Storgy is a high-caliber literary site, lovingly edited by a staff of creatives who are passionate about art, film, and books. I can’t tell you how honored I am to be featured on Storgy among so many talented writers. I’m looking forward to having Storgy on the blog soon. In the meantime, check out my interview today and celebrate with a free copy of Sick (with its updated cover).
About Storgy Magazine
STORGY was founded in 2013 by Tomek Dzido and Anthony Self as a means by which to explore the short story form and engage with readers and artists alike. An online literary short story magazine consisting of a core group of dedicated writers, STORGY aims to inspire artistic collaboration and provide opportunities for creative minds to meet.
INTERVIEW: Christa Wojciechowski
So Christa, thank you for having this interview with us, we were interested to learn that you used to tame lions and chase storms; how did this come about and why?
When I lived in Florida, I managed a private animal sanctuary that was open to the public. I took care of nearly a hundred animals. We had tigers, lions, cougars, leopards, lynx, primates, canines, bears, macaws, a camel, llamas, deer, a horse, a donkey, an otter, raccoons, and a wallaby. There were also snakes, lizards, turtles, alligators, all the way down to scorpions and tarantulas.
The big cats were all fed by hand. I had to hack up eighty pounds of bloody horse meat each day for the carnivores. Then I’d chop up buckets of fruit and vegetables for the herbivores. We bred rats and mice to feed the snakes. There was lots of poop. Lots. It was a dirty, laborious, and dangerous job, but I loved each of those animals as if they were my own children.
A few years later, the animal sanctuary was forced to shut down because they were widening the highway in that area. That’s when I went to work with my dad at the power company. In 2004, we had a crazy series of hurricanes – Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne. During emergencies, all the staff at the power company is called in for hurricane duty. This means you work about 16-20 hours a day in very dangerous conditions. My dad and I teamed up to go survey the power lines to see if there were any urgent situations and to tell the crews where the damage was. We also turned on some customers’ power while we were there. That was not protocol, but we did it anyway, and they were very grateful.
Your website says that you’re an Internet marketer which can be a full time job in itself, so when did you first discover your passion for writing? And how do you find the time with all the other things you seem to be doing?
I was a child when I first discovered my passion for writing, but I never committed to it until I moved to Panama. I couldn’t legally work here so I had a lot of free time and solitude. I decided to try writing a memoir about experiences I had in my new country. I’ll probably never publish it, but it broke the seal and helped me to realise that I had the ability to finish stories.
My job as an internet marketer came later. I used to just help family and friends with their websites and social media. It was a part-time gig for travel and Christmas money. Now it’s a full-time operation that continues to grow. I have had no time to write during the past six months and am a little grouchy because of that. You know what Kafka says about a non-writing writer, so I’m planning to turn my freelance operation into a firm and hire some people to join my team. I’m also in the process of developing some e-courses to generate passive income.
Your fiction, in particular the Sick series, demonstrates an incredibly subtle style of Horror-writing that arises from psychology and character. How did you come to develop this unique style?
This is a great question because I never consciously planned this story or the characters. I had a nightmare about this pale, sick man covered in bruises. I think he had a broken leg. I was his wife–not myself, but another woman entirely. The bedroom was disheveled and dirty. The scene was repulsive to all five senses, but the most frightening part about it was the way this woman I inhabited felt. Her husband was obviously very, very ill and yet he exuded this powerful menace. The uneasy feeling of the dream stuck with me, and after some months I decided to purge it by writing it as a story.
The psychological aspects of your writing are one of its greatest strengths. Where did your fascination with the human mind arise? Can you name a key event or moment in your life that triggered your interest and desire to explore further?
I’ve always rooted for the deranged characters in books and movies. I’m drawn to the troubled souls and insane villains, but I know I’m not alone in this. Everyone loves a good pyscho or they wouldn’t be so popular.
Some of my family members have been diagnosed with mental illnesses. I, too, went through times in my life where I felt like I might lose my mind (I’m really not quite sure if I haven’t). I’m mystified by how thoughts and emotions can break your sanity. Sure, some brain diseases can be seen in a scan, but most mental illness is in the intangible. You can look at the brain and it will be physiologically sound, but the person is incapable of functioning. It’s this invisible entity that is damaged. How does that happen? How does this ethereal organ break?
What makes it even more interesting is that the mind can repair itself through words. Therapy or writing can fix mental illness–words, which are nothing but a sound vibration. They are ink marks on paper. They’re black pixels on this screen, and they have the potential to destroy and heal. It’s all very spooky when you think about it.
