Jeez, three days before the author appearance in Avilla. We got a new shipment of bookmarks to give away, and new business cards, both designed by Emily ... also a new folding table, and a new canopy, not designed by Emily ...

 

Oh, and we have books. It's very important, when trying to sell books, that you have books to sell.

 

But I always feel nervous and unprepared before these things. Mind you, we've done at least a few every year, since that first one in the summer of 2011. Well over a dozen at this point.

 

My first book signing ... which was easier to set up, because I only had one book to sell. Now I have nine!

One of my favorite places to have an author appearance was the Noble Art Gallery (which, come to think of it, is half a block from where we set up for the first one). It's inside, has all that art, there's a sense of history, and a big window with a view of the Noble County Courthouse. But I've been there three times now, and the most recent time last year was poorly attended; I suppose I went to the well too often. Still, they're the only brick and mortar location with copies of our books for sale when I'm not there.

 

You could say my easiest author appearance was earlier this month, at the Albion Fire Department's annual fish fry. They sold three copies of Smoky Days and Sleepless Nights, even though I wasn't even there! But it wasn't really an author appearance, as I didn't appear, and it wasn't a book signing, since I didn't sign them. It's possible at this point that there are more signed books out there then there are unsigned ones, so maybe the latter are worth more.

 

Adding to my nervousness is that most of our appearances have been in Albion, although we've also shown up in Kendallville, Auburn, and Cromwell. Our trip to the Avilla Freedom Festival will be my first time in that town, so there's an air of uncertainty. Does anyone in Avilla know me, besides some emergency services people and the crew at the 4 County Mall? We'll see.

 

Meanwhile there's always worry about the weather, and getting set up properly, and finding the nearest bathroom. (Hey, I'm no spring chicken. And even spring chickens have to pee from time to time.)

 

Will our new awning get blown away in a windstorm? Will people laugh at me for taking books to a street fair? Will I sell zero books, and end up taking a loss? (It's happened before.) Will they have elephant ears? Will I get powdered sugar all over my inventory?

 

Stay tuned.

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.

ozma914: new novel cover art by Kelly Martin (Default)
( Feb. 8th, 2017 08:00 pm)
SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK
 
Cheating on Indiana
 
I’ve had the strangest feeling lately that I’m cheating on Indiana.
 
As a writer, I mean—get out of the gutter. You see, my new novel is about to be published, and it’s set in Michigan. There’s nothing wrong with that. Lots of authors do this thing called using your imagination, in which their stories are set somewhere other than where they live. One of the best authors I know routinely sets her stories in California, even though she lives in Missouri. One of my favorite authors, L. Frank Baum, set most of his stories in places that don’t even exist.
 
But up until now, all my published works have been set in Indiana.
 
It wasn’t supposed to be that way. In fact, when I first started writing, none of my stories were set in Indiana. When you’re a teenager—at least, an introverted, emo teenager like I was—all you care about is getting out. Half my stories were set in space. Half were set on a fictional fire department, somewhere generally to the west. The other half either took place in other areas of this planet, or started here and then journeyed away.
 
(What, that’s three halves? That’s why I took up writing: I suck at math.)
 
But things happen and, long story short, I stayed in Indiana. Why? Because it’s an awesome place, when it’s not winter. I also moved from science fiction and action to romantic comedy—see above about things happening.
 
Years ago I had a literary agent for a time, and of the three novels he looked at he thought the first one I wrote, Radio Red, was the best. It was set in an area of northwest Lower Michigan where my family vacationed at the time. Why? Because my in-laws had a cottage there, and I had … debt.
 
Michigan is almost as beautiful as Indiana, but even colder.
 
 For whatever reason, Radio Red never sold. Maybe editors don’t like red—they’re always complaining about red ink. Instead the second one I wrote, Storm Chaser, sold first. It’s not only set in Indiana, but in my home county of Noble. I didn’t have to research a setting; there’s a fine line between brilliance and laziness.
 
I told my publisher that I was writing some short stories to help promote Storm Chaser. Showing awesome overconfidence in my ability to make them money, they said, “Great! Put them together, we’ll publish a collection.” All but two of the stories in Storm Chaser Shorts are set in Indiana.
 
