Sick Part I Audiobook in Production

Sick Part I Audiobook in Production

I’ve been getting requests for The SICK Series in audiobook format and I’m thrilled to announce that I have partnered up with Tiffany Marz to bring Part I of the series to life.

Tiffany Marz is a talented and versatile actress, model, and singer. She was the first artist I listened to and I knew she was ‘the one’ right away. She has an amazing range of voices and accents, and her production is mint.

I will be interviewing Tiffany on the blog soon. I know you’ll all be interested in learning more about her.

Also, I will be writing about the process of creating an audiobook for your self-published books. Leave any questions you want me to address in the comments section below.

 

Ready for The SICK Series in audio?

There will be FREE promocodes available.

Click here to be notified when the audiobook is released.

No time to read words?

Absorb fiction, non-fiction, and more with Audible.

Listen in the car, at the gym, or on your dog walk.

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Marquis de Sade on Perverse Writers

Marquis de Sade on Perverse Writers

As I was finishing the first drafts of the third part of SICK, I picked up the infamous Marquis de Sade. I had been wanting to read him for years. Would he be as depraved as I had been told?

The first thing I noticed was the similarities between his characters’ (or de Sade’s) logic and the philosphies of John Branch (my MC). I never read de Sade before, but hundreds of years later, the argument between nature and religion is the same. Do we live according to the instincts and impulses we were born with, or do we live according to what society deems as acceptable?

Despite the obsessive focus on anal sex and the tiresome naïveté of the protagonist, who, though heroic, gets duped time and time again, de Sade writes with admirable zeal and devotion. Most surprisingly, I felt an undertone of love throughout his writing for every facet of this confusing existence we humans face.

But of all the quotes I collected from my readings, I thought my fellow writers, those who are brave enough to go to the darkest depths of the human psyche and those who aren’t afraid to explore the places others dare not tread, would appreciate this one the most.

“…he is like unto those perverse writers whose corruption is so dangerous, so active, that their single aim is, by causing their appalling doctrines to be printed, to immortalize the sum of their crimes after their own lives are at an end; they themselves can do no more, but their accursed writings will instigate the commission of crimes, and they carry this sweet idea with them to their graves: it comforts them for the obligation, enjoined by death, to relinquish the doing of evil.”

 

I believe de Sade is taking stab at himself here. No doubt the public thought he wrote solely for these reasons, and he was mocking them. It was obvious to me that his drive to write was fueled by a calling much more profound than the reasons he mentions here, though I’m sure the thought of his ideas propogating into the future put a smirk on his face at the time of his death.

Since I first began writing, I often wonder why I go to such dark places. I never expected or intended to. I outlined my theories in this post here. But, I think what is important about de Sade and books like SICK, is to face the ugliest of humanity, to seek the truth no matter how horrific it is. No matter how hard we close our eyes, our sins will not go away. Sex slavery still exists. War, torture, and vice persist. There has been no decrease in the atrocities of the human world since de Sade’s time. That is why we still must write about them. That is why we must rip off the covers we hold so tightly to our chins. Maybe one day we will figure out why we keep harming each other, why we keep destroying the world, and and we continue denying the truth about ourselves.

 

 

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How to Become a NY Times Bestselling Author with Writing Coach Anna David

How to Become a NY Times Bestselling Author with Writing Coach Anna David

I can’t tell you how excited I am to have Anna David here today. I’ve been working with Anna for about a year now and it has been the greatest honor. She’s a quick-witted, candid writer and an inspiring voice in the addiction recovery field. She’s also one of the funniest, kindest, and wisest people you’ll ever meet. She is currently the Editor-in-Chief of In Recovery Magazine, the host of the Recover Girl Podcast, and is the coach to the next batch of authors to hit the NY Times Bestsellers List.

Almost every writer I know has fantasized seeing their name on the NY Times Bestsellers List, but most writers have no idea how to get there. You can’t arrive somewhere you’ve never been before without a map. Anna David has mapped out a step-by-step method to take aspiring writers from obscurity directly to a publishing contract. I have sat in on her courses and I can tell you her information is like gold.

Learn all about her first-hand publication experience, her advice to aspiring writers, and how you can join her exciting new coaching program in this interview.


Interview with Anna David

Did you always want to become a writer? When did you decide that was what you wanted to do?

Always. When I was seven, I saw in the Guinness Book of World Records that the youngest author to publish a book was six and I was devastated that I couldn’t be the one to set the record. Of course, I didn’t finish writing my first book for another 20 or so years. There was never any question in my mind about what else I would do. I had no other skills! Everyone told me it was a bad idea—my dad never stopped talking about how I needed to go to business or law school—but I didn’t listen.

When did your drug abuse begin and how long till it spiraled out of control?

