Clarissa Johal: October 2014

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween Book Sale!

OmniLit is having a ONE day sale today--which means STRUCK and BETWEEN are both 50% off!

BETWEEN by Clarissa Johal
How far would you go to redeem yourself?

As a young girl, Lucinda was able to see spirits, a gift that didn't come without its problems. Now, a dedicated young veterinarian, she is committed to the idea that every life can be saved.

After a devastating accident, Lucinda tries to escape her past by moving to a small town. There, she meets a newcomer and feels an immediate connection with him. But there is another mysterious stranger to the small town, one that stirs within her a mixture of unease and desire.

As Lucinda is drawn into a bitter tug-a-war from the forces around her, she is likewise pulled into a dangerous twist of past and present events. Forced to make difficult choices, she finds that the two men are locked in not only a battle for her life...but a battle for their salvation.

50% off today only via OmniLit


STRUCK by Clarissa Johal

The shadows hadn't been waiting.
The shadows had been invited.


After a painful breakup, Gwynneth Reese moves in with her best friend and takes a job at a retirement home. She grows especially close to one resident, who dies alone the night of a terrific storm. On the way home from paying her last respects, Gwynneth is caught in another storm and is struck by lightning. She wakes in the hospital with a vague memory of being rescued by a mysterious stranger. Following her release from the hospital, the stranger visits her at will and offers Gwynneth a gift--one that will stay the hands of death. Gwynneth is uncertain whether Julian is a savior or something more sinister... for as he shares more and more of this gift, his price becomes more and more deadly.


There's still time to enter my Coffin Hop contest for an ecopy of STRUCK.

Contest closes at midnight tonight.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Halloween Nevermore Rapport Blog Hop 2014

WINNER has been notified--please check you email Laura D. 

Welcome to the Halloween Nevermore Rapport Blog Hop 2014! This Edgar Allan Poe-inspired blog hop is hosted by Annie Walls and Blackheart Reviews. 

You've stumbled across the blog of paranormal, gothic horror and fantasy author Clarissa Johal. Hello and welcome!

My grandmother gave me my first book of Edgar Allan Poe's short-stories when I was ten-years-old and I was hooked. I was one of those kids who loved scary things. What could be more horrific than The Mask of the Red Death or The Pit and the Pendulum? Later, I grew to appreciate the depth of his writings and found The Raven quite heartbreaking. Themes of death and loss run throughout his short stories and poems. In keeping with that and the spirit of Halloween, I'm offering a giveaway of my paranormal novel BETWEEN.  Death, loss...and plenty of nevermore.


How far would you go to redeem yourself?

As a young girl, Lucinda was able to see spirits, a gift that didn't come without its problems. Now, a dedicated young veterinarian, she is committed to the idea that every life can be saved.

After a devastating accident, Lucinda tries to escape her past by moving to a small town. There, she meets a newcomer and feels an immediate connection with him. But there is another mysterious stranger to the small town, one that stirs within her a mixture of unease and desire.

As Lucinda is drawn into a bitter tug-a-war from the forces around her, she is likewise pulled into a dangerous twist of past and present events. Forced to make difficult choices, she finds that the two men are locked in not only a battle for her life...but a battle for their salvation.

Excerpt:

