Promo_TomorrowNew York City, 1950 – Detective Naomi Blake sits in her office, craving a cigarette. Her phone rings. Mark Falco, owner of Falco Corporation, is in interrogation room one. Falco Corp. trucks have been spotted making late-night deliveries to an out-of-business warehouse, and the NYPD wants answers. Mark lawyers his way out. As always.

A woman comes in to the station. Says her husband is missing, possibly kidnapped. Before she can say by whom, a mysterious man bursts through the doors and sinks three slugs into her head, then vanishes. Even picks up the shell casings. The work of a professional.

Suspicious activity by Falco Corp., a missing husband, and a murdered woman. Three separate events? Or a concoction so vile it could mean the end of peace and justice in New York City?



“The Rotten Apple is a great noir novel that follows Naomi, a truly strong and badass female detective. Stocking immediately does a great job of putting you in the shoes of the main character, with constant subtle reminders that she’s a New York City cop in the 1950s. He also shows us a female character that’s tough but also has a past that makes her vulnerable. Very few supposed “strong” female characters are quite as well written as Stocking’s MC.

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.”

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.

Thanksgiving, Again

Another Thanksgiving has arrived, which means it’s time–like for many others–to mention what I’m thankful for:

1) My wife, Casey — I wouldn’t be where I am today without my wife. Her love for literature has pushed me to read things I never may have read, and I’m convinced that her love for books is what pushed me to be a writer. I’m thankful for her every single day.

2) Being a writer — I’m thankful that I live in a time and place where I’m able to be a professional writer. I’ve been lucky enough to have been raised in an area where there have been options available to make so many of my accomplishments possible.

3) Friends and family — This sort of goes without saying, but I’m thankful for everything my family has done for me. They support me and have helped me to achieve so much.

There are too many things to list, really. I’m thankful for you, the readers. I’m thankful for everyone who has stopped by here, read what I have to say, and, whether you came back or not, I’m just glad you took a little time for me. So, thank you, everyone, for everything.

Proof Is In The Mail; Stuck In A Slump

Today is both a good day, and a not so great day. I wouldn’t say it’s a bad day. Not by a long shot. In fact, today is more good than not so great.

(I love a good list!)

  • Good thing #1: The proof copy of “His Only Star” is on its way! In fact, I just received the email saying it’s shipped. I’m very excited about receiving it. Holding it in my hands. Looking at my name printed in big white letters along the bottom of the cover. Seeing my words sprawled across each and every page. It’s very exciting. It’s also on Goodreads! So be sure to go add it as “to-read!” For those of you who missed the excerpt, check out Chapter 1 here!
  • Good thing #2: I’ve found some direction for “Dirigible Air Corps: Dreadnought.” I had an epiphany this morning which helps me give the novella some structure. I also realized that the only steampunk thing about this novella is that they’re on a dirigible. That hardly makes it steampunk. I need to jazz it up with epic inventions, and faith in technology. Hopefully I’ll get some planning done today. However, I need to continue working on edits for a friend. I really need to work on that.
  • Good thing #3: My wife and I helped my dad paint his dining room ceiling. Not writing related, but still nice. It was good to spend some time with him. We usually spend more time with my wife’s family.


  • Not so great thing #1: I’m in somewhat of a slump. I’m finding these slumps occur sometimes, and are impossible to predict. I just don’t feel like writing. I know I need to get some writing done. And there is editing to be done, both on my work and a friend’s. However, the excitement isn’t there. I think I may just be a little burned out. I hammered out “His Only Star” and over 20,000 words of “Dirigible Air Corps” with almost no break, and now I’m just a little wore out. This will be a good chance to get some reading done. I’m stuck in the middle of the “Leviathan” trilogy, the “Divergent” trilogy, “The Lunar Chronicles,” and “The Vampire Chronicles.” I have a lot of reading to get done.

But, for now, it’s Saturday, it’s unusually warm for this time of year, and I have my coffee. I might just take this day for me.

Gifts Given To A Writer

The holidays are over, the gifts are given, and everyone is happy. Well, hopefully everyone is happy, anyway. I do believe I made out quite well this Christmas.

I’m a firm believer that books are one of the best gifts you can give a writer. Writers, such as myself, are starvings artists. So, sometimes money is a bit too tight to buy books. But this year my family really came through for me. I didn’t get a lot of books, but I got books I really wanted, which is so much better. In this case, quality is much better than quantity.


