About Paul A. Hamilton

Paul A. HamiltonPaul A. Hamilton is a writer and technology worker living in Northern California with his wife and two children. His stories feature broken people, reassembled worlds, beautiful monsters, and hideous love. He gets his inspiration by impersonating an old-timey bartender, listening to stories told by lonely strangers. When not writing, he can be found reading, listening to music, drawing, taking photographs, playing games, or riding roller coasters.

See Also:

(Semi-)Regular Features

5 Star Reviews

I cross-post my reviews of books I rate as 5-stars on Goodreads here and tag them with 5 Star Review.

200 CCs

A series of microfiction stories, all roughly 200 words, often very experimental in form or content. I used to write these as warm-up exercises and post them pretty regularly, but I wasn’t able to keep up the pace.

Now, I’ve created an ezine for these kinds of stories, which are open to unsolicited submission. New ones are posted every Friday morning.

Aspiring Voices

My interview series featuring authors working to break into publishing. If you are a writer who does not make their primary living from writing and would like to be featured in an upcoming edition of the series, please contact me at interviews@ironsoap.com with the subject line “Aspiring Voices Inquiry.”

The Aspiring Voices archives are available here.

About Ratings and Content Descriptors

Not everything I write or post is all-ages appropriate. In order to give readers a chance to be discerning, I use tags to both rate (using familiar MPAA designators) and describe the content. It is important to note that I provide these only as a guide and they are by nature heavily subjective. These are intended to give a shorthand for the individual reader to determine what they might encounter in the story. The descriptions below are provided to give you an idea of what the ratings suggest to me, since I’m the one doing the rating.


  • G – Contains no objectionable content.
  • PG – Content may be somewhat objectionable: mild vulgarity or rudeness, descriptions of nudity or implied sexuality, scary or menacing content, or minor/slapstick violence.
  • PG-13 – May be inappropriate for children: moderate language or briefly harsh invectives, descriptions of sex or pervasive sexual undertones, strong (but not gory) violence, themes that may be too intense for kids.
  • R – Intended for adults: pervasive strong language, graphic sex, detailed descriptions of violence or terror, difficult subject matter.

Content Descriptors

Note that the triggers descriptor does not necessarily imply any other content or rating.

  • Thematic Elements – Discussions of sexuality; references to adultery, prostitution, gambling, criminal behavior, supernatural horrors; themes dealing with death, abandonment, deviancy, fear, pain, disease; mild references to drugs, tobacco, alcohol. This is sort of a catch-all category that basically means something is discussed (but not necessarily described) which might raise troubling questions in less mature readers. As this is a broad category, it may be useful to note that the main distinction I make between this and other categories is whether or not a thing is specifically described. If two characters talk in the abstract about the facts of a murder, that’s a thematic element. If two characters carry out a murder, that is a violent act.
  • Sexual Descriptions – Depictions of sexuality or human bodies in sexual contexts; discussions of sexual encounters, not necessarily including sexually-charged expletives.
  • Rude Language – Insults, double entendres, uses of mild invectives.
  • Harsh Language – Expletives, four-letter words, sexually-oriented profanity, violent threats.
  • Mild Terror – Supernatural encounters; non-violent menace; creepy people or places; very mildly revolting occurrences like a person throwing up; this is basically scary content that is not directly violent.
  • Violent Acts – Descriptions of torture, murder, graphic death; fighting; upsetting bodily reactions; medical details may also fall under this category.
  • Strong Themes – Similar to thematic elements, this is a step above dealing with references to or discussions of the stuff that might fall under the violent acts category, but not descriptions of those acts themselves. Also includes topics like genocide, sexual assault, physical abuse, drug abuse, suicide.
  • Triggers – Contains reference to or description of at least one of the following: rape, sexual assault, violence directed at a woman, violence directed at a miniority, self-harm.

How Ratings and Descriptors Interact

Generally speaking the “harsher” descriptors (Strong Themes, Violent Acts, Harsh Language, Sexual Descriptions) will indicate a minimum of PG-13 rating. The more mild descriptors typically stack to increase the ratings (Thematic Elements, Rude Language, Mild Terror in heavy doses together probably maxing out at PG-13).

Triggers do not inherently suggest rating increases, that descriptor is provided merely to forewarn readers. I will try to use it liberally whenever these topics are addressed to be on the safe side.

Note that nothing here should dip into NC-17 or X rated territory. I don’t write erotica or torture porn type stuff, and my idea of what constitutes explicit content is probably on the conservative side.

Images Accompanying Posts

I try to incorporate a visual element on all the posts here. For the fiction pieces I look for royalty-free photographs, typically under the Creative Commons license. All images are attributed and linked back to their source, when possible. Images that are provided to me by their rights holders may not be linked if no link is available.

For the most part when I select an image I’m looking for something that strikes a similar mood to the post it accompanies, or has some kind of common element. However I understand that, contextually, some of the stories may imply certain things about the images that were not intended by the original photographer. Even if the license grants me rights to use the images in such a way, I have no interest in using the photographs in a way that is uncomfortable to the creator(s). Please note that I mean no disrespect; I only use images that I like and that speak to me, particularly those that work in conjuction with the content presented here.

However, if you are the rights holder to any of these works and you would prefer it not be used in the way it has been, simply send an email to feedback@ironsoap.com and make sure to include the URL of the post in question in the subject line and I will find an alternate image as quickly as I can.

Legal Stuff

All content on ironSoap.com is copyright © Paul Hamilton, unless cited as a guest post in which case the content is copyright the contributing author. Please do not copy or redistribute. If you wish to reprint or republish any of the content on this site, contact me at feedback@ironsoap.com and be sure to include the URL you are interested in.

All opinions expressed are my own and do not reflect those of my employer.

One thought on “About

  1. Hello. Your pub has been included on my list at http://bit.ly/FlashFicList. These are places, like yours, that publish writers’ shorter fiction (and creative non-fiction) pieces. If you know of others that I’ve missed, please let me know. Thanks.

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