Author: Willow Croft

June 2023 Horrorscopes: The Creatures that Skitter in the Night!

Here in the Northern hemisphere, summer is upon us. Picnics, gardening, and, of course, up close and personal encounters of a whole range of terrifying insects! I, personally, love insects and arachnids, and nothing says summer more than the wonderfully atmospheric call of the cicadas. Yet, even in winter, these amazing life forms persist and survive. Sadly, as potentially “spooky” as many of these skittering creatures are for people, they are the ones that are more impacted by the activities of people, with large numbers of these species listed as threatened or endangered.

So, break out the citronella candles, put away the pesticides, and try to make peace with the legions of bugs all waiting to welcome you back to the great outdoors!

Disclaimer: As always, these are mock “horrorscopes” and should not be considered as predictive or indicative of any specific person or persons. The insects, bugs, and arachnids are very real, however.


June 2023: Tarot Card Reading for Writers and Creators

Summer is often a time of increased activity, as the warmer weather beckons many of us out-of-doors. However, in other parts of the world, winter is descending upon the landscape, and is often symbolic of a time of reflection and quieter pastimes. I think, however, that the elemental energies are causing a period of transition on a more universal scale, which means that no matter which season you’re in, it’s a good time to reflect—to find, and redefine, yourself in ways that best support you and your intrinsic self. In response to this potential time of transition, I thought I’d offer up a clarity “check-in” reading to other writers and creators visiting this site.

And, of course…Happy Pride Month! (Please note that while the cards contain gender specifications in the names of the cards, I’ve striven to keep my reading gender neutral and inclusive.)


May 2023 Horoscopes: Birds of a Feather…Kill Together!

So, as you may have caught on, May’s horoscopes are soaring to new heights with our feathered partners-in-horror! Let the hunt for prey begin as we take to the skies–or even all the way out to the stars!

Disclaimer: These are mock horoscopes and are meant for entertainment purposes only, and are not representative of any particular person or people. For sources, I relied on my own observations of birds I spotted in the wild, or encountered at the wildlife rehabilitation center I worked at, as well as utilizing the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s “All About Birds” online database for more info on some of the birds listed below.

Want to research birds for your spooky book or story? Check out these great online resources:

Cornell Lab of Ornithology:
Birds & Blooms Magazine/Newsletter:


The Spooky Six with Willow Croft and Courtney Mroch

I was hard pressed not to talk all things cat rescue when sitting down to have a “Spooky Six” chat with Haunt Jaunts founder Courtney Mroch, but I brewed up a pot of catnip tea for us . . . and our respective cats, of course!

Since 2009 Courtney Mroch has put her passion as a globe-trotting restless spirit to use as the host and guide at Haunt Jaunts. She may come by her obsession with true crime, horror, and the paranormal honestly, too. It could be in her bloodline. Tracing her family roots has so far yielded the exciting revelation that she’s related to occult royalty. Marie Laveau, the famous Voodoo practitioner of New Orleans, is one of her ancestors. That also might explain her infatuation with skeletons.

Besides creating blog posts, podcast, and video content for Haunt Jaunts, Courtney also indulges her love for horror as a contributor at 1428 Elm.

In addition to having been a senior blogger at and a contributor at Netflix Life, her work has also appeared in Horror Curated, TAPS Paramagazine, Haunted Magazine, and the Feminine Macabre anthology vol. 1, as well as in six Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Her first romantic suspense novel, Beneath the Morvan Moon, was published in 2004. Her second, The Ghost of Laurie Floyd, was published in 2015. Any year now she plans to release her first suspense thriller…as soon as she can decide on the title.

When she’s not creating content or traveling, it’s a safe bet you’ll find her in one of four places: a pickleball court, a park path somewhere, on Percy Priest Lake attending to her first mate duties aboard the Restless Spirit (the sailboat that was her husband’s pandemic purchase), or on the couch watching either the latest true crime doc or horror movie or show.

She’s lived in Nashville, Tennessee with her high school sweetheart-turned-husband Wayne since 2005. But they grew up in Denver, Colorado, and lived in Arizona and Florida before Life landed them in Tennessee. They’re also fierce animal lovers but are currently down to a one-cat household. Mr. G, a tuxedo (hence the formal title of his name) found their way to them as a feral stray. He’s since been domesticated but doesn’t like Wayne, who swears Mr. G is plotting his demise. He often warns people if anything happens to him, don’t blame his wife…the cat did it!