Image via Amazon

Book #1: Behemoth by Scott Westerfield

Given to me by my beautiful wife, Behemoth is book #2 in the Leviathan series, and I can’t wait to dive into it.



Image via Amazon


Book #2: On Writing by Stephen King

I’ve wanted this book for some time, and now that I have it I’m having a hard time putting it down. Knowing how Steven King made it big is really inspiring. And, while I know that just because this way worked for him doesn’t mean it will work for me, it’s amazing to know that King went from a broke, married, father of two to the greatest horror writer of our time.

Image via Amazon

Book #3: Ernest Hemmingway: On Writing

I didn’t know this book even existed until I received it as a gift, which, if it’s half as good as King’s “On Writing” I’ll be more than pleased. This book, while only about two hundred pages, is full of hints and tips for writers, and is also full of quotes by other famous writers. This is another book I can’t wait to read.

All in all it was a successful Christmas. Presents were exchanged, and I got to hang out with my wife’s side of the family. I still need to visit my side of the family, most of whom lives a distance away from us, which means more Christmas excitement still lies ahead!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, and I hope a happy and successful new year awaits.

Did you get any great gifts for writers? Did you give any great gifts for writers?

Writing: It’s More Dangerous Than You Think

My wife is a psychology minor at school, so she always tells me the most interesting things about how people act. One of the most interesting things (because it applies to me) she told me was that writers and artists are 18x more likely to commit suicide.

Whoa, right?

It’s interesting to think about all the great writers who have committed suicide. I think one of the more famous ones was Sylvia Plath. I’ve yet to read much of her work, but I hear it’s quite dark. I also found this list if 10 famous authors who committed suicide that I thought to be quite interesting.

So remember, dear writers, you have everything to live for! 🙂

Excerpt: Project Oliver

After reading and watching The Perks of Being a Wallflower, it inspired me to try my hand at a YA novel. So, here is the first chapter of what is currently “Project Oliver.” I have yet to come up with an actual name for it.


“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?”

Trista smiled. “Come on, Oli; we’d better hide if we’re going to sneak onto this train.”

Oliver and Trista rolled off the train tracks and ducked behind the bushes. The deep chug of the train grew louder as it drew closer. The black smoke from the lead car rose in a thick plume, and was almost invisible against the night sky.

Trista laced her fingers with Oliver’s. He looked at their connected hands, and then at Trista. He hoped she didn’t notice his palm was sweaty.

“Ready?” she asked.

Oliver nodded.

“Jump on three. One, two, three!”

Oliver pushed off the ground and leapt into the air with Trista. He grabbed onto the side of the rail car and wriggled his legs to squirm in. After he swung his legs up, he grabbed onto Trista’s shoulder and pulled her into the train car with him. Trista and Oliver panted.

“Good job,” she said. She patted Oliver on the back and set her leather backpack down. She leaned on the wall and slid to a sitting position.

Oliver looked at her. Even in the dark train car she was beautiful. Her blonde hair hung to her upper back, and he swore he could see her bright green eyes shimmering in the darkness.

“Are you alright, Oli?” she asked.

Oliver blinked twice, and dropped his backpack to the floor. He sat next to her and rubbed his eyes. “Yes,” Oliver answered. “I just never thought I’d be doing this.”

“It’s the right thing to do.”

Oliver looked at Trista. “I trust you.”

Trista smiled. “Good. Believe it or not, I know what I’m doing.”

Oliver almost laughed. He thought of his parents instead. His mother, mostly. He didn’t like to think of his father, who ran out on them just six months before. But his mother had always been so loving and caring. Most of the time. “Where do you think this train will take us?” Oliver asked.

Trista shrugged and opened her bag. “I’m not sure. I don’t really care, either. As long as it’s away from this place.”

Oliver didn’t know exactly what she was running from. She didn’t really like to talk about it. He knew it must be pretty bad, though. One night she showed up at his house and told him to run away with her. She was sobbing and her nose was bleeding. He never could say no to her. Especially when she was crying. He tried to think of how many times he’d seen her cry, but thought it might be a bad idea. This was supposed to be a happy occasion. Running away meant freedom for the both of them. He just wished he knew what she was trying to free herself from.