Lucinda rode her bicycle home, heeding a sudden pull to take an alternate route. The wind scraped her cheeks as she rode on, lost in thought. Past the edge of town, she hit fields and found herself veering down a dirt foot path which led toward an old church. Crows took off from the surrounding fields, complaining loudly of the intrusion.
The one-room church stood alone. White-washed and peeling, the building was flanked by a small, forgotten graveyard. A single tree reached out with dead branches, sheltering the gravestones from the light. Circling the graveyard was a rusted, wrought-iron fence. The gate sagged on its hinges and squeaked quietly in the breeze.
Leaning the bicycle against the graveyard fence, Lucinda walked up the church’s rickety, wooden steps and checked the rusty door knob. Finding the door to be open, she walked in. The door shut quietly behind her, shrouding the room in silence.
From the corners of her eyes, Lucinda saw spirits scatter.
Walking slowly down the middle aisle, she passed the wooden pews, one by one. Stained-glass windows stared down like eyes over the pulpit. Ablaze with the light from the setting sun, the windows cast shades of scarlet and crimson across her skin.
As a child, Lucinda had attended church with her parents. Every Sunday, they had gone out of a sense of routine or faith — she wasn’t sure which. It was a routine that she hadn’t continued. Any remnants of her faith had died after the accident.
Movement continued in her peripheral vision. It was only a matter of time before they would grow insistent. Lucinda sat in the front pew, hands clenched into fists. The only sounds she heard were her breath and heartbeat, counting out the mortal seconds. She sat in the stillness, ignoring the activity around her. She had no idea how much time had passed before she finally stood to leave.
Once outside, Lucinda saw that twilight had fallen over the area. Still lost in thought, she walked over to her bicycle and placed her hands upon the cold handlebars. She had entered the church to do some- thing — something she felt was important. Had she done it? In her heart, she felt unsure.
An almost inaudible sigh broke the silence. Startled from her reverie, Lucinda was surprised to see a dark form standing in the graveyard, head bowed.
“Cronan?”
Cronan looked up. His face seemed to be contorted in grief. As she walked through the gate and into the graveyard, she realized she must have imagined it. The mocking smile was there, as usual.
“Fancy you here.”
“My friend is in the hospital. I came here…” She looked away, uncertain.
“To pray?”
She let her gaze wander over to the forgotten church.
“Did it help?”
Lucinda frowned. “What are you doing here?”
“I am here — ” he paused as he ran a hand along the top of a head- stone “ — to visit the dead, of course.”
Lucinda narrowed her eyes at him in disbelief.
Cronan returned her look, unflinching. His dark coat stood in stark contrast against his pale skin. “Was your friend hurt badly?”
“Yes, she was. Is. I’m worried about her.” She took in the gravestones and shuddered. “She was in a car accident.”
A chilly breeze blew through the clearing, causing Cronan’s coat to flap behind him like dark wings. The breeze pushed the dead, wet leaves aside that had collected between the headstones. Crows cawed in the distance.
“Can I ask you a question?”
He raised an eyebrow.
Lucinda hesitated. “My friend. Marny. The one in the hospital. She said she heard whispering before she crashed. She was the only one in the car. What do you think about that?”
“I think that if she heard whispering, then that is what she heard.” He studied her thoughtfully. “There are many things in the world we do not understand. That does not mean they do not exist.” He took a step toward her and took her hands, intertwining his fingers within hers as if in prayer. “Is that not what faith is based upon?”
She shivered involuntarily and pulled away, dropping her gaze to the ground. “Can I ask you another question?”
“Ask.”
“You saw that woman on the cliff.”
“Yes.”
“She’s…”
“Dead?”
Lucinda nodded wordlessly.
“As I said, there are many things in this world that we do not understand.”
She turned away from him, pondering the faces of the headstones reflecting the dying light. The names had long-ago been weathered and forgotten. “I know what I see. I don’t know what I believe.” She sighed. “I mean, I always thought it was just me.”
“Just you?”
“That sees them. I usually only see people I’ve known. Or animals. I don’t know why I see that woman on the cliff.”
Cronan moved in closer behind her. “Death exists whether people see it or not,” he murmured.
“I understand that. And I know that some spirits — ” the words caught in her throat “ — get stuck. Like in churches, and graveyards. They seem so empty.”
“Ah, that is where you are mistaken. They are not empty. They are full.”
She turned to him. “Full?” She stepped back, putting some space between them.
“Yes,” Cronan replied. “Full of rage, fear, confusion, loneliness.”
“Loneli — nobody wants to feel those things, Cronan.” Lucinda frowned. “Especially after you’re — ”
“Dead?”
“Yes.” She was quiet for a moment, listening to the wind blowing across the fields. Her thoughts wandered. Looking up, she was startled to see him scrutinizing her. Lucinda flushed. “I have to go.”
Pushing past him, she exited the graveyard and made a grab for her bicycle. A small rustle off to her side caught her attention. “Oh!” Lucinda bent down. Naked and helpless, a baby brush rabbit lay in a cluster of grass. Its eyes were closed and its breathing labored.
Cronan peered over the fence. “Nature’s plan. I am sure the crows will take care of it.”
Lucinda looked up at him, shocked. “That’s a terrible thing to say, Cronan!” She ran her hands over the baby rabbit. “It looks like a cat got him or something. Teeth marks here and on the other side. He’s cold.” She picked the rabbit up carefully.
Cronan studied her quietly, running his thumb along one of the wrought iron spikes that topped the graveyard fence.
She looked across the silent fields. “We must have scared it off, what- ever it was.”
“And now it waits for its prize.” Ignoring him, she cradled the rabbit in her hands, trying to warm it.
“All life depends on death. It is hopeless, Lucinda.” His eyes flickered over her. “It will die.”
“I’m not letting that happen, Cronan,”  Lucinda replied firmly. She unbuttoned her coat and rolled the baby rabbit up in the bottom of her T-shirt. “Everything can be saved.”
“Everything?” Cronan replied solemnly. “I have my doubts about that.”
“Well I don’t.” She set her jaw stubbornly. “I’m taking him back to the hospital. I can save him.” She carefully buttoned her coat and took her bicycle by the handlebars.
Cronan watched as she walked with determination across the empty fields. As he watched her, his hands gripped the iron fence, emotions warring within him.

***

*Second place in the Preditors and Editors Readers Poll 2012
*Paranormal Reads give BETWEEN 4 out of 5 Bats

BETWEEN buy links:
Amazon
B&N
Musa Publishing 30% off for the month of October!


Enter my Rafflecopter to win an ecopy of BETWEEN
**Contest ends at midnight October 30th


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Continue on the Blog Hop to win other prizes!

1. Annie Walls
8. IKE

Friday, October 24, 2014

October 24-31 Coffin Hop

WINNER has been notified. Please check your email Lori H.

Welcome to one of the many stops on the COFFIN HOP,  an annual Horror Author event conceived in 2011 by authors Axel Howerton and Julie Jansen. This year, join myself and 63 other authors--prizes and giveaways at every stop!



This is the blog of paranormal, gothic horror and fantasy author Clarissa Johal. At this stop, you will get a chance to win an ecopy of my latest paranormal gothic horror novel STRUCK.

