From the Mind of Master Imaginationist Crystal Connor ~"A Trusted Name in Terror."

The Darkness, Artificial Light, In The Valley of Shadows

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Christian, The Witch, & Me.

How is it that as a Christian you write so much about witchcraft? Well, 1st thing I am not a Christian, I am God fearing. Two very different things … topic for a different day.
But back to the question at hand…
This is a question that I oftentimes struggle to answer, when people expressed how much they love the character of Inanna priestess in The Spectrum Trilogy I was genuinely surprised as she is the most wicked of all.  
A few years ago I found a posted review that read in part: “This is a book that holds high the power of the Mother – not just as a biological imperative, but as a title that must be earned.” Reading the rest of that review was difficult because I was in tears. It struck a chord with me but it really doesn’t answer the question. And if you had asked me just yesterday why it became so emotional I wouldn’t have been able to answer you.
But that was yesterday.
Today while scrolling thru Facebook I saw a meme that read: WeIntendToCreateHavoc What and who exactly is a WITCH? This question was asked by the owner of and as The Darkness and The End is Now continue to make the rounds and I am yet again receiving emails asking about my Christianity coexisting with my very limited knowledge of the occult I was immediately drawn in.   
She says, "Why have young women today taken an interest into witchcraft, paganism, or the occult?" The answer is complex and also quite simple: We are returning back to the ways that are true to us. Invoking the power as the life givers, the oracles, the healers, the wild women, the Goddesses. We are reclaiming what has already been living inside of us. People are attracted to witchcraft (I'm using this term loosely as an umbrella for pagan methods of healing.) often times for the wrong reasons. They've seen silly television shows or movies and think that magick will be just like that. Yet there are also others with reasonable basis for their attraction to witchcraft, the desire to return back to a path that honors nature, acknowledges the potent forces of sexuality in our lives, and the desire to question the failures of organized religions, examining the lies of patriarchy, and most importantly the desire to learn mastery of self. Learning ancient techniques of meditation and healing.”
Witchcraft and the power of the Mother. It hit me like a ton of bricks. Invoking the power as the life givers, the oracles, the healers, the wild women, the Goddesses. The women. And just like that, even though I didn’t know it, there’s the answer, my answer to the question of why I write so much about witchcraft.
I get it, because like she said often times people are attracted to witchcraft for the wrong reasons, and because I am first and foremost a horror writer the things Inanna is doing with her power is terrifying, made worse so because she is Adam’s mother.
Unfortunately my late ex-dad was not the prince she thought he was. It was too late when she realized that she had married the beast. I was very young we when escaped. Thankfully my younger siblings do not remember the things that I saw.
I don’t blame God for when bad things happen to good people. God gave us all free will and there’s no point in blaming Him when people wanna show their ass and not act right. When people wrong us we can either respond in kind or try and the high road on the narrow path of righteousness. Of course me, being so young, unreasonable, and unaware I wanted, wished that mother would respond in kind. As an elder, as a mother, as a healer my mom knew better.
But what I was acutely aware of, even at that young age is that when we finally broke free it was the women who snuck us out, gave us shelter, and paid for the train ticket. When we got to my grandmother’s house it was the women, my mom’s sister and her friends who took us in and built the first wall of protection around us. Things didn’t get easier for a long, long time but thru it all it was always the women who saw my mother and her children thru.   
The life givers, the oracles, the healers, the wild women, the Goddesses. The Mother.
I remember once being downstairs and seeing my mom surrounded by her friends and her big sister, my aunt Lady B who use to talk to the moon, they were all sitting on the floor around the fireplace. They were laughing, drinking, smoking, and talking about the things grown women talk about. I remember thinking that they were stronger than God. I remember that feeling like it was yesterday, and just like then it sends chills down my spine. Being God fearing, even as a kid thinking that, it felt blasphemous. It’s a reoccurring and a troubling thought, one I always comfort myself with Mathew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered in My name, there I am in the midst of them. Being within a coven of women feels sacred, safe, and powerful. So over the years I have reasoned with myself with the thought that maybe the reason I thought they were stronger than God is because only when engulfed within the coven of other women is when I truly feel His presence.   
E.Jong, author of "WITCHES" said "We claim that God is raceless and genderless, yet we visualize God as White and male to such a degree that the very notion of a Black, Female God is enough to raise guffaws in response to a hardy, perennial joke.”
It’s a tough place to be, believing in both God and The Goddess, having empathy and sympathy for both Lilith and Eve.
"5,000 years ago our ancestors worshipped the supreme Goddess, the queen of Heaven. It has taken several years of millennia of warfare, genocides, holocaust, idol-smashing, book burnings, and deliberate rewriting of myths and legends for the "Father-God" Jahweh and his son Jesus, to be finally enthroned in our minds and our imaginations."- Erica Jong
The GODDESS has never left, and she still reigns supreme. She cannot be eradicated! And as long as man (and woman, too) is BORN of woman she will never lose influence over our lives. These are the words of the hood witch that hammered it home.
The Goddess and the Oracle. The Priestess and the Healer. The life givers. The Mothers. My mother. After everything she did, after everything she didn’t, after everything she gave to ensure that my siblings and I would be here, the things she did to keep us safe … there is no way that there wasn’t any magic involved, a force which is blessed by a higher authority. No way in Hell.
The power of God is the force of the magic that is bestowed upon the Mother. And that is why as a God fearing woman I write so much about The Witch.
After everything my mother did, how dare I not?
It would almost be blasphemous not to.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Live Action Reviews! by Crystal Connor: Flowers

