Five Things Friday: Mini-Interview with Author Bibiana Krall

For this week’s interview, we’re journeying through the evocative flavours of Bibiana Krall’s “mysterious world”. Enjoy the voyage!

Willow Croft: I read on your website that Tangled Webs (Book Two of your Haunted Series), has autumn-themed recipes and cocktails at the back of the book. So, without giving away any spoilers, what’s your favorite autumn flavor/foodstuffs to include in recipes?

Bibiana Krall: I grew up on a farm in Michigan and the flavor that most represents harvest for me will always be the apple. We had our own fruit trees and pressed apples into cider at the local mill to drink with breakfast and sip on chilly evenings with mulling spices. There is nothing more comforting than a warm slice of homemade, apple pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. In the bonus pages of Tangled Webs, I included a recipe with a savory twist on a classic. Enjoy!

Willow Croft: I see that you’re a collector of objects. For a twist on the topic, what’s your favorite memory, or story of place, or even a memory of a particular scent, that you’ve collected?

Bibiana Krall: It’s true. I have an oddball collection of art, coins and even a few first-editions. Scent carries my strongest memories. The green-resin of a pine forest snoozing under the snow, the mellow earth after a gentle rain (petrichor) and oh… how I love gardenias. I planted some bushes in my yard, as they remind me of my grandmother. Creamy-white petals with notes of vanilla and exotic spice, what’s not to like?

Willow Croft: How does your writing transform not only your world, and the world of the reader, but the world at large, perhaps in terms of cultural, social, environmental change, and the like?

Bibiana Krall: I’ve been a storyteller ever since I can remember. The world is a mysterious and mystical place that holds a tradition of verbal and written stories that helps humans understand our past, present and future.

My hope is to change the reader’s perception that someone in another culture or a person who looks or lives differently than we do, may understand us more than we’d previously imagined. Heroines are an important part of what I do, as without strong and resilient women in our lives where would any of us be?

I gravitate towards themes of: ‘good versus evil’ ‘haunted houses’ and ‘a stranger comes to town’ to talk about fear of the unknown, overcoming and also to show that often there’s more to something than what you initially notice or believe. The greatest gift in fiction and hopefully in my work as well, is to discover that you aren’t alone in your struggle.

Willow Croft: If you could travel anywhere in the Cosmos you sky-watched as a child (as quoted from your blog), where would travel, and why?

Bibiana Krall: When I was a child, I yearned for a quick trip to Venus or to skateboard across the rings of Saturn. Now my wish is to travel to the Pillars of Creation and watch the EGGs zing across the darkness as they are born. The Eagle Nebula in the Serpens constellation is seven thousand light years away from us. To witness stars being created in real-time would blow the mind, so I included my wonder for the ‘Pillars’ in the mysticism of the Irish Phantom Series.

Willow Croft: If you were reincarnated as one of your literary heroines (or from another author’s works), who would you decide to be?

Bibiana Krall: That’s a tough one! What woman wouldn’t want to be Rebecca before she clashes with the horrible Mrs. Danvers or Jane Eyre living life on her own terms? In my own stories, I admire Ayanna in Prospect Hill for her intelligence, magic and herbal skills and Mary in the Irish Phantom Series for her courage to face terrifying situations and her ability to find happiness, friendship and true love after a breakdown.

Thank you for making space for my creative world. Your insightful questions made me think, smile and dream. Hopefully y’all know me a little bit better now. This was an honor and great fun! – Bibiana

Website www.bibianakrall.com

Linktree https://www.linktree.com.bibianak

Real-Life Horror: Oh, What “Fun” It Is To Kill Birds For No Reason

What this blog post is not: a statement/judgment against, or any sort of commentary on or about the subsistence hunts, practices, et al, of Native people throughout the world.

Onto what my post is about:

I am familiar with all the nuances of bird hunting; allegedly linked to conservation, and other pro-hunting arguments like that, which are used to support and defend even sport hunting.

Here’s a prior, FAQ-style statement from the Michigan Humane Society about the hunting of doves: http://support.michiganhumane.org/site/DocServer?docID=281

Like in the below linked statement from PETA, I don’t agree that allowing hunters to go out and shoot migratory birds and other targets of sport hunting, etc. is an effective way to manage a local ecosystem. https://www.peta.org/issues/wildlife/wildlife-factsheets/sport-hunting-cruel-unnecessary/

Admittedly, I played Nintendo’s “Duck Hunt” when I was a kid. It made me sad even if it wasn’t real and I didn’t play it much after the first couple of times. And never once could I imagine going out and shooting a duck in real life.