My coke use got bad when I was in my late 20s but I had loved it from the first time I tried it, when I was 16. I didn’t do it regularly until I was about 27 but the way I thought about it was never “normal”: I was obsessed with it. When I started doing it alone—with just my two cats, Camel Lights, Amstel Light, vodka and a whole lot of paranoia for company—it was definitely out of control. Though in many ways it was out of control from the beginning, in terms of how I thought about it.

After you got help and became involved in the world of recovery, what made you decide to focus your life and writing around addiction and recovery. Was it scary to ‘recover out loud’ as they say?

I never thought about it, really. I’ve always been a chronic confessionalist, telling the whole world my private business without realizing they may not care or it may not be appropriate. And I’ve always written about my own life, even when I was writing fiction—whether I was fictionalizing my own experiences or, in the case of my second novel, writing fiction around a world I’d researched. Addiction and recovery was my experience and so that was my material.

CHEAT SHEET FOR WRITERS

6 STEPS TO BECOMING A NY TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR

 

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Do you feel like your experience with drug addiction has made you a better writer? How?

I don’t think so. I will tell you that my writing was God awful when I was high. I used to do coke and then try to write screenplays and TV specs and I would write these ridiculous specs of shows I’d never seen. One day, not high, I came up with a novel idea: to write a spec of a TV show I actually watched. I wrote that one sober and suddenly had a slew of agents fighting over me. Turns out drugs made me a TERRIBLE writer.

In my opinion, the only thing that makes someone a better writer is reading. And writing. And rewriting. Mostly rewriting.

Party Girl, a roman à clef novel about your cocaine addiction, is about your crazy life as a celebrity journalist in LA, and the dysfunctional relationships that ensued. How did this idea become a reality?

My first job when I got sober was as a columnist for Premiere magazine, writing a column called Party Girl. It seemed hilariously ironic to me that my whole life I’d been a wild party girl and as soon as I became someone who went to meetings and coffee and hung out with her cats and became, in many ways, suddenly boring, I was suddenly wearing the “party girl” moniker. It struck me that this would be a great premise for a novel: a girl gets a job writing about her wild and crazy life right when she stops being wild and crazy and so she has to create a persona based on who she used to be. I had that idea and so I just sat down and wrote it, in about nine months.

I know my readers, most of whom are aspiring authors, are dying to hear about your publication experience. Can you give a brief outline of your steps to becoming a published author–from writing process, to agent, to NYT Bestsellers List?

It was a very different world when I got into it. First of all, there were magazines—that people actually read. Also there were far fewer writers. People weren’t writing blogs that suddenly made them famous. Social media didn’t exist. And I wrote for a lot of magazines so agents knew my work. I was lucky enough to have two agents who wanted to sign me by the time I finished writing Party Girl. I went with the agent I preferred and she sold my book to my top choice publisher (Regan Books, then a division of Harper Collins) within a week. It was dreamy. But my commonalities with Cinderella ended there. Judith Regan ended up being fired in the biggest scandal to hit publishing a few months before my book came out and the book ended up being released under a fake imprint that HarperCollins invented for my release. People talk about being orphaned when their editors switch jobs. This was like the orphanage being burned to the ground! My next book deal was half the size of the first and it wasn’t until my NY Times bestseller, in 2010, that I felt things even out again.

What do you think is the most important thing for a writer to do if they want to land a deal with an agent or major publisher?

Write the best proposal you can. Have creative ideas for promotion. Know the books in your genre that did well and try to create one that fills a void those books did not. And of course sign up for my coaching program!

Now your coaching writers to follow the same path to the NY Times Bestsellers List. What kind of stories will make the best fit with your methods?

Anyone writing a memoir, particularly one by someone who’s writing about their biggest struggle and how they came out on the other side. Because of my audience, at least half of my clients are always writing addiction and recovery memoirs or at least stories that involved addiction. But hey, any trauma works!

What’s your best piece of advice for writers just starting out?

Besides apply for my program? Read as much as you can. Also, don’t get wowed by all the self-publish success stories you hear. If you’re like me, and your dream was always to publish a book, then you owe it to yourself to try for the big leagues. The mainstream route—getting published by one of the big New York publishers—is competitive but I tell everyone at least try that first and if it doesn’t work, you can always self-publish then. But your dream when you were little wasn’t to upload your book to Amazon and tell your friends to buy it; it was to sign a contract with a big publisher, work with an editor, have the big release—the whole nine.

If you try that and it doesn’t work. you then have a completed book proposal—which is the perfect outline to go the self-published route. But every writer deserves the opportunity to try.

Do we get to expect any new novels from you?

Nope! Pretty busy with my day job (editing In Recovery Magazine), speaking and coaching. But maybe one day (famous last words). 

WORK WITH ANNA

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Thanks so much to Anna David for sharing her story and her expertise with us.
Leave your comments and questions for her below.

