30 December 2009

Axe of Iron: Confrontation

The second book of the Axe of Iron series, Confrontation, is in the publication process now. Initial release through my distributor, AtlasBooks, is scheduled to be in January 2010.



The storyline:

In Confrontation, two calamitous events occur that pave the way for the hostile beginnings of an assimilation process between the Greenland Norse settlers and the natives of Vinland. The first mixing of cultures occurs when a woman of the Northmen, Thora, and Deskaheh the Haudenosaunee, marry. This union, accepted enthusiastically by the Northmen, opens a window into the native mind.

For all the people of this land the way is rocky and fraught with danger at every turn, but the acceptance and friendship that develops between the Northmen and the Naskapi, another native tribe, over an affair of honor, the eventual acceptance of a young boy of the Northmen by his Haudenosaunee captors, and a scenario that seems ordained by the will of the gods, makes it all begin to fall into place, as it must for the Northmen to survive.

Will this developing relationship allow the Northmen to remain in the homeland of the Naskapi, or are they doomed to failure? The settlers must deal with that question on a daily basis.

Standing in their way are uncounted numbers of indigenous peoples, the pre-historical ancestors of the contemporary Cree (Naskapi), Ojibwa (Anishinabeg), and Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) Indians. From the outset, the warriors of these various tribes violently resisted the incursion of the tall, pale-skinned invaders. The overwhelming numbers of the native peoples in Vinland hold the fate of the Northmen in their hands. The success or failure of the settlement at Halfdansfjord hangs in the balance.

10 December 2009

Books In Sync Author Spotlight Interview

Take a moment to read the Books In Sync Author Spotlight Interview of author J. A. Hunsinger.

This comprehensive interview covers his historical fiction books about the Greenland Norse people, their assimilation with the pre-historical natives of Canada and the USA, his views on writing, and tips on what writers might want to avoid.

A lot of information is disseminated in the interview and on this terrific site for writers and readers.

04 December 2009

The Medieval Greenland Vikings Can Teach Us About Climate Change

I wrote this article in May 2008. Now that Al Gore's climate change hoax has been exposed for what it has always been - a pack of lies for monetary gain - I am running the article again because it cut to the chase when I wrote it, and it still does today.
The article also ran on P-19, of the Scandinavian Press, Spring 2009 issue, if you'd like to check that out.
***
The Northern Hemisphere of this planet is in a normal warming cycle. It began to manifest itself as the preceding cycle, the Mini-Ice Age (1300-1800), wound down about the mid-19th century. Nothing in global climate happens overnight. Each cycle is of about 500-years duration. With that assumption, we can say that the midpoint of this warming cycle that we are enjoying will be about 2100. In other words, we can expect the climate to gradually trend toward warmer and dryer for the next 92-years. Then it might get worse, historically speaking that is. At the same time, there will be periodic cycles of colder, wetter weather in parts of the globe that have never experienced such in living memory.

The advent of the Medieval Warm Period (800-1300) gave rise to the Viking Age (793-1150).The warmer weather increased production of everything the Vikings ate. Populations among the Viking tribes burgeoned dramatically. This eventually led to thoughts of expansion and conquest; the norm throughout human history. The ice-locked fjords began to clear earlier in the season than normal. The length of the raiding and trading season continued to increase over the 500-year period of the Medieval Warm Period. The Vikings exploded out over the north and western Atlantic Ocean, settling Iceland, Greenland, and areas of northeastern North America. The five hundred years of comparatively benign weather during the Medieval Warm Period fostered the Viking Age. Earth's next weather cycle, the Mini-Ice Age (1300-1800), played a major roll in ending it, especially for isolated--from the homeland--Norse Greenland. The Greenland Norse lifestyle could not be maintained in the face of Climate Change and a changing environment--starvation loomed. Of all the single-cause explanations for the death of Norse Greenland, Climate Change has been the most durable. (Thomas McGovern, Vikings, The North Atlantic Saga, The Demise of Norse Greenland, 2000-Smithsonian Institution, 330-331.)

Now, if the present global Climate Change cycle - Global Warming - is our responsibility, you know carbon offsets, CO2, and whatnot, if we caused this calamity, how do you explain the Medieval Warm Period (800-1300)? It was warmer in the Northern Hemisphere then than it is now. Perhaps the Vikings, the Greenland Norse people whom I write about caused it with their peat fires, flatulent livestock, and whatnot. Sounds ridiculous, huh? It is ridiculous. They had nothing more to do with their natural planetary climate cycle then, than we do with ours today. Remember, all of this climate stuff has happened before. It has been happening for 18,000-years that we know about.

The sun and the oceans working in concert control the weather on this planet. Without this synergy, much of the inhabited areas of the northern and southern hemispheres would be uninhabitable. Simplistically speaking, the sun transmits most of its solar radiation to the earth along the equatorial belt, heating the oceans of the world and setting up out flowing currents that emanate north and south from the equator. At the same time, cold water from the Polar Regions sinks to the ocean floor establishing a flow pattern in the direction of the equator as they under ride the warm water flowing on the surface. Therefore, under ideal conditions a massive exchange of hot water from the equator and cold water from the poles occurs, giving us hominids the benign weather conditions that we enjoy over much of this planet.All of this circulation occurs automatically because of the forces at play, hydrodynamics in other words. With Climate Change, the dynamics change. British scientists have reported that the warm water currents flowing toward northwestern Europe have declined by 30% since the 1950's. There also appears to be a 50% reduction in the amount of cold water flowing from the poles. Computer models of this dynamic predict that the North Atlantic current will cease to exist in 50-100 years. National Geographic News, James Owen, November 30, 2005. The same article points to the fact that the melting Arctic and Antarctic ice is diluting the salt water of the Arctic and Antarctic Oceans. The dynamic of circulation dependent on sinking cold water flowing south from the North Pole, or north from the South Pole, to bring the warm water of the equatorial seas north and south, is stalling as a result. This fact will make the northern and southern hemisphere much colder within the next 50-100 years.

Now there are six billion of us, give or take. The fastest growing populations have the least: they are deficit societies. People in Africa--all of the continent--the Indian sub-continent, much of continental Asia, Asia Minor, much of South and Central America, all of Mexico, every island in the Caribbean--well, you get the picture. Like rats or lemmings, we are positioning ourselves for disaster on a scale that defies comprehension. Can we feed the world, save the disenfranchised? NO! In the final analysis why would we? Our survival would be compromised. Shortages are like a snowball rolling down a hill, they are cumulative. Food shortages will translate to less food to send to feed the populations of all the undeveloped countries that we already support, because they cannot feed themselves; we will keep what we have for ourselves; and nature will take its course with them-they will begin to starve.

Entrepreneurs and scientists are playing the well-meaning, misinformed, easily manipulated, masses of earthlings like the proverbial banjo. Why, you might ask? Because the politics of human-caused global warming offer enormous profit potential.

J. A. Hunsinger, Vinland Publishing, http://www.vinlandpublishing.com/ ©2009 Jerry A. Hunsinger, All Rights Reserved

27 November 2009

Why the Interest in the Vikings?

I have had a lifelong infatuation with the Vikings of medieval Greenland. After reading everything available, one is left with a nagging question. What happened to them? It is difficult to study them because they wrote nothing down. Everything we know comes from archaeological research and the Norse sagas. The Saga of the Greenlanders and Eirik the Red's Saga both tell stories about them, although centuries after the fact, but we know nothing about the people themselves. I decided to tell their tale using fiction because I wanted to convey to my readers what a lifetime of research has led me to believe regarding the abandonment of the two known Norse settlements on Greenland and the disappearance from history of every single settler. Nobody ever saw them again and nobody knows to this day, what happened to them. In spinning my Axe of Iron series of tales, I give my characters personalities, to make them as we are. No other author has ever told their story as I do.

One of my book reviewers, Melissa Levine, IP Book Reviewers had this to say: 'It’s the details that grab the reader’s attention in J. A. Hunsinger’s historical novel, Axe of Iron: The Settlers. The book is the first installment in a planned series of stories about the migration of the Greenland Norse to North America. From the introduction, which provides background information, to the brutal ending, Hunsinger uses his extensive knowledge of the history and culture of Norsemen to craft a story that exposes the lives of an ancient people with an admirable sense of adventure and value for community.Hunsinger teaches with the details that he infuses into this story. The reader will learn what the Norsemen ate; how they set-up temporary camps and permanent residence; how they conducted themselves in battle; and the manner in which men and women fell into intimate relationships. The importance of respect and loyalty in the culture is represented by the relationship between Halfdan and Gudbj. Their bond that is stronger than that often seen between blood brothers. There is an intense trust between them that provides the level of security needed to lead their followers while exploring a new land, surviving severe storms at sea, and battling against natives. The love and admiration between the two men is so overwhelming it frequently makes Gudbj uncomfortable. But their feelings for each other do not diminish them as men. Halfdan and Gudbj are so secure in their masculinity that they are not intimidated by the strength of their women who work as hard and love as strongly as they do. Axe of Iron: The Settlers is a hearty, adventure-packed history lesson. I highly recommend it.'

