Folk horror, romantika i urbana fantastika: Shtriga na SFeraKonu 2022!

Brojimo sitno do prve ovogodišnje domaće konvencije fantastike – SFeraKona 2022. – koji će se održati od 13. do 15. svibnja 2022. na zagrebačkom FER-u. S obzirom da Shtriga ove godine po prvi put sudjeluje u programu, odlučili smo vam predstaviti neke od naših autora, u dijalogu sa svojim urednicama, kroz sva tri dana konvencije.

Naši će autori s posjetiteljima i čitateljima podijeliti svoje dugogodišnje iskustvo u raznim podžanrova: folk horroru, romantičnoj fantastici i urban fantasyju, te će biti dostupni i za potpisivanje knjiga!

U petak – na Petak trinaesti, ni manje ni više! – u 19h u prostoriji A-201 u točki “Tradicija straha: folk horror s autoricom Antonijom Mežnarić” saznajte sve o folk horroru, pogotovo onom na našim krajevima.

Jeste li slušali krvave narodne priče kad ste bili mali? Palili krijesove, prisustvovali folklornim ritualima kojima se tjera zima, a priziva proljeće? Folk horror crpi inspiraciju iz tradicije, ali ne gleda je kroz ružičaste naočale, nego stisnutog daha očekuje ono najgore. Pridružite nam se na razgovoru s autoricom folk horrora Antonijom Mežnarić i njenom urednicom Vesnom Kurilić, na kojem će pričati o ovome podžanru, slavenskom folkloru kao izvoru strave i užasa, te otkriti možda pokoju preporuku za čitanje i gledanje.

U niskom startu za veliko finale Eurovizije, kojem se i naši autori vesele, – Shtrigin program nastavljamo u subotu u 14h, u Sivoj sobi, točkom “Romantika u spekulativnoj fikciji s autoricom Vesnom Kurilić”.

Romantični zapleti idu ruku pod ruku sa spekulativnom fikcijom još otkako postoje i jedni i drugi. Od antičkih mitova preko AO3, višetomnih urban fantasy serijala i modrokožih aliena, pa sve do naše male, cvatuće, domaće žanrovske scene, presuda je jasna: oboje je bolje! O tome kako i zašto čitati i pisati romantične podžanrove, što sve pisci romantičnih zapleta mogu ponuditi čitateljima i fanovima, te koje su najčešće “nevidljive” greške kad se bacimo naglavačke s balkona kuće Capuleti direktno među zvijezde, razgovarat će Vesna Kurilić, autorica serijala Ranger Paraversum, i njena urednica, Antonija Mežnarić.

Sferakonski vikend završavamo u velikom stilu, u nedjelju u 13h u dvorani D1, točkom “Urbana fantastika od New Yorka do Rijeke: razgovor s autorom Igorom Rendićem”.

Kako od ljubitelja urbane fantastike nastane pisac iste? Ima li mjesta za jednu malu Rijeku na svjetskoj karti slavnih, velikih, magičnih gradova? Svi putevi možda vode u Rim, ali na ovom SFeraKonu, višestruko nagrađivani autor Igor Rendić, u razgovoru sa svojom nakladnicom, odvest će vas na magično putovanje tajnim urbanim sredinama i putem preporučiti nove knjige za vaš TBR.

Pridružite nam se na SFeraKonu, te u susretima s našim autorima iz prve ruke otkrijte kako nastaje fantastika!

Vidimo se u Zagrebu!



Bacite oko na cjelokupan, bogat ovogodišnji program SFeraKona 2022. – i naći ćete još puno zabavnog programa, pogotovo iz književnosti! Raspored je podložan promjenama od strane organizatora.

A Cover Reveal That Will Eat at You

As promised, today we’re sharing with you the cover for our upcoming summer release: a horror novella of aquatic dread and eco disasters, It Eats Us From the Inside by Antonija Mežnarić.

Are you ready?