Live Action Reviews! By Crystal Connor
At 7:30 pm on April 3rd 2016, Crystal Connor, brought home a pizza flopped on the couch, wrapped herself and the dog in a blanket and picked up her remote.

This is the unedited journal chronicles the harrowing experience that her neighbors endured for hours as she screamed, cried, and shouted expletive obscenities at her television as she watched Phil Stevens indie horror film Flowers…
Reader discretion is Advised

Entry 1: At least she’s smart enough not to scream and stay where she is.

Entry 2: So basically she was for dead

Entry 3: Guess Buffalo Bill wasn't the only one into thick chicks…

Entry 4: How are you gonna get thru there, and are you sure you even want to?

Entry 5: Just calm down, you’re not safe yet!

Entry 6: Why is there no pain?

Entry 7: Ok, now wait a second here.

Entry 8: What the fuck dude, go if you’re going! Goooooo!

Entry 9: No, don’t just stay right there, he’ll see you.

Entry 10: Fucking A! No one fucking listens

Entry 11: Ok, seriously what the fuck, is this purgatory

Entry 12: She’s not going to be able to eat all of that…

Entry 13: Well, I’ll be damned

Who would like it: This is pretty extreme but if you got through A Serbian Film you should be ok. But it’s not really fair to compare Flowers to Serbian because unlike the latter Flowers isn't just shocking for the sake of being shocking.   

Overall / High Points: I think watching horror movies should be an ‘interactive’ activity (which is why I watch them alone) and the more I yell at the people on the screen the more fun I’m having. I’m a tough customer and I can be pretty unforgiving when it comes to the myopic way in which I prefer to be entertained, so before you get the wrong idea by the small number of entries, let me just say right off the bat that I really liked this movie. The trick now becomes trying to figure out how to tell you why…

Watching Flowers was like watching The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, or maybe more like Alraune, but again Flowers really isn't a silent film. I mean it is but it’s a little bit more than that because there is absolutely no dialogue. Which is one of the things I really like, and is the main reason I am having trouble trying to explain this movie.

The narrator in this film is your imagination which means it will be different for every single person who sees it. Because no one is talking the heroines in this movie bring it, they have to, the lighting and the way Flowers is filmed is very Hitchockian which only serves to add to the distress, so your stuck right there with them, trying to figure out what the hell is going on right along with them.  

My favorite scene is with the last girl in the vanity/dressing room, it was as if you could actually hear her international dialogue. At 1st I thought she realized her situation but then tried to change it and save herself. It left me thinking that she had become both the doctor and the monster, but then when the scene fades from present to a flash back I was pissed off at her because I thought it was all her fault. Throughout Flowers, the women are clinging to a photograph, all of those pictures are in her room. And during the flashback all of the women are together in the same room, she’s the last to enter. The other women disappear one by one after being shown what circumstances lead them to this chance encounter, but as the end credits began to roll I wasn't so sure of my assessment.   

Gore Factor: I am going to say 3, it’s not so much gore than it is muck.

Scariness Factor: Zero. Flowers isn’t scary, it’s fascinating.