I am pleased with her assessment of my tale. The saga continues with Axe of Iron: Confrontation. The second book of the continuing tale of the Greenland Norse people and their adventures in North America will be published in December 2009.

20 November 2009

The Medieval Greenland Viking Association with Pre-historical Indian Tribes of North America

Between 986 and 1425, the generally accepted longevity of the medieval Norse settlements on the island of Greenland, a gradual assimilation process began with the native peoples of the Arctic and present-day North America that culminated in the disappearance from history of all 4000 of the Norse settlers. What happened to them has been a source of contention ever since-nobody knows to this day. We know three aspects of their disappearance with fair certainty: they did not die out, they did not voyage back to Europe, and they did not simply disappear. A process of gradual assimilation had existed with the Thule people of Baffin and Ellesmere Islands, in the Canadian Arctic, since the early years of the Greenland settlements. It only made sense to join with the people who already knew how to survive in this harsh new land. This assimilation process no doubt continued with other native populations further south throughout the following centuries. Those who remained on Greenland to the end finally had no choice but to migrate or face slow starvation as the Mini-Ice Age descended on the North Country. Common sense would indicate they went to North America as it is the nearest land mass from the two Norse settlements on southwestern Greenland and they already had a familiarity developed through long association.

European explorers from the 16th through 19th centuries reported seeing blue-eyed blond and redheaded people living with the natives of the Canadian Arctic early in the period. Later in the period, four different expeditions found the same situation along the river systems of the central United States, stating in their journals that certain tribes appeared to be of mixed white and native origin. These explorers also reported practices among those tribes of mixed blood completely out of keeping with what they had noted among other tribes that did not appear to be of mixed blood. We have known of these mysteries for two to four centuries, but no investigation has undertaken to provide positive proof of where the white blood originated.

I am writing a five volume series that specifically speaks, in a character-driven, historical fiction sense, to some of the mysteries and legends surrounding the Indian people of southeastern Canada and the north central United States and the possibility of a deep-seated association with the Greenland Vikings. The first book of the series, Axe of Iron: The Settlers was published in August 2008. The next book, Axe of Iron: Confrontation is in the publication process at this writing. Both of these books take place in the Canadian province of Quebec more than 1000-years ago. My series present a plausible answer to many native customs and beliefs that could only have developed through a close association with the Norse Greenland settlers. Space herein precludes my going into the details of my contention in this regard, but my continuing series covers most, if not all, of what a lifetime of research on the subject has revealed to me. Contentions are opinions and mine are no different. I cannot prove any of it, but nobody can disprove it either and therein lie the bones of a good story.

I believe that you will find that I have offered plausible explanations to many of the questions left unanswered by conventional archaeology. My series is not a dry history of these events; rather it is an intensely engaging story of what may have happened on the North American continent during pre-historical time between the indigenous natives and a large, mixed group of Greenland Norse people whose goal was to survive during a most difficult time in history. The characters carry the story and you will see it through their eyes.

The Historical Perspective in the first book of the series, Axe of Iron – The Settlers provides historical data to support the basis of my contentions about what may have happened in southern Quebec and areas of the north central United States 1000-years ago. The last two paragraphs of the Historical Perspective probably sum it up best: more than 40 – generations have elapsed since they came to this continent. Now their very existence, everything they accomplished, has faded from the collective memory of all the peoples they contacted and lived among. I prefer to believe the 4000 live on however, their genetic makeup diluted by the intervening centuries of time. They are still here, smiling back at us from the faces of the Inuit Greenlanders, Cree, Ojibwa, and Iroquois with whom they joined so long ago.

J. A. Hunsinger, Vinland Publishing, http://www.vinlandpublishing.com/ ©2009 Jerry A. Hunsinger, All Rights Reserved

13 November 2009

Medievalists Review of Axe of Iron: The Settlers

The latest review of the historical fiction novel, Axe of Iron: The Settlers, may be seen on the Medievalists website.

Axe of Iron: The Settlers is the first book of the continuing Axe of Iron series of tales about a medieval people whose lives are surprisingly like ours. They have the same basic desires for happiness, love, food, and shelter that has dominated the thoughts of generations of cultures the world over. These character-driven, historical fiction books tell of the adventures of Greenland Vikings as they struggle to establish a settlement in North America in the face of hostile native opposition.

05 November 2009

My Article In Scandinavian Press

Eiriksfjord Greenland


Scandinavian Press, Spring 2009, featured my climate change article on Page -19.



"WHY THE MEDIEVAL GREENLAND VIKINGS CAN TEACH US ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE"



The article pretty well puts to bed the crap being shovelled by Al Gore and all the other agenda and profit-driven proponents of human-caused global climate change.


While you are at it go to my website and glean some information on my Axe of Iron series of historical fiction novels about the medieval Greenland Vikings and how they dealt with climate change issues 1000-years ago on the North American continent.


















03 November 2009

Timely & Meaningful Quote!

"As an American I am not so shocked that Obama was given the Nobel Peace Prize without any accomplishments to his name, but that America gave him the White House based on the same credentials." Newt Gingrich

I'll drink to that!

29 October 2009

Newspaper Article For Writers

The Chicago Sun-Times article on author J. A. Hunsinger, his Axe of Iron series of novels about the medieval Greenland Viking's assimilation with the pre-historical Indians of Vinland, and details of many of the issues facing today's authors on their road to publication.



This fact-filled article is based on an interview by Dorothy Thompson of PumpUpYourBook Promotion.



Can't hurt, might help. Take a look for yourself.

21 October 2009

AtlasBooks Interview of Author J. A. Hunsinger

If you are interested in the Axe of Iron series of historical fiction novels about the Greenland Vikings - you must be or you would not be reading this - the title link interview will answer questions that you may have about the premise behind my books on the subject.



My book distributor, AtlasBooks, Ashland, OH wrote this interview in January 2009. Granted that was some time ago, but the content of the interview is one of the best coverages that has been done to date.



Unanswered questions about my books may also be directed to me personally.

15 October 2009

The Story Behind the Book

In 986 about five hundred medieval Norse people settled the island of Greenland. Over the five hundred year history of the two known settlements on the island’s southwestern coast the population increased to as many as four thousand people. We know little about the people or their settlements because they wrote nothing down for posterity. All we know about them comes to us from the Greenland Saga and the Saga of Eirik the Red, both written about two centuries after the facts they pretend to convey. In about the mid-fifteenth century they abandoned their last remaining settlement, Eiriksfjord. Wherever they went, they took their ships, tools, and every useful item they possessed. Nobody knows their destination for they left not a clue. Their disappearance is the premise for my Axe of Iron series.

Axe of Iron: The Settlers is a character-driven, historical fiction novel, the first of a five book continuing series about the Greenland Norse people. The series tells a fictional tale about what I believe happened to them based on my extensive research over the years. Although the people I write about share the Viking heritage with their European counterparts, when they sailed to Greenland and North America in the tenth and eleventh centuries they were no longer Vikings in the strict sense of the word and I do not refer to them as such.

The unknown aspects of their disappearance gives me the opportunity to use fiction to tell a tale about them that answers many of the questions about certain North American Indian tribes who exhibited characteristics, customs, and mannerisms that early explorers—eighteenth century—attributed to pre-historical European contact. The dates when these facts came to light reinforce my contention that the European contact alluded to could only have been the Greenland Norse people. My series will deal, in a fictional sense, with why tribal members of some pre-historical Indian tribes looked like white people, had customs like white people—including religious beliefs—were completely different from other tribes encountered, and welcomed the earliest white explorers with open arms.

The Greenland Norse did not disappear; they assimilated with the pre-historical North American Indians that they encountered. I believe this assimilation process was well underway by the early years of the eleventh century in the Canadian Arctic and moved south as the Medieval Warm Period gave way to the onslaught of the Mini-Ice Age. This natural climate cycle caused native peoples— including the last holdouts of Greenland Norse people remaining in Eiriksfjord—to migrate with the animals on which they subsisted.

