in a plea deal that included a six-month suspended jail sentence and a driver's license suspension.

State records showed Smith was convicted of driving to endanger and failing to stop upon the signal of a police officer in 1998.

He was also convicted of failing to produce evidence of insurance in 1991, driving while intoxicated in 1989 and four speeding violations since 1988.

* * *

Monday, September 25, 2000
Driver who hit King dies at 43

By Deborah Turcotte Seavey, Of the NEWS Staff

The final chapter in the Stephen King accident saga was written over the weekend.

It had a surprise ending.

On Friday night, the driver who nearly killed the author when he hit him with his 1985 Dodge Caravan a little more than a year ago, was found dead in his bed in his Fryeburg trailer.

Bryan E. Smith was 43.

This was not to have been the final chapter in the King-Smith story. The last few pages were supposed to have been written next month, when Smith was scheduled to find out if the state would renew his driver's license.

Smith's privileges were revoked for a year last October - six months by the secretary of state and six months in a plea agreement with Oxford County prosecutors - as a penalty for striking King.

In the meantime, the drama-in-real-life was on the shelf, waiting for that last installment. At 6:25 p.m. Friday, some of the characters were reassembled, this time with different scripts.

Smith's family hadn't heard from him in three days, and his mother, Dorothy, was concerned. She went to Smith's trailer, but he did not answer the door.

Smith's brother Everett, who is a Fryeburg police officer, called the Oxford County Sheriff's Department and asked if deputies could check on his brother. Deputy Matthew Baker, who was the first on the accident scene last year, and another deputy peered through the windows and saw Smith lying on the bed.

He would not respond to their knocks or shouts, and the doors were locked. Smith's Rottweilers, Bullet and Pistol, were barking.

The deputies sought help from Capt. James Miclon, who last year oversaw the accident investigation.

The doors on Smith's trailer were pried open and an animal control officer removed the dogs.

Miclon approached Smith. He was dead.

"I said, 'Wow,'" Miclon recalled Saturday. "I wasn't expecting anything like that."

Smith appeared to be at peace.

"There he was, on his back in bed, covered up," Miclon said. "He was just laying there, like he went to sleep."

It was a clear summer's evening on June 19, 1999, when the lives of the disabled construction worker and one of the world's most prolific writers became intertwined on a two-lane road in western Maine. Smith, who was trying to control Bullet and had his eyes off the road, swerved and hit King, who was enjoying his usual daily walk alongside state Route 5.

The days that followed were filled with pain and repair for King, who underwent at least five surgeries to fix a broken hip, fractured leg, punctured lung and scalp laceration. Crutches, braces, pins in the leg, pain-relief medication - the unfamiliar for a healthy individual became the familiar for a man who had to learn to walk through the agony of injury.

"It's God's grace that he isn't responsible for my death," King told the Bangor Daily News on Aug. 27, 1999.

The days afterward also were filled with public scrutiny for Smith, who was not injured in the accident. The spotlight of celebrity became familiar for a man whose life in recent years had become engulfed in depression, disability and a pharmacy chest of pain-relief medications.

There was often a note of self-pity in his comments to the press.

"They don't look at my handicap," Smith told the Bangor Daily News on Sept. 22, 1999. "They don't care if I breathe tomorrow or die the next day."

On June 19, 1999, Smith joined the ranks of people like the woman who repeatedly broke into talk show host David Letterman's home.

He became the answer to a likely Trivial Pursuit question, "Can you name that driver who hit author Stephen King?"

That's how Smith's death was announced Saturday in news that circulated nationally - "The driver who seriously injured author Stephen King last year was found dead in his home..."

After Smith's license was revoked, he admitted that he probably would never drive again. This was the end of motorized mobility, something he enjoyed regardless of his extensive record for offenses ranging from driving while intoxicated to reckless driving.

But before the revocation, one thing Smith knew was that he would not be going to jail. His friends in the Fryeburg area told him so, even after a grand jury charged him on Sept. 30 with aggravated assault and driving to endanger, charges that if he was convicted carried more than 10 years in prison.

