Join us for Scary Stories and a Show! 10/6/22

Join the Colorado Horror Writers for Scary Stories and a Show at The Lyric! Starting at 6:30 on Thursday, October 6th, several local horror authors will share their darkest tales in honor of the season.

Come for the scary stories and stay for the theatrical rerelease of the cult classic Trick r Treat at 7:30, in which five interwoven stories occur on Halloween: An everyday high school principal has a secret life as a serial killer; a college virgin might have just met the guy for her; a group of teenagers pull a mean prank; a woman who loathes the night has to contend with her holiday-obsessed husband; and a mean old man meets his match with a demonic, supernatural trick-or-treater.

Make sure to purchase your movie tickets in advance, as they won’t last long. Purchase tickets here: https://lyriccinema.com/chec…/showing/trick-r-treat/544698

The Lyric is located at 1209 N College Ave Fort Collins, CO.

Please note that the movie will be shown on the outdoor screen. While there are some seats, you may also want to bring camping chairs as well as outdoor clothing and blankets, to ensure you are comfortable.

We hope to see you there and hear you scream. Happy Halloween! 

Creepy Craft Corner

by Angela Sylvaine

Welcome to “Creepy Craft Corner,” which features HWA members who are also artists, crafters, makers, or creators. I hope to provide you, the reader, with the tools and inspiration to try creating something new! *Please note- I am now open for submissions! If you would like to be featured on Creepy Craft Corner, find my social media links at angelasylvaine.com and reach out.

If you’re like me, you lament spring and the pastel palette of clothing choices it brings. You suffer behind lowered blinds and closed curtains, beseeching the dark lord to answer the prayers of a humble but fashion conscious goth and lover retro threads. Well, dear reader, your prayers have been answered. Brianna Malotke is here to show us all the secret to constructing our own ghoulish clothes, including a Zombie Pinup Dress that has me dusting off my old Singer!

*Insert Zombie Dress Front & Back Pic

Welcome, Brianna, tell us a little about what you write and any upcoming projects you’d like to promote.

My main focus in the horror genre is poetry, especially body horror pieces. I have been branching out during the past year and have enjoyed working on flash fiction and short stories. I’m currently working on my own personal collection of horror poems but I have a few things coming out this year that I’m really excited to share.

First, I have two body horror poems included in the upcoming “Under Her Skin: A Women in Horror Poetry Collection,” by Black Spot Books. It’ll be available April 5th. Here is the link: vesuvianmedia.com/under-her-skin. Secondly, I have a non-fiction piece that will be included in the “Out of Time: True Paranormal Encounters Anthology,” by Timber Ghost Press. My story details a childhood paranormal experience that I’ve only ever disclosed to a handful of people. It’ll be out this October 2022.

You can follow me on Instagram: @briannamalotke.

My website is: brimalotke.wixsite.com/malotkewrites

My personal costume & sewing blog: malotkesews.blogspot.com

I share a lot of my costume work on my online portfolio: brimalotke.wixsite.com/malotkedesigns

What creepy craft or creation have you decided to share with us today? 

My background is in Apparel and Costume Design. One of my favorite things is to take a very basic, potentially structured or tailored, garment and use a very fun or quirky fabric. While I sew a lot for myself, I do enjoy costuming plays. Luckily my city has a vibrant theater life that I’ve been able to be a part of and do a variety of shows. My most recent costume job involved designing the costumes for “She Kills Monsters,” by playwright Qui Nguyen. It was great combination of the 90s and fantasy Dungeons & Dragons characters. 

For this dress I took a very simple look – sleeveless, collarless, with princess seams, a back zipper, and a gathered waist – and used a very fun, pin-up girl zombie fabric that I found at Joann’s a few years ago. I wanted to keep the dress simple in style to show off the fun print, which is why I made my side panels and inside facings out of a plain black fabric. I picked my favorite zombie girl to be featured front and center. Then I cut out my other pattern pieces to allow the zombies to not be sliced up too much.

What instructions or tips do you have for our readers who might be interested in trying this craft for themselves?

A lot of the time I draft my own patterns but for this particular dress I used a pre-made/store bought pattern (Kwik Sew K3929 Vintage Misses Dress) and then altered it based on my own sizing. Also, if you’re wanting to alter a pattern to fit you better, don’t be afraid to make a mock-up out of a basic, solid fabric then mark on it to show the changes needed. Then take it apart and use those pieces as your own pattern. This method really helps me when I want to see where the stitching and the fun fabric print will lie on the body.

If you’re wanting to match up prints, I recommend having a lot of pattern weights to help you out during the cutting process. Depending on your fabric selection, using clips to help the fabric from slipping while you cut it out could also be beneficial. See the photo for how I laid out my pattern pieces to get the Zombies I wanted to appear on my dress. I hate to waste fabric but I really wanted to feature the main Zombie pinup on the center front of the bodice and skirt.

Thank you so much to Brianna for sharing her craft with us this month! Until next time, keep it crafty, HWA.

Angela Sylvaine is a self-proclaimed cheerful goth who still believes in monsters. Her debut novella, Chopping Spree, is available now. Her short fiction has appeared in various publications and anthologies, including Places We Fear to Tread and Not All Monsters. You can find her online angelasylvaine.com.

