Stan Morris's Blog

December 11, 2017

Howard the Red

Howard the Red is now available at Amazon. It's been three years since I published Kathy's Recollections, a long time between books in this series. Next up is Douglas Lives.

Howard the Red is a more mature book with more mature themes. It explores new characters and one old character, Pete. In this book we learn how Pete was critical to Mike becoming "Chief."
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August 3, 2016

Works in Progress

My WIPs include Howard the Red, Douglas Lives, and Sasha the Scarred. I've experienced some of the worst health in recent years, so I'm very behind. Here is a piece from Sasha the Scarred. The narrator is Kim, a Korean boy, and it begins about the same time Surviving the Fog begins.

Copyright 2013, 2016
Surviving the Fog-Sasha, the Scarred
By Stan Morris

Chapter One

It was easy to follow the men who took Sasha. They made more noise than buckets of empty water cans dumped into a recycle bin. They trampled on dead branches that snapped with sharp cracks and banged their shoulder slung rifles against trees. From a quarter mile, with a brisk wind at my back, I could hear their loud voices. I didn’t have to worry about the wind, because it was blowing toward me on that cloudy day. It was an east wind, unusual for May. It did not smell like rain, and I was glad, because they didn’t act as if they cared whether or not she got wet.

I didn’t know why they had taken Sasha, or where they were going, although I had suspicions. Her hands were tied behind her back, and she stumbled occasionally as she walked. From time to time one the men would give her a little push or a pat on her butt, occasionally adding a suggestive sexual threat. Sasha whimpered when she stumbled, sometimes asking them to stop so she could rest. Every now and then, she would cry out or sob for a few minutes, until one threatened to hit her if she didn’t shut up. The words reminded me of when I was a boy hiding in the central heating vents at Eagles Retreat, listening to the evil men say those same things to the women they held hostage.

[Memory] The Heating Ducts

I was born in Korea; the evidence points in that direction. Iris says she learned this from my father who she knew as “Mr. Kim.” That’s why I’m named Kim. I can remember two Korean words. “Umma” means mother, and “Apba” means father. I’m not sure of the spelling, because I was six when my mother and I left Korea to join my father in California. I have a vague memory of an older woman. Perhaps she was my grandmother, or an aunt, or maybe just a friend of the family.

I believe we lived in Palo Alto, but that may have been where my father worked. According to Iris, he worked for a technology company in what was known as Silicon Valley. I don’t remember the name of the company, and it doesn’t matter now, since everyone there died on the day the Fog came. My family wasn’t home that day, because shortly after my mother and I left Korea to join my father in California, my father took us to a resort in the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains, northeast of Bakersfield. I was seven years old, and I know this, because my parents surprised me with a birthday party the day before we left for the mountains.

There were many people vacationing at Eagle’s Retreat, including some kids. I knew a few words of English, and my parents could not watch me all the time, so occasionally I slipped away from them to seek out the other children. I remember Sasha and her brother, James, but she was older than me, and I was a boy, so she ignored me. I remember running with James through the fruit trees on the semi-level grounds of the Retreat. Once, James and I found a wet ragged tennis ball on the thin lawn. We took it inside and rolled it across the floor to each other, but when we were spotted we were scolded, because the slobber covered ball belonged to a shaggy white dog named Seth.

I don’t know when my father died. I know he was quarreling with the men who had taken over Eagle’s Retreat, but I don’t remember the day he disappeared. I remember asking my mother where he was, and I became alarmed when she burst into tears. I begged her not to cry, and I told her that I would search for him. She stopped crying and ordered me in a sharp tone not to leave our room. She sounded angry, and I was thoroughly confused.

When we first arrived at Eagle’s Retreat we took our meals, buffet style, in a big room with everyone else, but after my father disappeared, our meals were delivered to us by a mean looking man, and they were nothing like the huge plates, loaded with food, I had been used to. I remember my mother arguing with the man, but he laughed at her and called her a name that had her seething with anger. It seemed as if each day we received less and less food at each serving. My mother began hoarding food, even when I complained and asked for more.

One day she made up a game. She removed the floor vent from our heating duct and told me it was a secret tunnel. She was going to leave our room, and after a short time I would not hear and feel the air coming out of the duct. When that happened, she said, I was to get into the duct and explore the secret tunnel. Before she did this, she gave me her watch and spent an hour teaching me how to tell time. When she was satisfied I had learned this lesson, she left the room. Soon, the air flowing from the heating duct ceased, so I dropped into the secret tunnel. I was in a short rectangular can, and when I crouched down I could enter each side of the duct.

