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Friday, April 30, 2010

A Comedy of Covers, Part Neuf

I made an Amazon bestseller list.  But I'll have to tell you about it at the bottom of the post, because it will increase the suspense, and because you'll understand my italicized glee after you learn the background.

I'm winding down to the end of my cover stories.  Really.  I do believe I'll exhaust this topic before the cover for my as-yet-nameless (and, in fact, as-yet-unbegun) Book 7 in the Faye Longchamp mystery series.  But I still have stories to tell about my own cover designing exploits.  SoLet's talk about "Starch."  It is a short story that first appeared in Plots with Guns about five years ago.  Plots with Guns is long on prestige and style and swagger, but short on cash.  The editor, Neil, had bought me a couple of drinks, and they claim that they usually pay in liquor, so we called it even.

Since it's a very noir publication, and I don't usually write in that blood-and-guts-oriented style, I thought long and hard about the plotline.  (Neil, God bless him, said, "All we ask is that you mention a gun in the story.  Have Faye dig up a musket." But I wanted to aim higher.  Ooh, a gun metaphor.  I should alert Plots with Guns.)

I was musing on blood and guts, and I realized that the place where you'd usually find the most of those things is in a hospital operating room.  My mother was an OR nurse in the Fifties, and I thought that would be a very noir setting.  She was so much help in researching the layout and equipment of a Fifties-era OR that I gave her co-writing credit.  As is usual for me, once I knew where the story would take place, the people who would inhabit that spot came to life, and I knew what their problems would be.  From there, it is a very short step to actually writing the story.  Sometimes, as in this case, the story almost writes itself.

Short stories don't often get reviewed, but Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind called "Starch" twisted, and I thought that was cool.  And then the story just laid around until I published it as an ebook last month, and until yesterday, when it was listed Amazon's Top 100 Medical Thrillers for the Kindle.  Yay!

And what did I do for the cover of this opus.  Well, here's a very cool graphic that's related to the story that I rejected.  It wasn't attention-getting enough and it was too busy.  But it's still pretty cool.

And here's the actual cover.  It's simple.  The scalpel and blood mirror the story and they grab you viscerally.  And the red, black, and white color scheme grabs the eye.  Do you agree?

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