Interview with James Hold

When did you first start writing?
In kindergarden. A...B...C... Then somewhere in my 30's I decided to make sentences.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Publishers and agents rejected my submissions. Still I figured there had to be SOMEONE out there who'd like this stuff, so free and indie it was.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Definitely. I've gotten a lot of downloads and some nice reviews.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
It's nice to be able to point at something and say, "I did that." I like that sense of accomplishment. I also like that people are reading my stories and, I hope, enjoying them.
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything! Summer days in Texas can get awful hot and if you don't have a good fan you will be very uncomfortable.
What are you working on next?
Lots of stuff. I have several new things in the works, plus I'm transporting stuff I posted on the old AuthorStand website to Smashwords. The problem is I'm a slow writer and an even slower editor, plus I have this boss who seems to think I should do some work for him now and then.
Who are your favorite authors?
Ambrose Bierce, Robert E Howard, Edgar Rice Burroughs, H Rider Haggard, Edgar Wallace, and Paul Chadwick are some I enjoy. Not necessarily everything they did, but a lot of it.
Also there's a ton of guys who wrote comic books and newspaper strips when I was a kid. They all had a gift of conveying a story using as few words as possible.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
A slave-driving employer who will fire me if I don't.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Reading old books, watching old movies, playing with my old cat.
Oh, and I'm married as well.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I started with Gutenberg and then went to AuthorStand and now Smashwords. I download whatever is free and looks interesting. Also I download far more stuff than I will ever manage to read. Maybe once I retire I'll get around to all of it.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
It was so awful, the paper self-destructed out of pure embarrassment.
What is your writing process?
It's very slow. I make a bunch of random notes then try to fit them into some outline resembling a story thread. Then I fill in the gaps to tie the threads together. Eventually that becomes a rough draft. Then it's just days and weeks of editing and revising, trying to come up with something that reads like it was dashed off in a single sitting.
How do you approach cover design?
With fear and trepidation. I'm not an artist, but I can draw an arm here, a leg there, and a head somewhere else. My problem is I can't draw them connected to a single body. So what I do is take a bunch of isolated sketches and assemble them together with scissors and tape, after which I scan it and play around with the image using MS-PAINT and GIMP until the proportions look halfway correct. It's why my covers usually feature only one or two characters. Lately though I've tried a more 'cartoony' method for my INCIDENTAL CONTACT series which has proved much easier to do, so I may switch to that from now on.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I download PDFs and read them on my PC.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a small town in Texas with lots of open country. It keeps my writing sparse and conversational.
Describe your desk
Very neat and tidy...and usually with a cat sitting on it.
Published 2015-08-31.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Out of Texas 12 : The Iron Claw of Destiny, Part One
Series: Out of Texas. Price: Free! Words: 24,100. Language: English. Published: August 7, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
Famed extraterrestriologist and UFO investigator Erik Von Fritz falls prey to the unscrupulous dealings of Professor Fudd, PhD, and it falls on the gaunt-faced grappler and his friend Jo to keep him out of trouble.
Out of Texas 11 : Wooly Bully
Series: Out of Texas. Price: Free! Words: 3,450. Language: English. Published: June 25, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
(5.00 from 3 reviews)
A fun day with J and Jo at the shopping mall. Jo goes to buy a training bra. A mad scientist's hunchbacked assistant sees her and is overcome with lust. It leads to a wild chase through the different store departments, resulting in unpleasant encounters with shoppers and ending with a reuniting of two lovers... not to mention a dissertation concerning Thomas Hardy's cat.
I Should Have Known Cheddar
Series: Secrets of Akkadia. Price: Free! Words: 4,980. Language: English. Published: June 22, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
(5.00 from 4 reviews)
Detective Frank Bureau returns as he teams with Akkadia to solve a baffling string of robberies committed by a mad inventor and his killer robot.
Out of Texas 10 : All You Need Is Love
Series: Out of Texas. Price: Free! Words: 5,420. Language: English. Published: June 16, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
(5.00 from 3 reviews)
A mad scientist creates a humanoid monster using DNA illegally obtained from professional wrestlers. To track the beast J takes on his "EL 7" identity. What follows is a "El Santo / Blue Demon" movie parody as he and Jo confront the mad scientist and his monster at their hideout. Can the two survive an encounter with the deranged creature? Read and find out.
