It’s that time again, ladies and gentlemen, when shops all over the United States are offering up their goods at discounted prices, and there will be no exception here.

Three books. Each just $0.99 all weekend.

the_rotten_apple_cover.jpgThe Rotten Apple

“The action is quick and full of weight; you truly understand the gravity of the situation and that Naomi’s whole world is on the line. The bad guys are smart and terrifying, the romance is organic and realistic, and there are plenty of twists to keep you enthralled.”

custom-book-cover-chris-stocking-ebook2.jpgBlack Powder Brigade

“Black Powder Brigade is an exciting mix between the historical and the fantastical. Bizarre and full of action, this was my first step into Flintlock Fantasy, and I thoroughly enjoyed it!”

His_Only_Star_CoverHis Only Star

“Breathtaking, brutal and beautifully real, Stocking’s story is stunning. He unflinchingly explores the intricate, difficult choices a runaway teen must face. This is not the first book to tackle this tough topic, but there is something about this story that will keep you hooked. My only wish was that poor Oli would have gotten what he wanted in the end. A tragedy, that will keep you wanting for more long after it’s over”


It’s interesting how much things can change when writing. For those of us who don’t plot out our novels–and I’m sure that even for some who do–things can change in a flash as the story unfolds. Character motivations can change. Characters themselves can change. Plot, personalities, history, everything can change so quickly, and sometimes that requires us to change things around.

This realization that something needed to change has been growing for a few days now. I was telling my wife about the recent happenings in my current work in progress, DEADGOD. I told her about some characters’ plans and their roles in the novel, along with what they’re going to eventually come to realize. How they’ll change, or arc, if you will, and what they’ll learn. She then said to me, “I don’t think that title fits anymore.” And me, still enjoying the name DEADGOD, tried to find a way that the title still fit the book. Mostly because I’m so horrible at coming up with names that I didn’t want to go through the pain of trying to think up a new one. However, as I was thinking about my characters and their current situations yesterday, I eventually came to realize that, once again, my wife was right. While DEADGOD fit one of the characters, it didn’t fit the overall theme of the book, nor did it fit the other two main characters’ personalities.

That’s when the struggle began. My characters had morphed into something I didn’t think they would. As their roles in the novel became more apparent, their actions and beliefs changed, and somehow I had to think of a title that encompassed all of it, along with a brand new cover to go with it. I tossed around this name and that name, writing it down on the old cover to see how it looked, trying out various fonts and colors in the editor to see how it blended together. And, finally, with the help of my friend, Karen, I settled on a name that I really enjoy, and I hope you will, too.

So, at long last, feast your eyes on the brand new cover and title of: Wasteland Gods


Click to view larger

There is no hope in the unforgiving wasteland. Only the starved, withering Insurgents. The insane, cannibalistic Roamers. Slavers, Raiders, and death await in the sweltering heat.

The Koval Republic, a utopia filled with clean water and food, shelter, and protection. A land saved by politicians, greed, and ignorance. A republic that looks down upon the Insurgents, offering no help or remorse. Instead, they lay siege to the Insurgent’s meager settlements, hoping to wipe the mongrels from what remains of the planet.

Anton, a religion-hating Insurgent in a world void of faith who only hopes for salvation from the wasteland seeks freedom and fairness.

Claire, a soldier of the Republic, banished to the wastes, struggling to survive. Begging to return to her old life.

Roland, a soldier like Claire, taken in by bloodthirsty slavers who aim to bring democracy and the people’s voice back to the world.

Who will live long enough to see if redemption can be brought to the wasteland, and who will buckle beneath the crushing force of the Koval Republic, and the crippling dangers of the wasteland?

Coming 2015!


DEADGOD and Writing on the Topic of Religion

Religion is a heated topic that is discussed and killed over every day. It’s something that seems to be gaining media attention every day, at least here in the states, what with discussion about religion in schools and places of business, and debates about whether separation of church and state is actually being followed.

