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: new novel cover art by Kelly Martin (Default)
( Feb. 5th, 2017 11:11 am)

We've noticed that some of the links on our website are down--specifically, the ones to e-book versions of my three works published by Whiskey Creek Press/Start Publishing. We think this is because the company changed distributors (to Simon and Schuster).

They're still actually there, in all the usual places, just ... un-linked. But not to fear, Emily's working on it. In addition to repairing the links, she'll have Radio Red up on www.markrhunter.com soon, because she's awesome like that.

 

Radio Red is also distributed electronically through Simon and Schuster, by the way. And for those of you who haven't heard, I am indeed working on a prequel to the Storm Chaser series.
 Hey, there’s a new review of Storm Chaser!
 
http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/183842257
 
My very first published work, if you don’t include my newspaper stuff. Wow … that was five years ago, six since Storm Chaser was accepted for publication—and now there are ten books on my Amazon author page. No wonder I’m so tired.
 
 
 

 

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 suppose this would be a good time to remind all of you that books are, by far, the best Christmas gifts. Yes, even for non-readers: In fact, books owned by people who don’t read are not only great re-gifts, but when not re-gifted they’re among the books in the best condition. No dog-ears, no food stains, no bent pages … pristine. Two hundred years from now, you can resell books in such good condition for enough money to make up for inflation, if you should happen to still be alive.

In addition to that, books:

Require no batteries.

Almost never rot your brains.

In hardcover editions can be used for self-defense.

Can be hollowed out to hide all sorts of contraband and/or listening devices.

Make bookcases much more useful.

Never go offline during power outages, assuming you have backup lighting. If you don’t have that in case of power outages, are you really smart enough to read?

Also, should you go into a place like, say Albion Village Foods, Noble Art Gallery, Doc’s Hardware, Black Pine Animal Sanctuary, or the Old Jail Museum, you’re shopping locally. You might even pick up things other than, say, books with my name on them, and that would support local businesses, and if you mention I sent you they might stock more of my books. This makes me happy, and don’t you want to see me happy? I thought so.

But if you’ve heard horror stories about going out shopping this time of year, you could always go to our website at http://www.markrhunter.com/books.html. This gives you a choice of nine books in five or six different genres (because I just can’t seem to keep my mind on one thing), with prices ranging all the way down to free (for Strange Portals, anyway). It’s like Black Friday somehow turned into bright December.

So that’s my pitch, and if you spread the word I promise I’ll continue to be funny and entertaining. Okay, I’ll try.
ozma914: (The Notorious Ian Grant)
( Oct. 20th, 2015 06:24 pm)

That gray period between the alarm going off and actually climbing out of bed can be used for something better than cursing the climbing out of bed part. Last night I woke up with a half-formed idea, possibly helped along by sinus drugs.

By the time I got up a the idea had solidified, right down to some characters and lines, for a new novel—a fantasy parody, kind of an anti-Harry Potter. (I mean in an anti-hero kind of a way; we’re very pro-Harry Potter in our house.)

Despite my history with humor, I’ve never written a full parody before—nor have I ever written a fantasy, so there I go genre hopping again. That’s the least of my problems, considering I get ten or twelve good story ideas for every story I actually get time to write. I also recently came up with an idea for a new book in the Storm Chaser series, although whether that ever gets written depends on sales of The Notorious Ian Grant.

Someday, one of my books will hit with a larger audience (I hope). When that happens, it might be a signal to stick with that one genre for a while, and build an audience. Meanwhile, all I really need for Christmas (other than book sales) is more time to write. Does anyone have a favorite, out of what I’ve published so far?

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.

 



 

We left Pokagon State Park at about 12:30 this afternoon, figuring to get ahead of a vicious looking black cloud. We failed. On I-69 it got nighttime dark, with an edge of light on the horizon that made things look a little surreal; that was when I looked to my left and said something that I won’t repeat here, but won’t win me any awards for great sayings.

 

I wouldn’t recommend pulling over along an interstate, but I also wouldn’t recommend calling 911 while driving 70 mph in wind gusts and a downburst. While we were stopped we saw at least three or four funnel clouds, or possibly one or two that would come down, spin around for awhile, then lift back up only to emerge again. We had a scare when it looked like a touchdown directly ahead of us along an overpass, during which I cussed in the 911 dispatcher’s ear, but I think it was a front gust that blew dust and rain over the top of the bridge. On the way home we caught a little hail, but by the time we got to Kendallville it was just heavy rain.

 Emily said she’d never go storm chasing with me … but she said nothing about already being in the car when the storm chased us.

 http://markrhunter.blogspot.com/2015/07/the-things-i-go-through-for-photo.html
 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

The Albion Fire Department is lengthening the time the town’s tornado sirens will sound during bimonthly tests, to make it more like what people will hear in case of a real tornado warning.

 

The tests will still take place at about 6 p.m., on the second and fourth Mondays of every month (except winter). However, previously the sirens were turned on just long enough to make sure they work, and then shut back down. In the case of a real tornado, the sirens sound a steady wail for three minutes.

