New cover image: Laurie Harden’s illustration for DEAD GRAY

I’ve just received permission from Laurie Harden to use the illustration of Dead Gray that she did for Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine on the story’s Amazon page! (The illo looks sharper at Amazon because the wordpress.com graphics cruncher didn’t get to it. )

I still love this illustration. Here’s what I blogged when the magazine was just hitting the newsstands:

is this the COOLEST DAMN THING, or what? I mean—those are the people in my story! That’s how this artist, Laurie Harden, cast the scene. What I do with words—take my feeling for a character’s energy and physicality and translate it into a few verbal brush strokes—she does with line and shading.

For example, the brunette waitress … I call her “efficiency in denim,” say she’s slender and brunette, and show her being a little cheeky with a customer. The main thing the point-of-view character perceives is this:

There’s energy in this one. She intends grander things in other places. This town won’t get her. She’s young.

Did the artist render her precisely as I saw her in my mind?

No. Not possible. I don’t see her entirely.

But jeez, can you see just that energy in this drawing of her, or what? The artist brings to the story the same things an actor brings to a screenplay—and the right artist, with the right direction, takes it someplace new, and yet not just new, but right.

Reading is collaboration between writer and reader—easy to see. But how often does a writer get to see the result of that collaboration? And not only see it, but see it rendered with such skill and talent?

Click here to have a sample of the story sent to your Kindle, after which you can, you know, buy it if you want. It’s $0.99. You could also buy one of my other things, if you wanted. They’re cheap too. And do visit Laurie’s website. She’s really good.

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