The Albion Fire Department's annual fish fry -- which happens annually -- will be Wednesday, June 7th, during the Chain O' Lakes Festival. We're also having tenderloin again this year, for those of you inclined, although I can't imagine why you'd want to pass on the breaded fish. It's all you can eat, and you can't beat that unless you're a diet doctor.

I can't be there (I'll be helping to bread the fish earlier in the day, and it's one of those scheduling things where I can't do both). However, they tell me copies of Smoky Days and Sleepless Nights: A Century Or So With The Albion Fire Department will be on sale at the fish fry, for $9.95. That's our book about the history of the fire department: Proceeds from book sales, as with the fish fry itself, go to the Albion Fire Department's equipment and training fund.

 So come and support your local emergency volunteers! It's from 5 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at the Albion Fire Station, 210 Fire Station Drive, on the east end of town.  (It's traditional, when a town has a Fire Station Drive, to build the fire station there.) Price for adults is $10, for children $6, with children 5 and under eating free.


Emily and I selling pre-orders of Smoky Days at the fish fry just before its publication.


Why we do it: Albion firefighters attack a training fire. I'm particularly proud of this photo, because I didn't die taking it.

I just learned that Arcadia Publishing has discounted all their Central U.S. books until Sunday. It turns out Indiana's in the Central U.S., so my and Emily's book, Images of America: Albion and Noble County, is also discounted--by 35%, which is no slouch by discount standards. Check it out here:


It's the one with all the cool historical pictures about, you guessed it, Albion and Noble County. And it gives you a break from hearing me talk about Radio Red! I mean, for now.



In all the fuss about car crashes I haven’t taken much time to sell the soap in the last few weeks, which is ironic because now we have to pay for a new car. Luckily I don’t have to pedal my own Dial this time: Just before we left on vacation Kay Kauffman did a review of Hoosier Hysterical.
I shared this review in a few places when it first came out, but you can’t blow your own horn too much, especially if you’re Muhammed Ali. (This is totally untrue—lots of people blow their own horns too much. That’s why election season now lasts three years.)
Kay lives in the midst of an Iowa cornfield that was probably just harvested; follow her blog so she has something to talk about in coming months other than walls of wind-driven snow blowing in from the north. (I’ve never been to Iowa, but I loved The Music Man.)
The only problem is, Kay suggests I write histories of the other 49 states. I spent a whole year researching Hoosier Hysterical: running all over the state, seeing parks and historic places, taking photos …
Actually, it sounds like fun.

This week I'm guest posting on author DM Yates' blog, where I talk about an author's confidence ... or lack of it.

"Your writing is worthless, and your feet stink. I know, I was just down there polishing my pitchfork.”
Emily has finished her edits on Hoosier Hysterical: How the West Became the Midwest, Without Moving At All. (Dennis Miller once made a joke about the increasing length of book subtitles. Don’t worry, I won’t try to call it HS:HtWBtWWMAA.)
She left so many notes. So many notes.
But it gets us one step closer to publication. Now I’ll work my way through the notes and make changes, while Emily goes through our photos and designs a cover. We’re far behind where I intended to be at this point, but a May publication date is still doable—in fact, in the near future I’ll put Hoosier Hysterical up for preorders, assuming I can figure out how to do that.
In theory we can set whatever publication date we want, but this is the Indiana Bicentennial year, after all—the whole reason I came up with this book idea to begin with. We also want to be on track to release two books this year, although I haven’t decided on what to put out for the second one, yet.
It’ll be a work of fiction, though—for now I’m done with the heavy research. Maybe I’ll call Smoky Days and Sleepless Nights, Albion and Noble County, and Hoosier Hysterical my history trilogy … it sounds so much fancier, that way.
ozma914: new novel cover art by Kelly Martin (Default)
( Nov. 3rd, 2015 03:04 am)

I’m working the third draft of what I’m still calling the Indiana History Humor book, because it’s my book and I can call it whatever I want. Obviously that’s not going to be the final title. I haven’t worried much because there’s plenty of time to get it titled, polished, and photo’d in time for Indiana’s bicentennial. Right?