Special thanks to our logo creator, Maria Abrams abramstheauthor.com

Creepy Craft Corner

By Angela Sylvaine

Welcome to “Creepy Craft Corner,” which features HWA members who are also artists, crafters, makers, or creators. I hope to provide you, the reader, with the tools and inspiration to try creating something new! *Please note- I am now open for submissions! If you are an HWA member and would like to be featured on Creepy Craft Corner, find my social media links at angelasylvaine.com and reach out.

As writers, many of us have old or damaged books on hand that we don’t plan to read but can’t bear to part with. We’re attracted to the beauty of book bindings, old maps, and imagery that catches our eyes, but how can we use books and other interesting trinkets in ways that pay homage to such treasures? Hillary Dodge is here to help us transform old and damaged books into Altered Book Art

Welcome, Hillary, tell us a little about what you write and any upcoming projects you’d like to promote.

I write dark speculative fiction, mostly through a sci-fi lens. I find the future and all its variations and possibilities fascinating. I think there is a lot of space for horror in science fiction and more recently, I’ve been exploring folk and fairy tales as well. Although to be honest, I never gave away my books of fairy tales from childhood – filled with images of the Baba Yaga and her iron teeth and misshapen giants with spiked clubs – it’s fun to read them again and find ways to retell the stories. My most recent project was very much aligned with dark fantasy, folk horror, and urban legends. Shadow Atlas: Dark Landscapes of the Americas is a rare and exciting collection of dark fiction, poetry, and art tied to places in the Americas. I co-edited this anthology with Carina Bissett and Joshua Viola and it was a blast. Right now, I’m working on a science fiction retelling/mash-up of the Japanese fairytale The Bush Warbler. Set in the distant future, a woman on the run finds herself taking on the job of caretaker for an ancient rambling house deep in the trash heaps of a remote sector.

Hillary Dodge is the author of several speculative short fictions as well as three nonfiction books, including Gather Round the Table: Food Literacy Programs, Resources, and Ideas for Libraries (ALA 2020). She spends a good deal of time traveling, going places that are forbidden, and eating. She once had tea with a Roma in a cave in the mountains of Spain. Another time found her eight hours from civilization in the heart of the Atacama with a mad desert hermit. She has been published in online magazines, podcasts, and print anthologies, including Pseudopod, Space Squid, Hellbound Books, and Hex Publishers. You can find her at www.hillarydodge.com.

What creepy craft or creation have you decided to share with us today? 

I am sharing my altered book art. As a librarian, I am always coming across old books – either donations we can’t add or damaged items that have been removed from the collection – with fantastic art, illustrations, maps, and schematics. I’ll buy these discarded copies and take an xacto to the pages, cutting out shapes and images that catch my interest. I like to layer images and insert hardware into my art. I rarely work in two dimensions. I find that I am most attracted to imagery of the human body and architecture. Sometimes I’ll work on canvas or board and sometimes I work right inside the old books themselves. I mostly do art for myself, but my collection is starting to get rather large, so I’ll have to be creative on what to do with it in the future.

What instructions or tips do you have for our readers who might be interested in trying this craft for themselves?

Board books make great surfaces to toy around with this form of art. You can find them cheaply from used book stores or flea markets. Scratch up the surface with sandpaper and paint a background or cover with cut imagery from old books, maps, textbooks, and magazines. Modge podge is the best way to make the paper adhere. I like to explore the hardware tucked into tea cups and cupboards in antique malls for interactive pieces.

Thank you so much to Hillary for sharing her craft with us this month! I am looking forward to rooting out old books and hardware on my next thrifting trip so I can try this for myself! 

Until next month, keep it crafty!

Angela Sylvaine is a self-proclaimed cheerful goth who still believes in monsters. Her debut novella, Chopping Spree, is available now. Her short fiction has appeared in various publications and anthologies, including Places We Fear to Tread and Not All Monsters. You can find her online angelasylvaine.com.

Special thanks to our logo creator, Maria Abrams abramstheauthor.com

Creepy Craft Corner

by Angela Sylvaine

Welcome to “Creepy Craft Corner,” which features HWA members who are also artists, crafters, makers, or creators. I hope to provide you, the reader, with the tools and inspiration to try creating something new!

I am obsessed with podcasts, especially anything true-crime, spooky, or writing related. But what does it take to produce those wonderful auditory treats that magically appear on my phone each week? Robert Ottone and Brenda Tolian are here today to tell us!

Welcome, Robert, tell us a little about what you write and any upcoming projects you’d like to promote.

I am the author of Her Infernal Name & Other Nightmares and People: A Horror Anthology about Love, Loss, Life & Things That Go Bump in the Night, as well as a contributor to multiple anthologies and websites. I regularly blog over at spookyhousepress.com, which is the home of my small-press publishing company. I am also hopelessly addicted to instagram.com/robertottone, and scream into the void over on twitter.com/robertottone. I also have gotten back into the true crime game over at my website voicesfromgilgo.com.

My novella, The Girl in the Floor is available on Kindle Vella amazon.com/kindle-vella/story. My collection is also available at amazon.com/dp

What creepy craft or creation have you decided to share with us today? 

My creation is my very raw, self-produced, nonprofit true crime podcast, Voices From Gilgo. You can find it on most podcast platforms. It essentially was a passion project and was, in some respects, my first foray into horror, as this is a true-life horror story. I promise you it’s very raw, as it was self-produced and was a passion project after I had surgery that prevented me from teaching for a few months.

From there, I’ve been able to do a slew of lectures about the Long Island Serial Killer for a bunch of different libraries and local venues here in New York. I have a bunch lined up for this summer, they’re all free, and they’re all for wonderful institutions, so, keep your eyes peeled for dates as they are announced and register!