They Can't All Be Winners
Series: Secrets of Akkadia. Price: Free! Words: 5,370. Language: English. Published: June 10, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
(5.00 from 5 reviews)
Akkadia, Houston's Mystical Maid of Magic, is invited to join a superhero group after some of its key members leave to pursue other ventures. At the same time, Toro-Zorro plots her destruction using his golem-like Loda Bull. See what happens when this assemblage of super friends sets out to avenge her. "The author has a definite stranglehold on the subject." —— Theodora Nugent, the Amboy Duke
Out of Texas 9 : Have Ring Will Grapple
Series: Out of Texas. Price: Free! Words: 26,020. Language: English. Published: May 24, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
As Jon Raas struggles to revive the dormant STW wrestling promotion, J-man continues his role as a cross-town courier finding new adventures at every turn.
Out of Texas 8 : Destroy All Wrestlers
Series: Out of Texas. Price: Free! Words: 45,490. Language: English. Published: May 17, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action
(5.00 from 3 reviews)
The fabric of life is not without wrinkles. Just as the gaunt-faced grappler is reconciled to accept his losses and move on, faces from the past return and throw everything into disarray.
Out of Texas 7 : Back to Square One
Series: Out of Texas. Price: Free! Words: 26,940. Language: English. Published: April 11, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action
(5.00 from 6 reviews)
As the floodwaters of Tropical Gale Kim recede, Houston sets out to recover from the devastating effects of the storm. Meanwhile, the gaunt-faced grappler, having sustained a major injury during his run-in with the criminal Usuzi organization, abandons his "J-man" identity and returns to his cat form to allow himself time to heal. For both it marks a rebuilding process and return to square one.
Cosmic Valentine Mama
Series: Skeletons From An Empty Closet. Price: Free! Words: 160. Language: English. Published: February 14, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » American poetry
(5.00 from 5 reviews)
A Valentine poem I wrote for my wife 10 years ago. Arguably the most romantic thing I've ever written.
Strange Kind of Woman
Series: Secrets of Akkadia. Price: Free! Words: 2,540. Language: English. Published: November 24, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
(5.00 from 9 reviews)
When the Abracadabrical Amazon falls victim to a cold, her servant Ziggurat must take up the mantle and—find her a doctor. At the same time, Ho-Li-Kau, the Malevolent Mandarin of Montrose, plots to take over Houston's city council. Can Ziggurat, with the help of another mystic, the daughter of Dr Weird, prevent this from happening? Or will he die frying?
No Milk Today
Series: Secrets of Akkadia. Price: Free! Words: 1,960. Language: English. Published: October 15, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
(4.88 from 8 reviews)
When farmer Noone's cows stop giving milk, Akkadia uncovers a sinister plot to ruin the dairy industry.
Free Bird
Series: Secrets of Akkadia. Price: Free! Words: 1,680. Language: English. Published: October 9, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
(4.88 from 8 reviews)
A ticked-off ornithologist, after being ticketed in a speed trap, trains an avian army to deposit their noxious droppings over a city, bringing business to a standstill. The mayor calls on Akkadia, the Abracadabrical Amazon, for help.
Shakin' All Over
Series: Secrets of Akkadia. Price: Free! Words: 2,460. Language: English. Published: October 3, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action
(5.00 from 10 reviews)
Moo Fanchu is dead, but his disciples live on as evil mad scientist Lex Moothor plots to conquer the world from the safety of his subterranean lair. Can Akkadia, Houston's Mystical Maid of Magic, save her City? Or will she fall victim to the Forces of Darkness that threaten mankind with Evil from Without? "Without what?" Just go along with it, okay?
Cosmic Hitchhiker Mama
Series: Skeletons From An Empty Closet. Price: Free! Words: 150. Language: English. Published: May 12, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » American poetry
(5.00 from 3 reviews)
I used to move around a lot thinking new places meant new beginnings. I came to realize it wasn't the location that needed changing; it was me.
Eternal Foreign Vampire Mama
Series: Skeletons From An Empty Closet. Price: Free! Words: 170. Language: English. Published: May 10, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » American poetry
(5.00 from 4 reviews)
I wrote this poem for my wife — twenty years before we met. I always knew she'd be beautiful.