Do you have what it takes to sum up a story and hook a reader in ONE LINE? Check out Shonda Brock’s latest writing contest for a chance to win $50 and publicity on her platform.
I know my blog has sucked lately. You’re all very nice about it, but it’s true. And the third part of SICK is two months past my planned publication date. No writing, no revising, no blogging. The reason why I’m so busy is problem I’m very blessed to have. I have more work than I can handle, and more and more comes my way everyday.
Five years ago I started freelancing in web design and social media marketing. What began as a part time gig for extra Christmas money has now developed into a full-grown business. I am bursting at the seams and it’s time to get some help, so I’m thrilled to announce that my sister Gina has begun training as my first digital marketing protege!
I’m so grateful to have her help and I know everyone will love working with her. 2016 is galloping away and I have so many great plans for the future. I’m so glad I have someone on my team, especially my sister. Next in line for training is my baby sister, Tia. Then we’ll have the sister trifecta. Look out!
Not only am I training my sisters how to work and thrive in this creative and free lifestyle, I’m going to teach anyone who wants to learn. The demand for content management and social media marketing is exploding, and I’m developing a digital marketing course that covers all facets in an easily digestible format. You can learn more about the course and sign up for an invitation to the FREE beta-version here.
I’m also creating a course specifically for authors that includes my hacks and secrets to managing effective social media strategy without it consuming your writing time. You can get early access to that by signing up for Digital Marketing Mastery for Authors.
Last but not least, SICK Part III will be going out to my beta-reading crew next month (I hope) and then to my wonderful editor, Candace at Change it Up Editing. I even have plans to unearth my drafts of The Sculptor Series for release, and I’m itching to start blogging regularly again.
Thanks so much for staying subscribed to this blog through the thick and thin. There’s lots to come next year, so stay tuned! XOXOXO
This will cure your case of the Mondays. Beastie Boys and Q-tip like cheese and macaroni.
I’m obsessed with Son Lux and all their side projects lately. They also have phenomenal videos.
Make sure you watch this one till the end. There’s a twist in the tale.
What did you think of this story?
Erma Odrach is the author of Alaska or Bust, a collection of short stories about one of the world’s last frontiers–Alaska and the Yukon. I admit I went through an Alaska phase after reading Erma’s book and binged on Alaska reality shows till it was past my bedtime. Living off the grid always appealed to me, but it takes a certain type of person to thrive in Alaska and the Yukon. Erma used to live there herself and I wanted to know all about it. She was kind enough to tell us more about her fascinating life and work. Read on!
Originally Published on https://josephsale.wordpress.com
We live in a world of big brands, big names and celebrities, as is so wryly satirised in Ben Elton’s most recent comedy gold: Upstart Crow. In some ways, we have always had this culture. The gladiators of ancient Rome were much like the Olympic athletes we worship today. The Forum philosophers were no different to the TV personalities we watch now, offering advice on everything from sex to home-improvement.
But, the difference between our world and the ancient one (even going back only a hundred years or so) is saturation. There are simply so many more people than there used to be.
How then, can we find the gold, when everyone has a blog, everyone has a self-published book or song or film, and everyone is crying out to have their voices heard? It’s not easy, but one way is through simple recommendation. Who is being recommended and who isn’t? And who are people being recommended by?
This last part is so key. Many people I know blindly will buy anything which makes the Man Booker longlist, but really, only certain types of novel ever make it to that list, and often, they are books which are current with a particularly pertinent political or sociological theme. I’m not knocking that, but for me, timeless insight into humanity (I’m quoting Ben Elton again) is always preferable to a clever current opinion.
So, we all know who the big names are, but who are the smaller voices, no less valuable, no less insightful, but perhaps not as public as they might have been where they born 200 years earlier?
Here’s my list of 3 AWESOME independent authors, writing in a variety of genres, who I believe are worth your time and money and commitment. Please, take my recommendation and check out their stuff. Most of it is beyond reasonable in price – and all of it is excellent.
(in no particular order)
Recommended Title: Remnant (Book 2 of Crucible Series)
I became aware of Moira Katson’s work after discovering she had worked on City of the Shroud, a strategic video-game set in a fantasy universe. Her narrative was intriguing, complex and felt fresh, especially in a genre in which story is often put to one side. It was then I discovered her range of novels; I picked up Remnant (she recommended it for me) and was simply blown away by the pathos of it. She writes with a sure hand, offering immense insight into the emotional worlds of her characters. Always psychologically real, always exciting and focused, her narratives explode (sometimes literally) with surprises. Full of twists and sensitive prose which slowly seeps into your heart, she is one for anyone who loves SCI-FI or FANTASY with real human dimensions to it.