This suffocatingly great cover was made by Antonio Filipović. He’s an illustrator and graphic design artist, and as a part of the collaboration with our local Academy of Applied Arts in Rijeka, he’s previously worked on the illustrations for a story in the Mistress of Geese collection. We’re happy that we got him to work on Antonija’s newest book, too!


The only reason Doris agreed to go back to her hometown on the Northern Adriatic coast was her wife’s insistence to go and visit her father, house-ridden and slowly dying from a mysterious illness that eats at him from the inside.

But under the surface of the family reunion lie old tales and hidden regret, while from the sea comes a creeping threat to the town and beyond, slowly but surely spreading farther from the coast.

Taken at the tide of change, nothing and no one will stay the same.

It Eats Us From the Inside will be out on June 23rd, 2022, in ebook and paperback.

Pre-order links and more info coming soon.

You can add it on Goodreads and The Storygraph.

Coming This Summer: a Tale of Regret and Aquatic Dread

We have exciting news for this summer season. A brand new horror novella, It Eats Us From the Inside, by Antonija Mežnarić, will take you to the slumbering coastal town on the Northern Adriatic where strange things are brewing under the surface of the calm sea. Perfect reading for the beach. Or is it?

The only reason Doris agreed to go back to her hometown on the Northern Adriatic coast was her wife’s insistence to go and visit her father, house-ridden and slowly dying from a mysterious illness that eats at him from the inside.

But under the surface of the family reunion lie old tales and hidden regret, while from the sea comes a creeping threat to the town and beyond, slowly but surely spreading farther from the coast.

Taken at the tide of change, nothing and no one will stay the same.

It Eats Us From the Inside is a quiet, claustrophobic near-future horror novella about changes from the outside and from within, ecological disaster, aquatic dread and Slavic folklore.

The novella will be published in ebook and paperback on June 23rd 2022. Cover coming soon.

Donation Announcement

As a Slavic-owned publishing house which specializes in local folklore and themes—and as Slavic people ourselves—we’ve been watching the news from Ukraine with heavy hearts and an even heavier conscience. Especially since, as Croatians, all of us—owners and writers at Shtriga—have lived through the war for Croatian independence as children, so this hits close and we wanted to add in our contribution, if small, to keeping people in Ukraine safe.

After careful consideration, and with the time constraints, as of today, in agreement and with thanks to the authors currently with Shtriga, all of our royalties made this week, from all of our titles on all platforms, will be donated to Vostok SoS – an Ukrainian based NGO helping people during this crisis. We hope our tiny drop of support will bring at least a tiny drop of relief to somebody there. We also encourage you, if you’re in the position, to donate on your own, to any of these organizations: United Help Ukraine, Nova Ukraine, Voices of Children, Sunflower for Peace (fundraiser), Project HOPE, Save the Children, or check your local Red Cross and Caritas organizations for other types of help.

Thank you and keep safe!

Book Club Kit: A Town Called River

We’re always overjoyed when we learn that a book club somewhere is interested in our books and want to read them and discuss them. So, we wanted to make a little something for those who want to host a discussion for our Slavic urban fantasy novel A Town Called River by Igor Rendić, who is an active book clubber himself.

We present to you the ATCR book club kit:

Inside you can find: Igor’s letter to his readers, a little something about folklore behind the story and a few interesting tidbits about the town of Rijeka (the town called River), a personality quiz, and, of course, discussion questions suggestions. Book Club Kit is available for free download.

Also, good to know is that A Town Called River is available on services like OverDrive, Bibliotheca, Borrow Box, Scribd and for, Croatians, ZaKi Book (so if you know your library uses ZaKi Book, but don’t see this book in you ebook catalogue, you can try to request it through your library).

Let us know how it went and feel free to tag us @shtrigabooks on social media. 🙂

Open Call: Slavic Supernatural Anthology

Shtriga is currently open for short story submissions for our first ever anthology. We’re looking for supernatural stories inspired by Slavic mythology and folklore. It can be any type of fantasy subgenre—for example, urban, epic, dark and historical fantasy, paranormal romance; any type of horror, gothic romances and such—it just needs to have a supernatural element based on, or directly inspired by, Slavic myths or folktales.

