Archive for the ‘Stan Hampton Sr’ Tag

Monday’s Friend: Stan Hampton

Today I am pleased to have as my guest once more Stan Hampton, Sr. Welcome back, Stan!

SJT: You’ve visited my blog many times, and each time you do, you’ve got a new adventure in your life to tell us about. The most recent one has you gadding about France. What’s that all about?

SH: Well, I need a foreign language for my Bachelors (double major of Art with Sculpture Emphasis and English with Creative Writing Emphasis). The last time I took a foreign language, French, some 16 years ago, it was not pretty. Perfect time for “ugly crying.” This time, courtesy of International Programs at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and the Universities Study Abroad Consortium, University of Nevada-Reno, I figured I’d study French in France. Immersion, so to speak. Aaand, yeah, the exams were on 7 April, I don’t know the results yet, but it’s probably time for some “ugly crying.”

After Lunch, Les Voutes, Vers-Pont-du-Gard, France

SJT: What have been the highlights of your trip?

SH: Fulfilling nearly life-long dreams. Visiting the French Foreign Legion Museum in Aubagne; visiting the Roman aqueduct Pont-du-Gard, and touching the very stones that real people handled some 2,000 years ago; visiting the Camargue, which is a setting I’ve planned on using in one of my novels; staying in wonderful bed and breakfasts in the old cities of Arles and Carcassone, as well as one in the village of Vers-Pont-du-Gard; seeing the Mediterranean Sea, and visiting the tragic ruins of Oradour-sur-Glane.

SJT: You’ve led a very eventful life. What would you say your life philosophy is?

SH: I’ve always believed in “Live and let live,” sort of, but I was also very judgmental. During a bitter divorce I learned what it was like to be judged, and it’s not a good feeling. In recent years, especially this past spring, there’s also a guiding sense of gratitude. If I remember correctly, in the words of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, “There are far more sunrises behind me than ahead of me.” I served with Soldiers who were killed in the Iraq War and others have died after we returned home, including suicide. I learned very recently of a fellow art student, a young woman, who passed away. How much time do we really have in this world? It has been on my mind since I arrived in France, how many people my age are full time university students studying in a foreign country? I’d guess not many. So, every day I feel gratitude for an opportunity like this, and for meeting the Americans and French that I have met here.

SJT: Your fiction is as varied as your life, and you are not constrained by genre. I understand the new novel is described as horror-SF. Can you tell us about it?

SH: Wellll, it takes place in the future. Imagine escaping from a world being destroyed by a global pandemic, only to discover that your escape is more akin to the legend of the Flying Dutchman.

SJT: When will it be available?

SH: MONOLOGUE will be available on 25 April 2017 from Melange Books LLC.

SJT: Where did the idea for this story come from?

SH: To tell the truth, I don’t remember. But in a sense, my guiding light when writing something like this has always been Rod Sirling and The Twilight Zone. I was hooked on that show the first time I saw it, and I still watch it, especially during the New Year’s Eve marathons.

SJT: Your busy life doesn’t get in the way of your writing, and you seem to be quite prolific. What are you working on now, writing-wise?

SH: Well, I’m editing/revising an erotic romance story, Three Little Words. Beyond that, I’m not sure. There are other stories I need to take another look at and probably doing a little rewriting, such as another erotic romance, horror, and science fiction. I might even have another go at Native American steampunk.

Blurb from MONOLOGUE

You can run, but what if you find yourself aboard a space faring Flying Dutchman?

Luther Raynor is a son of one of the world’s wealthiest and politically influential families. When the Etava Virus appeared and spread across the world, mankind’s very survival was in question. Luther used his family’s wealth to construct a sleeper spacecraft to take the family into space, to orbit in safety around Jupiter for a thousand years while in suspended animation. At the last minute he changes the plan after calculating that upon awakening, survival supplies for one would last far longer than for two dozen or more people. He flees into space alone except for the Mobile Artificial Intelligence Image—May, responsible for operation of the spacecraft. But, Luther had no idea of what awaited him out there.

AUTHOR BIO:

Stan Hampton, Sr. is a full-blood Choctaw of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, a divorced grandfather to 13 grandchildren, and a published author, photographer and photojournalist. He retired in 2013 from the Nevada Army National Guard with the rank of Sergeant First Class; he previously served in the active duty Army, and the Army Individual Ready Reserve (mobilized for the Persian Gulf War). He enlisted in the Nevada Army National Guard in October 2004, after which he was mobilized for Federal active duty for almost three years. Hampton is a veteran of Operations Noble Eagle and Iraqi Freedom, with deployment to northern Kuwait and several convoy security missions into Iraq.

