fearless and noisy, quiet and desperate

A quick excerpt from an interview I recently gave to Joe over at Crystal Lake Publishing. One of those times when I surprise myself by sounding smart, accomplished, wise…sane. 😱

Enjoy! 😃

Joe: Instead of just focusing on your most successful work, which story are you the proudest of, a story that managed to capture a piece of who you are?

JW: Although Eidolon Avenue stands head and shoulders above anything I’ve ever done, without doubt or hesitation Martuk… the Holy, my first book, is what I’m proud of and captures perfectly the surprising journey I found myself on at that time: someone discovering, page by page, that he could really write!

For someone who’d never written a short story or an article or any piece of prose fiction to sit down (without an editor or even an experienced beta reader—I was new, remember, and knew no one in the writing community) and slam out an 80,000 word novel is beyond audacious.

Is Martuk perfect? No. But it’s ambitious. A sprawling epic covering two thousand years. It’s fearless and noisy, quiet and desperate. It’s wounded and yearning, violent and hungry. Martuk may lack the polish of its sequel Proseuche or Eidolon Avenue, which is on a different level entirely when it comes to the writing and storytelling, but what Martuk has in spades is the passionate, carefree excitement of a writer finding his voice.

And that, right there, is worthy of applause. In fact, sometimes I find myself wondering ‘Where the heck did that guy go?’

You can read more over at Crystal Lake Publishing.

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sneak peek at the Second Feast

Just the quickest of sneak peeks at one of my current WIPs, Eidolon Avenue: The Second Feast.

Of course, this would be the long-awaited sequel to Eidolon Avenue: The First Feast which was called “powerful and jarring” by Cemetery Dance and “as engrossing and thrilling as it is disturbing and horrifying” by the great Greg F. Gifune (Bleeding Season).

A bit slow-going – comes with juggling a full plate of other WIPS – but, nonetheless, I’m having a lot of fun with it.

eidolon-apt-2-excerpt

Coming soon from Crystal Lake Publishing

The Tale of Forever Dark

As with everything I write, I set out with very specific goals when I sat down with Forever Dark, my story in Tales from the Lake, Vol. 2.

To begin with, I wanted to create an immediate experience. A continuous unfolding with the reader actively discovering the narrative landscape alongside the Main Character. Trapped in the unfamiliar, I wanted there to be a sense of displacement or occasional confusion (as there is in life) while waiting for “the next realization” to occur or “the next thing” to present itself. I wanted the Main Character and the reader to discover this new, frightening world together.

Second, I wanted the prose to veer between lyrically poetic and abruptly visceral. In Forever Dark, my goal was to weave together a shifting narrative with an unpredictable prose, keeping the reader engaged but off-balance enough to encourage them to barrel forward, paragraph after paragraph, in search of a Safe Space.

A Safe Space that might not exist.

I also wanted — and the writing of Forever Dark predated Eidolon Avenue: The First Feast as well as any knowledge there was a thing called Crystal Lake Publishing — to try my hand at something with a bit more gore. To move away from the Martuk the Holy-type of terror that lives in the dishonest safety of the imagination for the Forever Dark-type of fear that pivots around the obvious wounding of the body.

But it couldn’t be an active gore. It had to be the aftermath of an unseen event. A silent something that shadows everything, that has given birth to everything, but is never spoken of. I wanted the mysterious Hows and Whys of a mangled hand or a bleeding mouth to engage the reader’s imagination and their sense of curiosity, but not give them any answers.

At least not right away.

Finally, my goal was to move out of my comfort zone as a writer. Stretch my wings a bit and see if I could do all of the above at the high level I demand of myself.

Hopefully I did so. That Forever Dark had the great honor of placing 2nd in Crystal Lake’s contest — and thus earning a coveted spot in the Table of Contents — indicates I came closer to my goals than not.

And I hope, should you take a look (and do so knowing the process behind my writing it), that you enjoy it.

Forever-Dark - J Winn

(artwork for Forever Dark by Aaron Dries)

Tales from the Lake 2 full cover

First of Five

And so it begins.

In a rare confluence of events — think a massive meteor shower pummeling the earth while a rare comet circles the heavens around a total Solar Eclipse as we discover a Kardashian with actual talent — I’m going to have five book releases over the next three months.

I know, right?

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First up, Horror 201: The Silver Scream

The definitive guide to filmmaking and filmmakers by the best in the field.

Horror 201: The Silver Scream, the follow-up to the Bram Stoker Award nominated Horror 101: The Way Forward, delves into the minds of filmmakers to see what it takes to produce great horror films, from the writing and funding process, to directing, producing, and writing tie-ins.

