31 Nightmares 2018: The 17th

One of my great joys of the past few years has been the return of Fangoria. The magazine was a favorite purchase way back when, on the rare occasion I had some spare change.

When I couldn’t get it, my cousin always had a copy that he’d share with me. I was in love.

Lately, they’ve returned as a source of horror news for me and some others in my circle.

Here’s what they’re discussing today:


This has been

Day 17

of

31 Nightmares 2018: The 12th

Over the past few years of doing this event, I’ve had to pleasure of coming into contact with a whole new world of horror lovers and creators.

Some of those wonderful people and their creations certainly deserve mentioning today. When you get a moment, do check some of these out!

Nightmarish Conjurings

Website: nightmarishconjurings.com

Twitter: @Nightmar1sh

Instagram: @nightmarishconjurings

Nightmarish Conjurings is a pleasure to follow across platforms. They update often and stand out from the crowd. Check them out to see what we’re yapping about!


12 Nights of Horror

Website: 12nightsofhorror.com

Twitter: @12nighthorror

Instagram: @12nightsofhorror/

Another group of original creators that is past of an even larger network of original creators tied to all things horror.


Slasher Radio

Website: slasherradio.com

Twitter: @SlasherRadio

The Slasher Radio Podcast also has a great interview from a few months back with the legendary Mr. Tony Todd that I highly recommend listening to when you have a good 30mins to spare.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/slasher-radio-podcast/id1292143626?mt=2&i=1000413617390

They are also in the network of some of the lovely people mentioned earlier.

I first found out about Slasher Radio through my own network. We later subscribed to their podcast on iTunes and haven’t regretted it since.


OddNMacabre – Sean Kaen

Website: oddnmacabre.com

Twitter: @OddNMacabre

Sean is really a wonderful human being and very down to earth. He shares all sorts of fun horror bits and fun facts on his Twitter page. He really is a pleasure to follow since most of his content has this sort of group interactive feel to it that makes you feel a part of the fun. He is a multi-talent and pushes horror content all year ’round.


There are SO many more, but these are all we have time to squeeze in today. These lovely, talented individuals made the cut because they all stand out in their own ways. If you would like to be featured on CardCastles during future spotlights like this one, hit up our Contact page and follow the prompts.


This has been

Day 12

of

The Lift

I can be impulsive.

Those of you that know me are no strangers to that.

A few days back I posted a “Shutdown Notice” of sorts closing down the site, my services, and all of the CardCastles social media accounts.

Wintery

I’ve never seen the Stats for this place spike so high. Oh, it certainly wasn’t because folks were concerned, I assure you. Not over 500+ in less than an hour. No, my close friends and core group know where to reach me & certainly wouldn’t spam the buttons here to do so.

That spike was likely due to people that cannot wait to see me fall on my face.

 

Although my health is indeed dwindling, I still have hope.

“The audacity of hope!” – President Barack Obama

Hope is something I tend to cling to with all of my being.
After all, I’ve always been like a cat with nine lives, and well, hell, I’m just not that easy to kill.

When I left, there was a guilt I felt because I’m trying to build this business even larger than it already is. My goal is to stack it into something that can eventually help my family and friends. Due to groundwork I laid out earlier this year, I’m already halfway there.

So, I can’t really just stop now. Even though I certainly felt the need to for a while.

Over the last few days, I got to see how much I really am appreciated, however silently, it’s still appreciation, and it matters. You filled my inboxes, my DMs, tweeted out little playlists for me. (One of my potential future moderators who you’ll soon hopefully be meeting shared all of this with me while I was away. We both had a good laugh about how I couldn’t leave this place if I tried.)

One last thing pushed me back here beside all that.

Wild Card

I thought of someone I care about who is going through my exact same struggle right now. She hasn’t stopped her magic for one minute. Even with all she has on her plate, and doing every bit of it while in pain, she hasn’t thrown in the towel. She’s still going.

That inspires me. That’s a strength I’ve only seen in one other place—through the women in my own family, particularly, my late mother.

So while I had my time to sit and sob

and even though the holidays are draining every last bit of sanity I have left

I

can’t

stop.

After all, I am a creator.

And

We’re all mad here.

CardCastles Artist Spotlight: November 2017

“It’s been a while since we got to do one of these and I’m happy that I decided to bring this series back as Snapping Turtle is now moving in.

Over the years working with Snapping Turtle and having my services available there, I’ve gotten to meet, talk to, interact with some wonderful people a lot of which have artistic and creative talents of their own. What branched was an art community of beautiful sorts.”

— J. “Daydreams”

concept artist

Some of my friends/clients/family/those in my network have businesses and ventures of their own.

Today during this CC Artist Spotlight I’d like to highlight a handful of these creatives for all what it’s worth.

And that’s everything.

After a long while,

I’m pleased to be promoting fellow artists and creatives here yet again.