He has had two solo photographic exhibitions and curated a multi-media exhibit. His writings have appeared as stand-alone stories and in anthologies from Dark Opus Press, Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy, Melange Books, Musa Publishing, MuseItUp Publishing, Ravenous Romance, and in Horror Bound Magazine, The Harrow, and River Walk Journal, among others.

As of April 2014, after being in a 2-year Veterans Administration program for Homeless Veterans, Hampton is officially no longer a homeless Iraq War veteran.

In May 2014 he graduated from the College of Southern Nevada with an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Photography – Commercial Photography Emphasis. He has been studying at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas with in a double major in Art and English. He recently returned from spending a cold, rainy Spring 2017 semester studying at a university in southwestern France in the shadow of the Pyrenees Mountains.

After 16 years of desert in the American Southwest, and Southwest Asia, he still misses the Rocky Mountains, yellow aspens in the fall, running rivers, and a warm fireplace during snowy winters.

Hampton can be found at:

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sharing-rachel-ss-hampton-sr/1120349766?ean=2940046334791

Dark Opus Press: https://www.createspace.com/3685965

Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy Publishing: http://www.edgewebsite.com/books/dansemacabre/dansemacabre.html

Melange Books: http://www.melange-books.com/authors/sshampton/index.html

MuseItUp Publishing: https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/museitup/mainstream/better-than-a-rabbit-s-foot-detail

Amazon.com Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/SS-Hampton-Sr/e/B00BJ9EVKQ

Amazon.co.UK Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/SS-Hampton-Sr/e/B00BJ9EVKQ

Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6888342.S_S_Hampton_Sr_

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Monday’s Friend: Stan Hampton, Sr

Today I’m pleased to welcome back to the blog the fascinating Stan Hampton, Sr.

SJT: This is your fourth visit to my blog. Anything new in your life since last time you visited?

SH: You know, you are right. I did not think I had visited that many times. The last time I visited was early February, this year. Since that time, I finished my first semester at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas (UNLV), and passed all classes enrolled in. I still need to get my GPA up so I can qualify for studying for a semester in Ireland. I moved again, third time in a year, but at least I am happier where I am now. And, I guess that is it. Not bad for an old man, eh?

Stan Hampton picSJT: You’ve led a very eventful life, including serving overseas in the military. If you could go back in time to visit your younger self, what advice would you give him?

SH: While in the military, take advantage of every training opportunity possible. Work on the marriage, work on being a better father and a better man—perhaps the marriage will not end in divorce. Stop being so angry and bitter—all of that does nothing except burn a person up inside. Learn to live, rather than just survive or exist. And get a degree, now. Do not wait for decades. Getting a degree early on could mean a better quality of life for you and the family. An Associates, Bachelors, or Masters does not guarantee a job (especially during the Great Recession), but it does open more doors of opportunity.

SJT: Your time in service has clearly influenced your writing, since you write about a number of characters who have either served in the military or have relatives who have done so. Do you see writing about such characters a way of dealing with the trauma of living through conflict, or is this more a case of ‘write what you know’?

SH: Probably more of a case of writing what I know. I have written two “realistic” military stories. Better Than a Rabbit’s Foot (MuseItUp Publishing) is about a young soldier at a convoy support center in northern Kuwait. He is preparing to go on a convoy security escort mission shortly after learning that a fellow soldier was killed by an IED. Dawn at Khabari Crossing was originally a college English writing assignment. I revised it for my short story collection Intimate Journeys (Melange Books). The protagonist is a soldier about to return from active duty mobilization and deployment, and facing an uncertain economic future during the Great Recession. Those two were somewhat easy to write.

For my UNLV Creative Writing workshop, I wrote DD Form 1076, which is the form used by the military to record the personal effects of deceased soldiers, especially those Killed In Action. This story, which I have wanted to write for some time, was inspired by a real incident. In June 2007 my company was about 30 days away from ending our year-long deployment, and returning home. And then one of our soldiers was killed by an IED. Those were difficult days for many people. Because DD Form 1076 is inspired by a real event, personally, this was a difficult story to write. Yet, I have felt a need to write it.

Regarding other military stories that take place during the Global War On Terrorism (GWOT), An Incident on MSR Tampa, The Lapis Lazuli Throne, and Dancing in Moonlight (Musa Publishing), or stories that take place in the past or the future, most have a supernatural aspect. I just think that war and the supernatural go together.

SJT: In your forthcoming novel, PRAIRIE MUSE, you revisit the main protagonists in SHARING RACHEL. What made you decide to write a sequel about these characters?

