Hello! Spring greetings!
Okay, that is a little too cheery for my usual nature.
But then, it is April. Winter is basically over, though here in Las Vegas (Sin City) winter usually means just a dip in the usual 100+ degree weather. If someone wants to see snow up close they have to drive out to nearby Mount Charleston.
Anyway, I am meandering.
My first novel, SHARING RACHEL, was released in October 2014 by MuseItUp Publishing, MuseItHOT Imprint. It will be followed by the sequel, PRAIRIE MUSE, in the summer of 2015. Both are erotic romances and are about a happily married couple and small business owners, Burt and Rachel Markham, who decide to explore their personal boundaries. Okay. Make that sexual boundaries.
And that brings about the question of how did I go from writing short stories and novellas about, oh, a ghost returned from the Ho Chi Minh Trail (The 24th of December, Journeys, 1992), ghosts and the Battle of the Little Bighorn (Gold Nugget, Dark Fire Magazine, 2004), a frustrated incubus trying to entice a young woman to leave a sheltering church (Imnachar, Intimate Journeys collection, Melange Books, 2011), and a young woman who agrees to become Death’s consort in exchange for the safety of her family (The Mistress of the Fourth Seal, Horror Bound Magazine, 2009), to writing Erotic Romance?
Welll, first, there is a difference between Porn, Erotica, and Erotic Romance. Or so I’ve been told (and read).
Broadly and simply speaking, Porn is for readers who do not need someone with them to have, ah, a good time, so to speak. Erotica has a plot and characters, and many times leaves the bedroom door open for readers to peek through. And Erotica does not require Happily Ever After (HEA). Erotic Romance has a plot and characters, and also leaves the bedroom door open at times, but most importantly, HEA is practically mandatory.
So, again, how did I go from writing about wars, ghosts, demons, and star ships (if sex was involved, it was more of a furtive sidelong glance as if to verify, “Yep, IT happened”) to writing Erotic Romance?
Somewhere along the way I probably encountered a writing and thought, “I can do better than that.” And the research began. Then the outlining. And throwing my hands up in the air. Then another start. And a completed short story that went nowhere except in a manila folder in my filing cabinet. And throwing my hands up in the air.
Then the idea of combining the two, then developing an outline, and Sharing Rachel was born.
It was during a 6-month writer’s block that I accomplished the research that helped provide a foundation for the novel. To tell the truth, the research was quite interesting. Here was a world I had come across before on the Internet, but never gave much thought to until I combined the two stories into one novel.
However, my confidence had been shaken by the writer’s block, so I asked a writer friend, Charmaine Pauls (The Winemaker, The Book Exchange, and Pryomancist, among others) to take a look. I wanted to know if the novel sounded believable or if it came across as some sort of middle-aged fantasy (more or less).
To my relief, she told me Sharing Rachel was believable. And she liked it. And Charmaine was the first to describe the novel as an Erotic Romance.
Okay. I have to admit, by then 50 Shades of Grey was big news and big bucks to boot. I discovered that Romance, and various sub-categories including Erotic Romance, enjoyed a huge readership. I am not sure why, but there is definitely an audience for Romances.
So, after SHARING RACHEL, I wrote PRAIRIE MUSE, and there is a third novel to write (after I get a couple more fantasies, horror, boomer story, and even a Christmas story out of the way).
It is not just the subject matter that is interesting, but I genuinely like Burt and Rachel Markham, an ordinary married couple in the heartland of Kansas. Yep, you heard me—no corporate CEOs and university girls and jet setting across the world. Just an ordinary in their 40s husband and wife driving an SUV who decide to explore their personal and sexual boundaries in the Midwest.
It is a story that any couple—rich, poor, or middle class—can truly experience if they want to explore their boundaries.
And that is how I came to write Erotic Romance.
Enjoy the spring weather and have a great week!
Sometimes people choose to live life to the fullest…
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?
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 bistro. If he closed his eyes for a moment he might be able to imagine a rainy night in Paris, sitting in a French bistro 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 bistro waiting on a man who wanted to fuck Rachel with Burt’s permission. Would it really happen? Maybe Gentleman Nate 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 Gentleman Nate wouldn’t show…
SS 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.
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.