Category Archives: Short Story

Author Interview With Willow Croft

Tapping Into the Dark Side

Horror writer Willow Croft joins us today. Her short stories have appeared in Mad Scientist Journal, Rock N’ Roll Horror Zine, Speculative 66 Online Journal and Sirens Call eZine. She is represented in three horror anthologies. If you haven’t, take A Poetic Voyage Through Time and Space in Quantum Singularity. Add it to your reading list. Willow’s life is currently in redevelopment, but no doubt it will inspire her to write about the horrors of moving. Stay tuned.

As a horror writer, who inspired you? Have you read the books and stories of Shirley Jackson and Daphne de Maurier? Or someone more recent? What TV shows/movies did you like as a child?

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Daphne de Maurier was among the writers/books I read as part of especially intense literary experience back when I was around ten or eleven and through most of my middle school. My immersion in books back then was incredibly vivid and three-dimensional. To this day, the line “Last night I returned to Manderley” still steals all the breath out of my chest. And the blood-red, tangled rhododendron thicket on either side as Maxim and the new Mrs. De Winter went up the drive to Manderley—it’s something that I can still see in my mind’s eye to this day. I have quite a few of de Maurier’s books still, including one of my favourites, Vanishing Cornwall. The day I got to visit Cornwall was among my top travel experiences on my journey abroad.

Even though I was reading Stephen King (The Dead Zone and Thinner remain all-time favs) and Clive Barker’s Books of Blood back then as well, I would claim Audre Lorde, Ntozake Shange (Sassafras, Cypress, and Indigo) Victoria Holt and V.C. Andrews as my early main influences. And the Cure, as they are not only both magical and mystical, but also have literary influences in many of their songs. As for TV/Movies, I’ll just quote the young C.G.B. Spender from the X-Files: “I’d rather read the worst book ever written then see the best movie ever made.” But, if I had to pick one movie, I’d say the black-and-white film Carnival of Souls.

Is your preference psychological horror or do you go straight to gore? Something in between?

I love it all. I’m excited to delve more into splatterpunk and even bizarro horror (which I have recently discovered thanks to a new writerly connection with Ben Fitts https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18261823.Ben_Fitts). No amount of gore in books and even in movies phases me much. Horror is sometimes my version of comedy. For example, I thought the first Ginger Snaps movie was hilarious!

You moderate a Goodreads group called Fear-minists: Women Horror Writers Around the Globe for writers and readers of horror and suspense. What are your goals?

Well, sadly, the lack of internet has put that on hold for the moment, but I would love to connect with more women writers, horror writers, and women horror writers. I’m an introvert, so I don’t have a lot of companions in day-to-day life, intentionally. I love my privacy and personal space. But I would like to have some more online friends. I miss the days of IRC/mIRC, that virtual WorldChat thingy back in the day, and even the “Lipstick Traces” chat board on the old Cure website. I would even love to have some “snail mail” penpals like I used to.

Your work tackles environmental issues. Why do you think it important to include these issues?

Oh, jeez, am I going to get on my activist soapbox, now! I love trees. Again, as an introvert, trees and animals are my best friends. I hate to see a tree cut down. I absolutely despise the sounds (and resultant tree and plant agony) of chainsaws and weedwhackers. I’ve attended “March Against Monsanto “protests back in my home town, and I feel very strongly that pesticides and Roundup should be universally banned, as well as GMO-based foods. Even though I routinely murder plants and vegetables on a regular basis for my diet (I’ve been vegetarian since 1992), I still cannot fathom eating an animal instead. And don’t get me started on the clearing of the Amazon rainforest and factory farms. I was just reading an article, too, in the Smithsonian magazine, about how a large portion of the fish that are eaten today come from pirates and illegal fishing practices. Horrifying article—things like that are the stuff of my nightmares–but a must-read all the same.

Someday, I hope I can buy lots of land and return it back to nature. Or as close as it might have originally been. At least let it go wild and tangled and free!

I notice your great love for animals. Do you believe organizations like Best Friends and the country can reach “No Kill” status by 2025?

Well, one can always hope. The term “No Kill” is a little misleading, though. A shelter can be designated “No Kill” but still not have a zero percent euthanasia rate. But I wouldn’t blame shelters. They are trying to do their best in a difficult, no-win situation. Primarily, because people still don’t get their pets spayed/neutered, and then they even let them run free. There’s absolutely no cause for it. Free/low-cost spay/neuter programs abound. I get so angry at that. So, then, we have an overpopulation of animals in shelters and so many people want kittens and puppies that the older animals get overlooked. I, myself, wish every cat and dog and house pet had a loving home, but I also know the reality of shelter overpopulation. There was a no-kill “cat shelter” back in my hometown, and the owner of the shelter had become a hoarder. I was there on a day the sheriff’s office animal services officers were on scene. The volunteer was not letting them in. But my friend and fellow animal rights worker got access to the shelter. We later wrote affidavits for the court case. And the animals were turned over to a private shelter that a local rescue group had set up. So, it’s a tough call. I don’t want any wonderful animal euthanized but I’ve seen the result of an overpopulated shelter turned hoarding situation firsthand. And that’s not something I wish on any animal.

So, spay/neuter your pets, adopt don’t shop, and please keep your cats indoor-only, and your dogs on a leash! And don’t buy pets from a breeder or a pet store. You can search by any animal, and can even find specific breeds through Petfinder.org.

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And consider adopting an older animal from a shelter—they’re the greatest!

Has the isolation of COVID-19 invigorated your writing or has it made it more difficult to write?

Well, not really. I pretty much live in self-imposed quarantine as a writer and an introvert anyway. The thing that has impacted my writing and my writing career is that I cannot get reliable and fast internet in New Mexico. Where I’m at, I cannot get internet service, and barely any cell phone service. And, when the pandemic restrictions hit, most everything was closed down. But, hopefully, my looming relocation move will get me internet and cell phone service again! If you’re in Kansas, send me an email or message on Twitter! I’d love to hear from you!

Author Blog: https://willowcroft.blog

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16978140.Willow_Croft

Twitter: https://twitter.com/willowcroft16

Ghost Story: “Presence”

Ghost Story Based on Real Events

Presence: A Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mystery Short Story by G G Collins

“If you receive a sign it will be something quite unusual.”

book-cover-presence-short-story-10-16-final

Available at Amazon

Sometimes it doesn’t pay to brush your teeth. Not when you’re Rachel Blackstone, the Reluctant Medium. She can’t explain why a simple clock on her bathroom shelf flew across the room. The death of a friend weighs more heavily. Her friend Chloe, into all things New Age, once told her about a transition blessing for the dead. Although Rachel wants to do it, she is gun-shy about attempting another ritual after the disaster she created the first time. Chloe convinces her it will be okay and offers a Hopi prayer. But when another unexplained event occurs, Rachel is afraid they may have unwittingly invited another evil entity into their lives. Were they foolhardy to attempt communication with the afterlife or will the new spirit reach out in a way Rachel understands?

Only $0.99 on Amazon.

Kindle Short Reads, 30 minutes (12-21 pages), Literature & Fiction, Ghosts

 

REVIEW

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 Believe it or not.

Rachel and Chloe have done it again!

This is a wonderful tribute to those we love who have passed. To others, try it and you will most likely have a memory that will always stay with you.

Thanks Tonya for blessing Rachel’s life. Thanks GG for sharing your blessing.

Reviewed by Mojo. Thank you!

 

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