Binge-Watching with the Spirits!

Stay cool this summer by binge-watching your favorite shows in the a/c! This fun astrological guide will help you find the perfect show to accompany your mint-julep-sipping! https://www.hauntjaunts.net/horocopes-june-2022-whats-the-best-paranormal-show-for-your-sign/

Mint Julep
Photo courtesy of Canva.com

Don’t forget about your animal friends! Help them beat the heat by putting ice cubes in their water. Putting water outside in shaded areas can help birds and other wildlife life, too! Keep fresh, cool water in birdbaths, as well as containers of water on the ground for those critters that can’t reach the birdbath.

I always try to help out animals when I can, so I’m considering adding another feature to this blog. I might do interviews similar to my Five Things Friday blog, where I interview people involved in environmental and animal rights activism. Probably under an “EcoMonday” tag.

That’s all for now!

At the Drive-In…

I got pretty off track yesterday. It was a strange day/evening in a not-very-exciting-but-very-busy way.

I’ve probably missed a bunch of your blogs, but I tried my best to catch up!

I hope you all have some great summer plans in the works–feel free to share any forthcoming adventures in the comments!

If you want a fun little getaway, come join me and Horror Tree at the (spooky!) drive-in…if you dare! https://horrortree.com/june-2022-horoscopes-the-horror-trees-spooky-filmfest/

Tarot Readings Full of PRIDE!

Before I get cold introvert-feet on the whole tarot reading gig, I figured I’d do a run via my blog to see how it goes!

So, for Pride Month (the month of June), I’ll offer a fifteen-minute reading for five dollars via email, phone, or (if I’m feeling brave enough!) a Zoom call. (I can take payments via PayPal, but we can discuss other options.)

If you’re at all even remotely interested, send me a message to croftwillow@yahoo.com or via the blog’s message form, with “Bringer of Nightmares and Storms” somewhere in the email.

Happy PRIDE Month, either way!

Pride Blog

Summer is the time to…organize!

Well, I may not be having the adventure my (fictional) character is, in the “writing inspiration” scenario I used to for the June 2022 tarot card reading, this Virgoan does love organizing!

(If you need inspiration for your own summer writing blues, check my reading out here: https://horrortree.com/june-2022-tarot-cards-for-writing-inspiration/)

I haven’t made any progress on the relocation front, but I wanted to say thanks for the supportive comments and emails (you all know who you are).

However, I am looking into doing tarot card readings, and I took a mini training course and even got a certificate! I think the classes and the testing and such were meant to happen during a longer period of time, but I’ve been doing readings so long I zipped through the classes.

So, now I just need to get things restructured on the biz front, and then see where I’m at.

Enjoy the weekend!

Five Things Friday: Mini-Interview with Author Ellen Hawley

Join author Ellen Hawley and I as we go digging for treasure and getting into lots of trouble in Anglo-Saxon England!

Willow Croft: If you unearthed a treasure chest on your property, what would you hope would be in it, and why?

Ellen Hawley: Instructions on how to fix the structural problem in the novel I’m working on. I mean, why be greedy in a fantasy?

Willow Croft: Sometimes I see mention of historically based foodstuffs on your blog (like cake!). What would be your favourite recipe of yore (either mentioned on your blog, or not)?

Ellen Hawley: I can’t help wanting to be around when oat cakes were first made. I want to watch over some woman’s shoulder as she makes them over an open fire in the middle of a stone-walled house with a hole in the roof to let the smoke out.

Then I want to run outside to get a few lungfuls of smokeless air.

Willow Croft: Imagine you’re getting together with friends or family on a weekend—what’s the board game you most love to hate?

Ellen Hawley: All of them. I grew up playing board games with my brother, who was (and oddly enough, still is) a couple of years older, so I always lost. It left me with a lasting dislike of them all. I’m the person who’d curl up in the corner with a book and try not to look too grumpy.

Willow Croft: If you created a fictional city of your own, and had to design a tourism brochure, what would be the main selling points of your city (and what would you call it)?

Ellen Hawley: Hang on. I create the city, right? So who gets to tell me I have to design a tourism brochure? I’m designing a city that doesn’t need a tourism brochure. Cancel the brochure. Let’s go out and eat cake.

Willow Croft: Some of your blogs takes a closer look at Anglo-Saxon law (Example: https://notesfromtheuk.com/2021/08/13/law-in-anglo-saxon-england/). What would you have done back then that might have gotten you outlawed or punished?