I always hear the argument that violent video games make people violent, but it’s seemingly unquestioned that putting a gun in a child’s hand and taking them out into nature to shoot at an actual living lifeform, and terming it as a fun (or necessary) activity, doesn’t cultivate the callousness needed to commit a violent act.

Personally, I do not understand how shooting beautiful, defenseless birds is classified as a “sporting” activity–essentially considered a fun, entertaining pastime, and one that is even encouraged among young people.

Though only a handful of states have banned migratory/dove hunting, and it’s largely allowed in United States, I am sharing information about the birds my new home state allows people to hunt: https://ksoutdoors.com/Hunting/When-to-Hunt/Migratory-Bird. (There’s other wild species on the website that the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism (KDWPT) allows people to hunt and fish.)

(You know, nobody thought the passenger pigeon would go extinct, because it was so “plentiful” as is the current argument I keep reading about doves, to excuse/support hunting of certain doves now!)

I’ve heard firsthand accounts about hunters and their behaviors, locally. (I’m keeping the source anonymous for their safety, and keeping my relation of their account general, for the same reason.) During hunting season here in Kansas, I’ve been told that hunters routinely and knowingly trespass on private property, leave behind a swath of destruction and a mess on private land that has to be cleaned up by the property owners in question, and these hunters have deliberately shot at people in their yards/at their homes. 

If things like this happened to me, I would be raising all kinds of holy hell until something was actually done about it. I would consider that an absolutely unallowable state of circumstances. If one gun is fired, on private property, at a person/a person’s home, then why is anyone allowed to be shooting guns off out there in the name of “hunting”? Putting my feelings about sport hunting aside, I don’t understand why the KDWPT are continuing to issue permits, with these kinds of reported-to-law-enforcement activities going on. Yes, I’m from an urban area, but maybe because of that, I consider gunshots flying around in close proximity to people to be unequivocally unacceptable. To put it mildly. 

Also, if hunters are really out there disregarding known property boundaries, and are, in fact, shooting at people and their homes, what other rules and regulations are they out there flouting?

It makes me wonder why the local law enforcement/powers that be are so eager and willing to trust people who are out shooting things on a regular basis, and to reward them with hunting licenses.

Do you really think these kinds of irresponsible hunters are following other regulations as established by the KDWPT? (My common sense conclusion would be telling me that they aren’t, even as a new transplant to this sort of rural environment!)

Things like obeying the regulation for non-toxic shot, for example?

More information on the regulation here: http://www.huntingwithnonlead.org/state_info.html and on the KDWPT website: https://ksoutdoors.com/Hunting/Hunting-Regulations/Migratory-Birds/Non-Toxic-Shot-Non-Toxic-Shot-Only-Areas

If you’re interested, here’s a full list of the statutes KDWPT is regulating by law:

https://ksoutdoors.com/Services/Law-Enforcement/Regulations

How many of these are these gun-toters actually obeying these regulations? What’s the statistics on that, I wonder?

And, around the world, the following linked article states that illegal hunting continues even in countries with strong laws against hunting birds through the Spring migration period, and with an EU ban as well.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/aug/26/conservationists-appalled-at-illegal-killing-of-25m-birds-a-year-in-the-mediterranean

https://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/the-tradition-of-bird-hunting-in-malta/

So it makes me wonder why hunting is allowed to continue, because these numbers point to a trend where hunters move through an environment where there are no repercussions for their actions, they can act with total immunity against wildlife and nature, and they grow more and more confident they they can do whatever they dang well feel like.

So, I argue that the more hunting is allowed, especially for sport and trophies, the more hunters feel like they can take advantage of the (laxity?) of it.

I believe that because they have guns, and plenty of them, they start to feel they are immune, and they have the freedom to do whatever they want to.

Illegally hunt animals. (Poaching, anyone? https://ksoutdoors.com/Services/Law-Enforcement/Operation-Game-Thief)

Conduct activities such as those that were related to me by way of firsthand local accounts.

And, gee, I don’t know, storm the United States Capitol building, for example?

