Author: Willow Croft

The Spooky Six with Willow Croft and Mr. Alverne Ball

In lieu of my customary tea, I’m having my first ever Chicago-style hot dog with the illustrous author and screenwriter, Mr. Alverne Ball! Keep those eyeballs peeled for his upcoming literary appearance in Shook! A Black Horror Anthology!

Alverne Ball has a M.F.A in Fiction writing from Columbia College Chicago. He has completed studies in Columbia College’s prestigious Semester in Los Angeles program, an intensive course focused on the adaptation of material to the screen.

He has taught graphic novel writing at Noble charter High School in Chicago. He has written comic and graphic novel material for such companies as Di Bona Ventura ProductionsParamount picturesMcgraw-HillLion forge comics, New Paradigm entertainmentCampfire graphic novels, and 133art.com.

His writing has been published in the literary magazine Annalemma, in Columbia College newspaper The Chronicle, online at Brokenfrontier.com, online for the Museum of contemporary Photography in Chicago, online for Comicbookresources.com, and an online graphic story for the literary magazine, Hypertextmag.com. His short stories of suspense have appeared in the Sin anthology by Avendia Press, Criminal Class Review as well as the (now defunct) online magazine, the Heated Forest.

Mr. Ball is the recipient of the 2019 inaugural Tin House graphic novel scholar and he is the graphic novelist of the historical nonfiction graphic novel from Abrams comic Arts on Black Wall Street, entitled, Across the Tracks: remembering Greenwood, Black Street and the Tulsa Race massacre. He is the recipient of the 2014 and 2015 Glyph rising star award for his writing on 133art’s OneNation and OneNation: Old Druids. In 2009 Mr. Ball received first place in the Union League Civic & Arts Foundation Creative Writing Competition for his graphic story, “Virgin Wolf”. He has also received Three Weisman Scholarships from Columbia for his other graphic works.

Mr. Ball has traveled to South Africa to work as a storyline writer on the hit telenovella, Uzalo. He was also a screenwriter on the South African fantasy series, Ifalahke where he received story writing credit. Mr. Ball has written and produced a short film, Crossroads, which was shot on the Warner Bros. backlot via the AT&T Shape competition in the summer of 2018. He has also written and produced the short film, Tattooed Tears, which was directed by Aaron Lewis and was chosen as a 2016 selection for the Indiewise, Sankofa, MeccaCon and Egypt film festivals.

Mr. Ball has also created and written two online comic series, When we were Kings and Zulu, both published by Afropunk.com. He is also the author of the crime thrillers, Only The Holy Remain, and Blue Religion.

All works can be found www.alvernedball.com or wherever your favorite books are sold.

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The Spooky Six with Willow Croft and E.B. Hunter

For this interview, I’ve travelled all the way to the snowy wilds* of Northern Alberta for tea with E.B. Hunter. Join us as we plunge into the deep, dark depths . . . of terror!

E.B. Hunter (he/him) lives in a remote town in Northern Alberta, Canada with his wife and daughter, and spends his days working and his nights crafting stories for your (and let’s face it, his own) entertainment. He has built characters and stories in his head since he was a teen, carving up the landscape of his mind and sculpting fantastical and horrible things. His stories started out small, and mostly terrible, but with patience, persistence and a deep love for unchartered territory, he has improved and is now published in four anthologies that include horror, fantasy and romance genres.

He never had a penchant for horror until his wife got him watching horror films, and then he watched them all, picking up tricks that would help him get under the skin of his readers and leave them wanting more. The writing tip of ‘twist the knife’ has never been so literal. His reading also tends to stick to the shadows, with favourite recent reads including ‘Rage of Dragons’ by Evan Winter and ‘Under the Dome’ by Stephen King.

E.B. is also the founder of the online writing community known as the Fantasy & Sci-Fi Writers Alliance. The Alliance helps members with all the little things the modern author needs to know like when to query, how to get traction on social media, what to do when your book launches and so much more. He has infected others with his love of helping the little guy and the result has been an incredible group of people who are always eager to help promote and raise up their fellow authors.

