Links used above:
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:
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.
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!
It used to be–or so I’m told anyway–that a writer had to stick to the same genre in order to be successful. That they had to stay in that genre to build their brand, because there weren’t a lot of other ways to build that brand. The genre would, essentially, become the writer’s identity.
However, because of blogging, social media, and self-publishing, it’s become much easier for writer’s to jump genres. I find that I’m wandering to various genres myself, and I think that benefits me overall as a writer. So far, I’ve published science-fiction, fantasy, steampunk, YA, and flintlock fantasy, and I’m currently working on horror and cyberpunk as well. Being able to do this has allowed me to exercise my creative muscles and branch out. It also helps me to bring something new to these genres by bringing something from another genre. Be it a technique or what have you.
Broadening my spectrum of genres also means I can appeal to a wider audience, and potentially bring two audiences together. Perhaps I write a YA flintlock fantasy. Those who enjoy YA may potentially discover they enjoy flintlock fantasy as well, and that could therefore draw them to my other flintlock fantasy works. There is certainly no shortage of mixed-genre books now.
How do you feel about genre jumping? Do you write in multiple genres? If not, do you plan to? Have you ever discovered you like another genre by reading a mixed-genre book?
It’s almost my birthday, which means that I’m bound to get some presents. Presents are pretty cool, especially when one of them is the Steampunk Bible.
As someone who both writes and enjoys steampunk, this was an excellent present from my mother. It’s hardcover, and it’s shiny, and the pages are crisp and glossy, and it’s really nice. There are excellent photos and descriptions as well.
At first, my wife and I figured this isn’t the kind of book you read. This is the kind of book you leave out on your coffee table for glancing through, or for guests to look at, and to help explain just what the hell steampunk is. Although my family was still a little confused at this notion of steampunk. My grandmother thought it was something that you go see. Like a show. Which I suppose isn’t entirely inaccurate. Certainly there are tons of places to go see steampunk stuff. But I did my best to explain that it goes much, much deeper than that. Anyway, upon further inspection, I discovered that this book is very much worth actually reading. It’s got tons of little details and explanations and examples and historical things inside that are quite interesting. I considered myself to be pretty knowledgeable about the world of steampunk, but there is so much in here that I didn’t know, and I’m not even finished reading it yet. This book is certainly put together well, and I’m looking forward to seeing what else is inside.
It has been quite some time since I’ve had any sort of sale for my books, so I figured why not do it for all of them? All the Kindle formats of my books are just $0.99, so don’t miss out!
London Darkness: Infernal Inventions (London Darkness #1) – “One of my first introductions to steampunk and I do believe it did the genre justice. Stocking has a knack for making the background characters as likeable as the main characters. Fast paced action and a mystery to be solved on every page. The ending will *definitely* leave you wanting the next book.”
London Darkness: War of the Devices (London Darkness #2) – “Sequels are hard to do right, but War of the Devices was a perfect followup to the first book. It was full of action, tension, and mystery, and the ending left my jaw on the floor. I’m definitely looking forward to book 3!”
His Only Star – “HIS ONLY STAR is a gripping and enthralling tale of two kids who run away from home. It’s dark, deep, and realistic. It’s a roller coaster of emotion, and I just couldn’t put it down for one second. The story is poignant and emotional, and it’s one of those texts that stay with you long after you read it. I highly recommend this novella!”
Blood On My Hands: A Collection of Short Stories – “Wow! What a mix of amazing stories. Mr. Stocking has opened a door into yet another room of his creative psyche and given us a glimpse of some of the tenacious, complex, and slightly twisted characters that live there. The courageous and sharp Sarah on through the free living journalist who gets the tip he didn’t want. Hop in, folks! Stocking will take you for one hell of a ride!”
It didn’t take long for me to fall into my old blogging habit of… well… not blogging. Oh well. I’m a writer, not a blogger. I love you guys and girls, but I need to write some fiction! But I’ll be sure to keep you all in the loop.
Anyway, speaking of keeping you all in the loop! I published London Darkness: War of the Devices Saturday! Woohoo!! Go check it out! Yeah, I know, I spaced on blogging about it. But I’m a busy guy, what can I say? Also, because of the book release, I gave the first book in the series away for free on the Kindle. And, well, it blew up! To a certain extent, anyway. Close to 500 downloads, and it reached #15 on the free science-fiction adventure category on Amazon, and #1 in the free steampunk category! So I guess that makes me a bestselling author. A free bestselling author.
Label it or not, it was pretty sweet.
So now I’m back to work on London Darkness: Automaton Rising, book #3 in the London Darkness series.
I also realized I need to start setting some legitimate deadlines for my work. Not having any agents or publishers shouting at me to get shit done by a certain date is nice, but I’m sure I could work more efficiently if I set some goals and deadlines for myself. Right now I’m like “Psh, I’m a self-published author. That’s the definition of freedom!” When instead I should be like “I’m a self-published author. I need to man up and get some work done in a timely manner!”
