Clarissa Johal: June 2015

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tangled Tuesday - Dental Floss, Wands, and the Tooth Fairy

Photo courtesy of Enokson via Flickr
I've been lucky to have good teeth. I'll be 51 this July and yet to suffer a cavity. Part of that is due to growing up with a mom who was a dental assistant. Mom was diligent about dental health. She used to tell me the Tooth Fairy only traded coins for baby teeth with no cavities. I was unsure what the Tooth Fairy did with cavity-filled baby teeth. Maybe she smacked the poor child on the head with her wand. Maybe she took a selfie with the poor, dead tooth, and then flew off laughing. Regardless, I lived in mortal fear that the Tooth Fairy would pass me over.

Anyways, back to the present. My dentist loves that I brush after every meal. But I have a confession--I hate dental floss. I don't hate flossing, I floss every day. I hate the way the little plastic floss dispensers are designed.

You know when you're trying to break off a piece by using that stupid little metal cutter? It never breaks off nicely like it's supposed to, it shreds. So, you pull out a little more floss, hoping to get a clean cut. And it shreds again. So you pull out a little more...and a little more. Until you end up with literally yards of the stuff in the sink. Congratulations! You've wasted six whole dollars, and have nothing but an empty plastic container to show for it. Technically, you could set the floss aside, and cut off pieces with a pair of scissors. But that's not the way it's supposed to work. The floss is designed to snap off by using the little metal cutter. Using scissors would be admitting defeat. In a rage, you throw the plastic container (and the spent floss) into the garbage. Forget the floss, who needs it? Dental health is over-rated. The Tooth Fairy already has all your baby teeth, doing god-knows-what with them.

Curse you, floss--and the little plastic dispenser you came in. I should ditch dispenser floss and buy the wands. But I won't. Wands are for Tooth Fairies--and she's the one who got me into trouble in the first place.


Monday, June 29, 2015

#MeatlessMonday - Zucchini Brownies

I'll be the first to admit--I'm not a fan of chocolate. Vegetables, yes, chocolate, no. I'll hang my head in shame now. When I announced to my chocolate-loving teenagers that I would be using them as guinea pigs taste-testers of a brownie recipe which included vegetables, there were...protests. I believe one of the comments were, "Why would you ruin perfection??!" There were other comments, but I won't write them here.  
The verdict?  "Pretty good, actually!" 

Enjoy!


Zucchini Brownies 
Photo courtesy of Sarah via Flickr

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups grated zucchini
1/2 cup cooking oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Directions

In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, salt, soda, cocoa, and sugar. 
Combine eggs, zucchini, oil, and vanilla; blend into dry ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips.
Coat a 8X10 glass dish with cooking spray. Spread brownie batter evenly.
Bake in preheated 360F oven for 20-30 minutes. Cool and cut into bars.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Frightening Friday - Coming August 5, 2015 - THE ISLAND by Clarissa Johal #paranormal #horror #booktrope #forsaken

THE ISLAND will be released (tentatively) on August 5, 2015 via Booktrope, Forsaken Imprint. This will be my fifth book, and I'm very excited! The story is situated around the west coast of Canada--one of the areas I grew up. It was quite awesome to revisit it last year while working on this novel. (see photo below)

Stay tuned for further details/cover reveal on this newest paranormal horror OR
Follow my Amazon Author Page to receive notices of my new releases

The Island


Exploring a remote island can get you into trouble. 
Especially when you stumble upon a cave and awaken two demons.

Rumors and superstition.
That’s what Emma thinks about local gossip concerning her grandmother’s “cursed” private island. Emma journeys to the island to ready it for sale. While out exploring, she unearths a hidden cave–a cave which holds answers to the island’s dark past.
There may be more to the rumors than she thought.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

#Paranormal Wednesday - Pickwick Poltergeist

Photo courtesy of Google Maps
The “Pickwick Poltergeist” house in the Toxteth neighborhood in Liverpool, England is up for sale. The three-bedroom terraced house is currently for rent at £91 a week, and is said to be haunted by a violent ghost, known as the Pickwick poltergeist.

