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That's it. I just wanted to put it out there: It's summer. *sigh* SO much better than winter.
A little inside baseball, as the saying goes: I spent much of spring querying literary agents, in the hopes of forming a partnership that would be beneficial to both of us. By beneficial, I mean get my books into the hands of more readers.

A month ago an agent read my query letter, opening pages, and synopsis for We Love Trouble, and requested a "full"--that is, the entire manuscript. That's huge--I'd made it further than most authors. But it's not a guarantee; I've been asked for fulls before.

Last week the agent decided to pass. It was a tough moment in what's been a rough year. What am I going to do? Why, research other agents and query them, of course! That's what working writers do: They work.

The fact that I've been submitting, rather than self-publishing, explains why I have four finished manuscripts, but none have come out this year. Rest assured, you will see those stories, one way or another! But meanwhile, I perk myself up in those down times by writing still more, and so ... wait for it ... I'm working on yet another new book.

Don't say it--I can stop whenever I want.

So as a summertime gift to you, here's a sneak peak at what I hope will be a fun summer read--maybe next summer! The so-far untitled book pairs a couple in an adventure involving antique fire trucks, huge dogs, and a few less pleasant things you'll learn about later. At this point I'm working on first draft, so be patient!
Beowulf was very disappointed not to be the dog model in this story ... but this fictional canine is a Great Dane. Beowulf was the model for the dog in We Love Trouble, so he should be satisfied.
(This is the second scene from the opening of the book. Caleb and Louie are driving an antique ladder truck to a museum opening when they encounter a seemingly abandoned car along a lonely highway in southern Illinois:)

“Caleb, check out that car over there.”

Caleb already had his foot on the brake as he approached the scenic overlook. He'd downshifted, to keep the sixty year old fire truck at a slow speed as it rolled down the hill, and now spoke into the mic on his headset. “I see it, looks fresh. Pulling over.”

It was important to update the man on the other end of their com, because that man—Jean-Louie Allard—was handling the truck's other steering wheel.

Gravel crunched beneath the wheels of the ancient aerial ladder truck as it rolled to a stop, not far from a white four-door sedan that looked loaded down with belongings. “It doesn't seem abandoned,” Louie said. “Looks like they're moving half a town.”

“Yeah. Going off com.” After making sure the brakes were engaged, Caleb opened the truck's door, and gave himself a mental pat on the back when he heard not so much as a squeak. It might be a million years old in fire truck years, but their baby still purred.

It took Louie longer to get down from the tiller wheel. He'd been perched at the top of the truck just behind the bedded aerial ladder, high enough to give him a good field of view as he helped maneuver the tractor-trailer around corners and tight spaces. By the time Louie made it to ground, he had to meet Caleb by the disabled car.

Caleb pressed a hand against the car's hood, then glanced up at the layer of clouds high in the atmosphere. Seventy degrees, a little breeze … “Engine's still warm.” They hadn't passed anyone, and there was no sign of anyone either around the scenic overlook or further down the road.

“Maybe we should ….” Louie pulled a cell phone from the top pocket of his blue overalls, which were emblazoned with their company's horse-drawn fire engine logo and the words “Forrester-Allard Restorations”. “Or, maybe we shouldn't bother try calling anyone.”

“No bars, huh?”

“Not even a bar and grill.” Louis put the phone away. “We could drive on down the hill—that's the only other way they could have gone.”

“There's one other way.” Maybe he'd been too down in the dumps lately, but he had to consider the pessimistic option, and walked toward the railing.

“You're kidding.” But Louie followed behind him.

“You pack your entire life into an old car that breaks down in the middle of nowhere, and can't even call for help? That's a recipe for despair. Besides, if we drive on we'll play hell getting that rig turned around to come back.”

“Okay, but consider this: That car might be haunted now, and you touched it. Feel like you have company in that head of yours?”

“Nah, just me.” Caleb leaned over the chest-high railing. It was steep, steep enough to provide a great view, but not quite straight up and down. He thought he saw a patch of yellow far below, between the branches of underbrush, but couldn't be sure. “See anything?”

“I sure do.” From about twenty feet away, Louie knocked on the top of the railing. “Son, you need to work on your peripheral vision.”

A rope had been secured to the railing. It disappeared down the cliff, toward a spot not far from the yellow Caleb had glimpsed. “I'll be darned.”

“Good knots.” Louie examined the rope as Caleb approached. “If they thought hanging themselves was necessary at this particular spot, they could have saved themselves some trouble.”

“Yeah, it's like shooting yourself with a sleeping pill.” Inappropriate humor seemed like the best way to make it through a day, sometimes. Leaning over the rail again, Caleb cupped his hands to his mouth. “Hello? Anyone down there?”

Louie shook his head. “Great, summon the spirit right to us. If my grandma down in New Orleans heard you do that she'd slap you upside the head.”


“Sonofabitch, the ghost can talk.”

Hope that whets your appetite. I look forward to giving you good publishing news soon, but meanwhile--enjoy summer! And don't forget to check out our already published books here:"Mark R Hunter"

Copyright © 2021 Mark R Hunter, All rights reserved.

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