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.

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 …

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.

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/

DM Yates interviews the titular character from “The Notorious Ian Grant” … and things quickly spiral out of control:

 

http://dmyates.weebly.com/blog/interview-with-the-notorious-ian-grant

 

 

“How about you, me, and my publicist go off and make beautiful money together?”

 

“She (Ian’s sister) lost her best sunglasses in a volcano. A volcano. I lost my best sunglasses in a bar fight with Shia LaBeouf.”

SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK

 

            People may think I brag too much about having written five books (some people think I don’t brag enough, but they’re other writers). If I do, there are two good reasons: First, hey—I wrote five books. It takes some effort, even to write a bad one.

            Writing a good one is harder, of course. What I don’t often mention is that I didn’t write five books—I’ve finished lots more. The others are the bad ones. In the business they’re called “trunk books”, because that’s where they need to stay. Other occupations would call such a thing “training”.

            The other reason I brag about them is because I want to sell them. I want to sell them so I can write more, which I guess makes writing a kind of addiction.

            More and more, publishers ask authors for a business plan, along with their book submission. It’s pretty much what you think it is: a written plan for how you’ll help promote and sell your stories once they’re published.

            The problem is, most authors are horrible business people. Have you ever heard the term “starving artist”? I rest my case.

            I came up with a business plan for a submission, back in August of 2013. I told the editor of Whiskey Creek Press that I had a heavy presence in social media, which isn’t exactly unusual these days. I also pointed out that The Notorious Ian Grant had a built-in audience, since it was a sequel. Also, I explained, I was a really nice guy, and almost everyone liked me.

           

I had no idea if any of that was true, but this is advertising. I must have said it right, because they offered me a contract in October. It was the first time I ever liked October. )

 

 

            Emily updated the website at www.markrhunter.com with links to get The Notorious Ian Grant in the Kindle, Nook, PDF, and EPUB formats. The cover blurb is also there, and of course you can read the first chapter for free. Meanwhile, although it’s already been on some of my social media and it’s way late for this to be a reveal, here’s a better quality version of the book’s cover, done by Gemini Judson:

 

 

 

Yes, this is pretty much how I pictured Ian: Kind of a rascally mix of Groucho Marx and Sawyer from "Lost".

 

 

 

            As all fourteen of my regular readers know, my newest and funniest book, The Notorious Ian Grant, comes out in October. (Yes, I’m aware it’s a little early to make that claim. I’m working on my self-confidence.)

 

Almost nine of those fourteen readers are also aware that my publisher, Whiskey Creek Press, has been acquired by a larger publisher, Start Publishing. (Incidentally, if you Google Start Publishing, you have to wade through a lot of advertisers wanting you to … start publishing.)

Now, sometimes, during an acquisitions process, things can get … mixed up. And … *ahem* well, here’s the thing:

 

The Notorious Ian Grant has already been published.

 

I found out by accident early Saturday. According to Amazon, it came out as an e-book the previous Thursday. Barnes and Noble had it up on Friday, and it’s also up on the Whiskey Creek Press website. All for $3.99, by the way, which is a nice drop from the initial price of my first book.

 

The print version isn’t available yet, because that’s something I’m involved with, and I’d planned to time it with the e-book release. In October. But don’t worry, I’m on it, and the website will soon be updated with order information, too.

 

So my big build-up to the release date, including the cover reveal and the related short story giveaways, will be somewhat anti-climactic. On the other hand, considering the nightmares you sometimes hear about publishing delays, it’s hard to complain too much.

 

 

The links:

Whiskey Creek Press:  http://www.whiskeycreekpress.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=1244

 

Amazon.com:  http://www.amazon.com/Notorious-Ian-Grant-Mark-Hunter-ebook/dp/B00MR30B66/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1408171834&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Notorious+Ian+Grant

 

Barnes and Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-notorious-ian-grant-mark-r-hunter/1120148049?ean=2940150534810

 

Oh, and the cover:


 

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!

           “I’ve been thinking about it.”

           “Did it hurt?”

           “Little bit.”

-- The Notorious Ian Grant

 

           Hey, look at that: a surprise sneak peak at my upcoming novel. And also a good intro, because, like Ian Grant, I’ve been thinking about things … and it did hurt, a little.

           I’ve self-published two books, and I’ve had a book and a short story collection released by a small traditional publisher.

           They both have disadvantages, one of which is you don’t get a lot of help in marketing. If you’re going for traditional publishers in the hopes you can just leave everything to them and go on to your next book, forget it. Unless you’re a big name, the publisher’s cut of your work goes toward editing, set up costs, cover design, and other things that don’t include sending you on a multi-city book tour. (Including profit.)