While I abhor hunting and the killing of all wildlife, especially as a vegetarian, maybe there are ethical, sustenance-only hunters out there. But, as the saying goes, “a few bad seeds” and all that. And it’s time to put an end to the “few bad seeds”. It’s well past time for humans to start making sacrifices for wildlife and nature, in order to restore the balance between the human community and those inhabitants of the natural world, even if you are resistant to adopting a more sustainable diet for the planet. 

Then when that balance is achieved and continues to be preserved, and human-caused climate change and widespread extinction of non-human species is a thing of the past, then you can talk to those who make more suitably stringent, and common-sense regulations about the “right to hunt”. And the powers that be might be willing to listen.

I might be willing to listen.

But I’m not going to listen, right now. This sort of mentality has dominated human thinking for hundreds upon thousands of years. And it’s time for it to stop. Especially with the whole natural world at stake because of our bad-seed choices, as humans. Yes, even mine. And I’m working as actively and as expediently as I can to undo what I’ve been conditioned by society to believe it means to be human.

It’s time for change. It’s time for our sacrifices, to repay all that animals and trees and nature have given us over the time humans have been on this planet. It’s time for humans to curtail their space and activities–to make room–so that wildlife in all its forms has room to once again thrive.

To (partially) quote the character Lindsey Brigman from the movie The Abyss:
“We all see what we want to see. Coffey . . . sees hate and fear. You have to look with better eyes than that.”

Here’s some links to people/groups that are looking with “better eyes”.

https://www.facebook.com/lovemourningdove/

In articles like “The Mourning Dove: An Animal Rights Article”  from All-Creatures.org, click link here.

I encourage all my eco-warriors, eco-writers, and just plain anybody who wants to write/has written a similar environmentally inspired blog post, to share their links in the comments.

Weary Wednesday

It is Wednesday, isn’t it?

I can’t believe August is already almost over. It seemed to take forever to get moved in, and to get the house, well, if not entirely ready, at least set up for life on a daily basis. It’s surreal to be in a more permanent residence. And it’s also odd to be in a town this small. Especially in a town in Kansas. Hopefully, though, I’ll find at least one like-minded friend. But I work so much that making time for social activities is a bit of a lost cause.

Kitties haven’t fully acclimated yet, but I’m also hoping they’ll like their new place! They are probably glad have the house to themselves–free of lurching intruders that make lots of noise. The cats are a little hard to see in the photo, but I didn’t want to stress them more by pestering them for a better photo.

hidingcats

So, the office is set up and ready for work. I’m both glad to get back into my normal schedule, but it was nice to be offline for a little while.

I should have some new “Five Things Friday” author interviews coming up sometime soon. And I’ll get back to reading everybody’s blogs! I’ve missed them!

Olympics Are Starting!

 

The Olympics are starting! (Thanks, Host Tokyo!)

I bought a house!

Two things that seemed to be impossible are happening–Olympics and me actually being settled enough to own a home.

(Oh, and I wrote a little story inspired by my grandmother’s boyfriend, Ernie Scribner, who worked at the 1932 Lake Placid Olympics. As the story goes, he laid the flag under the ice of the rink, and escorted Sonia Henie onto the ice, as he was an excellent ice skater. Here’s his memento from that experience:

iceskater2dpi

So, I hope you enjoy the Olympics! If you’re interested in the Olympic-themed book, here’s the link: https://www.amazon.com/Phantom-Games-Dimensions-2020/dp/B08KQP53X2

 

Enjoy!

Wednesday’s Book Look, and a Wee Pause

Wednesday’s Book Look: Emily in the Wall: Twelve Chilling Tales of Horror and Suspense by Neil Davies (Thanks to Grinning Skull Press for the review copy!) https://grinningskullpress.wordpress.com/

Spoilers lie ahead.

When I was a kid, I had an imaginary friend that lived in our attic. Except that our attic was more like a crawlspace. Still, I would go visit her in her airy-eyrie attic room, via dreams, and we’d hang out all night until I woke up in the morning. Sometimes, we’d go on adventures, and sometimes the adventures would be a little spooky.

But being spooked in dreams is different than being afraid in real life. It’s a fascinating experience to be fearful in a dream, or while you’re reading a book. It takes your mind off the things that cause you fear in the real world.