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SICK – The Complete Series Now in Kindle and Paperback

SICK – The Complete Series Now in Kindle and Paperback

Hello dear readers.

I know some of you were waiting for SICK Part III to come out in paperback. Well, it’s here and it’s beautiful! In fact, I reformatted the entire series in a smaller 5 by 8 inch size with updated covers in a silky matte finish that eerily feels like human skin.

Signed copies will be available for purchase on this site at the end of November 2017.

REVIEW THE SICK SERIES

REQUEST REVIEW COPIES
Project 13Dark is Reborn and Fully Funded – Here’s how to get the first issue.

Project 13Dark is Reborn and Fully Funded – Here’s how to get the first issue.

You all may wondered about the status of 13Dark. The great news is the first issue is fully funded and is about to come out. Due to unfortunate personal circumstances, I won’t be appearing in the first issue as planned, but I will be in the final issue. So, get started with DEAD VOICES featuring fresh, unique dark fiction from Tice Cin, Ross Jeffery, and Samuel Parr. Do it now. There are only 3 days left to back us!

JOIN PROJECT 13DARK

Get Your Issue#1: DEAD VOICES, plus book bundles, original signed artwork, writing coaching, and more!
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THE STORY THUS FAR

Earlier this year, 13Dark ran an ambitious £32,000 kickstarter to launch a new publishing venture. This venture would publish the works of 13 incredible voices in dark fiction, including names such as Richard Thomas, Moira Katson, Christa Wojciechowski, Eden Royce and Veronica Magenta Nero. 13Dark would also introduce newer voices such as Samuel Parr, Andy Cashmore, Tice Cin, Matthew Blackwell, Jamie Parry-Bruce, Anthony Self, Tomek Dzido and Ross Jeffery. These amazing stories would be released one-per-month and be accompanied by incredible artwork from Shawn Langley. While the campaign wasn’t funded successfully, many fans flocked to stop 13Dark from falling by the wayside, helping us to raise money via purchasing writing coaching and book bundles from us directly. Further to that, we were humbled to find our writers and artists decided to stick by our side and help us get back on track. Now, 13Dark has been re-configured and reborn. Instead of 13 individual stories published over 13 months, there will now be 4 issues of 13Dark, with 3 stories per issue, and the last issue including 4 stories. All of work will explore the sacred and profane, the holy and damned, the beatific and the demonic.

 GET THE FIRST DIGITAL ISSUE  AND
YOUR NAME IN THE THANK YOU SECTION
WITH AS LITTLE AS £ 3 ($3.88)

 

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Dead Voices will feature fiction from Samuel Parr, Tice Cin and Ross Jeffery, three new but astonishing voices in dark, weird fiction. But don’t take our word for it, read some samples on the IndieGoGo page.

 

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A Sign of How Much You Love Your Dogs

A Sign of How Much You Love Your Dogs

Nicknames are a sign of affection in most cultures. I just got back from a 6-week trip to the US. I’m rarely away from my dogs for that long and I realized just how many names I call them during our conversations. As a solitary writer, I speak to my dogs more than anyone. If the amount of Spanglish and other assorted nicknames is any indication of how much I love them, I love them muchísimo. Here’s a list of them so far.

(more…)

Extracts from †3Dark Stories: ‘Bethesda’ & ‘Under Soil’

Extracts from †3Dark Stories: ‘Bethesda’ & ‘Under Soil’

Via the blog of Joseph Sale

Hello everyone,

We are on the homestretch of our Kickstarter Campaign, so, to thank all you AMAZING people out there who have backed us, we thought it was time to give you all a little taster of what’s coming. Here, below, we have two story extracts.

The first is from ‘Bethesda’, our Issue 1 story by Ross Jeffery. ‘Bethesda’ is a hopeful tale of religious experience, told with a unique and convincing narrative voice that becomes quietly, profoundly moving. ‘Bethesda’ is set in England.

The second, from ‘Under Soil’, by Tice Cin, is set in Cyprus. This dark fiction tale is woven from a Gothic style that slowly unveils a deeper meaning to it. Sensual and intense, this is as vivid as an acid trip, or else, a direct encounter with something beyond the shadow of our daily lives.