Significant paranormal activity situated around the house goes back as far as the 1800's. The poltergeist not only haunts this particular property, but various houses on the street. Decades of reports, accompanied by the often violent nature of the poltergeist, have been documented.

In one instance, a landlady was reportedly lifted out of her bed by an unseen force, while the house of her neighbor was shaken by violent vibrations. Other incidents include doors slamming and objects flying across the room. Tenants report "feeling uneasy" and that the house is constantly cold.

____________________

I tried to find historical information on the area to see if something out of the ordinary had happened, which might explain the haunting. I couldn't find a specific event, but I was able to find Toxteth Park Cemetery's death records of people who lived on Pickwick Street from 1870 to 2000. There were a lot of deaths. It made me wonder if the "poltergeist" activity was a collective energy, or one death in particular. Here's what I found: 

Keep in mind, these are the deaths of people who lived at what is basically a 2 block area of terraced homes.

1870-1879 26 deaths
1880-1889 51 deaths  
1890-1899 54 deaths 
1900-1909 33 deaths 
1910-1919 44 deaths 
1920-1929 16 deaths
1930-1939 17 deaths
1940-1949 6 deaths 
1950-1959 7 deaths
1960-1969 2 deaths
1970-1979 3 deaths
1980-1989 1 death
1990-1999 1 death
_____________________

*Total: 261 deaths within a 130 year period
           109 of those were an infant or child

Of note: On Dombey Street, which is one street over (a similar 2 block stretch, and also worker housing at the time) there were 162 deaths during the same 130 year period. Significantly lower, and no reports of poltergeist activity on that street. Makes you wonder.

*The first death reported on Pickwick Street was on April 13, 1871. Catherine Newton was listed as a 56 year old "wife." Her husband, Thos Newton, died on February 10, 1880.

*The first death recorded at 62 Pickwick Street (the place up for sale) was on December 16, 1897. Eliza Ann Watts was 18 years old and listed as a "spinster." Her parents, Ellen and George, died at the same location in 1916 and 1926.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Guest Author and #Giveaway - The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis by Sharon Ledwith #middlegrade #fantasy #‎YAlit‬ ‪#‎timetravel‬

Top Fav Time Travel Television Series
by Sharon Ledwith

I’ve been obsessed with the concept of time travel since I was a young girl. I don’t know why, but the genre just sucks me in. Sorry, no vampires in my series. Well, none that I’m aware of yet. The decision to write The Last Timekeepers time travel series came to me through a dream I had in the late 90s, and I’m glad I managed to pull it out of my subconscious and onto paper. The first book in the series, The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, is geared for the upper middle grade and lower young adult crowd, but I believe adults would have a blast in the past too. In honor of this timely subject, I thought it would be fun and fitting to do a little time traveling in my mind (with the help of my trusty search engine) and recall what television shows had planted their seeds and rooted me firmly in this genre. I found I was grasping at straws. I could only come up with three legitimate shows I truly liked. So I ended up throwing in a couple of honorable mentions.

So, without further ado, my top five (sort of) fav time travel television shows…
  • Quantum Leap (1985)—Scott Bakula, a tight white suit, and any body will do. 
  • Voyagers! (1982-83)—handsome ex-pirate meets 12 year-old boy, then go travel through time to repair errors in world history together.
  • Tru Calling (2003-05)—according to Tru Davies, the dead do speak, and want her to make them undead.
  •  Doctor Who (1963 and still going)—not a fan, but is worth mentioning as it’s the longest running science fiction television show in the world and has a huge fan base.
  •  It’s About Time (1966)—think Gilligan’s Island meets the Flintstones. Then again, don’t.
***

Children are the keys to our future. And now, children are the only hope for our past.