So, that’s what I’m off to do. Set some deadlines, write some words, fix up those words, sell those words, and drink some coffee.
The promotion for His Only Star is over, and I’m beyond pleased. So many people shared the sale on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, and wherever else. More people than I expected. It’s amazing to know that I have so much support, and I would absolutely love to do something like this again. Which, actually, will be this weekend.
Where I’m at right now: The promotion is over, so I’m hoping to see some reviews come in, and now I’m working on going through the final edits of London Darkness: War of the Devices. War of the Devices is set to be out this Saturday, actually. And, just for the occasion, the first book in the series, London Darkness: Infernal Inventions, will be free all day Saturday. So I’m really looking forward to seeing how that turns out.
And now, some final stats for the promotion:
My goal was to reach 500 downloads, which I didn’t reach. But I’m really not worried about it. I ended with 202 downloads, and broke into 4 of the distribution channels offered by Amazon. It’s amazing to think that people in the U.S./India, Germany, Canada, and the U.K. have copies of my book! I never expected it to go international.
Also, after seeing so many books ranked in the hundreds of thousands, and even millions, it was so great to see His Only Star ranked around 2,500 in the Free Fiction category. It was no best-seller, but it’s the highest rank any of my books have ever achieved! So, it’s safe to say that I’m beyond pleased with how everything turned out. It’s definitely a morale booster in a time where things like situations at my day job are bringing me down. Now I just hope things go as well with London Darkness: War of the Devices.
Just a quick update today. School starts up next week, so I’ve been getting ready for that, along with doing some serious writing on my post-apocalyptic new adult novel. Yup, that’s right, novel. I’m 10,000 words in, and I can tell this is no longer going to be a novella. I’m very excited about that.
I’m also very excited to say that His Only Star has received its first five-star review, along with two other five-star ratings. Here’s the review:
Pretty cool, eh?
Also, I bought Cherie Priest’s “Boneshaker,” Chuck Palahniuk’s “Fight Club,” And J. Elizabeth Hill’s “Bound.” “Bound” will be my first read by a self-published author. I need to start reading more indie/self-published works, seeing as how I’m a self-published author myself.
What’s a book you’ve read lately to which you would give 5 stars? Can you recommend any indie/self-published books you really enjoyed?
I had the chance to interview my good writer friend Deb E. I’ve known her for quite some time, and she’s been more than amazing to me. Whether it’s giving me constructive criticism on my work, or just hanging around my blog, I know I can count on her. Deb’s debut novel, “Healer’s Touch,” is set to be released at the end of the month (just 9 days away!), and it looks pretty great. Here’s a little info:
For Llew to heal, something must die.
For Llew, a young pickpocket living as a boy on the streets of a wild mining town, the real problems begin when she survives the gallows. Forced to run, she persuades a group of fighters escorting a young girl to her wedding to let her travel with them. On the journey Llew faces hostile tribesmen, desperate bandits and, the enmity of her own companions should they find out who and what she is: a girl, a fugitive, and a feared Healer. One of the fighters, Jonas, possesses superhuman prowess as a warrior, and carries the knife with the power to ‘kill the unkillable’; the knife that can kill Llew. Despite being of races at war for centuries, they are drawn to one another.
During the journey, they encounter Braph the magician, Jonas’ half-brother and potential nemesis. He pursues them as they journey across the sea to the continent of Phyos and just when Llew finally feels safe, he abducts her. Now he will take what is most precious to him: her blood.
Healer’s Touch is a fast-paced mix of fantasy, steampunk and Wild West adventure – and even a dash of romance!
I’m really looking forward to reading this! Anyway, take it away, Deb!
Where were you born and where do you call home?
Born: Lower Hutt, New Zealand. Home: Dunedin, New Zealand.
What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 30 or less words, what would you say?
My first book to be released (and therefore most recent!) is called “Healer’s Touch”. To sum up: It’s the tale of a girl with the power to heal, and a man uniquely equipped to kill, a story of acceptance of oneself and others.
If you gave one of your characters an opportunity to speak for themselves, what would they say?
Llew would say something like: “Really?! You have to keep doing this to me? I am sick and tired of all the crap you keep putting me through. Wait till I get my hands on you! You sick, twisted…!” (puts her back in the box) Yeah, something like that.
Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
Yes and yes. “Healer’s Touch” is book one of a series, so I am currently working on book two, currently titled “Warrior’s Touch”.
Do you prefer ebooks, paperbacks or hardcover?
I really like the convenience and lower pricing of ebooks.
What book would you like to read again?
I’m looking forward to revisiting Brent Weeks’ “The Black Prism”. It’s the most recent read in which I really felt a connection with any of the characters and was pulled along by the story. That’s what I look for any time I pick up a book.