Are you detecting a pattern? You should, because along came The No-Campfire Girls. Although inspired by a Missouri Girl Scout Camp, I set it in southern Indiana. Why? Because I stole some of the characters from another book of mine, an unpublished mystery set in, yes, southern Indiana. The rest of the characters I stole from Storm Chaser. Is it stealing when it’s from yourself? Or just another case of brilliant laziness? I’ve coined a new term.
 
The Storm Chaser sequel, (hey, it works for Hollywood) is The Notorious Ian Grant. Now, it’s not essential that a sequel be set in the same place as the original. But except for the main character, I didn’t have to invent new people or locations. Creating Ian Grant was exhausting all by itself; in Storm Chaser he’s mentioned in exactly one line, in which his sister calls him an “ingrate”. Great introduction, sis.
 
My first entry into non-fiction, Smoky Days and Sleepless Nights, can be described entirely by its subtitle: A Century or So With the Albion Fire Department. Granted, there are more than two dozen Albions in the United States; but come on—pay attention to the theme, here.
 
My unpublished “Slightly Off the Mark” columns were collected into the imaginatively named Slightly Off the Mark: The Unpublished Columns. See what I did, there? You can argue this one, but many of the columns are about Indiana, and by gosh they were all written in Indiana by an Indianian, so there.
 
(Indianian? No wonder we call ourselves Hoosiers.)
 
After that was what I call my picture book: Images of America: Albion and Noble County. Kidding, I never called it that, but it’s historical images and fun stuff about Albion and Noble County. Which are in Indiana. Any questions? I didn’t think so.
 
Last year we released Hoosier Hysterical: How the West Became the Midwest Without Moving At All, and if I have to explain how that’s about Indiana … well, I just don’t.
 
(I also had a short story in Strange Portals and a humor piece in My Funny Valentine. I usually don’t count them as my wholly published work, but in this case what the heck—they’re both set in Indiana.)
 
So that’s … how many is that? Jeez, the other day I told someone I’m about to get my tenth book published, but if you don’t count the parenthesis above, Radio Red will only be my ninth. It gives me the warm and fuzzies, to say “only” nine. I’m on track to beat Isaac Asimov’s publishing record! Only 500 more books to go.
 
And now … well, Radio Red, like the Storm Chaser series, is set in a real place; but that place happens to be in Michigan. It’s been bought by Torrid Books, and has an official release date on March 7, and …
 
And I’m cheating on Indiana.
 
But I feel Hoosiers will forgive me. And if they don’t … well, then I can only imagine what they’ll think of my first spaceship story.
 
ozma914: (ozma914)
( Aug. 21st, 2016 05:19 am)

 

I turned in the list of Albion firefighters from throughout our 225 (or so) year history … or at least, all the names I could find after a fairly exhaustive search. They’re to go on a plaque that will be displayed at the fire station.

I came up with 197 firefighters. I’m sure there are more, but it’s become a game of diminishing returns—at the moment I just don’t have time to pour over microfilms of 100 year old newspapers in the hopes of stumbling across one name (although that does sound kind of fun. I’m strange). A wintertime project maybe, depending on how my writing time goes. I hope there will be some light bulb moments out there, and more people will send names in.

Meanwhile, I also compiled AFD fire chiefs, and even managed to fill in some holes that were in my original list, published in Smoky Days and Sleepless Nights. Here’s what I have:

 

ALBION, INDIANA FIRE CHIEFS

 

 

1887-1888                   A.J. Denlar

1888-1894                   William E. Worden

1895-1997                   ?

1898                            J.O. Russell Jr.

1899-1903                   ?

1904                            Edward A. Kunkle

1905-1912                   ?

1913-1916                   Charles Callahan  (resigned 5/1/16)

1916-1930                   John Gatwood (nomination approved 6/5/16)

1930-1934                   ?

1935-1952                   Harry Campbell

1952-1954                   Byron K. Smith

1954-1959                   Harry Metz

1959-1963                   Robert Beckley

1963-1969                   Al Jacob

1970-1971                   James Applegate

1971-1973                   Edward Moorhouse

1974-1975                   Terry Campbell

1975-1981                   James Applegate

1982-1993                   Larry Huff

1994-1997                   Bob Beckley

1998-2001                   Kevin Libben

2002-2008                   Gregg Gorsuch

2009-2010                   Brad Rollins

2011-2012                   Tim Lock

2013-2015                   Steve Bushong

2015-2016                   John Urso

2016-present               Brad Rollins

 

 

I never did get around to posting all my photos from Albion's ALL-IN Block Party ... and I also haven't been able to spend much time at the fire station lately, So I'll make up for it by combining the two, with a look at the Albion Fire Department's booth at the event (which you may remember happened in late June).