SH: On reflection, I really do like the characters Burt and Rachel Markham, and their world. They may be so appealing because they are ordinary people, happily married with two grown children, and small business owners. Yes, they are stretching their personal and sexual boundaries, and why not? That is their business. Anyway, Sharing Rachel is about their first adventure. So why not additional adventures? Sometimes it might be an adventure they sought out, other times (Prairie Muse) an unexpected adventure may come their way. Because of who they are, and their lust for life, I really do see further adventures ahead for Rachel and Burt.

SJT: Without giving away too many spoilers, tell us a little about PRAIRE MUSE.

sharing rachelSH: Well, to back up a little, in Sharing Rachel, Burt and Rachel Markham’s daughters leave in the summer of 2013 for a university on the East Coast. Faced with an empty nest and a predictable routine stretching far into the future, Burt and Rachel decide to explore their personal and sexual boundaries. This summer exploration carries on into the spring of 2014.

Prairie Muse picks up in May 2014—perhaps the initial blurb works best:

“The fireworks are about to begin as the sexual adventure of Rachel and Burt Markham continues. Small business owners and a happily married couple of 20+ years, they live in the small town of Four Corners, Kansas. The year before, with the permission and encouragement of her husband, Rachel had the freedom to explore the depth of her sensuality through having her first Bull. After saying farewell to her Bull, Rachel and Burt settle back into the routine of small town life. Then, African-American frustrated artist and new fireworks territory sales manager Horus Grant arrives in Four Corners. He is searching for new sales territory for the Missouri-based company, and he decides to open a fireworks stand next to Rachel and Burt’s seed and feed store. Outwardly friendly and personable, he is plagued by hidden demons. Though based in near-by Wichita, Horus finds himself returning to Four Corners again and again, and not just because of the fireworks stand. Rachel is also drawn to him and soon realizes she may hold the key to Horus’s slim chance of defeating his demons, of healing, and learning to live again.”

SJT: When is the book coming out?

SH: PRAIRIE MUSE should be released in August 2015.

SJT: Do you have any further plans for Burt and Rachel?

SH: Heh heh heh…

AUTHOR BIO

Stan Hampton, Sr. is a full-blood Choctaw of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, a divorced grandfather to 13 wonderful grandchildren, and a published photographer and photojournalist. He retired on 1 July 2013 from the Army National Guard with the rank of Sergeant First Class; he previously served in the active duty Army (1974-1985), the Army Individual Ready Reserve (1985-1995) (mobilized for the Persian Gulf War), and enlisted in the Nevada Army National Guard in October 2004, after which he was mobilized for Federal active duty for almost three years. Hampton is a veteran of Operations Noble Eagle (2004-2006) and Iraqi Freedom (2006-2007) with deployment to northern Kuwait and several convoy security missions into Iraq.

He has had two solo photographic exhibitions and curated a third. His writings have appeared as stand-alone stories and in anthologies from Dark Opus Press, Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy, Melange Books, Musa Publishing, MuseItUp Publishing, Ravenous Romance, and as stand-alone stories in Horror Bound Magazine, The Harrow, and River Walk Journal, among others.

In May 2014 he graduated from the College of Southern Nevada with an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Photography – Commercial Photography Emphasis. A future goal is to study for a degree in archaeology—hopefully to someday work in and photograph underwater archaeology (and also learning to paint). He is currently enrolled as an art student at University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

After 14 years of brown desert in the Southwest and overseas, he misses the Rocky Mountains, yellow aspens in the fall, running rivers, and a warm fireplace during snowy winters.

As of April 2014, after being in a 2-year Veterans Administration program for Homeless Veterans, Hampton is officially no longer a homeless Iraq War veteran.

Stan Hampton, Sr can be found at:

Dark Opus Press
https://www.createspace.com/3685965

Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy Publishing
http://www.edgewebsite.com/books/dansemacabre/dansemacabre.html

Melange Books
http://www.melange-books.com/authors/sshampton/index.html

MuseItUp Publishing
https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/museitup/mainstream/better-than-a-rabbit-s-foot-detail

Ravenous Romance
http://www.ravenousromance.com/anthologies/back-door-lover.php
http://www.ravenousromance.com/anthologies/virgin-ass-first-times-tales-of-anal-sex.php

Amazon.com Author Page
http://www.amazon.com/SS-Hampton-Sr/e/B00BJ9EVKQ
Amazon.com. UK Author Page
http://www.amazon.co.uk/SS-Hampton-Sr/e/B00BJ9EVKQ

Goodreads Author Page
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6888342.S_S_Hampton_Sr_

Monday’s Friend: Stan Hampton, Sr

I am pleased to welcome back to the blog Stan Hampton Sr, who today is giving tips on how writers should be keeping track of expenses for tax claims, whether you are a full time writer or one with another income.

Do You Know What Time It Is?
By Stan Hampton, Sr

Belated Happy New Year and Pre-Valentine’s Day!

