I had been writing fiction—unsuccessfully—since about 1969. I was not published until 1992 and my second publication did not occur until nine years after that. Since then I have been published on a rather frequent basis. It has only been in the past two years that I began publishing through three different e-publishing houses and less than a year that I have been actively guest blogging in an attempt to raise my “Internet profile” with the hope of gaining some readers (and sales).
Apparently I have gained some readers because some of my writings have actually been selling! Sometimes when I “ Google” “author SS Hampton Sr” I even come across someone who has reviewed an anthology or magazine that one of my stories appeared in. That’s nice.
And then the other day I came across a review of a recent magazine from last year, mention of my story in that magazine, and after a few less-than-glorious comments, the word “disappointing.” “Disappointing.” My story that I wrote, “Disappointing.”
I confess that my first thought was, “That mother…an RPG round across the bow of his nose…” And, “I bet his wife wasn’t nice to him last night. Or depending on his interests, maybe she wasn’t cruel enough to him last night.” (To tell the truth, I cannot remember if the reviewer was male or female; I cannot even remember what site I found the comment on.)
Then I figured, “What the hell.” I have not thought about it since.
Because I am a member of three different author loops I sometimes come across comments from authors about nasty reviews or reader comments. Yes, words can hurt. Most of the time it may be the opinion of a lone individual, though in this day and age there seems to be “groups” of reviewers mobilized to trash an author or a particular book for whatever reason.
Well, stuff happens.
What I have learned in reading author comments is that as a writer you have to have a thick skin. Not everybody will like your writing. If someone posts negative comments, do not get into a pi—urinating contest with them. If you have to say something, I suggest you simply thank them for their time. Short and sweet and professional. And let it go.
You already have the best professional validation there is—a publisher thought your story or novel had sales potential and offered you a contract. Your publisher was willing to invest time and money and talent to prepare your manuscript for publication.
Besides, as adults, what is a nasty review or comment compared to real life disasters some of us have experienced? I would gladly take a few nasty reviews in exchange for some disasters I have suffered.
So, the next time you receive a less than glorious review or comment, don’t sweat it. It comes with the territory. Munch on some ice cream or orange rolls, watch a movie, let it go and get back to work. Your publisher is eagerly awaiting more writing from you.
Good luck and have fun!
About Guest Author S.S. Hampton, Sr.
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 is a serving member of the Army National Guard with the rank of staff sergeant. He 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; he was mobilized for Federal active duty for almost three years after his enlistment. He 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, Ruthie’s Club, Lucrezia Magazine, The Harrow, and River Walk Journal, among others. He is an aspiring painter and is studying for a degree in photography and anthropology—hopefully to someday work in 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.
Hampton is a published author with Melange Books.
View his author page here:
Hampton’s Amazon Author Page can be found at:
Amazon.com. UK Author Page can be found at:
Hearts of Tomorrow
Melange Books, March 2011.
“Feeding the Ravens”
BLURB: Gerhard is taken to Valhalla by Elin, a Valkyrie, after his death. Unaccepting of his fate, he leads his soldiers to the Ifing, the river border between Asgard and Jotunheimr, home of the giants. If they cross the Ifing they will fight their way back home to Midgard – but will their Valkyries let them go?
SS-Sturmbannfuhrer Gerhard Schmidt, thin of body and with a ghostly white face crowned by short dark hair, stared at the savage figure leaning across the wooden table. The huge warrior wore a dark red long sleeve tunic and a thick leather strap that ran from one shoulder to his hip from which was suspended a sword in a scabbard. From behind the massive shoulders, the sharp blade of a single headed battle-axe glimmered in torch light. A score of huge warriors in padded jerkins, chain mail coats or animal skins, boisterously and eagerly crowded around him. The smell of sweat, burning wood, and roasting meat filled the air.
The bright-eyed warrior with a broad wind burned face marked on the left by a scar from forehead to chin, framed by long blonde hair and a huge drooping mustache, grinned broadly. He shoved a large tankard of sparkling mead forward. “Tomorrow, my friend, tomorrow! Battle! Until then, eat and drink!”
Gerhard didn’t answer, but with wide-eyed shock slowly surveyed his surroundings. He was in a smoky stone hall so vast that the line of torches faded into distant shadows. An endless row of embossed wooden shields decorated with ravens, eagles, wolves, and dragons was the only decoration on the stone walls. He looked up and in the gloom above, saw that the rafters were giant spears with broad heads, and the roof was made of overlapping round shields.
Filling the hall were long wooden tables and benches around which were clustered armored, cloaked warriors of a bygone age. Lithe, shapely young women with long hair hurried between the tables with pitchers and platters overflowing with food. The women shouted and laughed and danced away as the burly warriors grabbed at their buttocks or tried to pinch their large breasts. Sometimes the women let themselves be pulled close so that the warriors could feel them with abandon, nuzzle their throats, or bury their heads between full breasts.
Gerhard examined himself; he still wore his tan/brown/black forest camouflage smock over his field blouse above his stone-gray wool trousers that were tucked into his well-worn marching boots. His MP-43 Maschinenpistole with its curved 30 round magazine rested across his chest. He reached up and removed his sweat and grease stained Einheitsfeldmutz, or officer’s field cap…