The Albion Fire Department's annual fish fry -- which happens annually -- will be Wednesday, June 7th, during the Chain O' Lakes Festival. We're also having tenderloin again this year, for those of you inclined, although I can't imagine why you'd want to pass on the breaded fish. It's all you can eat, and you can't beat that unless you're a diet doctor.

I can't be there (I'll be helping to bread the fish earlier in the day, and it's one of those scheduling things where I can't do both). However, they tell me copies of Smoky Days and Sleepless Nights: A Century Or So With The Albion Fire Department will be on sale at the fish fry, for $9.95. That's our book about the history of the fire department: Proceeds from book sales, as with the fish fry itself, go to the Albion Fire Department's equipment and training fund.

 So come and support your local emergency volunteers! It's from 5 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at the Albion Fire Station, 210 Fire Station Drive, on the east end of town.  (It's traditional, when a town has a Fire Station Drive, to build the fire station there.) Price for adults is $10, for children $6, with children 5 and under eating free.

 

Emily and I selling pre-orders of Smoky Days at the fish fry just before its publication.

 

Why we do it: Albion firefighters attack a training fire. I'm particularly proud of this photo, because I didn't die taking it.

 So here's the scenario: You want to support your local volunteer fire department, so you go to their fund-raising bingo night. And it's your lucky day! You get the B-12, and the I-C, and the IN-diana, and G-whiz, and even the O-boy! (I don't actually play Bingo, but I assume that's how it goes.)

 

"Bingo!" You've won! This is so much more fun than when you and your buddies got drunk and had that nose hair plucking contest!

 

And here's your prize. Powered by D-cell batteries, it's three speed, in brilliant white plastic--real plastic, not that fake stuff. You look at it, puzzled. Is this some kind of back massager? And then the realization hits you:

 

You've won a sex toy.

 

Well done, sir (um, or ma'am)! Your Valentine's Day gift-giving dilemma is over.

 

That's how they roll at the Hometown Volunteer Fire Company in Schuykill County, Pennsylvania. Their idea of "hometown" appears to be at odds with what I would imagine. But like any volunteer fire department, the Hometown Fire Company has the ongoing challenge of finding enough money to stay in operation. The good news is, they appear to have hit the jackpot, or rather the bingo: Naughty Bingo.

 

Naughty Bingo night is March 11, and I know you're interested. I assume it'll be held at the fire station, which is already chock full of talk about nozzles, hose, pumpers, and squirting of various sorts. And you thought a hose bed was just for hose.

 

Hometown tried it for the first time last year, reasoning that their supporters were getting tired of all the old fundraising tropes. I mean, you can only have so many fish fries, pancake breakfasts, porkburger sales, chicken ... mmm, I'm hungry. Where were we?

 

Oh, yes. They decided to try something new, and it brought in a standing-room only crowd from several counties in two states. (New Jersey. Go figure.) Just 160 tickets were sold, and they were snapped up faster than a leopard-skin whip at a San Francisco clearance sale. Do they make leopard-skin whips? Wait, don't tell me.

 

The firefighters, already well known for finding 'em hot and leaving 'em wet, were understandably concerned about community reaction. But everyone seems to love the idea--maybe because it beat raising taxes. Really, with fund raisers it's already a small step from sex toys to bratwurst. "Now remember, this is silicone: Don't try to put it in a bun. Wait, let me rephrase that ..."

 

The real question people should be asking themselves is: Why should emergency responders have to spend enormous amounts of their time begging for it? Money, I mean? If there's one area that should be fully funded, this is it.

 

Maybe every government department should have to do fund raisers:

 

The parks department could set up a lingerie football league.

 

The water department can host wet t-shirt contests.

 

And, of course, the street department would have ... street walkers.

 

Until that time comes, it seems to be mostly small fire departments that need to get a stiff shot of cash by raising funds. If they have to do that, then I say let them do whatever gets their finances up--we've already had racy firefighter calendars of both sexes, so maybe this was the next logical step.

 

And if Naughty Bingo is here, then strip poker can't be far behind. I'd better start working out.

 

 

 

 

 

I’d like to ask everyone to considering spreading the word about two books that raise money for worthy causes:

All the proceeds from sales of Smoky Days and Sleepless Nights: A Century or So With the Albion Fire Department go to, yes, the Albion Fire Department. We’re expecting delivery of a pumper-tanker in about a month, so the money could help equip the new truck, or help with any number of other expenses. Our fire department history is illustrated, but is still only $9.95 in print—and like all our books, can be ordered directly on my website:

http://markrhunter.com/books.html

There are copies at the fire station, the Brick Ark Inn, and the Noble Art Gallery, and it’s also available for $2.99 on Kindle:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DQ5NCXS

I’d like to give the fire department a nice Christmas present of a check for this year’s sales, and I hope both history buffs and firefighting fans will get something out of Smoky Days.

#

Half of the proceeds for my humor-adventure novel, The No-Campfire Girls, go toward the upkeep and continued operation of Camp Latonka, Emily’s former Girl Scout camp in southeast Missouri. It’s only $5.00 anywhere good books are sold—well, anywhere this good book is sold—and just 99 cents on Kindle:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00K3OS35C

The main character in The No-Campfire Girls is Beth Hamlin, a major supporting character in my novels Storm Chaser and The Notorious Grant, who also has a story of her own in my collection, Storm Chaser Shorts. You don’t have to read the others—The No-Campfire Girls is a standalone—but if you have, you know she’s the type who loves a good challenge and is never boring.

If you care for Scouts, firefighters, firefighting Scouts, or just a good cause in general, please: Purchase, review, retweet, repost, tell a friend, tell other camps/troops/firehouses, or maybe tag the book titles on a passing boxcar. I would suggest waiting until the boxcar comes to a stop.

 

 

My wife’s Girl Scout camp, Missouri’s Camp Latonka, just finished another successful camping season. Help keep them in business by buying a copy of The No-Campfire Girls, a humorous adventure set in summer camp. As chapter two opens, the campers officially get the bad news from Captain Quinn of the local fire department, that all fires are banned because of a drought:

 

“Getting fire trucks here isn’t easy or fast. It would only take a spark to burn down this entire camp, which would end your fun summer real fast.”

            “This sucks,” said a purple haired girl at the next table, loudly enough for half the room to hear. “Fire is fun. Maybe we should set fire to the tents to protest.”

Leaning toward Beth, Cassidy whispered in her ear. “Who’s the girl with the attitude?”

“Ronnie. We call her Rotten Ronnie, but not to her face. Rumor has it her nose is bent that way because she street-fights for grocery money.”

“Maybe somebody needs to make friends with her, like you did with me.”

“I tried.” Beth looked over toward Ronnie, who stubbornly did her best not to have a good time. “She said if I ever came close to her again, she’d set my hair on fire. Is that irony, this year? I think it is.”

 

            Print or e-book copies of The No-Campfire Girls can be ordered through my website at www.markrhunter.com, with a portion of the proceeds going toward Camp Latonka operating costs. You can check out the first two chapters for free on my Amazon page:

http://www.amazon.com/Mark-R-Hunter/e/B0058CL6OO/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
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