Well, here it is, July—about two and a half months after April 15, the day that The Tax Man Cometh. Cameth. Anyway, you know. And April 15, 2016, is less than ten months away.
That being said, there are two things to remember:
1. Writing is a business—though you may be consumed by the need to tell stories, writing is a business.
2. I am not a professional—to be sure you are on solid ground, seek the advice of a professional, whether accountant or tax lawyer.
Now, the quick and dirty, especially for new writers, is that every penny you spend to grow your writing, could be deductible as a business expense. That being said, do not go wild with creativity. That will draw the attention of the IRS.
Keep track of your expenses and keep your receipts.
If you are setting up a home office, and that office needs to be 100% devoted to writing, you need a desk or table, chair, laptop, scanner/copier/fax/printer, ink jet cartridges, printing paper, even stapler, staples, and staple puller. And do not forget manila folders, filing cabinet, and book cases for your books and magazines. All of those are business expenses.
Attending live events? You may want a table cover, little book stands or mini art easels on which to place print books for viewing (with a stack of autographed print books behind each book), and inexpensive (relatively speaking) promotional items that audiences can have for free. Do not forget posters or banners if you desire, as well as bookmarks and business cards. I also suggest someone photograph you at such an event—further proof in support of your claim and receipts.
Do not forget that you could also claim a percentage of your Internet bill, mortgage or rent, and insurance, based on the size of your devoted writing area, as expenses.
As for car expenses, well, I never bother with calculating those.
By now, I am sure you get the gist of what I am suggesting.
So, remember, writing is a business.
And remember, I am not a tax professional. To be sure you are on solid ground, consult an accountant or tax attorney.
Finally, happy writing, and have fun!
PS: No matter how much or how little sales and/or royalties come your way, do not forget to record and report those too!
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.
Hampton can be found at:
Barnes and Noble
Dark Opus Press
Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy Publishing
Amazon.com Author Page
Amazon.com. UK Author Page
Goodreads Author Page
MuseItUp Publishing, MuseItHOT Imprint.
Forthcoming August 2015.
What can happen when a frustrated artist plagued by personal demons encounters his personal Muse?
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 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.
They looked at one another. Burt leaned back in the chair and Rachel looped strands of hair around her fingers. She smiled, blew him a kiss, and slipped out the door.
Burt locked his fingers behind his head and stared at the ceiling. He wasn’t going through the soul searching and anticipation he did in the days before and on the day of Rachel’s first play date with Nate. He wondered why.
The afternoon dragged unmercifully, but at last it was 4:00 PM. He called it quits and walked home.
“Rachel?” he called from the foyer. The house was silent except for the cuckoo clock, classical music coming from the living room TV, and the chakra chimes from outside. A delicious smell of cooking food wafted through the house.
Burt found Rachel naked, seated on the bench before her cherry wood vanity, applying makeup. Her long hair was gathered in a thick ponytail draped over a shoulder.
On the bed lay a yellow off-shoulder bodysuit, very short blue denim jean shorts with narrow cuffs, and a thong. That was her dinner attire. Next to the clothing was her after-dinner attire: a sheer white corset with straps, dark thigh highs with a seam in back, and a red G-string, and black high heels laying on the rug. The lingerie ensemble was from a slut shopping trip for meeting Nate. He pushed the brown recliner over by the vanity.
“You’re looking good,” he said and kissed her on the back of her shoulder. She smelled freshly bathed; an exciting scent of patchouli perfume with a hint of roses hovered about her. “But then, you always do.”
“Thank you,” she smiled at him in the mirror.
“You usually don’t wear makeup for your art dates with Horus, do you?”
“No. He prefers a natural look.” She turned around on the bench and opened her legs. “I thought about trimming my pubic hair. What do you think?”
Burt looked at the thick dark triangle that graced her pussy. He sniffed at her faint, yet distinctive scent—she was already becoming excited. His eyes followed the line of her hips and legs; the toe nails were painted bright red as were the stiletto nails. Sometimes she trimmed her bikini line, but usually she let her hair grow wild because he liked it that way.
“You always look fine to me. Horus can take it or leave it.”
She smiled and examined herself again. “Are you sure?”
“All right.” She turned back to the mirrors and continued applying her makeup.
Sometimes Burt was still surprised at the level of their relationship. His wife just asked his opinion whether or not to trim her pubic hair because she was preparing to fuck a new bull.
After she finished her makeup they went to the kitchen, she remaining barefoot, where she poured a glass of wine for herself and he plucked a beer out of the refrigerator. He saw a big bowl of freshly cut fruit. They sat on the couch in the living room, listening to classical music.
A little while later Maggie barked, Burt kissed Rachel on the cheek, and went to let Horus in.
“Hi,” he greeted Rachel, looking her up and down. “You look very nice.”
“Thank you,” she smiled and patted the couch next to her. “Let’s see the latest drawings. I can’t wait.”
Burt handed a beer to Horus and stood behind the couch, looking over their shoulders. The pastel drawings included her in the cornfield, reclining on the steps in the pool, standing by the living room window facing the cornfield, sitting in the recliner by the fireplace, and several more drawings from beside the lake. All were full figure drawings accompanied by larger ones of her head and shoulders.
“Beautiful, very beautiful,” she said, and raised her index finger to her lips. “Are you sure I really look like that?”
“Thanks,” Horus beamed. “And yes, you absolutely do look like that.”