Conventional brick and mortar archaeologists have largely ignored this controversial aspect of our pre-historical past. The path to discovery remains blurred by the passage of one thousand years of time. There are no ruins or pyramids to create entire cultures around, and few artifacts to discover. The presence of the Greenland Norse people on this continent is but an echo from the dim past, but it is here nonetheless.

Scientists have found Norse DNA in Greenland and Baffin Island Inuit people. If somebody will look, perhaps Norse DNA will be found in members of contemporary Indian tribes in northeastern and north central North America. Only then will we know their fate.

***

J. A. Hunsinger, Vinland Publishing, http://www.vinlandpublishing.com/
©2009 Jerry A. Hunsinger, All Rights Reserved

08 October 2009

The Reason For My Interest In The Vikings

I am an avid reader of both history texts and historical fiction novels. Written history has many holes, gaps if you will, that give an author an endless supply of fodder. It is natural for me to tell stories about subjects in which I have an interest. The Greenland Vikings and the Viking culture in general have always been my focus.

Axe of Iron: The Settlers is my first novel. It is a character-driven, historical fiction book. My characters tell the story and the reader sees the events through their eyes. I have had a lifelong interest in the medieval Norse people. That interest has become focused on the five hundred year history of the Norse Greenland settlements. The mystery surrounding the abandonment of the two known settlements and the disappearance of every single person living therein has captured my imagination.

Years of research has led me to believe that they did not disappear, rather they assimilated with the natives of North America. My series of books tell a plausible tale in support of that contention. No other author has ever treated the subject the way I have.



J. A. Hunsinger–Author, Vinland Publishing, http://www.vinlandpublishing.com/
©2009 Jerry A. Hunsinger, All Rights Reserved

02 October 2009

A Few Things I’ve Learned About Writing/Publishing

The road to publication has been a nightmare because of the time and money wasted while I learned the business. I wish I could say that there is lots of help out there for the newbie’s, but actually, the reverse is true. You are prey swimming in the shark’s pool—take heed. Believe nobody, and get everything in writing, research, research, and research. Even then, you will have picked the worst time in the world’s economy to enter the business.

Dealing with agents is the most disheartening undertaking for a writer. Agents act like the writer exists because of agents, when in fact it is the other way around. I wasted a year trying to find an agent from among those professing to have an interest in my area of my genre only to find that there are not any in existence. So no, I have no need for an agent. Having said all of that, though, clearing the air so to speak, I do have a few suggestions if you are interested.

Do your homework on the submission guidelines for any query. All literary agents will have their own guidelines; adhere to them absolutely. Do not ever send a manuscript unless it is requested. Hire professional editors to edit everything that another person will read, especially the final draft of your manuscript. An English teacher is not an editor and you cannot edit your own work, so hire someone. Your professionalism will determine whether you ever make the grade. A shabby cover letter on your submission packet will guarantee its demise. Agents and publishers are busy people and they have no time to waste on people who do not follow the submission guidelines.

Okay, it is time to consider your mission—to get published. I will assume that your manuscript is a first draft. Before you can send out query letters telling the world of the birth of the great American novel, your work needs editing. I do not mean having a friend, an English teacher, your boss, or any other layman read your manuscript, no, I mean that you must engage the services of a professional editor. Thus begins the process of polishing your manuscript until it is the best it can be. This process can involve numerous corrections and rewrites. The time and expense involved varies with the quality of the work. One hundred thousand words will cost in the neighborhood of $2000.00, or more, by the time you get it right.

Believe it or not, writing your book is only the beginning. With a final draft of your manuscript in hand, it is time to query. Famous people query with a proposal before writing the book. I will assume that you are not yet famous. As an author, you cannot deal directly with one of the large publishing houses, so your next challenge is to interest a literary agent in your work. If you find a literary agent, your relationship will be contractual. Do nothing with anyone without a contract. Fully understand your part of the contract before signing or hire an attorney versed in literary contracts to help you understand. There are numerous listings of literary agents on the Internet. Research each agent for their submission guidelines, select those receptive to your genre, be certain that they are accepting submissions, submit only what they require, and never send an unsolicited manuscript, they will not read it. Your literary agent will handle your contractual relationship with a publisher; they are your agent acting in your behalf.

If you are fortunate enough to become a published author through the literary agent/publisher/reader sequence of progression, congratulations, you have hit the big time. Your publisher will handle all the details of composition/format, cover design, printing/binding, fulfillment/marketing, and warehouse/distribution, leaving you free to crank out books. You will have little or no input regarding any of the production aspects of your book, nor will you retain any rights other than copyright. The publisher will own the ISBN and all future negotiations for anything concerning that work will be through, or with the permission of, the publisher.

Okay, you have spent a year submitting to literary agents without results. If you have not completely lost interest in publishing your work, you are left with publishing it yourself, e.g. self-publishing or becoming an independent publisher. A self-published author has hired a publishing company to publish a book, surrendering all rights save copyright—this last is negotiable in some instances. An independent publisher has formed a small company and gone through the process from copyright to a finished book ready for the market. That author owns all rights to the book because often the author and the publishing company are one and the same. Books are produced and marketed by an independent publisher working closely with a large full service book production facility such as BookMasters, Ashland, OH, where everything is done in house.

Regardless of the method used to publish your work yourself, you will be responsible for promotion and marketing. In working with an organization such as BookMasters, you will already have a leg up as they handle some of the initial marketing through their own marketing department. Getting the word out before and after the publication date is vital to your sales success. You must have a website and/or a blog that calls attention to your book and ultimately leads a visitor to your order page. If you do not want to handle book sales from your garage, then your website order page will link your customers to your distributor or other points of sale that you have set up. In this way, someone else will take care of the myriad details of the warehousing/distribution of your work.

Solicit professional book reviewers. Do not send them a book until you have queried them first. Be the consummate professional insofar as your contacts with reviewers. Always include a cover letter with your book that includes a short synopsis and your expectations as the author. Reviews are important and they can restore your bruised and battered ego when you read what someone else has to say about your work. Their reviews look good on your website and provide potential customers for your next book a sales closer as they read your book cover’s ad copy.

I have found that conventional print and display advertising on websites is only minimally successful. The mission here is to get your name and that of your book out to as many sites on the Internet as possible. Hire professional people to do this for you, e.g. PumpUpYourBook promotions. Additionally, Amazon is one of the most effective and important book sales tools out there. When you have your book listed with them be sure that you also use their ‘Look Inside the Book’ program. Ditto for Google Book Search. Going through the submission process with Internet book promotion and sales sites is time consuming, but the rewards outweigh this expenditure.

Local booksellers such as Barnes and Noble and Borders do everything possible to arrange and facilitate book-signing events for local authors. So, be certain you contact the individual store’s book manager to set one up for you. They provide a display table and chairs, posters, and a newspaper announcement of the event, and it is all free. In addition, they will order a supply of your books to stock your book-signing. Not a bad deal, I think.

If you do not have letterhead stationery, design some, including the envelope. Remember, you are trying to sell a product, be professional in all of your contacts. Edit religiously, use spell check. Everything that you write is a reflection on you personally, so do it right the first time because the one chance is usually all you will get. And oh, good luck to you.