What book are you currently reading and in what format (ebook/paperback/hardcover)?
Currently reading (and nearly finished) “London Darkness: Infernal Inventions” by Christopher Stocking (yes, this one!), in ebook format.
Who designed the cover of your book?
Well, the design was a collaborative effort between myself and my publisher, Kristell Ink. The illustration was done by: Matt Donnici. You can find him on Deviant Art at: http://mattdonnici.deviantart.com/
Do you buy a book by the cover?
I have done. But these days I tend to read reviews before committing my money.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Three pieces of advice: Read. Write. Finish.
Did you have a favorite toy as a child?
I had a black toy horse that I called “Black Magic” way before the America’s Cup boat came into existence… I had him for years. And when his mane and tail got warn and started to fall out, I replaced them with cotton… Think he actually looks better now. Yep, I still have him.
Any pets that you would like to tell us about, share a pic?
I got a dog during my high school years. His name was Griffin and he was a Cairn Terrier. He was with me through my final school year, through going flatting (renting a house with “room-mates”, or “flatties”), through meeting my husband, entering the real world of working, buying a new house, being pregnant… He didn’t quite make it to the “having a child” part… I mean, he was here physically, but mentally he was pretty well gone by then. Fact is, he was with me through some of my biggest life changes to date. We had fourteen years together. More than two years have passed now and I still miss him.
White wine or red?
Either! Anything, except beer is good with me!
Coffee or tea?
So you like to cook? Do you have a favorite food?
I make a pretty mean spinach curry – Chicken Sagwala
Vanilla or chocolate ice-cream?
What do you normally eat for breakfast, of do you skip it and get straight to work?
Porridge with cinnamon, banana & blueberries!
Sleep in or get up early?
I wish I could sleep in… I have a toddler.
Laptop or desktop for writing?
It varies. I am lucky enough to have a tablet PC at my disposal. More often than not I sit at the kitchen table. But I do have the option to handwrite on it and have been known to lie in the sun doing just that. Typing is faster, though.
Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
If I can, I really like going down to the university and setting up in one of the libraries. The studious atmosphere really helps me focus.
Your thoughts on receiving book reviews – the good and the bad –
I love receiving criticism when I’m still writing – that’s how I improve, right? That’s how I know where I need to push myself.
After it’s published… I’m really nervous about the negative reviews. Ultimately, though, reviews are how we get readers (hopefully), so I’m all for them… if they’re positive (o:
Do you have a day job as well?
Yep. I’m lucky to be a mum to a toddler (2yrs, 4mths as I type this). He keeps me very busy – and busier by the day. I also work a part-time job compiling information about building electrical systems and light-fittings and stuff… riveting. The great thing about “real work” is that you actually get to have thoughts of your own, so I get a small window to think about writing without the pressure to be achieving my word-count, as I do during my “writing time”, aka “Toddler snooze time”.
Do you ever experience writer’s block? If so, how do you combat it?
Not so much “block” as confusion… sometimes so much is trying to go on all at once in my story, it can take a bit of work to tease events apart and spread them out. Or, like at the moment, something just doesn’t feel right and I’m not 100% certain what it is… Makes progress slow, but not impossible.
Outliner or pantster?
A bit of both. I like having a plan, but I know I can’t predict exactly how characters will react until I’m in the moment, so I expect some seat-of-the-pants writing…
Where is one place in the world that you would really love to visit someday?
Scotland. Would love to see my roots. And Canada – and see Our Lady Peace LIVE! Of course, I’d love to fly them over to this side of the globe, too…
List 3 of your favorite movies?
“Videot From UHF”
“A Pyromaniac’s Love Story”
What is a movie or TV show that you watched just recently and really enjoyed?
Most recently really enjoyed TV show would be “Sons of Anarchy”, season five. Really brutal viewing, but really good!
Where can your readers stalk you?
My blog: http://deberelene.com
My facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/deberelene
My Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6576139.Deb_E_Howell
Is your book in Print, ebook or both? It will be in both.
I don’t know my Amazon, B&N, etc links, yet… Keep an eye on any of the above links to find out when they go live!
I have to say, it’s been an exciting few days for me. Yesterday, “His Only Star” went live in print, and for the Kindle, and now today I get to show you all the cover of “London Darkness: War of the Devices.” And, well, it’s great. Really great. I love it. And, it was free.
That’s right! It was free! I entered a competition for Curiosity Quills Press; a bunch of amazing literary people who publish cool stuff. And I won a free copy of Bone Wires, by Michael Shean, and a free cover design, or blog header from Michael, seeing as how he’s a graphic artist.
So, I don’t want to keep you guys any longer from feasting your eyes on this brilliant cover. Here it is:
(Click on the picture to view it larger)
What do you think? Looks like Ryker may have his hands full in this next book!