Recommended Title: Sick (Book 1 of the SICK Series)
Christa’s Sick series is incredible, and showcases her amazing feeling for character voice. Never a line out of place, an action out of sync, or an erroneous thought to be found. Like a method actor, she seemingly becomes her characters, rendering their voices in methodical prose which ensnares you. Her feeling for voice and character soliloquy never detracts from her sense of pace, however; her novels are dynamic and full of action. What’s more, she knows how to build and turn a twist, and even better, to impart the reader with Shakespearean dramatic irony. For anyone who likes PSYCHOLOGICAL HORROR in the vein of King’s Misery and Finder’s Keepers, then Christa is the one for you!
Recommended Title: At the Edge of Night
I first became aware of Michael Bray when my story appeared alongside his in Dark Hall Press’s Technological Horror Anthology. I quickly realised that the energy and feeling of his prose set him apart, as well as his certain exploration of extreme human emotions: fear, desperation, suicidal depression, feverish madness, longing. Rather than coming across as cartoonish or exaggerated, as they often do in the hands of amateurs, these states are presented with subtlety and depth and speak to true human experience. This is, perhaps, Michael’s greatest strength and why his novels are becoming more and more widely read.
Mesmerising prose, fantastic characterisation and intriguing explorations of humanity’s underbelly: all good reasons to go for Michael Bray. I’m a particular fan of his short fiction, and hence, have recommended his 28 story collection At the Edge of Night.
I hope you all enjoyed this list. Please, let me know if there is anyone you would add to it. Let’s build a network of people, all sharing awesome innovative new fiction. It’s not about being hipster, it’s about finding what we like in a world where it’s hard to do that (because there is so much to find). I’d love to hear your thoughts on the above list and your own favourite independents.
As always, you can follow me @josephwordsmith, where I’m pretty chatty, and tweet aLOT about 2000AD.
Have a great week peeps!
Shonda Brock and I have been working together for a long time and how it has flown by! We’ve had so much fun over the years. We knew we were destined to make a good creative team because we both were born on January 22nd. We also both appreciate wine, books, and yoga.
Shonda Brock served in the US Military before becoming a medical professional and a busy mom. Somehow, she manages to squeeze in some writing every now and then. She is also an indie author advocate, hosting Paranormal Author Interviews and some of the best writing contests on the web.
Her paranormal romance series, Eternal Traces, features powerful female characters, exotic locations, and fascinating historical references. Readers who like diverse romances layered with mysticism, pulse-pounding action, and a fair amount of blood will enjoy her books.
I’m thrilled to introduce you to Shonda. I’ll leave all her links at the end. Please leave your comments for her as well!
I’m very blessed to work with some amazing and talented people. That’s why I’m starting a new Client Spotlight feature so I can introduce them to you (and show them off a bit).
The first Client Spotlight is Craig S Wilson, author of crime thriller Rio Street Kid Stargazer. I chose him for the first ever client spotlight because his book is about the crime-ridden favelas of Rio de Janeiro during the approach to the 2016 Olympics and is on sale during the Olympic Games.
Craig S Wilson is a musician, composer, entrepreneur, and serial creative. Welcome Craig! Please be sure to connect with him on the links at the end of this post.
This Writer Crush Wednesday, I’m sharing a passage from a book I finally read last year. Yes, last year! But this excerpt is so good I’m still thinking about these few paragraphs months and months later. I’ll probably always think about them. They’re from Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina at the very moment Anna and Count Vronsky succumb to their passions. I won’t ruin it by trying to explain all that’s going on here. Just read.
He felt what a murderer must feel, when he sees the body he has robbed of life. That body, robbed by him of life, was their love, the first stage of their love. There was something awful and revolting in the memory of what had been bought at this fearful price of shame. Shame at their spiritual nakedness crushed her and infected him. But in spite of all the murderer’s horror before the body of his victim, he must hack it to pieces, hide the body, must use what he has gained by his murder.
And with fury, as it were with passion, the murderer falls on the body, and drags it and hacks at it; so he covered her face and shoulders with kisses. She held his hand, and did not stir. “Yes, these kisses–that is what has been bought by this shame. Yes, and one hand, which will always be mine–the hand of my accomplice.” She lifted up that hand and kissed it. He sank on his knees and tried to see her face; but she hid it, and said nothing. At last, as though making an effort over herself, she got up and pushed him away. Her face was still as beautiful, but it was only the more pitiful for that.
“All is over,” she said; “I have nothing but you. Remember that.”
This is how I want to write when I grow up.
What do you think of this passage?
Have you read Anna Karenina?
What writers have blown you away?