           What’s the best way to market your book? Everyone knows, but no one agrees. One thing most do agree on, though, is that one of the best marketing tactics is to keep writing good books. (Notice the “good” part.) Better still from a marketing standpoint is to write a series, since people like to revisit their favorite characters, if done well.

           So, how do you balance your time, as a writer, between writing your new book and marketing your last one?

           I dunno.

           But I’m trying some steps in that direction. First of all, I’m going to delete my “Storm Chaser” and “Storm Chaser Shorts” Facebook pages, which were, after all, an experiment to begin with. I’m considering keeping my “Smoky Days and Sleepless Nights” page, as it has more of a community aspect and relates to local history and firefighting in general, in addition to the book itself. (Or maybe I should give that job over to Tanner Lock’s excellent Albion Volunteer Fire Department Facebook page?)

           But in general I’m going to concentrate my efforts on my FB fan page, which is Mark R Hunter (as opposed to my “private” page, which is Mark Richard Hunter) It seems pointless to put extra effort into individual book pages, especially since Facebook recently has made changes that make it less useful to writers seeking new readers.

           On a related note, I have two twitter accounts: @MarkRHunter and @StormChaserbook. With the ease of Tweetdeck I’ll probably still cross post writing and weather related stuff to both, but otherwise the Storm Chaser one is going inactive.

           Finally, I’m going to change how I use social media, a little. Many writers spend a lot of their online time connecting with … other writers. Thanks to that, I’ve developed some amazing friendships, a support system I never had as a beginning writer, and great ideas.

           But writers can’t sell books just to other writers.

           For one thing, most writers are poor.

           So I’m going to make an attempt to diversify my posts a bit more, talking about things other than writing. Or maybe things that aren’t about writing, but that relate to the things I write about.

           See, if I can make those things interesting and/or funny, people might read them and say, “Hey – I should check out his books!”

           Meanwhile, by streamlining the process a bit, I’m hopeful for enough time to get out at least two books a year, and maybe some short stories or other writing, all going toward my eventual goal of world domination – um, writing full time.

           My main goal will be to put out the best work I can, in the hopes of making the readers think I’m confident and talented, and worth telling others about.

           It could work.

ozma914: new novel cover art by Kelly Martin (Default)
( Jun. 1st, 2014 09:44 pm)

The galleys for "The Notorious Ian Grant" have already arrived from Whiskey Creek Press! I have a week to make a final error check, so I likely won't be online all that much for a while.

It's earlier than I expected, but don't panic, the release date is still October. (Okay, so I'm the one who panicked, which is why I double checked.)

Got a call today from the senior editor at Whiskey Creek Press, confirming some information as I work on check edits for The Notorious Ian Grant (The last step before galleys). Finalizing one book while still publicizing another is a sign of progress … right?

ozma914: new novel cover art by Kelly Martin (Default)
( May. 12th, 2014 05:56 am)

In all the fuss of getting The No-Camfire Girls out, I haven’t had much time to think about my other book scheduled for publication this year. But yesterday I received an e-mail from an editor for Whiskey Creek Press, to let me know he had just started work on editing The Notorious Ian Grant. That one, the sequel to Storm Chaser, is still scheduled to come out in October.

My attempt at a press release, so people would know where the Smoky Days book sale money is going. I can’t help noticing that press releases involve a lot of bragging.

 

 

            Albion Fire Chief Steve Bushong accepts a check from local author and volunteer firefighter Mark R Hunter for recent sales of his history book about the AFD.

 

Smoky Days And Sleepless Nights: A Century Or So With The Albion Fire Department is being sold as a fund raiser for the Albion Fire Department, and first came out at the AFD’s 125th Anniversary celebration in July, 2013. The check, for $200, is in addition to sales made last summer, with all proceeds going to the AFD.

 

            Smoky Days and Sleepless Nights chronicles the fire disasters that struck Albion’s early history, efforts to form a fire department, and the first century of the AFD. The fully illustrated book, which was written by Hunter and designed and edited by his wife, Emily, sells for $9.95, and is available as e-book or in print on their website, www.markrhunter.com, or directly from Amazon.com.

 

            Locally it’s available at the Albion New Era newspaper office on South Orange Street, the Brick Ark Inn on North Orange Street, and at the Albion Fire Station on the east side of town. The Hunters can also be contacted for a copy at (260) 636-3468 or at markrichardhunter@gmail.com.

