Branded: The Cover-Up by Chuck Thurston

Many years ago, I ran across a graphic of an old English grave robber. He was holding a lantern and peering over the top of a tombstone. At the time, I was employed at IBM, and the company was busily working on the stated goal of putting a personal computer on every employee’s desk. PC’s weren’t a big part of the office landscape then, and the company knew that a rollout of that scope would not be without some issues: training, software, maintenance, security, connectivity, reluctance and resistance to use, etc. I saw the grave robber and his menacing grin as symbolic of all of these potential pitfalls and replaced the tombstone in the graphic with a computer of the era, and created a poster that I circulated among my department members.

grave robber

Fast-forward many years. I retired from IBM and busied myself with contract work and consulting in my old field. I started writing a column for a little North Carolina newspaper, The Transylvania Times (no kidding!), in Brevard, NC. Someone once made the mistake of saying something like, “Gee – you should put these stories in a book!” Only a fool ignores an incentive like that. I looked around for cover ideas and ran across my old grave robber graphic. Hmmm. These columns would be revealed –unearthed, as it were – to a much wider audience. I contacted Curt Thurston, my highly skilled professional graphics son, and wondered. Could you…would you? He could and did.

Scribbles Unearthed Cover


A star was born, but I had a lot more stories and it occurred to me that I now had a “brand” for a series of books. My fevered mind quickly formed an idea for a second collection and I sketched out an idea and sent it to Curt.

SSSD Cover

He feverishly sent me back his own rough sketch.

SSSD Graverobber with title

I could see immediately that it was superior to mine. I changed the subtitle, because I had cleverly thought of another use for that one in an as yet unwritten third collection. I gave Curt the go-ahead – and he made the final rendering.

SSSD cover front only

Now we are on what’s commonly called “a roll.” Sometime this fall, if I don’t spend too much time on other stuff, I’ll have a third book of stories to the publisher. I am hauling out the old grave robber for yet another go. Here’s my idea:

SSBR cover pencil draft

And Curt’s polished effort.

ssbr front cover


Look for it in an outhouse near you. Left, no doubt, by someone who’s call there was made more meaningful by a story or two, and who obligingly left it behind for subsequent visitors. It would be thoughtful of you to do the same.



Filed under writing

4 responses to “Branded: The Cover-Up by Chuck Thurston

  1. Fascinating post, Chuck! What fun learning about how your books and covers came about! I must add, your son is a talented artist! I’ll bet you’re proud!!! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks so much, Coco. Actually my son had to knock a lot of polish off his work to do my covers. He ordinarily does high tech computer graphics. You can check his day job stuff at Really appreciate your comments.

  3. Fun covers and fun titles. I must admit, I still like the grave robber computer guy image.

  4. Thanks, Sheila – for the life of me, I don’t know where I found the original!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.