In his stories, he hopes to portray people as they are, flawed humans who are capable of great and terrible things, and that you can see yourself within his stories. He strives for representation in his storytelling, and believes that everyone’s story is worth being told.

E.B. Hunter’s stories can be found on Amazon and his website.

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The Spooky Six with Willow Croft and GG Collins

I’ve hopped on the train to meet up with GG Collins, where we not only have tea, but I eat my fill of red-chile-doused enchiladas!

GG Collins (she/her) loves the southwestern US where many of her stories are located. She can be found hiking through ruins of the ancient Puebloans and enjoying New Mexican cuisine. When not traipsing about, she makes up stories with great friendships, quirky characters and, oh yeah, dead bodies. In real life she shares her time with a man, several neurotic—and psychic—cats and the ongoing struggle to grow a garden.

Whether you enjoy scary paranormal mysteries or cozy cat-populated puzzles, Collins delivers. The Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mysteries are steeped with shamans and spirit animals. Although Rachel tries to avoid becoming the headline, she often finds herself smack in the middle of the story. This series contains elements of horror, violence and the supernatural.
Review: “Collins has done her research into Native American culture and values, and it shows. I highly recommend Anasazi Medium. Trust me. You won’t be able to put it down.” — Mark Scott Piper, Reviewer

The Taylor Browning Cozy Mysteries are more traditional. Taylor, a mystery editor at a publishing house, does a little sleuthing on the side. She really should stay in the office or at home with her cats Oscar and Cheddar, but Taylor seems to find clues and bodies regardless. Although Jim, her friend and art director at the publisher, and Det. Sanchez at the Santa Fe PD try to keep her out of trouble, well … . An inconvenient truth: she can’t edit her way out of real murder.
Review: “My favorite character, hands down, has to be the cantankerous cat, Oscar.” — Marcelle Valentine, Reviewer

Both series are inspired by the American southwest, its many cultures and Native American traditions. Collins has worked at a book publisher where she learned the ins and outs of bringing books from manuscript to bookstore. Her Taylor Browning Cozy Mystery series offers an inside look at book publishing from the eyes of a mystery editor. If you enjoyed “The Magpie Murders” on PBS, you’ll fit right in to Taylor’s world.

After her stint as a publisher she went on to reporting. The Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mysteries explore history and contemporary issues in the Southwest with a journalist who is torn between her fact-driven reporting job and the spiritual realm where she reluctantly finds herself propelled. Along with best friend Chloe, Hopi shaman friend, intuitive kitty Chile Pod and the mysterious white wolf, she solves mysteries linked to both the quick and the dead.
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The Spooky Six with Willow Croft and Suzanne Craig-Whytock

For this edition of the Spooky Six, I’m having tea with Suzanne Craig-Whytock, and, yes, I’ve made a whole plate of cookies shaped like bones!

Award-winning writer Suzanne Craig-Whytock (she/her) found her passion for writing at an early age and had her first poem published when she was eight years old. She studied English Literature at university and was a high school English teacher for almost 25 years. She is the author of three previous novels, SmileThe Dome, and The Seventh Devil, and one short story collection, Feasting Upon The Bones. She is a member of the Canadian Authors Association and the Writers’ Union of Canada. Her short fiction and poetry have appeared in numerous literary journals, and she regularly publishes essays focused on life’s absurdities under the pen name mydangblog. She’s also the editor of DarkWinter Literary Magazine, an independent online publication of poetry and short stories out of Ontario, Canada, which publishes both emerging and established authors. Her second short story collection At The End Of It All is due to be released on February 7, 2023 by Potter’s Grove Press, and the sequel to The Seventh Devil is under contract to be released in 2023 by Bookland Press. Most recently, her second novel The Dome (winner of a Canada Book Award) was translated and published in Arabic by Arab Scientific Publishers in Lebanon and has been enjoying success overseas. Suzanne lives in a small town in Ontario, in a large rambling Victorian home with an acre of property that she and her husband have spent a lot of time rejuvenating. Her favourite things are her family, her black Lab Atlas, crows, white wine, antique clocks, and writing. She is a strong advocate and ally for LGBTQ+ people and believes that everyone deserves to be happy and live their own best lives.
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January 2023 Horoscopes: Tempting Fate in the New Year!