I didn’t have any trouble negotiating the passageways, and I could easily turn around. The heating duct was located in the basement, and it ran the length of the building. An inclined portion, hidden in the walls, led up to the upper tier, above the high ceilings of the second story rooms. By pressing my body against the sides of the duct and wiggling, I was able to reach the upper level. I explored most of the building’s heating ducts, before I felt air moving again. Quickly, I scrambled back to the can leading to my room. I climbed out, replaced the vent cover, and pushed a chair over it, as my mother had taught me.

Seconds later, I heard loud noises, and the mean man shoved the door open. He was holding my mother by her upper arm and yelling at her. He pushed her to the floor, and that’s when I noticed the big bruise around her eye. I hadn’t learned enough English to know what he was saying, but I could see that she was terribly afraid of him. He pointed to me and said something, and she responded by kneeling, bowing, and saying something. By that time, she was crying, and I started crying, too. The man left, and my mother hurried to me and wrapped me in her arms.

After that day, the building always seemed to be cooler, and less heat flowed from the vent. My mother taught me a new game. At night I was to get into the duct and creep around very quietly. If she heard me, she scolded me soundly, even spanking me if I had been too loud. I soon learned to be soundless when traveling through the secret tunnel.

Then she gave me a tiny screwdriver from her purse, told me to stick my hand through our vent cover, and practice removing the screws that held it to the heating duct. It did not take me long to become proficient at this. On the last day, I got into the heating duct at her command, and she left the vent cover by the side of the vent.

“I don’t know when it will be safe to come out,” she said. “Stay inside. If I bring you food, you must eat a little every day, not all at once. Promise me.”

She was stern and emphatic when she said this, so I promised I would stay in the vent until she said otherwise, and I promised to eat only a little of what she brought me.
From the vent, I watched her remove a pillowcase from the pillow. She pulled the electrical cord of a heavy lamp from its socket and placed it on the floor by the door, and then she left the room. Of course, I was quite puzzled by her actions.

After a time I heard the rush of footsteps, and she barreled through the door, holding the pillowcase. She ran to the vent, pushed the pillowcase into my hiding place, slammed the vent cover into place, and pushed the chair over it.

“Go! Hide!” she screamed.

I knew I should obey my mother, but I could not leave her. I lifted the vent cover and watched, tears streaming from my eyes. She grabbed the lamp, waited by the door, and when the mean man charged through, she smashed the lamp against the side of his head. He fell to the floor, bleeding from his temple, and she hit him again and again. Blood spurted and pooled on the floor.
She appeared to be as shocked at I, but she saw me watching from the vent and whispered, “Go!”

I grabbed the pillowcase containing the food and slithered into the vent. Behind me, I heard a commotion from the room. That was the last time I saw my mother. At night, on rare occasions, I left the heating ducts to steal food or to stand, but other than that, I lived in them for two years, until I was nine years old.
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Published on August 03, 2016 14:40 Tags: new-adult, post-apocalypse, science-fiction, surviving-the-fog, young-adult

August 4, 2014

Unbelievable

First of all, I'm 63 years old. You will understand the relevance.

Last year I connected with a cousin I had not seen since the 1960's. In a conversation, he mentioned that one of the things he remembered about me was that, when we were in our teens and with another cousin, I admonished that cousin for using racially disparaging language. I did not remember the incident, but I was not surprised to hear this, because at that age I was challenging racially disparaging language, often, among members of my family and extended family. There were a lot of heated, angry conversations, and more than a few times, I was accused of being a N lover. I didn't care. I knew racism was wrong, and I spoke up.

In the 1970's I was almost drummed out of a liberal organization when I suggested that the men running the organization resign and let the women take over. Everyone was taking about women's rights, so it seemed like a logical suggestion. Apparently not, and I was amazed at the anger this suggestion caused. I didn't care. Dr. King, Jr. had shown us the path, and I was determined to travel it.

Fastforward to 2008. I wrote a book that described a camp designed to preach abstinence but also to familiarize teenagers with condoms, diaphragms, patches, and other forms of birth control. I have received more than a few comments from reviewers suggesting that such a camp was not believable. I don't care.

