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: 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

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 www.facebook.com/jscollyer or follow her on Twitter @JexShinigami.

Fiction and blog found at jcollyer.wordpress.com and the Facebook event for ‘Fantasticon’, SciFi convention which will be Zero’s book launch, can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/715235208506964/?fref=ts

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

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 submissions.@maglomaniac.com 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.

An Update. Some Word Counts. Thrift Shop Books.

I know I haven’t been around on the blogosphere much lately. I’ve been pretty busy finishing up the first half of my senior year of college, which has been taking up the bulk of my time. Also, I’ve been doing a fair amount of writing, too. As I’ve said in the past, I’m a writer, not a blogger, but that doesn’t mean I need to be neglecting you guys.

But, honestly, I don’t really know what to blog about lately. I’ve been cooped up with myself doing so much writing that I haven’t been checking out a lot of happenings, which isn’t a bad thing, really. So, here’s what I’ve been up to:

  1. I finished the first draft of “The Rotten Apple” (Add it as “to read” on Goodreads!) It’s a few thousand words short of my goal,

    “The Rotten Apple” ready for edits!

    but word count doesn’t make a story. The book came to an end, and I refuse to back and fluff it up just to make it longer.

  2. I’ve gone back to my love of steampunk with a new book. It’s an alternate history book taking place during World War II at the siege of Bastogne. I’m only a couple thousand words in so far, but it’s coming along nicely. Because it’s the same characters in the same setting for an extending period of time, I’m really trying to focus on the characters as much as I can. I know what the climax is, but so far I’ve been leaving the rest up to pantsing, and the characters are developing nicely. It’s current title is Clockwork Winter, which looks like it’s going to stick so far.
  3. I found awesome books at Salvation Army and Goodwill! I’m not  sure why I never checked their for books before. Check it out:

These came to just under $3. (Click to view them larger)

These came to about $12! (Click to view larger)









I’m currently reading The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. It’s not the usual type of book I read, but I need to branch out and read a larger variety of books. I’m only about 8% through it, but I’m enjoying it well enough. The language and writing are really excellent so far.

So, that’s what I’ve been up to.

What about you? Are you doing anything exciting for the holidays? Did you write something cool? Did you read something cool? Do you have some fun news? Let’s hear it!