 

 

I was around the corner with the other authors at the time, but I sneaked away a couple of times to grab some photos. One was this, of the AFD's area--which, as it happened, was on the same block as the location of Albion's first firehouse, built in 1887. While I was selling books, so were the firefighters: They distributed some copies of Smoky Days and Sleepless Nights: A Century or So With the Albion Fire Department. Of course, proceeds from sales of that book go to the AFD. The truck on the right is one of our two four wheel drive brush fire/first responder trucks.

 

 

Here's a closer look at the hose reel, which you might be surprised to know is no longer an in-service apparatus. As near as my research can tell, this is the third of the AFD's three hose reels, which means it dates to around 1900. Most of today's fire engines carry a pump, hose, ladder, and water tank. The hose reel carried just hose and nozzles, working in conjunction with the town's hand-pumped fire engine and hook & ladder wagon. Why separate? Because they had to be light: They were pulled to the fire by hand!

 

 

After a hand-pumped engine and then a horse-drawn chemical wagon, this was Albion's first gasoline powered fire engine: a 1929 Buffalo Fire Apparatus Co. truck on a Chevy chassis. It carried 450 feet of hose, along with ladders and hand tools, and a 35 gallon chemical tank that was basically a big pressurized fire extinguisher. Best of all, it could pump an amazing 300 gallons of water per minute, and didn't need a team of firefighters operating a hand pump to do it. You have to wonder why they didn't go ahead and put a roof on it, though.

 

ozma914: (ozma914)
( Jun. 7th, 2016 08:09 pm)

If you're in Noble County tomorrow afternoon, don't forget to stop by and fill yourself up with all you can eat fish and/or tenderloin! It's a great fund raiser and a way to show support for local volunteer firefighters. Also, it tastes good. 

There's a chance I won't be there due to personal stuff I can't talk about. (Maybe they'll keep back some fish for me?) But if I'm not and you don't have a copy yet, ask for another AFD fund raiser, our book Smoky Days and Sleepless Nights: A Century Or So With the Albion Fire Department. There's a box or two laying around up there, and it's also a great fund raiser for the department.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1604018229926804/

We’ve heard from ten authors so far who expressed interest in an appearance at the ALL-IN block party June 25th on the Noble County Courthouse square … and I’ve got contact information on five more who I hope to hear from soon. Anyone with a Noble County connection who’s published a book is welcome, but I’m hearing there’s limited space, so hopefully we’ll firm up the final list soon.
 
Meanwhile we’re up to 129 names of present and former Albion firefighters for the honorary plaque to go in the fire station. That includes 15 chiefs! Not all at the same time, of course. I still have some records to check, and I’m sure there are still more people to hear from with names, or lists of names, they remember from Albion’s 125+ years of volunteer firefighting history.
 
Considering my horrible memory, I’m also sure I’ll have some head slapping moments: “I can’t believe I forgot that name!”
 
It helped that there were dozens of volunteers mentioned in Smoky Days and Sleepless Nights: A Century or so With the Albion Fire Department, from my previous research … including the entire membership of the Hook & Ladder company in 1888. Nice to have a head start.

(I realize there aren't a lot of Albionites here! But, it's worth a try.)

