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Building Worlds in Fiction–Guest Post by G G Collins

Building Worlds in Fiction

https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2020/09/19/building-worlds-in-fiction-guest-post-by-g-g-collins/

Now in Paperback

Thank you Chris of the Story Reading Ape

Sometimes writers don’t realize it, but they’ve been building worlds all along. Mostly thought of as a skill for authors of sci-fi, fantasy and paranormal stories; we all do it. Every time you describe a room or what your heroine is wearing, you’re creating a reality in your reader’s head, subject to their interpretation.

To view the original post, click on the link: Chris the Story Reading Ape Blog

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

Five Things Friday: Mini-Interview with Author G G Collins

My thanks to Willow Croft for including me in her Five Things Friday Mini-Interview.

Willow Croft

Five Things Friday Interview with Mystery Author G G Collins!

Willow: Here in New Mexico, there’s a lot of spooky local lore. What local mysteries intrigue you and/or keep you up at night?  

 G G Collins: The whole city and environs seem to be occupied by spirits and there are multiple ghost tours to enjoy. The nastiest haunting may be the most recent. The worst prison riot in U.S. history took place south of Santa Fe at the Penitentiary of New Mexico (February 1980). For two days the killing and horrors continued. Thirty-three inmates were killed and 200 were injured. It is now an abandoned site used mainly for storing movie props and filming scenes. But in 1981 reports of strange noises and shadowy specters began. Corrections officers saw human-shaped shadows and heard cell doors banging. Once the prison was vacant, paranormal investigators continued to hear doors…

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Interview with the Anasazi Medium Characters – Guest Post by G G Collins…

Interview With Characters of Anasazi Medium

My thanks to Chris of the Story Reading Ape. A writer’s best friend.

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

The Reluctant Medium characters congregate to discuss author G G Collins’ new paranormal mystery Anasazi Medium(Release: August 1, 2020). It is fourth in the Rachel Blackstone series.

The rooftop deck has been completed at the newly remodeled High Desert Country Magazine headquarters in Santa Fe, New Mexico. With a cover to keep the summer monsoon at bay, we can watch the glorious sunset as the clouds clear in the west. The margaritas are poured. They’re waiting on you.

As founder and publisher of High Desert Country, Julian Brazos will conduct the interview.

Julian: Welcome everyone. Thanks for coming in the rain whichour high desert city needs desperately.

For those of you who have never read a Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mystery, here’s a bit to catch you up. In Reluctant Medium, Rachel tried a Hopi ritual to return the dead. She wanted to talk with…

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Anasazi Medium Native American Mystery .99 Cents August 3, 2020 Only

Anasazi Medium Now #21

Native American Literature Category

Click the Book Cover to Order or for More Info.

Since it’s release August 1, 2020, Anasazi Medium has already climbed to #21 on Amazon’s Native American Literature Category.

Based on the Fourth World of the Hopi, it explores the possibilities should the Fourth World end. Rachel Blackstone, the Reluctant Medium, is visited by an ancient Native Puebloan who warns her that Mother Earth is threatened by evil men. If they are not stopped, the world will end when the Dog Star plunges into the planet.

Anasazi Medium is the fourth in the Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mystery Series.

Only .99 cents for 24 hours only: August 3, 2020 beginning at 8 a.m. PDT. Click on the book cover to learn more.

 

 

New Release August 1, 2020 Native American Mystery

Four Days Until the End of Earth!

Pre-Order at Amazon. Click the Book Cover

Rachel Blackstone really has her work cut out for her this time.

Evil men are stealing from Mother Earth. Their actions have activated a centuries old myth–at least people thought of it as a nothing more than Native American lore. Wrong! The end of the Fourth World of the Hopi is real and the ever larger Dog Star is spiraling toward Earth. If it impacts, it’s the dinosaur apocalypse all over again.

Rachel must find those responsible and stop them. As earthquakes rattle Santa Fe and a supervolcano threatens to blow, she and her friends–both the quick and the dead–scramble to save humankind. It will lead to danger and dangerous places, even the Land of the Dead.

Friends Rachel and Chloe fight to stop the Dog Star before it stops them all.

Click on the book cover to pre-order. And thanks for reading.

