REBLOG: Some News…

My wife and I have some exciting news to share!

(From Bookcasey)

Hi guys!

As you have probably noticed, I haven’t really been around the blogosphere recently. And that’s because:

Chris and I are having a baby!

That’s right! The author and the bibliophile are expecting a little bundle of joy in late December of this year. A lot of my time has been spent researching baby stuff and going to a bazillion doctor’s appointments, so I apologize for not doing much in the way of reviews. I have actually been re-reading a lot of stuff because I often get interrupted or distracted, so it’s nice to already know the plot.

You might also be happy to know that our baby announcement was definitely book-centric:


Anyway, I will try to post on this blog as much as I can since things have finally started to settle down a little bit, but if you are interested in following my pregnancy and motherhood adventures, you can go over to my other blog (sorry wordpress!) and catch up on the latest news.

Much Love,



DEADGOD: Understanding the Theme

Progress on my current WIP, DEADGOD, has been pretty slow as of late. I’ve really only been working on it about once or twice a week, maybe contributing 300 – 1,000 words on any of those days. I used to attribute it to my large course load during my final semester of college, which had me writing a lot of pretty big papers and reading a lot of texts. But now I don’t have any of that. I have my degree, but I’m still working on getting a full-time job. I have an abundance of free time, which also means I’m not making much money (Although, if you’re inclined to help me out then click on one of the book covers to your left and pick up a copy of one of my books!)

However, I’ve had what appears to be some sort of revelation the past few days. When I started DEADGOD I wanted to write some kind of book about cultural, religious, and social tolerance. I wanted to make a social commentary on American culture, seeing as how that’s the one I’m most familiar with, and show how intolerance can shape the world into an awful place. In order to do that, I created a religiously intolerant character in a world with one remaining religious man. I had a concept, and I knew how I wanted this religiously intolerant character to arc and learn from his behavior, but there was just something missing on my part. Something wasn’t driving me to tell this story. Part of it was because I really wasn’t pushing myself to sit down and write, which I can only blame on myself. But I think I’ve realized that I had a basic idea of the theme I wanted to convey in this novel, but I hadn’t really figured out how I was going to show it.

Now, as some of you may know, I write a column entitled Maglomediac in which I study and analyze various media. I think this has really helped me to understand the themes I want to tell in this novel and nail them down. When people think of the word media, most often they think of the news, meaning that I’ve been taking a look at it more on a cultural level–why it’s happening, to whom it’s happening, is it a result of some kind of social stigma? pseudo-environment? and things of that nature–which has allowed me to see it on a deeper level and apply it to my writing.

I now have some of the tools to be able to show the ideas and themes I want to portray in this book. By showing religious intolerance, political and religious zeal, and some of the concepts and ideas that are common today, which one could argue are contributing to a sort of devolution and backwards thinking in society, I can show why we need to correct these behaviors. Or, at least, I can show why I think we need to correct these behaviors.

After finally unearthing the deeper ideas about what exactly I want to show with this novel, not only have I been motivated to create the characters and world needed to show the themes I want to convey, but it has definitely made the writing stronger, too. It has given me a further look into the characters motivations and beliefs, and I can see much more clearly now why these character think, act, and speak the ways in which they do, and I think it’s making my novel really strong, and when it’s finished it will certainly

Snapshot Fiction

There’s something really exceptional about flash fiction, specifically those pieces ranging from 100 to 500 words. To be able to setup characters, plot, setting, and make a reader care about what happens is a remarkable talent that I envy. I’ve never dabbled much in flash fiction as I usually end up coming up with an idea that spans much more than a few hundred words. More often than not the idea turns into something novella or novel length.

Many of these ideas also end up coming to mind when I’m in the middle of a longer project. I believe they call those plot bunnies; those shiny ideas that beg you to step away from your current project and take off on a new adventure with exciting new characters and places and conflicts. However, if we succumbed to those plot bunnies all the time we’d never get any work done. So, something I find that helps me out when the plot bunnies come call is to write down what I call snapshot fiction, or a snapshot in time taking place in this new idea. Sometimes it’s a bit of dialogue and sometimes it’s an ending. But this sort of helps to get the idea out of my system so I can focus on my current project.

And now, (hopefully) for your entertainment, I’d like to share a few of my snapshot fiction pieces with you.