His fate in the winter months was left to those college-educated people working the justice system, although King and Smith, both with differing points of view, would have dropped the word "justice."

Smith knew the lawyers could tweak the books, find loopholes in the law, to convince a jury to convict him; to lock him up and throw away the key.

In conversations, he constantly would ask, "Why me?" Others in the state had injured people walking on the side of the road or driving in their cars. In a number of cases, the pedestrians or the motorists were killed and no jail time was imposed on the guilty parties.

He was being singled out because he hurt a beloved celebrity, Smith would say. It wasn't fair.

"Just because it's Stephen King," Smith said on Oct. 1. "He can make up his own laws, his own rules. I'm being used as a guinea pig. I know I hit him. I didn't mean to. Somebody can't accept that. Why can't they accept that it was an accident?"

Smith's friends were right. He did not go to jail.

King, on the other hand, wanted justice in the form of jail time. He called Smith's plea agreement - the license suspension and a six-month suspended jail sentence - "irresponsible public business."

"What he took from me, my time, my peace of mind and my ease of body, are simply gone and no court can bring them back," King said in a statement read in Oxford County Superior Court on Jan. 4.

King could not be reached for comment about Smith's death over the weekend.

Smith repeatedly sought sympathy for himself. In his eyes, he, too, was a victim.

In his ramblings of how the system was out to get him, he eventually would come around and say how apologetic he was for hitting King; as if he knew it was obligatory for him to show remorse.

But sometimes, in those rare instances, the sense of duty was erased and a genuine sincerity was demonstrated.

"To be honest with you, I am very deeply sorry," Smith said on Sept. 1, 1999. "Very deeply sorry."

Until this weekend, the spotlight was temporarily turned off the King-Smith story. Miclon said Saturday that he was happy it was over. He believed Smith was, too.

"I think he even felt that same way after a while," Miclon said. "He didn't tell me that, but I think that's what he felt. He didn't like being on those medications."

"Those medications," which included Prozac. Valium and a handful of others, will be the focus of an autopsy scheduled for today at the state medical examiner's office in Augusta. Miclon does not suspect foul play in Smith's death.

A graveside service for Smith will be conducted at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Riverside Cemetery in North Fryeburg.

Miclon said the postmortem exam is standard procedure, "not necessarily because of who he was, but because of his age."

The publicity surrounding Smith's death shouldn't last too long, Miclon predicts, and again Smith will fade out of the public eye.

Except for the trivia buffs.

Margaret Mary Ray repeatedly broke into Letterman's home for 10 years, and was convicted in 1998 and released from jail based on time served. She committed suicide later that year in Colorado.

And Bryan E. Smith, son of Dorothy, father of one son and three daughters, and sibling to two brothers and three sisters, hit author Stephen King on June 19, 1999, on Route 5 in North Lovell, Maine.

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09/25/00- Updated 10:33 AM ET
King regrets death of driver who hit him
By Bob Minzesheimer, USA TODAY

Author Stephen King says he's "stunned and sorry" to hear of the death of the man who was driving the van that struck King last year while he was walking alongside a Maine road, nearly killing him.

Bryan Edwin Smith, 43, was found dead in bed Friday night at his mobile home in Fryeburg, Maine.

Police said there was no sign of trauma or violence. "He was on a variety of medications for his health," said Capt. James Miclon of the Oxford County Sheriff's Office. Smith's brother called police after not hearing from Smith in about three days. A postmortem is planned to attempt to determine the cause of death.

King is still recovering (a leg was broken in nine places, his knee was split, a hip was fractured, among other injuries). He had objected to a plea bargain that let Smith off with a year of probation and suspended driver's license, despite nearly a dozen previous traffic infractions. Smith said he was distracted by his dog when his van veered off the road and hit King.

After police called King on Friday to tell him of Smith's death, the author said, "I would wish better for anyone. Our lives came together in a strange way. I'm grateful I didn't die. I'm sorry he's gone."