That being said, my current WIP, DEADGOD, has a fairly heavy religious theme in that there is only one remaining man left on the planet who still believes in God, and he is not well liked. He is looked down upon in what remains of society in this post-apocalyptic world, and, even though he is not the main character of the novel, he does play a pretty large role.

This troubles me to a certain degree mainly because a lot of my personal feelings about religion and society are coming out in this novel, but they are also, in most cases, substantially exaggerated. I also know a lot of people who are religious, and some of the resulting artwork from this book is coming out in a way that may seem troubling to them or other religious individuals. Part of my reason for writing this is to encourage people to remember that while I put a certain amount of myself in everything I write, that this is a work of fiction. I am an extremely tolerant individual, and the last thing I want is to offend anyone. The point of this novel isn’t about bashing those who are or aren’t religious. This novel is about acceptance and finding ways to cope with disaster. It’s about coming together, and it may take a truly serious, humanity-crippling event for people to realize that. That is the point of DEADGOD, and I really hope that when it’s finished, you pick up a copy and give it a chance, because I believe it will really be something worth reading.


My final semester of college is winding down to completion, so I’m starting to get some of my creative energy back. This is one of the most writing-intensive semesters I’ve had during my college career, and it’s been draining. But it’s also a semester during which I’ve learned the most about how people operate in regards to the media. I’ve learned a lot of communication theories and been a part of several discussions about why people react to and interact with the media in the ways they do, which I think will not only be beneficial to my professional life, in that I believe I have a better understanding of how to potentially operate a company’s brand based on what I understand of consumer reactions to marketing and media, but also in the sense that it will make my characters more real. It will help to add to that third dimension that is so crucial to characters.

I think I’ll be able to craft a better novel with some of the information I’ve learned this semester also because I think I’ve learned how to better analyze society. I can look at an event and see different reactions and potentially come up with an idea as to why certain people reacted that way, be it gender or sexual bias, a matter of religion, or some form of communication theory as a result of whatever is currently being portrayed in the media. This is a good thing, and it’s also why I’m excited to officially reveal my next project:


A preliminary cover for DEADGOD


I know my last post indicated that I will be attempting to traditionally publish my next novel. That I will be attempting to land an agent. However, that’s really up in the air right now. Having some time to reflect since the release of The Rotten Apple, I like having so much control over my work, and DEADGOD has a lot of my personal viewpoints on society and religion–exaggerated to some degree–placed in a post-apocalyptic world that I think I really need a lot of control over. That being said, I may attempt to submit it to some smaller indie presses. But for now, allow me, if you will, to give you a sort of synopsis/description of what is turning out to be DEADGOD.

God is dead. Nuclear fallout has destroyed the planet, save for a chunk of  northeastern United States: An expanse of barren land surrounding a utopia owned by Koval Unlimited Security Force’s president, Tai Koval.

In the wasteland, the Insurgents live in the ruins of the cities, fending off Roamers–those men and women unlucky enough to have been poisoned by radiation, turning them into raving lunatics, feeding on living flesh.

There is no hope for salvation. There is no hope of a savior. Only one man still believes, still has faith in God. But that one man is shunned. A fool named Milton living among the Insurgents, never to have the respect of anyone.

The Insurgent pseudo-leader, a broken man by the name of Anton, leads the charge against Koval Unlimited, hoping to bring down the tyrannical government which has been plaguing them since before the fallout.

A world already corrupt beyond destruction falls deeper into chaos as a new war rages. As Milton begs for faith in God and Anton struggles to fight tyranny from government and religion, it seems as if what life remains is destined to crumble in his grasp…

…And perhaps it will.


As always, let me know what you think!