What instructions or tips do you have for our readers who might be interested in trying this craft for themselves?

I think, if you’re interested in launching your own podcast, it’s worth really dedicating time to the audio quality of what you’re trying to produce. Admittedly, mine is very raw, and I’ve taken some hits for my modulation, especially when it comes to the musical interludes. Overall, there is a lot of relaxation that comes from editing audio, and there’s actually a lot one can get from crafting the story of whatever they’re doing in audio script format. I found telling the story of the Long Island Serial Killer, along with my own personal theory as to what happened to be exhilarating in a way that was challenging, but in a good way.

Next we welcome Brenda. Hi, Brenda, tell us a little about what you write and any upcoming projects you’d like to promote.

I write and love horror. I recently signed on with Raw Dog Screaming Press who will publish my Blood Mountain soon. I also have a story coming out in the Denver Horror Collectives Jewish Book of Horror and am a featured poet in the 2021 HWA Poetry Showcase (Vol. VIII). I also paint, make music and teach High School English full time.

What creepy craft or creation have you decided to share with us today? 

Well, Joy Yehle and I love books. We are astounded by new writers, academic and indie writers work, but realized they did not get the same spotlight as more well-known writers/ creators. We decided to start a casual podcast to chat with the creators that we found interesting. This place would be safe, casual as before stated and a place to explore both the writer and their work. I think we succeeded in this endeavor, and we certainly have fun speaking to creators. We don’t make a dime doing it but sometimes you just do a thing, because you love it- That is what the Burial Plot Horror Podcast is to me-us!

What instructions or tips do you have for our readers who might be interested in trying this craft for themselves?

Everyone can make a podcast-in fact I do this with students in my High School. First write a plan- Who/ what is it for? Why? Start out simple use a service like Buzzsprout.com or Anchor.com. How long will it be- 15 min, 30, an hour? Do you need waivers? My best advice is to do your research and look at popular podcasts that you like. What are they doing that you like? What do you think you could do better? Most importantly have fun! My Co-Host for a while kept calling me her Co-Horse which became a great joke on the show. We have a heart for diving into the darkness of horror in all its shades of night and dragging our audience with us. Mostly they don’t scream!

Thank you so much to Robert and Brenda for sharing their expertise with us this month! I hope it inspired you to create. 

Until next month, keep it crafty, HWA!

Angela Sylvaine is a self-proclaimed cheerful goth who still believes in monsters. Her debut novella, Chopping Spree, is available now. Her short fiction has appeared in multiple publications and anthologies, including Places We Fear to Tread and Not All Monsters. You can find her online angelasylvaine.com.

Special thanks to our logo creator, Maria Abrams abramstheauthor.com

Note: Due to an overwhelming response from talented creators, I am not currently accepting new submissions for Creepy Craft Corner. I will post in the HWA newsletter and on Twitter when I reopen to submissions. 

Creepy Craft Corner

By Angela Sylvaine

Welcome to “Creepy Craft Corner,” which features HWA members who are also artists, crafters, makers, or creators. I hope to provide you, the reader, with the tools and inspiration to try creating something new!

In an extended celebration of Halloween, the most sacred of holidays, I am featuring not just one but three fantastic creators. Today we welcome Mercedes Yardley and her handmade voodoo dolls, M. Lopes da Silva’s spooky soaps, and Robert Perez fashioning an Oogie Boogie costume. Let’s get our creepy craft on!

Hi, Mercedes. Tell us a little about what you write and any upcoming projects you’d like to promote.

I write whimsical horror. I write dark fairytales with a high body count. Most of my work has to do with women put in terrible positions. I like to discuss the important issues that I see around me every day. 

I have quite a few things coming out, actually! I have a beautiful, sad story titled “The Rhythm of Grief” that just came out in the FRIGHT TRAIN anthology.  My story “Sand and Salt” (about an Irish banshee trapped in the San Rafael desert) is coming out this month in the SHADOW ATLAS anthology. Also releasing this month is the CLASSIC MONSTERS UNLEASHED anthology, which features my story “The Picture of Doriana Gray.” My poem “Afterlife” is coming out in the HWA Poetry Showcase Volume 8 book. And my Southern Gothic novel, DARLING, is releasing in 2022. It’s a wonderfully busy time! They’re all available on Amazon, and you can learn more about them at mercedesmyardley.com.

What creepy craft or creation have you decided to share with us today? 

Today I’ll be showing you my handmade voodoo dolls. They’re sweet, sinister, darling things. I started making them several years ago when I needed a craft to keep my hands busy while I watched true crime or Labyrinth. I use felt because it’s a perfect texture for the dolls. Each one has its own unique personality. While most voodoo dolls are full of menace, mine are full of good feeling and just the tiniest bit of malevolence.

These little things sell like you wouldn’t believe. They outsell my books by a large margin. There’s something about having a basket of them on the book table that draws people in. Some people genuinely seem creeped out, but as soon as they hold one, they get over those feelings quite quickly. “They’re cheery little things that want to watch over you,” I’ll say, and then I’ll wave goodbye as a voodoo doll finds its way into its new owner’s pocket or backpack. That really makes me happy. I have one strapped to the neck of my ukulele.

I actually gave a book and matching doll to Lisa Loeb, who is one of my favorite singers. It was an honor to see her cradle these two things I created.

Anyone interested in their own doll can contact me at mercedesyardley@gmail.com, or find me on Facebook at Mercedes Murdock Yardley. They’re currently going for $15 plus shipping.