Jessie Stevens and Madhawi Karaya

You can find out more about both of these lovely ladies by clicking on either one of their names. What we’re highlighting today here at CardCastles is their beautiful book that was a collaborative effort of both of their artistic talents.

Find out more about What If Butterflies Loved Snow by tapping on it’s website below.

whatifbutterflieslovedsnow.com

Hit the Gift Shop while you’re there!


Originally a fan of this next entry, Oschino Vasquez is someone in my network I spoke to a few times through Instagram and he is extremely down to earth, immensely multi-talented, like a lot I’ve known from the Philly area.

Many don’t know Oschino outside of his work with Jay-Z and the Roc-a-Fella crew, State Property, O is also a talented artist.

His artwork is the business below we are spotlighting today.

instagram.com/oschino_art


I’ve gotten to know Monique through my network for a little under a year, I think, correct me if I’m wrong, but she has been a ray of sunshine any time I’ve spoken to her. & She is quite a beautiful human being. Go follow her on social media if you aren’t already to see what I mean. She is quite the multi-talent as well!

Today I’m highlighting Monique’s gorgeous store.

Go shop around!

lizboutiqueonline.com


@Wislainef has been my Instagram buddy for a little bit now & I was thrilled to see a little while back that she opened up her own business line of apparel.

Visit her line below!

instagram.com/aimandexecute


~This has been another~

Clearing Out the Clouds


Above is the message sent out to my Instagram followers this morning. Right now, my Instagram account is just a close group mixture of friends, family, and clients. So, of course, they get to know everything first. If you’d like exclusive updates like this one, just pop on over to the CardCastles Instagram and hit the follow button.

As for things here, just like the above message states, #SleepySundays will resume in two weeks time to its normal scheduling. In the meantime, you may see a bunch of pieces moving and shifting about in the clouds. I assure you, this is all part of something much larger than CardCastles itself and when the full shift is made by the end of 2017, you will start to see the changes.

Everything will begin to operate from one central hub — here. My services have become a sort of small business in about a year’s time, and this place is going to start to reflect that. Thank you for being so patient with me with these ever-changing cards I’m dealt.

It’s been a fantastic journey. I look forward to the months ahead. Brace yourselves. There is so much more to show you this 2017.

Daydreams Diary: I’m Waiting Here

Truth is I’m long overdue for one of these things. So-much-so that I don’t know where to begin.

With that said, like a wise friend once told me,

“Start at the beginning.”

 

Still Ill

Since the tail-end of 2015, I’ve been wrapped under ill health. I’ve hinted at it here before, but never blatantly stated there is something very wrong going on in my body that could possibly cost me my life.

I guess I didn’t want to worry you.

I didn’t want to add to your stress.

I could barely accept it myself.

After all, I am a mother.

 

Months of Work With No Reward

Book covers and album art might seem like easy work to someone outside of my field. Until they try it themselves and see just how grueling it can be. Most quit within the first year.

It takes a trained eye to be able to determine what is going to pull a person in. Concept artists are in the business of bringing your visions to life. This sometimes involves an almost spiritual gift to “see” into someone’s head.

I’ve been at this now professionally past the year mark. The job itself has come with countless rewards. These past few months have been different, though. It seems nothing I’m working on is getting off the ground.

 

More Hate (As Usual)

Riding off to run errands one morning I hear a distinctly familiar voice on the radio. He was being interviewed by a popular shock jock around these parts (and nationally). The man went on trashing some female that he only referred to as “some chick on Instagram.”

Needless to say that “chick” was me and that interview cost me some clients. I’ll spare you the details. This person doesn’t even know me. They only know of me, due to the fact we move in similar circles.

It didn’t stop there.

After the atrocities going on in my country, I could no longer allow myself to stay silent on certain topics sadly deemed “political” issues.

This has gotten me labeled, attacked, and ultimately shunned. All because I am sticking up for people who’s voices get silenced daily. But, this is not new to me. I had the same role growing up in school. I’m used to standing up to bullies in defense of my friends. Though just like then, sooner or later, I expect to be attacked or silenced—just like them. This does not mean I’ll stop; no, much to the contrary. I simply acknowledge that this is a tough fight, that will probably still be going on long after I meet my end.

 

Hope

The hardest part about writing this isn’t publishing it.

It’s the knowing that most of this will go over people’s heads.

It’s the knowing that the same people who slashed me up for being “too positive” all the time will criticize this for being “too negative.”

It’s the feeling that this could possibly be the last thing I write.

It’s the knowing that no matter what I do, I can’t fix any of it. (And I’m a control freak.)

It’s the knowing that no matter what height I reach, someone will always be there to knock me back down.

Though despite all of this shit, I will not give up or give in. Heaven knows I’ve been through worse.

As long as I’m still here there’s a chance to spin this all around. After all, I’ve got things planned and that doesn’t stop just because I’m ill.