The stone tower looked fondly over its handiwork as the bodies of those brave men, void of souls or what once rest within them, lay scattered on the ground. Corruption had been a mere toy with which the tower played, and the sweet taste of blood sustained it until more arrived.

He looked at me with hopeful eyes and a faint smile, weary with fatigue after so many years of adventure and strangeness. A man, once a merchant barely scraping by, had become a man of fortune. A man accustomed to a certain way of life gained only by spilling blood and taking whatever he pleased.

“I’ll always cherish what you did for me,” he said. “Above all else. Gold, alcohol, leisure. The courage and drive you’ve inspired in me these past months are something I’ll treasure. Thank you.”

I dared not share in his smile, though his words reached a deeper part of me that had not been unleashed in some time.

I nodded to him with a grim expression and grasped the wooden handle beside me. The man before me, my friend, swallowed hard, and I pulled the lever, dropping the floor beneath him. He fell hard, reaching a jerking stop as the rope around his neck snapped the bones with a sharp crack. And my friend was dead.

I hope you enjoyed these brief snapshots in time. I plan to post some more of these as they come to me, and perhaps they’ll help you to come up with a story of your own.

As always, let me know what you think in the comments!

GUEST POST: J.S. Collyer

10382262_661343403958476_7130056436231839549_oI have an awesome guest on my blog today. I don’t recall exactly how we connected on this massive blogosphere. I suppose chance is the best explanation for it. Either way, she has grown immensely over the time I’ve known her, and now she’s here to talk about her debut novel, ZERO.

I want to start off by offering my thanks to Chris for giving me the opportunity to do a post for his blog. Chris Stocking is one of the first writers I ever started following on WordPress and his drive and passion really encouraged me to keep on striving toward my own goals.

I’m thrilled that I have reached the first of these goals: my first novel, Zero, a SciFi story of one crew’s fight for freedom and survival in an uncaring universe, is being released by Dagda Publishing 16th August 2014.

The full synopsis can be found on my my WordPress, along with a link to a Crowdfunding campaign that is doing very well raising money for the marketing which also gives readers a chance to pre-order signed copies and more, and the book launch is going ahead at UK’s Fantasticon – a SciFi and gaming convention in Hull.

So it really is all happening. I’m so pleased but also, in my quieter moments, I’m still a little scared and also a little unbelieving. The biggest thing preying on my mind is: what’s next?

I’ve got this far…but there’s so much further to go.

Lots of writers, myself included, when they start out only plan towards writing that first novel. It’s a major challenge, there’s no doubt. It has taken me a long time to get to the point where I had the confidence, the experience and the deadline to write a book. When those three things all came together, the first draft took me a measly 4 months. 4 months of very hard work, and it has since seen upwards of three brutal editing sessions which have taken the same time again and more, but still…I did it. I proved to myself if can be done. But now I just have this feeling that the first novel is just creating more and wider opportunities that need to be taken.

So what now?

Well, the answer is I need to write the next book. And so that’s what’ I’m doing now. My draft of Haven, Zero’s sequel, currently stands at 40,000 words and I want the draft done by the end of this year. It’s taking longer than Zero did, as I’m also juggling marketing & promoting Zero with a full time job and maintaining my blog. But if you want something enough you make the time and you don’t give up.

Zero got a publishing deal simply because I never stopped trying. I wrote other things, started other novel, only to leave them half-finished and half-forgotten in the recesses of various hard drives. But the whole time, I was keeping in touch online with the writing and publishing world, reading posts by people like Chris and many others and their experience with publishing and writing to keep my engaged and keep me going.

That’s how I found Dagda, who at first only released poetry but then branched out to fiction. They accepted first one then another of my short stories for their science fiction anthologies Tuned to a Dead Channel and All Hail the New Flesh. And then they looked to branch out into novels…

I already had an idea for a science fiction story in my head so I knew I had to seize the opportunity and capitalise on their interest in my fiction. I pitched the story and they wanted the draft. They read the draft and wanted the novel. And so it happened.

But this is only the beginning. I’m still networking, still researching, still writing. That last is the most important. Keep writing. Even if you’re tired, even if you’re busy, even if you’ve scrapped three novel drafts already (like me), if you want to get somewhere, just don’t stop.

It may, no, it will take time, effort and commitment, but keep at it and keep enjoying it. You’ll be amazed at how opportunities come together when you leave yourself open to them.