A post shared by Project 13Dark (@project13dark) on

Be†hesda – Issue I – Ross Jeffery

I’ve been watching him now for a while: the pale man, as he trudges back and forth from what I assume must be his car, or mini-van, parked at the foot of the hill, stopped from entering the promenade by the safety barrier. It was put in place to stop cars driving onto the beach to unload their cargo. There was a girl who I went to school with a few years back. Jessica was her name. She said that she saw an elderly man crushed to death by one of those cars; he’d been buried up to his neck by someone who’d gone off swimming, leaving him with just his head sticking out, encased in the heavy, wet sand. He didn’t see it coming. The driver didn’t see him either. The huge petrol-guzzling Range Rover drove over his head popping it like a tomato. She said that the blood sprayed out from under the car. But it wasn’t just the head, the Range Rover crushed his limbs beneath the sand. Dead on impact, she said. There was so much blood, it formed a tributary down to the sea. Apparently, it took a good few days for the tide to wash away the blood. It kept on coming back like the blood on Lady Macbeth’s hands. Gone one moment, back the next. Immediately after, the local authority met and decided there would be no more ‘incidents of this nature’ and so installed a barrier which put a stop to drivers bringing their cars down onto the beach. There were obviously complaints about it all, uproar in local neighbourhood partnership meetings, but in all honesty who can complain about the inconvenience of carrying your beach equipment a hundred yards after an elderly man has been crushed until he popped like a geyser.

X

The man just stands there now, looking out to sea. He raises his hand, shielding his eyes from the glare of the sun on the water. The light refracts off his large watch, sending a blinding beam across the beach in my direction. He lowers his hand and turns to his windbreaker. He reaches into the chest pocket of his jacket and pulls out a pack of cigarettes and a lighter. I can’t make out the brand but catch a flash of red from the pack: Marlborough Reds, strong stuff. He lifts the pack up to his mouth, his lips reaching out and claiming one of the sticks, he slowly pulls the pack away revealing this cigarette hanging from his mouth. In one fluid motion he moves the pack down and into his pocket and when bringing his hand up, opens the zippo lighter with a flickering flame. He inhales, deeply, two jets of smoke pour from his nostrils. With a flick of his wrist the zippo is closed and he places it in the breast pocket of his shirt. He stands there staring out into the surf. He only moves to lift the cigarette to and from his mouth; he doesn’t even move to pick up a child’s red Frisbee that lands a foot away from him. He stares out to sea. He doesn’t move when the children shout at him to pass it back, call him a weirdo, a paedo and a bunch of other derogatory remarks. Just stands there in his backdrop of Jamaican merchandise. I watch intently as one of the boys, the youngest, slightest one is pushed by his friends in the direction of their fallen Frisbee; I see the boy stiffen with terror as he moves, well pushed, towards the Frisbee. What does this say about the boy’s home life if he thinks that interacting with a stranger could cause him to suffer? A dog yaps near me as it jumps over the groyne I’m sitting on, distracting me from my observations. The owner of the dog says hello and good afternoon to me, I reply by moving my mouth but not speaking the words, and add a little head nod for good measure; I’ve always found that odd, total strangers saying hello. I used to shrink into my coat every time my father would say hello to total strangers when we were on family walks in the country. After the stranger is gone. I look back to the man. He’s gone too. The kids are laughing and punching the runt in the arms; he seems to have successfully acquired the red Frisbee. But where is the man?

 

 

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Under Soil – Issue II – Tice Cin

Her body is dead earth. It has the soft mulch of being left outside for too long and being rained on. The rain never stops. Flesh quivering, the panting of her breath moves hair that has fallen across her collarbone. Small needle marks blemish her skin and raise blood to its surface. Shooting over her legs, threads of blood meet each other as they flow from head to toe. The interlacing of red is divinely timed. Her colour is renewed and replaced interchangeably by the rain, then the blood, and back again. This skin is lace that embroiders the ground. This was the call and now was the time to answer. Standing up, her feet sink in soot, cleaving it free from the gravel beneath. Divinely timed. Heading for the hills, her footprints suck in blackness, leaving traces of her body in their trail. Bound between sky and earth she is the first of her kind. Sent to shake life from her skin, she moves through the heat of the day. As the sun pinches her cheeks she walks with it roasting and drying her offerings, liquid intermingling to infuse gravel with metallic clay. She stops. Knees hitting the ground, she pulls at her ribcage. First she becomes aware of the pressure on her thumbs as they grip skin and bone. Then that pain is nothing. The sound of skin peeling sends white noise crackling into reverb around her and when it stops she holds two ribs in her hands. An un-stringed cello, she buries them in the ground. Piled over bone, the slow erosion of hot rock here blends with soot, marbling and intertwining body with earth. The first death will be here. Fire the reward of the wrongdoer. Volcanic ash and hot sand carried the stench of carrion as brother buried brother out of sight. This palpable toil. The men warred so quickly yet with so much fire that their bodies were swallowed in dirt before they ever had the chance to make surrendering moves. The walking prayer. When making something level again is no longer a crime, then she will come. Balance hums into being. Her fingers are like wings that drag along the floor as she walks and her hair gestures forwards sensing each step that she needs to take. Marking the area of this sin was all she has to do. She is here to give to an earth that is dead. Her lips part, lower lip hanging like a corpse’s dislocated jaw. Out from her mouth rolls a shard of flame that lingers at her feet before rippling with open arms over the dry hill, leaving nothing but green behind.