It’s a tome of interviews and essays by some of our favorite artists.

That’s right, film legends and authors such as Wes Craven, George A. Romero, Ray Bradbury, Ed Naha, Patrick Lussier, Stephen Volk, Nancy Holder, Tom Holland, John Shirley, William Stout, and John Russo want to share their expertise with you through informative, practical, career-building advice.

These are the folks behind movies and novelizations such as A Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream, Dark Shadows, Sleepy Hollow, Supernatural, Buffy, Resident Evil, The Stand, Sleepwalkers, Masters of Horror, The Fly, Critters, Tales from the Crypt, Child’s Play, Fright Night, Thinner, The Langoliers, Ted Bundy, Re-animator Unbound, Halloween, Apollo 18, The Eye, Night of the Living Dead, The Crow, The Mist, Pan’s Labyrinth, and Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Horror 201 also entertains. You’ll see a side of your favorite authors, producers, and directors never seen before – combining fun and entertainment with informative career-building advice.

Horror 201 is aimed at arming generations of authors, screenwriters, producers, directors, and anyone else interested in the film industry, from big budget movies to the independent film circuit, as well as the stage.

The definitive guide to filmmaking and filmmakers by the best in the field.

Whether you’re an accomplished author or screenwriter, writing as a hobby, or have dreams of writing screenplays or making movies, Horror 201 will take you on a behind the scenes tour of the Horror movie industry from Hollywood to the UK and Australia.

Horror 201 covers:

  • Horror as culture
  • Scare tactics
  • The evolution of the horror film
  • Viewer desensitization
  • Watching your story come to life
  • Screenwriting advice
  • Dissecting screenplays
  • A production company case study
  • Tricks of the trade
  • Writing tips
  • Advice on Producing
  • Advice on Directing
  • Information about funding and distributing a film
  • Entertaining tidbits and anecdotes

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But wait, there’s more!!!!!!!

Horror 201: The Silver Scream is perfect for people who:

  • are looking to delve into screenplay writing
  • want to write their first screenplay
  • are fans of the horror movie industry
  • like to follow the careers of their favorite directors
  • are planning on infiltrating a different field in horror writing
  • are looking to pay more bills with their art
  • are trying to establish a name brand
  • are looking to get published
  • are looking for motivation and/or inspiration
  • are seeking contacts in the film industry

Amazing, right?

How about a cover?

Horror 201

Honestly, I love how the red of the car echoes the red in the title and the red in that other car. And the silver of the screen? With the woman screaming? To me, it’s ever so slightly reminiscent of —

shut-up-and-take-my-money

So, one release down, four to go. And what are those other four books?

An essay in the second volume of Horror 201: The Silver Scream; Forever Dark, an award-winning short story in Tales from the Lake, Vol. 2; an essay in Writers on Writing, Vol. 2; and Eidolon Avenue: The First Feast.

All between now and January.

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It just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

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Okay, but, still, how cool is this!

Will update with links as the rest of these roll out.

 

utterly Umbra

Another peek at Eidolon Avenue, due out in early-2016 from Crystal Lake Publishing.

Really looking forward to seeing this book come together. ESPECIALLY the cover! There are some great ideas and some amazing creative back-and-forth going on with that. Sure to be frickin’ amazing. 🙂

And now, onto Umbra! (pronounced ewm-bra)

There was something living in the walls.

Still wearing her only black dress, a rose taken from the cemetery in one hand, her bright pink backpack in the other, she’d watched the stain in her new bedroom. Round and raised in the middle, like a bubble, it was different than the others.

And it was alive.

She’d known it the moment she’d walked in. Had felt it as she’d turned to put her backpack on the creaky bed. Had expected, when she first saw the stain two weeks ago, to see a face, two eyes, lips, a nose and cheeks and teeth, pushing from the wall.

But there’d only been a wide brown circle. A stain that wasn’t a stain. One that wasn’t long and dark like the others. One that hadn’t dripped from the ceiling to the floor. One that sat alone, removed from the others. Just like her.

“What kind of name is ‘Umbra’?” were the first words Gran had said when the big lady with the onion bagel breath first dropped her off. The State had decided this was where she had to be. With her dad as flat as a pancake under the car in the garage and her mom, after belting back her fifth Jack and Coke of the morning, shredding her throat by eating the glass, she’d had nowhere else to go.

“Worthless cunt never could hold her liquor,” Gran had said with a laugh.

Had she known there’d be a new home, a new school, new classes, and new kids, all making fun of the skinny girl with the boney knees who walked too slow and read too much, she wouldn’t have sorta accidentally wished her folks dead.