The Painted Darkness

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9781587672088: The Painted Darkness

When Henry was a child, something terrible happened in the woods behind his home, something so shocking he could only express his grief 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.

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From the Author:

For a limited time in the summer of 2010, I gave away the eBook and an audiobook of The Painted Darkness for free to see how readers would react to the story and to find out whether the free eBook might help sales of the (then) forthcoming hardcover edition.

This isn't a flashy book, it doesn't have a "ripped from the headlines" element and it doesn't latch onto the current trends: no zombies, no vampires. But I thought the story was pretty good -- though I'm obviously biased -- and I thought other people who spend a little too much time in their own dreams, inside their own head, might be able to relate to Henry, the young father and talented painter whose story makes up the heart of the book.

The free eBook and audiobook definitely helped The Painted Darkness connect with readers -- I've heard from thousands of people all over the world, far more feedback for this book than my previous 16 years of writing and publishing combined -- and it also raised awareness of the hardcover edition in ways I couldn't have imagined.

Cemetery Dance Publications sold thousands of copies of the hardcover after the giveaway "experiment" was launched, many more than expected, and the first printing SOLD OUT on the day of publication, so a second printing had to be rushed. I've certainly never had that happen before.

The download offer ended last summer, but then something very cool happened: WOWIO.com selected The Painted Darkness to be their "Free Book of the Month" for October 2011, which meant they also gave it away for free. In just the first two weeks of October, The Painted Darkness was downloaded more times than any previous "Free Book of the Month" had been downloaded in the history of WOWIO.com's program.

In the end, though, the sales numbers don't really matter. The number of downloads don't really matter. What matters is whether the book connects with readers. 

Because The Painted Darkness was meant to explore the line between childhood imagination and grown-up fears, there has been a lot of discussion, especially about the ending, but I don't want to personally answer these questions because I think it's better for a reader to find his or her own answers, especially since there might be no one "true" answer. I do look forward to hearing from more readers in the future with their thoughts.

Thank you again for checking out The Painted Darkness I hope you find something in Henry's world you can related to in your own.

About the Author:

Brian James Freeman is the author of The Painted Darkness, Black Fire, Blue November Storms, and The Illustrated Stephen King Trivia Book (with Bev Vincent).  His short fiction has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies including From the Borderlands (Warner Books), Borderlands 5 (Borderlands Press), Corpse Blossoms (Creeping Hemlock Press), and all six volumes of the acclaimed Shivers anthology series (Cemetery Dance Publications).  His essays, columns, and interviews have been published in The Stephen King Library Desk Calendar 2009, 2010, and 2011 (Book of the Month Club), Jobs in Hell, Hellnotes,and Cemetery Dance.  
Freeman is also the Managing Editor of Cemetery Dance magazine and the publisher of Lonely Road Books where he has worked with Stephen King, William Peter Blatty, Peter Straub, Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan, Frank Darabont, Justin Cronin, Joe R. Lansdale, Mick Garris, Stewart O'Nan, and many other New York Times bestselling authors.

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