Posted in excerpt, fiction, Giveaway on January 25, 2018




  Genre: Literary Fiction / Family Life

Date of Publication: September 22, 2017

Number of Pages: 304

Scroll down for the giveaway!

When Sam Barnes’ high-flying life in Dallas falls apart, he flees to the coastal town of Port Aransas, Texas and fades into the life of a reclusive beach bum. But things start to change when he meets Dave, a young widower working through his own loss; Shelly, owner of the Dream Bean coffee shop; Bo, a crusty old shrimper; and Allie, Bo’s free-spirited daughter. Together they are tested and forced to confront their own issues. In doing so they discover family and community.

◾   Barnes & Noble  ◾   Jeff Hampton Writer   ◾

  ◾   Etsy  ◾    Amazon   ◾


“Engrossing characters that keep doing unexpected things. Strong sense of place along the Texas coast and deep knowledge of the culture. This book is about relationships and how ‘family’ and ‘community’ might be redefined.”

“In this heartwarming book, Jeff Hampton took me to a place I’ve never been and captured me with his delightful characters, seaside landscape, and deft use of words to portray a small group of people who came together to create and run the Dream Bean cafe. Great summer reading.”

“I loved the characters, with their flaws and their graces. It is an honest and heart-warming story of redemption coming through community. I’m really glad I read it.”

“Really nice character development, articulating in a very comfortable and readable style the messy, complex, joyous and hopeful ways we build, break and nurture ‘community.’”

“Very quickly in the story, the characters became like friends. The book is engaging and held my interest.”

Allie & Bo

Excerpt, Part 1, from Aransas Morning

By Jeff Hampton

 Allie sat down on a piling and tried to get her thoughts straight. She’d never known a father and when she asked about that her mother just brushed it off casually: “He was just a guy I knew once, just a fling, no big deal.” Allie heard some mention of a “fisherman” a few times when her mother was talking to girlfriends, but without a name or sense of emotion in the reference, Allie didn’t dig any deeper.

But now as she looked across the boat at this gruff, grizzled, gray-haired man with her mother’s name painted across the stern of his boat, it was starting to make sense – why he was standing in Walmart in a town where he didn’t live, and why he dropped to the floor as soon as he turned and saw her. It wasn’t such an odd reaction after all, and had she known who he was, she might have fainted too. After all, that’s what she felt like doing now.

Seeing Allie sitting in a state of bewilderment, Sam tied off the bow line and sat down beside her. As Bo clanked around on the boat behind them, Sam asked, “you okay?”

“I’m not sure,” she said. Then, after a pause: “Is it true?”

“Maybe. Can’t say for sure.”

“Why now?”

“You’ll have to ask him. It’s like I said this morning . . . we thought we knew Bo, but it turns out we don’t.”

After another pause that might have been soothing if it wasn’t for Bo making a racket on the boat, Allie spoke again: “So, what do I do now?”

“Only you can decide that. But I suspect the two of you need to talk, and you need to do that in private.”

Sam stood up and pointed to the green awning that could be seen beyond the forest of boat masts. “I’ll be just over there at Shelly’s. You come on over whenever you want to. We’ll make sure you get a ride back to Freeport.”

Allie watched Sam walk away and for a moment she forgot about Bo, intrigued by this other quiet, gentle man. Why couldn’t he be my father, she thought, and then she shook her head at how ridiculous that was. She didn’t even really want or need a father, and now that she apparently had one, she wasn’t sure what she was supposed to do with him.

When Bo turned from his work and saw Allie sitting alone, he had the same thoughts: What do I do now? He had nothing to offer this girl that would in any way make amends for abandoning her and Cassandra so many years ago. Like Allie, he shook his head at the ridiculousness of the situation, and especially the fact that he’d gone in search of her when he had no plan or consideration of the consequences.

Bo sat down on the toolbox with a loud groan. Allie turned quickly, thinking Bo might be in trouble again, and for the longest moment father and daughter just stared at each other from fifty feet away. She blinked and he blinked. She brushed a stray hair off of her face and he coughed a little, but their eyes remained locked until Allie broke the trance.

“Why did you bring me here?”

Bo shrugged, not quite understanding the question.

“Why am I here? What is this about . . .” She stood up and began walking toward him, the questions coming one after another, not waiting for an answer. “Who are you? Why did you come looking for me? What did you expect to find?” And when she was right on top of him, “what do you want from me!?”

She stood staring down at him, her nostrils flaring.

Bo’s eyes watered a little. “God . . . you look just like her.”

Allie sat down beside him, exactly where she had been sitting as they churned up the coast from Freeport, but now with a knowledge of him that she didn’t have earlier and emotions that felt strange and foreign.

“Well?” she asked again, “what is this about?”

Bo looked down at his sunburned, leathery hands, the only part of his entire being that really held the answers to her questions. Hands that had gripped tools and worked on motors, pulled in nets and been sliced up by shells and broken glass. Hands that had smelled of fish and oil and cheap cologne. Hands that had once held a woman so gently, and then one night had unlatched a gate and carried a duffle bag into the darkness.

“I don’t know,” he said finally. “I just wanted to see her one more time, to see if maybe she’d had a good life . . . a life that I couldn’t give her.”

Click to read Part Two on Forgotten Winds blog


During a 35-year career in journalism and communications, Jeff Hampton has covered and written about topics ranging from business and finance to history and faith. His bylines have appeared in publications ranging from The Dallas Morning News to The New York Times.

He attended Baylor University where he majored in journalism and was editor of the Baylor Lariat campus newspaper. He began his professional career at the Waco Tribune-Herald and has written for newspapers, magazines, businesses, non-profit organizations and government agencies.

Hampton has based his life and career in Texas where his interest in observing the people around him has led him to write essays, short stories, and novels that explore relationships and communities in their many forms.

Aransas Morning is his fifth book, following Grandpa JackWhen the Light Returned to Main StreetJonah Prophet and The Snowman Uprising on Hickory Lane.

Watch for Aransas Evening, a sequel to Aransas Morning, in 2018.

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