J. A. Hunsinger, Vinland Publishing, http://www.vinlandpublishing.com/
©2009 Jerry A. Hunsinger, All Rights Reserved

29 September 2009

24 September 2009

Suggestions For Querying Literary Agents

It is my hope that the following suggestions, based on my own experience in the world of writer/publisher, will save you from some of the pitfalls you will encounter querying literary agents.
1. The completed first draft of your manuscript begins your odyssey toward publication. Up until now your work has been uniquely personal, something that you have created. Before you can send out query letters telling the world of the birth of the great American novel, your work needs editing. I do not mean having a friend, an English teacher, your boss, or any other nonprofessional read your manuscript; no, I mean that you must engage the services of at least one professional editor, two is better. Thus begins the process of polishing your manuscript until it is the best it can be. This process can involve numerous corrections and rewrites. Do not take it personally; treat the process as a learning experience because that is exactly what it is. The time and expense involved varies with the quality of the work. One hundred thousand words will cost in the neighborhood of $2000.00, or more, by the time you get it right. After all of that effort there will still be errors. The most pervasive and difficult to find are words that sound the same, but have different meanings, e.g. – broach and brooch. The English language is full of such words. I find it easier to correct edits electronically within the Word document rather than by hand with a marked up manuscript. Communication between you and the editor is kept within the document by e-mailing it back and forth. There is less chance of missing necessary changes with the electronic edit and it is easier; edit/rewrite by hand can be a crushing experience for an author. Of course, the choice of methodology is yours to make, just be certain you do not skimp on the capital outlay because this is not the place to save money.
2. Before you begin to query keep professionalism firmly in mind. If you do not have letterhead stationery, design some, including the envelope. Microsoft Publisher makes great looking forms, business cards, and stationery. Remember, you are trying to sell a product, be professional in all of your contacts. Edit religiously, use spell check. Everything that you write is a reflection on you personally, so do it right the first time because the one chance is usually all you will get.
3. As an author, you cannot deal directly with one of the large publishing houses, so your next challenge is to interest a literary agent in your work. Famous people query with a proposal before writing the book. I will assume that you are not yet famous. For you the path to conventional publication begins with the literary agent in almost all circumstances. That accommodation is not an accident. Do your homework on the submission guidelines for any query. All literary agents will have their own submission guidelines; adhere to them absolutely. Query only agencies accepting submissions in your genre and target specific agents within each agency. Do not ever send a manuscript unless it is requested, they will not read it. When the time comes, manuscripts are sent loose-leaf, unbound by request. Manuscript mailing boxes can be purchased online. Again, hire professional editors to edit everything that another person will read, especially the final draft of your manuscript. Remember, you cannot edit your own work you must hire someone. Your professionalism will determine whether you ever make the grade. A shabby cover letter on your submission packet will guarantee its demise. Agents and publishers are busy people and they have no time to waste on people who do not follow their submission guidelines.
4. Dealing with agents is a disheartening undertaking for a writer. Agents act like the writer exists because of them, when in fact it is the other way around. Keep that fact in mind. Use the considerable resources of the Internet to find agents interested in your genre. Do not rely on print lists of agents. The game will have changed before you receive the list. Many agents will require an exclusive submission, unnecessarily extending the period of angst for the author. Many others do not; focus on them. These days they are looking for contentious subjects or manuscripts written by known authors, never mind whether or not they can write. If you find a literary agent, your relationship will be contractual. Do nothing with anyone without a contract. Fully understand your part of the contract before signing or hire an attorney versed in literary contracts to help you understand. I wasted a year trying to find an agent from among those professing to have an interest in my genre only to find that there are not any in existence.
5. If you are fortunate enough to become a published author through the literary agent/publisher/reader sequence of progression, congratulations, you have hit the big time. Your publisher will handle all the details of composition/format, cover design, printing/binding, fulfillment/marketing, and warehouse/distribution, leaving you free to crank out books. You will have little or no input regarding any of the production aspects of your book, nor will you retain any rights other than copyright. The publisher will own the ISBN and all future negotiations for anything concerning that work will be through, or with the permission of the publisher.The road to publication has been a nightmare because of the time and money wasted while I learned the business. I wish I could say that there is lots of help out there for the newbies, but actually, the reverse is true. You are prey swimming in the shark’s pool—take heed. Believe nobody; get everything in writing; and, research, research, research.
J. A. Hunsinger, Vinland Publishing, LLC, http://www.vinlandpublishing.com/©2009 Jerry A. Hunsinger, All Rights Reserved

14 September 2009

Axe of Iron: Confrontation--Progress Report

For all you fans of medieval Greenland Vikings, the second book in the Axe of Iron series, Axe of Iron: Confrontation nears completion.

Ten chapters have been edited, with five remaining. The final chapters should go in for the first edit by the end of September. After that, the manuscript goes to the printer for a final edit, formatting, proofreading, etc.

If we are lucky the release date should be just before Christmas. Keep your fingers crossed, I am.

03 September 2009

Viking Ships & Boats

To those interested in Viking ships, especially recreations of actual Viking Age ships, I highly recommend visiting the Vikingeskibsmuseet on Roskilde Fjord, Roskilde, Denmark. I know of no other public place where an interested observer can watch the construction process of these magnificant vessels and actually take a ride on one in Roskilde Fjord. The craftsmen of the Museum Boatyard are superlative. At this writing, their latest task is the construction of a lapstrake smack called an eel drifter--it is beautiful.

I subscribe to the museum's newsletter and I recommend it as a way to keep abreast of all ship and boat building efforts at the museum's boatyard.

I have been to the museum on a research trip to Scandinavia to glean information for my Axe of Iron series of historical fiction books on the Greenland Viking assimilation with the pre-historical natives of North America.

The second book of the series, Axe of Iron: Confrontation will be released this year. Click on the book's title for a link to my website.

20 August 2009

Balancing Novel Writing and Promoting

Writing and promotion of a writer's work are each full-time jobs, especially when you are a one-man-show. I have been promoting the first novel, Axe of Iron: The Settlers, so the second novel, Axe of Iron: Confrontation has suffered as a consequence.

The cast of characters in my historical fiction series, Axe of Iron, alluded me, lurking indistinct in the shadows, almost pouting because of my absence, until I brought them forward again from where I had left them four months ago.

It is difficult to get back into the story after such a period of time away. A writer must re-read what has been written--fourteen chapters in my case--and try to reengage. I have done that, finally, and the manuscript for the second book of my series, Axe of Iron: Confrontation will be edited again and released this Fall as planned.

If you are unfamiliar with the concept of my series about the disappearance of the Greenland Vikings, visit my website for details.

13 August 2009

Strategic Implications of Climate Change

Last year I wrote several articles for this blog that deal with the human-caused climate change hype. One particular article gets right to the heart of the issue: Global Oceanic Currents and Climate Change, 10 June 2008 article/.



Sunday, August 9, 2009, a New York Times article was run in The Daily Sentinel that spoke to the same issue only this time the study came from no less than the U. S. Pentagon. It seems that the Pentagon is of the opinion that the famine, mass migration, and war that will result from climate change is of strategic interest to the United States and constitutes a security threat.

My 10 June 2008 article already covers that assumption. Check it out.

03 August 2009

A Week of Composition

This week will be spent exclusively on composition, in the hopes that the second novel of the Axe of Iron series, Confrontation, can be completed for the publication process. I will not return to this blog until this time next week, or so.

29 July 2009

The Federal Reserve--Enemy of the Republic

Thomas Jefferson said it best in 1802:
"Banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered."

America had best wake up before it is too late, or someday this Republic will have disappeared like the Greenland Norse in my Axe of Iron series of historical fiction novels.

23 July 2009

Right to Keep and Bear Arms

"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." Thomas Jefferson

20 July 2009

SIX STATE BOOK PROMOTION TOUR COMPLETED

Our six-State road trip to promote Axe of Iron: The Settlers ended yesterday. We visited many small and medium sized towns in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Nebraska. Our efforts were well received and I hope sales results in the coming months bear that out.

11 July 2009

28 June 2009

Writing

I am working to finish the ms of the second book of my Axe of Iron series, Axe of Iron: Confrontation. Drop by my website for details on this exciting historical fiction series about the mysterious disappearance of the Greenland Norse settlers.

20 June 2009

Book Review--The Target: Love, Death, and Airline Deregulation


Title: The Target
Love, Death, and Airline Deregulation
Author: J. R. Hauptman
Website of Author: http://www.caddispublishing.com/
Publisher: Caddis Publishing
Website of Publisher: http://www.caddispublishing.com/
Genre: Historical Fiction
Copyright Date: 2008
ISBN: 978-1-4363-0934-9
Length: 320 pages
Format: Paperback
Reviewer: J. A. Hunsinger, http://www.vinlandpublishing.com/


The Target, set in the decade of the 1980’s, provides an engaging read, in a fictional sense, on the morass created by the administration of President Jimmy Carter when, in 1978, he and his Socialist minions decided to dismantle the greatest airline system in the history of commercial aviation. With the deregulation of the industry, utter chaos ensued, and the door opened to the vermin hovering in the wings. The effects are still felt today, thirty-one years later.

J. R. Hauptman gets the reader into the mind of the professional pilots who were some of the highly-trained, dedicated workforce disenfranchised by deregulation, and the humor, fun, sorrow, and rage that typified their lives during those years. He delves into the mindset of the corporate raiders who destroyed great companies, without regard to the bodies collecting along the way, while reaping billions in ill-gotten profits.

The story is a combination of mystery, intrigue, murder, and enough sex to stir the pot; all in a fictional setting made more realistic by our collective memory of actual events. The author’s plot is tight, continuity is maintained throughout the story, and he uses the characters to skillfully relate the murderous feelings harbored by many of those who lost everything. The antagonist, Carlo Clemenza, is a fictional man who deserved to pay the ultimate price for what he did to his employees and their labor groups. There are a couple great twists as the story plays out.

