This review originally posted on BookViral.com
A powerful and gritty novella that plumbs the highs of hope and the depths of despair, Sick proves a genuine page-turner with Wojciechowski delivering an extraordinary read. With relentless momentum we are drawn to her narrative as intrigue mounts, feeling sure there is a twist coming but deftly misdirected as events spin further out of control. Mining the darkness of the hidden psyche to show us a glimpse of a reality few will ever experience to leave us deep in thought, it’s an ambitious theme to tackle in a novella but here it works in Wojciechowski’s favour. Her prose are tightly spun and characters are superbly nuanced with dialogue which brings an unrelenting sense of immediacy, telling her story in short staccato bursts that are just enough to bait us and keep us off balance as Susan grapples with the uncertainty of Johns downward spiralling health. Like most issue novels, this is not an easy read, but it becomes increasingly poignant and transcendent as Susan begins to see through the veil of deceit the real John has hidden behind.
Wojciechowski has clearly set out to write a highly compelling story that brings the trauma of Factitious disorder (formerly known as Munchausen Syndrome) into focus and her ability to tell a story that is so dark and full of pain speaks volumes to her talent as a writer. Highly original, it is recommended without reservation.
Thanks to Book Viral for their review of Sick Part I.
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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.
It’s official! Yesterday, after a grueling eight straight hours of revisions, I delivered SICK Part III to my courageous editor, Candace Johnson. This book put me through a painful labor. I began writing it almost one year ago. It think it was more difficult than the first two parts of the series for several reasons.
- I wanted to create an epic ending for my readers.
- I wanted to create an epic ending for myself.
- I wanted to give my characters the finale they deserved.
- I wanted the story to have depth and meaning.
- Life got in the way of writing.
I plan to put SICK Part III on preorder for 1/2 price by the end of the week.
The official release date will be in the middle of April 2017.
Join my author mailing list
to be notified as soon as it’s available for the preorder discount.
Thanks to everyone for being so supportive and patient. I don’t think SICK fans will be disappointed!
I’ve left you a little draft of the cover to get you in the mood. I’d love to know what you think of it.
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
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!
I stopped by Chat About Books with Kerry Parsons and answered a few questions about my writing process, naming characters, and other ramblings. Please check it out and subscribe to Chat About Books. If you’re an author or publisher who would like her to review a book or feature you on Chat About Books, I’ll leave all her links at the bottom of this post.
An interview I did on Jeri WB’s blog about reading, writing, and marketing.
“According to the magic of Twitter’s advanced search feature, Christa Wojciechowski thanked me for a retweet in late February and asked about my weekend plans. My reply: “Scoping out the sleaziest bar in town with a friend for research purposes She said to bring pepper spray.” And thus another amazing social media connection was made. She also arranged the recent author interview here with Jason Smith.”
Official Bio: Christa (Wojo) Wojciechowski is the author of The Wrong David, SICK: A novella, and is working on a series called The Sculptor of New Hope. Her characters explore existential turmoil, mental illness, and the complexity of romantic love. She uses her stories to compare the dark, carnal nature of humanity with its higher qualities of creative expression and intellectualism.
Christa currently resides in Panama with her husband and a house full of pets. She works as a freelance digital marketer and loves to help fellow authors build their brands and platforms. Christa enjoys foreign movies, yoga, wine, and the outdoors. Most of all, she’s passionate about books and writers and loves discussing them on social media.
1. Please provide a brief synopsis of your book.
My latest novella, SICK, is a psychological suspense. Susan Branch’s life revolves around the care of her charming and inscrutable husband John, a man born into wealth and prestige who lost his family’s fortune when his mysterious chronic illnesses left him bedridden.
After years of devoting herself to John’s care, Susan is worn out and frustrated. Yet she is determined to scrape together whatever resources she can to keep John comfortable and happy. This includes stealing Demerol from the doctor’s office where she works to feed John’s ever-increasing need for pain medication.
John suffers a critical emergency, but he is saved and is soon released from the hospital. As his health begins to improve, Susan dreams of a normal life, but her hope for a miracle transforms into a nightmare one fateful afternoon when she discovers the true cause of John’s sickness.
2. Tell us a little bit about what motivates or inspires your writing.
Aside from all the reasons most writers write (emotional release, the rush of creativity, senseless compulsion) I kind of use my stories as mathematical proofs to test theories. I put X person in Y situation and add different variables to see what the outcome is. Sometimes I think I know the answer, but more often than not, my characters prove me completely wrong. That is one of the exhilarating parts of writing.
My work usually deals with a universal questions, and my main goal is to break people’s assumptions and make them see humanity in a different light. Evil and good, pleasure and pain are relative. I like to make people think about things they don’t want to think about–the things that everyone has lurking in their mind, but would never admit it to themselves, much less anyone else.