———————————————————————————————

We hope you enjoyed those extracts and that it demonstrates what we intend to do with †3Dark. If you did enjoy them, please help us make this project come alive by offering a back or telling your friends about us:

Facebook

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We have TONS of incredible rewards to offer you, but more than that, you will get the satisfaction of knowing you are a true patron of the arts, have supported the work of aspiring authors, and are making a vision live.

Please note: Our incentive offer is still valid: if you can get a friend to back this campaign and then confirm it to our Facebook page, Twitter, or in the comments section of this KS, we will send you a FREE eBook from Dark Prophets Press!

Well, that’s enough from me. I hope you enjoyed reading this fine work. Onwards and upwards †3Dark.

Until next time!

Joe Sale

Project Lead, †3Dark

Visit the Campaign

Visit the 13 Dark Indiegogo page

to view the full details about the project.

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The SICK Part III Pre-order Sale is Live

The SICK Part III Pre-order Sale is Live

I’m not going to tell you the plot of SICK III, but I will tell you that this book is much more than a story about a very sick man. It’s about facing your demons and getting to know them. It’s about accepting your most depraved thoughts and urges. It’s about being courageous enough to live with yourself despite them. It’s about loving someone even if the world would condemn you.

Above all, it’s about living in the truth, no matter how frightening it is.

Get SICK Part III for 1/2 price

when you pre-order

till release day on 4/17

Are you ready for a journey into the dark?

Are you ready for a journey into the dark?

I told you all I had cool news for you. Here it is!

Project 13Dark has launched its Kickstarter Campaign. Tired of the same ol’ mainstream fiction? Find out all about this unique project that will showcase both dark fiction and art. Become part of movement that demands quality but also insists on paying the artists who create it. Watch the video and read on to find out how.

Lose yourself in a unique, epic world that will be created over 13 months. 

†3Dark is a unique project created by Joseph Sale that will showcase both the written and visual artwork of some of this century’s greatest creatives including Richard Thomas, Moira Katson, Eden Royce, Veronica Magenta Nero, Christa Wojciechowski as well as newer voices such as Matthew Blackwell, Andy Cashmore, Samuel Parr, Tomek Dzido, Anthony Self, Ross Jeffery, Jamie Parry-Bruce and Tice Cin.

All of their work will explore the sacred and profane, the holy and damned, the beatific and the demonic. 

The aim is to release 13 unique never-before-seen short stories, monthly, in digital and paperback form, accompanied by custom artwork from Shawn Langley, and with cover artwork by grandfailure. These editions will be beautifully produced, melding the visual and written elements, offering unique insight into our world. Each story will be edited and have a foreword written by me. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be part of something colossal. 

Visit the Campaign

Visit the 13 Dark Kickstarter page

to view the full details about the project.

Go!

For 13 Dark Backers 

Readers will be interested in…

In addition to 13 beautiful editions of short fiction with YOUR NAME in the ‘Thank You’ section, †3Dark will provide opportunities to receive limited edition signed copies of Dark Prophets Press titles, specially discounted subscriptions to Gamut Magazine (the prestigious neo-noir magazine created by Richard Thomas of Dark House Press) and much, much more!  

Writers will be interested in…

If you have a group of short stories or a novel coming out and need in-depth analysis, coaching, and intensive editing, you will want to snatch one of the top reward spots! The cost of the the pledge is far cheaper than you would ever have to pay for a writing coach and editor, plus you get all the free goodies listed above (and a T-shirt!)

We hope you’ll join us on this descent into the heart of the divine… and the dark. 

Join Us

Make the future of literary genre-fiction happen with your support 

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The Literary Magazine That’s Bringing the Short Story Back

The Literary Magazine That’s Bringing the Short Story Back

Meet STORGY – Tomek Dzido, Anthony Self, and Ross Jeffery

An orgy of stories, that is what STORGY Magazine is all about – a writhing pile of lithe, literary works and brazen art. You may have read my interview on STORGY a couple months ago. Guess who else was interviewed by STORGY. Chuck Palahniuk. Yep. That guy who wrote Fight Club (bringing me a tantalizing degree closer to a literary hero). You also may have seen my post about STORGY’s massive #EXITEARTH contest, and like me, wondered who are the orchestrators of this bacchanalian display of exceptional prose?

I asked the STORGY chaps to satisfy our curiosity about the mysterious beginnings of the literary magazine and what the team plans for the future. Trust me, this interview is even more interesting than it already sounds.

 

***

So, I think what everyone might first want to know is how you came up with the name Storgy and how does it express what you do?