You're here because you like to be scared, am I right? I’ve always felt the best scare is a psychological one. You don’t need blood. You don’t need gore. You just need…silence. Silence is powerful when it comes to the Otherworld. You can’t connect with what you don’t see when there’s noise.

Silent scenarios

You’re sitting alone, watching television, and suddenly feel you aren’t alone. A chill trails down your neck, an exhale brushes your cheek, a small whisper caresses your ear. 

It's 2am, you wake and for a split second, see a shadow standing over your bed. 

You’re trying to get back to sleep but know there’s something else in the room with you. You hear a rustle coming from your closet. Or worse, you feel a subtle thump under your bed. 

...which isn’t to say those situations can’t end in blood and gore. But it isn’t necessary. I write best when I have silence. I hear my character’s intake of breath, I see their looks of uncertainty, I hear the not-so-distant screams from the Otherworld. Silence is powerful.

Welcome to my world. Enjoy the screams. If you’re quiet enough…you may just hear them.

* * * *


The shadows hadn't been waiting.
The shadows had been invited.


After a painful breakup, Gwynneth Reese moves in with her best friend and takes a job at a retirement home. She grows especially close to one resident, who dies alone the night of a terrific storm. On the way home from paying her last respects, Gwynneth is caught in another storm and is struck by lightning. She wakes in the hospital with a vague memory of being rescued by a mysterious stranger. Following her release from the hospital, the stranger visits her at will and offers Gwynneth a gift--one that will stay the hands of death. Gwynneth is uncertain whether Julian is a savior or something more sinister... for as he shares more and more of this gift, his price becomes more and more deadly.

Excerpt

     A bolt of blue-white lightning snaked from the sky and hit the ground in front of her. The thunderclap that shattered the air was deafening. Gwynneth slammed on her brakes and skidded. It was a slow skid, or it seemed to be. Spinning around and around in a circle, she felt like she was watching herself from afar. Time felt like it was slowing. Oddly enough, she found herself wondering if there would be white or red flowers on Hannah’s casket. Or maybe none at all. 

     Gwynneth’s face smacked against the steering wheel. Reality hit her along with the pain. She had forgotten to wear her seatbelt. She pressed her fingers lightly to her throbbing temple and winced. “Shit!” Thankfully, she was in one piece. Gwynneth opened the car door. Lightning lit the area and bathed her senses in a flash of blue-white. Icy rain hit her skin. Stupid! You left your jacket back at the funeral home. She ran around the car and checked all the tires. The back one was flat, and on top of that, her car was quite obviously stuck in a ditch. “Great.” She had no spare tire, she knew that for sure. She also had no idea which way led back to the retirement home. Her headlights cast a weak glow through the rain. Soaked to the skin and shivering, Gwynneth peered into the darkness. A muddy road meandered across saturated fields and off into nothingness. 

     She sloshed back to her car and quickly turned the engine off. She certainly didn’t need a dead battery on top of a flat tire. “Okay, Gwen,” she said aloud, “you need to figure out what to do.” Rain ran in rivulets down her face and her tie-dyed T-shirt stuck to her like a second skin. I’m a soggy, shivering rainbow. She started to walk and cursed the fact that her cell phone wasn’t charged. Seth was always bugging her about that. “Suck it up, Gwen. It rains in Oregon too.” The inky blackness was disconcerting. Lightning intermittently illuminated the area like the flash of a camera. A snapshot of a road to nowhere. Gwynneth hoped that she was at least walking in the right direction. Her teeth were chattering so hard she was in danger of biting her own tongue. Thunder rolled up her spine and along her scalp like probing fingers. 

     Her thoughts wandered back to Hannah. A diary. I wonder what she wrote about? She wouldn’t read it, of course, it was private. I’m sure she just wants me to throw it away so her children don’t either. A pang of loss sliced through the cold and Gwynneth shook it off. They had spent countless hours chatting and Hannah never mentioned a diary. She bit her lip. If she could only turn back time, Gwynneth would have told her how much their time together had meant. Hannah had always encouraged her to start painting again, but also understood why Gwynneth couldn’t. 

     A loud ‘crack’ sounded and an iridescent white light surrounded her. Two things registered: a searing pain that ripped down her back and the ground which seemed to be pulled away from her at an alarming speed. 

* * * * 

     Blackness. 

     Pain shot through the back of Gwynneth’s head as she opened her eyes. Somebody was standing over her. She tried to focus on the face, but it hurt too much. A cool hand slid across her forehead. She opened her eyes again. 

     Pale, almost white eyes. High cheekbones, aquiline nose, and a well-shaped mouth. Long, white hair. Ageless. Beautiful, like a Michelangelo. All of those details registered with clarity before agony ripped through her body. She arched her back and cried out. The man murmured something into her ear which she couldn’t understand. She could feel the vibration of his voice and his breath on her neck as he gathered her in his arms. She opened her eyes and saw lightning fork to the ground silently behind him. She blacked out again. 

* * * * 
Buy Links 

30% off for the month of October at Musa Publishing

Author Website


Enter my Rafflecopter to win an ecopy of STRUCK.
*Contest Ends at Midnight on Halloween
 Continue Hopping for a chance to win more prizes!

Frightening Friday-Top 10 Phobias

Photo courtesy of Renato Domingos via Flickr
Why a Top 10 list today? Because I'm cramming precious writing time into several hours due to other "stuff" going on. The Island (my novel in progress) is coming along nicely...

