Advice Does Not Equal Rules

Hi, I’m Dev Jarrett. I’ve written a bunch of short stories and a couple of novels. The first novel was Loveless, published by Blood Bound Books in 2013. It’s the story of a ghost haunting a Georgia lake. Permuted Press published my second, called Dark Crescent, just a few days ago. It’s the story of an accidental psychic who uses his talent to prevent a savage murder, then unwittingly becomes the murderer’s next target. Further up the pipeline, my third novel will also be published by Permuted next February. It’s called Casualties, and it’s about a soldier back from Afghanistan who must fight a demon in the Arizona desert. After that, well, who knows? I’m working on a number of other projects at various levels of intensity. Werewolves, dolls, vampires, sea monsters...all those stories and more are coming.

Novice writers, like all artists, are often given stupid advice. “You want to sell books, then...” “...write what you know.” “ need a strong hook at the beginning.” “...give your readers a character with whom they can identify.” There are at least a hundred others, and most of them come from respected sources. You can find lists of them everywhere, and all those lists claim to be definitive.

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Friday's 5 with Stan Morris

I remember it being a cold, windy day on the beach at Half Moon Bay.  We were coming home from camp where I had been a counselor for sixth graders.  The sky was overcast, but because we had been camping in the California coastal mountains, we had on warm clothing and good sturdy shoes, so other than keeping my hands in my pockets, I was semi-enjoying the beach.
The commotion began in the parking lot where the yellow school buses were stationed.  Looking back, I think one of the bus drivers must have been informed over her radio, and she passed the dreadful news to counselors and kids standing nearby.  The information quickly spread.  Martin Luther King, Jr. had been assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.
Around me people began crying.  I was stunned, but not so much by the news, since from 1963 the United States had been experiencing a wave of assassinations, especially in the ranks of civil rights workers.  I was stunned by the reaction of the crowd.  At seventeen I learned that my generation was ready to move on, to leave America’s racist past behind.  It was a day of tragedy, but it was also a day of triumph.
As a writer I look back to that moment sometimes, and I think about how important it is to remember that most teenagers do have a moral compass, and how when it counts, clothes, sex, school, social media, and other distractions will be put aside, and our common values will be embraced.  I never forget that, for the most part, our children will be better men and women than we are.

 I’m Stan Morris, and I’m so old, Josef Stalin was still alive when I was born in Linwood, California. Growing up, I lived in Norwalk and Concord, California. In 1972, I moved to New Mexico. I met a teenager at college in 1975, set out to score, and have been married to her since 1977. Early on, my wife and I made a deal.  She would have the career, and I would stay out of jail.  It’s worked, so far.  We lived in Texas for five years, and then we moved to Maui, her home state. Yes, the weather is wonderful.  We raised two boys, both gainfully employed, thank goodness. I worked at a variety of jobs before developing a computer business in the late 1980's. Now we are both retired and living on a farm. I garden, watch sports, listen to music, read, and write. I don't make much money at it, so occasionally I have to ask my wife for an allowance. I like science fiction (Heinlein, Asimov, Weber, Flint), romance (Krentz, Roberts, Morisi, Chesney), mystery (JD Robb, MC Beaton), historical fiction (Lindsey, Stewart), and history books (Shelby Foote, David McCullough, William J. Bernstein.)

1.) When did you first get serious about writing?

A.) Excellent question, because I usually get asked when I began writing (age 14).  I got serious about writing in 2008.  For a long time I had wanted to write a post-apocalypse book showing teenagers working together to create a society.  It was my rejection of the concepts from Lord of the Flies.  I wanted a book that brought out the best in people.  That book was Surviving the Fog.

2.) What is the hardest part for you about writing?

A.) The greatest difficulty I have is describing a scene when the characters are not speaking to me.  I have that trouble right now.  One of the main characters in the book I writing, Howard the Red, is not opening up and telling her story.  It's exasperating.

Click on the cover for more info.

3.) How did you feel upon publication of your first completed project?

A.) It was a good feeling to see Surviving the Fog offered at ebook sites.  Those were the days before Smashwords and Kindle Digital Publishing.  I am task oriented, and the completion of the book was the end of the task, though I have edited the book from time to time and have uploaded newer versions.

4.) What is more important to you, story, or character? Why?

A.) I don't see how one can be more important than the other.  No matter how interesting the story is, if the reader can't empathize with the characters the book fails.  The alternative is also true.  Great characters are boring if they sit on their hands.

5.) What is a typical day like in your world?