King told USA TODAY on Saturday that he never thought it was an issue of "punishing" Smith and questioned if it would do any good to send him to jail. But, he added, "I felt he was a danger to himself and to others. Something more needed to be done that wasn't done."

King also said that he began to think of Smith "almost as a force of nature. What happened to me was almost as if I had been struck by lightning. He wasn't a very good driver. It was my bad luck that I happened to be in his way."

In his new book, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, out Oct. 2, King describes what he remembers of the accident, writing in part: "I'm lying in the ditch and there's blood all over my face and my right leg hurts. I look down and see something I don't like: my lap now appears to be on sideways, as if my whole lower body had been wrenched half a turn to the right."

King notes that Smith later told police he was driving from a campground to get "some of those Marzes-bars they have up to the store." When King heard that later, "it occurs to me that I have nearly been killed by a character right out of one of my own novels. It's almost funny."

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Monday September 25 1:42 PM ET
Autopsy Slated for Driver Who Struck Stephen King

PORTLAND, Maine (Reuters) - Horror writer Stephen King said on Monday he was sorry about the untimely death of the driver who struck and severely injured him last year.

Police found Bryan Smith, 43, dead in his home in the hamlet of Fryeburg, Maine. The disabled former construction worker's cause of death was not immediately apparent and a routine autopsy was scheduled. But authorities said they did not suspect foul play.

Smith was driving the 1985 Dodge Caravan in June 1999 that struck and nearly killed King.

The author of "Misery," "Carrie" and "The Shining" underwent several operations to repair a broken hip and fractured leg. He spent months on crutches and underwent physical therapy to learn how to walk again.

"I was very sorry to hear of the passing of Bryan Smith," King said in a statement. "The death of a 43-year-old man can only be termed untimely."

Smith was found dead in his bed Friday night. Autopsies, however, are routinely performed in Maine when the cause of death is unknown.

Smith was convicted of aggravated assault and driving to endanger in the King incident, charges that carry more than 10 years in prison. But after reaching a plea agreement with prosecutors, only his driving privileges were revoked for a year.

He was expecting to find out next month whether the state would renew his driver's license.

A graveside service is scheduled for Tuesday.

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Monday September 25 2:34 PM ET
Man's Death Brings Novelist Sorrow

FRYEBURG, Maine (AP) - An autopsy did not explain the death of the man whose van struck and severely injured horror writer Stephen King, officials said Monday.

Bryan Smith, 43, was found dead Friday at his home in Fryeburg, with no sign of injury.

The autopsy Monday also found no evidence of trauma but no conclusion was reached on the cause of death pending the outcome of toxicology tests, according to a statement from the state medical examiner's office. Those tests could take several months.

Earlier Monday, King expressed sorrow over the death of the man he once said took his "peace of mind and my ease of body."

"I was very sorry to hear of the passing of Bryan Smith," King said in a statement issued by his assistant, Julie Eugley. "The death of a 43-year-old man can only be termed untimely."

There was no sign of violence or trauma when Smith's body was found, Capt. James Miclon of the Oxford County Sheriff's Office said. "He was on a variety of medications for his health," Miclon said.

Smith struck and seriously injured King while driving a van in North Lovell in June 1999. King, who was walking along the road, suffered broken bones in his right leg and hip, broken ribs, a punctured lung and a head injury.

Smith pleaded guilty in January to a misdemeanor driving-to-endanger charge. Prosecutors dropped a charge of aggravated assault. Smith received a six-month suspended jail sentence.

Smith said he was distracted by his dog. He publicly apologized to King while insisting the crash was an accident and no one was at fault.

At the time of the sentencing, King, 53, chided prosecutors for making a deal that did not include any jail time and did not permanently revoke Smith's license.

"What he took from me, my time, my peace of mind and my ease of body, are simply gone and no court can bring them back," King said in January.

The Eyes Of The Dragon being done in France

Posted: September 20, 2000, 23:03
In the AOL chat that took place on September 19:th King said that the movie version of The Eyes Of The Dragon is being made by talented filmmakers in France.