*I want to thank everyone for the response/support/shares to yesterdays post. It came from the heart!

So, we won't even go into the big words here, but I thought I'd share with you the top 10 phobias (in no particular order) courtesy of the National Institute of Mental Health.

1) Fear of heights

2) Fear of enclosed spaces

3) Fear of the dark

4) Fear of snakes or spiders

5) Fear of death

6) Fear of needles

7) Fear of thunder and lightning

8) Fear of disease and germs

9) Social phobia

10) Fear of clowns

My one phobia didn't make it to the Top 10. I'm terrified of butterflies.
Clearly--they are far scarier than any of these.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Thoughtful Thursday-No, I'm Not Cuckoo, I'm a #Writer

What's it like, being a writer? I seem to be asked that a lot. Well folks, it's a lot of signing autographs and hearing readers tell you how awesome you are. It's receiving huge royalty checks from publishers who deem you indispensable. It's full of massive amounts of glitz and glam and feeling loved 24/7...

Actually, that's crap.  Let's get realwhat's it really like to be writer?

It means you wake up with, shower, dine and go to bed with your characters. It gets a little crowded from time-to-time. 

It means taking nothing personal when it comes to editing and everything personal when it comes to reviews.

It means your mind is constantly writing sentenceseven when you're sleeping. I've woken with full paragraphs in my head. Sleep is for the weak.

It means working longer hours than 99% of the population and for less than minimum wage...and being okay with that.

It means the Writing Chair is yours, and yours alone. Because writing somewhere else doesn't feel the samejust don't talk to me. And get the hell out of my Chair.

It means struggling with a constant feeling of inadequacy.

It means you carry a constant paranoia that people will read (unfinished) work over your shoulder vs. the same paranoia they won't read your (finished) work at all.

It's a constant pull between Doing What You Love (writing) and Feeling Like an Obnoxious Brat (promoting)

It means hoping people understand that you're a little quirky but mostly harmless.

It means when people hear you talking to yourself, you're really not. Your characters are real people, duh.

I love being a writer. I eat, sleep and breathe my characters and stories. I writenot with the goal of "being rich someday," but with the goal that my readers will look forward to my next book an love the last one they read. When a reader says one of my books "stuck with them" and was "unlike any story they've read" it gives me a high that lasts for weeks. On the days I'm struggling and wonder if my stories matter to anyone other than myself, a comment like that will bring tears to my eyes. And I know deep in my heart that if I didn't write, I'd go cuckoo.

That's what being a writer is like.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

#Paranormal Wednesday-Lowther Castle

This past May, I was fortunate enough to take a vacation to England to do some hiking and castle hopping. One place that stuck with me was the Lowther Castle & Gardens in Cumbria, England.

A preservation society is working at restoration, so we were unable to go inside the castle itself. However, they allowed us to roam the grounds, and since it was off-season, we were the only ones there.

pic 1
In one section towards the back woods--I was hit with a very uncomfortable feeling (pic one). I felt like I was being scrutinized by someone who was very agitated by my presence. I don't usually get spooked by things like that, but I checked over my shoulder more than once, because it felt like they were seething with anger.
pic 2

The feeling persisted as I continued into the woods (pic 2), and became more disjointed (for lack of a better term) until it finally stopped. I looked back and saw a scowling dark-haired man with a narrow face, standing by the structure in pic 3. He  was wearing a black three-piece suit from the 18th century. Nobody else saw him and yes--I know that sounds weird, but it is what it is. 

pic 3
I came away from the experience feeling like I'd trespassed; not only onto somebody's land, but into somebody's past.

This was one of many experiences I had in England, which isn't surprising. The country is steeped in history and abundant with historical places.


On a lark, I decided to Google Lowther Castle to see if anyone else who visited had the same experience. I was surprised by what I found. (I don't know why stuff like this surprises me, but it always does.) To sum it up: visitors have reported feeling ‘a horrible sensation’ at the Iris Garden and old garden shed in the woodlands. I looked further into history and found the following:

The castle is said to be haunted by Sir James Lowther, an eccentric member of the Lowther family. 'Wicked Jimmy,' as he was better known, had a thing for speed and used to whip his horses into a frenzy. In 1784, Sir James inherited the estate and entered into an arranged marriage. Unhappy in his relationship, he fell in love with the daughter of one of his tenant farmers. Because of her social standing however, she was kept as his mistress. Tragically, the girl fell ill and died. James became mentally unhinged and unable to accept her death. He kept her body in his bed, and dressed her daily. He even went so far as to seat her at the dinner table. When the stench of decay became too much to bear, he had her body moved to a nearby local hall. There, he placed her in a glass-lidded coffin where he could see and visit her. She was finally buried at Paddington Cemetery in London. Sir James returned to Lowther castle where he fell into a deep depression; a totally broken man.

So, what does this all mean in relation to my experience? Did I encounter 'Wicked Jimmy,' or someone else? I found a picture of Sir James and, in all honesty, the person I saw looked more like his employee, John Wordsworth. John died being owed almost £5,000 in earnings. He would have every right to be agitated and angry, much like the person I saw.  Regardless of which man I saw haunting the woods at Lowther Castle, it was an interesting experience.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tangled Tuesday: Book Spotlight - Legends and Lore, An Anthology of Mythic Proportions

LEGENDS AND LORE 
AN ANTHOLOGY OF MYTHIC PROPORTIONS

Delve into myth and legend, where the Fates force post-modern man into a world of the unknown—a world long since dismissed as ignorant superstition.