And I wasn’t alone, because I had my imaginary friend with me, most times. Pretty much my only friend.

Having a pretend sister helped with the isolation, until the day I woke up from the dream where we said goodbye and I knew she was gone.

And so the short story, “Emily in the Wall”, from the collection of the same name, was probably my favourite. I related to so much in the story–the main character Anna Kolton, the “smarmy” therapist, the people in the walls that Anna kept seeing–but in this story, the therapist begins to support her rather than discount her, and she is able to make contact with “imaginary” Emily in a very real way. 

The rest of the stories, while all different in regards to characters and settings, seem to have a similar theme. Or one that I just want to embrace while reading this haunting collection–that we really aren’t alone as we move through our worlds, our families, our social circles–we have company, for better or for worse. 

We have books that give us other lives, other worlds, other adventures.

And we will always have at least one imaginary friend by our side in the darkness, no matter how alone we feel. And Neil Davies’s stories remind me what I sometimes forget–that it’s still possible to move through time and space and into other worlds, or bring those worlds home to us.

I am keen on reading more of Neil Davies’s works.

….

Also, if reading this book (I’d highly recommend Emily in the Wall to chase away the summertime blues) whets your appetite for more great spec fic-ish reads, check out Priscilla Bettis’s one-sentence reviews over at her blog: https://priscillabettisauthor.com/2021/06/30/one-sentence-reviews-my-2nd-quarter-2021-reads/.

And, last but not least, I’m going to taking a wee pause from the blog while I navigate an exciting adventure of my own. I’ll be back within two or three weeks–posting, reading, commenting (speaking of “for better or for worse” *laugh*), and with some real-life tales of my own to tell. Or so I hope! 

Enjoy the rest of July!

Five Things Friday: Mini-Interview with Author (and Dragon!) Nenekiri Bookwyrm

This week’s “Five Things Friday” interviewee/dragon is Nenekiri Bookwyrm!

Willow Croft: What’s the best convention you’ve attended? And what’s the oddest, fantastical, and/or wonderful thing that’s happened to you at a convention?

Nenekiri Bookwyrm: One of the best was Anthrocon 2018 for sure. I was only able to go for Saturday the previous year and in 2018 I was able to go for the full convention. It was also the first time I had been published and the feeling of getting to see my name in the contributors to the con book was something magical. It made my entire weekend and the con had just started.

I’ve had a lot of adventures in my many con trips, but this story from my first ever convention is still one of my favorites to tell. I had never been to a convention before but went with my group of friends to Magfest 2016. We had just gotten to the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center after checking into our hotel rooms and thought it would be a good idea to get something to eat. The problem was that we didn’t know the area very well. So after wandering around the streets just outside of the convention center, and nearly getting lost looking for a restaurant, we settled for Subway. We grabbed our sandwiches and headed back to find a place to eat them. We decided on sitting around the fountain that was set up next to the entrance on the lower level of the building. It was around supper when we sat down to eat our meal, close to 6PM but not quite. Everyone was glad to be off their feet for a while and the conversation was light and jovial.

Then the clock struck 6PM. And the music swelled behind us.

Instantly, we were all showered with water as the fountain came to life and started performing a laser light show while alternating spraying water from different fountain jets. There was screaming, laughing, and a good deal of soggy bread as we rushed to get out of the way of the musical water works. I tried to cover a friend with an outstretched wing, but the water just splashed off and into their face. We found out later that apparently the fountain turns on and does a show at set times in the day. It certainly made for an unforgettable start to my first convention!

Willow Croft: There’s a saying that dragons like their snacks “crunchy, with ketchup”, so–what’s your favourite snack, with or without ketchup?

Nenekiri Bookwyrm: I’ve been eating a lot of Cheez-its lately. Or really any kind of cheese cracker. I like the crunch (without ketchup) and it reminds me to drink more water to offset all the salt I’m eating. Some folks have a sweet tooth, but I’ve always had a salt fang.

Willow Croft: When you need a break from all the game-designing, salt-laden snack munching, and writing, where do you and your other dragon friends like to go for vacation?