Complaints: N/A

Stars: 5

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Suspense is Killing Me!

As an indie horror/scifi/dark fantasy film I accept direct messages for review request, and I get to cherry pick the ones I review for Horror Addicts but sometimes I am flat out told which movie I will be reviewing for Horror Addicts. Despite the fact that I quasi bitch and moan when this happens I actually like being assigned films, because every single one of them are movies that I wouldn’t have picked if left to my own devices.

The latest film assigned to me is Phil Stevens’ LUNG II (here’s the official Facebook page) I usually stream the movies I review but this time my mailing address was requested which can only mean I am getting a DVD and possibility some art work and/or a T shirt (just in case I’m a size XL) so much for being subtle …lol

Anyway, I LOVE DVDs, I even have an old school DVD Netflix accounts because one of the things I love the most are the DVD extras so I am keeping my fingers crossed for a bunch of behind the scenes goodies.

Another thing I am looking forward too is the movie itself. The LUNG II team was being very vague, almost secretive in regards to sharing the synopsis or reveling the plot. I love this tactic as a way to build suspense. When I am assigned a movie I don’t watch the trailer or read any reviews and the fact that they are doing this deliberately pipes more than just general interest. There are reviews out for both LUNG II and FLOWERS but I am avoiding them like the plague as clearly the director wants film viewers to experience these movies with an open mind and virgin senses.

I am more than happy to oblige! I will keep you all posted and will also do an unboxing with my review!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Magazine Lifestyles of the Starving Artist

For those of you who are following me on Instagram must think I am just rolling in the funds, but trust me I’m not…it just looks like it. I’m always jokingly tell my sister and friends that I want the life I lead on social media lol.
Being a working author is awesome but trying to earn a living while still growing a fan base can be exceptionally challenging, especially when sales are lean. So the point of these series of blog posts will be to share my secrets, tips, and tricks on how to treat yourself to the finer things in life without being fiscally irresponsible.
Since most of the pix I post of are me dining out, why don’t we kick off this series with food!
This culinary deal of the day was found at the Dollar Store: Jamaican Chicken Patties.
Ok so 1st off these are not patties, they are meat filled pastries, so I’m not sure why they’re calling them patties. This is bigger than a hot pocket, the directions say to microwave it but I decided to cook it in the oven instead.  
The crust is very flakey and flavorful. Try to imagine if CheezIts were made with real butter and that’s what it taste like. The filling is surprisingly spicy, if you think the Taco Bell fire sauce is hot, then this would be too spicy for you to enjoy.
The filling is meat and veggies but it’s really blended so that the contrasting textures of the chicken and vegetables are gone but for what it is, its not really a bad thing.
Wanting to stay in the island theme of the meal I paired it with a Bai5 Bubbles in Peru Pineapple. I snagged this from my sister who bought them from an online store called boxed. Each can ends up being $1.60 which is cheaper than buying them individually at a specialty store.
This infusion drink isn’t overly sweet and is the perfect paring for this spicy pastry.
At $2..60 this 430 calorie meal is one I will be having again but next time I think I’ll have it with a spinach and strawberry salad.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Remembering The Importance of the Fairy Tales

Today I was reading a thread on Facebook in which the originator is not in a safe place. The immediate and permanent solution to this problem is jumping on a plane. But the person says they are afraid to fly. Naturally this has cause some strong words, disbelief and a roar of push back. And I too was pissed off when I read that. But before I responded I wanted to 1st try and figure out why that made me so mad.

So I reread what they wrote it again. Fear. Ok. Fear. I make a living ensuring people don’t sleep well at night so I thought about it for a sec.

Fear. If this person was a character of mine what would I do to them to make the reader turn on the lights? What would I have to do to make the reader think about them long after the story ended? What if it were me?

A few months ago there was this meme floating around that showed a bug infested bathroom and asked ‘Would you spend the night here for 10 million dollars?’ My answer was not only no, it was fuck you, kiss every inch of my ass, no! Now that I am thinking about it, would I be able to do this wearing a bee suit? No. What if I wore a self-contained Hazmat suit, with the lights turned off and wearing headphones and listening to music? That would only make it worse because I would where I was and what was with me, and anyone who has read any of my books knows the very last place one should be left in the dark with is with my imagination.  