 

Family & Friends

My sister is having a baby. I’ll be an auntie this May. I wish I could say this is cause for celebration but, sadly my relationship with my sister is becoming strained. I want to be there with her when she delivers. I want to help solve all of her problems. But I can’t. I’m not always available when everyone needs me. Some people in my life understand that. Most don’t. I have a demanding job, an even more demanding side-job, and I’m the mother of a child that needs extra care. Some people misinterpret this as me not caring for them. Now, I can add my own flesh and blood to that list.

 

No Time to Wallow in the Mire

Even with all of that heavy muck, I have no time to stop. There’s a client waiting on my work as we speak. I have three days to make magic happen. There’s a Sleepy Sundays piece of artwork waiting to be published for you bright & early. My son needs me 24/7, and that doesn’t stop when I’m sick. It’s open season on every single person I love, so you know I’m not going to shut up about all that anytime soon. Not while people I care about along with myself are persecuted, ridiculed, labeled, silenced, and shoved away.

I could just shut down. It would be easy. It would feel good. I’d get some much-needed peace.

But what fun would that be? I’ve been sent here to create—to heal.

Someone I care deeply about that has been somewhat of a mentor to me this past year and well into 2017 recently said,

“I can’t live in a world without art.”

So why in the world would I let that happen? As long as I live and breathe here on this Earth, why would I ever stop?

I was born for this.

So c’mon baby light my fire…

Moments of Silence

It must have been love, but it’s over now.” – Roxette

Sometimes an overflowing of hate can make a person like me shut completely down. The shards from words that cut can fly through the room. When you’re not looking, sometimes those airborne pieces of glass can pierce straight into the heart.

You may notice it got quiet. You may not.

The Burning Bridge
The Burning Bridge

What happens when even the people who fight for good are tired and weary?

This is no terror ground, or place for the rage.” – A Strange Kind of Love by Peter Murphy

My recent break from social media left a few of my friends questioning if I was alright. (Don’t worry, I’ll be back by Friday morning. I know a few days in *internet time* adds to about a year or something in reality.) I had to unplug for my sanity.

With all of the racial tensions, gun debates, political arguing, and just good ol’ fashioned hate going on, my brain simply shut down. I’ve been through this before.

Example 1: In the Cold Light of Day

Example 2: Not Tomorrow

(Not forgetting the countless other incidents before those.)

I’m tired.

I’m weary.

I’m sick of people being ugly to each other.

Perhaps when I return, I’ll be refreshed. Or perhaps, this will summon someone.

Some—

thing.

 

Friends vs. Followers

In this constantly growing world of social media and technology, it can be said (arguably so) that more personally intimate relationships arefriends? dwindling. Recent years have given new meaning to the word “friends”. Some of the world’s top social networking sites are filled with people that have up to 500 or more “friends”, approximately 80% of which they don’t even know. Admittedly, some of those same people have never spoken to their supposed friends. This normally would leave one to believe these types of online relationships are meaningless, and our society is going down the tubes because of it.

Much to the contrary of the above stated facts, another group will tell you some of their most meaningful relationships were born online. I’m here to offer you some specific evidence from this particular group. Case and point, take me for example.

In 2003, I was taking a stab at my psychological horror writing genre again. (Cheesy pun intended.) I wasn’t getting much done in that respect because I was an irresponsible young person with no direction and many issues to add on to that. However, I still spent a great deal of time online dueling between my writing and graphic art. One night, my friend nudged me to go into a chat room (remember those?) with her because some amusing conversations were taking place. She was right, I was amused indeed. What I wasn’t quite aware of was the fact I was about to meet the love of my life. This man would many years later father my child, and despite our ups and downs, we would be very happy together.

Later on, I began to trust online friendships more and more. Years later, after meeting someone I later fell in love with, I met the best friend I have ever known. Yes, you guessed it…online. We had some shared interests and that’s how we initially clicked. Later on, I found out this person lived pretty close by and that only made our friendship stronger. What I didn’t know, was this person would later save my life.

So, are you convinced yet? If not, I’ll bring you to present day. My current situation is I’m now a budding writer, taking it seriously this time around. I came here to hone my skills and practice my craft. What I never knew was I’d meet a whole entire group of friends with like-minded interests, people I connect with on an almost spiritual level, people who have offered me support, kindness, and true friendship. These friendships have not been matched with the ones in my everyday life. I’ve often told some of these friends I love them, and they’ve returned the sentiment. They share my work with their friends and the world and they tell me to keep going…something I desperately need to hear at this time in my life. Friends

Can online friendships/relationships really work and be mutually beneficial? In some cases, the evidence would point to no. Although, I’m here to tell you for some people, the answer is most certainly a big, warm yes.

 

Love this post? Go check out my pal Kozo’s post Friends and Enemies: The Maleable Keys to Peace as we seem to have been on the same page this week. (This is, I believe the 3rd time myself and one of my blogging buddies posted about almost the same topic. Sometimes, I think we read each other’s minds…)