Think of stories with the Slavic pantheon, or stories with creatures from folklore, like the rusalka luring people to the river, the pesky aždaja living in the lake and brewing trouble, shapeshifting štrigas or, maybe, a modern twist on the Baba Yaga dealing with climate change. You have a favorite Slavic folk tale and want to do a modern retelling? We also accept that! It just needs to be your original story and previously unpublished in English (so, no reprints—and please make sure that you still hold worldwide English rights).

Length: 4000 – 8000 words
Payment: $35 per story, one-time payment
Format: ebook and paperback
Deadline: May 2nd, 2022
Language: English

We accept simultaneous submissions—please let us know if that’s the case with your story—but no multiple submissions (only one story per author). We’re open internationally and you don’t need to be Slavic to submit a story to this anthology, you just need to have a PayPal account to receive the payment. Please note that we will be accepting work which has been previously unpublished in English only. The anthology is planned for publication in late 2022.

Email your submission to shtrigabooks@gmail.com with “Slavic Supernatural [your name] [your story title]” in the subject line. We accept submissions in .odt and .docx. Please use Times New Roman 12, double spaced, with no tabs (use indentations instead). Please include author name and manuscript title in the document header. 

We’re looking forward to reading your stories!


Shtriga is a small indie publishing cottage from Croatia, with a background in horror, urban fantasy and retrofuturistic mystery. All of our books are produced with love and by a small team of local professionals. We believe in diverse stories and high quality speculative fiction for all.


Artwork by Antonio Filipović, inspired by Polish sculptures known as the “Old Prussian Hags”.

Newest Release: A Town Called River

Are you interested in urban fantasy? How about Slavic folklore? Stories about people with supernatural powers, like krsniks, who are tasked with the responsibility of keeping the powerless safe from those who would harm them. Or stories about dangerous moras who hunt while you sleep. Or tales about evil shtrigas out to get your… blood? Well, then, you’re in luck, because our newest book, A Town Called River by Igor Rendić, is now out and available to read. Step on a journey with Paul, a new krsnik who’s plunged unexpectedly into this secret world of magic after the death of his powerful grandma. He came back to his hometown to get his inheritance, thinking it will only be a stuffy apartment. Instead, he got magic, secrets and a stack of unsolved problems.

The city of Rijeka lost its great protector and the heir is a bit lost in translation.

Get this tale about legacy, family, identity and belonging through your favorite store.

Meanwhile, if you prefer paperback, it’s going to be out in a few more weeks. Follow this space or our socials for the paperback release date.


The publication of this book has been funded by the City of Rijeka.

Step Behind a Curtain!

Are you ready for a sneak peek into our upcoming urban fantasy novel A Town Called River, by Igor Rendić? The novel’s first chapter, Step Behind a Curtain, is available now for free download from our page. You can read it in epub, mobi and pdf.

And if you like what you’ve read, consider pre-ordering an ebook. It’s available through various stores, so check out this link to see if your favorite place has it. You can also follow us here or on our social media to get info about the paperback release and other news, and add the book on Goodreads and The StoryGraph.

If you missed our chat with the author, we have an interview with him on writing, publishing, translating and life in general.


Returning to his hometown of Rijeka, Croatia, to wrap things up after his grandmother’s passing, Paul gets more than he expected in terms of inheritance—way more than just a stuffy old apartment downtown.

The legacy of his grandmother’s work as a krsnik—a traditional magic user tasked with keeping the thin line between the humans and the things that prey on them—falls on his shoulders, threatening to change everything he thought he knew about life, the city he left behind so long ago, and himself.

As the line keeps getting thinner, it’ll soon be up to Paul, with help from some unexpected (and witchy) places, to prove worthy of his legacy while fighting for the city’s humanity, and trying not to lose his own along the way.

A Town Called River is out on 11/11/2021. The book’s publication is supported by a grant from the City of Rijeka.