The Spooky Six with Willow Croft and J.P. Alters

I’ve made sure to have plenty of lemon slices to accompany J.P. Alters’s “cup of tea”!

J.P. Alters is a writer of paranormal fiction, and the debut author of paranormal thriller: A Psychic Subterfuge. A bi-racial woman, J.P. grew up in London, England, in the eighties. Attitudes towards the black community and mixed-race relationships were very different at that time, causing many challenging experiences for J.P. and her family. However, as a second-generation migrant, in a predominantly Jamaican household, J.P. embraced the Bob Marley motto of “one love.” This is a common expression of unity and inclusion, and a message that she hopes to spread within her writing. In 2023, J.P. published her debut novel: A Psychic Subterfuge. The book, is a paranormal thriller, appealing to fans of the recent film: Get Out, or readers of M. Scott Swanson, or John Connolly. A Psychic Subterfuge, features a bi-racial protagonist: Mary Obosa Jameson, who is diagnosed with schizophrenia. Mary, raised in foster care, is hostile and combative. Besieged by the voices, Mary’s life is out of control, until she is taken to a private psychiatric hospital called: The Rainbow Unit. Everything seems perfect, and Mary gradually relaxes, but is everything as it seems?

The first in the series, this book incorporates J.P.’s joy in creating paranormal fiction that includes multi-cultural elements, and protagonists from minority groups. Many of the characters in this story are from the BAME community, and this is no accident. J.P. created this dynamic, so that it reflected the latest UK government statistics regarding the BAME community, and the likelihood of diagnosis of schizophrenia. In addition, J.P. also aimed to present the characters in the story not only as sufferers of mental health conditions, but as individuals who exist apart from their diagnosis.

If you are suffering with mental illness, there is support out there for you. Please don’t suffer in silence. There are GP’s, support groups, befrienders, and lots of mental health or social care professionals who genuinely care, and who could refer you for some treatment, or support.

At the moment, A Psychic Subterfuge is free to read on Kindle Unlimited, or available to buy on Kindle or paperback from Amazon in the UK, US, Canada, or Australia.


The Spooky Six with Willow Croft and Robert P. Ottone

Join me for bagels and iced coffee as I interview Robert P. Ottone for this edition of the Spooky Six Q&A!

Robert P. Ottone is the Bram Stoker Award-nominated author of The Triangle. His other works include Her Infernal Name & Other Nightmares (an honorable mention in The Best Horror of the Year Volume 13) as well as the suburban folk horror novel, The Vile Thing We Created.

His short stories have appeared in various anthologies as well as online. He’s also the publisher and owner of Spooky House Press, which is committed to publishing stories and novels by authors Robert is a huge fan of, published or unpublished.

After realizing that writing horror can be a therapeutic exercise, Robert began writing in his spare time. Finding inspiration in the writings of Paul Tremblay, Lee Murray, Alan Moore, Linda Addison, John Langan, Robert Aickman and many others, Robert celebrates the past as well as the future of the genre.

When not writing, Robert can be found smoking cigars, drinking cocktails and enjoying quality wine. His all-time favorite bottle is the 2009 Hundred Acre. His favorite cigar is the Gloria Cubana Serie R. In terms of cocktails, nothing tops an Aperol Spritz.

Robert has been fortunate enough to read at many venues, as well as online. He has been interviewed by Steve Talks Books, Brad Proctor, Mike Davis and many other talented individuals in the genre.

His goal is to buy a home nestled in the woods of upstate New York where he can roam the grounds nude, glass of wine in hand, cigar dangling from his lips, puffing away in the gathering gloom of a fall evening, listening intently for the movement of leaves in the thick of the verdant ocean of forest around him.

He can be found online at or on Twitter/IG: @RobertOttone.

He delights in the creepy and views bagels solely as a cream cheese delivery device.


April 2023: Tarot Cards for Writing Inspiration

I don’t know about you, but I’ve grown quite weary of reality. How about we retreat from it for a while through this fanciful (and fictional) reimaging of the world around us? Time to create some ancient magic…with the help of our fiercely protective main character!