What instructions or tips do you have for our readers who might be interested in trying this craft for themselves? 

First, make yourself a doll pattern out of cardboard or cardstock. Also, make yourself a heart pattern as well. Trace it on felt, cut two pieces out, and then work on the face. You can use buttons. You can use thread or embroidery floss. You can draw on it. Just do the face before you sew it together. Next, sew the heart on. Then you’re ready to hand-sew all the way around the doll. You can use a blanket stitch or any stitch you’d like. Be sure to leave a gap in an inconspicuous place like under the arm. You’ll use that hole for stuffing the doll. You can stuff it with cotton, batting, fabric, grass, or anything you’d like. I also like to take a felt disk and put a few drops of essential oil. I’ll slip it inside with a few special charms, like feathers or stones or good wishes written on paper, and then finish sewing the doll up completely.

Feel free to personalize them! Add bunny ears. Give them stars for eyes. It’s a wonderful, easy way to express your creativity. They’re so much fun.

Next, we welcome M. Lopes da Silva. Tell us a little about what you write and any upcoming projects you’d like to promote.

I’m M. Lopes da Silva (she/they) – a non-binary, bisexual, white Latinx horror author and artist from Los Angeles. I create queer California horror. I like to dip my hand into other genres now and again, but horror is often at the heart of what I make. I have short stories coming up in IN SOMNIO: A Collection of Modern Gothic Horror and ANTIFA SPLATTERPUNK, respectively; two horror anthologies that are going to pack a lot of great indie horror talent between their covers! IN SOMNIO contains a story of mine about a woman losing pieces of her identity to a haunted house in Malibu, while ANTIFA SPLATTERPUNK is going to publish a fictional story about the pressure of rising anti-homeless and hostile architecture in Los Angeles. I also wrote a book called HOOKER that was published by Unnerving Magazine last year. It’s about a bisexual sex worker who hunts a misogynist serial killer through the streets of 1980s Los Angeles using hooks as her weapons of choice. I’m currently working on a fictional novella about a real apartment building I used to live in that had a strangely high rate of awful things happening on and around it all the time.

What creepy craft or creation have you decided to share with us today? 

Last year I became a soap maker, acquiring my skills first online and eventually through practice. I’ve become very passionate about soap making, and even started a business this year on Etsy called SaltCatSoap. It’s named after my cat, Luca, and my favorite soap additive – salt! Salt is a wonderful natural exfoliant that’s great for hands and feet, but can be rough on more sensitive areas. Always be careful when trying out a new exfoliant, and be sure to discontinue use if you experience ANY irritation on your skin. With that warning out of the way, I’d like to announce today’s craft project: Lady Macbeth Hand Soap!

These blood-red hand soaps have coarse sea salt in them – perfect for removing any damned spots! – and contain cedarwood essential oil and Siberian fir needle essential oil to invoke Birnam wood’s perfume. 

What instructions or tips do you have for our readers who might be interested in trying this craft for themselves? 

Let’s start by assembling our materials!

Necessary Materials:

-First you’re going to need a silicone mold. I chose this one on Amazon, but feel free to use another vendor or mold shape – the important part is that it’s silicone!

-You’re going to need a long-necked pitcher to microwave your soap in. I like using these from Bramble Berry because they can hold two pounds of soap pretty comfortably.

-You’re going to need something to stir your soap with, and I like to use this silicone spatula that I also bought on Amazon (it’s in a set of three, but you only need one).

-You will need a spoon to add salt to your soap. I just salvaged one from a take out container that I like to clean and reuse, but you can use any spoon. Metal is fine, too.

-You will need pipettes to add your essential oils to the soap – one pipette per oil type. I usually buy a very large quantity of pipettes at once, but you can buy them individually, too.

-You will need something to cut soap with! This is a crinkle edge soap cutter, and if you’re going to really get into soap making I recommend having one, but you can just use a kitchen knife.

Ingredients:

-One pound of clear soap base. I recommend using a brand like Bramble Berry to begin with. It’s stable and lathers very well for melt and pour soap (which is what we are making today).

-Approximately 8 ounces of Coarse Sea Salt. Any brand is fine, but I do not recommend using Dead Sea Salt, because it has a tendency to destabilize your soap.

-Suggested Essential Oil Number One: Siberian Fir Needle Essential Oil from Bramble Berry. One of my favorites, it has a strong, pleasant pine fragrance. If you’re not fond of pine notes, you can omit this one.

-Suggested Essential Oil Number Two: Cedarwood Essential Oil from Wooden Wick. Wooden Wick is a little pricey so I actually recommend getting the same thing from Bramble Berry, especially if you’re picking up other items there at the same time. This wood fragrance is a little musky, and if you’re not fond of musk notes, you can omit this one.

-If you really want to get into soap making, I heartily recommend “Da Bomb Liquid Soap Dyes” from Nature’s Garden. These colorants are wonderful for beginners, and easy to use. The colors pop, and there’s a handy color mixing guide posted on their website.

Optional Materials:

-A bottle of 99% Isopropyl Alcohol (for popping tiny bubbles).

A small spray bottle that comes with a tiny funnel to fill said small spray bottle with isopropyl alcohol (also for popping tiny bubbles).

Other Stuff You Will Need:

-A microwave to melt your soap base down.

-A clean surface to cut soap on.

-Nitrile gloves to handle the soap if you plan on giving it to others.