Those of us, who were a part of commercial aviation during those years, eventually losing everything we had worked for, will never forget. I recommend this novel wholeheartedly. The Dénouement at the end has little to do with the book and seems to be offered as an aside, but it is my only negative comment on an otherwise good story.

J. A. Hunsinger
June, 2009

19 June 2009

Writing vs. Promotion

When a writer is a one man show, as I am, many tasks consume time to the point where little writing is achieved. That is where I am with the continuation of my Axe of Iron series. Promotion of the first book, Axe of Iron: The Settlers has taken most of my time, especially the Internet Virtual Book Tours during March and April--and the beat goes on.

Axe of Iron: Confrontation is essentially complete and 3/4 of the manuscript has been edited, but it is still not complete. To all my readers who have asked: I will finish the manuscript sometime this summer.

09 June 2009

Reviews and Press Releases are Posted

See all the latest reviews and press releases for the Axe of Iron series of historical fiction novels about the medieval Greenland Vikings settlement of North America in the face of hostile opposition.

Book #2, Axe of Iron: Confrontation will be released soon. Read the excerpt and learn all about it on the Vinland Publishing, LLC website.

07 June 2009

Social Networking Tips

The IBPA Independent, a monthly magazine for independent publishers, has some excellent articles on social networking that anyone would find of interest. Access is from their homepage under 'Resources' and 'Newsletter.'

Alternatively, you can click the IBPA link on the Vinland Publishing website homepage, where you can also find up-to-date info on my Axe of Iron series of historical fiction books about the medieval Greenland Viking's settlement on the North American continent.

05 June 2009

The Final Edit

"The most original authors are not so because they advance what is new, but because they put what they have to say as if it had never been said before." Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

And, that is what I try to do each day.

The final edit of Axe of Iron: Confrontation, the second book of the Axe of Iron series, continues. I hope to have the manuscript to the printers by July 1st. This blog will suffer until I achieve that end.

29 May 2009

Book Review - Axe of Iron: The Settlers

See the latest review of the epic historical fiction novel, Axe of Iron: The Settlers.

Check out the website for the latest information on the second novel in the Axe of Iron series, Axe of Iron: Confrontation, to be published this summer.

21 May 2009

Book #2--Axe of Iron Series

The second book of the historical fiction epic, Axe of Iron: Confrontation, about the medieval Greenland Vikings assimilation with the pre-historical natives of North America is about ready for composition/format and the book production process at BookMasters, Inc.

An excerpt of this novel is posted on the website.

20 May 2009

A Feeling of Duty

It has been said that, "Some books leave us free and some books make us free." Ralph Waldo Emerson.

My writing feels like that to me. At the moment I do not have the will to persist. The Axe of Iron series suffers as a consequence. Perhaps I will pick it up later. I hope so.

12 May 2009

Axe of Iron: of Times Medieval

A day of composition is at hand: I will abide in times medieval with the characters of my Axe of Iron series of historical fiction novels about the Greenland Vikings and their assimilation with the pre-historical natives of Canada and northern portions of the USA.

06 May 2009

Axe of Iron Website Updated

The Axe of Iron website has been updated with the latest book reviews, articles by author J. A. Hunsinger, and links of interest for everyone who likes to read about the medieval Viking culture.

The website details the premise behind the Axe of Iron series of historical fiction books: six ships loaded with medieval Greenland Viking settlers flee Greenland because of an unsustainable pastoral lifestyle and the hardships brought about by the onslaught of the Mini-Ice Age.

Medieval climate change caused the migration of native peoples on a massive scale throughout Canada and the northern United States, following the herds of wild animals on which their survival depended as the herds moved ever southward away from the savage winters.

05 May 2009

Greenland Vikings - Axe of Iron: Confrontation

Composition is the watchword today. I must wrap up the second novel in the Axe of Iron series, Axe of Iron: Confrontation for publication.

If you have an interest in this epic series about medieval Greenland Vikings settling among the pre-historical natives of Canada and the north central USA, click on one of the links to read an excerpt from the book. The cover image is displayed in the sidebar.

01 May 2009

Axe of Iron

After participating in a two month Internet Virtual Book Tour blitz with Dorothy Thompson's PumpUpYourBook promotions, I feel somewhat depleted. I can only imagine how Dorothy must feel doing it full time.

So, I must get back to writing in earnest. Out of necessity, I had to let my novel composition play a distant second-fiddle to the task at hand, promotions through frequent visits to the websites on which I was featured for that day.

If your curiosity as to what I am working on has taken possession of you, drop into my website and take a look. You can read an excerpt from Axe of Iron: Confrontation, the next book of my Axe of Iron series and take a look at the cover art.

30 April 2009

An In-Depth Interview of author J. A. Hunsinger

Dorothy Thompson's Blog Critics has posted the most in-depth interview of author J. A. Hunsinger to date. She gets into the meat of the concept behind his Axe of Iron series of historical fiction books.

The interview will answer most, if not all, of the questions a prospective reader might have about the first book of the Axe of Iron series, Axe of Iron: The Settlers.

Drop by the Blog Critics website and read all about this epic series of books about the medieval Greenland Vikings and their struggle to settle among the pre-historical natives of Canada and the U. S. more than 1000-years ago.

29 April 2009

Axe of Iron: The Settlers Synopsis and Excerpt

Dorothy Thompson's PumpUpYourBook promotions has posted an excellent synopsis and excerpt from the historical fiction novel, Axe of Iron: The Settlers.

The synopsis and excerpt will give the prospective reader a good thumbnail account of the Axe of Iron series of books that deal with the disappearance and subsequent assimilation of the entire populations of the two known Greenland Norse settlements with the pre-historical native populations of Canada and the United States more than 1000-years ago.

28 April 2009

Author Featured in the Chicago Sun-Times

The Chicago Sun-Times has author J. A. Hunsinger and his Axe of Iron series of medieval historical fiction books featured in their Entertainment section, both online and in the print edition of the newspaper.

How neat is that?

Interview of Author J. A. Hunsinger on FictionScribe

An interesting interview has been posted on the FictionScribe blog of author J. A.Hunsinger and his Axe of Iron series of medieval historical fiction books.

Drop by and read all about this epic series of novels.

27 April 2009

Book Review, Axe of Iron: The Settlers

Cheryl posted an excellent book review on her blog for today, 27April2009. The Internet book tour, of which her blog is a part, ends on Thursday, 30April.

The coverage is a book review of the novel, Axe of Iron: The Settlers, by J. A. Hunsinger.

24 April 2009

Double Header Interviews

Another great interview of author J.A. Hunsinger and his novel Axe of Iron: The Settlers, the first book of the Axe of Iron series, has been posted by Jackie, on her Writing Porch blog.
http://writingporch.blogspot.com/2009/04/author-q-with-jerry-hunsinger-axe-of.html

For the second day in a row, Rose has a great interview on her blog. Today she uses a clever line of questions to delve into the mind of the protagonist of Axe of Iron: The Settlers.
http://www.theplotline.wordpress.com

23 April 2009

The Plot

A book spotlight of the historical fiction novel, Axe of Iron: The Settlers, including an excerpt, has been posted on The Plot blog for today. The site administrator, Rose, has done a terrific job with an insightful and informative posting for her visitors of this provocative novel of the medieval Greenland Norse people and their path to assimilation with the pre-historical natives of Canada.

Visit The Plot by clicking either of the two site hyperlinks above.

22 April 2009

Triple Header Today

The highly regarded website, Blogging Authors, has posted an article by J. A. Hunsinger on how climate change affected the medieval Greenland Vikings and his Axe of Iron series of historical fiction books about these people and their assimilation with the natives of North America.

Destiny Rae Booze has posted her interview of author J. A. Hunsinger. They talk about his Axe of Iron series, his writing, and adventures in the world of books and publishing.

Book Stacks has featured a guest post of author J. A. Hunsinger and his work. The site administrator has posted an article on what the author has learned about writing and publishing that should be of interest to anyone in the field.

Drop by these sites today for an in depth look at the author and his work.

20 April 2009

A Good Book Review

Jennifer has posted a good review of the historical fiction novel, Axe of Iron: The Settlers on her blog this morning. Her review is of special importance because she does not normally like historical fiction, but she liked this book. I am happy about that.

16 April 2009

J. A. Hunsinger, Author, Featured on American Chronicle

An interview by Dorothy Thompson and guest post of the work of J. A. Hunsinger, author of the character-driven, historical fiction novel, Axe of Iron: The Settlers is featured on American Chronicle today.

This is an excellent interview and post by Dorothy. Drop by and read all about it.

