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Still selling the No-Campfire soap

On Sunday the 18th The No-Campfire Girls is going up for the day on The Fussy Librarian, an e-book website that can be found here:




Like many small businesses (I'm a writer, but let's face it--I'm also a small business), I do more advertising this time of year because people are shopping for the holidays. Also, if you're anything like me, you're looking for something to do that involves not being outside. So, hey--books.

The No-Campfire Girls is listed as YA adventure, although I think it can be a lot of fun for adult readers too. Also, it's got firefighters, so there's that. It's just 99 cents on Kindle and $5 in paperback:



And of course it's on our website at www.markrhunter.com, just like all of our other books. Unless they're sold out, print copies are at the Noble Art Gallery in downtown Albion. I hope you'll consider supporting local businesses--and local authors--in your shopping this year. Unless you don't live near here, in which case I hope you support another locale's authors.



Fifteen year old Beth Hamlin is horrified to discover her beloved summer camp must go without campfires this year, due to the fire hazard from a drought. But Beth isn't one to just sit (or swim, or boat, or horseback) around. When her new cabinmate, Cassidy, claims a local Cherokee can do a rain dance, she jumps into action.

All they have to do is trick the Camp Director into letting Running Creek do the dance, avoid the local bully and a flying arrow or two, and keep from getting caught plotting with Cassidy’s firefighter father on a forbidden cell phone. With luck southern Indiana will get a nice, soaking rain, and Camp Inipi can have proper campfires again.

But when things go horribly wrong, the whole area is endangered by a double disaster. Now Beth and her unit may be the only people who can save not only their camp, but everyone in it.



*A portion of the proceeds of this book benefits Friends of Latonka, an organization made to save the Girl Scout summer camp at Wappapello, Missouri.










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If you can see this video ... well, I'll be very surprised, because my video uploading skills are suspect, to say the least.

"Would you like to go on a trail ride?" my wife asked in August.

(Yeah, I know. It's taken me this long to recover from the emotional trauma enough to write about it.)

Do you remember those people on the tourist boat in Hawaii, who got hit by lava when the volcano exploded? It was like that. "Would you like to go on a boat ride? The view is great!" Oh, I'm sure they got an impressive view, indeed, especially during the medivac helicopter ride to the hospital.

This is Cheyenne. Cheyenne is ... shy. She tends to keep her head down in a good Eeyore impression.

My wife, Emily, works at the Pokagon State Park saddle barn which, as you might imagine, is at Pokagon State Park, in northeast Indiana. It's one of those "they don't have to pay you as much because you love your job" kind of things, like being a radio DJ, or writing. One of her fringe benefits is that, if the hourly ride isn't sold out and there's a horse available, she can bring her husband along on a ride.

At no point while writing that policy did anyone consider whether the husband wanted to go.

I've been on about half a dozen trail rides now, so I'm better at it than when I began. The first time, my horse saw some nice grass off in the woods and wandered off, and they found me three days later, still unconscious from the tree limb. Okay, I exaggerate--slightly. The truth is, those horses wouldn't stray far from their routine trail even if you let them go.

But I hadn't been on a ride since early last year and ... how can I say this and still maintain my self-respect? Okay, there's no way: I'm out of shape. I haven't been trail hiking as much as usual due to writing chores, and the muscle stretches the chiropractor gave me to do only work, it turns out, if you actually do them.

That's Emily all the way up in front, in the hat. If she looks particularly alert right there, it's because we'd just seen a coyote standing in the trail ahead of us.

But that's no problem, because all you have to do is ride, right? You horse people, you're laughing right now. Well, first you have to get on the horse, which involves putting your foot into a stirrup, which is fine except the stirrup is at the level of your chest. I haven't been able to lift my foot to chest level since I was eighteen. Hah! Kidding--I couldn't then, either.

Then you have to swing your other foot over the horse which, I think, is when something happened. I didn't notice it at the time, because I was busy noticing how very high up above the ground I was. The words "head" and "melon" were intertwining in my mind right then.

