Saturday, August 25, 2012

Mark Hunter, A Unique and Humourous Writer I Admire

I would like to introduce to you, a unique, and wonderfully humourous writer.  His name is Mark Hunter, and he will be my guest blogger for today.  Rather than do interview questions, I like just having the writers, themselves, take over the guest post to say all they want to say.  And it is my pleasure, to have Mark hunter, here, today.  Here’s what he wants to tell you all:

I’ve been writing since I was old enough to know there was such a thing as words.  Fiction in the genres of fantasy, young adult, science fiction, romance, humor, action/adventure, and some that defied pigeonholing.  Newspaper articles, public information releases, features, and for over twenty years a humor column.
And yet, I almost failed English my sophomore year of high school … because of poetry.
My sophomore English teacher was a young lady early in her career, who took it into her head that we all needed to appreciate poetry. (My junior English teacher was the daughter of famous science fiction writer E.E. “Doc” Smith, but that’s another story.)
I didn’t appreciate poetry. In fact, I wanted nothing to do with it. When she assigned a major poetry project for the year, I groaned inwardly and did what I do best when faced with unwanted jobs: procrastinated.
The result was a few quick and dirty rhymes in no particular poetry form jotted down just before the due date, including an overly cute rhyming apology for not getting it all done. I squeaked by that year with a C minus, and that only because I turned in several short stories for extra credit – the same short stories I was writing in the back row, when I should have been listening to the teacher.
Since then, as my gracious blog tour host April will tell you, I’ve come to appreciate poetry. I even took a stab at it myself, and if I do say so myself I’m not terrible. Not great, but still … it’s an improvement compared to bending over a notebook at three a.m. before the due date, desperately trying to rhyme something with “orange”.
Poetry requires a great deal of effort for me, and the result tends to be simplistic (I assume. What do I know from good poetry?). Since it’s both more time consuming and harder than prose, I don’t mess with it often. But April is the poet laureate of my writing friends, so when she offered to host a guest blog for me, I figured the least I could do was take a shot at it. So here is … something. I’ll figure it out as I go along.

The writing life! It seems so great
that many never hesitate
to try it out, by hook or crook,
‘cause “Anyone can write a book!”

They picture lives of leisure ease;
of doing anything they please.
A life of celebrating cashed checks
with pipes and wine, black turtlenecks.

That writer’s image everyone knows
From surely accurate TV shows.
So they sit down, these wannabes,
thinking it will be a breeze.

And there they sit, with sudden thought
that now they must invent a plot,
and characters, something to sell,
and what the heck is “show, don’t tell?”

Their mind is blank, their cupboard bare;
their writing dream becomes nightmare.
Are prologues bad? What’s info dump?
Will sex scenes get a good sales bump?

And if, somehow, the writer copes,
and types “the end” on their great hopes,
what happens then? Does that mean this
will magically land on the best-sell list?

An agent hunt or a publisher search?
A self-publish path to best-seller’s perch?
They want me to write an outline now?
A thousand pages to synopsis – how?

A year to publish – no advance!
Publicity is left to chance,
and after all the work, this sin:
My life’s work in a remainder bin.

Maybe it’s not what they say it is,
this supposedly glamorous writing biz.
If regular, easy pay’s for you …
There’s always Wal-Mart, or drive-through.

Mark Hunter’s first novel, Storm Chaser, was published in June, 2011 by Whiskey Creek Press. WCP also published his collection of short stories based on the same characters, Storm Chaser Shorts, in June, 2012. Mark also appears in My Funny Valentine, a humor collection by various writers and artists.
In addition to his full time job as a Noble County Sheriff’s Department dispatcher, Mark is a newspaper writer whose humor column is carried in three local newspapers; a 30 year veteran volunteer firefighter; and a volunteer writer for a few local non-profits. When asked if there’s any stress in his life he laughs hysterically.
Mark can be reached through his website,, where you can also order print and e-book copies of his works.  Below are pictures of Mark Hunter, and of his book covers of his books he has written.