15 April 2009

The Dark Phantom blog

Author J. A. Hunsinger is featured on The Dark Phantom blog with an article on the writing/publishing game from the perspective of an independent publisher.

Drop by, the blogger has put up a good post.

13 April 2009

Paperback Writer Interview of Author J. A. Hunsinger

Rebecca, of the Paperback Writer blog--click the title link--has a good interview posted on her blog of author, J. A. Hunsinger, and his historical fiction novel, Axe of Iron: The Settlers.

Drop by and comment for automatic entry in a Virtual Book Tour contest for writers and an Amazon gift certificate for readers—can't miss, probably.

10 April 2009

The Reader's Respite

Michelle has posted a portion of one of my writing/publishing published articles on her site today.

An excerpt follows: "The road to publication has been a nightmare because of the time and money wasted while I learned the business. I wish I could say that there is lots of help out there for the newbie’s, but actually, the reverse is true. You are prey swimming in the shark’s pool—take heed. Believe nobody, and get everything in writing, research, research, and research."

Click on the title link of this post to visit her site and read the rest. Leave your comment, I am interested in your opinion.

If you missed it, her review of my novel yesterday is the next in queue.

09 April 2009

Book Review, Axe of Iron: The Settlers

Michelle, of A Reader's Respite blog, posted a review of my novel, Axe of Iron: The Settlers on her site.

Here's an excerpt of what she had to say: "Hunsinger's knowledge of Norse history is extensive and the novel is rich in details describing the Northmen's customs and culture. Thankfully, however, this does not bog down the actual story. The characters are strong and three-dimensional: the struggles of leader Halfdan Ingolfsson are engrossing as he and his fellow settlers strive to carve a new life for themselves in this new and hostile land."

Drop by her site to read the rest.

08 April 2009

The Real Hollywood

Click on the link embedded in the title to read the clever way that Rebecca, of The Real Hollywood blog, uses humor to engage the subject of her interview, me.

It is a fun approach to the difficulty of drawing another person out enough to make the answers engaging for the reader.

Read how she does it as she questions me about my novel, Axe of Iron: The Settlers.

07 April 2009

The Book Connection

Cheryl, at The Book Connection, has a terrific guest post today of me and my novel, Axe of Iron: The Settlers. Just click on this blog's title link to go there.

She has cleverly used embedded links to maximize a visitor's reading experience. My book trailer is featured at the end of the post; I like it and I hope you do as well.

Drop by and take a look.

06 April 2009

Book Review

The Tome Traveller's Weblog has a book review posted today of my novel, Axe of Iron: The Settlers.


Click the embedded link in the title of this blog to drop by her website and read this very reasoned review of my historical fiction novel.

03 April 2009

The Unadorned Book Review

The Unadorned Book Review has posted a partial book review of Axe of Iron: The Settlers to her blog. What with sick kids and the vagaries of life in general she has not finished the book yet, but she likes what she has read and that is a good thing, in my view.

Drop by and comment, you will be automatically entered in a contest. Well, you MIGHT win!

02 April 2009

Book Talk Corner Interview

Drop by and read the interview that answers questions about my novel, Axe of Iron: The Settlers, posted today on the Book Talk Corner website. The questions provide insight into the current novel and also details for the premise behind the Axe of Iron series.

By leaving a comment, published authors are automatically entered in a contest to win a free Virtual Book Tour promotion from the PumpUpYourBook Internet advertising program. Others leaving a comment will be entered to win a $50.00 Amazon gift certificate.

31 March 2009

Suggestions For Querying Literary Agents

A heavy frost came to the western Colorado Rocky Mountains last night. It is 22° now. Fruit growers have already lost the entire apricot crop, I imagine this frost also finished what remained of the peaches—a sad time for our valley.
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It is my hope that the following suggestions, based on my own experience in the world of writer/publisher, will save you from some of the pitfalls you will encounter querying literary agents.


1. The completed first draft of your manuscript begins your odyssey toward publication. Up until now your work has been uniquely personal, something that you have created. Before you can send out query letters telling the world of the birth of the great American novel, your work needs editing. I do not mean having a friend, an English teacher, your boss, or any other nonprofessional read your manuscript; no, I mean that you must engage the services of at least one professional editor, two is better. Thus begins the process of polishing your manuscript until it is the best it can be. This process can involve numerous corrections and rewrites. Do not take it personally; treat the process as a learning experience because that is exactly what it is. The time and expense involved varies with the quality of the work. One hundred thousand words will cost in the neighborhood of $2000.00, or more, by the time you get it right. After all of that effort there will still be errors. The most pervasive and difficult to find are words that sound the same, but have different meanings, e.g. – broach and brooch. The English language is full of such words. I find it easier to correct edits electronically within the Word document rather than by hand with a marked up manuscript. Communication between you and the editor is kept within the document by e-mailing it back and forth. There is less chance of missing necessary changes with the electronic edit and it is easier; edit/rewrite by hand can be a crushing experience for an author. Of course, the choice of methodology is yours to make, just be certain you do not skimp on the capital outlay because this is not the place to save money.
2. Before you begin to query keep professionalism firmly in mind. If you do not have letterhead stationery, design some, including the envelope. Microsoft Publisher makes great looking forms, business cards, and stationery. Remember, you are trying to sell a product, be professional in all of your contacts. Edit religiously, use spell check. Everything that you write is a reflection on you personally, so do it right the first time because the one chance is usually all you will get.
3. As an author, you cannot deal directly with one of the large publishing houses, so your next challenge is to interest a literary agent in your work. Famous people query with a proposal before writing the book. I will assume that you are not yet famous. For you the path to conventional publication begins with the literary agent in almost all circumstances. That accommodation is not an accident. Do your homework on the submission guidelines for any query. All literary agents will have their own submission guidelines; adhere to them absolutely. Query only agencies accepting submissions in your genre and target specific agents within each agency. Do not ever send a manuscript unless it is requested, they will not read it. When the time comes, manuscripts are sent loose-leaf, unbound by request. Manuscript mailing boxes can be purchased online. Again, hire professional editors to edit everything that another person will read, especially the final draft of your manuscript. Remember, you cannot edit your own work you must hire someone. Your professionalism will determine whether you ever make the grade. A shabby cover letter on your submission packet will guarantee its demise. Agents and publishers are busy people and they have no time to waste on people who do not follow their submission guidelines.
4. Dealing with agents is a disheartening undertaking for a writer. Agents act like the writer exists because of them, when in fact it is the other way around. Keep that fact in mind. Use the considerable resources of the Internet to find agents interested in your genre. Do not rely on print lists of agents. The game will have changed before you receive the list. Many agents will require an exclusive submission, unnecessarily extending the period of angst for the author. Many others do not; focus on them. These days they are looking for contentious subjects or manuscripts written by known authors, never mind whether or not they can write. If you find a literary agent, your relationship will be contractual. Do nothing with anyone without a contract. Fully understand your part of the contract before signing or hire an attorney versed in literary contracts to help you understand. I wasted a year trying to find an agent from among those professing to have an interest in my genre only to find that there are not any in existence.
5. If you are fortunate enough to become a published author through the literary agent/publisher/reader sequence of progression, congratulations, you have hit the big time. Your publisher will handle all the details of composition/format, cover design, printing/binding, fulfillment/marketing, and warehouse/distribution, leaving you free to crank out books. You will have little or no input regarding any of the production aspects of your book, nor will you retain any rights other than copyright. The publisher will own the ISBN and all future negotiations for anything concerning that work will be through, or with the permission of the publisher.


The road to publication has been a nightmare because of the time and money wasted while I learned the business. I wish I could say that there is lots of help out there for the newbies, but actually, the reverse is true. You are prey swimming in the shark’s pool—take heed. Believe nobody; get everything in writing; and, research, research, research.


J. A. Hunsinger, Vinland Publishing, LLC, http://www.vinlandpublishing.com/
©2009 Jerry A. Hunsinger, All Rights Reserved

28 March 2009

Book Review, Axe of Iron: The Settlers

A glorious morning has dawned over my portion of the Rocky Mountains. I hope your day is good, too.

The following review just came in from Donald Hansen, Owner and CEO of Viking Trader, Issaquah, Washington USA. I like it and I hope you do as well.
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Full disclosure: The Vikings were frequent visitors in our Danish house. Mor-mor, my grandmother, told me many stories and read to me from the Icelandic Sagas (the farmer, poet, warrior Egil Skallagrímsson remains my favorite). Norway’s King Erik Bloodaxe fascinated me (not just because his mother was Danish) as he could hold a Viking axe at arm’s length and cleave a man in two. Not the stuff of H.C. Andersen and, perhaps, a curious way to instill a sense of wonder in a youngster!