The Brother-Sister Fable by Alyson Grauer: a young boy disappears into a realm where only his sister can follow.

Faelad by Sarah Hunter Hyatt: Claire Whitaker didn’t even know she was Irish, let alone The Morrigan, the goddess of war.

By Skyfall by Emma Michaels: a mer-couple from Atlantis find themselves in the middle of a human murder investigation.

Charon’s Obol by. R. M. Ridley: Jonathan Alvey didn’t believe in gods, until he helps a lost child find her all-powerful parents.

Peradventure by Sarah E. Seeley: a jinni must choose between the woman he loves and destroying the city that persecuted her.

Natural Order by Lance Schonberg: when Carlos Vasquez is kidnapped, he discovers powers within himself to change the world.

Two Spoons by Danielle E. Shipley: A little girl’s soul meets its match in the family diner’s most mysterious patron.

Grail Days by A. F. Stewart: Living forever has its drawbacks, especially when you spend it clearing away the messes of other immortals.

Downward Mobility by M. K. Wiseman: they say love conquers all, but can it save a Valkyrie when she breaks all the rules?

***
Purchase Links:

Xchyler Publishing
Amazon

Facebook Release Party

Book trailer




Monday, October 20, 2014

#MeatlessMonday-Black Bean Soup

Photo courtesy of Rich Renomeron via Flickr
Keeping it simple today...

1 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 T chili powder
1 tsp cumin
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed
3 cups water
1/2 cup salsa
1/4 tsp salt
1 T lime juice
4 T sour cream
1 green onion, chopped 
1/8 cup parsley, chopped

Directions:

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, chili powder and cumin. Cook until onions are softened. Add beans, water, salsa, and salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in lime juice.
Transfer half the soup to a blender and puree. Stir the puree back into the saucepan. Serve garnished with sour cream, green onions and/or parsley.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Frightening Friday-Things That Go Bump In the Night

We were in Target yesterday and saw these ghoul lights. I really wanted them, my daughter rolled her eyes...I restrained myself. I may have to go back and get them. My plan is to leave them up all year round because they're cool. I know, I know, Halloween comes but once a year. It's the time when people seek out scary. Demand it, as a matter of fact.

What would the Things That Go Bump In the Night think of that? Personally, I think it pisses them off. Think about it. You’re a card carrying Thing.  From January to October, you’re trying your best to scare those humans that occupy the Touchyworld. And they run. You chase, they run. You scare, they hide. You show up to say hello, they tell their friends how evil you are. It’s a symbiotic relationship. 

So, October rolls around and you’re getting ready for an awesome coup de grâce, when…wham! Up go the scary decorations, out come the Ouija boards, on go the creepy costumes. Everyone is giggling like maniacs and having a grand old time. In fact, they’re chasing you. So. Not. Cool.

It’s enough to make any self-respecting Thing pack its bags and move to Disneyworld.

Enjoy October. Enjoy your short-lived decorations. Try and be respectful of the Things That Go Bump In the Night. They try so hard and really, Halloween isn’t the only day they favor. You should see them around Christmas. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

#Paranormal Wednesday-The Haunting World of Dreams

Photo courtesy of Jonathan Emmanuel Flores Tarello
via Flickr
Dreams are important when it comes to my writing. I've dreamed characters, plots and scenes. I'll wake with sentences and full blown paragraphs. I've dreamed in other languages and had prophetic dreams. Likewise, dreams pop up a lot in my novels. My characters often receive messages, warnings and are haunted by their dreams and nightmares.

I find it interesting there are many different types of dreams. When it comes to the paranormal community, these dreams become very complex indeed! Here are a few categories to ponder.


Types of Dreams

Nightmares - upsetting and vivid dreams involving negative emotions. Some nightmares can lead to sleep deprivation and physical illness. In the paranormal world, there are some that believe nightmares are caused by negative entities. 

Night terrors - a dream that causes fear and dread. The dreamer will awaken in terror with no recall of dream content. Night terrors and sleepwalking usually run in families. Since the dreamer may report seeing people, animals or other entities in the room upon awakening, the paranormal community suggests these dreams may be supernaturally induced.

Belief Dreams – Dreams, prophetic or otherwise, that have shaped religion and belief systems across the world. Many prophets in history have reported receiving messages from the divine in their dreams.

Problem-Solving Dreams – Dreams that deliver a message or aide the sleeper in overcoming a problem in their waking life. Some believe that such messages are delivered by a messenger such as a guardian spirit, angel or someone who has passed on.

Recurring Dreams – A sign that we aren't paying attention to the message given. Ignoring the dream may lead to unresolved issues. In the paranormal world, recurring dreams are thought to be important messages from those who have passed on. May go hand-in-hand with problem-solving dreams.

Lucid Dreams – An awareness that the dreamer is in a dream state. The dream can be manipulated by the dreamer. May lead to out-of-body experiences.

Mutual Dreams –When the dreamer shares the same dream or experience with another person.

