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.
Now on to the FIVE QUESTIONS
1. You write Military inspired tales. How much of your own experience do you put into your stories?
The background, and ordinary experiences told in the stories are due to my own experiences. Anything involving combat is based on research (reading non-fiction books and news articles, looking at YouTube), and listening to other Soldiers tell of their combat experiences. I was deployed to northern Kuwait in 2006-2007, and my unit had a SECFOR mission—convoy security escort. I only went north into Iraq three times, and, to use an old phrase, never heard a shot fired in anger. However, there were plenty of IEDs and gunfights with insurgents along Main Supply Route Tampa, the only supply road that ran from Kuwait to Baghdad. As the Awards NCO for my unit, I put together awards packets for those Soldiers who qualified for awards, the vast majority of which were combat-based. I read a lot of sworn statements and sometimes interviewed Soldiers to clarify details of their combat experiences.
2. If you could be any paranormal creature, what would you be?
Well, that’s easy. An incubus! I can’t help it. I love women. Women are also my favorite subject to photograph. And when I finally develop a sliver of painting and drawing ability, they’ll still be my favorite subject. Anyway, I’d be a gentle incubus.
3. What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Can I offer more than one piece of advice? Read the great writers—Hemingway, Steinbeck, and Faulkner, among others. In my opinion, toss in a hefty dose of Ray Bradbury and Arthur C. Clarke, even James Michener, Leon Uris, Anaïs Nin, and Frederick Forsyth. And write. Write every day, even if it’s only 500 or 1,000 words. Read your words aloud and listen to how they flow, and if it all makes sense. Don’t ask family and friends about the quality of your writing. They love you and they don’t want to hurt your feelings or puncture your writing dream. Join a writing group instead—they can be honest and tactful. And develop a thick skin. There’s a lot of rejection out there, even for experienced and published writers. And watch out for the freaking scammers who, like watchful insurgents, lay in wait for newbie writers.
4. If you could go back in time, where would you go?
That’s a difficult one. Minoa? I wish I could see the female bull jumpers in action, or see the priestesses in procession during a ceremony. The Roman Empire? The Roman Army of course—perhaps the Battle of Teutoburger Wald in which three legions were lost. Or perhaps a tour of the fortifications in northern England, the edge of the known world, as it was. Athens? Watching the acropolis being built would be fascinating. England at the beginning of the Norman Conquest? To be present at the Battle of Hastings in which Duke William defeated King Harold, a pivotal moment in Western history, would be wonderful.
5. Finally, Star Wars or Star Trek?
That’s another difficult question. Ultimately though, I’d go with Star Trek—I’m assuming the original series. Basically, Star Wars is a fully developed universe. Traveling through the Star Wars universe is like traveling I-15 from California to Canada. Exciting, but still known. Star Trek, however, is in a time when the universe is still unexplored, and everything is new and unknown. It’s like turning off I-15 in Colorado onto a dirt road leading into the mountains, and asking CPT Kirk in the passenger seat, “I don’t know what this road is, but how about we see what’s at the end of it?”
And, thank you for having me visit your blog.
Here’s an excerpt from “A Luscious Kurdistan Strawberry” which appeared in Penumbra Magazine, July 2012.
Pareevash, a dark-eyed, black-haired, nude beauty basked in the gentle glow of the early Andalusian dawn. The heady, romantic scent of roses filled the air, and song birds throughout the courtyard below chirped brightly. She titled the head of a wall climbing rose and sniffed the wonderful scent. From the corner of her eyes she saw stealthy movements among the shadows of graceful arches. She studied the shadows until a smirk filled her face with delightful recognition of the secret lovers in the shadows.
Yes, save for scattered showers, the day was going to be another beautiful spring day with great promise, perhaps marred only by the occasional whiff of riot gas.
The spring shower, glistening with magic sparkles in the afternoon sunlight, washed across the flower filled red palace fortress of the magnificent 14th century Calat Alhambra. The near mythical structure perched on a plateau surrounded by wood groves, and once the seat of powerful Medieval Muslim rulers, hummed again with diplomatic purpose. More than a score of languages filled the delicately and beautifully decorated halls, courts, and gardens.
In stark contrast to the quiet diplomacy that echoed within the pink walled Alhambra was the dim roar from outside the walls. White clouds of riot gas drifted with the breeze as crowds of international protesters clashed with uniformed riot police. On the roof of the Alhambra, standing before every entrance, and stationed at critical junctures throughout the legendary palace, were armored and armed figures.
Whenever international leaders gathered for a summit, protests were nothing new. But the meeting of the G20, as the annual gathering of finance ministers from the world’s 20 most powerful economies was called, combined with attendance by the G8, the leaders of the world’s eight most powerful nations, was a trigger unlike any ever seen before. Days before a flotilla of government jets flew into the heavily guarded Federico Garcia Lorca Airport, protesters from around the world flooded Granada and the surrounding countryside. Grim-faced security forces, police and army, established roadblocks and laid coils of deadly razor wire in order to keep the protesters away from the world’s governmental elite.
And so the historic three-day summit of meetings, formal state dinners, and security escorted tours, began with carefully rehearsed smiles and speeches, backed by restrained deadly force…
A Luscious Kurdistan Strawberry