Crystal Usage in Anasazi Medium

Crystal Blue Persuasion

by G G Collins                             Copyright 2020

Pre-Order at Amazon. Click the Book Cover

While writing Anasazi Medium I realized that Reluctant Medium, Rachel Blackstone, would have to visit the Land of the Dead. I went to friend and crystal practitioner, M J Trantham, and asked her what she thought. She said we would need not only stones to protect Rachel from the spirits, but to protect the dead from Rachel.

You can see MJ’s influence throughout my books. For instance, near the beginning of Anasazi Medium we learn that Rachel has placed a grid of Black Tourmaline and Selenite, both protective, in each corner of her office at High Desert Country in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she works as a reporter and editor. In Lemurian Medium it was Blue Lace Agates that saved the day when Rachel was threatened by the Dracs. In Atomic Medium we used Apophyllite to open a stargate, Howlite to protect against radiation in the Atomic City and Opals for invisibility.

Throughout Anasazi Medium you will notice the color blue recurring: The Blue Dog Star, Indigo children, the Blue Star Kachina, water and three carefully chosen crystals, two of which are blue.

Credit: Maruo Cateb
https://bit.ly/2ZLlmpQ

The character of Mari-Lynn has been Rachel and Chloe’s crystal supplier. (Also Chloe’s marijuana dealer before she went legit.) For Anasazi Medium she chose Lodolite, a Shamanic dreamstone which assists with journeys not of this world and traveling to the Land of the Dead fits that description. And as an unwelcome guest in this realm it would also protect her from negative energy.

Credit: Hannes Grobe
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MJ also recommended Lapis Lazuli, another protective stone, that blocks psychic attacks, thus returning the hurtful energy to its source. When Rachel arrives in the Land of the Dead she is decidedly not wanted.

The final stone was Blue Quartz. It is a very powerful crystal. It not only calms, but adjusts its vibrational level to your needs. The Land of the Dead presented several challenges to Rachel

Credit: Rob Lavinsky
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and she needed the pyramid-shaped pendant made of these stones throughout this journey. Not only did she see frightening things, but traveled through time with her spirit wolf Kiyiya.

Kiyiya is playing a larger role as the Reluctant Medium becomes more comfortable, but still reluctant, in her own role of empath and psychic.

Anasazi Medium combines Hopi Native American culture and traditions with a paranormal mystery that endangers the entire planet. Rachel, and her friends, have their work cut out for them as they deal with bird kills, dangerous waters and evil men bent on taking what they want. In the meantime, the Dog Star is getting frighteningly close to Earth.

 

 

Using Crystals in Fiction

With a Little Help From Our Friends

Guest Blog Post with M J Trantham, Crystal Practitioner

Tiger’s Eye Crystals: Gold, Red, Blue. Protective Stones. Copyright G G Collins

 

We all get a little help from our friends. In the case of crystal practitioner MJ Trantham, I’ve gotten a lot of help. After Reluctant Medium was released she asked me if I thought Rachel would benefit from using crystals. My answer was “Yes!” MJ is also a great brainstormer and I send her chapters for her input–trying not to give away to much of the story.

by M J Trantham                                                               Copyright 2020

GG Collins and I have been friends for many years. I have been reading her articles and books longer than I can remember. When she began the Reluctant Medium series, I was so excited and asked if I could participate in brainstorming the development of her books. She graciously invited me into the group. I feel Rachel Blackstone has become my friend as well.

Once I know what Rachel’s adventure is going to be, I begin to think of what hazards she might encounter or mysteries she is going to solve. Will Rachel need enhanced intuition from her spirit guides or protection from ghosts and goblins?  Is she looking for someone that needs help? Maybe Rachel is on a treasure hunt?

Amethyst Crystal Ball
Copyright G G Collins

During Rachel’s journeys she most likely needs protection from a person, place or thing. Tiger Iron, one of my favorites, is formed from Jasper, Hematite and Tiger’s Eye. It is also known as Mugglestone. It forms a protective shield around the aura and points to a place of refuge when danger threatens and returns the evil to the source. Black Tourmaline is another choice.  It forms a protective shield around the person carrying this crystal.

