Life Updates

I apologize for the lack of blog posts here lately. Last August, I bought a three-quarter ton pickup truck and resigned from my office job. Since then, I have been transporting travel trailers and fifth-wheels from where they are manufactured, the Elkhart-Goshen area in northern Indiana, to dealerships all over the country. As of today, June 22nd, I have delivered trailers to dealerships in 22 different states and have driven in or through 41 states. The company I am leased onto has a lot of runs to the northwest, so I have gone on several trips to Washington, Oregon, northern Idaho, and Montana over the past few months. I’ve also done a couple of runs to Las Vegas, a city I had not previously visited.

The main drawback to this job is going several days in a row without seeing my family. I’ve also had to sacrifice a lot of my reading and writing time. After driving all day, my eyes are usually so tired that reading gets put off. As a result, I am still progressing through The Wheel of Time series, something that, after a year, I would have normally finished. I am currently in the middle of the eleventh book, after which, I’ll only have three more books to go. I have read other things between Wheel of Time books, but nowhere near the number of books I had read previously. I’ve also listened to a few audiobooks while driving the truck across the country.

Also on my To-Be-Read stack are the latest Pulitzer Prize for Fiction winner, The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich, Larry McMurtry’s first novel Horseman, Pass By which I bought during a stop at Wall Drug in South Dakota, The Princess Bride which I bought not long after the passing of William Goldman, Storysinger by my cousin Lindsey Landgraf Hess, Aglow by Will Forest (purchased after he and I shared an author table at an arts festival this past fall), and Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, a book that sold so many copies that I, as an author, feel compelled to read it to see what the big appeal is.

I’m also still working on my sequel to The “Volunteer”, the working title of which is still The Girl Who Stopped Wearing Clothes. In my next post, I’ll share the first chapter of The Girl Who Stopped Wearing Clothes (that chapter was already published in Panther City Review). I am also writing a short story which is a mini-sequel to Life Models for an upcoming anthology. And during a recent family vacation, I came up with a great title for a suspense story. During a hike in the Badlands, my 18-year-old son and I built the framework for a story to match that title. You have to take inspiration when you can get it.

As I write this, my three-year-old granddaughter is running in and out of the room. Being gone for such long stretches makes me cherish all the moments I get with her. Signing off for now. I’ll post that first chapter of The Girl Who Stopped Wearing Clothes in a few days.

Art Purchase

When Life Models was going through publication, I was thrilled when artist Katy Hamilton allowed me to use her fantastic drawing of me as the author “photo” on the back cover of the paperback edition.

Here is a detailed shot of that drawing, done over seven weeks in early 2013…

I am very happy to report that, as a Christmas present to myself, I was able to purchase the original drawing earlier this month, matted and framed. It now hangs on the wall above my stairs. This is me the day I bought it…

That drawing is one of the most amazing pieces of art ever produced from my 36 years of modeling.

2019 in Review

As I sit here on Christmas Eve, I can’t help but reflect on 2019.  The biggest accomplishment for me was finally finishing and publishing Life Modelsbut I also made progress on two new projects.  One of those is the sequel to The “Volunteer”, now titled The Girl Who Stopped Wearing Clothes.  The goal now is to get that released in 2020.  And if you can’t wait for the release date to read at least part of the sequel, check out Panther City Review #4, which includes the first chapter.

Life Models Front CoverPanther City

The second project is a psychological thriller that I started for National Novel Writing Month.  Sadly, my travel schedule to FACE derailed my plans for a high word count for NaNoWriMo, but I was able to lay a good foundation for this as yet untitled novel.  If I work hard, maybe I can get at least a first draft finished before next November, which would free me up to begin a new project for NaNoWriMo 2020.

I also completed one of my personal reading projects in 2019.  Several years ago, I set a goal to acquire and read every winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, going back to the beginning, when the award was called the Pulitzer Prize for Novel.  Because of the difficulty in acquiring some titles, I did not read them in chronological order.  The last one I read, finished on July 21st, was The Store by T.S. Stribling, the 1933 winner.  The collection of 92 books has outgrown the bookshelf I have for it, so I will be getting a larger bookcase soon…

Pultizers

I am looking forward to a very productive 2020.  To all of you reading, I wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

35 Years and FACE

This month, November 6th to be exact, will mark 35 years since I first modeled for a figure drawing session. It’s still difficult for me to believe that I am old enough to have done anything professionally that long. And honestly, I am only 53 now since I got such an early start modeling.

Here is a drawing of me done at an anatomy workshop in 2012 by Katy Hamilton.  She also did that amazing drawing of me that is on the back of the paperback edition of Life Models.

Anatomy drawing

To celebrate those 35 years, I will be traveling to Williamsburg, Virginia to model at the Figurative Art Convention and Expo. FACE 2019 runs from November 10th through the 13th, and on the evenings of the 11th and 12th, they have what they are calling the “world’s largest art studio” with up to a dozen models posing on different platforms, some clothed and some nude. The whole thing sounds like so much fun that I just had to apply to be one of those models. Yes, I will almost definitely spend more on the trip than I will make at the convention, but I’ll also be able to write off as business expenses a lot more than I spend on my taxes thanks to the standard rate of mileage expenses on Schedule C. All in all, there were just too many reasons for me to do this than there were to skip it.

I will, of course, have copies of Life Models with me at the convention, just in case anyone is interested in buying a copy.

Check out the FACE 2019 website at: https://figurativeartconvention.com/