Sunshine Goddess Mama
Series: Skeletons From An Empty Closet. Price: Free! Words: 190. Language: English. Published: May 10, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » American poetry
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
I went through a phase during my radical student days where I embraced atheism. At the same time I also tried embracing a girl named Drue Ellen Munsch. She had straight blonde hair and wore tiny shorts. Neither effort panned out. Years later I went back to church, and where Ellen went I have no idea. I first published this poem in my book INCIDENTAL CONTACT.
Seaside
Series: Skeletons From An Empty Closet. Price: Free! Words: 140. Language: English. Published: May 9, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » American poetry
(4.75 from 4 reviews)
A little something from a time long ago when I missed someone who was far away.
Can't Buy a Thrill
Series: Psycho Killer and Other Tales Told In Red. Price: Free! Words: 1,560. Language: English. Published: February 14, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
(4.67 from 12 reviews)
There’s a fundamental difference between men and women when it comes to shopping—namely, women browse while men purchase.
Incidental Contact
You set the price! Words: 55,780. Language: English. Published: February 10, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » General
(5.00 from 5 reviews)
When O'Ryan asked the genie for a tall chick with long legs and big eyes, he forgot to specify she should also be human. So he ended up with an ostrich. A sweet and loyal ostrich, mind you, but an ostrich all the same. Now O'Ryan must seek out the genie and have him correct the mistake. Their travels take them many places and they encounter many strange adventures along the way.
Polk Salad Annie
Series: Psycho Killer and Other Tales Told In Red. Price: Free! Words: 2,790. Language: English. Published: January 31, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
"Polk Salad Annie, the gators got your granny." And more. A tale of lust and cruelty in a backwater settlement along the Trinity River.
A Question of Temperature
Series: Psycho Killer and Other Tales Told In Red. Price: Free! Words: 1,640. Language: English. Published: January 10, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction
(5.00 from 3 reviews)
A madman does battle with a great fish. Perhaps not as dramatic as "Moby Dick," but it's a heck of a lot shorter.
Muh Na Muh Na
Series: The Adventures of Buck Stardust. Price: Free! Words: 3,670. Language: English. Published: January 9, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
(4.67 from 3 reviews)
Buck Stardust recounts an adventure from his early days in the Philippines. Falling foul of the law, he must get a job or else face jail time. He finds work as a pedicab driver and the usual Buck mishaps follow.
Ralph & Seiko
Series: Purrfect Parables. Price: Free! Words: 1,260. Language: English. Published: December 22, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Inspirational
(4.80 from 5 reviews)
Years ago I taught a religion class at church. I wrote this story for that class. In it, a proud man learns a lesson in humility from an unlikely source. The story, while told from a Christian perspective, is not meant to preach or proselytize. The point, if any, is ethical in nature and could apply to almost any belief system.
When a Man Loves a Woman
Price: Free! Words: 1,480. Language: English. Published: November 11, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Historical
(4.80 from 5 reviews)
From the Karankawa Indians who live on the island of Matagorda off the Texas coast we get a story of undying love and devotion.
Serves You Right To Suffer
Series: Psycho Killer and Other Tales Told In Red. Price: Free! Words: 2,300. Language: English. Published: October 8, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
(4.67 from 3 reviews)
It's not sound advice to hang onto a grudge. The results can weigh heavily on you. Inspired by a song from the J Geils Band.
Psycho Killer
Series: Psycho Killer and Other Tales Told In Red. Price: Free! Words: 640. Language: English. Published: September 24, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
(4.63 from 8 reviews)
Does David burn...with anger? His reasons are justified. Besides she brought it on herself. And he planned it perfectly. So what could go wrong?
Yellow... Bird?
Series: The Adventures of Buck Stardust. Price: Free! Words: 3,320. Language: English. Published: August 26, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action
(4.67 from 3 reviews)
At a seaside park in sunny downtown Manila, a wronged girl seeks revenge. Can Buck Stardust set her troubled spirit at rest? Or is no man safe from the terrible vengeance of the Yellow Bird?
