predator and prey and Click

Click. The third apartment and third story in Eidolon Avenue: The First Feast. To be honest, I’ve dragged my feet getting around to talking about the process of writing this story. I’ve hemmed and I’ve hawed and, heck, I’m still doing that now! Filling up the page with words, words, words and shifting them into sentences, all so I can put off, again, talking about this story. Fact is, out of all the tales that comprise Eidolon, this was the one I found the most difficult to write. Not the writing of it, I mean. But the psychological tunnel I needed to crawl through to bring it to life. That was the nightmare. That was what literally kept me awake at night. That’s what would – more than once, more than twice – force me from my chair and out the door to get some fresh air while the story waited, mid-sentence, for my return. Because I simply could not handle what the main character was doing. I couldn’t handle the thinking behind it, I couldn’t handle the cruelty behind it, and I couldn’t, for one second more, be the conduit for this monster to continue telling his story.

Colton Carryage. That’s the monster. Tits. Freckles. Teeth. Unnecessary. Those are his victims. These are names, predator and prey, that will stay with me for awhile. That stay with me still. And I didn’t set out to write the story I eventually wrote when I sat down. It took a sharp right into shadow and, despite my trying to turn the wheel back into the light, it insisted on going even deeper. And I certainly didn’t intend for it to be the first book my publisher needed to put a Warning Label on. But Colton’s madness, his cruelty, his insatiable need and dark desires demanded it. Not everyone’s heart or head can handle the horrible secrets that wait in Apartment 1C. Hell, I wrote the damn thing and I’m still recuperating. And that’s all I think I’m going to say about Click.
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“Horrifying, grotesque, stomach turning”

“A horror like no other. Cringed the entire time I was reading it. The way Winn paints a scene is amazingly graphic and riveting. You will find your self rubbing shadow pain from your limbs and brushing away unseen creepy crawlers as you read this.

Horrifying, grotesque, stomach turning. Another great book from Winn.”

From a new five star Amazon review for Eidolon Avenue: The First Feast.

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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