Nenekiri Bookwyrm: Conventions are usually where I go to meet up with my other dragon friends, but outside of that I’ll sometimes take a trip to Pittsburgh to visit a long time friend and his fiancé. The last time my roommate and I were out that way they took us on a tour of the city that was lovely. We toured the Phipps Conservatory, rode the incline all the way to the top of the city at night, and walked around a college that looked like an old castle had sprung up in the middle of the city. There’s still a bunch of places I’d love to visit for the next time we get a chance to go out that way.

Willow Croft: Now that you’ve finally taken a vacation, what game (board game or video game) do you bring along while you’re “sunning your scales”?

Nenekiri Bookwyrm: Magic the Gathering is a game that a lot of my friends play, so I usually have a deck for that packed in my suitcase somewhere. Since it’s been around so long there’s a lot of different formats and play styles to choose from. I usually play a format called Commander with a deck that runs five different colors of dragons. It’s chaotic and silly and getting to see all the different color cards make a kaleidoscopic rainbow as I play them is a good deal of fun. And the idea of having a spellbook that you curate yourself over time, adding or subtracting pieces as you learn and grow is one that is very interesting to me.

Due to the portability of the Nintendo Switch, I’ll occasionally bring that on trips where I think I’ll have the time to play it. The game I play on it varies, but right now I’m snout deep in Monster Hunter. It has a very satisfying loop of fight big monsters->make snazzy new pants for outfit->repeat, that’s hooked me over the last few months.

Willow Croft: What’s your favourite song that you like to strum on your ukulele, and why?

Nenekiri Bookwyrm: I’m still a beginner when it comes to playing songs since for a long while I would just strum the ukulele idly as a way to relax. But recently I’ve been learning the basic chords and decided to start practicing One Big Bed from Not Another D&D Podcast. I’ve not heard the podcast itself, the song was a recommended video for me on Youtube based on my interests in tabletop. But as soon as I heard it, I knew I wanted to learn how to play it. There’s a gentleness to it that really spoke to me. Like a song you would sing to someone after a hard day as they fell asleep. The lyrics are a little silly but I find it has a nice balance of schmaltz to offset the message that rest is an important part of the adventure too. The chord progression isn’t too difficult as well, which gives me an excuse to practice switching my claws into the next note without too much trouble.

Nenekiri Bookwyrm would love to meet you! Visit their blog at https://www.nenekiri.com or on Twitter https://twitter.com/Nenekiri_Dragon

And, Nenekiri Bookwyrm would like to remind you all to “curl up with a good book and be kind to yourself”. 

The wisdom of dragons, right?

The Magic of Reason

 

I love to indulge in the realm of the imagination. But how wonderful would Hogwarts be if it was real? I mean, yes, I would love to go to a school like that. But it raises the question on why schools today aren’t built more on the Hogwarts model. Why we’re stuck with rote learning*, instead of a model that actually encourages learning and knowledge gathering and excitement and exploration and critical thinking in students. (But that’s a whole other soapbox, for another day.)

So, lately, I’ve been more and more about engaging in the reality of things, and making this place a world I want to live in. I’ve always been dedicated to causes like animal rights and social change/justice, and my inner development is pushing me more into the realm of science, rationale….and action!

I hope I will always have access to fantastical worlds that my imagination unlocks, but burying my head in a pink, glittery sand of an alien planet? I don’t wish to immerse myself in my creative head so much that I forget animals are dying and the world is being destroyed.

This morning, on Twitter, this “magically synchronous” video appeared in my feed. (Okay, I’m lying–it really didn’t. I was designing a series of Star Trek-inspired rooms on YoWorld because they have a Celestial Vacation theme and other houses I wanted to take advantage of, and I was looking up the characters for inspiration and I ended up on John De Lancie’s Twitter page because I have ADHD and I just got sidetracked even though I’m not much of a celebrity-news consumer and that’s where I saw the video. https://twitter.com/johndelancie/status/1390708963092713474?s=20)

It could be considered “synchronous” in that I am also reading Kurt Anderson’s Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History, but it’s not (I won’t bore you again with the path on how I FINALLY started reading it). https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35171984-fantasyland?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=5eQNsBcyas&rank=3

So, let’s take responsibility for the actions that have driven the world to the ruinous state it is in now. Let’s set the course for a new path of self-directed human evolution that works to undo the damage we have done to the planet (even it means we have to be uncomfortable while we adapt), and to ourselves. And have science, and each other, as our allies in this fight, instead of looking for a mythical force to save us from ourselves. As John De Lancie put it, let’s be our own “superheroes.”