The Albion Fire Department has decided to honor its past and present members, by displaying in the firehouse a plaque with all their names. I’m talking all their names, from our entire 125 (or so) year history.
I, being the AFD’s official historian (I made that up, but it could happen), have been tasked with gathering those names. Why? Well, being determined to someday write full time gave me experience at chasing impossible dreams.
So while it might be difficult to find out who manned the hook and ladder in 1905, I’m taking a shot at it—and I need your help. Yeah, I’m pointing at you.
Everyone please spread the word around, and send me the names of all the Albion firefighters you remember or heard of. (Not Mark Hunter—I know about him.) We’re looking for (naturally) names, but also years of service. For instance, for me it would be 1980-2019, which is when my warranty is due to run out. Or at least a partial range: For instance, I have Harry Campbell down as 1935-1952, but that’s not his entire firefighting career—it’s the years when he was chief. Or, if someone’s heard a number instead of a range, I’ll use that: An example would be, say, Jacob, Phil: 63 years of service. (Obviously just a name is better than nothing.)
That’s for the plaque. I’d also like to have on record the highest rank achieved, for historical purposes. Or at least the highest rank known, in the case of long ago. As still another example, I have: Epp, John: known year of service, 1888. Highest rank, Foreman of the Hook & Ladder apparatus.
See how easy that is? I only had to spend days going through old newspaper microfilms for that one.
So please, send me all the names you can remember, and hopefully the rest of that stuff. Also, if you live in Albion, Illinois, and have never heard of Albion, Indiana, you can disregard this now that you’ve read the whole thing.
Message me here, or use my website contact form at http://markrhunter.com/contact.php ... Or, my e-mail address and home phone numbers really aren’t that hard to track down. If you tried a gmail.com address that had markrichardhunter @ the beginning of it …

 

Apparently this is the last couple of days you can order something and still be sure to get it before Christmas, which includes my books if you don’t buy them locally. I know … usually I try to hide my sales pitches behind humor, but honestly I’m exhausted.

A few days ago Noble Art Gallery asked for more copies of Images of America: Albion and Noble County, and I’m told Albion Village Foods has sent off for additional copies three times now. I don’t know how sales are going at Doc’s Hardware, Black Pine Animal Sanctuary, or the Old Jail Museum (which isn’t open this time of year), but as soon as I get medical clearance I’m going to do my happy dance.

Meanwhile I just finished another polishing of my newest book, now with the working title of Hoosier Hysterical: How the West Became the Midwest Without Moving at All. Emily has it for a fresh-eye review, and if we don’t get a bite from a publisher, we’ll probably self-publish in mid-Spring.

Also meanwhile, look for a free Christmas themed short story soon, as a present from us to you.

As always, check us out at www.markrhunter.com, because sometimes you just need a little book … or a big book. But most of mine skew shorter.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

I’m posting this mostly for my benefit, so you can ignore it or, preferably, embrace it and send it to your friends all over the world. I’ve had a few (rather surreal) moments this summer when I struggled to remember all the works I’ve had published. Not that there are that many, but I’m putting them up as a list here so I can refer to it in a hurry, and/or refer it to a potential reader. This has made me realize my next book after Images of America: Albion and Noble County will be the tenth publication my name has been on! That’s assuming you don’t include newspapers.

 

 

Storm Chaser (2011): A famous weather photographer runs afoul of an Indiana police officer, who suspects she may be manufacturing disasters to photograph.

 

My Funny Valentine (2011): I have a piece in this anthology about Valentine’s Day, and how very wrong it can go.

 

Storm Chaser Shorts (2012): A series of short stories featuring characters from Storm Chaser and The Notorious Ian Grant. (E-book only)

 

Smoky Days and Sleepless Nights: A Century Or So With The Albion Fire Department (2013): This illustrated history of my volunteer fire department was written for its 125th anniversary; proceeds go to the department.

 

The No-Campfire Girls (2014): When a group of teenage girls find out a drought will prevent campfires at their annual summer camp, they go to extreme lengths to bring on the rain. (Half the profits go to Girl Scout Camp Latonka in Missouri)

 

The Notorious Ian Grant (2014): A B-list Hollywood troublemaker tries to redeem himself by coming to Indiana to plan his sister’s wedding—whether she wants him to or not.

 

Strange Portals: Ink Slingers’ Fantasy/Horror Anthology (2014): Two of my characters from Storm Chaser and The Notorious Ian Grant have a Christmas encounter in this holiday themed fiction anthology.

 

Slightly off the Mark: The Unpublished Columns (2015): A collection of humor pieces published to “celebrate” being downsized from my weekly humor column job, and picked up again as a monthly.

 

Images of America: Albion and Noble County (2015): A photo-filled journey through local history, covering the settlement and early growth of this northeast Indiana county.

 



 

 

Well, I didn’t sell enough books to make my grappling hook throwing skills necessary, but it was for the best: Turns out my Batman suit doesn’t fit anymore. I promised that if I sold enough at the Saturday book signing I’d scale the Black Building, but over the years I’ve grown from Christian Bale Batman to Adam West Batman. It’s too bad, after all the work I did to find a Robin costume for Emily.

