Friday, November 30, 2012


Hi, Stan. I'm happy you are here today. You have quite a story to tell the readers.

For some reason, I want to start with your bio. That, to me, is very moving.

SS Hampton, Sr. is a full-blood Choctaw of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, a divorced grandfather to 13 grandchildren, and a veteran of Operations Noble Eagle (2004-2006) and Iraqi Freedom (2006-2007). He served in the active duty Army (1974-1985), the Army Individual Reserve (1985-1995) (mobilized for the Persian Gulf War), and enlisted in the Army National Guard in October 2004; he was mobilized for active duty for almost three years after his enlistment. He continues to serve in the Guard, where he holds the rank of staff sergeant. He is a published photographer and photojournalist, an aspiring painter, and is studying for a degree in anthropology—hopefully to someday work in underwater archaeology. He has wanted to be a writer since he was 15 years old; his first short story was published in 1992, after which it wasn’t until 2001 that he had another short story published. 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, Ruthie’s Club, Lucrezia Magazine, The Harrow, and River Walk Journal, among others. As of December 2011, he became the latest homeless Iraq war veteran in Las Vegas, Nevada.
I'm thinking readers may want to know if you are still a homeless vet. Perhaps you'll get to answer that in the comment section if a readers asks. But for now, tell us about some of your Christmas memories.

            Christmas is for kids. There’s no doubt about it. Of course, it’s nice for adults to have a good Christmas too, but still, Christmas is for kids.

            The only Christmas memory that remains with me from my childhood is of crawling around the Christmas tree on my hands and knees one year. I studied the brightly wrapped and ribboned packages, touched them, and even jiggled a few in an attempt to guess what might be in them. It was no use—I didn’t have x-ray eyes and the muted sounds from within didn’t offer useful clues. I finally reached the breaking point. In that moment of despair the proverbial light bulb went off above my head.

            During my travels around the tree the family cat often watched and sometimes joined me. I picked the startled cat up and tossed him onto the packages piled under the tree. Of course there was a loud paper-filled crash followed by frantic scrabbling. The cat disappeared into the hallway. BUT, there were rips in several of the packages. I cautiously lifted the tears and excitedly peeked inside. Of course, my grandparents came in and saw the torn packages.

            In answer to their stern, questioning looks, I pointed at the family cat peeking from the hallway and announced, “The cat did it.”

            A favorite memory of Christmas is the year when my wife and I had enough money to put on a good Christmas for our daughter and two sons. But most of all, I spent the better part of a month using papier mache, chicken wire, and plywood to construct a “bluff” separated from a “plateau” by a ravine. Using wood dowels of various sizes, I constructed a gatehouse and gate on the bluff, and a castle on the plateau. Okay, it looked more like a western fort—but my wife and I populated it with knights and demons. I also constructed a “race way” on another piece of plywood. The surprise of my oldest son at the sight of the castle, and the surprise of my youngest son—they were both under 10 years old—at the sight of the raceway can’t really be described. I think they were happier than when they received expensive store-bought toys. A couple of years ago my oldest son who is now in his 30s and a father, mentioned the castle. He told me that castle was still his favorite present.

            Only six years ago, I spent Christmas Eve in a tent with a plywood floor, and ate Christmas dinner in a brightly and garishly decorated messhall. I missed my kids and grandkids—but far better that I wore a uniform and was deployed to a war in an ancient land than my kids or grandkids. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were a little lonely, but the loneliness was offset by spending it with good friends, Soldiers I had served with for years, and was now deployed with. Telling jokes and laughing, and enjoying a good meal with one another, even though some of our comrades were escorting supply convoys in Iraq, did a lot to ease some of the loneliness.

 So this Christmas, remember that Christmas is for kids. Forget about getting the latest and greatest toy, or thinking that brightly wrapped quantity matters more than love and caring, or that you may have to punch out someone reaching for the latest gadget before you can; forget “midnight shopping rage,” “aisle rage,” and “holiday parking lot rage.” Play “Feliz Navidad” or “Deck the Halls” or “What Child Is This” or “The Little Drummer Boy” (the last two are my favorite songs), go for a walk with the ones you love, go to a Christmas service and sing your heart out. Look for something simple that will bring a smile to your child’s face. Those smiles are more important than all of the fancy gadgets in the world.

           MERRY CHRISTMAS! 
What a lovely post, Stan. Thank you for sharing it with us. Now, why don't you tell us  about the book you are promoting today.
Looks like you have quite a few talented authors in the Christmas Collectables. Would you care to explain more about it?

