Clarissa Johal: Tangled Tuesday-Guest Author

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Tangled Tuesday-Guest Author

Please welcome my guest author, SS Hampton, Sr.
Stan writes horror, science fiction, fantasy, erotica, military fiction, and has even been known to dabble a bit in the Old West and the Classical Romans. Take it away, Stan!

Hello!

Well, let’s chat about scary things—I know it’s not Halloween with cackling witches on broomsticks passing in front of the full moon, or glowing eyed black cats peering at you from the shadows by your front door, as if daring you try seeking safety within your house. Then again, scary things aren’t always confined to a chilly Halloween night. It can be bright daylight when you have a sudden feeling, perhaps a tiny tremor of unease rippling through you, that you are not alone. A quick look over the shoulder will show that you are alone—but then again, are you?

Sometimes you can’t see something unknown slowly drawing closer and closer to you. And something unknown can make for some of the greatest scary stories.

Among the several genres I enjoy writing in is horror. Horror, scary things, are fun. As long as it isn’t real and you aren’t in the middle of something scary. Anyway, as a writer of horror, I hope someday to write something that someone might describe as being scary enough to “scare an owl off a tombstone” (A Memoir of Ambrose Bierce by George Sterling (Project Gutenberg)). I’m almost 60, so there’s still time to reach such a pinnacle, even if only briefly.

That being said, what things scare you, or at least make you uneasy? An inky black night with such deep shadows you’d never know when something is keeping pace with you? A large hairy spider stealthily creeping closer, ready to sink fangs in your flesh to inject venom to reduce your insides to liquid to be sucked out? Snakes that even if they aren’t large enough to swallow you, can still put a deathly squeeze on you? Or maybe a sinkhole opening beneath your feet, and in the gloom of your sudden underground chamber you hear something moving in the shadows? And what about clowns. I know some people truly are afraid of clowns. I guess when you think about it, Stephen King hit the nail on the head with Pennywise the demonic clown from his book and movie, “It.”

As for me—well, sometimes my surroundings give me ideas, scary ideas, to write about. For example, my 2006-2007 deployment to northern Kuwait. We were at a convoy support center a mile south of the Iraqi border. Northern Kuwait and southern Iraq—flat and sandy. Sure, there’s high ground, but not that high. Just an endless, hot, flat, sandy sea. A sandy sea that hasn’t changed in thousands of years. Traveling across that sea at night you sometimes see the pale, distant glow of a village beneath a magic carpet of stars thousands of years old.

The imagination begins churning. What if that glow isn’t from a distant Iraqi village, but beneath silent stars twisting themselves into strange and horrible constellations, the glow is from the torches of a ghostly Sumerian city and temple ziggurats come to life again? What of the demons from that near prehistoric time—did they fade away as mankind grew older and science answered everything, or perhaps they slumber beneath the sandy sea, just waiting for horrible constellations to take shape and reawaken them? And what of the anonymous generations who were born, lived, and died in that land? Did they really crumble into dust and return to the Earth? In the night when a hot wind sweeps across the timeless land, perhaps you might hear a whisper of ghostly voices—or perhaps it’s only your imagination. The same imagination that thinks there’s a rippling shadow in the sand, as if something unknown is moving beneath it…

THE LAPIS LAZULI THRONE
by SS Hampton, Sr.
Edited by Stephen Morgan 

Musa Publishing, April 2012
ISBN: 978-1-61937-263-4

BLURB: During the Iraq War supply convoys rumbled out of Kuwait every day, bound for Baghdad. These convoys traveled on MSR Tampa, one of the most dangerous roads in the world, battling insurgent ambushes and IEDs. It is on one such convoy that an IED took out a gun truck and wounded Specialist Ken Adams. His gun truck commander took the fight to nearby insurgents, but in the aftermath he committed a disrespectful act. In the following weeks the entire gun truck crew was stalked by something unknown, and they disappeared one by one, until only Ken Adams was left, cornered in Las Vegas…