Still, we made some sales and had fun hanging with Dan Gagen at the Noble Art Gallery. And it goes on, in a way: Dan kindly allowed signed copies to be displayed in his gallery, there at the corner of Orange and Main in Albion.  I don’t know if I’d call it art … but if you want to pick up a copy of Slightly Off the Mark, Storm Chaser, Smoky Days and Sleepless Nights, The Notorious Ian Grant, or The No-Campfire Girls, you can get them there while perusing the real art. (Friday and Saturday, 10-5.) You might also be able to pick them up in other local places soon, if I get off my butt and get it done.

Now I can just kick back and relax and … *insert hysterical laughter here* Nah, I’ve got another book coming out in a month and a half, and I’m already hip deep in the next project.

 

 

 

ozma914: (Smoky Days and Sleepless Nights)
( Jun. 5th, 2015 05:20 am)

If you should be near Albion during the Chain O’ Lakes Festival, don’t forget to drop in on the fish and tenderloin fry at the fire station Wednesday, June 10th. This has been an ongoing annual tradition for many decades, and the proceeds go to equipment and training for the Albion Fire Department.

 

Due to scheduling I probably won’t be there myself, but there should be copies of Smoky Days and Sleepless Nights for sale—if you don’t see them, ask! Proceeds for the sale of that book also go to the fire department.

 

It’s from 5-7:30 p.m., with a price of $10 for adults and $5 for children, and it’s darned good food. I should arrange for a takeout order …

It’s not workable to wear air packs at wildland fires, but you can usually stay out of the worst of the smoke if you’re careful. I wasn’t.

Sunday we responded to a fire that burned into a field and a pine woods. After getting the brush truck stuck (my 4WD success ratio sucks) I ended up in the woods, and underestimated the amount of smoke while working my way to the front of the fire.

It wasn’t too bad … except it appears that one of my many allergies is pine trees, and the smoke was from burning pine wood and needles. I spent all day Monday with a sore throat, raspy breath, wheezing, irritated eyes, and itchy skin. It was like watching a political debate. But I slept through most of it (the allergies, not the debate—well, the debate too), because that’s what Benadryl does to me.

So from a “routine” ground cover fire I got smoke inhalation, while another firefighter had singed hair, and a third a cut head. What lesson do we take from this? 

You never know what’s going to go wrong. Not an original lesson, but still.

500E 500N field fire photo grassfire--AFDandKFD.jpg
Not the same fire, Emily took this a few years ago -- I was busy both times.

We sold several books at the signing Saturday, and got to talk to some great people. Thanks to the Kendallville Mini Shops for hosting us! One visitor picked up books for her relative in Ohio, and another recognized me and bought The Notorious Ian Grant because she liked Storm Chaser so much.

 

Thus ends book signing season—this year. You won’t be hearing much from me for several days as we finish a deadline for the new book project, but my Christmas “Slightly Off The Mark” column is up in the Kendallville Mall. If you don’t get it in the mail and you’re in Albion, pick it up from the box outside of the Albion Village Foods or check out “blogs” at 4countymall.com.

            My last book signing of the year, and probably the winter, is this Saturday, and I’d like everyone to attend. Everyone in the world. Yep, all seven billion of you. Except you, that guy with the blue coat in Apsheronsk. You’re a little creepy.

Don’t worry, there’s plenty of free parking along Main Street in Kendallville, although some of you might consider carpooling. I’ll be at the Mini shops, 134 S. Main Street, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on December 13th. It’s a new place, where you’ll find a number of small vendors in the former Best Little Hair House (not making that up) a block south and across the street from the News-Sun building.

Remember, every time you don’t go to my book signings, a butterfly in the Amazon flaps its wings. Don’t cause a hurricane.

https://www.facebook.com/events/405524479603470/

ozma914: new novel cover art by Kelly Martin (Default)
( Dec. 6th, 2014 03:10 pm)

We sold eight books at yesterday’s signing! Hoping some will make good Christmas gifts. Thanks to our hosts, and good luck in their efforts to find a permanent Albion home for their art.