Rachel patted his hand appreciatively, then looked over her shoulder at the kitchen. “We’re having vegetable soup, a big salad, and ham sandwiches for dinner. Nothing fancy.”
“That’s fine,” Horus replied and carefully put the drawings in a large presentation box.
The dinner conversation was small talk—business at the feed store and preparation for distributing fireworks to the fireworks stands.
Burt let Rachel and Horus do most of the talking. A couple of times she looked at him, but the timing didn’t feel right to him. After dinner, fresh wine and beers in hand, they went out to the west porch to watch the sun descend toward the horizon.
Rachel curled up against Burt on the porch swing, a hand resting on his thigh, his arm across her shoulders, while Horus sat in a lawn chair against the side of the house. She gave his thigh an encouraging squeeze.
He took a deep breath, then a gulp of beer. How the hell do you come out of left field to ask a guy you barely know if he wants to fuck your wife? The whole thing last year with New Passions and Nate was a process that everyone had a part in. Horus was still an unknown entity and they were winging it.
“Horus,” Burt finally said after she squeezed his thigh again.
“Something Rachel and I haven’t told you.”
A puzzled look crossed Horus’s face. “Yeah?”
“We’re into an alternative lifestyle.” Inwardly Burt cringed; his words sounded like a stereotypical line from a bad movie rather than a real conversation.
“Yeah. For about a year now, we agreed that Rachel, when she wants, can have a bull, or lover, or boyfriend, whatever, from time to time.”
Horus’s eyes widened. He looked at Burt, at Rachel, then Burt again.
Burt almost grinned. Horus looked as confused as Burt felt when he first suggested that he and Rachel do something sexually kinky to break the monotony of an endless routine.
“It’s actually worked for us. I mean, there’s no jealousy on my part. We love one another, we’re committed to each other and to our marriage. Thing is, I have to be present when Rachel meets her bull, and I take photos that we put into private photo albums. The ultimate souvenirs, I guess you’d call it.”
Horus was almost looking at them from the corners of his eyes. “Okay.”
“What Burt is trying to say,” Rachel cut in, “is that I want to have sex with you.”
Horus looked at her, then at Burt, then her again.
Now Burt was puzzled. Horus’s reaction wasn’t what he was expecting. Any man would jump at the chance to fuck Rachel.
She sat up. “You can have the guest room when you come up for the Wednesday breakfasts, or whenever we have an art date.”
Horus slowly nodded.
“Okay.” He looked at Burt. “You’re not jealous at all?”
“Well, a little, but that’s okay. It doesn’t get out of control and it’s not a threat to my love for Rachel or to our marriage. I know it sounds strange, but it’s true.”
Horus nodded again. “The two of you seem so normal and in love after so many years of marriage.”
Burt and Rachel laughed, a spontaneous laugh that thawed the puzzled chill in the air.
“Thanks,” Burt grinned. “We are normal. Pretty much that is.”
“Okay, so, let me get this straight. Rachel, you want to have sex with me? Burt, you’re okay with this? And the two of you want photographs of Rachel and I having sex? For your souvenir photo albums?”
“Yeah,” he nodded.
“Yes,” she replied.
Horus exhaled forcefully. “I see.”
He looked at the setting sun. Except for the breeze in the trees, the chakra chimes, and the awakening insect chorus, the night was silent. A few fireflies emerged from the shadows.
Rachel glanced at Burt and he shrugged.
“You two don’t consider this cheating?”
“No,” Rachel replied. “Last year this all sounded and felt very strange, but it really isn’t. My having a bull is the new normal for us. Besides, what is the harm if no one is hurt by this? Honestly, fucking is wonderful and energizing, and fucking is not the same as lovemaking. I fuck a bull, but make love to my husband.”
Horus’s lips became a thin line.
“Okay.” He looked at Rachel. “You said you’re from Atlanta. This isn’t some black bull fantasy or black breeding fantasy?”
She giggled and shook her head. “No. I’ve never been with a black man because I never encountered one I liked enough. This has nothing to do with curiosity about your package. And we have two grown daughters. No more babies for us.”
“Then what does it have to do with?”
Rachel said, “This has to do with my being attracted to you as an artist, a man, and attracted to your personality, who you are. It has to do with my being attracted to Horus Charles Grant and wanting to have sex with you.”
Burt glanced at her. Rachel didn’t mention that she wanted to help soothe the pain that Horus lived with. He supposed such a remark, like she pitied him, might turn him off.
“Okay, thank you. I’m flattered, believe me. I’ve got to think this over. I think I’ll go to the guest room and do some more drawings. Thank you for dinner. It was great. Good night.”
He rose, patted Maggie on her head, and disappeared around the corner.
Burt and Rachel sat silently, rocking the porch swing, listening to his fading footsteps. The insects continued their discordant chorus, the chakra wind chimes tinkled merrily, and the evening breeze blew through the trees.
“What the fuck?” Rachel finally said.
Burt was surprised. She usually didn’t swear. He didn’t know what to say. Horus’s reaction was nothing like what he expected. Not even in the same ballpark.
“Yeah,” he said, just as puzzled as Rachel though with less emotion.
“What the fuck?” Rachel repeated later as they lay in bed; he was watching TV, pillows propped behind his back. She lay on her back with arms folded, legs crossed at the ankles, staring at the ceiling. He reached over and reassuringly patted her hand. “What the fuck?”
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