To enhance Rachel’s intuition, I would give her an Amethyst. Amethyst also protects against psychic attacks and improves spiritual awareness allowing her to make wise decisions and clearly hear her spirit guides if she gets into a bad situation. Blue Kyanite also heightens psychic abilities and is an excellent connector to spirit guides.

Crystals come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Most have multiple uses depending on color or type. When selecting a crystal for a friend or situation, do some research to determine which definition or description means the most to you.

M J also makes the most beautiful crystal pouches and medicine bags.

Trantham’s crocheted medicine bags.

Medicine Bags by M J Trantham
Copyright G G Collins

 

Ghost Story for Halloween

Contact: Presence, A Short Story

Rachel Blackstone, the Reluctant Medium, is startled when a clock flies across the bathroom while brushing her teeth. Is it a message from the spirit world? She and best friend Chloe hold a transition ceremony and wait for further contact. But will it be peaceful or have they summoned another evil entity?

To Buy Click on the Link Below

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Mystery Book Excerpt

 

Anasazi Medium Coming in August 2020

by G G Collins Copyright 2019

Ancient peoples enlighten contemporary humankind in a mystery as old as time. Rachel Blackstone is recruited by the spirit world to prevent a cataclysmic occurrence: the end of the Fourth World of the Hopi. As earthquakes occur and a super volcano threatens to blow, it becomes imperative she discover the root of all evil. But can she stop the greedy men intent on having their way and willing to kill to achieve it? The survival of an unaware civilization depends on her getting it right.

Anasazy Medium (1)

Coming August 2020

The computer screen went black; followed immediately by her desk lamp. It wasn’t yet dark in Santa Fe, but the sun was on its way down.

“Dammit, not again,” Rachel swore. The City Different was known to lose power from time to time so while not yet concerned, she was frustrated by the outage.

“It should be called The City Dark. Hey, we’re on deadline!” She nodded to her tortie cat, Chile Pod.

But Chile Pod was in alert mode; ears pricked forward, green eyes wide, colorful neck scruff raised.

“What? What is it?”

Before she could sort it out, a wolf howled. It carried across the city, both eerie and urgent. Rachel had heard it before; Kiyiya, the spirit wolf who always seemed to be around when she needed a heads-up.

Rachel really didn’t want to get up and look outside. It would be so much better to continue to sit in her kitchen corner safe in her ignorance. She reluctantly pushed her chair back and stood. Before she could cross the kitchen her house shuddered. Things—a lot of things—began hitting the roof and walls of the house. This was no ordinary hail storm, an occurrence fairly common to this southwestern city. They must be huge stones. Usually, they received small hailstones that tended to go splut when they impacted. This sounded more like rocks striking.

When a window shattered, she ducked.

“Chile, get under the . . . !” But the tiny cat was already under the table sitting on a chair peeking from beneath the brightly colored tablecloth.

Rachel raised her eyes upward although there was nothing to see but her ceiling. No explanation was forthcoming. Just as she reached the window something dark hit the pane, cracking it, and bounced off. She stared in horror at what was happening in her backyard.

“This can’t be!” she cried, holding both hands over her mouth.

But it was. Birds were falling from the sky, hundreds of them.

Sensing there was nothing dangerous inside, Chile Pod jumped to the counter to see for herself. Rachel covered her protectively as she watched the ghastly precipitation event. In a few seconds, they abruptly stopped falling.

“Stay inside please,” Rachel said to Chile Pod. “I don’t want to have to worry about you too.”

The storm door creaked as she pushed it open and cautiously stepped outside. There were birds lying on her stoop. She grabbed the broom from next to the door and carefully moved them to one side so she could go down the steps. They all appeared to be dead. Rachel had read about this phenomenon. It was normally caused by loud noises such as fireworks that caused disorientation or a flock flew into a hailstorm and died of blunt force trauma. Of course, doomsday predictors had a lot to say about such events and what they felt was the impending Armageddon.

Rachel was wiping tears as she walked carefully through the bird kill. She found it to be incredibly sad. Once she had navigated the stone path to the courtyard terrace continuing to use the broom to make a path in the midst of so many bodies, she stopped to observe the sunset. It was another spectacular display of colors stretching across a limitless sky, completely unaware of the tragedy that lay upon the ground.