 

Now on to the next book signing, a week from now at The Mini Shops, 134 S Main Street in Kendallville. Look for us from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

It will probably come as a surprise to no one that I’ve been thinking a lot about history lately.
 
There’s a certain irony in the fact that I started out writing science fiction, mostly set in the future. Of course, what twelve year old appreciates history? Or eighteen year old? While I’ve maintained my love for far-flung space stories, my interests have broadened.
 
My third published work was a history of the Albion Fire Department, which I’ve served on for so long that I’ve actually ridden on all but one of the fire engines the department ever owned … well, the gasoline powered ones, anyway. Now, the book signing I’m doing Friday in theory has no direct connection to that book, other than that I’ll have copies of it there. But things do have a tendency to connect, and irony has a tendency to be ironic.
 
You see, we’ll be set up from 4-8 p.m. in the Black Building, which was indeed built at a time when they used to name buildings. Black is a name I encountered a lot in researching local history. In fact, it first shows up on page four of Smoky Days and Sleepless Nights, when Black is among a list of ten businessmen who lost property in one 1867 downtown fire. Not an auspicious beginning, but Black picked himself up and erected another wooden building … which burned down in 1879.
 
I hasten to point out that Albion didn’t form a fire department until 1888. Those two fires both burned most of a block on the southeast corner of Albion’s main intersection (for you city slickers, currently our only stoplight).
 
J.D. Black learned his lesson, and on his third try went with brick. It says so, right on page seven. That building, which may have been constructed the same year as my home (I didn’t live there then), is the location of Friday’s art show and book signing.
 
The last mention in the book of the Black family comes in 1953, when Albion’s volunteer firefighters bought brand new uniforms, badges and hats from Black’s Mercantile. But south of the Black building, in the same block that burned twice, Albion’s second, third, and fourth fire stations would later be built. It’s the fourth firehouse where I started my career as a volunteer firefighter.
 
It’s all connected.
 
A wedding with the Black Building in the background, circa, oh, a whole long time ago.

 

That doesn't mean this press release is a work of art, but this is what I sent to the local news outlets. I have two theories about press releases: 1. Make them as easy for the news people to work with as possible.  2. It’s always worth a try.

 

For those of you who are in the area, don’t forget that in addition to this one, I now have a second book signing on December 13th, at the Mini Shops in Kendallville—134 S. Main Street, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

 

 

Art Sale, Book Signing Planned During Albion’s Christmas In The Village

            Visual and written art will be featured at a holiday open house during the December 5th Christmas in the Village in Albion.

Gagen Art is sponsoring the exhibit and sale, which will be at the historic Black building at 100 North Orange Street, on the southeast corner of Albion’s Courthouse square. Dan Gagen, whose paintings have previously been displayed at the location’s windows, is a noted local painter who’s invited fellow artists to display and sell their works from 4-8 p.m.

Also attending will be author Mark R. Hunter, whose diverse works include two romantic comedy novels, a young adult adventure, a collection of short stories, and a history of the Albion Fire Department. Two of his works came out in 2014: The Notorious Ian Grant, a romantic comedy set in northeast Indiana, and The No-Campfire Girls, a humorous adventure at an Indiana summer camp.

            Proceeds from Hunter’s earlier book, Smoky Days and Sleepless Nights: A Century or So With The Albion Fire Department, go toward the Albion Fire Department, and copies of all the books will be available. It will be his second book signing of the year, although he hopes this one won’t be as adversely affected by the weather.

The event’s Facebook page is at https://www.facebook.com/events/310190809164184/, while more information is available about Hunter and his books at www.markrhunter.com. Several other activities are also being held around Albion’s Courthouse during the Christmas in the Village, including craft vendors, greeting Santa Claus, and the lighting of the Courthouse Square Christmas tree.

 

 

I’d planned on one book signing this holiday season … now there are three. In addition to the one coming up this Friday at 100 N. Orange Street, I’ll be doing another one a week later in Kendallville—only the second book signing I’ve ever done outside of Albion.

That one will be at The Mini Shops, 134 South Main Street, on Saturday, December 13th. At the moment we’re planning a mid-day signing: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. More information will be forthcoming, but meanwhile don’t forget to stop by the art show and signing in Albion, during the Christmas at the Village! That’s running from 4-8 p.m. December 5th, and here’s the event page for it:

www.facebook.com/events/310190809164184
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