Psychic Dreams – Dreams in which premonitions take place. The paranormal community suggests these dreams are due to the dreamer having psychic powers or receiving messages from a messenger (ie. guardian spirit, angel or someone who has passed on).

Sleepwalking - performing activities that are usually performed during a state wakefulness. They can be as simple as sitting up in bed or walking to the bathroom; or as complex as cooking, eating driving, or even homicide. My grandmother used to sleepwalk in the forest around her farm house. This was frequent and lasted well into her teenage years. Her brother would follow to make sure she didn't get into trouble!

Dreams with Recurring Dream People – Similar to recurring dreams, these dreams are populated by people the dreamer hasn't met in waking life. The paranormal community has several explanations for this, including guardian spirits, angels or those who have passed on. I have two recurring dream people that pop up on a regular basis. Likewise, I experience a recurring place (and dream) every couple of months.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tangled Tuesday - Author Spotlight: Margaret Lesh

Thank you for hosting me, Clarissa! Today is release day for Mr. Katz is a Zombie, a book I like to describe as The Hardy Boys meets Ghostbusters, book 1 in my Goethalsburg Ghost Squad series. A fun, silly, not really scary, but kind of gross, book for kids. And adults who are still in touch with their inner 10 year old. *raises hand.* My writing inspiration comes from Dav Pilkey (Captain Underpants), and Jeff Kinney (Diary of a Wimpy Kid). Both series are beloved by kids--maybe not so much by their parents or teachers--but they do something very important: they get kids reading!

Growing up, I was a voracious reader. If I liked a book--take Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, for example--I’d read it half a dozen times. If I didn’t like a book, I’d probably only read it two or three times. But I know there are kids out there who don’t really like to read--they’re often referred to as “reluctant readers.” I’m a big believer in literacy; that simply possessing the ability to read opens doors in life. I saw how key this was with my own son. His dad and I read to him pretty much nightly since the time he was a toddler, and in kindergarten, his reading skills took off. He’s now on the verge of college, and so much of his success in school I credit to him being an early reader.

My main goal with Mr. Katz is a Zombie really was to write a book that would be fun to read. I’m not trying to teach any big life lessons here. Just reading for the sake of reading. And, happily, it’s landed just in time for Halloween. -:)

Back jacket description:

Catastrophe looms in North Goethalsburg!

When twelve-year-old J.D. is tricked into taking possession of a book of spells, his best friend turns their teacher into a zombie. The zombification of Mr. Katz creates general chaos and a not-so-terrific time for near-genius J.D.

Teamed with his best friend Rodney, twin troublemakers, and an obnoxious ghost, J.D. must figure out how to change Mr. Katz back from one of the undead before he:

1. Escapes the janitor’s closet;
2. Eats their brains; and
3. Wears J.D.’s spleen as a hat.

Can four boys armed with a slingshot, two boxes of jelly donuts, and a handy zombie guide battle their mindless teacher and live to tell?
Probably not. You’ll have to read to find out.

***

Purchase Mr. Katz is a Zombie on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Follow J.D. and the Horn Boys on Twitter: @JDHornBoys

Bio: As a child, M.C. Lesh had to hold her nose in order to eat spinach. As an adult, she hardly ever has to hold her nose when she eats spinach, but she still picks onions out of all of her food. She read a lot of books as a kid. Luckily, she didn’t have one of those video gaming machines to rot her brain. (Her friend Lorenzo says they appeal to the monkey part of the brain. She thinks that’s an insult to monkeys. Sorry, monkeys!)

Mr. Katz is a Zombie is the first book in her Goethalsburg Ghost Squad Series. She hopes you’ll return to North Goethalsburg to find out what happens when J.D. meets Martin Barton, suspected werewolf and snappy dresser. She also hopes you never have to be too serious, but in the event that you do, her advice is to keep a yo-yo in your back pocket because that is almost always a good idea.

***

My Review

5-stars
This is a perfect pick and age-appropriate for All Hallows Read. A fun, fast paced, well-written book for the 7-10 year old group. One of the things I liked about this book was that the family was included in the resolution to the problem. So many kids books have the family as absent or clueless-this was a refreshing read. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

#MeatlessMonday-Red Lentil-Rice Cake with Basic Tomato Salsa

Photo courtesy of anitasarkeesian via Flickr
Lentils have the third-highest level of protein and amino acids of any legume or nut (soybeans and hemp being the first two). I'm not a fan of lentils. I know I should be because they're a basic staple in most vegetarian kitchens. I do like the red ones however. They make an awesome dahl and have a nutty flavor. If you give this recipe a go, let me know what you think. Enjoy!

Red Lentil-Rice Cakes with Basic Tomato Salsa

Salsa:

3 cups chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1-T lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt

Cakes:

4 cups water
1 cup dried red lentils

1/2 cup uncooked basmati rice
1 cup water

2 T olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
1 T chopped fresh basil
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 egg whites, lightly beaten

1. Prepare salsa by combining ingredients. Set aside.

2. To prepare cakes, bring 4 cups water and lentils to a boil in saucepan. 
Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until tender. 
Drain and rinse with cold water. Place lentils in a large bowl.

3. Combine 1 cup water and rice in pan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Cool and combine with lentils.

4. Saute in a teaspoon of the olive oil: red bell pepper, onion and garlic. Add to rice/lentil mixture. Add mozzarella cheese and remaining ingredients. Mix well. Let stand for 10 minutes.