Ok. Let’s ask me this way. If it meant not only saving my life but also the life of someone I loved would I be able to do it then? If we’re going to be brutally honest here, the answer is still most likely no. At this point if the person who was with me knew me, which they would because they love me, would be frantically trying to come up with an alternative route to survival. Because if that bathroom was the only option Sean would be right, we would both be fucked and that’s just the honest to God’s truth.
Click here for the Sean reference.

And it was at this point when I realized why I was so pissed off about this post. The people who know this person immediately took the bee line to the alternative route. Now just to back up a bit, this person is outside of the United States and what’s putting them in danger is not considered a crime where they are.


This person is an American, and the person who is causing the unsafe living conditions has dual citizenship. What’s being done is a crime on American soil, and there is an American Embassy in the country that they are in. Though in a foreign country, on the other side of those gates is American soil.  It’s not a permanent solution but it is an immediate one. And it’s not like a “Not without my daughter” scenario either because the people who know where this person is have posted Google images and MapQuest directions … it’s on the bus line!

This person has a HUGE pool from which to pull resources, the last I checked there were more than 700 comments, and a few hundred sub conversations. A lot of people have offered to pay or chip in to pay for an international flight, one person booked a hotel room.

Does this person jump on the bus? No. You read that right. No. Did they check into the hotel? No.

Instead they are making excuse after excuse why these aren’t viable options while with the next breath stating how terrified they are.

And I am left to wonder if this is a cry for help or the cry of the wolf, and I am not the only one. According to what’s being said by the people who care about this person what’s being said, at least part of it is true. Which means things are only going to get worse. This person is a critical point here because people are starting to shake their heads and express their frustration.

This person needs to desperately remember ‘The boy who cried wolf” because when things get worse, the help that’s being offered now may not be extended.

No, we are not children anymore and we realize that leaving breadcrumbs is not the best navigation method when trekking through the back country. But still, it would be behoove of us to remember that Grandma did not have such big teeth...   

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

I can totally explain...

Oh my gosh, its been so long since I updated my blog I forgot my password … lol, but see what had had happened was.
I know, I totally fail at keeping my blog updated but hopefully most of you are following me on my Facebook fan page, Twitter, and or Instagram. For those of you who aren’t the two biggest reasons I haven’t been on top of my blog game are:

The 1st is that I had to break my lease and have the VA help me with an emergency move. The guy next door started using and then selling meth from his apartment, and towards the end it got really bad like Breaking Bad with a side of Sons of Anarchy bad. I was beyond stressed out, wasn’t getting any sleep let alone getting any writing done and updating my social media was the furthest thing from my mind =(  But I moved into an amazing safe place that’s close to my mom’s. I am not totally settled in yet, but I am sleeping way, way better and I’ve started writing again and let me tell you its about damn time!

The 2nd reason is actually kinda cool. I have been on the road promoting and marketing basically since March and it has been A-fucking-mazing! I have met so many kick ass people that its just unreal. Here are the links for the albums posted on my fan page =D
LA Book Signing 2015

Let me tell you one thing about self-promoting. It is a beast! It is absolutely sink or swim, there’s no middle ground where you can just float or dog paddle, it is absolutely sink or swim. For me I always just jump in to things head 1st in the deep end. These last few months has taught me a lot. Five years and 11 publications later all of my visual branding is uniform. My convention theme color is grey (because I’m from Seattle) because my brand is my name and not the logo I swapped the T from Crystal with an ax and the last O from Connor with a skull. w/the tag line A Trusted Name in Terror. From now on this is how I will display it on promotional material. Bad ass uh?
This year I offered two tour shirts (one was red, the other grey) that I sold at my booths and book signings, but as far as the sales went one did not out sell the other so I’m not sure which one was the favorite.
However, I updated my logo and this is the 1st time that I’ve debuted it. Ta-Da!
I am so in love with this logo so moving forward this logo will be on a dark grey tee at every convention and book signing and since people liked both of the tees above I will continue to sell those but not both at the same event. That way not everyone is walking around in the same tee and it will help stretch out my inventory.
I’ve also have been working really hard on the branding for In the Foothills of Mt. Empyreal The End is Now, one of the books I wrote with Lori Titus. Even though I am the one who designed these images I really can’t dominate the visual message, so to keep all of my visual branding uniform I included a skull to anchor it to my brand. These books were published in 2014 but I have been working on these logos all this time to get them just right, and I am going to say that it seems like all of my hard work has paid off because they are just as gorgeous as the ones I did for the Crystal Connor logos
Tee #2

