A friend of mine, Kate Sherrill, will be painting the cover of the next Jackson Speed book. Kate wanted to put together some photographs of people in period clothing, and she will paint from those photographs.
So yesterday I went out to the Dress Up Box in High Shoals, Georgia, where Mary Delaplane dressed me up as Jackson Speed. Kate found some volunteers to stand in for some of the other characters from the novel. Sam Chafin is our chief Blood Tub bad guy, looking all sinister with a switch-blade comb. Jim Kenaston portrayed a disapproving and jealous Allan Pinkerton. And Leah Morris, a student at UGA, stood in for Kate Warne, the female Pinkerton detective who convinces Speed to hang around Baltimore and save Abe Lincoln’s life.
It took Leah 20 minutes or more to get her hair done and the dress on, and we were done taking pictures in about half that time.
We had all kinds of trouble finding a pair of pants that covered my ankles. Everything Mary gave me was much too short. In the end, she handed me a pair of size 38 pants that were enormous around the waist, and so we slid those pants halfway down my hips to cover my ankles and the problem was solved. I was sort of like a Civil War-era gangsta Jackson Speed with my pants pulled down.
While trying to find a pair of pants that fit, I was reminded of a story I heard about Abraham Lincoln. As I everyone knows, Abe Lincoln was a tall man, and especially tall for his time. A newspaper reporter once pointed out to him that he was tall, and asked him how long a man’s legs should be.
“Long enough to reach the floor,” Lincoln replied.
I’ve always gotten a kick out of that story.
I know you’ve heard tales of the high-society, wealth and glamour lifestyle of fashion models. This being my first foray into that lifestyle, I can tell you that our models were well-paid. My wife Jean baked up a batch of brownies that we took to the photo shoot, and I got everyone’s address so that when the book comes out I can send everyone a copy of “Jackson Speed and the Blood Tubs.”
I am working on the final edits of the novel and expect it to be released in a few weeks. In the meantime, if you’ve not yet read “Jackson Speed: The Hero of El Teneria,” I would recommend that you do so. It’s probably the most fun you can have reading about the Mexican-American War.