Ellen Hawley: That’s a tough one, since Anglo-Saxon England was–well, basically, it was a mess. It was one kingdom, it was five kingdoms, it was seven kingdoms, it was probably more kingdoms than that but I lost track somewhere in there. And part of the time large parts of it were run by Vikings, so it stopped being Anglo-Saxon and became Norse. And if that doesn’t confuse the picture enough, part of the time it was Christian and part of the time it was what Christians like to call pagan, which as far as I can make out is a Christian word for not-Christian, not something any group ever called itself. Let’s say it was pre-Christian, although that’s also a problematic label, since it uses a different religion as the reference point.

That’s a long-winded way of saying that the laws changed from one period to the next and from one kingdom or king to the next. But I’m sure I’d have found a way to get in trouble.

In Christian Anglo-Saxiana, it could easily have been for not being a Christian. I’m not sure that was illegal, but it wouldn’t have made me popular.

In any Anglo-Saxon period, although free women were way freer than they were under the Normans, I doubt I’d have kept within the bounds.

Slavery was widespread. I don’t imagine myself as the Harriet Tubman of Anglo-Saxon England–I’m too old to kid myself about having her courage–but whether I was free or enslaved, I’d have had a few problems with it.

And then there’s that awkward business of being attracted to women instead of men. I’ve never read anything about how they felt about same-sex relationships–there may not be any record of it–but again, I doubt it would’ve made me popular.

So many ways to get in trouble, and gee it’s hard to choose.

Untitled design (3)
Photo courtesy of Canva.com

Free cake at Ellen Hawley’s blog! (I’m kidding. I made that up. But there are blog posts over there that are just as delicious as cake, I promise!) https://notesfromtheuk.com/.

Want more than just cake? Glad you asked!

Ellen Hawley is an American novelist and blogger living in Britain. Her current novel, Other People Manage, was just released by Swift Press: https://www.waterstones.com/book/other-people-manage/ellen-hawley/9781800750975.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Cheers!

Here in the United States, St. Patrick’s Day is generally an excuse to get soused! (As if we needed one, after Mardi Gras, right?)

The Rosetta Stone website lists 21 ways to say “Cheers!” in a variety of languages: https://blog.rosettastone.com/say-cheers-21-different-languages/.

However, if you’re like me, you may be hoping to encounter spirits of a different nature this St. Patrick’s Day.

Here’s my guide to having the party of a (paranormal) lifetime! Hope you enjoy these St. Patrick Day’s horoscopes I created for Haunt Jaunts!

https://www.hauntjaunts.net/st-patricks-day-horoscopes-2022-your-signs-haunted-pub-or-inn/

(Been to one, or more, of these haunted locations? Let me know in the comments!)

Prefer a quiet time at home? Why not curl up with a cup of tea and some hauntingly great Celtic-themed short stories? Neon Druid: An Anthology of Urban Celtic Fantasy

(It’s also available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Neon-Druid-Anthology-Celtic-Fantasy/dp/1791884172/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=)

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Beware of Snapdragons!

Having a wee garden was always a maybe-someday wish…so far, it’s not to be, but it did inspire this week’s horoscopes over at Horror Tree.

Hopefully you’ll dig up some inspiration for either your garden, or your manuscripts, with these fun posts!

https://horrortree.com/march-horoscopes-what-grows-in-your-spooky-garden/

And, if you’re like me, and have a “brown thumb” when it comes to growing things, here’s March’s “Tarot Cards for Writing Inspiration”.

https://horrortree.com/march-2022-tarot-cards-for-writing-inspiration/

What projects do you all have lined up for Spring?

The Pandemic Looks Pretty in Pink (A Diary)

It’s been, hmm…well, I don’t know how many days since the pandemic started. I’m a writer, not a mathematician.

I just know it’s been plenty of days to ruminate on every bad decision I’ve made over the entirety of my forty-eight years on this planet.

Of course, that’s the number I can always keep track of, no matter how much I try to forget.

And for how many hours a day the neighbour’s dogs bark.

I mean, why have dogs, you know, if you’re just going to ignore them for, say, eight hours, twenty-three minutes…and forty-three seconds.

There, the dogs have finally stopped barking. I should probably get out of the house, go for a walk in the park, but I have a best-selling novel to write.

It’s shaping up pretty good. Draft eleven, here I come! But first, I just need to check my social media for the sixteenth time today.

You know, I’d better turn off the computer completely and get writing. Right after I give my cat her brushie time she’s been meowing at me for. After all, I don’t neglect my pets.

Well, apparently, she doesn’t want brushies, now. She just ran off into the other room, chasing after whatever probably imaginary thing she heard. Gotta love cats, right?

Wait, I heard it too. Sounds like crumpling paper. I hope my cat’s not tearing apart my best-selling manuscript draft number eleven.

Whew, it’s okay. Right there on the desk where I left it 37 days ago. But, you know, I had all that research to do online.

Just thinking about all that research has made me too tired to tackle draft number twelve. I’ll take a quick nap and then I can get a fresh start on today’s writing. It’s only, well, sometime after two in the afternoon. Plenty of time.