And that’s true, if we self-publish it. If we decide to try for a traditional publisher—and there are some publishers who deal in historical humor—then time is definitely wasting. It’s only two months before 2016, so either way I’d better kick it into gear.

But what to title? In my mind, a humor book about Indiana history should have a title that touches on Indiana, and humor, and maybe history. I’ve been compiling a list for some time now, and a few of the possibilities include:

Back to Indiana (as in, I’m goin’ back to Indiana)

From La Salle to Lincoln (Personally, I think this one’s descriptive, but lame.)

More than Corn, but Proudly Corny (See above.)

Indiana Wants Me (Not very descriptive, but I’ve thought of adding a subtitle: But So Far I’ve Managed to Avoid Extradition.

Banks of the Wabash: Drowning In History (Meh.)

Removed to Indiana (This is from a quote by Abe Lincoln. It only makes sense if you’re familiar with that quote, which didn’t make it into the Gettysburg Address.)

A Humorous Treatise On Indiana History, Mores and Events, Illustrated (Kidding!)

Hoosier Hysterical (This is my favorite, but it’s only effective if you know the term “Hoosier Hysteria”. My wife, an avowed sports non-fan, had never heard of it.)

Hoosier Daddy (This is the very first title I thought of, and I really like it, especially if it can be paired with a good subtitle. Others don’t like it. At all.)

Speaking of subtitles, I was entertaining such possibilities as:

“A fractured look at Indiana history”

“How we became us, and why it’s silly”

“How the west became the Midwest without moving at all”

“Funny dressed people conquer the territory”

Now that I think about it, if those last two main titles don’t work out I’m leaning toward Indiana Wants Me, but so far I’ve avoided extradition. Maybe with a sub-sub title. Or maybe not. What do you think? And do you other writers have as much trouble muddling toward good titles as I do?
ozma914: new novel cover art by Kelly Martin (Default)
( Aug. 24th, 2015 08:03 pm)

It didn’t work out, thanks partially to the chiropractor … but wasn’t it a great idea?


It’s a big day today, a day worthy of celebration. I decided that on this particular Monday, I’ll do whatever the heck I want.

I want sleep.

This says less about me than about the fact that I worked overtime this weekend, and events left me with about half my normal snooze time. I wish I could say I was one of those people who could go on for days without sleep. In truth, I’m jealous of those people—I could sure get a lot more done, getting by on three hours a night. But I can barely go hours without sleep.

Today (early Monday, as I write this) is book launch day. It’s my seventh book, or ninth if you count the anthologies I’ve been in, but it’s as exciting as the first one. Maybe more: This is the first time I’ve had a solid, definite book release date. Whiskey Creek Press only gave me an approximate date for my three works with them, and in those cases the books went up for sale before I expected them to. With our self-published works I could just announce the launch whenever the order was ready, which cut down on the anticipation. Just the same,  having a new book come out never gets old.

You know what gets old? Sleep apnea. Insomnia. Twelve hour shifts.

(Not insomnia during twelve hour shifts, mind you.)

Anyway, Arcadia gave me a concrete launch date: It says in my contract that any book in a customer’s hands before then will spontaneously combust. Customers hate that.

But thanks to preorders, early Monday Amazon rankings had me at #215 in state and local history books, which is really good, right? Right? So I think I deserve a solid nine hour sleep, followed by maybe a five hour nap.


Let’s face it, I was never a party animal. The music that gets my heart beating was composed by John Williams. My best-ever all-nighter was when I read Arthur C. Clark’s Rendezvous with Rama in one sitting. I get a hangover after drinking cough syrup.

Don’t get me wrong: I might still run uptown for a celebratory pizza. Sure, it could put me into a food coma—but that’s exactly what I’m going for.

The books are here! 50 copies of Images of America: Albion and Noble County came in the mail Saturday, in time for the official release date tomorrow. 

I did some checking, and the pre-order price at Barnes and Noble and Amazon  look good through the end of the release day—so you should be able to get it at 46-47% off the list price until midnight Monday. If you want an autographed copy, I’ll be happy to add my John Hancock later. 