Tony: Years ago when Tamagotchi’s were still a thing and a child could be entertained by asking it to use an imagination and play outside rather than thrust an iPad in front of its sweaty face, Tomek and I wanted to keep our writing skills relatively blunt (sharp is far too generous) so we came up with an idea to pitch each other story titles that we would write one thousand words for, read each other’s work and titter like pre-pubescent boys that had just seen a picture of a naked Abi Titmuss in the copy of the local Daily Star; from there we went on social media and asked people to pitch us titles and we thought we would need a name for this ludicrous endeavour so we thought of STORY and ORGY and put our hands together. Tomek had raspberry jam in one hand and some dog poo in the other, so the end result of his clap did not impress the startled cat he was trying to fellate at the time.

Tomek: Our goal was to devise a method through which to hone our writing skills, and as time moved on, we were fortunate to meet like-minded people who shared our passion for the short story and came on board. A lot of thanks goes out to these early contributors, without whom STORGY would not have flourished into what it is today. What we try to do is provide lovers of short fiction and film with a platform on which to publish their words and gain exposure. STORGY would not exist were it not for the dedication of all our authors and whilst there remains much for us to explore and many possibilities for expansion, we thank everyone who continuous to support us.

Storgy was founded in 2013. Since then, the magazine and its team have grown. In four years of publishing, what challenges has the magazine faced along the way?

Tony: Personally for me, it was the push of getting a story done on time, the self-doubt of it being any good – that nagging voice at the back of the mind that turns into a harpy witch, screaming at you that ‘you’re not good enough, you’ll never amount to anything, why are you crying?’ whilst clawing at your face with its curled, gnawed talons…that can be bit of a bastard. I look back at some of my own work and shudder at its sheer failings from a technical standpoint. As we grew though, we realised that other people were starting to get involved and sent us their own work. In its infancy stages, we had a core group of contributors and that gave us time to regulate and shuffle stories around, so that helped. We’ve just launched a YouTube channel and I’m trying to get things scheduled in for that, so the Harpy witch has evolved into a digital menace…

Ross: I came on board in 2016 to help head up STORGY’s social media and soon became head of our literary reviews. I’ve known Tony and Tomek for years even sharing a house with Tony at one point (what that man can’t make with a can of Mushy Peas and pasta isn’t worth eating). Secretly I was hoping that they would ask me to join this project and what do you know…they did. So as well as all the stuff Tony has spoken about above, Harpy Witches, Abi Titmuss and Tamagotchi’s, we also work with various publishers from huge organisations such as Bloomsbury and Penguin Random House, in addition to small Independent publishers such as SALT Publishing and Dodo Ink to name just a few. The guys (Tomek and Tony) have done a sterling job with a shoestring staff team – literally the two of them. So over the last year we have experienced expediential growth and the have taken a few more staff on – as well as expanding our reviewing team to keep up with demand from those publishers and authors that want to work with us.

Tomek: The greatest challenge was maintaining our motivation. A little over a year ago myself and Tony experienced a particularly trying period during which we questioned the existence of STORGY. During this dark time we were very close to shutting up shop. A desire to focus on our own writing and the complexities of juggling full time employment and matters of the heart drove us to the edge of insanity, but then Ross appeared and allayed our anxieties. Since then we have not looked back. The team has continued to grow and STORGY has gone from strength to strength. I am heavily indebted to Tony and Ross for all their hard work; the unsung heroes of STORGY without whom this ship would never sail.

Fight Club author, Chuck Palahniuk, said that STORGY is helping to ‘keep the short story alive.’ Do you think the short story form was dying, or at least in need of some fresh blood?

Tony: I think it’s fair to say that people enjoy reading a collection of short stories from their favourite author, or a novel by said favourite author, rather than take a risk and sample an anthology from writers they may not of heard of. I enjoy sci-fi and horror, so I regularly get a bumper anthology collection from loads of different authors. It helps you understand different style and prose, whilst opening your mind to different perspectives. Do you find duds sometimes? Of course you do. But that’s the nature of the beast. With publishers and distributors now using click-bait techniques to sell their authors, sometimes the little guy can be left out in the snowy plateau, shivering cold in the wind. We want to bring that little guy in from the cold and give him his shot. And possibly some Jaffa Cakes.

Ross: I must agree with Tony on this point, it’s not that the short story genre is in danger, it just needs to be jump started occasionally. The other day I walked into Waterstones (book shop) and spent a good proportion of my time trying to locate where in the shop the short story anthologies were. After tracking down a member of staff they showed me the smallest collection of books at the start of fiction; in the United Kingdom it’s just not seen as its own entity – the selection of books didn’t even have a sign. The last year I’ve read and reviewed some fabulous anthologies, so it’s not through the lack of talent…It’s just finding a collection in a book shop is a fricking hard task!

Tomek: The short story is a form that will never die. There are millions of readers across the world who enjoy reading short stories, and millions of authors who strive to write them. The difficulty is connecting the two. Unfortunately, short story collections do not sell as well as novels, for reasons which mystify me. In an era when time is in such short supply, a short story is the perfect antidote, but it doesn’t quite work like that. Not yet, anyway. I feel that there is much scope for innovation in the manner in which literature – and short fiction in particular – is presented and shared with readers. The digital age in which we live has the potential to empower the short story and ensure it not only survives, but thrives. Of course, there is much work to be done, but for the small part STORGY can play in keeping the form alive, the challenge is one we willingly accept.