Got all your stuff? Awesome! Now it’s time to get to the making!

Step Zero: BEFORE You Start Making

-Whoops! Before we actually start making soap, we need to do some calculations first. Don’t worry, a website is going to do most of the calculating, but first you need to make a couple decisions – are you going to use one essential oil or two? And how strong would you like these fragrances to come across? Once you know the answer, you can use a Fragrance Calculator like the one on the Bramble Berry website to find out how much essential oil is safe to add to your soap. Every respectable soap making website will have one of these, and you should always use the calculator to figure out how much fragrance or essential oil to use.

-The input field will ask what kind of soap you are making – this is a Melt and Pour Soap recipe, and there are sixteen ounces in a pound.

-We went for a “Medium” fragrance range and added about 0.3 ounces of Siberian Fir Needle Essential Oil to our batch. Feel free to adjust according to your own preferences!

  1. Starting with our clean surface, our soap, and our soap cutter, we unwrap and cut the soap. You want to end up with small cubes that are roughly the same size. I start by cutting the one pound block into four sections.
  1. Then I cut each quarter in half to form two strips.
    1. And each strip into quarters.
  2. Once you’ve cut all your soap into cubes, put it in the pitcher and give yourself a hand.
  3. Now you need to take the soap to the microwave and start melting it down in 30 second intervals with your regular microwave heat setting. Check after each 30 seconds to see if your soap is melted properly. You don’t want to see any cubes left in the pitcher, but if you overcook your soap it will bubble up a lot. You want it to look something like the next picture. Ta-da! The soap in this pitcher has melted.
  4. Now to add essential oils and colorants! These are going to give your soap a lot of its character. Luckily, you followed Step Zero and calculated how much essential oil to add at this point, so you just pick up a pipette and carefully add your desired amount of essential oils to your batch, then stir.
  5. Add colorant one or two drops at a time, stirring as you go, until you get your desired color. I added about 8 drops of Da Bomb Red Dye. Try to mix slowly to avoid a lot of bubbles. Once the colorant and essential oils are added and thoroughly mixed together, it’s time to pour into our silicone mold.
  6. Make sure that you have your mold, the sea salt, and your spoon ready to go for the next part. Optional materials will be used during the pouring, too.
  • Start by pouring a small amount of soap into a mold cavity. Then pause and add a spoonful or two of sea salt.
  • Repeat this process: pour some soap, spoon some salt, until the cavity is full. A soap is poured!
  • Fill up all the cavities in your mold. If you have soap left over in your pitcher, you can save it for another batch later.
  • Now if you want, you can do the stuff that requires optional materials (or just skip to step 11). If you see any tiny bubbles that you don’t want on the back of the bar, spray a little bit of isopropyl alcohol on them and watch them pop away.
  • Now you need to wait between 4-6 hours for the soaps to set up in the mold. Try to keep the soap in an area that’s relatively dry or free from humidity, or you may end up with glycerine dewing (harmless drops of moisture on your soap that resemble sweat).
  • After 4 or 6 hours have passed, check to see if your soap is ready to unmold by gently tugging the silicone mold away from the side of the soap. If it releases with relative ease, it’s ready to go. If not, you might need to let it sit for a bit longer.
  • If the mold pulls away from one side easily, continue to release the soap by tugging all the sides first.
  • Remove the soap from the mold cavities!
  • You’ve now made a soap fit for a special (regicidal) Lady – congratulations! Any Shakespeare fan would be happy to lather with your lovely creation.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed taking a peek at what goes on behind the scenes at SaltCatSoap, and that you get a chance to visit the store. I have a lot of fun designing these, and we release new horror-inspired soap designs (and normal ones, too!) every first Saturday of the month. If you decide to stop on by, we’ll have Lady Macbeth Hand Soap waiting for you in our Soap to Scream For section, and plenty of cat stickers.

And finally, we have Robert Perez. Tell us a little about what you write and any upcoming projects you’d like to promote. 

My work is a tapestry of genres but horror is weaved throughout. Horror is my heart. I currently have something special shortlisted and something to look out for at the end of the year. Follow @_TheLeader on twitter for updates and come say hello!

What creepy craft or creation have you decided to share with us today? 

As a child I watched The Nightmare Before Christmas year round and have the movie lines memorized! As an adult I still cherish this movie! One of my favorite opening lines is from Oogie Boogie, “I am the shadow on the moon at night, filling your dreams to the brim with fright!” 

The idea of the Oogie Boogie costume coalesced because I wanted materials that would be cheap for construction and burlap was perfectly affordable. I already had a bunch of fake bugs stored away for Halloween that I liked to hide in candy bowls, so I planned on incorporating them in the design.

What instructions or tips do you have for our readers who might be interested in trying this craft for themselves?

The costume construction will require burlap (the amount of which varies depending on body type, but since Oogie Boogie is round the more the better)

Aluminum foil

Poster board or other robust cardboard

Fake bugs

Glue gun/ sewing machine/ needle and black yarn

I drew an overalls-like shape onto the burlap, and flared out the legs like a cartoon cowboy to emulate Oogie Boogie’s shape. The arm sleeves and mask I constructed separately. You can use a glue-gun, sewing machine, or needle and black yarn, whichever you feel comfortable using, however a glue-gun may be required to adhere the fake bugs. A black marker can draw stitches onto the burlap and emulate a hand stitched look. Get creative with the bug placement!