Mark, thank you for posting, here, today.  By the way, I loved your poem.  Just awesome of poem.  It was an honour to have you here, today.  Thank you.
April Morone

Friday, August 10, 2012

Guest Blogger, today: Shelly Arkon

Hello, again, all.  Hope all is well for everyone.  Today, I want to introduce to you another wonderful writer that I admire whose works are wonderful.  Her name is Shelly Arkon.  And she is a guest blogger for today, here.  And rather than do interview questions which can sometimes only limit the information readers can read in these blogs, you will be able to read a blog piece, completely by her below this introduction point.  Take it away, Shelly:

Don’t Take Anything Personally
Shelly Arkon

April, thank you for having me today. I’m so glad to have been invited here to share a little wisdom.
The line in the title, ‘don’t take anything personally’ comes from the book, The Four Agreements, by Miguel Ruiz. I love this book. When my life goes upside down and peeps are grating me the wrong way, I pick it up and read. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve read it. It’s all marked up, and dissected with colorful, too. You could say, I’ve gotten a lot out of it.
The entire book makes total sense to me. Especially, the don’t-take-anything-personally-part.
A couple weeks ago I went through a series of events. First, I attended my writer’s group mini conference. The speaker of the day was a book editor from one of our local papers. When it was time for questions and answers, one of the questions was “do you read and review Indie authors”. The answer was not positive and neither was the excuse.
Secondly, I thought it would be a cool idea if I attended a local reading festival and promoted my up and coming book, Secondhand Shoes. Well, I read the application’s rhetoric and found it insulting since I’ve decided to go Indie.
 I couldn’t consider being a featured artist at the event per the application. Needless to say, I vented on my blog, The Life of a Novice Writer. You can find my rant here:
I was pretty upset, but I’ve cooled my heels since. And I’ve taken the time to go through, The Four Agreements, again. Its amazing how every time I read this I glean out some cool stuff like I’ve never read it before. The following passage is really cool, man. Totally rad.
“One fear or doubt planted in our minds can create an endless drama of events. One word is like a spell, and humans use the word like black magicians, thoughtlessly putting spells on each other.” Pg 28
This passage tells me to believe in myself and not let the negative take root. Don’t believe in other peep’s negative words. Don’t let someone else’s poor choice of words bring me down. I mean…I need to get some thick skin growing, my book will be out soon. And there will be reviews. Good and bad, I have no doubt.
It also tells me, we as Indies should stand up and hold our heads high. We’re unique for going against the grain. We are artists who have not bought into being putty in the hands of controlling corporate publishers. We are writerly artists with voices to be heard and stories to be told. We have nothing to be ashamed of even if our works of art were considered non-marketable by the upper crust. It was an opinion. That’s all. And you know what they say about opinions. Everyone has one like a butt-hole.
And if anyone from the hierarchy of publishing insults an author for going Indie, it only means that they’re insecure with the current events surrounding them. These control freaks…well, can’t control what’s going on around them. Bookstores are closing. People are turning to e-readers to get their books. And many Indies are making significant sums of money that the corporate world will never be able to touch.
So, my friends, don’t take it personally. Be a proud Indie.
And again, thank you, April for letting me write my mind.

Shelly’s Bio
When Shelly isn’t doing the laundry, cleaning, cooking, chasing grandkids, listening daughter drama (five of them), or lopping heads of hair at the salon, she’s writing beside her two fur-peeps, Sir Poops and Hair Ball, while her hubby is flipping through TV channels. Her debut novel, Secondhand Shoes, will be out soon. She’s also the keeper of another blog Secondhand Shoes, A Novel, 


Shelly, you are very welcome.  Any time.  Thank you for posting, here.  It was definitely an honour to have you, here, today.  And to all Indie authors, keep up the great work.  :)  I truly mean that.
April Morone