The Back of Both

Oh my Gosh! I forgot to tell you! On Oct 31st 2015 which is only 38 days away I will be a vendor and a guest panelist at my very 1st international convention!!! Dudes! Its in Canada and all the proceeds goes to charity! How awesome is that!
 IFcon Victoria
I am so super excited plus I thought that would be the last con of the year but its not because the weekend of the 13th I am heading back to Portland for The Living Dead Con! Dudes, this has been one hell of a year.
I am currently working on two new books and securing dates for my 2016 convention and film festival and I have something big simmering on the back burner but I don’t want to mention it yet because I don’t want to jinx it
Well I don’t wanna take up too much of your time, just wanted to touch base and let you all know what I’ve been up to <3 o:p="" ttyl="">

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Things to big to see

You know how sometimes things are so big it takes a few weeks, sometimes months to see or understand the enormity of it. Take for example Hurricane Katrina. We all knew it was going to be bad because it was being called a super-storm but most of us didn't ‘get it’ until we saw pix of the Superdome and heard reports about people being shot and killed over water. Yet still, we didn't get it, get it until we watched Spike Lee’s When the Levees Broke.

Running in the science fiction and horror circles that I run in, I cannot count the number of times I've heard black women talk about how seeing Uhura (played by Nichelle Nichols) on Star Trek changed their lives. That didn't happen with me. For one I didn't see myself in Uhura because in my young logic, you had to be smart to work on a spaceship and I always struggled in school. And two I was a Battleship Galactica & Buck Rogers kid.

But I did have an ‘Uhura moment.’

I was 20 and watching Tales from the Darkside: The Movie … the segment was Lover’s Vow. When Carola (played by Rea Dawn Chong) appear in the alley I literary sat up. I saw me in her, she was black, well-spoken … and beautiful. I know that sounds vain but you know what I mean. A black woman in a horror movie who looked like me. And she was the star, it was her story and I was so mad at how it ended I turned the movie off. But then I turned it back on after my popcorn was done … lol

When Lucy Cruell first contacted me about being a part of this project back in April I immediately said yes. I knew it was going to be a big deal, I mean 7 black female horror author’s having their stories adapted for film and those short movies being directed by 7 black female directors …come on, that’s a no-brainer. But I didn't ‘get it’ I want to say it was because I was focused on gearing up for World Horror Con in Atlanta followed by Crypticon here in Seattle. But the truth of the matter is, I just didn’t get it.

But like my elders say, You gon learn today!

Rea Dawn Chong, the woman I saw on the big screen in a horror movie who gave me my Uhura moment is one of the directors for 7 Magpies. My name is mentioned in the same sentence as Rea Dawn Chong. 

Rea. Dawn. Chong.

And not only that, last night, though it was announced on May 16th, I found out that the Executive Producer is Stacy Pippi Hammon. And as amazing as this is, this is just my seeing the Superdome moment.

Now that I've had some time to let this settle itself around me, I realize that if not for bestselling author Sumiko Saulson, Lucy Cruell wouldn’t have even heard of me.

Sumiko and I spent the most hectic, stressful, amazing weekend together in Los Angeles on a book signing tour and the next thing you know I am being contacted by Lucy Cruell.

I have illusions of grandeur and an ego you can see from space. (yes I meant to use the word illusions) Sumiko has both of her feet firmly planted in the soils of reality, yet after spending an entire weekend with me she doesn't think of me as some garden-variety self-centered, overconfidant megalomaniac who wants to control the world. Bear in mind I want to dethrone Stephen King so that I can reign supreme in the horror genre … and I said that out loud. More than once.

And like my mom and those in my closest, tightest circle she believes in me. She didn't tell me that. She didn't tell me how brave I was for quitting my job to write full time. She passed my name along. That’s all she did. And it feels exactly the same as when my sister secretly paid my light bill, the exactly the way it felt when my BFF bought me $200.00 worth of groceries and then hung out with me at the laundry matt, supplying the quarters that would ensure clean, dry clothes.

Exactly the same.   

Rae Dawn Chong Headlines ‘7 Magpies’ - All-Black Female Director Horror Anthology Film    

Sumiko Saulson