Brigantine Press – Publishing the Finest Written Art

Brigantine Logo_Crop03I have taken on a new and exciting endeavor, which has given me another title to add to my constantly growing resume. A couple months ago I accepted the position of director of web development and marketing at Brigantine Press. The press is still new and we’re still developing everything and gathering content, but things are looking great. We’re working toward publishing our flagship publication, Steam Patriots, which I encourage all of you to check out. It promises to be amazing.

Brigantine Press is currently accepting submissions as well. We’re looking for anything and everything adventure, especially in the steampunk and fantasy genres. However, we’re open to just about any genre as long as it takes the reader on an amazing journey.

I’m greatly looking forward to working with Brigantine Press, and I hope to continue to increase my set of skills and develop them the best I can. I encourage everyone to check out Brigantine Press, as I know great things are going to come of it. We’re working with an exceptional artist who is coming up with some fantastic sketches for Steam Patriots that will really make the book truly amazing.

Climb aboard, friends. Adventure awaits.

Brigantine Press
Steam Patriots

Brigantine Press
Steam Patriots

Brigantine Press
Steam Patriots

His Only Star Sale – Thank You!

I just wanted to take a moment and thank everyone who downloaded or helped me promote His Only Star yesterday. I hope that, for those of you who downloaded it, you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it, and I encourage you to leave a review at Amazon or Goodreads (Even if you read it in the past.) As I’m sure you’ve all heard before, reviews are one of the biggest ways you can help an author. But, I’m just thankful to have you all here, and to be able to put my work out to the world.

So, again, thank you all. Thank you for visiting. Thank you for reading. Thank you for everything.

His_Only_Star_CoverIf you didn’t get a free copy of His Only Star, you can still get it for $2.99 for the Kindle, and it’s also available in print.

“Do you ever look at the stars and wish you could snatch them out of the sky?” Oliver asked. “You know, to keep in a box all for yourself?” 

“What would you do with a box of stars, Oli?” Trista asked. 

Oliver shrugged. “I don’t know, change the world?” 

When fifteen-year-old Oliver sneaks away on a train with his friend, Trista, he discovers that life has more to it than the small world he is trapped in. It’s full of sex, drugs, and danger. But, before Oliver can come to terms with these, he must first learn that everyone has their demons, and he must come to accept them.

But what if it’s too late?

custom-book-cover-chris-stocking-ebook2.jpgAlso, for those interested, my most recent novel, Black Powder Brigade, is on sale for $2.99 for the Kindle as well.


THE NEW WORLD – A group of elite soldiers known as the Black Powder Brigade patrol the world in secret, searching for strange and deadly creatures to ensure the natural order is safe. 

Victoria Sorrel, operating under the lie that she is a boy, joins these men in their hunt for unusual creatures in hopes that it will satisfy her hunger for adventure. But, things take a dark turn for Victoria and the Black Powder Brigade. Colonists come up missing, an unusual number of trade ships start to arrive at Boston Harbor, and the madman Isaac Carter escapes from prison. 

The colonies become overrun with monsters, murder, and betrayal. 

The New World hangs in the balance, and it’s up to Victoria, The Black Powder Brigade, and some newly made friends to pry it from the clutches of evil

GUEST POST: Karen Rought – The Importance of Fandoms

My good writer friend Karen Rought is taking over the Mental Sweatshop today, talking about the importance of fandoms. Karen is an editor and writer for Hypable, and she’s one of my beta readers. She knows her stuff.

Take it away, Karen!

According to Wikipedia, the word fandom is “a term used to refer to a subculture composed of fans characterized by a feeling of sympathy and camaraderie with others who share a common interest.” The article goes on to say, “Fans typically are interested in even minor details of the object(s) of their fandom and spend a significant portion of their time and energy involved with their interest.”

In other words, if you’re part of a fandom, you’re no casual viewer.

Potterheads, Twihards, Little Monsters. You may have heard of these names before, but have never really known what they meant. These are the names of fandoms. These are what the participants in those fandoms are called.