5. Form lentil mixture into patties. Heat 2 teaspoons of the olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Cook patties for 5 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Serve with salsa.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Frightening Friday-October Book Sale



To celebrate it's 3rd Anniversary, Musa Publishing is having a 30% sale on all their books during the month of October. 
BETWEEN and STRUCK are both on sale from October 10-31st

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Thoughtful Thursday-All Hallows Read and My Picks




This is a brilliant idea--Neil Gaiman is awesome for headlining it. (Well, Neil is awesome just because he's Neil.) You probably couldn't get away with handing out books for Halloween instead of candy but...how about starting with friends and family? I think it's time for a new Halloween tradition around my house. 

My picks for gifting:

4-8 year old range: The Witch Next Door by Norman Bridwell
7-10 year old range: Mr. Katz is a Zombie by Margaret Lesh
11-15 year old range (and beyond): The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Adults (and since the shops insist on lumping Halloween and Christmas together): Krampus: The Yule Lord by Brom

I'll offer up my own as well
For adults: Between and Struck by Clarissa Johal

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

#Paranormal Wednesday-Origins of the Fae

Legends of faeries date back to the beginning of time and are prevalent in many cultures. In European folklore, they are described as mythical beings or supernatural spirits. Typically, they are depicted as humanoids of small stature, sometimes winged; but some accounts describe them as tall, radiant and angelic beings, or even short, wizened trolls. As far as European folklore, there are many theories as to their origin.

Theory One:

Faeries were originally worshiped as minor goddesses, such as nymphs or tree spirits. In alchemy they were regarded as elementals.  With the coming of Christianity, the church decreed them to be evil beings and they were marginalized. 

Theory Two:

Faeries were a folkloric belief concerning the dead. Ghosts and faeries have similar legends; the burial mounds of the Tír na nÓg, the danger of eating food in the Realm of Fae or Hades, and both the dead and faeries living underground.

Theory Three:

Faeries were a class of demoted angels. One story states that when the angels revolted, God ordered the gates shut; those still in heaven remained angels, those in hell became demons, and those caught in between became faeries.

Theory Four:

Faeries were an intelligent species, distinct from humans and angels.  The Celts describe a race of diminutive people who had been driven into hiding by invading humans. They came to be seen as spirits and believed to still exist in the Otherworld.

Some believe faeries still exist in one form or another--a race of beings, spirits of the dead, or descendants of fallen angels. Others believe they are nothing but folklore and myth. What do you think?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Tangled Tuesday: Blog Tour - Killers and Demons II: They Return

Please welcome guest author A. F. Stewart on this blog tour stop during her week long book blast.

Killers and Demons II: They Return is a sequel to her short story horror collection, Killers and Demons.


Killers and Demons II: They Return

Evil is back, with a greater appetite for death. 

Killers.
Demons.
They lurk forever in the shadows, smile at you in the morning, and haunt your dreams at night. You can’t hide, you can’t run, and there’s no escape. You can only scream when they come for you.

Killers and Demons II: They Return is a collection of thirteen tales, blending short stories and flash fiction, tales where the blood lingers on your tongue or spurts quickly from the swift cut.


The Villainous Roster:

Wade, every parent’s nightmare
Hannah and Mr. Greeley. Who is the victim and who is the villain?
Simon and Zoe, a married couple who are dying to be single again.
Norman and his "cookie" of a wife, Mabel.
Millicent and Jane, a delightful duo you shouldn’t invite to your Regency tea party
Amanda, who literally has a skeleton in her closet
Balthazar, the demon bounty hunter on the hunt once more.
Sarah, a young woman going through some changes and craving new tastes
Emmeline, burned as a witch, now back from the dead for revenge
Gabrielle, a woman haunted by shadows
The Dollmaker, she showers death, and an umbrella won’t help
Nightmare Demons, bent on driving a town insane

And then there’s Alice, a little girl locked in the basement by her Daddy…

Together they form a spine-chilling cadre of predators.

***
Excerpt: 

Suffer a Witch

Emmeline knew she had died. She remembered the abrasion of the rope around her neck, the choking, her body twitching and twisting, the pain. They hung her from the town gallows for being a witch. She never practised witchcraft, but she died for it all the same.

Except she didn’t feel very dead. She felt the grass under her fingers and the cold night breeze on her face. She could see the starlit sky and the fullness of the moon, and smelled the scent of rotting leaves.

My neck hurts.

Emmeline placed a hand to her neck and her fingers felt scraped, raw skin and dampness. As she pulled away her hand, it felt sticky and smelled of blood.

They did hang me. Why did I not die?

“You did, my dear. You died quite horribly. I enjoyed watching the whole spectacle.”

A shadow passed over her and then coalesced into the form of a wrinkled old man, short of stature and eyes a coal-black colour. In one hand he carried a gnarled, wooden staff.

“If I died, am I in Hell? You are most certainly not a heavenly angel.”

The old man laughed, a high-pitched cackle that made her shiver. “No, I’m far from an angel, but you’re not in Hell. I brought you back from the realm of the dead.”

“Why?”

“I thought you might wish to harvest revenge against those who wronged you.”

His answer surprised her, but she thought about his words. Swirled them in her mind, tasting them like forbidden wine, before replying.