*Disclaimer: My problems with rote learning and standardized testing and such come from my own struggles and negative experiences within the school system, and not because I’m a supporter of creationism and/or intelligent design.

I’ll write it, and we’ll do it live

I have been enjoying this immensely on my lunch break (or what passes for a lunch break around here)! I had been feeling at little at loose ends even though I’ve been very busy, but I was missing playing video games (time is always an issue, and some vision issues makes it hard to play games these days) and then Luther M. Siler posted this up, and I have to say, I’m hooked! And the game is entertaining, too! Come join us over there!

Welcome to infinitefreetime dot com

It’s still processing at this exact second, so there might be a touch of nonsense for a little while, but this is the first thing I’ve done that I think is at least mostly Ready For Prime Time. So feel free to give it a watch and see what you think. The plan is to do a half-hour or so pre-recorded video each day until I’ve beaten the game.

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Five Things Friday: Mini-Interview with Author, Editor, and Publisher Diane Arrelle

This week’s “Five Things Friday” interviewee appears to be quite the “busy bee” too–Diane Arrelle is an author, book publisher, and editor!

Willow Croft: One of the first stories I read of yours was before we even “met”—in an anthology called Crafty Cat Crimes: 100 Tiny Cat Tale Mysteries. How has your own cat(s) influenced (or hindered!) your writing?

Diane Arrelle: Wow, I grew up very rural on the edge of the NJ [New Jersey] Pine Barrens. We never used the term feral cats, they were just cats that came and lived in our garage, our yard, the woods all around us. I’ve had cats around since I was born and over the years, I always had my special kitties. I have always loved cats and I find them fascinating.
After college I traveled too much to have a pet and then I became the suburban wife and mommy and my husband didn’t want a pet. The cat from Crafty Cat Crimes was the sweetest kitten I found stuck in a tree one day while visiting a friend. We got her down and then I made my friend keep the kitten because we didn’t have pets. But I went over to visit my foster cat often.
One day I got annoyed at my husband so I took my kids to the animal shelter and brought home a six-month-old kitty, who just happened to pick us out. Just like that I became a cat person again. Bonny, who was a male, lived for almost 18 years and influenced many stories, most of them on the dark side. Seriously, where do they disappear to and how do they magically reappear like that?
After Bonny died, I decided to wait before getting another cat. Every time we heard a noise in the house my husband would say, “Cat’s back.” It was funny, but the man who hadn’t wanted a pet told me we needed another cat about two months after Bonny had passed. I immediately dashed out and got a rescue named Tabby, and she is definitely my husband’s cat. She is a very flighty animal with an intense stare that sometimes scares me and she likes to stalk me. I have to say she has inspired several scary stories in the four years we’ve had her. She, as well as Bonny, have hindered my writing in the usual way, sleeping on the keyboard, yowling when I’m writing, just being cats.

Willow Croft: I don’t know about you, but I always get the munchies when I’m writing. What’s your favourite snack(s) or comfort foods when you write?

Diane Arrelle: Oh no, I am the picture of self-control. I never eat and write. Ok, so I’m lying. I don’t eat and write. No, I eat and in between stuffing my face, I write. The year in quarantine changed my pattern completely and I have to have food nearby. On a good day I crunch on carrots and veggies, but mostly I eat about four pieces of sugar-free chocolate and lots of popcorn mixed with nuts. Oh yeah, I always have a Wawa coffee next to me which I reheat all day long. And for those who don’t know about it, it’s an Eastern convenience store that started in the Philly area. Wawa coffee mixed with Wawa cappuccino is just a wonderful, creativity-inspiring beverage.

Willow Croft: As an editor/publisher, you also host calls for anthologies by way of your co-owned publishing company, Jersey Pines Ink. How do you and your co-owner come up with the themes for your anthology calls?
We’re friends and talk a lot on the phone and in person. Just about every conversation one of us will say something offhand and the other will respond. “Wow, that would make a great story.” Sometimes that leads to stories and sometimes one of us will decide it would make a great anthology. Bev loved the idea of a mystery anthology and I fell in love with the term “crypt gnats” when we were talking about cemeteries. We both came up with the newest anthology called Trees while we were at RavenCon in Williamsburg, Virginia and were walking around the Olde Town taking pictures of some really creepy, gnarled trees.