Release Day: Girls Back Home

The portal to world 753 just opened today, so hop on to the newest adventure of our murder-solving lesbian doppelgangers! Girls Back Home, the third installment of our queer retrofuturistic mystery series Ranger Paraversum by Vesna Kurilić, is out now and ready for your eyes.

Lina and Karol were just enjoying their precious time together in Lina’s world, when an invitation to a family get together throws them into chaos known as Karol’s posh family. Karol, for some reason, doesn’t want to have anything to do with them, but when presented with an offer she can’t refuse, the girls decide to use the opportunity to solve a cold case from Karol’s childhood. But the Prodan house is full of secrets that are just ready to burst out in the worst way possible.

Isolated country estates, opulence, secrets, family drama, forbidden relationships, flying cars, questionable taste in art and so much more wait for you in this sapphic mystery set in an alternative history where the World Wars never happened.

Perfect for fans of Agatha Christie who always wished for something a bit more gay. Available here. Read more information on Ranger Paraversum here.

Author Feature: Igor Rendić

This November we’re publishing the urban fantasy novel A Town Called River by the award winning author and translator Igor Rendić. We sat down with Igor and asked him a few questions about himself and his writing so you can get the chance to learn more about him before his book gets out. And he delivered his answers beautifully, almost like a story.

Tell us something about yourself. Who is Igor Rendić?

Ah, introducing oneself to strangers, a great task for someone who doesn’t consider themselves particularly interesting. 

I’m a writer and literary translator from Croatia. I’ve always enjoyed fiction in most of its many and varied forms (long ago I would have said first films and then books and then the rest, but for a long while now it’s been books first and second), and now that I’ve been getting published for over a decade and a half, I can’t really imagine a world where I never became a writer.

Although, if things had gone a bit differently at several points in my life, the part after ‘writer’ could have been “tour guide” or “criminal psychologist”.

I had at one point been a very keen pub quizzer (gave it up because I stopped having fun although I’ll still play quizzes at cons) and a conrunner (gave it up because 14 annual cons in a row is a nice number to retire after).

I enjoy hiking and I enjoy pizza, and those two things have so far been in a kind of equilibrium.

How long have you been publishing your work?

Since 2005, when I visited the local gaming&comics shop and on a pin board next to the cash register I saw a printed out call for submissions for an anthology to be published by Istrakon, one of Croatia’s sci-fi conventions. I told myself, “Why not” and wrote two stories and sent them both (you could send up to three back then). They published both and that was it.

What’s your favorite book you’ve translated?

Oooh, that’s a tough one, but after thinking hard about it I think it’s Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Children of Time which is to me top notch science-fiction—big ideas, great worldbuilding, compelling (non)human characters and fluent yet not simplistic prose. It was a pleasure to both read and translate and I’m glad to have done my part in bringing it to Croatian readers.

Have you published anything before in English, or was it all in Croatian?

Yes, in fact the first time I ever submitted a story in English, I managed to get it published! Back in 2014 I saw a submission call for a steampunk anthology. Once again I said to myself “Why not” and got to writing. The theme was not just steampunk but also “other worlds”, i.e. specifically not set on Earth. So I wrote a story titled “Ayelen”, about  steampunk-technology level humans colonizing other worlds through portal-type cracks in reality. The plot was set on a world that is mostly archipelagos and vast oceans, and my characters were the crew of a small military vessel patrolling the seas against pirates and such—but since I love mashing up subgenres, I combined steampunk not just with a high seas adventure but also supernatural horror.

I’ve also published several stories in Croatian fanzines that have done issues in English, but those were all translations of stories originally written and published in Croatian.

Where can we read your stories? Give us the links! 

Here you go, all the links in one handy place. Most of it is online or free to download. 

What sort of stories do you like to write? Are there some particular (sub)genres you prefer more than others, some topics you like to revisit and so on?

I don’t usually think about this, so your question actually got me thinking and browsing my folders…

As far as the three genres making up speculative fiction goes, I don’t think I have a strong preference between fantasy or science fiction, but I do lean a bit more towards those two than towards supernatural horror.