A.)  I get up around 7am on weekdays, stagger into the kitchen and get a cup of coffee, stagger to my man cave and start my computer.  Then I turn on the tube which is usually set to CNBC.  About 8:30am I walk for exercise, and then I return to my computer.  On Thursdays and Fridays I start watching PGA golf at 9:00am.  Since I live in Hawaii, watching sports on the mainland starts early; sometimes at 6:00am, so I get up earlier during the weekend.  I'm retired, and my time is my own.  I live on a small farm, so I exercise in the afternoon by doing farm work.  At night, I might spend one or two hours watching television.  I listen to music, read, and garden

Books by Stanley Morris

Surviving the Fog 
Surviving the Fog-Kathy’s Recollections
Sarah’s Spaceship Adventure
Sam’s Winnings (Tales of the Ragoon)
Kate’s Movie Star (Tales of the Ragoon)
Amy’s Hero (Tales of the Ragoon)
The Colors of Passion and Love
What’s in My Shorts (short stories)

Stanley can be found online at:

Surviving the Fog Website:

Author’s Personal Website:

Book Trailer:

Author Links


Amazon US:

Amazon UK:

Amazon Canada:

Amazon Australia:


Google Play:


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Writer’s Café:



Library Thing:

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Why Horror is Good For You.

Seraphim by Greg Ruth

 One of the core reasons I make books now is because Ray Bradbury scared me so happy, that what I am perpetually compelled to do is, at best, ignite the same flame in a young reader today. Most of my comics, certainly the ones I write myself, are scary ones or revolve around scary themes. In the last ten years I began to notice that they also featured, as protagonists, children. Even when the overall story wasn’t necessarily about them, there they were: peeking from behind some safe remove, watching.

I came to understand the pattern was leading me to a more clearly defined ethos when I both had kids of my own and I came to find that the comics industry had for the most part decided not to make books for kids anymore. Instead they wanted to tailor even their brightly colored, undies-on-the-outside superhero books to old men nostalgic for their long-passed childhoods than for the children they were intended to inspire. Insane, right? This generation had not only stolen the medium away from its following generations, it had helped foster one of the greatest publishing face-plants in American history: it killed its own future by ignoring the basic need to grow a new crop of readers, and so made certain it had no future at all.

And one thing no one was going near was horror stories for kids. Clinton was president and we hadn’t yet learned about the wonderful effects anthrax-laced letters, the Washington DC snipers, and everyone losing their jobs would have on us. (To be perfectly honest, I think I—like many others—existed in a continual state of fear from mid-2001 all the way up to last Wednesday). The time has become ripe again and with the collapse of the DC and Marvel models, it was time to do what they wouldn’t: scare the hell out of kids and teach them to love it. Here’s why this is not as crazy as it sounds:

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This Week's New Releases 7-22-2015

New this week on Amazon. Click on any cover for more info.

Action - Adventure:  The Werewolf Principle

Synopsis: Many centuries in the future, a two-hundred-year-old man is discovered hibernating in a space capsule orbiting a distant star. Transported back to his home planet, Andrew Blake awakens to an Earth he does not recognize—a world of flying cars and sentient floating houses—with no memory whatsoever of his history or purpose. But he has not returned alone. The last survivor of a radical experiment abandoned more than a century earlier, Blake was genetically altered to be able to adapt to extreme alien environments, and now he can sense other presences inhabiting his mind and body. One is a biological computer of astonishing power; the other is a powerful creature akin to a large wolf. And Blake is definitely not the one in control. With his sanity hanging in the balance, Blake’s only option is to set out in frantic pursuit of his past, the truth, his destiny—and quite possibly the fate of humankind.

Contemporary Fiction: The Scamp: A Novel

Synopsis: Mysterious, chilling, and told a breakneck pace, The Scamp will thrill readers of Daniel Woodrell’s Winter’s Bone and Roxane Gay’s An Untamed State.

Rayelle Reed can’t escape in her small town, where everyone knows everything and not enough: All the guys she slept with, but not the ones she loved. The baby she had out of wedlock with the pastor’s son, and how the baby died, but not the grief and guilt that consume her. At a motel bar, Rayelle meets Couper Gale, a freelance detective on a mission to investigate a rash of missing girls, and she tags along as an excuse to cross the state line. But when Couper’s investigation leads them to the mystery surrounding Rayelle’s runaway cousin Khaki, she finds she is heading straight back into everything she was hoping to leave behind.

As fates become entwined, Rayelle must follow a haunted and twisted path—leading her toward a collision where loyalties will be betrayed, memories uncovered, and family bonds shattered. Unflinchingly dark and compelling, THE SCAMP confronts head-on the issues of family origins and the bonds between mothers, daughters, and sisters. It delves deep into the cycle of abuse and poverty, questioning, in the end, the value of any one life, child or adult.

In Pashley’s hands, the lost girls of rural and industrial America, trapped in the unforgiving systems of government assistance and single parenthood, are portrayed with depth and nuance. She exposes the ingrained poverty and atmosphere of disillusionment that damns them before they have a chance and she gives them a ray of hope for a better life ahead.

Horror: The Light Through The Water

Synopsis: I died when I was 8 years old. I drowned...