After all, the deal is worth close to half off, and the signature is worth nothing!

Images of America: Albion and Noble County is officially for sale—and on sale. The release date remains August 24th, but it can be ordered on your usual online suspects—and it appears those usual suspects are giving a pre-release price guarantee of close to 50%.

 (I’d have announced this earlier, but I didn’t know!)

 Here are ways you can order Albion and Noble County at a discount—if you act fast:


I’ve ordered 50 copies from Arcadia Publishing (ahem—I get an author’s discount), which should arrive Monday … which happens to be the release date. (I also ordered 20 more copies of The No-Campfire Girls, so we should have enough of all our books on hand.)

 Emily is setting up a special website for the book, where we’ll have extra photos and related historical information—more about that toward the end of the weekend. We’ll also be talking more about upcoming book signings soon … but meanwhile, take advantage of this deal!



ozma914: new novel cover art by Kelly Martin (Default)
( Aug. 16th, 2015 08:22 am)

I normally send out a press announcement ahead of each book release. This one might not show up in newspapers, because Arcadia Publishing has a publicist, and I haven’t heard back yet on whether it fits with what they’re doing.

(I know, right? We have a publicist!)


  A husband and wife writing team have produced a book that will give Noble County area residents a photo-filled walk through local history.

Images of America: Albion and Noble County will be released on August 24th by Arcadia Publishing, a South Carolina based publishing house with a catalog of more than 9,000 local history titles. The books are heavily illustrated with historical photos, which challenged authors Mark R. Hunter and Emily Hunter.

The Hunters spent months gathering old photos from numerous sources, including historical organizations, collectors, and residents with scrapbooks or boxes of black and white pictures. But that was only the beginning of the job: They picked out and organized the photos to best represent various Noble County communities and the county seat, Albion; researched local history; then wrote chapter openings and captions for all the photos.

The result is well over 200 images of towns, locations, and people in Albion and Noble County, the latest in Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America line. The book retails for $21.99, and is available for preorder on and More information can be found on the publisher’s website at, or at the author’s website at

As part of the book launch, Mark and Emily will give a presentation at 6:30 p.m. September 9th at the Kendallville Public Library, and will also have a book signing from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. September 12th at the Stone’s Trace Pioneer Festival, near Ligonier.

             The Hunters previously collaborated on another history book, Smoky Days and Sleepless Nights: A Century or so With the Albion Fire Department, along with a humor book, Slightly off the Mark, and a young adult novel, The No-Campfire Girls. Mark R. Hunter’s other books include the romantic comedies Storm Chaser and The Notorious Ian Grant, and the story collection Storm Chaser Shorts.

Mark and Emily live a few blocks from the historical Noble County Courthouse in Albion along with their loving but scary dog, Beowulf, and a cowardly ball python named Lucius.



I’ve just realized it’s only 19 days before the release date!  Images of America: Albion and Noble County comes out August 24th, months ahead of when I originally thought it would. Emily and I worked hard on this book, a photo heavy look at local history that’s part of Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America line … I guess the title hinted at that, didn’t it?

You can see the book description at the publisher’s website:,

and don’t forget to check out all their other great history books. It’s already listed for preorder on the Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites.

Save the date for some upcoming appearances: Look for us in the fireplace room of the Kendallville Public Library main branch, on September 9th at 6:30 p.m. I’ll give a brief presentation on the book, and also have copies available for sale.  

We’ll also be at the Stone’s Trace Pioneer Festival near Ligonier, where we’ve been invited to do a book signing between 1-5 p.m. Saturday, September 12th. It’s a great historical site that gets mentioned more than once in the book.

Look for more events coming up—and thanks to everyone for your support!


ozma914: new novel cover art by Kelly Martin (Default)
( May. 11th, 2015 04:42 am)
I know what you want: You want to know what other people have to think about Slightly Off the Mark: The Unpublished Columns. And who can blame you?

What, you don’t want that? You want … brownies? Well, okay, go get a snack and then come back.

