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Spec weekend 2011
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If you've checked in at this blog for a while, you might know that I am an amateur musician. You might also know that last year I attended something called "Spec Weekend" in September. "Spec Weekend" is a gathering of musician friends who have a studio project called "The ExitSpecialists". I call it a "studio project" because they've never really played live in any professional sense - they've only recorded CD's - three of them to date.

Well, this past weekend was "Spec Weekend", again in Door County, Wisconsin. (I think last year's post might have been titled "Door County".) So off I went, keyboard and guitar and assorted peripheral items, to meet my friends and ride up to Door County to a vacation home owned by one of them.

I may get to the music later. (I may even post links to their music on iTunes or at Amazon if such links will post.)

But I wanted to tell a coincidental story - one of the guys is a graphic designer and advertising director at Fender Guitars in Scottsdale, AZ. Now I've been thinking about possibly tossing up my short stories and my novel on Kindle, self publishing them. As such, I need to develop covers for them. So I asked Rich (the graphic designer) if he'd ever done any book covers.

Rich smiled and reached into his bag. He pulled out a book, handed it to me, and said, "I brought this one for you - I know you're a big reader. Check out the cover."

It was a mystery, from Poisoned Pen Press, and the guy on the cover looked familiar. I guess he should, since the picture was taken the year before at our 'Spec Weekend' 2010. You can't see the guy's face, but it was our buddy (who was absent this year).

Obviously, Rich designed the cover. It's right there on the back of the book!

The book, by the way, was titled ENGLISH LESSONS, by J.M. Hayes, and I plowed through it in my down time in Door County. Good story, actually two stories - one unfolding in rural Kansas, and the second happening in or around Tucson, Arizona. Both stories use some current issues as their backdrop, the Obama election and the fears of (mostly white) Americans that he was going to turn the country into some sort of socialist/fascist/Marxist society, and the fears of illegal immigration and the links to the drug trade. The stories are linked by the relationships between the main characters in each locale.

I thought it was a funny coincidence that here I was asking if he'd ever done it, and it turns out that he has designed many covers for Poisoned Pen mysteries.


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