A Nickel For Your Thoughts
Series: The Adventures of Buck Stardust. Price: Free! Words: 4,970. Language: English. Published: August 21, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action
(4.50 from 6 reviews)
Science and Technology join forces to threaten Mankind. Can Buck Stardust thwart the evil scheme of Apex, the Anthropoid Annihilator, or is Earth doomed?
Buck Stardust vs Dracula
Series: The Adventures of Buck Stardust. Price: Free! Words: 3,890. Language: English. Published: August 10, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General
(4.67 from 3 reviews)
The title says it all. Buck Stardust, expat Texan, meets the Lord of the Undead himself. Quite possibly the world's first cowboy vampire tale set in the Philippines. "This story has a real bite to it." -- Vlad Tepes, The Cape Town Incisor
Amy, A Bull
Series: Purrfect Parables. Price: Free! Words: 1,380. Language: English. Published: August 6, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Animals
(4.25 from 4 reviews)
What's in a name? Perhaps nothing. Or maybe everything. It all depends on which side you're on. A story for all ages.
The Leaky Faucet
Price: Free! Words: 50,130. Language: English. Published: November 11, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
A free-flow art experiment that plumbs the depths of tolerance. A NaNoWriMo entry. DEFINITELY NOT MEANT TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY.
The Defense Rests
Series: Purrfect Parables. Price: Free! Words: 830. Language: English. Published: November 11, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
(5.00 from 3 reviews)
A magical mouse, about to be eaten, promises to grant a cat special powers in exchange for his freedom. A "Purrfect Parable" for all ages.
Bakora, the Tree-Headed Monster
Series: The Adventures of Buck Stardust. Price: Free! Words: 6,640. Language: English. Published: September 13, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » Parody
(4.50 from 2 reviews)
Buck Stardust faces the fight of his life when he encounters a giant monster and a copyright lawyer on a remote Philippine island. For fans of kaiju movies in general and Godzilla movies in particular.
Wade in the Water
Series: Secrets of Akkadia. Price: Free! Words: 7,150. Language: English. Published: June 8, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
(5.00 from 5 reviews)
The Police are stumped by a baffling dismemberment case. They turn to Akkadia, the Abracadabrical hero of "The Cowering Inferno" for help. "I laughed so hard I fell to pieces." -- Patsy Cline, The Seance City News
Out of Texas 6 : Bag's Gotta Brand New Papa
Series: Out of Texas. You set the price! Words: 40,890. Language: English. Published: April 10, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
A subtlety nuanced work, which can be enjoyed on any number of levels, although sitting would probably be the most comfortable. -- Fannie Setzwell, The 'Bar K' Lounger
Rocky's Tail
Series: Purrfect Parables. Price: Free! Words: 670. Language: English. Published: January 16, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Animals
(5.00 from 4 reviews)
A children's story. Grade 5 and up. Chris and Matt stage a home invasion.
Maybe Baby
Series: Psycho Killer and Other Tales Told In Red. Price: Free! Words: 870. Language: English. Published: January 12, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Crime
(4.50 from 4 reviews)
Buddy and Holly spend a quiet, romantic evening at home. Both get a big surprise.
Radio Flyer
Series: Psycho Killer and Other Tales Told In Red. Price: Free! Words: 1,180. Language: English. Published: January 11, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
(4.50 from 2 reviews)
It would be news to no one to say that college kids do stupid things at times. My dorm room buddies and I were no exception.
The Cowering Inferno
Series: Secrets of Akkadia. Price: Free! Words: 830. Language: English. Published: January 9, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
(4.25 from 8 reviews)
A comic book without pictures. Superheroine Akkadia must stop the villainous Moo Fan-chu's scheme to put Houston's restaurants out of business.
Out of Texas 5 : Itinerary
Series: Out of Texas, Book 5. You set the price! Words: 8,190. Language: English. Published: September 3, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Travel
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
After the trying events of OOT 4, the gaunt-faced grappler hits the road to try and clear his head.