3. Writing aside, what passions drive your life?
I have a difficult time being a conscious individual who knows that she may die without ever knowing the mysteries of the universe. I lost my faith somewhere along the way from childhood to adulthood, and I know scientists are far from explaining everything. Sometimes I wake up in the morning and feel like my skull will crack open at the sheer incomprehensibility of existence, so my passions in life are either to seek explanations, find solace in beauty and nature, or simply to distract myself from thinking about those mammoth questions that may never be answered (this usually involves wine). I’ve lived in Panama for the past ten years, so I spend a lot of time hiking to secret waterfalls, bird watching, and water sports. Writing also helps relieve the uneasiness, and you’ll find that most of my characters are in the middle of some existential crisis just like their creator.
4. It’s hard to pick just one, but what do you consider your favorite novel and why?
I will say Crime and Punishment has been on my all-time favorite list longer than any other book. Dostoevsky forces us into the mind of tormented Raskolnikov. We join him in acting on his idea about the extraordinary man, and not only do we consider his warped logic, we sympathize with him. Crime and Punishment is like a proof. The character himself is testing his theory, and Dostoevsky forces you to think about questions you wouldn’t normally think about. I love that, and I always look for books that shatter our default beliefs about morality, humanity, and philosophy. We should not become complacent with our perspective. We should always ask questions, test our boundaries, and seek the truth.
5. What is the name of your blog and what can readers expect to find there?
My blog is called My Sweet Delirium. You can either visit mysweetdelirium.com or christawojo.com. I usually host discussions on creativity, art, life, existentialism, and the occasional story about Panama. I’m a freelance digital marketer who builds platforms for writers, so I do squeeze in the occasional book marketing post too.
6. What does your drafting and/or editing process entail?
I’m still an inexperienced writer, so my system isn’t well established yet. My first novella, The Wrong David, was written in one sleepless night on a wine inspired whim. Then I experimented with writing three full-length books, which were done for NaNoWriMo. I made a rough outline for the first book, but I pretty much winged it with the other two. Now those three books are such beautiful disasters, they’ve been stuck in revision mode indefinitely.
Sick was an experiment to see how quickly I could produce a quality book. I didn’t leave any room for procrastination, and so far it has been the best experience.
As far as my revising and editing process, I give my first draft to my gang of beta readers. After I get their feedback, I write another draft or two. Then I’ll work with critique partners to do a more thorough examination. After I implement their suggestions, I sent the manuscript to my editor. I do use professional editing services, and I strongly recommend that all writers do. Spend the money! No matter how meticulous of writer you are, a professional editor gives your book a noticeable polish that sets you apart from other indie authors.
7. Are you traditionally published or self-published?
I chose to self-pub. I already created a substantial network around my internet marketing business, and I didn’t feel I was ready to query agents yet. So far, I’ve done everything myself from start to finish. Graphic design, website management, content/social media marketing are part of my work, so I made my own covers and did my own formatting.
I really enjoy the process of publishing a book, especially when it comes to the print version. It’s so exciting to take an invisible idea in your head and make it into a physical object that anyone can pick up and experience.
I’m expanding my digital marketing services to include eBook and Createspace publishing. I believe the key to happiness is aligning one’s job with one’s passion, so this is my plan!
8. Can you offer one or two helpful tips for fellow writers when it comes to marketing and publicity?
I would say to remember that quality is more important than quantity. When using social media or visiting blogs, take the time to really read and listen to those you engage with. People can tell when you’re leaving a rushed, canned comment and they really appreciate it when you make the effort to understand fully what they are trying to say and are grateful when you reciprocate with genuine value.
My most devoted fans are people I took the time to chat with or help in some way. Those types of fans not only will buy everything you publish, they become your cheerleaders and your reason to write on those difficult days.
9. What future projects can we look forward to?
The series of NaNo books I mentioned will be released eventually. Writing is the easy part. Revision is daunting. I published SICK in the meantime. I’ve been going through a challenging year and having an attainable side project kept me sane. SICK was a speed-publishing project where I wrote, revised, edited, formatted, and published on a strict time schedule. I’m always waiting till I have my manuscript perfect, but even years later I will see changes I want to make. It will never be perfect. I just wanted to do the best I could while limiting myself to a timeframe–to get it out there and let the readers deal with it, hahaha. So far, it’s a success. The reviews are amazing. People like it!
I’m writing the sequel to SICK right now. I believe all my writing is a mystical collaborative effort between me, the history of the world, biological evolution, technology, my first grade teacher, etc. I like to invite my readers to participate in my projects. I polled them about SICK and they said they wanted to see the story continue. Hopefully, it will be out early next year.
10. Is there anything else you want your potential readers to know?
I’m so thrilled to be living in this new age of social media and self-publishing. I love to collaborate and co-promote with other authors and bloggers. I’m open to everyone, so if you have a marketing or publishing questions, don’t be afraid to ask me. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll find out for you, and I’ll be sure to mention you on my blog and profiles.