“Protolanguage, Cookie Dough, and Mistletoe.” Christmas Collectibles 2010 Anthology, Midnight Showcase Fiction (Melange Books), November 2010.
ISBN: 978-1-61235-095-0
BLURB: Christmas is a time of good cheer and gift giving. But sometimes the gift giving can be more important than anyone could imagine…
EXCERPT: The world was a stinging, churning cloud of smoke and dust. The air was so hot that it parched a throat already dry and sucked the moisture out of the exhausted body so that the skin resembled charred leather. Muffled popping sounds hurt already ringing ears and brought a reaction of crouching with hands clenching desperately at empty air. Blind skeletal hands thrust forward desperately as a way was sought out of the thick, scorching clouds.
            Screams echoed within the boiling clouds as the skeletal hands burst into bright, smoky flames…
* * * *
            Tommy Simpson shot upright from his bed, gasping wildly as his wide eyes swept the darkness of the bedroom. He ran a hand across his face and sat down on the edge of the bed with his painfully throbbing head lowered. A glance at the digital clock showed 12 – but was it midnight or noon?
            He stealthily opened the door and looked down the hallway; dim lights flickered in the living room. He wrinkled his nose and smelled coffee and cooking food, and heard the tinny music of “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer.” Over all hung the sweet, mysterious aroma of burning cedar wood.
            He ventured down the hallway and peeked into the kitchen.
            “Hey sleepy head,” a fleshy, full bodied woman with long black hair dressed in a thin t-shirt and jean shorts cheerfully greeted him. “It’s about time you got up. It’s noon!”
            “Aunt Jenny?” he whispered in surprise.
            “The one and only,” Jenny Danner, Ph.D., laughed. “Coffee? I assume that now that you’re a man you drink coffee?”
            “Uh, yeah,” he nodded as he rubbed his painful temples and ventured to the bar stools that lined the wood and granite island between the kitchen and dining room. “Coffee, beer, rum and coke, and rum and egg nog, too.”
            “Didn’t your mom tell you I was visiting?”
            “No. She’s kinda wrapped up in her boyfriend, Willy Deal the used car salesman.”
            “Well, I’m visiting for the holidays,” she said as she placed coffee, sugar, and Irish creamer before him. She held a dirty beer mug up. “Rum and egg nog last night?”
            “It’s the holidays,” he replied half-heartedly as he prepared his coffee…
Protolanguage, Cookie Dough, and Mistletoe
I'm intrigued., Stan. The book sounds like a wonderful collection of Christmas stories. Thank you so much for sharing with us today.

  How about leaving Stan a comment folks. We would both love to hear your thoughts.

Sorry readers, you have to scroll down into the orange below the post to find comments. It's a little hard to see, but it's there. - FIXED


  1. Hi, Stan. So glad you are with us today. A very interesting post. Thank you for sharing.

  2. I think the scrolling thing is fixed, Lorrie.

    Hi Stan. What a rich background you have from which to draw stories! Congratulations on all your successful publishing.

  3. Marva, hi. Thank you, and thanks for visiting. Have a great weekend. Stan

  4. Always a treat to read your posts, Stan. Good luck with the new story!

  5. SS Hampton, please accept this post as my salute to you at full attention, since it's a little to show that in a comment. It's an honor to meet you.

  6. Gail, thank you very much. And thanks for stopping by today. I hope you enjoyed Lorrie's blog, and my post.


    1. That was supposed to read, "it's a little hard to show that in a comment." But again, an honor to meet you, sir.

  7. Pat, hi. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed my guest post, and Lorrie's blog.


  8. First let me Thank You for your service. You are a true hero.
    You remind me of a friend I went to school with. He's in the US Army. SFC, OPS Force Prtotection NCO · Nov 1987 to present.

    Wow! Sounds like you lived quite a life. I loved the idea of the castle. Very creative. Christmas has become so commercialized that people forget the true meaning of it.
    My fondest memories of Christmas are when I was old enough, I was allowed to help with all the baking my mom did for the holiday. We had a fairly big family so she did a lot of baking. That continued on for years until I got married. I didn't move far away but it simply just stopped. A few years ago my mom had to move in with us and the baking resumed. Last year, my mom's heath was gradually getting worse. Her hands shook all the time and the cookies were a mess. lol But they were delicious! She passed away on August 2nd. I will miss baking with her but I will always cherish those memories.
    Thank you for you post.

    When I frist read the blurb, I thought, 'This is a Christmas book???' lol I have a feeling this is going to be a very heartwarming story. Just bought so it's on my tbr list.

    Merry Christmas to you! And I sure hope you're not still homeless.

  9. Good to see you again, Stan. Love your holiday memory, it's a heartwarming tale. Congrats on your Christmas story - best of luck with sales!

  10. Darla, hi. Yeahhh, well, my story is Christmas oriented, though perhaps a bit of an adult orientation, but hey, it's still a Christmas story! Sorry to hear about your mom. My mom passed away in April 2010. Since February 2012 I've been living in a 2-year VA transitional housing program for homeless veterans. It's a chance to get back on my feet. The environment here can sometimes be challenging, but the only other option is the streets. So, it's a chance to get back on my feet. Anyway, thanks for visiting, and Merry Christmas!


  11. Cate, hi. Good to see you too. Thanks, and glad you swung by. Merry Christmas!