Nonetheless, that sense persists as I still study the many-dimensioned Viking Age. I enliven my lectures on Viking culture and history with stirring scenes from the literature (avoiding the melodramatic and Wagnerian). But I believe that it’s not so much the role of history as that of fiction to present the essence of folks going about their quotidian affairs. And even as a child, I wanted to know what the world was like for my forebears, how they led their lives; fought battles; feasted and fasted; explored; settled; accommodated harsh weather, and how they related to religion, family, friends and comrades. As every nation has its uses of the past so do readers of historical novels.

And so I approached the novel Axe of Iron The Settlers by J.A. Hunsinger. Would this be yet another romance of indomitable, noble heroes conquering all challenges? In short, no. There is daring, as there was in their lives. But here it is balanced with believable dramatic events plus the conflict between good and evil which characterized their culture. Hunsinger sometimes uses archaic language, which puts a helping of “time and place” on the table (although he has one character make unlikely mention of the year 1008). And he did his Viking Age homework, skillfully weaving it into the vivid fabric of the story. It must be said that these were people of the Viking Age with their culture and traditions, but not the daring Vikings of raid and trade. His characters found great stress in their situation in Greenland owing to a hostile climate and unceasing competition for arable land. As is so eloquently stated in Njal’s Saga: “Farmers fought.” They fought each other, the elements and the unyielding land, and so Hunsinger’s characters of the Viking Age started on the arduous venture of exploration into another life in new lands.

We become well-acquainted with the main characters and minor characters swell the scenes including credible and fierce villains. I confess to re-reading pages to recall the characters, but then became more involved in their lives, interactions and thoughts. I wanted to know how their stories would play out. And play out they did in a carefully-crafted, somewhat involved but always engrossing plot. I recall the English master E.M. Forster’s definition of the novel: “Yes – oh dear yes – the novel tells a story.” And Axe of Iron tells a story, an enthralling, believable story.

We are able to suspend our disbelief as Hunsinger rolls out his story, although I could have wished for several other Viking Age activities, e.g., more references to the Norse gods, especially Odin as the god of poetry (recitations being the Viking’s favorite sport); women’s strong role as housewives, mothers & mistresses. But these are not weaknesses in the plot and there’s just so much room in an otherwise tight story.

Jerry Hunsinger has achieved a depth of detail and an expanse of action in Axe of Iron and I recommend this adventurous tale to those interested in the Viking Age, to those who seek historical fiction, and to those who want just a good read. From routine sailing scenes, and thrilling yet convincing scenes of ships in storms, it’s obvious that Jerry knows the rigors of sailing. And I feel that the “stage machinery” carefully wrought by the author will draw the reader into the plot, react to the strong characters and lead us along the story’s path.

I look forward to the next novel in Hunsinger’s planned 5 book series. And I wonder if they could be the subject of an epic motion picture taking us back centuries before the classic Swedish film The Emigrants?

#

27 March 2009

A New Day

Good morning, all. The face of the sun has risen over the Rockies to clear, cold skies—23° here this morning. Our storm has passed, a new day has begun.

24 March 2009

Interview of Author J. A. Hunsinger

Zensanity blog features an interview with J. A. Hunsinger, author of Axe of Iron: The Settlers, his first novel in the Axe of Iron series of medieval historical fiction novels about the Greenland Viking's adventures in a North America of 1000-years ago.

Drop by the Zensanity site and comment on the interview for an automatic entry in a contest to win a Virtual Book Tour or a $50.00 Amazon Gift Certificate.

23 March 2009

Book Review, Axe of Iron: The Settlers

Tracee Gleicher has a terrific review of my novel, Axe of Iron: The Settlers on her blog, The View From Here. The title of this post links to her site.

Please take a moment out of your busy day to drop by her site, read her review, and leave your comments. This gesture will automatically enter you in a contest to win a Virtual Book Tour with Dorothy Thompson, or a $50.00 Amazon Gift Certificate. How can you lose?

20 March 2009

Beyond the Books Interview

Here we go, a great interview for today, 21 March 2009, featuring me and my writing on the WordPress, Beyond the Books blog site.

Please take a moment to drop by, read the interview, and leave your thoughts in the form of a comment. It is easy and we will not demand your first born in payment.

Additionally, you might, just might, win a contest for a free month of a Virtual Book Tour from my friend Dorothy Thompson—the woman is a dynamo insofar as working for her authors is concerned. No published work? Not to worry, you can also win a $50.00 Amazon gift certificate.
So, what have you got to lose except a few minutes of your time. Give it a shot, you might enjoy yourself.

See you there.

Jerry

Book Market Buzz

I have an article of publishing tips for authors featured on the Book Marketing Buzz Wordpress blog website.

Drop by for a visit, leave a comment, or ask me a question about my novel, Axe of Iron: The Settlers, my Axe of Iron series in general, or independent publishing.

19 March 2009

Scandinavian Press Feature

The Spring 2009 issue of Scandinavian Press featured an article that I wrote, Why the Greenland Vikings Can Teach Us About Climate Change.

Check it out! I think you will find it interesting and/or controversial depending on your knowledge and position on the topic.

Official Google Reader Blog: Google Reader is your new watercooler

Official Google Reader Blog: Google Reader is your new watercooler

Guest Post at ScribeVibe

Good Morning,

Check out the ScribeVibe blog to see their post of my Axe of Iron series of medieval historical fiction novels.

Drop by and leave a comment for automatic entry in a contest to win a free month's Virtual Book Tour or a $50.00 Amazon gift certificate. Well, you might win!

18 March 2009

Book Review

The ReadingMama blog posted an excellent review of my book, Axe of Iron: The Settlers on her site this morning. Drop by her site to view this review and other germane information. By leaving a comment on her site you will automatically be entered to win a Virtual Internet Book Tour or a $50.00 Amazon Gift certificate. Her review follows in its entirety.
***

Halfdan Ingolfsson and his second-in-command Gudbjartur Einarsson with a group of people from Iceland and Greenland journey to Vinland (North America) to make a better life for themselves. On their journey they experience hardship and fun times together. The purpose of this expedition is to establish a permanent settlement. They must develop a peaceful relationship with the Skraelings (native people of North America). This is paramount to their survival.
You can tell that Hunsinger put a lot of time and effort into his research. Hunsinger explains the daily lives of the Northmen in great detail. As you read this book you get the feel that you are actually there. You can see, hear, feel what the Northmen had to endure to survive. I am just glad that I don't have to do all they did just to have food.
When you think of Northmen or Vikings, you think of the stereotypical ones who rape and pillage. (Well at least I do.) This books gives you a different perspective on what Vikings are, just typical people who care about their family and friends. These Northmen just want to explore Vinland and live peacefully in their new land.
The characters are well written and believable. I enjoyed the characters interactions with each other.
Axe of Iron: The Settlers is an accurate glimpse into the lives of the Northmen. You get to see how brutal and savage and how ordinary and gentle the Northmen were. It is about a time period that one does not normally read about. Overall, I found this book to be a fantastic read. I give it 4.5 Stars. I look forward to the other books in this continuing saga. I can't wait to see what happens to this group of first settlers in North America.

17 March 2009

Guest Interview at Reading Mama

Today, I am featured on Reading Mama's blog. She has a great interview posted that does a good job of presenting me and my books. Read through the interview and you will be left with a good understanding of the premise behind my Axe of Iron series.

Drop by her site and leave a comment for a chance to win a free Virtual Book Tour, if you are an author, or a $50.00 Amazon Gift certificate if you are working on your first book.

16 March 2009

Guest Interview



Hello, All,


My wife and I returned last night from a seven day Holland America cruise through the Caribbean on the Eurodam.



Gads, it was FANTASTIC!
























Today, after attending to quite a queue of e-mails, I am featured on Dorothy Thompson's blog to promote my books on her PumpUpYourBook Virtual Internet Book Tour promotion.

Drop by and comment for a chance to win a free Internet Virtual Book Tour or a $50.00 Amazon Gift Certificate.

Click on this link to leave a comment and to see how Dorothy can help you promote and sell your books: http://www.thewriterslife.blogspot.com/
Thanks for dropping by.
Jerry

03 March 2009

A New Review of Axe of Iron: The Settlers

Good Morning,

April, the host of CafeOfDreams, just this morning posted her review on her blog of my character-driven, historical fiction book, Axe of Iron: The Settlers, a tale of medieval Greenland Vikings and their association with the pre-historical natives of North America.

Stop by her site and post a comment for an automatic entry in a contest for a free Internet virtual book tour if you are a published author, or a $50.00 gift certificate at Amazon if you are not published.