Book Information:

Title: The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis
Series:  The Last Timekeepers, Book #1
Author Name:  Sharon Ledwith
Genre(s): Young Adult, Time Travel, Middle Grade
Tags: #‎YAlit‬ ‪#‎timetravel‬
Length: Approx. 180 pages
Re-Release Date: June 17, 2015
Publisher:  Mirror World Publishing

About The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis:

When 13-year-old Amanda Sault and her annoying classmates are caught in a food fight at school, they're given a choice: suspension or yard duty. The decision is a no-brainer. Their two-week crash course in landscaping leads to the discovery of a weathered stone arch in the overgrown back yard. The arch isn't a forgotten lawn ornament but an ancient time portal from the lost continent of Atlantis.

Chosen by an Atlantean Magus to be Timekeepers--legendary time travelers sworn to keep history safe from the evil Belial--Amanda and her classmates are sent on an adventure of a lifetime. Can they find the young Robin Hood and his merry band of teens? If they don't, then history itself may be turned upside down.

Purchase Links

Amazon US
Amazon CA 
Mirror World Publishing 
eBook
Paperback


Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/young adult time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and is represented by Walden House (Books & Stuff) for her teen psychic series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her WEBSITE and BLOG. Look up her AMAZON AUTHOR page for a list of current books. Stay connected on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, GOOGLE+, and GOODREADS. Check out THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS TIME TRAVEL SERIES Facebook page.


***
ENTER the giveaway to win: 

A signed paperback copy of The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis
A custom crafted Babel Necklace
A signed trading card
A signed postcard
Two ‘The Last Timekeepers’ wrist bands






Follow the tour to read Guest Posts, Reviews, Excerpts, and Spotlights:

Tour Coordinated by:



Monday, June 22, 2015

#MeatlessMonday - Spicy Quinoa Tacos

I'm going to sing the praises of quinoa again--forgive me. Quinoa is a complete protein superfood. It's seeds contain essential amino acids, calcium, phosphorus, and iron, which makes it a perfect choice for vegetarians. There--my singing was painless, right?   This recipe is easy and nutritious. You can use either tortillas (which is more like a burrito) or taco shells. Enjoy!

Spicy Quinoa Tacos
Photo courtesy of Kelly Garbato via Flickr


1 T olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 rib celery, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T ground cumin
1 T chili powder
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 - 15 oz. can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 - 15 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 cup quinoa
1 carrots, diced
1 cup veggie broth
1 - 15 oz can chickpeas, drained
1 cup corn
12 - 6-inch tortillas (or taco shells)

Preparation

1) Heat oil and add onion, celery. Cook 5 minutes until soft
2) Add garlic, cumin, chili pepper, and cayenne. Saute for 1 minute
3) Stir in both cans of tomatoes with liquid. Cook 2 minutes. Stir in quinoa, carrots and broth.
4) Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to med-low and simmer 20-25 minutes, or until quinoa is tender and liquid is absorbed.
5) Mix in chickpeas and corn

Serve in taco shells or warm tortillas. Top with sliced avocado and salsa.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Thoughtful Thursday - My Kind of #Gothic #Horror

I'm very excited about this movie! This is my kind of horror; very atmospheric, chilling and gothic. It's what I aim for in my books. 


Crimson Peak directed by Guillermo del Toro and written by Guillermo del Toro and Matthew Robbins. It's due out October 16, 2015

Monday, June 15, 2015

#MeatlessMonday - Summer Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce

I'm a big fan of Asian food; Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, and Thai - it's all good! But with temperatures topping 95F this week, the last thing I want to do is cook. Here's a super-simple recipe for a hot day. It's also quite versatile--if you don't like bean sprouts or cabbage, substitute spinach or another vegetable of choice. Experiment and enjoy!

