Originally posted on Joseph Sale: Graphic Horror Writer
Yesterday, at roughly 9:30am, I quit my job.
It was a good job, in many respects. It paid decent wages. There was a great team of people there who I shared laughs with. I enjoyed my time there. But, unfortunately, I had come to a realisation, a reality I had to face, which was that I was being called by my true vocation: writing. That’s the thing. Something we must all bear in mind: there’s a difference between a career, a job and a vocation, a ‘calling’ we feel deep down, that drives us, that makes us who we are. It’s folly to ignore that calling.
This is me. I’m completely normal. Completely. Don’t worry about those things I wrote. Shhhh.
For a long time, I’d convinced myself I could go on doing the 40 hours a week and write here and there in between, but now I’ve realised it’s just not in me. Kudos to those who can do it; it’s impressive. But I need to give all of myself to the world of creativity. So, here I am, throwing caution to the wind. Melodramatic as it sounds, I really would rather die than give up on doing what I believe I was always meant to do.
It’s not just about writing my own work, however. That’s only one small thing. I’m a passionate reader and bibliophile. I’ve been following various authors for a number of years and wanted, for a long time, to bring their work to a wider audience. From this desire, †3Dark was born.
So, I’ve quit my job to work full time on a unique publishing venture, a dream I’ve had for a long time I finally feel could become reality. So, what’s it all about? Read on…
Originally posted on Joseph Sale: Graphic Horror Writer
Today we’re going to be beaming the spotlight down on another one of our incredible †3Dark authors: Christa Wojciechowski.
It’s an honour to have Christa involved in the project. I’ve been a fan of her fiction for while, ever since I read the first book of her Sick series of novellas.
Here’s an extract of a review I wrote for Sick:
‘Sick is a brilliant novella that explores the nature of human dependency and self-deception. The voice of the protagonist, Susan, is crystal clear and never wavers throughout, drawing you completely into her world and her way of thinking. This voice also generates a fantastic sense of dramatic irony, leading to a genuine tension. We want our heroine to realise the truth but her antagonist is convincingly devious. Normally, novels in which there is a truth evident to the reader but not the characters can be frustrating, but Sick manages to remain compelling and true to its characters throughout. Most importantly of all, however, this novella triumphs because it is so psychologically insightful.’
What’s unique about her approach to horror is the genuinely in-depth explorations of mental illness, addiction and relationships. While so many horror authors pander to the stereotypes of mental illness or psychosis as something to be feared and abhorred, Christa is more empathetic, getting to the roots of it, and exploring it in a nuanced way. As such, her characters are frighteningly three-dimensional, to the extent that we feel we can inhabit them.
And that’s where the real horror comes in.
In two ways, really.
Firstly, we feel empathy for their fear, their uncertainty. We feel we can relate to it at a primal level.
Secondly, and even more powerfully, it challenges the binary perception of mental illness as something some people have and some don’t. We’re all susceptible to moments of aberrant behaviour, irrational thought or delusion, and Sick really made me feel how fragile the self-constructed perception of my well-being was, and how easily I could fall into the addicted trap of her protagonist Susan. Some writers create aesthetically sensational larger-than-life characters, but Christa’s work is much in the vein of Stephen King: the extraordinary – in both the good and bad sense – can be found in the most ordinary, real people.
As a generous offer to followers and supporters of †3Dark Christa has put Sick Part I and Part II for FREE on Amazon today!
Christa is currently working on a new series The Sculptor of New Hope, partly inspired by the work of Gian Lorenzo Bernini (The Rape of Proserpina). She describes it as: ‘a dark, gothic romance that begins in New England and ends up right here in Panama.’ Bernini’s work happens to include many of my favourite sculptures, capturing the impossible sensuality of flesh in marble. The Rape of Proserpina, harrowing as that title is, is one of the most astonishing pieces of art you’ll ever see.
If you want to find out more about Christa and her work, you can read the incredible interview she did with Storgy magazine. Christa’s †3Dark story will feature in our July slot. I just can’t wait to see what dark wonders she unleashes on us.
Adieu for now
Check out Storgy Literary Magazine’s latest short story competition. Entries will be judged by Diane Cook, former producer NPR’s This American Life and of author of Man V. Nature. This competition is open-genre and based on the theme, Exit Earth. I’m sure many of you will have fun with this theme. The grand prize is £1000, so get to writing!
From Trumpocalypse to Brexit Britain, brick by brick the walls are closing in.
But don’t despair.
Pick up your pen.
Bulldoze the borders.
The STORGY Short Story Competition is here! We need you!
On today’s Client Spotlight, I am very proud to introduce you to Elizabeth Overstreet. Elizabeth is a relationship expert and the author of Love You and He Will Too: The Smart Woman’s Roadmap for Happy, Healthy Relationships. She’s a digital contributor to Jet Magazine and is a regular on radio and TV.
I feel most of us expect relationships to run on auto-pilot, and when they don’t go smoothly, we have no idea how to fix them. Being a writer of character-driven stories, relationships are central to every plot I create. I took this opportunity to satisfy my curiosity about love, marriage, and meeting new people. I think everyone will find Elizabeth’s answers interesting. Read on!
Meet Brigitte Nioche
Brigitte Nioche is the author of Living Longer, Living Well: How to Embrace the Challenges of a Long Life. I had the pleasure of meeting Brigitte through our mutual editor, Candace Johnson. Brigitte is a fascinating, intelligent woman who came from Germany, traveled through Egypt, and now lives in Manhattan. I admire her class, pragmatism, and persistent effort to learn how to use social media. She’s also a witty writer! Check her out.
About the Book
NOT READY TO BE OLD YET?
What’s a woman “of a certain age” to do about sex, social media, and the latest fashion trends? In this charming, often self-effacing memoir, Brigitte Nioche shares her personal experiences of staying positive, dealing with the challenges that come in the second half of life, and living life to the fullest.
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.
A few months ago on Twitter, I posted a poll asking authors what their biggest challenge was in marketing their books. The most popular answer was “how to stand out from the crowd.”
As a self-published author who helps other indie authors, I know how difficult is is to be seen in heard in the swarm of books flooding the market today. Hiring a PR firm can cost thousands of dollars. That’s why I created this quick guide to help you plan publicity campaigns that will get you noticed.
Feel free to pass it along to all your author friends. I firmly believe there is an audience for every book. You just need to put yourself out there so they can find you!
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.