horror

Talking about Sick, Mental Illness, and Book Marketing with @MoreStorgy

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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.

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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.

Continue reading this interview on Storgy

 

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3 Independent Authors You Must Read Now

Joseph Sale: Graphic-Horror Writer

Hello everyone,

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…

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Author Q & A on Chat About Books

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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.

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The Horror of Being Human: Guest post on @ScifiandScary

Originally posted on ScifiandScary.com

horror psychological thrillers

Christa Wojciechowski is just an awesome person. There’s no other word for it. She might write stories that utterly disturb me, but she’s great. She is, to date, the only author I actually correspond with on a semi regular basis. That says a lot. She’s written Sick, which I’ve reviewed here, and Sicker which I hosted a giveaway for. She’s got a talent for getting under your skin, and was the perfect person to write this piece on Why Psychological Thrillers Terrify Us. I hope you enjoy reading it, and high recommend you check out her books!

The Horror of Being Human: Why Psychological Thrillers Terrify Us

by Christa Wojciechowski

Horror books are scary because they trigger human beings’ most basic survival instincts: fear of creatures that might eat us, fear of the unknown, fear of the bogeyman, and fear of other nasty possibilities such as disembowelment or possession. It’s easier to face our fears by inventing monstrous archetypes because it’s “just pretend.” But the most terrifying monsters lurk within each one of us as life twists and shapes us by our experiences.

I’ve been told my psychological thriller series, SICK, is disturbing. I didn’t necessarily set out to frighten and disgust anyone. My goal was to tell the story of John and Susan Branch. I see their relationship as an exaggerated version of any marriage dynamic. Beneath the “honey-dos and sweetie pies” is a constant power struggle and insatiable craving for the beloved’s attention. At the heart of SICK is a romance that shows how two terribly f*cked-up people are trying to survive with their mental health issues.

The reasons behind their freakish behavior are desires we all share: safety, acceptance, unconditional love. I think that’s why readers understand John and Susan even when they hate to admit it to themselves.

One of my readers, a mother, felt uneasy when she associated John’s clutching neediness with her relationship with her toddler. Several readers identified with Susan’s resentments and frustrations about caregiving and the conflicting emotions between wanting a sick person to live and wishing they would die.

We all have a shadow side, and depending on what school of psychology you ascribe to, this side can be slightly different things, but what’s agreed on is that this darker side is lurking in our unconscious mind. We are either unaware of it, or we blot it out and ignore it.

Another reason I write about psychologically disturbed characters is because mental illness is present in my family, and losing my mind is one of my greatest fears. As a writer, I’m always analyzing and observing people. I pick up little clues in their body language and in their speech. They’ll flash their shadow side, exposing some selfish or childish trait or pattern that I recognize in myself. I wonder how easily I could end up like them. Are they aware of how crazy they sound? Will I know it if I’ve lost my mind?

That’s why it’s important for me as a writer to explore this shadow side through my characters. We must be vigilant of our true motivations, fears, and desires so they don’t consume us.

The reason books like SICK may affect readers on a deeper level than a traditional horror novel is because they expose this desperately hidden dark side. Underneath the bright and ordinary exterior of everyday life, people like my characters DO exist. We see parts of ourselves in each of them, and facing the inky void of our shadow side is the most frightening confrontation our conscious selves can imagine.


About Scifi and Scary:

SciFi and Scary is run by Lilyn G., a female with a serious love of horror and “hard” science fiction.  I also have an almost obscene love for bad puns. Since the beginning of the year, including about 30 short stories, I have read 120 books according to my Goodreads Challenge for 2016. Pagewise, that comes out to 24,174 pages as of 11:39 p.m. on 4/8/2106.

So, you could say: I Read. A Lot.

Visit the site!

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Start the SICK series…


What do you think is scarier? Zombies, vampires, or your own inner demons?

 

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#BookReview: Roses are Red by @CarrieGreenBook

The SICK Series has been dubbed as horror by quite a few bloggers and reviewers, but I’d never even read modern horror! I was curious, so one late night, I began investigating on the internet to seek out fellow female horror writers. That’s how I discovered author Carrie Green, who was kind enough to send me a review copy of her book. Here’s my review of her Top 100 Amazon Bestselling collection of short stories, Roses are Red.


Roses are Red: Not Just for Horror fans.

Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 10.55.27 AMThis book was like a dark chocolate sampler of Carrie Green’s writing. Each story is unique in plot and theme. Her writing is descriptive without unnecessary gore, and her characters are all too human, which is why they are so chilling.

Green gives us an impressive amount of information within the brief space of a short story without bogging us down with details. Not only does she cleverly reveal her characters’ flaws, we know exactly what motivates them.

A Long Distance Relationship starts off as a brutal murder, but becomes much more than a crime story. I found it tantalizing because you could view it as a ghost story or one where guilt executes the ultimate revenge.

A Lucky Human surprised me. I’m not familiar with scifi, and this turned out to be my favorite tale. Green’s vision of the future was realistic and believable, and the concept of the story was brilliant.

Cash Only focuses on one of my favorite themes, discovering the ugly truth about oneself and deciding whether or not to accept it.

What I found most charming about Carrie Green’s stories is the understated delivery of the denouement. It takes a minute for the complexity of the endings to sink in. When they do, you just sit back and go ‘Wow.’

Not only will horror fans love this collection of horror stories, readers of literary fiction will appreciate them too. I’m excited to read more of Carrie Green’s writing. It is a horrific pleasure to read.

