I'm not saying I'm behind on book reviews, but Emily and I listened to American Gods while driving to and from Missouri—in 2015. So, I am saying I’m behind on book reviews, and since this one’s easy I thought I’d knock it out.
Not that Neil Gaiman needs any help from me, especially with American Gods on its way to becoming a TV series. (Wait, the show's first season is over; I'm behind on posting blogs, too.) Better that than a movie—I can’t imagine how they’d fit this story into a two hour or so time frame.
Main character Shadow is released from prison early, on the news that his wife has been killed in an accident. He’s flying home for the funeral when Mr. Wednesday appears next to him during a violent storm, and offers him a job. What’s the job, and how does Wednesday know so much about Shadow? That’s just the beginning of the mystery, and as close to normal as this book ever gets.
The grieving Shadow just wants to be left alone, but soon finds himself in a war pitting old gods against new gods as he wanders across the American Midwest, meeting every sort of odd character, human and otherwise. And that’s about as close as I can come to describing this mind-twisting novel in ten thousand words or less.
Although I like listening to podcasts and audio non-fiction, I haven’t had good experiences with fiction on audiobook. That changed with American Gods, which is narrated (performed?) by George Guidall. At least, my version was; I've since learned that there's at least on other audio version. Thanks to Guidall I can’t imagine Wednesday being played by anyone but Anthony Hopkins (well, I can now), but he does a great job with all the voices, as well as Gaiman’s wonderful narration.
This audio addition of American Gods is, I assume, unabridged, and so seemed to take forever. That’s a compliment. It was like an endless bowl of ice cream that you never get tired of. In fact, this novel is the reason why I usually give books I really like a four out of five rating. That way there’s room when the occasional perfect reading—well, listening—experience arrives. This is it: Five out of five.

(By the way, the series is just as mind blowing. Instead of trying to shove all this story and characters into one movie, there's actually room to expand it a bit. I couldn't imagine how they could turn American Gods into a TV series either, but they did it, and it's a work of surreal genius.)

I’m the Tuesday special! Well … yesterday I was the Tuesday special.




Rumor has it I have a book out ….

I got both print and e-book editions of Radio Red up on Goodreads now, I think. It would have taken less time for a competent person to do, but Emily was sleeping.

ozma914: new novel cover art by Kelly Martin (Default)
( Mar. 4th, 2017 11:45 am)

Surprise! In addition to the e-book version, Radio Red is now listed for sale in print on Amazon:




And another surprise, it's listed as being published February 28th--even though the official publication date is March 7th. I suppose they put it up as soon as the print setup was done, and hey--who am I to complain? Now my baby is out in the world.


Since we were going by the March 7th release date, we don't have the print order form up on the website just yet, but stand by. Meanwhile, the print copies we ordered should be here in a week or so. Don't be surprised if you see me standing at the back of a Ford Escape sometime soon, hissing at passersby: "Hey! You wanna read a good book? No? How about my book?"






Buy links for Radio Red (and our other books):







Looks like there's been at least one pre-order of "Radio Red" on Amazon--and the print version isn't even up yet! Someone has confidence in me. You can order it and our other books at:


http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/"Mark R. Hunter"


And everywhere else good books are sold. (Not really, but I can dream.)

Or, you could just hold off until the print version comes in. Or, you could ignore this and go to my next post, which will likely be shilling My Funny Valentine. I don't usually do two sales posts in a row, but it's been a rough week.

Authors live off reviews—we sure can’t live off our writer’s income!—and I got a really nice one of The No-Campfire Girls, to usher in the new year:
This novel, along with Smoky Days and Sleepless Nights, are our books that support good causes beyond my retirement fund. You can, of course, find them in places such as:
Remember, every time you leave a book review, an angel gets his wings … then he flies away and no longer leaves a carbon footprint. Save the planet: Leave a review.
When a drought leads to a campfire ban, summer campers simply decide to make it rain.

How hard could it be?


I'm trying to keep the sales going, since the proceeds go to a good cause ... and, I'm testing this Amazon embedding thing that I noticed on the page.


