James L. Hatch is our Writerly Guest this week! Welcome James.
Although my bachelors, masters, and Ph.D. are in chemistry and meteorology, I worked as a scientist and system/software engineer before retiring a third time, and then turned to writing. Extensive travel, from Thule, Greenland to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef – and to dozens of countries in between – provide the real-life experiences I incorporate into everything I write.
I enjoy boating, kayaking, skiing, traveling, hiking, tending nine grandchildren (no more than two at a time), and ballroom dancing, but my first love is writing. I have completed eight novels and one short story, and intend to continue writing in the Sci-Fi and paranormal comedy genres. I have contracts with xoxopublishing.com, Solstice Publishing and Eternal Press.
All my buy links and books/excerpts/blurbs/reviews are provided on my website .
The Substitute Blurb: Miss Havana’s public persona was far from the truth because, in her capacity as substitute teacher, the small community where she lived knew her as the breathtakingly beautiful young woman who demanded every student learn, but in her private life, ostensibly caring for aging parents in Chicago, she raced through the lives of powerful men, leaving a wake of destruction…and a deep desire for revenge. Little did she realize her conflicted life would end in a chaotic death at an early age, and to eternal conflict with the devil. The surprise ending will leave the reader stunned and gasping for more.
This excerpt is told from Lucifer’s POV in hell (extracted from Chapter 27 of The Substitute)
The lair is silent when I wake the next morning and, for a moment, I consider the possibility I’ve had a really bad dream, but the smell of stale urine wafting from by sleeping mat and the sound of Miss Havana thrashing around in the kitchen quickly brings me back to reality. The bitch is looking for something sharper than her tongue, but I doubt Lilith would have left anything like that laying around, especially if this is my fate and my agony is to be extended. Calling Waldo to help me during my scuffle with Miss Havana and Croco might have been the wrong thing to do.
I wander aimlessly to the kitchen, find some spoiled food, sit at the opposite end of the kitchen table from the bitch and poke at the disgusting pile on my plate with a rounded wooden spoon, the only utensil left in the kitchen, probably because it’s quite dull and very difficult to duel with. Frankly, I’m a little surprised Lilith didn’t affix them to our arms with long handles so we’d have to feed each other if we wanted to eat. It’s trite, but ironic and effective. Miss Havana ignores me completely as she seethes silently in her own little world. Being the upbeat fellow that I am, I feel compelled to offer some enlightened conversation.
True to form, she is up to my challenge, and retorts in a microsecond. “Asshole.”
I smile sweetly. “Shrew!”
I’m positively amazed how she can distort her face with a curled lip when she defames me, but just when I believe I have the extent of her vocabulary completely figured out, she changes her mode of operation by enthusiastically giving me the one finger salute and follows with, “Eat shit and die.”
I can only offer a deep and forlorn sigh, remembering the meticulous way she used to keep herself. Now her frizzy hair hangs into her coffee and the bags under her eyes sag as much as her breasts. She has aged, although others here don’t. I guess that’s because she never really became part of the establishment. I never actually judged her. Had I banished her, I might have allowed her to keep her youth, for my own pleasure of course, although there would have been other downsides to be sure. Now she’s just a shell of her former self, full of hatred and rage, but without the power to do anything about it.
However, being the good sport that I am, I have only pointed out her gradual decline on a few occasions even though there are those who would gloat, but that wouldn’t be me. No, rather than point out her imperfection, I simply focus on me and how much younger I appear than she. Of course, when she still spoke to me, she would simply retort, “Younger men are okay. Men don’t mature anyway.”
A lesser man might be insulted, but instead, for a fleeting moment, I feel sympathy for her, something not allowed here under any circumstances. She must note my modicum of compassion because, in the next instant, she dumps her bowl of gruel on me and stomps off toward the living room. Unfortunately, she can’t go far, because two of Lilith’s fierce dog-like creatures block the door and neither of us wants to risk testing them. Perhaps someday, if the opportunity presents itself, I will bump her into one when she’s not prepared and see what happens.
I’m not at all sure why Lilith is keeping the two of us around. Relatives don’t mean anything here, so I’m absolutely certain she has a reason, a plan for us. I’d like to talk that over with my former mate, but I suspect that would be like trying to share food with a caged wild cat. Nevertheless, I approach her with my normal pleasing demeanor, determined to give it a try.
1. In three days, all power will go off, everywhere for a very long time. What will you include in your author survival kit?
Ans: A fishing pole and lures.
2. Where did the idea for the work you are promoting arise?
Ans: In a dream, a weird dream. I woke laughing and began writing immediately. I finished the novel in less than two months, the fastest I have ever completed any book.
3. What do you like to read?
Ans: Paranormal parody/comedy and Sci-Fi.
4. Tell us about the most exciting place you have ever visited?
Ans: Hayman Island, Australia, on the Great Barrier Reef
5. What is the most mundane, day to day, thing you can share about yourself?
Ans: I love to eat.
6. What scares you the most?
Ans: Missing meals.
7. Tell us anything but keep it G rated.
Ans: I just finished the sequel to Oh, Heavens, Miss Havana! The novel is called The Training Bra, and has the same wacky characters as the first book in the series, The Substitute. I am now torn whether to write a fourth comedy, or a Sci-Fi-YA-contemporary fiction. I have great ideas for both.
James L. Hatch, Miss Havana, The Substitute, The Training Bra, Comedy