StanAnyway, no, this is not about the time of day or night. This is about the time of the year that faces almost everyone. Tax season!

First and foremost, I am not a tax professional. For advice and tips, consult a tax professional. Let me repeat – for advice and tips, consult a tax professional.

Broadly speaking, most of us cannot support ourselves through writing advances and royalties. Yet. Our income comes from elsewhere. Now, on tax forms your income is where your writing income or (loss) is applied (as recorded on your Schedule C (Form 1040*), Profit or Loss From Business.) [*US tax claims] This gives your total income. After that comes adjustments to your income resulting in your Adjusted Gross Income. And of course, after that, comes all of the various taxes and credits with the end result of your either owing the government or the government owes you a refund.

So, like most of us you work at another job until your literary ship finally comes in.

But along the way to the harbor I suggest you keep track of your expenses that you can add up and claim as income or (loss) at the end of the tax year.

First, establish a spreadsheet with cumulative cost columns.

Did you buy a desk or a pair of folding tables to equip a room or a corner of your house or apartment to work at? Did you buy a computer for your writing? Did you buy additional literary or graphics software? How about a printer? What about inkjet cartridges and printing paper? Stapler, staple remover, staples, paper clips, binder clips, pens, pencils, file folders, and pads of paper? What about filing cabinets to store your research and drafts? Or 3-ring binders, with 3-hole punch? Maybe you make backup CD copies rather than keep paper copies. Dozens of blank CDs or even a separate storage device costs money.

There is even a provision that if you dedicate a portion of your home or apartment to your writing, you can claim a percentage of rent or mortgage, even insurance as writing expenses. If you use the Internet for research and communications, and you use your telephone in support of you writing, you can claim a percentage of the monthly bill for those too.

Speaking of research, if you go to the local library and Xerox pages out of books that are relevant to your writing, that costs money. It costs money if you buy books or even magazines with specific articles, to add to a research library. What if your writing takes place in an exotic location, such as belly dancing in Egypt. How familiar are you with belly dance music? Can you describe it? Suppose you want to become familiar with a type of music from a specific era, such as swing music from the 1940s. The cost of music CDs, in my humble opinion, counts as research—but do not go overboard.

So what if you attend book signings at libraries, book stores, coffee shops, book fairs, or even speak to a grade school or college class? Having bookmarks and business cards to hand out, for example, costs money.

If the host does not provide tables, you might have to buy a folding table to bring with you. Having business cards, banners, and bookmarks designed and printed costs money, even if you accomplish those at home. If you want to get more creative, you can personalize mouse pads, coffee mugs, note paper, and a thousand and one other things. As an aside, I suggest you get photographs of you and your table at public venues. It is further proof of your expenses.

And if you have to travel out of town for such events, even if you combine your travel with visiting friends and family, a percentage of your travel, food, and room cost can be counted as expenses.

I am sure that by now you are developing a good idea of how to approach the expense of writing in relation to income taxes.

More experienced writers will have additional helpful suggestions. Some may suggest that you incorporate and have business checking accounts separate from your personal accounts.

But no matter what—remember to CONSULT A TAX PROFESSIONAL when you set out to record your expenses in preparation for the tax year. Professional advice, even if you have to pay for it (not all of us have tax preparers in the family), is worth the money to avoid potential pitfalls.

In closing, I wish you much writing success this year. And remember to have fun!

AUTHOR BIO:

Stan Hampton, Sr. is a full-blood Choctaw of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, a divorced grandfather to 13 wonderful grandchildren, and a published photographer and photojournalist. He retired on 1 July 2013 from the Army National Guard with the rank of Sergeant First Class; he previously served in the active duty Army (1974-1985), the Army Individual Ready Reserve (1985-1995) (mobilized for the Persian Gulf War), and enlisted in the Nevada Army National Guard in October 2004, after which he was mobilized for Federal active duty for almost three years. Hampton is a veteran of Operations Noble Eagle (2004-2006) and Iraqi Freedom (2006-2007) with deployment to northern Kuwait and several convoy security missions into Iraq.

His writings have appeared as stand-alone stories and in anthologies from Dark Opus Press, Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy, Melange Books, Musa Publishing, MuseItUp Publishing, Ravenous Romance, and as stand-alone stories in Horror Bound Magazine, The Harrow, and River Walk Journal, among others.

In May 2014 he graduated from the College of Southern Nevada with an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Photography – Commercial Photography Emphasis. A future goal is to study for a degree in archaeology—hopefully to someday work in and photograph underwater archaeology (and also learning to paint).

After 13 years of brown desert in the Southwest and overseas, he misses the Rocky Mountains, yellow aspens in the fall, running rivers, and a warm fireplace during snowy winters.