Oliver reached into his backpack and took out a book. Frankenstein. It was too dark to read, but he loved the way it felt. The paperback cover was cracked and worn, but he loved how the rough edges felt. He loved the feel of it almost as much as he loved the contents of the book.

Trista rested her head on Oliver’s shoulder. He looked at her golden hair as it fell over his shoulder and chest; as it tickled his neck and ear.

“Thanks for coming with me,” she said. She yawned. Her breath smelled like cigarettes.

“Of course,” Oliver said. “I couldn’t let you go out on your own.” He set his book in his lap and leaned his head against hers. “Do you think they’ll miss us? Our parents, I mean.”

Trista lifted her head and looked at Oliver. “Your mother might.” She pulled her legs back and wrapped her arms around her knees. She then buried her face in her arms.

“I’m sorry,” Oliver said. “It’s just… I don’t… What are you trying to get away from?”

Trista looked at Oliver. “I need a cigarette.” She reached into the front pocket of her bag and pulled out a package of cigarettes, and a red lighter. She stood and walked to the door of the train car where she sat and dangled her legs over the side. Trista put a cigarette in her mouth and lit it. She took a deep drag and watched as the smoke was sucked from the car.

Stupid, stupid, stupid, Oliver thought. He sat next to her and stared at the ground as it sped by. He tapped his fingers on his legs, imagining he were pressing the keys of his piano at home. He’d been gone for only a few hours and he already missed his music. He always told his mother he wanted to be a famous pianist someday. Music and books. That was all he cared about. And Trista.

Trista held the pack of cigarettes out. “Want one?”

Oliver looked at Trista, and then at the cigarettes. “I don’t know,” he said. “I’ve never smoked before.”

“You’ve never run away before, but here you are.”

Oliver shrugged and took one. He smelled it. It smelled like Trista’s breath, which reminded him of his brief moment of ecstasy when Trista rested her head on his shoulder. He put the cigarette between his lips and leaned in so Trista could light it. He took a drag and immediately erupted in a fit of coughing. He pulled the cigarette from his mouth and lay back, hoping it would ease his choking.

Between his coughs, he could hear Trista laughing. When his chokes eased, he sat up and smiled. “Glad to see my misery humors you.” He took a smaller drag of his cigarette and held it in. It burned his lungs and his throat, and it made his head spin a little. He exhaled and watched as the smoke was sucked away.

“Good?” Trista asked.

Oliver shrugged. “You make it look pretty good.”

Trista smiled and looked out of the train car. Oliver leaned forward and saw the smile fade. “Oli,” she said.


“When you get your box of stars…” she flicked her cigarette away and looked at him. “…don’t forget about me.”

What is Literature?

In my last post I asked if there erotica had any literary value. Interestingly enough, I was accused of asking that as an attempt at scouting out the genre before delving into it, which isn’t the case.

Either way, I realized that first we must define literature, if possible.

In school we are given certain texts that are defined by society as literature. Whether it’s Mark Twain, Shakespeare, or whatever the culture may deem “good enough” to be literature.

I operate under the belief that literature is defined by the reader. While the most learned of critics may set a standard as to what literature is, the individual reader sets their own standard of literature. The reader absorbs text differently, and while an author may portray use some symbolism, there’s no guarantee the reader will take the same meaning from it. What one reader may think is literature, another may think it is garbage.

That leaves the answer to the question up to you, the reader. What do you define as literature?

Does Erotica Have Literary Value?

Erotica? Bondage? Inappropriate? Terrible? Seductive? Fifty Shades of Horrible?

There are all a few terms that have been known to describe the erotica genre. I’m sure there are plenty more, but I don’t care to delve into those at the moment. I’ve never read erotica, ever. It’s not for me. I have absolutely no desire to read it, at all. I’m sure some of it may be great, well-written, and amazing; but, I have no need to know what other people’s sex lives are like. If I want to know that, I’ll get on Facebook.

But my question is: Does erotica have literary value? Are there hidden messages behind the words? Is there a deeper meaning? I’m sure many people just see it as a way to send their minds off on a sexual adventure they may not have otherwise. They may see it as a secret pleasure they only partake in late at night with the lights off while hidden under a blanket. But is it literature? Are there themes behind it? Character development? Can it be written as satire?

As I said, I’ve never read it before, but I am curious as to whether or not it can have literary meaning, or if it’s just, as some might call it, “smut” to be read for pleasure-reading only.

What do you think?