I stood against racism as a boy and gradually changed my family's attitudes. I stood against sexism as a young man and saw my country gradually let women be all they can be. I'm an old man now, but I still have things to say, and one of them is that it is time to accept that urging young teenagers to be sexual abstinent and teaching them about all forms of birth control is totally compatible. That is one part of Surviving the Fog I would never change.
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Published on August 04, 2014 14:17 Tags: birth-control, racism, sexism, stan-morris, surviving-the-fog

August 2, 2014

A Scene From Howard the Red

It wasn’t long after we returned to our cabin that the euphoria of our debate began to wear off and numbness set in. I don’t know what the others were thinking, but my thoughts were about Pop and Nana. What happened? What the hell is that Fog, Jacob saw? A part of me wanted to hike down the road and see for myself what it was, but the larger part shied away from the idea. Perhaps seeing it would have made it too real. I was still hoping that my grandparents would suddenly appear at the top of the hill, driving the old Ford. Maybe the Fog was a local phenomenon.

Ahmad and Rasul accompanied us, because they and Pete were still discussing the idea to build a lodge. After a while, Ralph entered our cabin. He listened to the others for only a few seconds before interrupting.

“You guys gonna let a little kid tell you what to do?” he asked, a sneer in his voice. “You gonna listen to little Chief?”

My face reddened, because I had been thinking similar thoughts, even though I had participated in the meeting with Mike.

“Not me,” Tomas said, and Brian bobbed his head in agreement.

There was silence in our cabin except for Ralph’s contemptuous laugh, and then Pete asked, “Who do you think should be in charge?”

Ralph frowned at him. “Jackie’s in charge.”

No one said anything, but even clueless Ralph knew what the rest of us were thinking. Jackie has lost it. He scowled, stood, and stalked out of the cabin.

After a minute of more silence, Brian said rather casually, “If no one’s in charge, there’s some good looking pussy on the other side of the river.”

Tomas grinned in a manner Pop would have described as lascivious and responded, “That’s true.”

Ahmad’s face reddened, and he snapped, “You guys leave those girls alone.”

Tomas snorted, and then he stood and left the cabin followed by Brian who muttered, “Raghead,” as he flung the canvas flap aside.

Ahmad flushed and started to stand, but Rasul put a hand on his arm. Ahmad looked down at the hand, his face angry, but Rasul didn’t take his hand away.
“We have things to decide,” he said, and after another second, Ahmad sat down.

“Who is in charge?” Pete asked.

No one said anything for a moment, and then I spoke. “Just because Jacob saw some Fog doesn’t mean something super bad has happened.”

“That’s true,” Pete replied, “but what do we do in the meantime? While we wait to see if our folks come for us?”

“Mike’s the only person in this camp who’s been thinking about that,” John stated.

The rest of us nodded, because what he said was true. Everything we had talked about in the cafeteria was due to Mike’s prodding. Food, shelter, guarding and rationing the food; these were ideas Mike had introduced.

“I don’t like this,” Rasul said. “Somehow I feel like it might be more dangerous here than at the Fog. Things could get bad, fast.”

I didn’t understand what he was referring to. How could things get worse? We appeared to be trapped in the Sierra Nevada Mountains with no cellphone service, and there were no adults around, except for Jackie, who had broken. What else can go wrong?

“Anybody want Ralph to be in charge?” Pete asked.

“Shit, no,” John said. Ahmad shook his head, and Rasul visibly shuddered.

“That would be a good way to start a fight,” Rasul said.

“That all we need; a battle for power,” John growled. “Biggest guy kicks everybody else’s ass.”

“What about you, Howard?” Pete asked, turning my way. “You and Ralph are the oldest, after Jackie. Do you want to be in charge?”

“In charge of what?” I asked, bewildered by the question.

Pete stared at me for a moment, and then he turned to the others. “One good thing about Mike is that the kid’s not an asshole. And he’s not trying for celeb status. He’s just trying to keep us alive.”

“This is true,” Ahmad said, “but he won’t get anything done without our help.”

“It would be a bad thing if people started fighting,” Rasul added. “The girls would be in trouble.”

There was more silence, and then Pete stood and grabbed his spear from where it lay against the end frame of our bunk. He took a step toward the center of the cabin and held out his arm, keeping his spear vertical.

“Ralph’s an idiot, but he said it. Mike is Chief.”

John stood, held out his spear, touched Pete’s knuckles with his own, and said, “Mike is Chief.”

Then Ahmad stood and Rasul, too, and they said the same words, and I swear the same grim expression was on every one of their faces. In a befuddled daze, I stood, grabbed my spear, and echoed, “Mike is Chief.”

