The week has flown by on me but now I show you just how Emma-Lee of MadCowArt.com and I came up with the cover to my short story, I, Zombie which is available through Amazon, ITunes and Smashwords now.
The unnamed zombie in I, Zombie is lucid and aware and as he was in life, he's quite neat and orderly.
When contemplating cover design, I had an image in my head of a zombie, wearing a work shirt and tie, brushing his hair in a mirror. It tells you something about his personality and the tone of the story, don't you think?
At this stage, we were wanting to get the tone right (not the details), so Emma-Lee came up with this:
It's interesting, don't you think?
Then we thought perhaps a bit closer. And Emma-Lee added someone behind him in the doorway, to make it more ominous.
Then Emma-Lee gave him more shape, getting an idea of what he looked like. We agreed the idea of characters way up in the back wasn't quite working though, and after seeing what it could REALLY look like (as opposed to just in my head) Emma-Lee tried something different.
This is much creepier! There are lots of other zombies in this short story, so adding them to the cover I find quite effective. And the smile playing on his lips works really well, as he's pretty innocent and happy for a zombie. I mean he's not EVIL, just hungry.
There was a bit of an empty spot in the bottom right, so Emma-Lee decided to fill it with a LIVE, UN-UNDEAD character from the story. Clever thing!
I gotta admit, I didn't love the open-mouthed smile, it was freaking me out a bit and didn't seem like MY zombie. So...
Nearly finished, starting to look like a real painting - I love the shine on his work shirt and tie.
Last minute additions of gore - he may be a neat-freak but he's still dead! And finally....
The finished product!
I found it an interesting process, watching the image come to life and I think Emma-Lee did a fantastic job.
And for your interest, here's an excerpt from I, Zombie!
I could feel their fear, the little girl, the teenager, the old man. It shimmered in the air around them, almost vibrating. Making my flesh tingle – well, where there was flesh. Between life and undeath, I had been through a lot.
I hate dogs.
Looking at the little girl with her pulse throbbing in her throat, her rosy complexion, moist eyes, her blond hair that made my fingers clench, I wanted to feel her rip as I tore it from her scalp. The old man and the boy, they were good and all, but the little girl made my chest tighten with anticipation, with hunger, with an insatiable hunger, a hunger I’d never had in life. Since I had woken up a couple of weeks ago, lying in my unearthed coffin, the lid torn off and my eyes opening to a clear night lit with stars, I had been so hungry. Always so hungry. No matter how many of my colleagues, my work mates that I ripped apart with my teeth, scared accountants and terrified file clerks who could have sworn I had died a week ago.
My tongue lolled in my mouth, words coming out as mumbles and groans as I enjoyed the satisfying crack of their fingers. I broke them before biting, devouring them like chicken wings. I tried to assure them that yes, I was indeed dead, but they were busy screaming and passing out and I couldn’t seem to form the words anyway. So I stopped trying and turned my sole focus on eating. Yet I simply couldn’t fill the emptiness.I devoured people fresh, on the spot. Twisting an arm until it snaps, hacking at it, tearing at throats until they went into shock and became quiet…still. Then I would bounce their heads against the cement until it cracked open like a coconut and I scooped up messy handfuls of brain. I ate it raw, like sushi. Warm, drippy sushi. But it wasn’t enough. I needed more, always more. Maybe in life I wasn’t eating the right things. Noodles, broccoli, eggs – but only the whites – and chicken. Those foods, why had I deprived myself so in life? There was no comparison to the ecstasy that human flesh brought: the chewiness of lungs, the crunchiness of bones and the blood...the oozing of warm blood down my chin, between my fingers as I squeezed a still pulsing heart. That was the best.
Ciao for now,