 

            Mark R. Hunter has two works of fiction set in northeast Indiana, published by Whiskey Creek Press: The romantic comedy Storm Chaser, and a follow-up short story collection Storm Chaser Shorts. He has two more books coming out in 2014.

 (Dreamwidth hates me, so the photo is on my blogger:_

http://markrhunter.blogspot.com/2014/04/local-author-that-would-be-me-donates.html

 

 

            Whiskey Creek Press has set the release of The Notorious Ian Grant for October, 2014. Holy cow, that’s just nine months! I finished filling out the Title Information Form and Art Information Form yesterday, so the next step is well underway.

            I'm writing some short stories in the lead-up to the book’s release, showing how the title character came to the odd position he’s in at the opening of the story. Those will be posted for free, and I’m toying with the idea of having Ian encounter some characters from TV shows along the way—a shout-out to my history as a fanfiction writer. Hopefully they’ll be as fun as the book itself.

Here’s a snippet from the opening of Bar Fight, the third story in my collection, Storm Chaser Shorts. The story’s being told by State Trooper Chance Hamlin, about one of the main characters in my upcoming novel, The Notorious Ian Grant:

 

 

Bar Fight

 

“I can remember the first moment I knew Fran Vargas would someday make detective. I’d answered a report of a disturbance at a bar, one of those downtown holes in the wall with a door, a plate glass window, and a tiny parking lot in the back. A few minutes earlier some guy showed up at the police station downtown, his face a bloody pulp, to claim he’d gotten jumped for no reason as he left the bar.

 

“There’s always a reason.”

 

 

http://www.markrhunter.com/books.html

Chapter One of Storm Chaser is available to preview on Amazon.com and the Whiskey Creek Press website. But here’s a glimpse from near the beginning of Chapter Two, where we meet the mysterious, disaster prone Luther Magee in an Indianapolis motel room:

 

 

“…A tornado from one of those isolated storm cells brought a close call to a state trooper, who narrowly escaped being caught while tracking the twister.”

The picture showed a solemn officer, blond hair mussed as if from a high wind, standing stiffly next to his patrol car. “My car approached to within about one hundred yards of the funnel…” A face peered out from behind the officer’s broad back, for just an instant. Magee started, then leaned so close to the screen that he almost tumbled off the bed.

The scene cut to a young reporter with concern written across his face. “How long before you escaped the danger?

The camera caught a close up of the trooper in mid sentence. “…about ten minutes…

The reporter’s voice droned on, but Magee concentrated on the trooper, and the girl he led away from the camera. She peeked back only once, but that was all it took.

Bingo.

 

 

http://www.markrhunter.com/books.html

If you give my books for the holidays, the world will be a better place. Well, that's my theory. I'm working on a federal research grant to prove it.

 

http://markrhunter.blogspot.com/2013/12/books-for-christmas-or-shameless-plug.html
ozma914: (ozma914)
( Nov. 15th, 2013 02:02 pm)

            At the moment I have two short stories sent in to science fiction magazines, a third to a writing contest, and a revised novel to a publisher, and I’m waiting to start the editing process on a second novel that’s been accepted by Whiskey Creek Press (The Notorious Ian Grant). There’s also a self-published novella that should come out early next year, and a space opera series I’m working on that you’ll hear more about next year.

 

            That’s the most number of my babies I’ve ever had out in the cold, cruel publishing world at the same time … and I’ve got two more novels that just need a little polishing before they’re ready to go. It’ll be a juggling act, but my plan is to keep them all out there until they’re sold.

 

            Oh – and my friend Barry Parham donated a copy of Smoky Days and Sleepless Nights to his local library down in South Carolina! Another print copy has also been sold through CreateSpace to someone in England. My plan for 2014: Keep the momentum going.

            Smoky Days and Sleepless Nights: A Century Or So With The Albion Fire Department is now a library book.

            The Noble County Public Library has four copies: one each at the Albion, Cromwell, and Avilla branches, and a forth at the Albion branch in the genealogy/reference area. I know, right? I’m a reference book! So much for all those gym teachers who said I’d never amount to anything.

            That puts my name on three books at those libraries: Smoky Days, Storm Chaser, and My Funny Valentine … and they’ve already expressed interest in getting The Notorious Ian Grant when it comes out next year. Here’s the library’s website:

 

            http://www.nobleco.lib.in.us/

 

            Too bad Storm Chaser Shorts is only out as an e-book but, as usual, you can order any of them from my website at www.markrhunter.com, not to mention Amazon, while the novel and short story collection are at www.barnesandnoble.com, and www.whiskeycreekpress.com.

.

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