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.

 

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.

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.

 



 

 

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

 

            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
Okay, here we go again! Thanks to Dan Gagen’s kind invitation to an artist’s open house, I’m doing another book signing this year: Friday, December 5th, from 4-8 p.m.

It’s the same evening as Albion’s Christmas at the Village, so we’re hoping to get a big crowd up on the Courthouse Square for all the activities going on. As for us, we’ll be at 100 N. Orange Street, the former Black Building at the stoplight, on the southeast corner—look for the place with the big historical mural on the side. Here’s the Facebook event page:

https://www.facebook.com/events/310190809164184/

Naturally, we’ll have all my books there … it would be a pretty sad book signing otherwise. This is a chance for anyone who (understandably) didn’t get out in the lousy weather during my previous book signing. Come look at the books, ask questions, and wait for Santa to go by and the Christmas tree to be lit. Bonus: Great art to look at! Dan is a fantastic painter, and has invited some of his artist friends to set up shop, too.

The bad news is, the book signing didn’t go so great. The good news is, the only person at fault was Mother Nature—and we already knew Mother Nature hates me anyway.

I did sell nine books, and got to talk to some great people, and hey—how better to spend a miserable day than in the library? But we got slammed by the weather. Local schools were canceled, roads and sidewalks were slick and icky, and the high temperature was lower than the normal low temperature for mid-November. Nobody wants to go out in crap like that, especially with wind and occasional snow squalls blasting through.

The folks at the Noble County Public Library—who were great, by the way—kept remarking on how amazingly quiet it was. Maybe I should have rescheduled, but after so much time and effort promoting it, I felt duty bound to go on. The library also put in a lot of work, complete with a flier that they posted on Facebook and on their monitor screens. So again, no one can be faulted but the weather, and I still sold more books than I have at some past signings.

My next step: Get those people who would have shown up if it had been nicer to buy books, and promote for Christmas shopping season! Because even an early winter won’t get me down. Much.

I’m sure some writers approach public appearances with the confidence of TV’s Richard Castle, who swaggers into every room like he has the world by the keyboard. Then again, maybe not … Castle seems to have become a bestselling novelist without ever actually writing. In other words, he’s every writer’s dream.

I, on the other hand, have to actually pound away at the keyboard to produce a manuscript. Probably I’m more representative. If that’s true, then most writers approach book signings with no confidence at all. What’s worse? That no one will show up at all, or that they’ll show up to point and laugh at your temerity in thinking you actually deserve any sort of success?

Like most things, the anticipation is worse than the reality. (Not with dentists. Oh, not with dentists.) Still, as I approach the next book signing, I can’t help thinking: Is somebody going to finally call me out?

Dude, you suck. What makes you think people will actually want to read your books?

“Hey, I’m published!”

So was Hitler.

“That’s just mean.”

That’s my subconscious speaking. But my subconscious assures me every time that real people will show up and say the same thing.

It used to whisper to me, “You’re a horrible writer!” Finally, after a few decades, I came to accept that I was actually a pretty good writer. Then it started whispering, “There are millions of good writers! You’re a little minnow in a big sea. You’re so pathetic that even your subconscious can’t come up with a cliché that doesn’t involve little fish in the ocean.”

Other times it gets bored and switches: You’ll never write full time! You’ll die at a keyboard, working two full time jobs and never taking the time to vegetate on the couch with chips and dip.

“Oh, yeah? Well, my wife and doctor won’t let me eat chips and dip anymore, so there!”

Nice riposte, use that in your imaginary Pulitzer speech.

Is it any wonder, then, that I hate promoting myself? Okay, I have a book signing coming up Monday, at the Noble County Public Library in Albion. So why can’t I just yell it out, rather than writing some long article about it? “Hey, be there! Three to six p.m. on Main Street! I’ll have all my books!”

You’re pathetic. That’s your own home turf, what are you worried about? Try having a book signing in Chicago, see who shows up there.

“You’re my subconscious, you just called yourself pathetic.”

I know. It’s pathetic.

You can’t win when you take on your own subconscious.

By the time November 17th rolls around I’ll be too worried about the details of the signing to let my inner voice bother me. I’ll sell some copies of my various works, go home happy that anyone bought any at all, and go back to work on my next book project.

Then the voice will start whispering again. But you know what? I’m a good writer, by gosh, so I’ll ignore it … at least, until it’s time to send in the next manuscript.

I signed a book for a Senator, so there.
ozma914: new novel cover art by Kelly Martin (Default)
( Nov. 10th, 2014 04:22 pm)

Books? I got ‘em. Ahead of my book signing on November 17th, I took delivery of ten copies of Storm Chaser and twenty copies of The No-Campfire Girls, and I already had plenty of The Notorious Ian Grant and Smoky Days And Sleepless Nights on hand. Just in time for Christmas gift giving—to others, or yourself. I think I’ve even still got a few copies of My Funny Valentine around.

And don’t be surprised if you see some special prices when you show up that Monday.