As of April 2014, after being in a 2-year Veterans Administration program for Homeless Veterans, Hampton is officially no longer a homeless Iraq War veteran, though he is still struggling to get back on his feet.

sharing rachelHampton can be found at:

Dark Opus Press: https://www.createspace.com/3685965

Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy Publishing: http://www.edgewebsite.com/books/dansemacabre/dansemacabre.html

Musa Publishing: http://www.musapublishing.com/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=50

MuseItUp Publishing: https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/museitup/mainstream/better-than-a-rabbit-s-foot-detail

Amazon.com Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/SS-Hampton-Sr/e/B00BJ9EVKQ

Amazon.com. UK Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/SS-Hampton-Sr/e/B00BJ9EVKQ

Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6888342.S_S_Hampton_Sr_

 

Monday’s Friend: SS Hampton, Sr

I’m pleased to welcome Stan Hampton back to the blog for his second appearance this year.  His new book, SHARING RACHEL, an erotic romance, is rather different to his last release. Let’s find out more about it.

SJT:  Your new novel is a bit of a departure from your previous work. How did the concept come about?

SH:  Yes, SHARING RACHEL is different from my first story, BETTER THAN A RABBIT’S FOOT, both from MuseItUp Publishing (MIU). During research for my writings (horror, fantasy, science fiction, erotica, and military fiction) I often come across information that I think would make a good foundation for a story. SHARING RACHEL is the first contemporary erotic romance novel that I have written, and that is a far cry from my previous MIU writing, BETTER THAN A RABBIT’S FOOT, which is a military short story. One thing about writing that I do not care for is the necessary evil: editing. Editing a novel is more time consuming and requires even more attention to detail than a short story.

Sharing Rachel coverSJT:  When is SHARING RACHEL released, and where can we find it?

SH:  The novel will be released before the end of 2014, and it can be found in the MuseItHOT bookstore of my publisher, MuseItUp Publishing.

SJT:  Who would you cite as your influences?

SH:  Various influences, fiction and non-fiction authors. They include Frederick Forsyth (The Odessa File, The Dogs of War), Jean Larteguy (The Centurions, The Praetorians), James Michener (Centennial), and those whose works are too many to mention, HP Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Cornelius Ryan, and Bernard B. Fall.

SJT:  What advice would you pass on to beginner writers that you wish someone had told you when you were first starting out?

SH:  Recognize and understand the importance of marketing and public relations. More and more unless you are a successful big name writer, getting the word out about yourself and your writing has become the writer’s responsibility. The various small publishers help to a certain extent, depending on the publisher, but first and foremost, it is on the writer’s shoulders. In some ways this has become more important than the actual writing.

SJT:  Have you ever been inspired to put people you know in real life in your books?

SH:  No. Fictional characters in different times or places were never based on anyone I knew, just because. Fictional characters represented in current military fiction—stories taking place during the Global War On Terrorism—will not represent anyone I know. It may sound a little superstitious, but though I may add a trait or two from various people I know, no character is based on a real person. If I write that a character is killed or crippled in combat, I would feel like I had cursed the real person to such a fate. And I know plenty of people who still serve, and will serve overseas in a combat zone. So, no.

SJT:  When it comes to your writing projects, would you describe yourself as a meticulous planner, or a ‘seat-of-the-pantser’?

SH:  I would have to say more of a “framework planner.” I start out with an outline and characters, but as my story progresses I will readjust as necessary. Sometimes a story (or even a character) needs to progress in a different direction than I had planned. I learned a long time ago (though I do not always pay attention, usually to my regret) to listen to my “gut feeling.”

SJT:  Have you got any works in progress on the go?

SH:  Plenty of story/novel ideas and outlines with research—the problem is I cannot make my mind up as to which one to start on. Additionally, I am still unpacking from my move, and recovering from the financial devastation visited upon me because of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service sitting on the 3-months military retirement backpay I was owed. I could start on the second sequel to SHARING RACHEL (the first sequel has been submitted, but no word of acceptance or rejection yet). There is a story about a haunted German Tiger tank in North Africa during World War II; a science fiction writing that asks what makes a man “great” in the eyes of others; an “alternate history” or perhaps fantasy visit to the Crusades, and more stories about the Global War On Terrorism, most being military-supernatural based (one of my favourite combinations).

SJT:  What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

SH:  Have a beer or Smirnoff Ice Screwdriver, watch Netflix or YouTube, and listen to music. Sometimes I meet a friend or two for drinks and dinner. After I have my 16-year old car looked over and worked on (very reliable foreign made car), go for drives and listen to music while exploring what lies over the horizon, around that bend in the road, or at the end of the old, narrow Las Vegas street—all of which are useful for scouting locations for my photography. Okay, add some painting and drawing. And, that’s about it.