For the mask I first cut out an oval from the rigid cardstock. I then smashed a bunch of aluminum foil together to sculpt the face. Try to make Oogie Boogie’s hard brow and protruding mouth, then glue the back of the foil sculpt onto the cardstock oval. Next glue the burlap over the front of the foil mold pressing it into the crevasses for detail to create a truly awesome mask! Be careful when pressing the burlap over the hot glue as it can easily seep through and burn your fingers! The top of Oogie Boogie’s head has a cone line construction inside of which is a great place to hide a fake spider. Glue the spider to a thread of yarn and then glue the end of the yarn within the cone so that if you throw your head forward the spout will flop forward and the spider will dangle out.

Thank you so much to our three talented writers and creators for sharing your work with us this month! I hope it inspired you to create something new in honor of Halloween. 

Until next month, keep it crafty!

Angela Sylvaine is a self-proclaimed cheerful goth who still believes in monsters. Her debut novella, Chopping Spree, is available now. Her short fiction has appeared in multiple publications and anthologies, including Places We Fear to Tread and Not All Monsters. You can find her online angelasylvaine.com.

Special thanks to our logo creator, Maria Abrams abramstheauthor.com

Note: Due to an overwhelming response from talented creators, I am not currently accepting new submissions for Creepy Craft Corner. I will post here in the HWA newsletter and on Twitter when I reopen to submissions. 

Creepy Craft Corner

By Angela Sylvaine

Welcome to “Creepy Craft Corner,” which features HWA members who are also artists, crafters, makers, or creators. We hope to provide you, the reader, with the tools and inspiration to try creating something new!

Today we’re featuring a craft that is close to my heart: cross-stitch! Before my soul blackened and turned brittle, I stitched many cutesy flowers and frolicking animals. These days my needlework tends toward the dark and creepy. If repeatedly stabbing things with a tiny needle sounds appealing, this column is for you. Today we welcome Sonora Taylor to inspire us to stitch.

Tell us a little about what you write and any upcoming projects you’d like to promote.

My name is Sonora Taylor. I write both novels and short stories. Some of my works include Little Paranoias: Stories and Seeing Things. My latest short story collection, Someone to Share My Nightmares, will be out October 19, 2021. You can learn more about me at sonorawrites.com. You can also find me on Twitter (@sonorawrites), Instagram (@sonorataylor), and Facebook (/sonorawrites).

What creepy craft or creation have you decided to share with us today?

I love doing cross-stitch! I’ve created several pieces over the years and the attached piece took literal years to complete. It’s from a book my husband bought me called Twisted Stitches. Right now I’m working on a trio of poisonous flowers from the same book.

What instructions or tips do you have for our readers who might be interested in trying this craft for themselves?

If you have no experience with cross-stitch before, start with either a stamped pattern (where the design is printed on the embroidery cloth and stitched over) or a very simple counted pattern (counted means the embroidery cloth is blank and you follow a pattern in a book or on a piece of paper by counting where the stitches are). Take breaks because it can hurt your arm and shoulder to stitch for too long. And check Etsy for lots of fun patterns from independent artists!

Thank you so much for sharing your work with us, Sonora! I have also been getting back into cross-stitch lately and have found some amazing low-cost patterns available on Etsy that can be purchased and downloaded in a snap. I’ve also recently discovered black cross-stitch cloth, and I am in love with the look of white thread stitched on this dark background. Here is my latest work in progress, which will ultimately be a tribute to Wednesday Addams (thank you to WitchyCraftStitch on Etsy for this lovely pattern). Stay tuned to “Creepy Craft Corner” for the finished product!

Thank you so much for joining us, Sonora, and thank you to all of you for reading. Until next month, keep it crafty.

Angela Sylvaine is a self-proclaimed cheerful goth who still believes in monsters. Her debut novella, Chopping Spree, is available now. Her short fiction has appeared in multiple publications and anthologies, including Places We Fear to Tread and Not All Monsters. You can find her online angelasylvaine.com.

Special thanks to our logo creator, Maria Abrams (abramstheauthor.com).

Note: Due to an overwhelming response from talented creators, I am not currently accepting new submissions for “Creepy Craft Corner.” I will post here in the HWA newsletter and on Twitter when I reopen to submissions.

Creepy Craft Corner

By Angela Sylvaine

Welcome again to “Creepy Craft Corner,” which features HWA members who are also artists, crafters, makers, or creators. We hope to provide you, the reader, with the tools and inspiration to try creating something new!

If you’re like me, you experimented with today’s craft as a child in a genuine attempt to communicate with the dead. We all know those store bought articles are unlikely to work in the calling of demons and ghosts, but this homemade version might well finally open that long sought portal to hell. Today we welcome Lindy Ryan, who is going to talk with us about Spirit Boards!

Welcome to Creepy Craft Corner, Lindy. 

Tell us a little about what you write and any upcoming projects you’d like to promote:

Having grown up cutting my teeth on series like Goosebumps and Are You Afraid of the Dark? before discovering my mother’s Hitchcock collection, it’s fair to say horror has always been my first love. I am terribly obsessed with spooky history, monsters, and all-things hauntings, so most of my writing tends to incorporate these three elements. I’ve just finished collaborating as the lead author on a book-to-film horror franchise with a top veteran Hollywood director and an award-winning screenwriter as well as a couple of very cool monster projects currently being shopped by my agent, and am now getting to work on a new body horror novel. When I’m not writing, I’m editing—currently I’m working on Black Spot Book’s inaugural women-in-horror poetry collection, Under Her Skin, which will release in April 2022 and features poems over eighty poems from an incredible array of women—including several Stoker-winning poets, new voices (many in the HWA community), and even a poet laureate! 

www.glitterandgravedust.com (Don’t be alarmed: I also write sweet books and films.)