Photo courtesy of stu_spivack via Flickr
Summer Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce

1-1/2 ounces uncooked rice vermicelli noodles
1 T rice vinegar
1 T soy sauce
2 tsp hoisin sauce
1 tsp chile paste
1 cup bean sprouts
1 cup very thinly sliced napa (Chinese) cabbage
3/4 cup matchstick-cut carrots
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
8 (8-inch) round rice paper sheets
4 green onions, sliced

Peanut Dipping Sauce

2 T peanut butter
1 tsp hoisin sauce
1 tsp chile paste
2 T rice vinegar
1 T soy sauce
2 T hot water

Preparation

1) Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain.

2) Combine 1 tablespoon vinegar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons hoisin sauce, and chile paste in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Stir in cabbage, carrot, and mushrooms; toss gently to coat.

3) Add hot water to a large shallow dish to a depth of 1 inch. Place 1 rice paper sheet in dish; let stand 30 seconds or until soft. 

4) Place rice paper sheet on plate. Top with about 3 tablespoons cabbage mixture, 2 tablespoons noodles, and 1 onion slice. Fold top and bottom of sheet over filling. Fold one side of sheet over filling, and roll up. Gently press seam to seal. Repeat procedure with remaining wrappers, cabbage mixture, noodles, and onion.

To make peanut dipping sauce:

Combine peanut butter, hoisin sauce, chili paste, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and hot water in pan, Stir with a whisk over low heat until bubbling.

Serve dipping sauce with rolls.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Frightening Friday - Edward Mordake: The Two-Faced Man

Photo courtesy of Mac via Flickr
Edward Mordake was reportedly an English heir, scholar, and a musician. He was considered a bright and charming man, and said to be quite handsome when viewed from the front. However, on the back of his head, there was a second twisted face. The duplicate face could neither eat nor speak out loud but was seen to "smile and sneer while Mordake was weeping." 

As told in Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine in 1896:

"The eyes would follow the movements of the spectator, and the lips "would gibber without ceasing". No voice was audible, but Mordake avers that he was kept from his rest at night by the hateful whispers of his "devil twin", as he called it, "which never sleeps, but talks to me forever of such things as they only speak of in Hell. No imagination can conceive the dreadful temptations it sets before me. For some unforgiven wickedness of my forefathers I am knit to this fiend – for a fiend it surely is. I beg and beseech you to crush it out of human semblance, even if I die for it." 

Mordake reportedly begged doctors to have his "demon face" removed, claiming that it whispered to him at night, but no doctor would attempt it. As an adult, he lived in complete seclusion, refusing visits from members of his own family. Edward committed suicide when he was 23 years old. He reportedly left behind a letter requesting that the "demon face" be destroyed before his burial, "‘lest it continues its dreadful whisperings in my grave."

Such a birth defect might have been a form of craniopagus parasiticus (a parasitic twin head with an undeveloped body), diprosopus (bifurcated craniofacial duplication), or an extreme form of parasitic twin (an unequal conjoined twin). There is some debate as to whether Edward Mordake existed at all, but instead was the literary creation of Charles Lotin Hildreth. History tends to blur the line between fact and fiction. There have been other well-documented cases of conjoined twins, so it is possible that the story is based on a grain of truth.

So, why is this posted on "Frightening Friday?" I don't find the abnormality frightening, it is what it is. What I do find "frightening" is that the poor man suffered (in the way he did) until he committed suicide.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Thoughtful Thursday - Mental Illness or #Paranormal?

Photo courtesy of Ivana Vasilj via Flickr
The idea for my latest release, VOICES came to me while perusing a paranormal chat forum. Members were discussing the topic of hearing ghosts--not just the occasional bump in the night, but actual voices of the departed. The general feeling was a reluctance to tell others of their experiences because they didn’t want to be thought of as “crazy” or “schizophrenic.” On a lark, I decided to look up a support forum for those struggling with schizophrenia; specifically, those who reported voices. The two forums had some interesting similarities.

