Monday, October 20, 2014

Early Morning Darkness ~ S.S. Hampton, Author Guest Post

          It is the middle of October.

          The full moon has come and gone. The nights are cooler now.

          Have you ever been out in the early morning (we will not ask why) when most of the world is still sleeping?

          There is a different feeling to the early morning darkness, perhaps a lazy air of invisibility, of mystique in those hours between sunset and sunrise. The street lights march into the distance though close up they cast strong pools of light with shadows in between each. Cars, SUVs, and trucks with bright headlights and glowing taillights speed in different directions, bearing their occupants on assorted odysseys. The birds are waking up and the first tentative chirps greet a dawn that is no more than a narrow, pale ribbon to the east. If there is a wind rustling through the trees, that is a comforting sound so early in the morning.

          Have you ever stopped at a donut shop or an all-night diner for a coffee and donut, or a quick breakfast? Donut shops, especially, lit by gaudy flashing neon signs are warm inside and smell of baking donuts and hot coffee. Restaurants are a little larger and smell of a wide variety of foods from pancakes to eggs and hash browns.

          Other than the people waiting on you, maybe you are the only one there. You savor your donut and coffee and watch the traffic speed back and forth along the street. Or if at a diner, you are one of several customers. Perhaps a man or woman sit nearby, or perhaps two men and a woman. You might notice that her hair gives the appearance of having weathered a wind storm. Her makeup is slightly smeared. You might even notice that the woman wears a wedding ring on her finger while the man seated next to her showering her with attention, does not. And the other man, perhaps he too wears a wedding ring, yet he sits apart silent and unmoving as if forbidden to interact with the woman.

          And when the trio leave, the woman and the man without a wedding ring hold hands, while the man with a wedding ring trails behind like an obedient servant.

          Interesting, interesting. People are as varied as snowflakes, no two are alike. Close, but in the end, no two are like. Perhaps you witnessed a trio being discreet in the cool darkness before dawn. Perhaps you witnessed a night drawing to a close for them, or perhaps a relaxing interlude in between…?

          Yes, people are as varied as snowflakes—what works for one, or two, or three, may not work for the rest of us, but, so what? Who are we to judge others if we have no reason to do so? Besides, life is short and as long as no one is being hurt, then why not explore possibilities, even if only once?


Sharing Rachel book launch, 17 October 2014, 3:00 PM to 9:00 PM (Pacific Time), FaceBook

Buy Links:

MuseItHOT, MuseItUp Publishing:

Sharing Rachel
MuseItHOT, MuseItUp Publishing, forthcoming 17 October 2014.

TAG LINE: Sometimes people choose to live life to the fullest…
BLURB: 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: A song of reserved exuberance began; the feminine voice rolled the sound of many of the French words. Rachel tilted her head to listen to the music.
          “Edith Piaf, France’s premier singer back in the ‘60s,” she announced fondly. “She died of cancer. This song, it’s “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien,” or “No, I Regret Nothing.” It’s one of her most famous.”
          She put her elbows on the table, folded her hands and rested her chin on them. She looked at Burt.
          He listened. Maybe it was the title—the voice and music had a slow almost melancholy, and yet proud and defiant feel to it. The music and words added an authentic touch to the dim bistrot. If he closed his eyes for a moment he might be able to imagine a rainy night in Paris, sitting in a French bistrot with his wife in the shadow of Notre Dame Cathedral, overlooking the Seine River. Paris was a city he always wanted to visit; he knew Rachel and her parents had visited when stationed overseas.
          “I’m not really hungry yet,” he said.
          She nodded. “Like I said, after.”
          Burt looked at the empty foyer. There was “After” again.
          Rachel followed his gaze and touched his hand. “I don’t think he’s late yet.”
          “I have a feeling he’s about as punctual as you always are,” Burt said with a small smile.
          “Any last minute thoughts or rules?” she asked.
          He shook his head. “Just feel him out and make a common sense decision. If he doesn’t ask to fuck you, how do you let me know you’re interested or not?”
          She chuckled. “If I’m interested I’ll touch your foot with mine. If I’m not, I’ll kick you.”
          Burt lowered his head and gave her a sarcastic look. “Got it.”
          He looked at the foyer again. Saturday night, 7:00 p.m. They were really sitting in a French-style bistrot waiting on a man who wanted to fuck Rachel with Burt’s permission. Would it really happen? Maybe GentlemanNate was a jerk in real life—Rachel didn’t like jerks. She didn’t like men who were loud and pushy, profane or who spoke badly.
          The waitress returned with their drinks.
          “There’s not a wide variety of food because we follow the old European tradition of few selections, but each one is of loving preparation and excellent taste. Would you like to order something? The figs wrapped with grilled bacon is really good. So are the marinated mushrooms. Both are authentic French recipes.”
          “Perhaps a little later,” Rachel answered. “We’re waiting on someone.”
          “Of course,” the waitress said. “Just catch my attention when you’re ready to order.”
          Burt took a drink of his beer and glanced at the TVs. Sports and news. She took his hand in hers, tilted her head and continued smiling at him.
          Maybe GentlemanNate wouldn’t show...

Buy Links:
MuseItHOT, MuseItUp Publishing:

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.

          Hampton can be found at:

Dark Opus Press

Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy Publishing

Melange Books

Musa Publishing

MuseItUp Publishing

Ravenous Romance Author Page UK Author Page

Goodreads Author Page

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