SHARING RACHEL – Blurb

Sometimes people choose to live life to the fullest…

Burt and Rachel Markham are ordinary small business owners of a seed & feed store in a small Kansas farming and ranching community. Many years before, as young university graduates eagerly anticipating exciting overseas employment, a lifetime in Kansas was the furthest thing from their minds, particularly Rachel who was raised overseas and dreamed of going back. By July 2013 their twin 18-year old daughters, having graduated high school several months before, go east to attend a university. Burt and Rachel settle into their new life of an empty house and a predictable and unchanging routine that threatens to stretch far into the future. One summer evening Burt has an idea—but will Rachel accept the idea? If she does, will the idea add new excitement to their marriage, or destroy it?

 EXCERPT:

She stood and grasped his hand. “It’s a little windy out, but it looks like there’s only a slight drizzle. We won’t get too wet walking home.”

Burt glanced at the steaming dancers again and smiled. “It’s been a long time since we walked in the rain.”

“It has been,” she said and leaned against him.

“I always liked walking in the rain. A light rain that is. A slight drizzle is better.” They stepped into the cool twilight. “Anyway, when your blouse is soaked your nipples really stand out.”

“Oh God,” Rachel giggled. Silent lightning lit the wet road as if showing the way home.

Burt slipped his arms around her and kissed her cheek.

“Hi,” he whispered in her ear. She responded with a little sigh and reached back to place her hands on his hips.

The greeting was their signal when in public that one or the other was horny. They began whispering “hi” to each other shortly after they became lovers; now they also whispered it after he slipped into her or when she seated herself on him and they were looking into each other’s eyes.

The storms passed and the humid summer heat returned. The feed store remained busy. The trains rumbled past Four Corners, past their home, as they had done for the past two decades. Burt always thought that the late night train whistle that echoed across the moonlit prairie was one of the loneliest sounds he ever heard.

One night during their dinner walk they passed by the dark school. Rachel paused and stared at the small wooden building. Twinkling fireflies floated through the schoolyard.

“Are you going to volunteer this year?” he asked. Classes would start in a few days.

She was silent for a few moments before shaking her head. “No. I enjoyed being a volunteer teacher’s aide, but with the girls gone…” Her voice trailed into silence. “It wouldn’t be the same.”

Burt brushed her long hair away from her face. “What about soccer?”

“They asked me and I said I’d help on special occasions, like the end of season awards banquet.” She folded her arms around herself as if she were cold, though a warm breeze blew across the moonlit prairie. “But otherwise, no.”

“It wouldn’t be the same?”

“Jah, jah,” she whispered.

“Well, okay. I mean, there’s been a big change in our lives, but it doesn’t have to mean cutting most ties.”

When they returned to the farmhouse Rachel announced she was going for a swim. She poured a glass of Sauvignon Blanc for herself and picked up a CD player. She usually listened to classical music, waltzes, and operas when floating in the pool. There was a chakra wind chime hanging near the pool for the times when she felt like floating in near silence except for the chimes and the sound of the prairie wind.

A few moments later Burt followed with beer in hand. Maggie trotted behind him, rawhide bone in her jaws. Classical music floated through the night; fireflies played hide and seek among the neatly trimmed hedges along the perimeter of the yard. Others drifted in and out of the nearby cornfield, while the insects of the night droned on in disharmony.

He saw Rachel drop a dark robe to her feet. In the silvery light of the moon her nude fleshy form had a ghostly white sheen to it. She glanced over her shoulder, flashed a lusty smile at him, and dove into the pool. He stood by the edge of the pool and watched her gliding beneath the sparkling moonlit water. Then she surfaced, rolled and floated on her back with closed eyes. A pair of fireflies circled above her face.

It was the second time she was skinny dipping. It was like she was shedding the older, busy exterior of motherhood so that her younger carefree personality could reassert itself.

He sipped his beer and watched her face with Bettie Page bangs plastered to her forehead, surrounded by a fan of long hair and the glimmering water. She looked so content.

A thought was born.

A surprising thought.

A thought he never entertained before about his wife of 21 years—and the mother of his children. He walked unsteadily to a wooden chair with thick cushions and sat down heavily. He gulped his beer. A warm breeze flowed through the night; the trees rustled and the field of corn swayed like watery currents. Fireflies sailed past him.

“Dammit,” Burt whispered to himself in disbelief…disbelief and excitement. And trepidation. What would her reaction be? What would she say? Could he even find a way to suggest it?

“Burt?”

He returned to the poolside. Her eyes were open. Moonlit water droplets on her beautiful face sparkled like tiny diamonds.

The thought wouldn’t let go. It took root…

SHARING RACHEL will be available from the MuseItUp hot bookstore later this year.