Twitter @lindyryanwrites

Facebook @lindyryanwrites

Instagram @lindyryanwrites

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjjHpq0lGpVfd4meBMxzXbw

What creepy craft or creation have you decided to share with us today? 

I’m not a terribly crafty, but I enjoy celebrating Halloween all year round, and that lends to a certain level of time spent wandering the aisle of hobby stores, trying to figure out what to do with random spooky craft supplies. The craft I’m sharing is a homemade spirit board I made for a divination-themed party a few years ago. I don’t make these to sell, but they do tend to be an item that gets a lot of “how to” inquiries. Luckily, they’re pretty simple to make—it just takes a little time, some patience, and a willingness to burn a finger (or four).

What instructions or tips do you have for our readers who might be interested in trying this craft for themselves?

Making the board is fairly simple, but it is a little labor intensive and requires some special tools. Here’s what you need:

  • A solid piece of board, which you can find at any craft store. I chose 8.5×11.
  • A spirit board stencil, to help with etching on the alphabet. (This is the one I bought, or you can also make your own with a sheet of stencil stock and a fixed razor but frankly that sounds a little too dangerous for my taste.)
  • Painters tape, to hold your stencil in place.
  • A pencil, or fine tip Sharpie, to trace out your stencil.
  • A wood burning tool.
  • A small pot of wood stain. (Stain only; you don’t want the tackiness of a poly/stain two-in-one.)
  • Sand paper, finishing grain.
  • Polyurethane (I prefer spray).
  • A planchette of choice.
  • Spirits of the dearly departed and/or a demonic entity, willing to communicate.

Instructions:

  • Make sure your wood is clean and dry. No need to sand beforehand.
  • Tape your stencil in place, then trace/hand draw on your lettering, etc.
  • Starting at the top right, work your way across and down to burn out the letters, etc. This takes time. I do mine kind of rough and intentionally uneven just to give the thing a more authentic vibe, but you do you.
  • Once you’ve burned everything, you can sand down as desired just to rough out any edges.
  • Put on one to two coats of stain, wiping off excess and sanding lightly between.
  • When you’re satisfied with your color, apply one to two coats of poly to achieve your desired level of shine (note: sliding planchettes across the board is easier the slicker it is). Sand as desired to finish.
  • Place on candle lit table and commence communion with the dead.

Thank you so much for joining us, Lindy! I can’t wait to try this craft for myself. Until next month, keep it crafty!

Angela Sylvaine is a self-proclaimed cheerful goth who still believes in monsters. Her debut novella, Chopping Spree, is available now. Her short fiction has appeared in multiple publications and anthologies, including Places We Fear to Tread and Not All Monsters. You can find her online angelasylvaine.com.

Special thanks to our logo creator, Maria Abrams abramstheauthor.com

Note: Due to an overwhelming response from talented creators, I am not currently accepting new submissions for Creepy Craft Corner. I will post in the HWA newsletter and on Twitter when I reopen to submissions. 

Welcome to Creepy Craft Corner!

By Angela Sylvaine

Welcome to the inaugural edition of Creepy Craft Corner, which will feature HWA members who are also artists, crafters, makers, or creators. We hope to provide you, the reader, with the tools and inspiration to try creating something new! This column will appear exclusively in the HWA Newsletter for one month before being reposted on the HWA Colorado Springs Blog.

Special thanks to Maria Abrams abramstheauthor.com for the creation of our beautiful new logo.

Today we welcome Ben Monroe, who is going to talk with us about Monster Models

Welcome to Creepy Craft Corner, Ben. Tell us a little about what you write and any upcoming projects you’d like to promote.

Hi! I’ve been working on a new novel over the past two years and getting it ready to shop around soon. I’ve also written a few short stories in the same time, many of which have already been published, and a few more are coming out in the near future. Most of my stories feature normal people in reasonably normal places, who suddenly have an encounter with the unnatural, and we get to watch as they deal with it. Sometimes things just go slightly off-kilter for them. But more often, everything goes completely off the rails. 

For example, two stories I’ve got coming out soon: “the Devil in the Details” will be in Attack From the 80s, and is about a college student in the 80s who falls afoul of devil worshippers in the Hollywood hills. Then there’s “Darkness Peering” in the forthcoming Were Tales, which is about a woman trying to escape her abusive boyfriend, and finding an ally in a strange shopkeeper. For anyone interested, I keep a running list of my publications at benmonroe.com/fiction, and am pretty active on twitter.com/_BenMonroe_

What craft or creation have you decided to share with us today?

Monster models! 

So, I used to build these things when I was a kid, and had a lot of fun. When COVID hit, and we were all stuck at home, I started thinking about some kind of hobby to pick up, especially one that didn’t involve sitting in front of a screen. I was watching the 70s version of Salem’s Lot one night, and I got to the part where the kid’s up in his room painting an old Aurora Model Co. kit of the Mummy. It reminded me of how much fun I had with those kits as a kid, and I started looking around to see if anything like that was still available. Turns out, they are! In fact, addition to reproductions of the original Aurora kits, there’s a thriving community of companies making new monster models these days. 

What tips or instructions do you have for our readers who might be interested in trying this craft for themselves? 

