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Hot Summers

Jody Summers sizzles with his acclaimed Dark Canvas series. Part two, The Mask Maker, was released in March, and a third is on its way.

Greg Horton June 24th, 2014

When local author Jody Summers met former supermodel-actress Denice Lewis, she was using the ashes of her clients’ departed loved ones to create commemorative paintings. Lewis, whose most notable role was in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s End of Days, simply mixed the ashes with her paints and used the mixture in her composition.

“That was really where I got the idea for Dark Canvas,” Summers said. “She is also the reason I contribute part of the proceeds to each sale to the Fibromyalgia Coalition [International].”

Dark Canvas is the first book in a series of psychological, supernatural thrillers centered around Kira McGovern, an artist who uses the ashes of the dead in her work with eerie results. Lewis, who was the inspiration for the device but not the character, developed fibromyalgia after her modeling career but continues to paint in spite of the pain.

Summers, a New Orleans native, has had numerous Oklahoma connections over the years, including Kettle Restaurant — his father was one of the founders of the chain — and tanning salons. He now works full-time as an oil and gas permit agent for seismic surveys. He is based in Oklahoma City now, but his job takes him all over the country.

Dark Canvas was first released in 2007, and Summers admitted it was too soon: “The book wasn’t ready. It needed professional editing, and the Amazon reviews reflected that.”

Self-publishing has become one of the most common ways to get books on the market, and since Amazon allows self-published authors to keep up to 70 percent of sales on a title, the site is a haven for would-be authors. The mistakes typically made, though, are poor editing and poor packaging. Summers fixed the editing issue by having the book edited twice professionally, and he never made the packaging mistake.

“I wanted Dark Canvas to look professional, so I contacted my old gymnastics teammate Les Kerr,” Summers said.

Kerr, owner of Les Kerr Creative, and Summers were scholarship gymnasts at the University of Kansas. The two stayed in touch over the years. Kerr’s company has done work for the Big 12 Conference and the University of Oklahoma.

The newly edited version of Dark Canvas came out in 2010, and in March of this year, Summers released The Mask Maker, the second book in the series. The second installment amps up the gruesome components but does not lose sight of the relationship between the two protagonists, McGovern and Sean Easton.

In addition to the third book in the series, Summers is working on two other book projects. His current titles are available online at and can be ordered or purchased from local booksellers. They are also available at

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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