 

I’d say “Happy New Year” but who needs optimism these days? Let’s kick off the terror-filled New Year with an astrological look on how each zodiac sign will meet the Reaper in 2023!

Disclaimer: As always, these are mock horoscopes and are meant for entertainment purposes only, and should absolutely not be taken seriously, and/or considered as predictive of anyone’s fateful demise.

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January 2023: Tarot Cards for Creative Inspiration

Happy New Year, HT Peeps! I hope you have lots of creatively spooky fun in the New Year!

Character: Ten of Pentacles. This character was selected at an early age to serve the future Queen. As a child, they were the Queen’s primary playmate; as a young adult, they were not only the Queen’s beloved companion, but served as an assistant as the Queen made the transition from a child to an adult herself. Once the Queen reached the age of maturity, and assumed the mantle of power, this character, by way of their lifelong training, became not only the Queen’s most trusted advisor, but the Queen’s consort as well. While this character enjoys a life of luxury as the top member of the royal court, their life is not without hard work and sacrifice. This character is now responsible for managing the Queen’s entire household; arranging not only the Queen’s meals, wardrobe, and social calendar, but also organizing political meetings with other heads of state, overseeing strategic diplomatic negotiations, and assisting in other key duties where needed. They are the public face of the Queen herself, and, as such, their conduct must always be above reproach.
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The Spooky Six with Willow Croft and Tim Waggoner

This edition of the Spooky Six features none other than Tim Waggoner . . . and a fragant pot of unsweetened herb tea!

Author and editor Thomas F. Monteleone has called Tim Waggoner “One of the best horror writers of his generation.” Waggoner’s first novel came out in 2001, and since then he’s published over fifty novels and seven collections of short stories. He writes original dark fantasy and horror, as well as media tie-ins. He’s written tie-in fiction based on Supernatural, Grimm, The X-Files, Alien, Doctor Who, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Transformers, among others, and he’s written novelizations for films such as Halloween Kills, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter and Kingsman: The Golden Circle. His articles on writing have appeared in Writer’s Digest, The Writer, and The Writer’s Chronicle. He’s the author of the acclaimed horror-writing guide Writing in the Dark, which won the Bram Stoker Award in 2021, as well as its follow-up Writing in the Dark: The Workbook. He won another Bram Stoker Award in 2021 in the category of short nonfiction for his article “Speaking of Horror,” and in 2017 he received the Bram Stoker Award in Long Fiction for his novella The Winter Box. In 2016, the Horror Writer’s Association honored him with the Mentor of the Year award. In addition, he’s been a multiple finalist for the Shirley Jackson Award and the Scribe Award, and a one-time finalist for the Splatterpunk Award.

His fiction has received numerous Honorable Mentions in volumes of Best Horror of the Year, and he’s had several stories selected for inclusion in volumes of Year’s Best Hardcore Horror. His work has been translated into Russian, Portuguese, Japanese, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Hungarian, and Turkish. He holds BS Ed. and MA degrees from Wright State University and has taught college English classes since 1987. For nine years, he served as a faculty mentor in Seton Hill University’s MFA in Writing Popular Fiction program. Along with writing fiction and teaching, he’s worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine editor, copy editor, and developmental editor. For the last twenty-six years, he’s been a full-time tenured professor who teaches creative writing and composition at Sinclair College in Dayton, Ohio.

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The Spooky Six with Willow Croft and Priscilla Bettis

I’m having a cup of tea with none other than Priscilla Bettis for this edition of The Spooky Six!

Priscilla Bettis (she/her) read her first grownup horror story, The Exorcist, when she was a little kid. (Because, if you think about it, The Three Little Pigs is also a horror story.) She snuck the grownup book from her parents’ den. The Exorcist scared Priscilla silly, and she was hooked on the power of the horror genre from that moment on.

Once she grew up, Priscilla attended The University of Oklahoma. She worked as an engineering physicist and a swim team coach, both admirable professions, but what she really wanted to do was write, or die trying, probably at the hands of a vampiric wraith. She retired early and picked up the pen.

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