Now all I need is people, so remember to stop by! 3-6 p.m. at the main branch of the Noble County Public Library, at 813 E Main Street in Albion. We’ll stay a little later if people are still wandering in. Look forward to seeing you!


What does a real, official writer’s press release look like? Well … I don’t know. But here’s the press release I sent out to the local media, minus my e-mail address and author photograph. Obviously it’s different from my less formal post from last week, but otherwise all I can tell you is that it’s probably too long for modern media outfits.

            Oh, if you have Facebook and want to let us know you’re coming, the event page is at https://www.facebook.com/events/359823550853994/. Or, you could just let us know you’re coming.

 

            Local author Mark R Hunter is visiting the Noble County Public Library’s main branch in Albion for a book signing Monday, November 17th.

            Hunter’s diverse works include two romantic comedy novels, a young adult adventure, a collection of short stories, and a history of the Albion Fire Department, in addition to a humor piece in the anthology My Funny Valentine. Two of his works came out in 2014:

            The Notorious Ian Grant, a romantic comedy set in northeast Indiana, came out in August and is a sequel to his first novel, Storm Chaser. Both were published, along with his e-book short story collection, Storm Chaser Shorts, by Whiskey Creek Press

            The No-Campfire Girls, a humorous adventure set in an Indiana summer camp, was released in June. Some of the proceeds go toward operating costs for Camp Latonka, a Missouri Girl Scout camp that once provided a second home for Hunter’s wife, Emily.

            Proceeds from Hunter’s other book, Smoky Days and Sleepless Nights: A Century or So With The Albion Fire Department, go toward the Albion Fire Department.

            Copies of all the books will be available for sale at the book signing, which will run from 3-6 p.m. and include some reduced prices. You can find out more about Hunter and his books at www.markrhunter.com, or on his Amazon author’s page at http://www.amazon.com/Mark-R-Hunter/e/B0058CL6OO/

Just in time for Christmas shopping, we’re having a book signing Monday, November 17th, at the main branch of the Noble County Public Library in Albion. We should have copies of all my books there, especially the latest one, The Notorious Ian Grant—which will be at a reduced price compared to retail.

The library is at 813 E Main St in Albion, and we’ll be there from 3-6 p.m.—and maybe a little later if there’s interest. Buy a book there, bring a book in, I’ll sign whatever’s put in front of me unless it’s by someone else, which would be a little crazy.

There will be copies not only of my new book but of Storm Chaser, The No-Campfire Girls, and Smoky Days and Sleepless Nights: A Century Or So With The Albion Fire Department. I think I still have a few copies of My Funny Valentine, too; sadly, Storm Chaser Shorts is available only as an e-book, and I don’t think we’ll have Slightly Off The Mark ready in time.

Hope to see you there! Here’s the Facebook event page address:

https://www.facebook.com/events/359823550853994/

SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK

 

            Like many published authors, I’ve developed a psychological disorder known as OCA: Obsessively Checking Amazon.

            This happens when you get a book listed on Amazon.com, and find yourself waking up in the middle of the night just to check the book’s ranking. When you don’t sell many copies (that would be most writers) your entire day can be made with one sale, or broken by the precipitous ranking drop that comes after that one sale.

            My fourth book came out in May, and my wife had to use a Taser and a crowbar to pry me away from the internet before summer arrived. My rank peaked in mid-May at 68,201, which sounds pretty good until you realize that the previous February, for reasons that remain a mystery, my overall rank hit 9,093.

            Of course, that counts only Amazon sales, as opposed to sales from other sources. I keep a box full of books in the trunk of my car, just in case I stumble across an unwary victim—ahem, reader—with a few bucks for books.

           

 

Between now and its October release, I’m posting a series of short stories featuring the title character of my novel, The Notorious Ian Grant. Since the book starts just as he finishes a road trip from California to Indiana, I thought I’d tell some fun tales about whom and what he encounters along the way.

 

My idea to do something similar before the release of Storm Chaser led instead to my publisher collecting the tales as Storm Chaser Shorts. But this time they’ll be free, and I had a different idea: Suppose I had Ian encounter characters from other fandoms along the way? (Most of you know I’ve written fanfiction under the name Ozma914.)

 

I’m thinking especially of characters from shows, movies, and such that take place in the areas Ian travels through, or who might come through in their own travels. What do you think? And who would you like to see him encounter? I hope you all like the idea, because I’m already working on them!
ozma914: (Storm Chaser)
( Jul. 31st, 2014 09:23 pm)

 

SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK

 

 

            I’ve spent a lot of time looking into what the US government spends money on. In fact, you could say I’ve spent so much time on their spending that nothing surprises me.

 

            You could say that, but you’d be wrong.

 

            Now they’re getting into my territory, dropping a million dollars into a project studying romance novels. Your taxpayer dollars are also going into a documentary on superheroes, a zombie video game, and promoting a ninja who’s supposed to sneak in and educate children about climate change, among many other things.

 

            But it was the romance stuff that grabbed my attention. Some say a million bucks isn’t much, by Fed standards. My response is to suggest they’ve lost their grip on reality – and math – but never mind.

 

           

.

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