You can forgive Katelina if she thinks the murder of her boyfriend Patrick is the worst thing that could happen to her. Or she may have thought that, before she’s torn out of her life by the mysterious Jorick, and discovers her association with Patrick has made her hunted—by vampires


In “Shades of Gray (Amaranthine Book 1)”, Katelina is plunged into a nightmare, unable to contact friends or family, separated from home and work. Worse, her only protector is also a vampire, and he’s way more dangerous than the sparkly sort.


Joleene Naylor’s first Amaranthine book goes back to the good old days of vampires: They’re vile, merciless, and see humans as only food or slaves, just as vampires should. And although Jorick does seem to be one of the (or maybe the only) good ones, “good” is relative in this series’ cold, gory world. The first book is dark and violent—and well told—and hints and big things to come.


I did have trouble with the main character's inaction, but not because she wasn’t written well—far from it. Katelina spends much of the book in a state of shock, and who wouldn’t? Terrible things happen to her at every turn. So, while Katelina’s struggles with helplessness and hopelessness aren’t something I enjoyed, they came because Naylor stayed true to her character, rather than giving her an unbelievable transformation into an action hero halfway through. Just the same, I hope Katelina catches some breaks in future books!


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:


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

Teenage girls decide to change the weather ... what could go wrong?



 I've been writing crossovers between various fandoms and the main character of my new novel, "The Notorious Ian Grant", and I couldn’t leave out the Four Friends—characters from my earlier “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” fanfics who came together with no planning on my part for a series of stories.

The Four Friends are Tara, a witch/ghost who’s a bit more alive than most people realize; Buffybot, a robot copy of Buffy Summers; Dana, a psychologically scarred Slayer from an episode of “Angel”; and Kara, an original character from my first fanfic.

Title: A Wrong Turn At Albuquerque
Author: ozma914
Summary: Ian thinks he’s still headed toward Indiana, in a misguided--figuratively and in this case literally--attempt to get back in his family's good graces. Along the way he meets a very different, mystical sort of family.

Rating: PG
Length: 2,500 words




My review of Secondhand Shoes, (Lila’s Journey Series, Book 1), by Shelly Arkon:




“… And her husband-to-be doesn’t fit, either.”
ozma914: (Storm Chaser)
( Jul. 31st, 2014 09:23 pm)





            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.



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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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


Today I got to see the proposed cover for The Notorious Ian Grant, done by Gemini Judson. I’ll reveal it when it’s official, but she found a likeness for Ian that perfectly conveys how I imagine him at the opening of the book: A handsome but scruffy guy, full of mischief and reminiscent of Sawyer from the TV show “Lost”.

The stormy background (It’s the sequel to Storm Chaser) brought to mind a possible tagline for the book:

“There’s a new whirlwind in town.”

With it coming out in October, that makes two book releases in one year! It’s a pace I intend to keep … if I survive.

We received the first 25 print copies of The No-Campfire Girls today, and Emily spent some time polishing up the website to take orders. Of course, it’s still available on Amazon, but if you want one signed—by me or by both me and Emily, since she worked as hard at it as I did—you can order it here for $5.00 plus shipping and handling:


Or, if you live nearby, just let us know and we’ll get it to you! We’re not against traveling, but I don’t think the expenses are tax deductible. As you can see on the website, there are links to buying all our books in print or e-book format. If, for some reason, you can’t use PayPal, we’ll come up with some kind of arrangement.
 I'm going to go live on internet radio tonight, at 6:30 EST! The link to HumorOutcasts Radio is here:




But don't worry if you can't catch it live: I'll post a link later to the HumorOutcasts website, when the recording goes up.

            Here’s Emily’s cover for The No-Campfire Girls:




“I liked the idea of an earthy, summer camp type cover, with the little campfire logo that hints at the book’s main content, although I’m disturbed that Emily set my name on fire.”


            Still a few publishing glitches, but we found the alleged problem and should have it up for Kindle tomorrow, and hopefully the print version on Amazon, too. Anyone who’s interested in joining up on a blog tour, let me know.