Oh no, how long did I sleep? It’s dark out, but it can’t be too late, right? That’s right, it’s winter, so it gets dark early. I’m fine. Besides, I’m determined to rewrite at least a couple of chapters today. Still, it’s strange that kitty didn’t wake me up to scoop her litter box 2.5 seconds after she used it.

I can hear her in there, scratching and scratching and scratching as if she’s trying to bury one of the great pyramids in Egypt.

I stop when I see her white blur dart across the dark room. “Where you going, kitty?” I call out. “I’ve got treats.” I shake the treat bag but she doesn’t answer.

I flick the light switch but the house remains dark. Just another urban brownout. I fumble around on my nightstand for the flashlight and hear something clatter to the floor as I grab the light. I turn on the flashlight but can’t find what fell.

“Kitty,” I call out, shining the light around. There’s no sign of her. Wait, there she is. I swing the light back around to the white glow I’d spotted.

Oh no.

“Kitty, what did you do?” I forget to use my best-pet-owner-ever voice and I’m glad the windows are closed so the neighbour can’t hear me almost-yell at the cat.

I feel nauseous. I know it’s not because I’d forgotten to eat. There, on the floor, are hundreds of scraps of paper. I can only hope it’s not draft eleven.

“It’s okay, kitty, I’m not mad.” I finally find her, crouching behind the TV. “Come on out.” But she still won’t come out, not even for her special treats.

And then I hear more paper rustling, somewhere behind me. If I was already a best-selling author, I wouldn’t have to live in this vermin-infested house. I mean, the mice are cute and all, and even my kitty seems fond of them. At least, she never hunts them, as far as I know.

“Shoo,” I said, but the rustling continued. Flashlight in one hand, I start picking up the bits of paper. The scraps are so small I can’t even tell which page it is.

But I’ve got tape and plenty of time with the pandemic isolation. I can put it back together, I tell myself. I get down on my hands and knees and start scooping up the paper bits. One big piece catches a draft and floats away.

The paper-rustling noise is louder, now, and I hesitate before feeling around for the missing piece under the desk. The noise stops just as I realize what it is. It’s not rustling, it’s . . . chewing. I get low to the floor and shine the light underneath the desk. Something glows, there, and it’s not white. It’s not even the faded gray of a house mouse. It’s…pink?

“What are you,” I say to the strange little creature that still has a scrap of paper hanging out of its mouth. The scrap falls to the ground and the creature ignores it.

“Well, whatever you are, you’re a pretty little thing.” It looked like a teeny pig, or maybe a cow. I waggle my finger towards it. “Come here, critter.”

Based on the seventeen stitches I had to get at the urgent care, it didn’t like me poking it. Luckily, by the time I got back to the house, the strange creature had disappeared.

I could only hope that my cat had broken the truce she formed with our wee fuzzy roommates and eaten the vicious little thing.

Until the next day, when the news was full of dire warnings about supply chain issues and paper shortages–which were blamed on the pandemic.

But we knew the real reason, me and my cat.

That these little pink creatures reproduced as fast as they ate paper. And, who knew, maybe someday, another new lifeform would come along that would have an insatiable taste for plastic.

That natural evolution would succeed where humans had failed, in regards to the planet.

*********

If you all haven’t figured it out by now, this was my entry into Evil Squirrel’s “Ninth Annual Contest of Whatever”, inspired by this (not-so?) pretty-in-pink creature: https://evilsquirrelsnest.com/2022/01/30/the-ninth-annual-contest-of-whatever/!

Go check out the original post(s) about this mysterious creature, complete with illustrations, and the other participants’ posts about this cute pink nightmare!

You have until tomorrow to write up something yourself . . . come join in the fun!

All sightings (and posts) of this strange creature can be found in these posts/comments:

https://evilsquirrelsnest.com/2022/03/02/five/

https://evilsquirrelsnest.com/2022/02/27/one-more-plug/

https://evilsquirrelsnest.com/2022/02/18/the-two-week-warning/

 

Five

Hey writers, come join in the mystery critter fun. I’m working on mine right now…

Evil Squirrel's Nest

We’re now up to FIVE entries in the 2022 Contest of Whatever with just two days to go!

The magic number, as always, is eight.  There’s never been fewer than eight entries in any past CoW….

If we don’t make it to eight, I just may cry… and do you want to be responsible for making a grown squirrel cry?

Of course you don’t….. you’ve still got plenty of time to create an entry for this year’s Contest of Whatever!

Just CLICK HERE to go to the official CoW page and help give this critter an identity!

You’ll be glad you did, and you can take satisfaction in helping to keep a much beloved Evil Squirrel’s Nest institution alive!

Thank you and good luck!!!

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