EXCERPT: 

The desert was alive. Damp foul smelling sand exploded in a white flash. Smoky red and yellow tentacles snaked out of the sand. He tried to scream, but the tentacles choked him. Other screams tore through the boiling smoke that stung his eyes and fouled his mouth. He was suffocating. He swung his arms wildly through the heavy hot air as the ground gave way beneath him. He was being pulled into the living desert...
#
            Specialist Ken Adams, the Gunner of his gun truck, picked at his meal of cheeseburgers, French fries, and salad. The mess hall, no wider than a pair of double wide trailers and twice as long, was almost empty. Other than an evening kitchen crew, the only occupants of the mess hall were gun truck soldiers preparing to go out on another convoy security escort mission.
            They were escorting another supply convoy of forty-five white trucks, the civilian manned eighteen-wheel tractor trailers that had arrived that afternoon at Convoy Support Center Navistar. The small, cluttered, dusty camp a mile south of the Iraqi border, a jumping off point for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, was now manned by mobilized Army National Guard soldiers. After sunset, four HMMWV gun trucks would escort the supply convoy to Cedar, the first CSC on Main Supply Route Tampa. There, they would then turn the convoy over to other escorts, who would take the convoy further north. The gun truck crews would have time for a quick breakfast before they picked up an empty convoy returning to Kuwait.
            It was just another typical mission for Ken and his buddies. He grabbed a pair of bananas on the way out the door.
            They met their convoy of white trucks at the Convoy Movement Center, the dusty marshaling lot on the other side of a narrow dusty track across from Navistar. The soldiers checked the drivers’ paperwork and made a quick mechanical inspection of the trucks. It was a tedious but necessary process. Ken alleviated the boredom by raiding the packed bag of bubble gum Lenny had packed for the mission. Lenny loved bubble gum, and whenever care packages were put on the mail table for everyone to help themselves, he was one of the first to paw through them, searching for bubble gum…

Musa Publishing

BIOGRAPHY

 SS Hampton, Sr. is a full-blood Choctaw of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, a divorced grandfather to 13 wonderful grandchildren, a published photographer and photojournalist, and a member of the Military Writers Society of America. 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 December 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada, Hampton officially became a homeless Iraq War veteran.

10 comments:

sshamptonsenior said...

Clarissa,

Good morning! Thank you for having me visit your blog, I appreciate the opportunity. By the way, I like your blog design - very eye-catching.

Stan

Clarissa Johal said...

You are very welcome, Stan! And, thank you :)

Helen and Lorri said...

Always learning something new about you, Stan! You live an interesting life--wait, isn't that a Chinese curse? :)

Sloane Taylor said...

Wonderful interview! And I truly enjoy your books, Stan.

sshamptonsenior said...

Helen and Lorri,

Hi! Yes, that is a Chinese curse. And I have always lived an interesting life. I don't think I'd know how to live an ordinary, boring life. Anyway, thanks for stopping by, and have a great day!

Stan

sshamptonsenior said...

Sloane,

Hi! Thanks, I appreciate it. And thanks for stopping by. Have a great week!

Stan

Sharon Ledwith said...

Okay, finally arrived for the party, and I've brought the McDonald's for Stan. Great interview, you two! I can't believe how many books you've published, Stan, and now that you're retired, you've got more time on your hands! Salute, and best wishes for Bestsellers!

Vonnie said...

Stan, as you're still with us, I guess nothing quite like this happened on your tours of duty. Or did it?

sshamptonsenior said...

Sharon,

Thanks for visiting. Yes, I've been writing for awhile. Still no riches, but hey, one can always dream! My best wishes for your writing career, and have a great week!

Stan

sshamptonsenior said...

Vonnie,

Hi. Wellll, no. The only thing was an "OK Corral" moment with the Iraqi Police, which ended well. Thanks for visiting, and have a great week!

Stan