I like it dark and creepy…

Guest blog by author, J.P. Jackson

I like it dark and creepy…

I’ve had lots of friends tell me, “You’re so bizarre.”

And it’s true, my brain immediately goes to the dark recesses, the shadowy alcoves, the abscess of rotten thoughts, where in every situation something inevitably inappropriate falls out of my mouth. Most of my friends are used to me by now. My husband just shakes his head.

Every now and then I find myself in an awkward situation with a new work colleague or having been invited to a party where the other guests are not quite ready for my salty behaviour, or my penchant for the twisted.

Not everyone likes it when my tag along demons come out to play.

But occasionally, there’s that one person in the crowd who smiles, nay, perhaps even giggles. Once or twice I’ve even had raucous laughter. There you are! My people.

When sitting down to write my books, I often struggle. Should I have written that? My editor brain (which is severely underdeveloped) often gets in the way and says, you can’t write that! It’s too much.

I’m always torn as to whether or not I’ve gone dark enough, or too dark. When your entire life has existed dancing on the line between the light and the dark, sometimes it’s difficult to tell whether or not you’ve gone too far.

Horror and Dark Urban Fantasy readers can be a tough crowd. Spiders, insects, and creepy crawlies might set one person’s nerves a shivering, but the next loves the furry little multi-legged monsters. Another reader might find clowns eerie and disturbing, while a good many of us are reminded of slapstick nonsense, fun magic tricks, and cotton candy.

Scaring, and scarring people is tough business.

And when you say “Dark” Urban Fantasy, what exactly does that mean?

Apparently all my books fit this description. It’s the telling of a story that has the supernatural element (werewolves, magic, demons, etc.), an environment that’s filled with dread, doom or impending disaster, and a touch of violence to set the stage. If you can instill a sense of tension, taking the reader through poorly lit, dank garbage-filled alleyways, following a blood trail, or have them clutching the bed sheets over their head while attempting to sleep in a decaying mansion infested with dream wraiths, you’ve done your job.

But it’s almost impossible to get under every one of your readers’ skin. And that’s what I want. I want my fans to walk away from my stories feeling like there’s magic a foot. Occult forces that will expand the world of possibilities, or just as likely consume their soul.

I want Imps to be found in the neighborhood rose garden, but at night they steal the local children.

I long for inhuman love interests who will sex you up within an inch of your mortal life, or trick you into selling your soul.

I have a desire to bend the realm of possibilities while notching evil hex marks deep within the brains of my believers. I probably should just take the dive and go as deep as I possibly can.

See? It’s a real quandary.

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J.P. Jackson (he/him) photo of author jp jacksonis an award winning author of dark urban fantasy, paranormal, and horror stories, but regardless of the genre they always feature LGBTQ+ main characters. J.P. works as an IT analyst in health care during the day, where if cornered he’d confess to casting spells to ensure clinicians actually use the electronic medical charting system he configures and implements.

At night, the writing happens, where demons, witches and shape shifters congregate around the kitchen table and general chaos ensues. His husband of 22 years has very firmly put his foot down on any further wraith summonings. Ghosts appear at the most inopportune times, and the Fae are known for regular visits where a glass of wine is exchanged for a good ole story or two. Canela and Jalisco, the two Chihuahuas, are in cahoots with any spell casting.

Visit his Website here. And catch J.P. reading dark fantasy (Reading A1), discussing research (Panel A2) and sharing a horror story (Reading B1).

Check out the full schedule HERE.