Now, in NO way am I suggesting that mental health issues and paranormal experiences are one and the same. Mental health issues exist and can be treated with counseling, and in some cases, medication. Paranormal experiences, on the other hand, pretty much stick around until the spirit decides to move on. So, how does one differentiate between the two? I’m not a psychiatrist, so I won’t try to answer that question. However, I did notice one major difference between the two forums in regards to hearing voices. Those struggling with schizophrenia reported the voices said negative things (ie. you’re worthless, everyone hates you, etc.) or told them to do negative things. Those on the paranormal chat board, reported more incidents of disembodied voices conveying messages and random things.

I watched the boards for about a week while my writer brain percolated a story idea. What would happen if a person confessed to hearing voices and was committed to a mental hospital when, in fact, they were the true voices of ghosts? I found the idea interesting and ran with it. 

Intrigued? You can pick up a copy of VOICES via:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
KOBO
Smashwords

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

#Paranormal Wednesday - #Haunted Okiku Doll

Photo courtesy of  Stewart Butterfield via Flickr
The Okiku doll has resided at the Mannenji temple in the town of Iwamizawa, Hokkaido prefecture since 1938. According to the temple, the traditional doll had short cropped hair, but over time it has grown to about 25 centimeters long, down to the doll’s knees. Although the hair is periodically trimmed, it reportedly keeps growing back.

The doll was originally purchased in 1918 by a 17-year-old boy named Eikichi Suzuki. He bought the doll as a souvenir for his 2-year-old sister, Okiku. The young girl loved the doll and played with it every day. The following year, Okiku died from a cold. The family placed the doll in the household altar and prayed to it every day in memory of her.

Some time later, the family noticed the hair had started to grow. This was seen as a sign that the girl’s restless spirit had taken refuge within the doll. In 1938, the Suzuki family moved and placed the doll in the care of Mannenji temple, where it has remained ever since.

Nobody has ever been able to fully explain why the doll’s hair continues to grow. One scientific examination of the doll concluded that the hair is indeed that of a young child. Whether that means the doll was made utilizing the hair from a child, or that the hair is Okiku's, is up for debate.

I was unable to find a photo of the doll under the Creative Commons license (and I never post photos in my blog unless I have permission). You can view the actual doll on Wikia. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Book Launch - No Rest for the Wicked by Dane Cobain #horror #novella



When the Angels attack, there’s NO REST FOR THE WICKED.

Father Montgomery, an elderly priest with a secret past, begins to investigate after his parishioners come under attack, and with the help of Jones, a young businessman with an estranged child, Montgomery begins to track down the origin of the Angels.

The Angels are naked and androgynous. They speak in a dreadful harmony with no clear leader. These aren’t biblical cherubs tasked with the protection of the righteous – these are deadly creatures of light that have the power to completely eradicate.

When Jones himself is attacked, Father Montgomery knows he has to act fast. He speaks to the Angels and organises a final showdown where he’s asked to make the ultimate sacrifice.

BUY LINK

June 11th 2:00pm - 9:00pm in UTC+01


Author Bio:

Dane Cobain is a writer, poet and musician from a place you've probably never heard of, somewhere in England. When he's not writing books, he's reading and reviewing them on his book blog - SocialBookshelves.com - or working at his day job in social media marketing.

Find him at Facebook.com/DaneCobainMusic or follow @DaneCobain on Twitter.

Tangled Tuesday - Guest Author: The Turkish Connection by Rik Stone #thriller #suspense #crime

Please welcome my guest today, Rik Stone. This was one of those instances where a negative situation for both of us, became a positive! I was introduced to another author--and I'm pleased to introduce him to you. Take it away, Rik.

***

When Clarissa discovered that one of her books was being pirated on a bogus site, she noticed that my debut novel Birth of an Assassin sat right alongside it. She had her book taken down, but was told, wrongly, that they had permission to give/rent out my book. Not believing what she was told, she contacted me on Messenger and gave me the heads up, but by the time I got to the site to check it out, it had disappeared altogether. Sounds okay, but now I was concerned that it was maybe the wrong link she’d given me, so I contacted her one more time. The conversation went back and forward, until our chatting revealed that she had a blog site and did author posts. This is when I bootlegged her; by me pushing for a spot on her site. And here I am.