There are three things I think are important, really:

Sourcing

Some of these kits are old, and can be expensive on the secondary market. But if you look around, and throw in the right keywords, you can find them pretty cheap. Let’s say you start with “Frankenstein model kit” as a keyword search on eBay. You’ll get a ton of options. And the original kits are crazy expensive. Throw in extra keywords like “Recast” or “reissue” and you can narrow the search. Also, while collectors want pristine boxes, if you just want the kit to build, you can drive the price down by finding a crunched box or a kit out of the box.

eBay has been my go-to for finding these kits. But the CultTVMan (culttvmanshop.com) and Monsters In Motion (monstersinmotion.com) websites are also great sources for monsters and other neat Scifi kits. Also check out Escape Hatch Hobbies (escapehatchhobbies.com) who make resin replacement and customizing parts.

Building

The basic construction supplies are pretty simple, and easy to find. You’ll need a pair of clippers or an x-acto-type “hobby knife” to remove the parts from the sprues, and a tube of “plastic model cement” (note, plastic cement only works on styrene plastic models; if you’re building a vinyl kit, use superglue). If you want to paint your model, I find acrylic craft and hobby paints are just fine. You can get all this stuff at a place like Michael’s or Amazon.

A quick tip: I tend to keep my kits only partially built before painting. Sometimes it’s easier to paint the pieces if they’re not completely assembled (like getting the back of Dracula done before attaching the cape, or finishing the base before attaching the figure).

Painting and Finishing

Painting plastic models and miniatures is a whole topic in itself, but here are some basics.

Definitely prime your kit before painting. I use cheap hardware store spray paint for this. Use a flat black paint if the kit’s going to be darkly-colored (EG: Wolfman fur, Dracula’s dark clothing) or flat gray for a lighter color (EG: the Mummy’s wrappings). Primer helps the paint stick to the plastic.

For the paints, I use hobby acrylics. I use a combination of cheap craft paints (“Americana,” or “Apple Barrel” which you can find at Michael’s or other crafting stores) and specialized hobby paints (“the Army Painter” or “Vallejo”). The craft paints I use for large areas, and the hobby paints for small details. Simply, this is because the hobby paints have a finer texture, so they don’t blot out tiny things like eyeballs, fangs, buttons, etc.

And that’s the basics. It’s a fun hobby, and can eat up a few evenings (remember what Norman Bates said, though: “A hobby’s supposed to pass the time, not fill it”.). I find that a single model can take about an hour a day for a few days (pausing to let glue cure, paint dry, etc.).

If you want to learn more, I’d recommend doing some searching for tutorials on Youtube or the greater internet. There are innumerable modeling enthusiasts sharing their knowledge online. 

These are just the basics, of course, but hopefully enough to get people inspired and started. I hope at the very least I’ve piqued people’s interest enough to give it a shot. If anyone does decide to build one of these models, let me know how it goes (and shoot me a line if you need any tips)! 

Thanks for joining us today, Ben! 

Until next month, keep it crafty!

Angela Sylvaine is a self-proclaimed cheerful goth who still believes in monsters. Her debut novella, Chopping Spree, is available now. Her short fiction has appeared in multiple publications and anthologies, including Places We Fear to Tread and Not All Monsters. You can find her online angelasylvaine.com.

Special thanks to our logo creator, Maria Abrams abramstheauthor.com

Note: Due to an overwhelming response from talented creators, I am not currently accepting new submissions for Creepy Craft Corner. I will post here in the HWA newsletter and on Twitter when I reopen to submissions. 

I Love the 80s

I love the 80s. Not just the VH1 series of the same name (though I do love that, too) but the decade itself. The 80s were my formative years and the years that inspired my love of horror. For me, it was a time of neon colors, mix tapes, and telephone party lines. I watched MTV sitting in front of my family’s gigantic box TV (anyone else still vividly remember the video for Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer”?). My friends and I jammed to Cyndi Lauper and spent our Saturdays cruising the mall, being strongly of the opinion that girls really do just want to have fun. 

Now, I know the 1980s weren’t actually perfect. But as a kid, things like the Challenger explosion, Iran Contra, Exxon Valdez, and the AIDS epidemic happened in the background. I was young and didn’t have to pay much attention to the brutal reality of the real world. As a Gen X (or Xennial, to be exact) latch-key kid, I also had relatively little supervision. 

This meant I could get away with watching, basically, whatever I wanted. And we had HBO, so I watched the good stuff. Much like Carol Ann in Poltergeist, you couldn’t tear me away from that TV. I was about seven when I saw A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Freddy started to appear in my nightmares. Around that same time, little Drew Barrymore made her appearance in Cat’s Eye, and that little troll started sneaking into my bedroom, too. Later, I watched The Lost Boys on repeat (Haim and Feldman 4 Eva), and my dreams turned to vampires.

Horror in the 1980s was scary but really fun, and I’ve never lost my love for those films. So, when I heard that Unnerving Books was seeking manuscripts for their Rewind or Die series, I knew it was a perfect fit. They agreed, and my debut novella, CHOPPING SPREE, was born. The book follows Penny, a teen girl who stays late at the mall to party with her coworkers, and ends up running for her life from a masked killer. Think Chopping Mall but with a plot. If you are a fellow lover of 80s horror, check out CHOPPING SPREE and all the other Rewind or Die books. 

Now I gotta go. I’m rewatching April Fool’s Day. That Muffy throws a great party. 

Angela Sylvaine

Angelasylvaine.com