Here is the truth. Mike did not seek power; it was thrust on him by those of us in that room, at that moment. Mike could not have been Chief without the Spears to back him, and by backing him we made it clear to the rest of the camp that we were not going to allow the strong to dictate to the weak. It would be the group that was important, not the individual. Later, Pete spoke to Eric and Jacob about what we had decided, and he returned to tell us that they were fine with our decision. I’m not sure, because I never asked him, but I think he spoke to Yuie, too.

Things changed permanently that day, although I was unaware that they were changing, except for noting that Ralph, Brian, and Tomas moved out of our cabin that evening, and Ahmad and Rasul moved in.
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Published on August 02, 2014 10:07 Tags: howard-the-red, new-adult, post-apocalypse, surviving-the-fog, young-adult

July 12, 2014

Saturday Scene at Google Plus

During the week I write a scene and then post it on Saturday at Google Plus. If you are interested, come on over and join us. It's a great place to post.

https://plus.google.com/u/0/111760564...
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Published on July 12, 2014 00:57 Tags: google-plus, saturday-scene, stan-morris

July 2, 2014

Smashwords Summer Free Books

Smashwords is doing their annual summer free book promotion. Here is mine.
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view...
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Published on July 02, 2014 13:19 Tags: fantasy, freebook, romance, science-fiction, shortstory

July 1, 2014

Review Group

If you interested in submitting your book to a review book click on the link. You will need to review a book from someone in the group. This is a +18 group, so there will probably be sex and violence.

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...
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Published on July 01, 2014 20:38 Tags: review-group

June 26, 2014

Bride of the Beast

I've published eight ebooks and that's been enjoyable, but I like to do other writing things too. For the past few days I've been writing a story, a paragraph daily, on my Google Plus account. This one does not contain the usual romance, instead it is sort of alien fantasy/erotica.

The plot is about a female from one tribe, Borks, who is captured by a man from another tribe, Grolls, for the purpose of being impregnated. The twist on this old cliche is that the Grolls are empaths and the males are able to control the emotions of the female Borks by using empathy. The female Grolls are not quite sentient, but they are captured by male Borks for the same purpose; impregnation. Children born in the Bork tribe from a Groll mother are treated as lower status caste members by those who were born of Bork mothers.

The Bork women have two birthing uterus's. The front one will birth male children and the rear will birth female children. Bork women have two breasts each containing four nipples. This makes them a good choice as Groll mothers, because a Groll impregnation will usually result in 4 to 7 children.

In effect, there is a symbiotic relationship between these two tribes.

Here is what I've written so far.

I began each morning by applying Stinging Juice to the four nipples on my right breast. The Stinging Juice caused them to spring upright and to stay that way for most of the day, thereby making my right breast appear to be more level with my left breast, whose nipples always protruded in a proud manner, never drooping.

I was unmated, so I was not allowed to adorn the large knobs of my nipples with rings or with other jewelry. In rebellious response I had asked my co-sister to print parts of my body with the words and images of our tribe and with other images I thought admirable. She used thorns from the jacten plant to achieve this. I could tell, from my mother’s empathetic pulse, that she disapproved of this.

I always woke happy because of her empathetic pulses, and the first thing I did every morning, after my ablutions, was to check the water and food level in my mother’s cage and to make sure these were sufficient for the day ahead. Sometimes I would find a jacten fruit beforehand, and I would feed it to my mother while stroking the soft fir on her belly.

Some of us were agitating for a long hollow canyon to be set aside as areas in which mothers who were Grolls could roam freely. We hated having to keep our mothers in cages, no matter how large the cage. Naturally, most of us agitating for this change had been conceived from a Groll mother. Most of those who had been conceived from mothers of our tribe, the Borks, were not sympathetic to our wishes, since our mothers were barely sentient, whereas theirs were completely sentient, though sometimes ignorant.
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Published on June 26, 2014 18:51 Tags: bride-of-the-beast, short-story, stan-morris

June 16, 2014

Clothing Annie

Some days I like to write short stories. I usually post them at Readwave, but they don't like stories over 800 words. Here is one at Goodreads that is 2,500 words.
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Published on June 16, 2014 14:49 Tags: boyfriend, dog, romance, stan-morris, young-adult

Clothing Annie

Some days I like to write short stories. I usually post them at Readwave, but they don't like stories over 800 words. Here is one at Goodreads that is 2,500 words.

https://www.goodreads.com/story/show/...
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Published on June 16, 2014 14:49 Tags: boyfriend, dog, romance, stan-morris, young-adult