Hopeful Horror

Gothic ghosts, daylight horror, and a light at the end of the tunnel


🌿 What is Hopeful Horror? 🌿

Hopeful Horror is a series of standalone ghostly gothic novels by Sara Crocoll Smith. The novels feature strong connections with nature, daylight, and rich, atmospheric prose.

Several standalone short stories are also part of the Hopeful Horror universe, including Sara’s newsletter exclusive “The Strangle of Ivy.” More stories and where to read them are listed at the bottom of this page.

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🌿 Hopeful Horror Books 🌿

This cover is a placeholder whipped up by myself – the actual cover is in design now! 😉

The Haunting of Orchard Hill

Tell the bees I’m gone…

In the dead of night, Nina escapes her abusive husband with her baby son. She only gets as far as Orchard Hill when a swarm of bees forces her off the road and totals her car. 

A mysterious old woman offers to give them room and board in exchange for help around her farmhouse. But Nina begins to suspect there’s a dark past hidden in the creepy, desolated orchard.

Has Nina traded one nightmare only to enter another?

Ancient apple trees… eerie singing… tainted honey… her baby missing…

Nothing is as it seems at sunny Orchard Hill. As Nina uncovers its terrifying secrets, she’ll be pushed to her limits and come face to face with how far a mother will go to protect her son. 

The Haunting of Orchard Hill is in production and expected to be published early next year. To get notified of its release, make sure to sign up for Sara’s readers’ group and get your exclusive free copy of her short story “The Strangle of Ivy.”


“I busied myself to think of a story, — a story to rival those which had excited us to this task. One which would speak to the mysterious fears of our nature, and awaken thrilling horror—one to make the reader dread to look round, to curdle the blood, and quicken the beatings of the heart. If I did not accomplish these things, my ghost story would be unworthy of its name.”

Mary Shelley, Introduction to the 1831 edition of Frankenstein

🌿 Hopeful Horror Short Fiction 🌿

“The Strangle of Ivy”

Sara’s short story “The Strangle of Ivy” is exclusively available to readers on her newsletter.

“The Devour of the Saddle Flower”

Sara’s short story “The Devour of the Saddle Flower” is published in Ghost Orchid Press’s Chlorophobia: An Eco-Horror Anthology 🌺💀🌿

“The Hallowing of Pumpkins”

Find Sara’s short story “The Hallowing of Pumpkins” on page 42 of Hallowzine Issue 2🤰🪦🎃

“The Swallowing of Graves”

Sara is currently drafting “The Swallowing of Graves”