On the first leg of our 45 minute trip, a coyote casually walked out onto the trail, right in front of us. He looked over our way, and I expected him to say, "Have you seen a road runner go by lately?" But what he actually said was, "If Mark Hunter falls off the horse, can I have him? I spent all my food money on an Acme brand anvil."

Well, that's the predator vibe I was getting from him, anyway.

The thing is, riding a horse involves an entirely different set of muscles compared to my favorite exercise, which is hiking, which is way closer to the ground. (Usually.) And no, you don't just sit: You have to kind of ... hug the horse with your legs, and keep a good posture, which I haven't done since ... well, ever. It makes you appreciate how fit porn actors must be.

It really was a nice ride, and beautiful scenery, except for when the horse ahead of me had to relieve himself.

I expected to be sore the next day. But as I climbed down after a scenic and uneventful ride, something felt ... off.

I'd pulled a horse riding muscle.

I didn't even know there was a thing. It's very low on your back, on each side, or maybe very high on your hip, or--let's face it, it's a butt muscle. I suspect it happened when I climbed on board, but at the time I was too terrified to notice. Yeah, I've done this six times now, but I've also seen all those YouTube videos entitled "Riding Gone Wrong".

Also, I once personally saw someone fall of a horse. They didn't get up fast.

But there was an upside. I'd been reading the second novel in George R.R. Martin's Game of Throne series, and those books are thicker than the Federal budget. Once the pain killers kicked in and I was settled on the couch, I got in some great reading time.

Maybe I'll even ride a horse again. Next year.

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A picture request for a new fire book

You know what I like? Fire trucks.

I also like history.

I'm also a fan of my home town, Albion.

Now, as a person who's been a volunteer firefighter for some 35 years or so, I can safely say I've been a part of all three of those things. And we've combined them all before, in a book Emily and I did called Smoky Days and Sleepless Nights: A Century Or So With the Albion Fire Department:

The days were smoky ... the nights were sleepless.

I'm very proud of that book, which was decades in the making. But, although it did have some photos, it didn't have as many as I'd have liked. Now, some time later we did another book about Albion and Noble County, entitled, naturally, Albion and Noble County:

Ahem: That's the Kendallville Fire Department on the cover.

It's part of Arcadia Press' Images of America series, which features images of ... well, you know. Now, that book was a load of hard work, but it was also very cool, because we searched long and hard and world wide for pictures, and got a lot of really cool ones loaned and donated to us. That got me thinking.

And here's where you come in. Yes, I'm pointing at you.

I've been having some family and medical stuff that's kept me from getting very involved with the fire department recently, so I wanted to do something, and here it is: Another book about the Albion Fire Department, but this time all about the pictures. Fires; fire trucks; firefighters; firehouses; fire history; fire dogs; whatever. Not a lot of text, just all the good photos we can get our hands on.

If you have any fire related photos involving Albion in any way, could you please loan them to us long enough for us to make a copy for the book? You'll get credit, naturally, and half the proceeds from sales of the book will go to the Albion Fire Department. I'm not asking the AFD to fund the making of the book as they did with Smoky Days and Sleepless Nights, so the other half of the proceeds will go toward actually designing, producing, advertising, and printing the book.

If it's in any way related to Albion's fire history, even slightly, we're interested; and we're especially interested in former members, since it's awfully hard to fight fires without firefighters. Seeing as how this is going on my blog, I should stress that I mean Albion, Indiana. Although, come to think of it, it would be kind of cool to have a section on Albion firehouses from across the country.

We'll collect all the best and put out a great visual record of Albion's firefighting brothers and sisters. I don't know for sure how long this will take, but I'm shooting for getting it published maybe early next summer. And as always, thanks for your support!

You can contact Emily or me on our website contact form at www.markrhunter.com, our through any of our social media, or--believe it or not--our number's actually in the phone book.

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