A lone bird righted itself and stood unsteadily. It fluffed its wing feathers as if conducting a pre-flight inspection. None of the others moved. He would have a lonely journey.

Rachel watched this with trepidation and gloom. What had caused uninjured birds to fall from the sky? When the power returned, she would check the internet for similar incidents.

Her attention was quickly captured as cold air closed in around her. Within seconds, she could see her breath. It gathered in a white cloud and slowly drifted away. She held the broom handle in one hand, clutching her arms about her. It felt like winter had come too soon. But Rachel was certain that something frightening was about to happen. She was learning the signs; the wolf howl, bizarre episodes. She waited. It wasn’t her show. But she wished whoever or whatever would get on with it.

She became aware of a sound, low at first; a familiar rattle. It reminded her of the first time she had witnessed the return of a spirit in her living room only last year. Rachel waited; helpless to hasten a ghost making a return voyage.

Slowly moving streams of fog appeared from four directions, moving across her courtyard with excruciating intent. Oddly, each vaporous rivulet carried a different tint: black, white, red and yellow. Some Native Americans believed these represented the four colors of humankind as well as the four directions. When the colors united, a shape began to form.

Suddenly, the rattling stopped as the vapor integrated and became one in the center of her flagstone terrace.

Rachel stood quietly, hardly daring to breathe, every muscle taut with readiness. Just because she’d experienced this before didn’t mean she was immune to fear.

A body was slowly forming in front of her. This person wasn’t wearing a lot. She was seeing a great deal of skin. But she also noticed the spear. Of course she had no weapon unless a broom constitutes one. Just how did one prepare for any eventuality? Ray gun for alien beings? AK-47 for home grown terrorists? Stardust for pissed off fairies? These occurrences were potluck affairs.

A Native American man walked out of the mist. He was very fit, not the fitness that comes from working out in a gym, but from physical work. This was someone who labored outside. He wore a simple loincloth, probably made from an animal skin and shoes made of the same that reached upward to his knees.

His presence was disturbing. It wasn’t just the spear, but she perceived him as warrior if the need arose. This was someone to be feared. Rachel watched him carefully, reminding herself he was in spirit, but also aware that spirits could cause great harm, even kill. She was ready to run, not that it would do much good.

He stepped toward her, shoes soundless on the stones.

“You are the one?” he asked. He spoke in a language she had never heard, but the words appeared in English in her mind, much as supertitles at the opera.

“I don’t know,” she replied not knowing if he understood. “Who are you looking for?”

“The one who speaks with the dead.”

“I believe I’m speaking with a spirit now. Is that true? Are you in spirit?”

“I am from the Land of the Dead.”

“How can I help you?” She really wished she’d stayed near her back door instead of backing into a corner. When would she learn to have these unscheduled meetings on her terms? Could they happen on her terms?

“All the signs except one have been fulfilled. You must stop the last one or the world will end and another begins. This will not be good. All will die.”

“What? What sign?”

“The ninth sign is near to completion. It must be stopped.”

“What has to be stopped?” Rachel was even more apprehensive about this man’s prediction than his formidable stature and spike.

“The ninth sign. A blue Kachina in the sky. If it occurs the fourth world will end, all will die. The fifth world will commence, but without all living creatures.”

Rachel could feel the urgency in his words, but didn’t understand.

“It is the blue star; the brightest in the night sky,” he explained.

“The Dog Star; Sirius?” she asked not knowing if he would understand.

“Yes.”

“What will happen to it?” she asked.

“If bad men are not stopped, it will fall to the Earth and destroy the fourth world.”

“Bad men? That could be almost anyone, anyplace.”

“These men will kill our land, our valley where we lived in stone walls.”

“But, what can I do?”

“You have the power of the writing instrument. You must expose them.”

“And if I can’t?”

“Everyone you know and everyone you do not know will die. You will die. Your feline companion will die.” Had he seen her in the kitchen window? How did he know?

“Can you give me more information? I don’t know where to start.”

He turned and pointed north. “In our ancestral lands,” he said and faded away.

The mist dispersed and the cold evaporated. But Rachel felt chilled to the bone.

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