 

SHampton

Author Bio:

Stan Hampton, Sr. is a full-blood Choctaw of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, a divorced grandfather to 13 wonderful grandchildren, and a published photographer and photojournalist. He retired on 1 July 2013 from the Army National Guard with the rank of Sergeant First Class; he previously served in the active duty Army (1974-1985), the Army Individual Ready Reserve (1985-1995) (mobilized for the Persian Gulf War), and enlisted in the Nevada Army National Guard in October 2004, after which he was mobilized for Federal active duty for almost three years. Hampton is a veteran of Operations Noble Eagle (2004-2006) and Iraqi Freedom (2006-2007) with deployment to northern Kuwait and several convoy security missions into Iraq.

His writings have appeared as stand-alone stories and in anthologies from Dark Opus Press, Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy, Melange Books, Musa Publishing, MuseItUp Publishing, Ravenous Romance, and as stand-alone stories in Horror Bound Magazine, The Harrow, and River Walk Journal, among others.

In May 2014 he graduated from the College of Southern Nevada with an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Photography – Commercial Photography Emphasis. A future goal is to study for a degree in archaeology—hopefully to someday work in and photograph underwater archaeology (and also learning to paint).

After 13 years of brown desert in the Southwest and overseas, he misses the Rocky Mountains, yellow aspens in the fall, running rivers, and a warm fireplace during snowy winters.

As of April 2014, after being in a 2-year Veterans Administration program for Homeless Veterans, Hampton is officially no longer a homeless Iraq War veteran, though he is still struggling to get back on his feet.

SS Hampton can be found at:

Melange Books
Musa Publishing
MuseItUp Publishing
Amazon
Amazon UK
Goodreads Author Page

Monday’s Friend: Stan Hampton Sr

Today my guest is MuseItUp author Stan Hampton Sr, whose real-life stories are as interesting as his fictional ones.  And he’s going to tell us one.  Welcome, Stan!

The Writing Life
By Stan Hampton Sr.

Good morning fellow writer, and reader.

recon 024It is Sunday morning. After a little over two years of officially being a homeless Iraq War veteran, and living in a small complex for homeless veterans next to one of Las Vegas’ major homeless corridors, I am now living several miles away in a weekly—that is a cross between an apartment and a motel, and bureaucratically speaking is considered one step above homelessness. I am making breakfast for myself and one of my children who is now living with me because they are separated from their spouse. And I have to take my 16-year old car for a fluid check before getting an oil change next month, and then today with my grandchildren from that now sundered marriage, I have to do a lot of photography to catch up on classes and meet current deadlines so that I can finally graduate with an Associates in Photography. And double-check the account of a bank I despise because I do not have a job and am living off of a Pell Grant and student loans until my monthly retirement pay starts, plus using the funds for my photography expenses—talk about being in a neck-to-neck race. And somewhere in all of this, get in some more editing on my second novel so I can submit that to my publisher (my publisher and I still haven’t completed the edits on my first novel).

And…

No, I think that is it.

So, what does all of this have to do with The Writing Life?

Ah, well, I am not sure. But let us take a look at this together.

I have wanted to be a writer since I was 15 years old. Of course, once I saw a documentary about photographers that included a guy photographing a bikini-clad woman dancing on a beach, I wanted to do that too.

I became an Army-trained photographer. No bikini-clad women dancing on a beach there—there was sitting in the doorway of a Huey helicopter with my boots on the skids, and leaning out to get a vertical photograph during a training mission. And one time, in real-life, standing with one boot on the wall of a Chinook helicopter and one boot on the floor, leaning over the open side door to photograph a military airplane crash in which two people died.

There were good times though. Being stationed in Europe for five years provided plenty of photographic opportunity, not to mention 13 years in Colorado Springs.

But, I was 38 years old before my first fiction writing was published. Another 10 years passed before my second writing was published. Since 2002, the number of publishing credits have climbed until my first novel was accepted for publication later this year. (I dislike editing, and editing a novel takes so long compared to short stories and novellas.)

Life has been challenging for me, as I am sure it has been for many of you.

My point is, do not give up. Prioritize and keep going—this may be difficult, but if you believe in yourself, and you have stories to tell, do not give up. If anything, observe everything around you, even when times are difficult. There is no telling when your observations and emotions can be worked into your writing. And if you keep working at your craft, you will find a publisher who also believes in you.

But do not expect to get rich overnight. Very few do. Finding some financial success requires a lot of marketing, a lot of public relations. But, do not give up.

Oh, yeah—if you promise someone a blog submission and say you will have it to them no later than 10 days before the blog date, prioritize. Ensure you meet that goal. No matter what the circumstances, do not wait until the day before. Yeah.