My personal experience working with Storgy was the greatest pleasure. You roll out the red carpet for your writers and interviewees, treating artists and the craft of writing with great respect. How do you discover new writers to feature? And what is it you’re looking for when you’re vetting them?

Tony: Thank you for saying so. In all honesty, the writers have found us. We’ve always said from the start that STORGY is a platform for writers to express stories that they may not be able to showcase elsewhere. Using the old adage of ‘Give a man a fish and he can feed himself for a day, but give him the tools and he can fish for himself for a lifetime,’ we’ve simply said, ‘Your story is really good. We want to publish this so you’ll gain the recognition you deserve and write more.’ We’re looking for originality; we’re looking for great stories – sure. But we’re also fans. We also love reading truly engaging short stories that speak to us in a myriad of different ways. We’ve had some magnificent stories that we’ve had to decline because it lacked…something. But hopefully that writer will get angry or say to themselves, ‘Yep, you know what…in my heart it wasn’t good enough,’ and they’ll push themselves to write an even better short. One that we’ll gladly publish.

Ross: Thanks Christa that’s great of you to say. I think that one of our biggest assets is that we are all insanely passionate about literature, I also feel that because we are such an intimate set up that when we work with authors on projects they get the sense that we really care and they get the attention to detail that I find is quite often missing in the larger organisations. I again agree with Tony (this is like the most I’ve ever agreed with Tony – I better watch what he puts in my drink later) what with authors finding us; we offer a platform and really appreciate talented writers choosing to showcase their work through STORGY Magazine. But part of my job as head of books is to find existing talent, whether that is through independent publishing or reading a wide range of books, or even through listening to other authors and what they are currently reading – we’ve also a fantastic well read team here at STORGY and often recommend new writers to each other on a weekly basis.

Tomek: Thank you for your kind words. It’s nice to know that working with us is an enjoyable experience. The discovery of new writing occurs in many ways, all of which are the result of our passion for literature. STORGY is placed in a rather unique position within the industry, whereby we can act as an explorer of new and undiscovered talent and an agent of published authors. The discovery of new writing, whether it be a STORGY submission or a published anthology, never ceases to excite us. It is an honor to read the writing we receive and we feel immensely privileged to be in a position to share our discoveries. There remains a great deal of writing to which we are not yet exposed, but the wider we cast our net, the greater the words we catch. In terms of submissions, we have an experienced and talented team of editors, however, our decisions are entirely subjective and I would encourage writers who are not chosen for publication in STORGY to submit their work to other magazines. The debate about what makes a good short story is a complex one, and whilst there are numerous aspects which influence our decision, the most important is our enjoyment of a specific piece, irrespective of form or content or style or genre. Ultimately, there is only way to find out; submit.

You also hold yearly writing competitions. Your latest awards a £1000 grand prize and will be judged by Diane Cook, former producer This American Life and of author of Man V. Nature. This competition is open-genre and based on the theme Exit Earth. Why did you choose this theme?

Tony: I think we can safely say that last year was a complete wash out. Brexit. Terrorist shootings. Countless iconic celebrity deaths. Politics going bananas.  It all seemed like a weird Twilight Zone episode where we were living in a parallel universe, but there didn’t seem to be any ending…whether the protagonist found it safely back home or not.  I think a lot of people felt powerless last year, so we’ve decided to give them the opportunity to fight back using their words. The competition doesn’t need to have a dystopian theme; it can be about anything – a mother and daughter reconnecting, a superhero down on his luck, a morbid tale of a spooky house, the possibilities are endless…

Ross: That’s all above my pay grade…over to Tomek!

Tomek: For the first time we decided to focus on a specific theme for our annual short story competition, and following in depth discussions we settled on ‘Exit Earth’. This was partly due to our interest in the current state of global politics and how it impacts – or will impact – the future of mankind, but also our desire to work with Diane Cook. Man vs. Nature was one of our favorite books of recent years and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to put the two together. Whilst we are avid readers of dystopian fiction, we remain hopeful that entries will explore the limitless possibilities of this year’s theme. I must stress again, that this is not a genre focused theme and we encourage and welcome short stories of all genres. Our mission has always been to discover great short stories and a theme based approach to this year’s competition will provide an interesting way of inspiring new fiction. We are immensely excited about the competition and hope it proves to be an enjoyable experience for writers, and readers, too.

Who are the favorite big-name authors among the staff? Who are some authors you’d love to publish on Storgy?