 

During testing, the sirens will now sound at high pitch for the full three minutes, so residents will get a feel for what they’ll hear if a tornado warning is actually issued. The town’s newer sirens have additional capabilities for alert tones in case of other emergencies, and officials are working on plans to use them for situations other than severe weather.

 

Two new large sirens were recently put into service after a yearlong fundraising project. Albion is currently covered by five sirens, while another is situated at nearby Skinner Lake. The sirens will be sounded in case of a tornado warning, which means a tornado or funnel cloud has been sighted by weather spotters or radar.

 

Albion's two newest sirens were dedicated earlier this year. This one was placed by the town municipal building, near the east side of town. (Photo by Mark R Hunter, courtesy Albion FD)

 

I was tagged on Facebook by Lorelei Bell to reveal seven things about my writing life. I’m not going to tag anyone (‘cause I don’t do that), but I think I can come up with seven little known, if not terribly interesting, things:

 

            I was diagnosed as a kid as being dyslexic—and never knew it. My mother apparently assumed I remembered, and dropped that bombshell on me in an off the cuff remark just a few weeks ago. It must have been a mild case, and the teachers worked me through it; but I do occasionally transpose numbers and letters, something I’d just assumed were normal mistakes.

 

I wasn’t yet old enough to write when I composed my first story, a fanfiction about my trip to Oz. My mother typed it out for me until I lost interest, and never completed it.

 

My first completed story was a few years later, when I wrote down a dream I had about being taken into the sky on a UFO made of books (!) My brother refused to believe I’d dreamed that. Like my conscious mind could have thought it up!

 

In 2003 I sent a manuscript (Radio Red, as I recall) to a publisher, and after not hearing from them for a year I learned that they’d gone out of business. I sent a follow-up query to be sure, and got a phone call from the former publisher—who’d decided to try being an agent, and offered to take me on as a client. I had an agent! Yay!

Three years later, after a few bites here and there, he decided to quit the business.

 

To add insult to injury, in 2009 Mark Hunter signed a contract to get his new novel published … Mark Hunter of Great Britain. Even Mark Hunter was having more publishing success than Mark Hunter.

 

In June, 2010, my grandson was rushed to the emergency room, and my car was totaled when a hit and run driver crashed into my daughter. I’d been up 24 hours and was physically and emotionally exhausted when I checked my e-mail and found an acceptance letter from Whiskey Creek Press, for Storm Chaser—my first book contract. I printed it out and went to sleep. It was all very anticlimactic.

 

 My wife and I met on a writer’s website (Well, she wasn’t my wife then). She thought, based on my writing style, that I was female.
ozma914: (Storm Chaser)
( Mar. 1st, 2015 04:08 pm)

I’m still playing catch up, but I wanted to point out that so far this year “Storm Chaser” has received two new reviews:

http://www.amazon.com/Storm-Chaser-Mark-R-Hunter-ebook/product-reviews/B0056U41F4/ref=cm_cr_pr_top_recent?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=0&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending


Remember, whenever you review one of my works, a book fairy gets its wings. Nothing is quite so depressing as a wingless book fairy.
 

I’m late with this, but my story “Another Family” is included in the free e-book, “Strange Portals: Ink Slingers' Fantasy/Horror Anthology”. Read lots of great authors, with stories ranging from the dark to my own tale, a lighter Christmas fantasy featuring two characters from my “Storm Chaser” series.

 

Sure, it was originally intended to give you a holiday break, but it’s February … don’t you need a break right now? And did I mention it’s free? … so your risk is minimal! You can get it all over the place:

 

Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Strange-Portals-Slingers-Fantasy-Anthology-ebook/dp/B00QPLYD2E/

 

Barnes and Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/strange-portals-joleene-naylor/1120892104?ean=2940046451382

 

Smashwords:

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/499789

 

Kobo:

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/strange-portals-ink-slingers-fantasy-horror-anthology

 

and iTunes:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/strange-portals-ink-slingers/id950119636?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

 

Check it out!

 

Twenty-two stories about fairies, vampires, werewolves, zombies, and everything in between. Visit a witch's body swap victims (Samantha's Day), find what happens when a girl is buried alive (Buried Alive), learn the origin story of Harper (from Night Touched Chronicles) and Verchiel (from the Amaranthine series), and much, much more. So kick up your feet, relax, and indulge in a short story by a new favorite author.

 

A new review has been posted of Storm Chaser!

 

http://authorstowatch.com/2015/01/14/storm-chaser-book-review/

 

Since I’m posting a link to it, it’s probably not a bad review …

 

Here’s our Christmas present to everyone: A free short story on PDF, featuring two characters from “Storm Chaser”, The Notorious Ian Grant”, and “Storm Chaser Shorts”.

“Another Family” is set before the books and features two cops, a surprise snowstorm, and a special guest who needs police assistance. Oh, and family. Merry Christmas! You’ll find it on the website at http://markrhunter.com/extras.html

 

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.

 

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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