Here’s a review by author DM Yates, who’s more than just a trophy wife:

She compares me to Mark Twain, despite the fact that I’ve never piloted a riverboat, and I look terrible in white. We’re both Marked, though.

Here’s a review by Kay Kauffman, who has a signed affidavit that we’re related by neither blood nor bank account:

Kay insists the book is chock full of laughs, as opposed to initial reports that she laughed ‘till she choked, and a three day investigation by the Wapello County Sheriff Department has confirmed this.

Those and two other reviews can be found on Goodreads:

The other two reviews are by Barry Parham, who himself is a humor writer and thus should know better, and Joleen Naylor, whose horror stories about vampires make her an expert on politics.

By Federal statute Goodreads can only list books that are good reads, as determined through a review by the Mount Airy, North Carolina, Police Department. Writers who violate this statute can be thrown into a weekend drunk tank with Otis, a long-term convict rumored to have both body odor and severe halitosis. These reviews can, then, be viewed with a high degree of accuracy.


The print run of Slightly Off the Mark: The Unpublished Columns is here, but we could run out quickly! (Not really, we’ll just order more.)


You can get a signed copy on my website at using PayPal, or do that whole credit card thing. Or, you can get a print copy on Amazon and pair it with the Kindle version at half price. Or, just shoot me a line and we’ll make arrangements.


On that same website page, sign up for our mailing list and get notifications, information, humor, and stuff. (Stuff to be announced.) I’ll endeavor to be entertaining.


Needless to say, order any of my other books there, too! I’m not all about the funny. Some people feel very strongly about that.

It still looks like this.




This is what I was going to post to get the ball rolling on the release of Slightly Off the Mark: The Unpublished Columns (which are now the published columns). But now it’s up on Amazon, and on the website, and … we just got our delivery of print copies!



“I turned around a few minutes later, walked into the Albion New Era office with the aura of confidence and skill, and said ‘I changed my mind. Pleasssseeeee!!!!!!’”

--Slightly Off the Mark, from “Why I write, or: I hate needles”.


Thus began my career as a humor columnist, which resulted in some 1,150,000 words over the next quarter of a century.  Now, although my column has moved to the monthly Kendallville Mall, I’ve collected all my unpublished earlier columns into one volume.


Because “volume” sounds somehow more official than “book”.


It’s a short book, but my fourteen regular readers have short attention spans, so it’s all good. Now I’m asking you, my other hundred or so readers, to purchase Slightly off the Mark and then actually read it, and then tell all their friends. It’s a lot to ask, but I have no shame.


You can find links to all the ways you can get the Slightly Off the Mark on my website,, or at regular internet places, and soon I hope to have news on such things as book signings and other places where you can get a copy. Or, knock on my door, or stop me in the street. Not in the middle of the street … maybe wait for me on the sidewalk.


To show you what you’ll be treated to—I hope that’s the right word—the book is divided into sections including:


Part One: because someone has to go first

Part Deux: the final second

Part Three: medical stuff, and things

Part Four: the writer’s life for me, or: Brother, can you spare a dime?

Part Five: how do you spell miscellaneous?

Part Six: part two of the writer’s life, or: Six into two makes … something

Part Seven: politics, or: Maybe you shouldn’t read this section—(my editor didn’t)

Part Eight: What’s the sundry word for miscellaneous?


If that’s not enough for you to part with your Starbucks money, at the end of the book you’ll find the first chapter of my upcoming space opera novel, Beowulf: In Harm’s Way. There’s humor there, too. Really, there is. I would recommend you pay particular attention to that part if you’re, say, a publisher, or an agent.


Hope you like it!



My sinus headache seems to be morphing into a rare migraine, so just a quick update: I’ve finished the third draft of my space opera story (working title Beowulf: In Harm’s Way), and Emily’s about half finished checking the first Slightly Off the Mark book, which we’re hoping to have out in April.

The space opera story is only about 55,500 words, and the humor book around 40,000. I think shorter is better with non-fiction humor, but what do you think of that length for science fiction? My novels tend to be short (and my short stories tend to run long!)



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


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