J. S. Collyer is a SciFi and Speculative Fiction Writer from Lancaster, UK.

‘Like’ her at or follow her on Twitter @JexShinigami.

Fiction and blog found at and the Facebook event for ‘Fantasticon’, SciFi convention which will be Zero’s book launch, can be found here:

Disagreement Does Not Equal Stupidity


It seems as if every internet “discussion” is more like a fist fight.

Advancing technology has revolutionized the ways people communicate Specifically, social media. Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter make connecting with people all over the world easy. It’s also an excellent place in which debates can occur. Whether it’s government discussion, books, news, or anything else, the internet has made it easy to express your opinions.

However, the internet also has another facet that seems to have made itself evident over the past few years: Internet anonymity.

Never having to have a face-to-face discussion with someone means you can essentially say whatever you want with no consequences. No one is going to throw a punch or attack you any other way than verbally, and people certainly no that. Especially since the emergence of the famed internet trolls, roving the web, spreading hateful messages. Authors may be aware of Goodreads and Amazon reviews, leaving offensive and sometimes violent book reviews. And yet most people recognize an internet troll when they see one, and they usually respond with equal hatred or by openly identifying them as a troll and ignoring them.

But, trolls aside, I’ve noticed a common trend among social media users in that, when expressing an opinion, they are often greeted with hateful remarks by the opposing viewpoint, which is then responded to with a troll-like vehemence and vulgar argumentation rather than rational debate supported by legitimate facts. Actions such as these could potentially perpetuate a culture based on further negativity and argument rather than having a debate based in fact. It’s absolutely important to, when responding to an opposing viewpoint, remember that just because you don’t agree with them doesn’t mean they’re stupid. This isn’t something that I was told as a child, and all-too-often we hear kids playing together saying “that’s stupid,” when they don’t agree with something someone else said. In a world where we are constantly growing apart as social media seemingly brings us together, it’s important to remember that people have varying opinions, and just because you don’t agree with them doesn’t mean anything other than they have a different set of beliefs, just as you do.

Maglomediac – My New Column about Media

As some of you may know, I write for a pop-culture, op-ed magazine called Maglomaniac. Some of you may also remember that I used to have a column called Mr. Write in which I talked about general writing stuff, the writing process, and things of that nature. Well, during my last semester of college I took on a huge course load, which meant I really didn’t have a lot of time for anything else. I had a lot of really large papers, one of which was especially large, so by the time I got done working on all of that I had little energy for writing of any other kind. My column fell to the way side as I focused the bulk of my energy on schoolwork.

Photo by Jim Danvers Photography

After several papers, tests, and tons of readings, I finally finished my last semester of my undergraduate degree! As long as I receive a passing grade on all my classes from last semester I’ll have my bachelor’s degree, which is exciting and a little scary, I suppose, now that I really need to find full-time work, or start selling more books (hint, hint!)

However, I’m at another sort of transition in my life. My degree is in journalism with a minor in English, and I used to be all about working for a newspaper (until this author thing starts paying off a little more). But, now, after doing a little freelance work and checking out a few other options, I find that I’m getting more into marketing and studying media and communications. I don’t want to work at a newspaper, partly because they’re dying, and pretty much all of the guest speakers who came to talk to my classes over the past three years told us how little money there is in journalism and how hard the work is. I don’t want that anymore. I’m not afraid to admit that I want to do more lucrative work. I want to have a comfortable lifestyle, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to work hard. As many of you know, writing in and of itself is extremely hard work, paired with the struggles of everyday life.

After a fair amount of contemplation, and after writing my longest paper on the effects of advertising on American culture during the Cold War, I decided I want to get my master’s degree at some point, but not for a few years. Right now I need to focus on establishing a decent income. I still have a long time to get my master’s, and I’d like to do something else besides be a student right now.

However, I find I still have a large interest in media despite being out of school. So, that puts me at the point of this post: I’ve started a new column at Maglomaniac entitled Maglomediac in which I analyze and discuss various aspects of the media from news, to television, to books. It’s something I’d like to focus my master’s degree around if possible, so I figured why not start now? I have access to databases to find academic articles, and I made friends with some professors with whom I plan to keep in touch who can help me as well. This should be a really exciting new venture, and I’m looking forward to writing up a new post each month. Because media is so huge and is constantly changing, there will certainly be something new to write about all the time.

In fact, my first column went live today! You can check it out here. Give it a read, and I’d love some feedback!