Stay tuned for synopsis, excerpts, reviews 👊😎👍
I don’t know about other writers, but when I find I’ve written something a bit rough or cruel or viciously brutal— this doesn’t happen often, but it does happen — I feel more than a smidgen of guilt.
Not necessarily because of the experience the Reader will go through — they did sign up for it, though, so… — but more because of what I put the characters through.
Interesting, isn’t it?
For better or worse, I feel deeply for people who exist solely on the page. But that’s what I suspect gives my work emotional resonance: these people are real to me. Very real.
They are telling their stories. And, for better or worse, those stories follow me. Poke into my thoughts months, years, after being told. The consequences of what I create keep me awake at night.
No, seriously. That happens. A lot.
Almost a year after its initial release, Click, the third story in Eidolon Avenue: The First Feast, is one of those stories I can’t get away from. And it’s not just because of how brutal it was, but because of the innocence of the victims and the dangerous psychosis of the killer.
I’ve said this before, but I simply could not get my head around the absence of empathy and the glee he took in the act of hurting another.
You see, with my immortal Martuk, he does bad things, but there’s always a reason. So, at the end of the day, readers may disagree with what Martuk does, but they understand on a visceral, very basic level why he did it.
With Martuk, you hate him, you love him, you fear him and, most importantly, you understand the Why of his What.
But with Colton in Click?
He was pure evil. Evil and insanity. And, yes, there were reasons. A litany of Whys to his What. Wounds that drove him. Ancient scars that still bled.
But none of that excused what he, the Character, insisted I, the Writer, create for him.
I remember writing the story while sobbing — like, really SOBBING — because I HATED what was happening. Hated it. Made me sick to my stomach. Forced me up and out to take long walks just to escape it for a much needed breath of fresh air.
But it was the story that needed to be told.
You know, I still get emails and private messages via social media raking me over the coals for Click. Questioning my sanity, my kindness, my heart. Questioning what kind of monster I am to put on the page someone as horrible as Colton.
And I get it. I do.
Which is probably why I’m feeling the need to write what’s turned into an open letter.
But, listen, those of us who invest ourselves totally in our work sometimes don’t have the control over the final product people think we might. Sometimes our characters want to tell stories that we vehemently disagree with. Sometimes they grab us by the arm and drag us, kicking and screaming and, yes, crying, much deeper into the dark than we ever wanted to go. And when we stumble free, back into the light, after the story’s told, we find ourselves changed, wounded, even scarred.
But that’s the deal we made to do what we do. Life isn’t always pretty and perfect. Sometimes vicious people do atrocious things with no rhyme or reason. As someone who writes horror, it’s my job to capture the barest hints of that so that my readers can exorcise, vicariously, their own demons. I guess. I don’t know.
All I know is that I relish returning to the relative normalcy and sanity of my dearest immortal Martuk as I dive into Shayateen, his third and perhaps final book.
Still, though, I do wonder if there should be apologies…perhaps.
Looks like I still have some psychological knots to untangle.
Full cover reveal coming soon for Eidolon Avenue: The First Feast (Jan 2016)
Yep, that’s right. Four books for free. Today only.
and the full-length Martuk the Holy.
Do you need to know Martuk’s story before reading TWK, The Elder and R and G? Nope. Those three — and The Martuk Series in general — are not only a prequel to what happens in Martuk, but also a continuing narrative removed from — and, in some cases, watching from a distance — what’s happening as this Man from the Mountains arrives.
Already familiar with what happened in Martuk? Then TWK, The Elder and R and G will offer a deeper, richer backstory, a more detailed fleshing out of these “secondary” characters, and a Why for the What of what they did (some of it horrific) in Martuk. It will help you see the human consequence behind the cruelty and reveal the wounded heart driving the monster.
In short, they’re a wonderful addition to what was started in the novel while being their own stand-alone reads.
So, today only. Four for free.
Pick ’em up. 🙂
So it is.
In The Elder, the latest installment of The Martuk Series, Jonathan Winn, author of Martuk … The Holy, digs deeper into the world of ancient Uruk. A world of power and absolute rule. Of magic and superstition. Of Dark Gods and mysterious Ancients, magical Immortals and unseen Seers. Of powerful Priests cloaked in robes of red and gold and a Man from the Mountains who has yet to arrive.
From the innocence and depravity and blood-drenched chaos of The Wounded King, we now follow The Elder, a Priest desperate to rule, blinded by power, afraid to die. A man who climbs deep into caves beneath sun-scorched mountains and sacrifices anonymous flesh in a blood-stained Temple. A desperate soul driven by words whispered from the lips of a doomed Child and haunted by the warnings of an Immortal buried in ash. One who makes an impossible choice for the promise of Life Everlasting and, riddled by doubt, chooses again, this final act of violent desperation opening the way for an ancient curse from a Darkness older than Time.
From the whispered pleas to the Darkest of Gods to the anguished screams of the stolen innocent, this is … The Elder.
How cool is that? Oh, and here’s a review of The Elder from Amazon:
Once again Jonathan Winn has successfully made me cringe with yet another wonderfully descriptive piece. I loved Martuk…the Holy, and these short stories that delve into other characters from the story line are just fabulous. Never before have I had to set a book down and take a breath in order to regain some composure. The vivid imagery that Winn brings forth in his writing is amazing. I can see and feel every bone popping, tendon splitting, blood curdling scene that he describes.
Winn’s style is unique and special. Go out and read Martuk if you have not already, then devour this series after! If you’re looking for a great book that will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up and your face cringe, then look no further.
And tomorrow? Yep, you guessed it. Red and Gold, the third in the series.
The word came again, lost in the earth as she lay on the ground. Fistfuls of dirt clutched in her tiny fists, her neck rolled, tender bones popping while The Seer nodded its head and the mouth open and closed, open and closed.
The Child stopped and rose, crouched on hands and knees.
“Man … ” she said before she fell to the ground. Her back arched, then released only to snap back into another arch, the head once again low.
“From the …” the words came, her face hidden behind her golden hair.
The Seer ducked its chin to its flat chest, its large, long hands dropping to its side.
The tears came then as she wept, The Child. Her body convulsed with sobs, with hiccups. She tried to crawl away, slipping on the urine soaked ground, trapped by the rope around her wrists.
I leaned forward and reached my hand out. But not close enough to touch, to intrude.
“Man from the …?” I asked. “From the mountains?”
The Seer raised its head, the long fingers splayed wide as they stretched and reached and grabbed the air, pushing away the Voices.
The tears stopped as The Child moaned and then grew quiet.
She abruptly rose to her knees, her back straight, arms to her side and her chin to her chest, the mouth now open as drool leaked from her lips.
“From the mountains?” I insisted.
It gasped, The Seer, its head back, the fingers quiet and still, the ribs rising and falling as it fought for breath.
The Child lifted into the air.
Her knees left the ground, her shins dropping to hang as she rose. The tiny feet dangled as she lifted higher and higher, her chin in her chest, her face still buried under a sheath of shining hair.
She stopped, waiting, suspended.
I paused, waiting.
“Elder … Priest … King,” she said, the voice low as it echoed the Whispers.
“Yes,” I replied, my voice weak.
“Yes,” I said again, stronger.
The head rose and the hair fell away from the sweet face. Her mouth stretched wide as she tried to speak, the jaw again a series of pops and cracks as it opened and closed, opened and closed.
“Yes,” I repeated.
She stopped, trapped in midair, the jaw frozen in a silent scream as The Seer attempted to speak through her.
And then she began to bleed.
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