I was invited along on a blog tour ride by my writer friend Mari Collier, who was raised in Iowa and yet isn’t dull at all. Thanks for the extra work, Mari – sheesh. But anyone who writes SF, historical fiction, and humor is worth the effort. She now lives in California, yet isn’t strange at all.



Unfortunately, due to finalizing the details on The No-Campfire Girls and life in general, I haven’t had the time to get this out, and today I realized I hadn’t recruited anyone to follow it. Instead, I picked a few blogs from among writer friends and highlighted them at the end of this, but I didn’t find anyone to answer the questions themselves, and I hope some of you will take up the reins and continue this on.



1.       What Am I Working On?


A sandwich, at the moment. Oh, you mean writing? We’re finishing the setup for my second self-published effort, The No-Campfire Girls, a YA humor/adventure set in a girl’s summer camp. Why self-published? Because a portion of the proceeds from the book’s sale will go toward Camp Latonka, the Girl’s Scout camp my wife attended and then worked at.

            I’m waiting to see the cover art of The Notorious Ian Grant, which Whiskey Creek Press is publishing in October. Meanwhile, I’m plugging away at a book of my columns and Beowulf: In Harm’s Way, a SF story that pokes a little fun at the space opera genre. I have a million ideas in a dozen genres, all in varying degrees of development, and just need more time.



2.       How Does My Work Differ From Others of Its Genre?


Which genre? Well, I tend to inject more humor into my works—the world needs more humor—but not in a mocking or parody way. I take my situations lightly, and my characters seriously. It’s as if Isaac Asimov and Douglas Adams had a baby, and … who knows? I never pried into their personal lives.



3.       Why Do I Write What I Do?


Why not? But basically I write what I like to read, which is how it should be with all writers. I love science fiction, and I like a good romance that’s infused with humor, and I’m always up for some intelligent action, if you can picture that.



4.       How Does My Writing Process Work?


I start by thinking, which is far too lacking in today’s society. What if? What then? Routine chores are a perfect time for that: Mowing the lawn, showering, home maintenance, first aid after home maintenance … that’s where I work out the ideas in my head.

Then I do an outline; I have a whole box full of unfinished manuscripts to show I’ll never be a successful pantser. By the way, when I was a kid “pantser” meant a whole different thing. My outlines are devoid of Roman numerals, and full of side notes, parenthesis (I’m famous for my parenthesis), and the occasional exclamation point as an idea hits me. It’s just a scribbled narrative, really, and subject to change at any time—I just need a road map with a destination, and nothing keeps me from exploring a side road as long as the destination is in mind.

Beside that are detailed character outlines, and often other research material. I know what my characters want, need, what they’re afraid of, what they like for lunch, their hobbies, political outlooks or lack thereof—and although many of those details never make it to the story, they makes the characters real for me. Which is why they often go running off onto those side roads I mentioned, surprising me as much as the reader.

Then I write. That’s the fun part. Give me a place to sit and enough room to break out my laptop, and there’s my office. Except the bathtub—there are logistical problems to writing in the bathtub.

And, although I go back and read through the previous day’s work at every writing session, my stories are always in for five or six polishings before anyone else sees them, because that’s how I roll. And if you’ve ever tried to roll while revising, you know it’s a challenge.


            Here are a few other blogs from friends of mine, more or less at random but chosen from Blogspot because I’m lazy:



            William Kendall has that rare ability to make you laugh even if you’re a fan of what he’s making fun of. He likes winter and hates musicals, but nobody’s perfect.



            Kelly Hashway writes speculative fiction, or so I speculate, and has already done the tour—no guilt trip here for her.



            Rosanne Dingli is a writer of rich writing who also writes about writing, right?

Say it three times fast … take a chance.


            Yes, I cheated on this assignment to a degree, but I just finished proofreading my new book proof and now I’m sending off for another proof to prove I’m ready to publish. As you can probably tell by the last couple of paragraphs, I’m also very tired.
I spent a few hours yesterday trying to whittle out the fat in a 3,635 word SF short story.

It's now 3,703 words.



ozma914: new novel cover art by Kelly Martin (Default)


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