But that’s a boring, statistics answer.

I’m definitely into heroes and people doing heroic stuff, but I’ve also over the years developed a taste for worlds and plots where their victories are bittersweet at best. My worldbuilding has been increasingly involving settings where the current world is built on the ruins of one or several older ones. I like the blurriness of the line between SF and fantasy, and the equally blurry line between science and magic it creates. I’ve challenged myself to write darker stuff, but even when I make a grimdark downer, there’s still a glimmer of light in the distance. My early works were strong on plot and worldbuilding and ideas, but weak on characters—through hard work I’ve managed to eliminate that weakness, and I know this because several of my stories that resonated most with readers in the past years were character pieces first and foremost, either dealing with interpersonal relations or people facing personal challenges while simultaneously tackling external problems.

You already have a few awards for your work. Other than that, what’s your favorite story you’ve written and what are you most proud of?

It’s a story that, when I finally finish the translation, will be titled “Snow, as if dusted with glass”. The original, in Croatian, won an award and it’s the story most people have told me they like, but the reason I’m most proud of it is, well, it’s a story that lives and dies on character and emotion, two things which had for a long time been my weaknesses as a writer and that I’d been working on for years—paying attention to good and bad character and emotion work in other people’s writing and learning how to recognize the flaws and problems in my own writing. It’s also the story I consider a significant roadmark in my development as a writer, as I can honestly say that only a year previous I would not have been able to write a version of it that was 20% as good as the one that actually came into being.

What can we expect from your first solo novel A Town Called River?

You can expect a man coming back to Croatia after more than two decades living abroad and discovering he’d inherited not only his recently deceased Grandmother’s apartment but also her magical powers—as well as her enemies and problems. There’s also witches and other magical creatures, dreams and nightmares, great local food and a lot of the main character’s flailing about in the very deep end of the pool he’s been dropped in against his own will. It’s definitely dark in places but emotional in others and there’s also (I hope) moments of humor and interesting character interaction. There’s talking and discovering secrets, and there’s fighting and thinking your way out of troubles. And, if I’ve done my job right, you should by the end be interested in visiting Rijeka.

What are your plans for the future?

The sequel, definitely, because my editor and publisher expect it. Seriously though, a sequel (two, in fact) to A Town Called River was always on the table, since the very early days of plotting and worldbuilding for ATCR.

There’s a list that has, over the past 20 years, been regularly updated, expanded and contracted – novels, novellas and stories I would like to write. Some of those will definitely be written in the near future; in fact just the other day, to get ATCR out of my head for a bit, I wrote the introductory chapter to a fantasy novel that’s been on my mind for a few years now.

Other items on that list will probably never move past the “title and a few sentences of an outline” stage, which is, I’ve been told by older, more experienced and accomplished writers, the way it always has been and always will be.

Where can we find you online?

I have a website, which can be found here.

And I have an Instagram, which is mostly the books I’m currently reading, photos from my hikes and walks, and food.

What would you like to say in the end to our readers and other writers?

If you like writing, write. If you want to be a writer, write. Carve out the time exclusively for it, be it minutes or hours. Build discipline; give yourself a mandatory daily minimum of words or time spent writing. Don’t wait for someone to give you permission to write, to be creative. They certainly wouldn’t wait for yours. Also, don’t wait for “the right time to start”. Time definitely doesn’t give a toot about you and your writing.

And, if you’ve been identifying with those “writing is a chore and misery” and “I don’t like writing, I like having written” posts and quotes and find yourself liking and sharing them and scrolling through them instead of writing, please, ignore them and block such pages, and not just because they’re taking you away from actually working on something creative. Writing is work, definitely, it’s discipline and it’s very often bashing your head against obstacles, but it’s also supposed to be FUN, from outline to draft to final edits.

We literally get to create worlds and people and creatures and magic and technology and adventures of any kind you could possibly imagine. If you’re not going to have fun doing that, why do it at all?


A Town Called River is out this November. Learn more about it here. Add it on Goodreads and The Storygraph.