Attention! Attention! Read all about it!


Stephan James, a writer currently residing near St. Louis, Missouri, announces today that in just under one month, on February 1, his first volume of short stories will be available for sale. Titled Predatory Behavior and Other Stories, this slim yet powerful volume will bring to light multiple issues facing society today.

“‘Predatory Behavior’ was born after seeing just how easy the publishing process really can be,” James says. “I used to think that bringing my ideas to life would be difficult. That it would take months and months, and I’d just toil in obscurity, scribbling in my notebook without ever getting the chance to see my work in book form. But now, it’s easier than ever to make my writing available to a much wider audience than I ever could have imagined. I’m excited that others can now read what I’ve written and use that as the catalyst for additional conversations about important issues within our society.”

There are ten stories included with this publication. The keystone story, “Predatory Behavior”, takes place in a world similar to the modern day, but with one key difference. A population of “Wolves” has sprung up over the past half-century, to help weed out those who are too sick to care for themselves. Not for the faint of heart, for this story contains scenes which may be considered graphic, “Predatory Behavior” nonetheless brings to light issues of health sustainability within our modern society.

Other stories deal with the last humans alive and trying to remake humanity while living on another planet; the implications of selling one’s body, though not in the way we’ve been conditioned to believe is “selling”; and how many people wish to have a new life, yet often times are unwilling to take the steps necessary to achieve it. Plus additional entries are micro-stories, also called Story Art, and highlight James’s prowess at weaving together seemingly unconnected concepts into a wonderfully taut presentation.

Predatory Behavior will be available starting February 1 on or directly from the author at author fairs and trade shows. “My birthday is February 11, and I wanted to give myself a unique birthday present, so I set that as the target publication date. That we’re going to have it ready before then is so exciting. I can’t wait to see the reviews.”

Predatory Behavior is published with help from SJM Copywriting, a local firm engaged in helping small businesses and nonprofits to tell better stories and get better results. More information about James and his writing can be found at More information about how SJM Copywriting can support authors, small businesses, and nonprofits can be found at

Writing Practice 11/26/2017

Found grey hairs in my beard today…

“This just in… Grey hairs were found in the beard of one Stephan J. Mathys this morning. While not yet being declared a crime, authorities have begun an investigation into the matter.”

“I don’t know what else I can tell you,” Mr. Mathys said in a statement early this morning. “Every year, I grow out my beard. Nothing like this has ever happened before.” He paused, and then began gesturing with his hands. “I mean, I know it happens, but I always thought it would happen to other people…” Mr. Mathys broke down, not completely uncontrolled, but visibly shaken at the thought of growing older.

Experts say this is a natural phenomenon. But still, an event like this can rock the community.

Mr. Mathys’s relationship parter (quote-unquote) spoke on conditions that we do not reveal her or his identity. [Blurred picture, computer-synthesized voice-over]. [sihouette before a brown-speckled screen] “Yes, Stephan I have been dating for a while now. And, no, I never suspected something like this. I mean… He’s always been such a great guy. I kind of love him too much. Do you think maybe I drove him to this?”

Authorities have denied that there are any other persons of interest in this case. They say it will be a matter of time until they can sort out all of the stories. The timeline is especially troubling to Detective Adams, who was called in as an expert to consult.

“Well, I’m quite confused,” Mr. Adams said in his opening remarks. “Mr. Mathys has given clear indication that, for the last month, he has not been shaving. Don’t you think something like a grey hair would have been noticed well before now? It’s quite suspicious to me that he’s only come forward today, with this, rather than when he must have noticed it first, probably about three weeks ago.” Mr. Adams then turns and looks directly at the camera. “What is Mr. Mathys hiding? Or covering up for? I intend to get to the bottom of this.”

Mr. Mathys refused to provide any further statement. His lawyer has said that he will comply fully with all police requests for investigation and that his client has done nothing wrong.

Authorities say this could be a matter of months before this is resolved. They urge the public to remain vigilant and  to report any suspicious behavior in this manner as soon as possible.


Commentary: this was fun. The idea of a grey hair in my beard being breaking news was a break from the norm. I decided to write it as if it was a press release, but then I didn’t take the time (because it’s writing practice, you don’t go back and cross out or edit while you do it) to clean it up. So it sort of became a blend of “murder/mystery investigation” and “natural disaster”. I think it would be good practice to try to write one of each, in a more careful, polished way.