What does it mean to be a part of these fandoms? I like to list them as symptoms: Con fever, Tumblr addiction, Twitteritis, a strange blend of insomnia and chronic fatigue, an inability to talk about anything else, failure to explain your favorite show in less than a three page monologue.

It sounds funny, but considering I suffer from all of these symptoms, I can tell you it’s true.

And it also sounds kind of scary, doesn’t it? No one should be that invested in fictional characters, but as many of you are avid readers, I think you can see how one would slip from being a fan into that other, darker, scarier category of devotee.

So, should we shut down Tumblr and disband all fandoms until people can learn a little self-restraint?

Absolutely not.

You might not believe it, but fandoms are important. And they do a great many things for the people involved with them.

As someone who’s an introvert, who’s a little socially awkward, who’s always looked at the world a little bit differently, fandom is my kind of place.

I’ve met some of my best friends through various fandoms. Some of them I haven’t even met face-to-face yet. We’re in an age now where that’s not as scary a thought as it used to be, and seeing as a lot of us frequent the same blogs, I can probably say the same things about many of you. But if geography is our only obstacle, that doesn’t seem like such a bad friendship, does it?

Because of fandom, I’ve learned to analyze character motivations and pick apart dialogue. I’ve gotten better at hypothesizing and looking for clues or foreshadowing.

It’s like everything your high school English teacher wanted you to do in ninth grade, but voluntary.

And it’s made me a better writer. Being that involved in something has taught me to look at what works and what doesn’t, to see how a creator can build a character from the ground up, to notice which ones fans like instantly and which ones they don’t. I experience these feelings as a member of the audience, and I crunch that information, accumulate it, and put it to use in my own stories.

Fandom is probably the only disease people suffer from that they actually enjoy. It’s emotional and full of drama and punctuation abuse, but it’s also full of friends who get you on every level. They understand why you’ll spend an hour playing a ten second clip over and over again, crying in the dark, unable to just close that tab and make the pain go away.

In fandom, you can be exactly who you are. You can be weird and loud and passionate. You’ll be admired for pulling out the tiniest detail and writing an essay on its significance. You can be the biggest nerd on the internet, and people will flock to you because you speak their language.

There are fewer walls thrown up between people in fandom. And you’ll wonder how someone on the opposite side of the world can be so exactly like you it’s as if you’re related. You’ll find yourself wanting to travel all over the country, just to rub elbows with the people you’ve befriended.

Fandom isn’t just for those people who sit behind their computer all day and have trouble forming sentences longer than four words at a time. It’s for people who are looking for like-minded individuals that understand you and can speak as passionately about something as you can.

Fandom is a home, a safe place on the internet, and it’s importance to the individual — especially if that individual is a writer — cannot be discounted.

I belong to many fandoms, and my involvement varies between each one. But I wouldn’t give it up, not for anything. Some of my closest confidantes live in that magical world, and although it may seem a bit scary and strange from the outside, it really is like a home away from home.

Are you a part of a fandom? Do you just experience it from the outside? Do you have any fandom-related stories to share?

Thanks, Karen!

Karen is a fantasy writer from New York – no, not the city. She spends her days working at a job she loves, selling antiques and collectibles online. But at night she transforms into the Midnight Novelist. She enjoys creating stories about everything from frolicking faeries to gruesome mass murderers. On her blog, she writes about TV, movies, music, books, art, and just about anything she finds interesting. Comments, discussions, and the sharing of stories are always welcome.

In addition to her day job (and her not-so-secret identity as a writer), she also works for It’s a pop-culture website where writers are truly passionate about the fandoms they cover. There, she copyedits, reports news about Teen Wolf and Percy Jackson, writes columns, and is featured on multiple podcasts (all of which you can find on her Accomplishments page). There’s quite literally something for everyone over there, and her only word of warning is that it can cause obsession, insomnia, caffeine-addiction, and the inability to stop quoting your favorite TV shows.