“Yes. I believe revenge sounds quite lovely.”

“Then get up off the grass and take it, my dear.”

He laughed, a baleful, cavernous chortle, a hideous sound to induce chills, and disappeared, nothing to mark his passing but a wisp of black mist.

Emmeline clambered to her feet, light-headed and wobbly. She wondered idly if she dreamed, but it didn’t seem to be important. She had a purpose, a goal. She started walking, the strange man all but forgotten. He didn’t matter, the strange circumstances of her resurrection didn’t matter, she simply wanted her vengeance.


Win a Smashwords copy of Killers and Demons II: They Return by entering the Rafflecopter Giveaway 


Author Bio:

A. F. Stewart was born and raised in Nova Scotia, Canada, and still calls it home. The youngest in a family of seven children, she has always had an overly creative mind and an active imagination. She is fond of good books (especially science fiction/fantasy), action movies, sword collecting, and oil painting as a hobby.

Ms. Stewart is an indie author with several published novellas and story collections in the dark fantasy or horror genres, with a few side trips into poetry and non-fiction. She has a great interest in history and mythology, often working those themes into her books and stories.

Stay connected to A.F. Stewart via Goodreads Facebook Twitter and her Blog


Monday, October 6, 2014

#MeatlessMonday-Irish Colcannon

Photo courtesy of arsheffield via Flicke
Colcannon is made from mashed potatoes and cabbage with cream, butter, salt and pepper. There are many regional variations of this dish.

Traditionally, it was eaten on Halloween. Families would leave a plate of colcannon out with a lump of butter in the center for the fairies and ghosts. Charms were also hidden in the colcannon to foretell the future. A button/thimble meant you would remain a bachelor/spinster for the coming year. A ring meant you would get married and a coin meant you would come into wealth.

The recipe can be altered according to your tastes. My grandma used to make the traditional version. Have fun with it though--kale (stems/centre stems removed) can be substituted in the place of cabbage, onions in the place of scallions, etc.  Enjoy!

Colcannon

7-8 large potatoes
1 green cabbage
1/4 cup butter
1 cup cream or milk
4-5 scallions, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

1) Peel (or not, I like the peel), slice and boil potatoes until soft. Drain. Set aside to dry out a bit.
2) Core and slice cabbage thinly. Slice scallions. Cover cabbage and scallions with water and bring to boil until wilted (3-5 minutes). Drain well and squeeze out excess moisture. 
3) Return cabbage/scallions to saucepan. Add half the butter and cover. Set aside.
4) Mash potatoes with cream and butter. 
5) Mix cabbage mixture with potatoes thoroughly.
6) Bake in glass baking dish at 400F/200C for 20 minutes. Serve warm

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Blog to Blog-Sapphyria's Book Reviews


I'm over at Sapphyria's Book Reviews today.
Drop by and say hello 

STRUCK

The shadows hadn't been waiting.
The shadows had been invited.


After a painful breakup, Gwynneth Reese moves in with her best friend and takes a job at a retirement home. She grows especially close to one resident, who dies alone the night of a terrific storm. On the way home from paying her last respects, Gwynneth is caught in another storm and is struck by lightning. She wakes in the hospital with a vague memory of being rescued by a mysterious stranger. Following her release from the hospital, the stranger visits her at will and offers Gwynneth a gift--one that will stay the hands of death. Gwynneth is uncertain whether Julian is a savior or something more sinister... for as he shares more and more of this gift, his price becomes more and more deadly.

BUY LINKS



I'm also running a 5K at Safe Haven Cat Shelter. If you're out that way...

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Thoughtful Thursday-Gratitude Challenge

Last week, I did the 7 Days of Gratitude on Facebook. I like to think I'm grateful for pretty much everything so it wasn't difficult. I had my "3 Things" by the time I ate breakfast. What I found interesting was that I looked for more things to be grateful for throughout the day--which kind of changed my outlook of the day in general. The more I found positive things, the less the negative things mattered.

The process was kind of like an internal Facebook feed. Have you ever opened your Facebook to see nothing but a string of bad news and horrible things people have chosen to share? It's enough to make you want to sign off for the day. I know negative things happen in the world but why would you choose to share those? Why not share the good things?

If you want to take up the challenge you don't have to do it via Facebook. I figure they get their fair share of likes and shares. Take up the challenge privately and see how it affects your day-to-day life.

Here's the Challenge:

List three things you are grateful for every day for a week. That's it.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

#Paranormal Wednesday-The Veil

Photo courtesy of Damian via Flickr
October. The time when the veil between both worlds, ours and the spirit world, becomes thin and is easily crossed. The dictionary defines "beyond the veil" as a mysterious or hidden place or state, especially the unknown state of life after death.

The concept of the veil is prevalent throughout the history of Halloween. Traditionally, the holiday was dedicated to remembering the dead. Not only was it a time to honor and appease those who had passed on, but to honor the death of nature. It was believed that during this time, the dead roamed the earth freely and it was much easier to communicate with those who had passed on. So why would the veil thin "only" at this time of year?

Personally, I don't believe that October is the only time the veil is lifted. It may seem more active because people are thinking of the paranormal. November, December, January... the year speeds by and things go unnoticed. The moments for communication with the dead are there; dreams, meditation and the quiet times you find yourself alone. You just have to listen.