Out of Texas 4 : Josie and the Alley Cat
Series: Out of Texas, Book 4. You set the price! Words: 35,600. Language: English. Published: August 21, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General, Fiction » Adventure » General
(5.00 from 3 reviews)
"In that rare subgenre of Christian literature concerning cats that take human form and enter championship wrestling tournaments, OUT OF TEXAS 4 definitely rates in the top 10." – Merry Baker, The Kitchen Science Monitor
Rudy's Rock
Series: The Adventures of Buck Stardust, Book 6. Price: Free! Words: 4,670. Language: English. Published: July 20, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
(4.50 from 2 reviews)
Fans of Bill Haley and the Comets may be disappointed to learn he and his band do not appear anywhere in this story. It does however feature Buck Stardust, a scantily clad damsel in distress, and some creepy flesh-eating caterpillars. That and the Philippines only mountain ski lodge. So please enjoy.
Pinky the Polka-Dotted Pig
Series: Purrfect Parables, Book 3. Price: Free! Words: 1,470. Language: English. Published: July 13, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Animals
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
This is one of those "be careful what you wish for" tales. Pinky has polka-dots. She doesn't like them and wishes they would go away. They do, only not the way she planned. For ages 6 and up.
Funeral For A Friend
Series: The Adventures of Buck Stardust, Book 5. Price: Free! Words: 3,040. Language: English. Published: July 6, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
(4.33 from 3 reviews)
Death is a grim reality in the Philippine countryside. For Buck Stardust, it's even worse when he tries to bury the body.
Out of Texas 3 : Remember the Aloe, Moe
Series: Out of Texas, Book 3. You set the price! Words: 25,810. Language: English. Published: June 4, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General, Fiction » Adventure » Action
(5.00 from 4 reviews)
The gaunt-faced grappler begins the six-week Easter season by entering a tournament to crown a new STW champion. Along the way, he must also wrestle with the question of which of two women he truly loves.
The Rooster King and His Sun
Series: Purrfect Parables, Book 2. Price: Free! Words: 1,260. Language: English. Published: May 10, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Animals
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
Sometimes you're better off NOT keeping your mouth shut. A story for ages 6 and up.
The Supreme Torture
Series: The Adventures of Buck Stardust, Book 4. Price: Free! Words: 1,360. Language: English. Published: May 8, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
(4.50 from 2 reviews)
The evil Doctor Goldjob subjects Buck Stardust to the most hideous torture ever conceived. Can the tenacious Texan survive?
The Celestial Op
Price: Free! Words: 470. Language: English. Published: May 7, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Hard-Boiled, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
(4.50 from 2 reviews)
A nod -- and a wink -- to Dashiell Hammett. A nameless operative for the Celestial Detective agency investigates a crime scene.
Buck Stardust's Not-So Great Adventure
Series: The Adventures of Buck Stardust, Book 3. Price: Free! Words: 920. Language: English. Published: May 5, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General, Fiction » Adventure » Action
(4.33 from 3 reviews)
At last it can be told: the full story of Buck Stardust's undercover mission to foil a terrorist plot.
See You Later Alligator
Series: The Adventures of Buck Stardust, Book 2. Price: Free! Words: 1,640. Language: English. Published: May 5, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General, Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
(4.25 from 4 reviews)
Mohammed Alligator hopes to make a tasty snack of a Filipino cutie. And only Buck Stardust can save her.
It's All Over Now
Series: Psycho Killer and Other Tales Told In Red. Price: Free! Words: 750. Language: English. Published: April 29, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction
(4.50 from 4 reviews)
Rowena thought her troubles were over. But they were just starting.
The Horse of the Seven Fables
Series: Purrfect Parables, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 990. Language: English. Published: April 27, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Animals, Fiction » Children’s books » Animals
(5.00 from 3 reviews)
A story for all ages. A greedy cat learns a lesson in patience.
Out of Texas 2 : Chariots of the Texans
Series: Out of Texas. You set the price! Words: 37,730. Language: English. Published: November 22, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General, Fiction » Adventure » Action
(5.00 from 4 reviews)
The second installment in the continuing saga of the gaunt-faced grappler, a shape-shifting cat turned human.
Out of Texas 1 : The Gaunt-Faced Grappler
Series: Out of Texas. You set the price! Words: 32,530. Language: English. Published: October 10, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General, Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
(4.80 from 5 reviews)
Can a radioactively reanimated cat find happiness in the world of professional fighting? In the Great State of Texas anything can happen.