Willow Croft: As one of the founders of the Garden State Horror Writers (as well as a past president), what’s the most terrifying and/or unexplained thing that has happened to you?

Diane Arrelle: Personally, I grew up in a house that had a spirit. It appeared when I was about twelve and stayed until I was about seventeen. I was scared of it and yet, when I was home alone it sort of comforted me. I wasn’t afraid of the other monsters I used to worry about once the spirit came into the house. I used to talk to it but I always begged it to never appear, which it never did. I don’t think I could have handled seeing a ghost.
As president of the GSHW we went on a field trip to a haunted house on the Jersey Shore and we saw bunches of socks on the beach. They inspired me to write a silly horror story that won first place in the Killer Frog annual contest. On another group trip we went to New Hope, Pennsylvania, for a ghost walk that creeped me out and I came home and wrote a story in about an hour. I was so inspired.

Willow Croft: Since you write both mysteries and horror, what’s the oddest or most disturbing thing that you’ve had to research, either online or in a library?

Diane Arrelle: Well, when I first started writing I went to the county library because I wanted to write a novel. Demonic books were popular and I wanted to write a demonic novel but I knew nothing about angels or demons and had never really ever thought about them. I started looking up hell and just went deeper into the mythologies surrounding the underworlds and afterlives until I scared myself and by closing time I quit. I was so frightened walking to my car I kept looking over my shoulder and I constantly checked the review mirror as I drove the ten minutes home. I was spooked for a couple of weeks and since I’d already started the book, I turned it into a comedy about angelic sex aliens landing on a hedonistic earth. It was fun to write and after a few years I threw it away. But I learned not to research something that frightens me too much. I just don’t need to add to all my neurotic list of things that terrify me.

Seek out more about Diane Arrelle at her blog, and check out the publishing company, Jersey Pines Ink, via the links below!

https://www.arrellewrites.com/books

https://www.jerseypinesink.com/

Willow, the Busy Bee…

Things are buzzing over here in the Croft realm! Busy, busy, busy! Hopefully, I’ll have some big announcements coming up soon!

I got into a great mini-discussion about organization and time management over at Goodreads via a poll hosted by a fellow author named Chrys Fey. (Check out one of her books, titled Keep Writing with Fey: Sparks to Defeat Writer’s Block, Depression, and Burnout https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/50983917-keep-writing-with-fey)

Here’s the poll link, and discussion, if you care to join in: https://www.goodreads.com/poll/show/222845-are-you-busy-enough-that-you-need-to-make-a-schedule-to-remember-what-to.

We can all use tips on this front, am I right, or am I right? *laugh*

And, I had the pleasure of being asked for a “writer’s tips” interview for NF Reads. https://www.nfreads.com/interview-with-author-willow-croft/

It’s a little strange to come out from my shadowy realm and stand in the spotlight, but I had not one, but two interviews conducted. The other’s up over at the Horror Tree: https://horrortree.com/an-interview-with-willow-croft-bringer-of-nightmares-storms/.  (Interview conducted by Angelique Fawns–who not only has guides for short story submissions and more, but also a new podcast series! https://www.fawns.ca/works/podcast/). If for no other reason, go look at the cute picture of my weirdo calico Moon Pie!

Speaking of writing tips, I do a monthly series of “writer’s inspiration” tarot card readings at Horror Tree as well. Please check them out, and let me know what you think! https://horrortree.com/?s=tarot

Also, I am always keen on tips around time management and scheduling and planning and such. For my life is not going to be any less “busy bee” in the time ahead.

Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn’t put in a plug for our actual bee friends. Here’s a couple of links on how to make a bee-friendly garden/habitat. (Ban Roundup!)

https://beespotter.org/topics/beegarden/#:~:text=Providing%20shelter%20from%20the%20elements%20%20%20,May%20to%20July%20%2014%20more%20rows%20

https://www.gardenersworld.com/plants/how-to-make-a-bee-friendly-garden/

(And I just discovered that Chrys Fey is also a bee and animal supporter–scroll down to learn about her adopted Queen Bee, Darkness: https://www.writewithfey.com/2021/06/causes-and-donations-books-animals-and.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+WritewithFey+(Write+with+Fey) )

And now it’s time for me to buzz off! But you don’t have to, of course!