And, hi Sara-Jayne. Here is my submission. Thank you for the opportunity. You, and everyone, have a great week!

better-museitup333x500

 

“Better Than a Rabbit’s Foot.”
Ed. Joelle Walker. MuseItUp Publishing, June 2012.
ISBN: 978-1-77127-078-6

BLURB:
Sergeant Jerry Stanton is a young soldier serving in the War in Iraq. He is a gunner on a gun truck nicknamed “Lucky Bear,” one of those tireless workhorses that escort supply convoys from camps in Kuwait to destinations scattered throughout the war-torn country. In the early morning hours before a scheduled mission, a dust storm howls across his camp and threatens to bring convoy operations to a halt. Worse, the camp receives word that a gunner from his company was killed by an IED while on a convoy mission. Unlike most soldiers, Jerry doesn’t carry a lucky charm, but upon receiving news of the death of the gunner, he begins to mull over/ponder the merit/virtue of a good luck charm—only, what would work for him? Perhaps mail call will provide the answer.

EXCERPT:
“People like a happy ending.”

Sergeant Jerry Stanton, an M4 Carbine slung across his chest, glanced at the dark form that trudged alongside him in the hot, early morning darkness. It was all the darker for the dust storm howling across the small camp, a dusty and sandy convoy support center, CSC, a mile south of the Iraqi border. He placed his hand over the tall styrofoam coffee cup from the messhall that was open at all hours to serve those about to head out on a mission. He felt the itchy dust filtering down his back, along his arms, and coating his fingers.

In spite of his short time deployed to Kuwait, he had learned that dust storms were worse than sand storms; they were hot and itchy while the sand storms stung exposed skin and chilled the air. Breakfast was good but tasted flat, more due to the question of whether their mission would be a go or no-go because of the storm that roared out of the midnight darkness hours before.

“What?”

“People like a happy ending,” the soldier repeated. He was a gunner from another gun truck as the squat, venerable M1114 HMMWVs, which were never meant to be combat vehicles, were called. He held up a rabbit foot that spun frantically in the wind and added, “I like a happy ending. Especially now.” They rounded the corner of a small building, actually a renovated mobile home trailer with a covered wooden porch lit by a bare electric bulb. The gunner pointed to a small black flag, suspended from a log overhang, flapping furiously in the wind.

“Oh shit.” Jerry sighed as a cold chill raced through him.

“It’s been there for an hour or so,” the soldier said as he enclosed the rabbit’s foot within both hands and brought it up to his lips as if to kiss it. He glanced at Jerry. “I’m not superstitious, but still, I mean, there’s nothing wrong with having a lucky charm. You know?”

“Yeah.” Jerry nodded as he watched the twisting flag. “I know.”

The soldier looked once more at the black flag and then walked toward the shower and restroom trailers beyond which were the air-conditioned sleeping tents they called home…

Available from MuseItUp Publishing

AUTHOR BIO:

SS Hampton, Sr. is a full-blood Choctaw of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, a divorced grandfather to 13 wonderful grandchildren, and a published photographer and photojournalist. He retired on 1 July 2013 from the Army National Guard with the rank of Sergeant First Class; he previously served in the active duty Army (1974-1985), the Army Individual Ready Reserve (1985-1995) (mobilized for the Persian Gulf War), and enlisted in the Army National Guard in October 2004, after which he was mobilized for Federal active duty for almost three years. Hampton is a veteran of Operations Noble Eagle (2004-2006) and Iraqi Freedom (2006-2007). His writings have appeared as stand-alone stories and in anthologies from Dark Opus Press, Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy, Melange Books, Musa Publishing, MuseItUp Publishing, Ravenous Romance, and as stand-alone stories in Horror Bound Magazine, The Harrow, and River Walk Journal, among others. Second-career goals include becoming a painter and studying for a degree in photography and anthropology—hopefully to someday work in and photograph underwater archaeology. After 12 years of brown desert in the Southwest and overseas, he misses the Rocky Mountains, yellow aspens in the fall, running rivers, and a warm fireplace during snowy winters. As of April 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada, Hampton is officially no longer a homeless Iraq War veteran.

Melange Books
http://www.melange-books.com/authors/sshampton/index.html

Musa Publishing
http://www.musapublishing.com/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=50

MuseItUp Publishing
https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/museitup/mainstream/better-than-a-rabbit-s-foot-detail

Amazon.com Author Page
http://www.amazon.com/SS-Hampton-Sr/e/B00BJ9EVKQ

Amazon.com. UK Author Page
http://www.amazon.co.uk/SS-Hampton-Sr/e/B00BJ9EVKQ

Goodreads Author Page
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6888342.S_S_Hampton_Sr_