Tony: George R.R. Martin, Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, Cormac McCarthy, Jonas Jonasson, David Moody, Will Self, Neil Gaimon…the list could go on and on…

Ross: Chuck Palahniuk (he remains the reason I write to this day), Hunter S Thompson, HG Wells, Bret Easton Ellis, Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, Hubert Selby Jr, Philip K Dick, James Herbert, Richar Thomas, James Frey, Peter Benchley – Some writers that blew me out of the water last year included Carys Bray, Ali Shaw, Adam O’Riordan, Roisin O’Donnell, Oisin Fagan and recommended from Tomek was Callan Wink (very grateful for that one). And some to keep your eyes out for in 2017 and beyond Joseph Sale, Jess Bonder and Daniel Soule – all creating some brilliant work in the independent realm, it’s only a matter of time for these guys.

Tomek: All the writing in STORGY is special to me. We wouldn’t exist were it not for the passion and perseverance of our authors, all of whom I hope gain wider acclaim. I can’t name individuals because one day we hope to publish them in print. In terms of authors I would love to see in STORGY, to name only a few: Jodi Angel, Ann Beattie, Amie Bender, Lucia Berlin, Jason Brown, Judy Budnitz, Diane Cook, Charles D’Ambrosio, Debra Dean, Junot Diaz, Tom Franklin, Rivka Galchen, David Guterson, Adam Haslett, Tama Janowitz, Dana Johnson, Miranda July, Richard Lange, Sam Lipsyte, Chris Offutt, ZZ Packer, Susan Perabo, Benjamin Percy, Thomas Pierce, David James Poissant, Donald Ray Pollock, Eric Puchner, George Saunders, Jess Walter, Caire Vaye Watkins, Apil Wilder, D W Wilson, Callan Wink, Tim Winton, and many may more. If you don’t know them, buy their books. If you do know them, scream STORGY!

What kind of readers would enjoy Storgy Magazine?

Tony: The thing about STORGY is its diversity. We’ve had short stories ranging from broken spirits to uplifting tales about the human condition. We’ve had sci-fi, horror, romance, drama to stories written from the perspective of children. It really caters to all. Now we have a YouTube channel (submit storgy) and we can reach out in a media capacity.

Ross: If you’ve got two eyes and can read then STORGY is for you. We publish such an eclectic mix of content each week that there is always something for you to read, we pride ourselves on this to ensure that our readership keep coming back as content changes so much with each passing week.

Tomek: We take great pride in the diversity of short stories we feature and hopefully one day soon we will be in a position to publish new and experienced authors. We will continue to publish short stories that excite and inspire us and hope that readers enjoy them too. 

What might writers gain from being published in Storgy Magazine?

Tony: They’ll have a platform to showcase their short story/essay/article, they’ll be able to join a network of like-minded individuals and communicate via Twitter and FaceBook amongst a host of talented artists and writers. They’ll be able to strengthen their own style and pick up skills from other writers. In short, they’ll gain a whole wealth of knowledge from the STORGY empire.

Ross: A dedicated team who are not out to make a name for themselves, if it comes with the work we do that’s fantastic, but our purpose is to promote the artist; give them a platform and dedicate our efforts in helping them get their work out there!

Tomek: They’ll join a thriving community of creators and become part of the history of STORGY, each writer playing an important role in safeguarding the future of the short story.

Storgy has two anthologies out. Will you continue to publish anthologies?

Tony: As long as we’re still breathing, we’ll still do anthologies!

Ross: ‘Keeping the Short Story Alive’ Chuck Palahniuk – how could we stop!

Tomek: Even if Tony does stop breathing.

What goals does Storgy Magazine have for the future?

Tony: I could tell you, but then I’d have to smear Nutella all over your body and release the birds…

Ross: I could tell you, but they don’t even tell me, I just turn up and work my fingers to the bone, it’s the only way they’ll let me see my family again. If you’re reading this then it’s too late for me!

Tomek: Ross, back to the basement. Tony, I’m waiting…

 

Thanks to Tomek, Tony, and Ross.

Everything you need to connect
with STORGY is below.

#EXITEARTH WRITING COMPETITION

From Trumpocalypse to Brexit Britain, brick by brick the walls are closing in.

But don’t despair.
Pick up your pen.
Bulldoze the borders.
Break free.

The STORGY Short Story Competition is here! We need you!

ENTER

SUBMIT YOUR WORK TO STORGY

STORGY welcomes unsolicited submissions from published and unpublished authors. We are looking for literary short fiction, particularly short stories which challenge literary conventions and experiment with genre, style, form and content. We consider all genres and welcome all submissions. We want writing which forces the reader to face the reality in which we live, or the illusions in which we hide. We want soul, be it broken or bruised, or endless and almighty. We want to laugh, cry, cower, and applaud. Tell us, teach us, transform us.

STORGY also accepts essays, book reviews, movie reviews, art, and photography.

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