Clarissa Johal: February 2013

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Are You in the Mood for a Ghost Story?

Are you in the mood for a ghost story? I am. I’ve often wondered why people like to be scared by ghost stories. Perhaps it’s the thrill of the unknown. That little sound in the corner of a dark bedroom that causes the hair on the back of your neck to stand up. The flicker of something in the corner of your eye. A whisper of air on the back of your neck. It takes you out of the day-to-day and pushes you into the...what if?

So, I may be opening myself up here for ridicule, but I thought I’d share some photos I took several years ago. At the time, I belonged to a photographer’s site wherein the challenge was to post a photo a day. That particular day, I decided to visit a local cemetery and take some photos of the memorials there. One in particular stood out for me, The House of Memory. The memorial was dedicated to North Carolina soldiers from the Revolutionary and Civil wars. The cemetery was filled with “Unknown" soldiers, actually, and wandering the grounds made me quite sad. My father is a MIA from Vietnam and it hit home, I guess. Anyways, I decided to take several photos of The House of Memory and came home with these. They are completely SOOC (straight out of the camera).

In the second photo, note the white blob in the center doorway at the top. It changes shape in each frame and I didn’t see it when I was taking these photos. I posted all four on the photographer site and nobody could come up with an explanation.
Lighting? Nope, it was clouded over that day. Lens? Nope, all of my other photos turned out fine. I have no explanation. I'll let you come to your own conclusions.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Writing Wenches

Please join me on my other blog, The Writing Wenches for a guest post with Vonnie Hughes!
Take a peek at her new release, Lethal Refuge, a spine-tingling suspense story set in New Zealand.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

My Top Ten Hobbies

Hobbies, those things you do before you have children. Most of my hobbies took a back seat after my kiddos were born. They were replaced by (in chronological order) washing cloth diapers and making baby food, cleaning up after Polly Pockets and My Little Ponies, scheduling play-dates, and acting as a taxi service to-and-from martial arts classes and swim lessons. Now that my daughters have hit that ‘tween age however, my hobbies have been creeping back, one by one. Here are some that I’ve managed to start up again.

1. Ballet
I’ve taken over 20 years of dance and I can safely say; I think, live and breathe ballet. If I’m listening to music—I’m choreographing in my head. If I have a writer’s block—I work on my pliĆ©s. I manage one class a week when I’m not in the throes of writing.

2. Fencing
Swords—how can you go wrong? In college, I joined the fencing team. I was the only girl at the time, which was good and bad, but loved it. I still fence but don’t have anyone to practice with these days. My neighbors probably snicker at me when I’m practicing in our back yard, but hey, it’s a great stress-buster.

3. Photography
My husband is the real “photographer” in the house. He can tell you about apertures, shutter speeds and all that technical stuff. A couple of years ago, he jokingly challenged me to join Project 365 (an online community wherein you post a photo a day), which I did. A year later, I had over 1000 followers and found that I LOVED taking pictures. I still can’t tell you what an aperture is, but oh well, I take pretty pictures.

4. Taking in Strays
Do you want one? We have plenty. Haha. As a kid, I was never allowed pets because we moved around so much. In fact, I remember bringing home a half-dead cockroach. I named it Sticky. My mom was thrilled. Good thing I had a pet rock as a back-up plan.

5. Herb gardening
I wish I had a green thumb, I really do. I over-water everything which means I’m continually replacing my basil plant with a “bigger and better” plant that Can’t Possibly Die. My dream is to have a fully-stocked herb garden growing in my kitchen. As of now, I have a very soggy-looking peppermint plant and working on the death of basil plant #4.

6. Running with my dog
Three years ago, we adopted a very hyper Rottweiler/shepherd at the local shelter. I love him to pieces but he needs exercise…constantly. We’ll come back from an hour-long run and a minute later, he’s forgotten and wants another.

7. Coffee drinking
Hey, it’s a hobby. Peet’s Sumatra: creamer, no sugar. I have to keep up with my dog somehow.

8. Vegetarian cooking
I used to do more of this before kids. Now, I’m at the mercy of their taste buds. Green vegetables receive little love in my house, even when they’re hidden in peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. And yes, that’s worked for me…once. My kiddos make their own sandwiches now and for the life of me, I can’t figure out why.

9. Trampoline
I love my trampoline. Nothing beats that feeling of flying up in the air.

10. Reading
The hobby of hobbies. What did you expect? Mythology is my favorite genre but I read everything from classics by Gustave Flaubert and Theodore Dreiser, to fantasy/horror from Neil Gaimen and Brom.

I leave you with a sample of my Photography Portfolio  If you're here, you already know about my books!