Get your copy.

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Connect with Carrie Green

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Why Patrick Bateman Still Haunts Us by @JeremyRDyson

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I’m sharing one of the best blog posts I’ve some across in a long time. Are you a fan of American Psycho? Read this piece by Jeremy Dyson about how well-written shock and gore fiction can and should make profound statements about society.

This year marks 25 years since the release of the controversial classic, American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis. I’ve read a number of articles online about how Pat Bateman has become such an iconic character and rehashing the themes of materialism that got the novel so much acclaim. Still, every article I read seemed to come up far short of explaining the impact that American Psycho should have had on the world of fiction.

Read more…

Coolthulhu Presents A New Book Spotlight On SICKER by @ScifiandScary

Did you read SICK ?

Get a free copy of SICK for a limited time.

Care to delve into Novella 2?

Read the first published excerpt from SICKER

and enter to win one of two paperback copies up for grabs!

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SICKER Pshychological Supsense Series Novella 2 small

 

My Latest News: Giveaways, Guest Posts, and more

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I apologize for the lack of meaty posts lately. Work has been unbelievably busy, and I’ve neglected my blogging duties except for posting the bare minimum. I hope to return to a regular schedule soon. In the meantime, here’s what’s going on in my little corner of the web.

SICKER Paperback Release

Sicker: Psychological Thriller Series Novella 2 is available in paperback on Amazon.


SICKER Paperback Giveaway Starts May 31st

Beginning tomorrow, Tuesday May 31st, SciFi and Scary will be hosting my book spotlight and
giving away two of the new paperback copies of SICKER.

Hint: SICK  free on Kindle for May 31st so that all entrants for the Scifi and Scary giveaway can read Part I before possibly winning Part II.

Visit ScifiandScary.com to enter.


YOVgjVPl_400x400Guest Post on Konn Lavery

Konn Lavery is a talented graphic artist, web designer, and author of the Mental Damnation series. I’ll be on his blog talking about the process of writing and book marketing in the very near future. Stay tuned for post date.


IndieAuthorButton150-1.pngGuest Post on Scifi and Scary

I’ll be returning to Scifi and Scary on June 19th as a guest to talk about why Psychological Thriller/Suspense novels like SICK might creep us out more than traditional Horror.

I’ll be sure to reblog that here so you don’t miss it.


christa wojo client spotlightChrista Wojo’s Client Spotlights

I’ll be periodically hosting interviews with my wonderful clients so they can tell you about their projects, their challenges, and their plans for the future.

 


Seafood Stew with Crab at La Playa EcuadorTravels

Also, I’ll be heading back to Ecuador sometime soon. Get ready for a continuation of the Ecuadorian pig-out and hopefully some cool photos too.

 


Questions? Comments?

Please leave your thoughts below.

Would you like for me to stop by your blog?

I’m available for features and guest posts. Let me know!

“…a wonderfully twisted read.” #Bookreview of SICK by @JeremyRDyson

 

SICK Free Promo Dyson

SICK is free today on Kindle.

Originally posted on jeremydyson.com.

I’m honored and thrilled to have the support of so many amazing reviewers and bloggers. This latest review was published by Jeremy Dyson yesterday. Here’s what he had to say about SICK.

“John Branch is a sick, sick man. Born into a wealthy family, John has since fallen on hard times. As the family fortune disappears and his health fails, John is taken care of by his faithful wife. Susan struggles with the burden of supporting her husband emotionally, physically and financially.

This story is really about the struggles of an “unhealthy” relationship. One partner of the marriage is forced to bear most of the burdens of life, whether that be earning a living or stealing painkillers to ease the pain of her ailing spouse. Tragically, there is nothing Susan won’t give to their marriage, even if it means giving up her life to make John happy.

Sick is a wonderfully twisted read. It brings to life the struggles of marriage through a realistic relationship of characters. This story is well-written and crafted by a very talented writer, reminiscent in style to works by Chekhov or Dostoyevsky. Will definitely check out the sequel.”

imageGet your free copy of SICK


Jeremy Dyson is the author of zombie novels with a literary flair. Follow Jeremy Dyson’s blog and learn more about his work here.

 

This reminds me of someone I know…

Sick By Shel Silverstein

Kind of creepy how much this favorite childhood poem reminds me of young John Branch.

“I cannot go to school today,"
Said little Peggy Ann McKay.
“I have the measles and the mumps,
A gash, a rash and purple bumps.
My mouth is wet, my throat is dry,
I’m going blind in my right eye.
My tonsils are as big as rocks,
I’ve counted sixteen chicken pox
And there’s one more--that’s seventeen,
And don’t you think my face looks green?
My leg is cut--my eyes are blue--
It might be instamatic flu.
I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke,
I’m sure that my left leg is broke--
My hip hurts when I move my chin,
My belly button’s caving in,
My back is wrenched, my ankle’s sprained,
My ‘pendix pains each time it rains.
My nose is cold, my toes are numb.
I have a sliver in my thumb.
My neck is stiff, my voice is weak,
I hardly whisper when I speak.
My tongue is filling up my mouth,
I think my hair is falling out.
My elbow’s bent, my spine ain’t straight,
My temperature is one-o-eight.
My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear,
There is a hole inside my ear.
I have a hangnail, and my heart is--what?
What’s that? What’s that you say?
You say today is. . .Saturday?
G’bye, I’m going out to play!”

Who is John Branch??? Find out!