A Busy Guy
In 2005, I commented to a friend, Harry Shannon, that I didn’t think I was very creative. Harry was an author and a counselor, and he was deeply unimpressed by my protestations of incompetence. He challenged me to do something creative. I started by writing a novel. I wrote that novel 4 times, each time with a different ending, and often with different characters. But by God, I wrote a complete novel. So much for not being creative.
In 2010, Harry and I wrote a short story together. Jailbreak was the beginning of the Penny Miller stories, and wound up being the first two chapters of our first novel, The Hungry. Since then Harry and I have written 8 novels together, six in The Hungry series, All the Devils, and Blood Desert. We’ll probably write some more.
I’ve been a book designer professionally since 2010. In 2011, I realized I could get paid more if I published the books I designed, rather than just collecting a single check for the work I did. There’s more responsibility in being a publisher, but it is both emotionally and materially rewarding.
You can find my publishing website at GeniusBookPublishing.com
My book design business is at GeniusBookServices.com
And my books can be found on Amazon and elsewhere.
And then there was paint.
Around 2010, I became the primary caretaker for a family member. I learned first hand what caretaker burnout was, and the only way to decompress from it was to go to the local “paint your own mug” store, blow $100, and paint on a big tile. I did that four times a year for five years. Then I realized that I could get a canvas and paint for a fraction of the cost, and paint any time I wanted. Since the winter of 2015, I’ve painted at least 130 paintings (many of which are displayed here). I try to do one painting a week, sometimes two, but often it’s just a couple of paintings a month.
Somewhere around July 2018, the paintings started to look like what I saw inside my head. So of course, I had to make it harder on myself. My usual process up to about November 2018 was to very carefully copy a photo onto a canvas and then paint it. After that point, however, I’ve been drawing freehand, which of course means the results aren’t as precise as I got before, but that doesn’t matter. I’m getting some really amazing paintings now. And since that wasn’t hard enough, I switched back to acrylics—to which I am allergic, but that’s why God invented gloves—and I am absolutely in love with that medium now. So I now switch back and forth between oils and acrylics as the mood and project strikes me. I’m not really trying to make it harder for myself at the moment, so no watercolors in my foreseeable future.