If my father hadn't pulled me out of the water I would have stayed dead. Just before I blacked out, I saw the most beautiful light coming through the water. A light so bright and full of love it made me forget about death. Years went by and I forgot about the light. Things changed, I got older. People I loved saw their own light. And I eventually saw mine again. This is the story of my light.

The Light Through the Water

Literary Fiction: The Musubi Murder

Synopsis: Small town life, big academic egos, revenge, romance, and Spam musubis

The Musubi Murder is Hawaii's first campus murder mystery

Newly single and far from home, Professor Molly Barda wants to focus on her job and stay out of trouble until she gets tenure at remote Mahina State University. But her life is upended when fast-food entrepreneur Jimmy Tanaka, founder of Merrie Musubis, pledges a huge donation to Molly's college, and then disappears.

Molly's bottom-line-obsessed dean tasks her with locating the missing musubi mogul, a quest that lands her in a stew of old grudges, whispered scandals, and murder.

Along the way, Molly starts to fall for Tanaka's competitor, the too-good-to-be-true Donnie Gonsalves. Donnie seems to like her for all the wrong reasons--and has a few secrets of his own.

The Musubi Murder is for

    mystery lovers
    Hawaii expatriates
    disillusioned academics
    anyone who fancies Spam (the meat)

˃˃˃ What is a Musubi?

The Spam musubi, Hawaii's favorite snack and Merrie Musubis' signature dish, is a cube of sticky rice topped with a slice of fried Spam, and then wrapped in a strip of dried seaweed. From a distance, musubis look a lot like oversized pieces of sushi.

Romance: Enchanting the Swan

Synopsis: Paul, a classical pianist, meets law student cellist Fiona at William & Mary and they begin playing beautiful music together. When they perform The Swan by Camille Saint-Saëns on William & Mary's Charter Day, their love is sealed forever. They agree to marry after graduation, but Fiona's reactionary godparents object to her marrying Paul and command her to come back home to Belgium. When Paul visits her in Brussels, Fiona breaks their relationship, following the wishes of her deceased parents that she marry into her Belgian social circle. She does just so, unaware of her godfather's real intentions. Heartbroken, Paul leaves for Geneva to start his banking career, and gets entangled in a dramatic banking fraud. He is forced to return to the USA, where he finds Fiona physically and psychologically abused and on the verge of utter despair. Paul endeavors to restore their love but faces harrowing obstacles. Will they ever play The Swan again?

Sci-Fi: Lucid Blue: And Other Tales Too (Tarnished Sterling)

Synopsis: Not everything that happens in the world is seen by Travis Colfax. This anthology explores the wider universe of the Tarnished Sterling books with eight short works, including two novellas.

Ranger Roy the Rocket Rider - Travis and the Trainees attempt to catch a group of burglars who are breaking into places which have memorabilia related to the Golden Age Hero 'Ranger Roy'.

Omnirunner - Dan Fullbright was a lousy hero. In fact, he'd pretty much abandoned the life and spent his days below the radar, doing odd jobs and the occasional petty theft. The job Evelyn brought him looked simple enough - make it look like a man wasn't dead just yet. The way Dan's day had been going, it was anything but simple.

Reforger - Fleeing the fall of his vessel, Lord Captain Zsh-ya doesn't get much further than the surface of the planet. An old supervillain and his rival attempt to get their hands on Zsh-ya's ship before the Heroes show up.

Heartstrings - Valentine's Day brings the Eighty-first annual Heartstrings Archery Tournament to New Port Arthur. For Errol Rickard, it is the perfect cover to gain access to Leyden Academy and correct a mistake which could reveal his family's secrets.

Lucid Blue - Four juvenile delinquents attempt to get their lives back in order and avoid jail through the Community Fund's Junior Redemptioner program. All the while a new drug is making its way to the streets, one that gives people temporary powers.

Dead Men Talking - Baron Mortis talks to dead people, and they talk back. Sometimes, they won't shut up. A fact Donny discovers when he finds out the skull mask carries more baggage than just the weight of legacy about it.

Iron Conjurer - Looking to salvage something after failing to get their hands on Zsh-ya's shuttle, a pair of supervillains hatch a plan forged from sheer audacity. They are going to rob Sterling Towers itself.

Dirge of Carcosa - "How would you like to go to Mars?" Rex Holt asked. It was an offer Travis couldn't turn down. Of course, with all things the Fund Board gave, it came with a catch...

Thriller: Eye for Revenge

Synopsis: Something unusual is happening to Quinn Montgomery. Trapped inside her unconscious mind, the sound of her father's soothing voice seeps through, and the past twenty-four hours comes flooding back. She wakes to find herself in the hospital. Her childhood best friend Evie is dead. But not just dead, murdered, and Evie's four-year-old son witnessed it all. Traumatized over what he saw, he's not talking. And when Evie's cold-blooded killer goes into hiding, Quinn isn't only out for justice, she's out for revenge.