I will be in the guest position on April's blog all day, so stop by and visit.

Thanks,
Jerry

02 March 2009

What Brick and Mortar Archaeology Has Missed

I received two comments on my June 26, 2008 blog, The Assimilation of the Greenland Norse With Native Peoples, in which I made mention of what probably happened among the native peoples during pre-history. One commentator chose to remain anonymous so his opinion is meaningless. The other, an archaeologist who has worked with what little data remains of the Anasazi culture after the intervening centuries, has chosen to proliferate the dogma associated with virtually every aspect of archaeology on the subject instead of actually promoting his own opinion. Sadly his comments have been lost, however; I offer the following to him and you others out there who have a propensity to create entire cultures from a pile of rocks.

Now, don't jump to the conclusion that I am maligning the science of archaeology. I am not, but I am pointing out that archaeologists oftentimes exhibit a myopic view, missing clues that have been extant for centuries while they trowel through layers of detritus looking for artifacts to which they can attach a long-dead personality.

To wit: 'their academic degrees can occasionally put them at a disadvantage when compared to a skeptic with common sense and a need for evidence. All too often an "expert" has devoted his life and intelligence to a particular school of thought, followed it without question, enjoyed mutual support from a closed group of colleagues—and never realized that some of his theory's grand and intricate constructs have been founded upon presuppositions that have little to do with truth. An important creed of science is summed up by the old Latin maxim, Nullius in Verba: "Don't take any one's word for it." The history of science shows that the greatest discoveries were made by people who questioned so-called "facts" that all the world thought were settled issues.'
Fred Heeren, Show Me God, Day Star Publications, Wheeling, IL, 2000 P-291.

Much has happened on this North American continent of ours that archaeology has chosen to ignore because there are few pyramids, mounds, ruins, or rock piles remaining of this pre-historical period for them to postulate about. As a consequence they have missed the faint echoes of the past that the early explorers on this continent noted in their journals. I have not however, as will be seen as my Axe of Iron series continues to tell the tale of the Greenland Norse people from the evidence for their disappearance that I have gleaned from careful research of those journals.

Stay tuned, the buzz is just beginning.

Internet Virtual Book Tour

Good morning all,

Today begins a two month Internet Virtual Book Tour blitz. I already feel like a blitz has rolled over me, but hey, that's part of the fun I am told. :-)

I will be featured at Cafe of Dreams today. Drop by and say 'Hi.' For leaving a comment on your visit you will automatically be entered in a contest to win a virtual book tour, if you are an author, or a $25.00 gift certificate from Amazon.

See you soon!

Jerry

27 February 2009

Axe of Iron: The Settlers Book Trailer

Theresa Chaze just finished a book trailer video for my Axe of Iron series about the medieval Greenland Norse Vikings.

She puts an interesting, artistic touch on her work and you might find the :03 video enjoyable.

You can also watch it on my website

Thanks, have a great weekend.

Jerry

26 February 2009

Book #2 in the Axe of Iron Series

Axe of Iron: Confrontation, the second book of the adventure packed Axe of Iron series nears completion. Publication target date remains June 2009. An excerpt from this book, and other helpful information about my books, may be found under the 'Books' tab on my website.

You came here because of your interest in the medieval Vikings. Don't miss my past blogs on the subject.

Thank you for coming by.

Best Regards,
J. A. Hunsinger
Author

12 February 2009

Were the Vikings Victims of an Inconvenient Truth of Their Own?

From an interview of author J. A. Hunsinger by Sabrina Guice, Publicist, Smith Publicity, October 2008

NEW BOOK ANSWERS THE QUESTION:
WHY DID THE VIKINGS OF GREENLAND LITERALLY DISAPPEAR?

What do the Vikings of Greenland, North American natives, and global climate change all have in common?

Novelist J. A. Hunsinger may know the answer. His historical adventure, Axe of Iron: The Settlers, the first in a five book series, provides a compelling answer as to why the Vikings literally disappeared from Greenland, why climate change may have been one of the culprits, and also why some American Indian tribes likely have Norse DNA.
“The Vikings lived on Greenland for 500-years, from 986 to about 1425. Nobody knows what happened to them; where they went … nothing. This leaves a large historical gap which the Axe of Iron series attempts to fill,” says Hunsinger.
“Creating this story allows me the fill in this gap, but I don’t simply create a wild answer, I offer a plausible, even likely, scenario based on years of my own research and study.”
Hunsinger’s bottom line: The Vikings went through climate change and environmental changes just as we are right now, and began to assimilate with the North American native peoples to survive.

But Axe of Iron: The Settlers serves up more than historical answers; it is a deftly crafted, dramatic and engaging read. The book follows the tale of Norsemen settlers in Greenland and the plight of the two main characters, chieftain Halfdan Ingolfsson and his second-in-command Gudbjartur Einarsson. The men, along with 315 other men, women and children set sail from their settlement on the southwestern coast of Greenland to territory south of them – the unexplored North America. Their travels bring them more than they had anticipated. Confronted with an unexpected gale, the travelers are faced with a decision, continue and face uncertain danger or seek shelter. The decision to do the latter brings them face to face with natives.

The new friendship brings some initial good fortune. Halfdan builds vital relationships with the natives, who in turn tell him of a land south along the coast with fertile ground. He and the others set out for this new land along the east coast of Hudson Bay where they find everything they sought, and soon build a permanent home in North America.


Readers discover:

  • How the Vikings settled Vinland - North America
  • How climate and environmental changes likely forced the migration of the Vikings
  • Key factors of their survival
  • Daily life and culture
  • Why they disappeared from Greenland and faded from history

Hunsinger’s research into the Medieval Norse Greenland settlements and specifically their unexplained disappearance from Greenland by the mid-15th century brings stunning reality to his books.

“It’s very important to remember that some 4000 people disappeared from history, never to be seen again. They didn't die; they didn't disappear; and they didn't go back to Europe. In my books, they all eventually join with the natives of North America and that is the premise of my entire series,” notes Hunsinger.

He adds, “While my tale is a work of fiction based on many years of dedicated research, something happened to them and several of us believe their genetic signature, the Norse DNA haplogroup R1a1, may be found in the blood of the Cree, Ojibwa, and Iroquois Indians whenever somebody actually checks.”

11 February 2009

Why the Interest in the Vikings?

I have had a lifelong infatuation with the Vikings of medieval Greenland. After reading everything available one is left with a nagging question. What happened to them? It is difficult to study them because they wrote nothing down. Everything we know comes from archaeological research and the Norse sagas. The Saga of the Greenlanders and Eirik the Red's Saga both tell stories about them, although centuries after the fact, but we know nothing about the people themselves. I decided to tell their tale using fiction because I wanted to convey to my readers what a lifetime of research has led me to believe regarding the abandonment of the two known Norse settlements on Greenland and the disappearance from history of every single settler. Nobody ever saw them again and nobody knows to this day, what happened to them. In spinning my Axe of Iron series of tales, I give my characters personalities, to make them as we are. No other author has ever told their story as I do.

One of my book reviewers, Melissa Levine, IP Book Reviewers had this to say: 'It’s the details that grab the reader’s attention in J. A. Hunsinger’s historical novel, Axe of Iron: The Settlers. The book is the first installment in a planned series of stories about the migration of the Greenland Norse to North America. From the introduction, which provides background information, to the brutal ending, Hunsinger uses his extensive knowledge of the history and culture of Norsemen to craft a story that exposes the lives of an ancient people with an admirable sense of adventure and value for community.
Hunsinger teaches with the details that he infuses into this story. The reader will learn what the Norsemen ate; how they set-up temporary camps and permanent residence; how they conducted themselves in battle; and the manner in which men and women fell into intimate relationships. The importance of respect and loyalty in the culture is represented by the relationship between Halfdan and Gudbj. Their bond that is stronger than that often seen between blood brothers. There is an intense trust between them that provides the level of security needed to lead their followers while exploring a new land, surviving severe storms at sea, and battling against natives. The love and admiration between the two men is so overwhelming it frequently makes Gudbj uncomfortable. But their feelings for each other do not diminish them as men. Halfdan and Gudbj are so secure in their masculinity that they are not intimidated by the strength of their women who work as hard and love as strongly as they do.
Axe of Iron: The Settlers is a hearty, adventure-packed history lesson. I highly recommend it.'

I am pleased with her assessment of my tale. The saga continues with Axe of Iron: Confrontation. The second book of the continuing tale of the Greenland Norse people and their adventures in North America will be published in June 2009.