You can follow her on Twitter here.
Her Facebook page is here.
Her Hypable profile is here.
And you can see all of her accomplishments as a writer on this page.

(Also, in the hopes that no one ever mispronounces her last name again, you’ll be delighted to know that you say it the same way you would say “wrought” – as in “wrought iron.”)

Novella? Short Novel? Does It Matter?

There are books of all sizes. Does its length and what you call it affect how marketable it is? (Image credit: Lynn Kelley Author via WANACommons.)

When I was writing my first novel, the now-retired ESTRA Corp., I had no idea about, well, anything writing related, really. I was just putting words on the page. I didn’t know about character or story arcs, the three-act structure (Which I sometimes believe to be a frivolous rule, depending on the story,) or word counts. I was just writing. Sometimes, I wish I could go back to that time. Everything seemed simpler. However, I know I’m a much better writer now than I was then, so I’ll take increased proficiency over ignorance any day.

Now, when I write, before I begin planning I consider what length of book I want to write. I use it as more of a guideline than anything else. I’ll set a goal to write a 50,000 word novel, and I may or may not reach that goal. I don’t put in extra fluff to reach my goals. I just tell the story. Or, well, tell and show the story, I suppose. Which brings me to my main point: You’ve written this manuscript, and it’s “x” number of words. Okay, so, what is it? Sure, it’s a book. It may be garbage or a masterpiece, but is it a novel? A novella? A novelette? I know the rules are pretty loose, and there is a basic guideline, and some of it depends on the genre in which you’re writing. But, I’m also curious from a marketing standpoint.

A few weeks ago I was perusing Facebook instead of writing, and someone mentioned they had written a novella and were wondering how to go about marketing it, or if it was even worth publishing a novella. Someone then responded by saying that they would sell more books by calling it a short novel instead of a novella.

I don’t know if I fully grasp that. So, because people see “short novel” instead of “novella”–two things that are essentially synonymous–people are more likely to click the “buy” button? I don’t know if I “buy” that (HA!). Does it really matter what we call our story, as long as it’s good? As long as we’ve done our job as writers and told a good story, does it matter if it’s a short story or novella or novel or epic novel? It’s a book with characters and plot and setting and conflict, what does it matter what we call it based on length? As long as it’s a good story, I don’t see how giving it a length-based identifier has any impact on how marketable the book is.

What about you? Do you buy books based on length? Does the “title” of its length impact what you perceive of it? Is a longer book better than a shorter book?

SUBMISSION CALL: Writers, Poets, Essayists, and Artists!

As some of you may know, I’m the publishing editor/book editor/and I format Kindle and print books for Eat Your Serial Press. Yeah, I wear a lot of hats. I like to stay busy.

Well, I’m announcing a new endeavor called “The Toast,” a literary magazine affiliated with Eat Your Serial Press. We’re looking for short stories (5,000 words or less), poems, essays, and art pieces along with features and interviews. We’ll also be looking to sell some ad space, but there will be more on that later.

We’re accepting fiction and non-fiction in all genres.

Submission Guidelines 

In the body of the email, please put:

Type of work (poem, short story, essay).
Title and genre of the work.
Word Count (Limit: 5,000 words).
Paste the story in the body of the email (No attachments, please).
You should receive a reply in no longer than two weeks. (Likely sooner).
Art pieces can be attached.

If you’re interested in submitting to “The Toast,” send an email to with the subject “Toast Submission.” (It should already be filled in for you).

As far as compensation, we can’t afford to pay you just yet. However, your work will be published and available to the masses, and with your help we can turn “The Toast” into something truly awesome.

The magazine will be a high-quality .pdf download, fully interactive with links, making it easier for the readers to access more of your work.

You work hard to put out quality work, and we work hard to make sure people see it.

The first issue is due out in April, so we will be accepting submissions until March 15th.

If you have any questions, feel free to drop a comment below, or shoot me an email.

Thanks! And I look forward to seeing some excellent submissions.