The fact that Clarissa deals mainly with paranormal might have worried me; these stories can be a bit frightening. When I read a novel I like to pretend I’m right there in the thick of it and that one or all of the characters are me. I live the story. Oh, frightened, so your work is on the meek side? you ask. No, I write thrillers that can be equally chilling. My characters, good and bad, can be brutal and merciless, but I know where they’re at. I can live with them because they’re right in front of me where I can see what they’re up to. Supernatural is something else... those characters start playing with my mind and I begin believing that just maybe some little devil or spectre out there might take control … and that’s when the nightmares begin.

So, enough of the paranormal already, I want to tell you about my recently released thriller, The Turkish Connection. It’s the second in the Birth of an Assassin series and, as the title suggests, is set in Turkey. The two works thus far are heading towards union, but currently stand-alone, so can be read in any order. The Turkish Connection follows the life of Mehmet Pasha, a young boy kidnapped into a gang of child thieves and forced into robbing the souks and marketplaces in Istanbul. Mehmet believes his father used him as a stake in a card game, and lost, little knowing that his murdered body lies in a watery grave not far from the stinking jetty he now lives under. He makes it through to adulthood and it’s then it becomes clear his life hadn’t been mapped out by chance and that a very real adversary had been pulling the strings. Circumstances change and he finds himself in a position where he has to deal with this enemy or die.

I think there are about five chapters in the ‘have a look’ section on the sales page at Amazon, but I would think reading the prologue would be enough for you to know whether you’re gonna like it. Take a peek: 


Details of me and my work can be seen at www.rik-stone.com

Clarissa, thank you so much for having me as a guest; I’ve enjoyed it.

Monday, June 8, 2015

#MeatlessMonday - Broccoli-Cheddar Soup

Photo courtesy of Juli via Flickr
I know it's summer (in this part of the world), so warm soup may be the furthest from your mind. However, I happen to love soup any day of the year! This is my crock pot, vegetarian version of a recipe I came across last week. It got the thumbs up from my two teens, which is saying something because it's green. Enjoy!

Broccoli-Cheddar Soup

Ingredients

2 heads broccoli, cut into small florets
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, sliced thin
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk, warmed
2 cups vegetable stock
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Saute onion in 1 tbsp of melted butter until transparent.
In a separate pot, make a roux by whisking in remainder of melted butter and ¼ cup flour.
Slowly whisk in warmed milk, and cook until mixture thickens.
Whisk in vegetable stock.
Transfer mixture into crock pot.
Add broccoli florets, carrots and sauteed onions.
Cook in crock pot on low until broccoli is tender.
Stir in cheese until melted. Add sour cream. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Blend until smooth (or leave it chunky, if you prefer).
Serve in a sourdough bread bowl.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Guest Post & Book Tour: Disenchanted by Leigh Goff - Re-Release #youngadult #fantasy #romance #occult

Please welcome guest author, Leigh Goff. Take it away, Leigh!

Top 5 Spooky Settings in Disenchanted

Wethersfield, Connecticut is a town rich in history and spooky stories. When writing Disenchanted, I wanted to link to that feeling. Puritans founded the town in 1634 and because of its religious roots, Wethersfield has been connected to witches and witchcraft ever since. The atmosphere of New England style buildings and old cemeteries makes for an amazing setting in a fantasy romance where magic rules. Here are some of my favorite spots.

The Rare Muse

The Rare Muse appears to be a regular bookstore, but the appearance is meant to deceive the ordinary shoppers. When Sophie, the sixteen-year-old white witch main character, stumbles into the shop with her magical currency, Celtic coins, she is able to trade them for access to the rare, rare book room. This room, with its theatrical movie screen framed by red velvet curtains, and tiers and balconies filled with book shelves was inspired by the real life El Ateneo Grand Splendid, a former Parisian-style theater turned bookstore, the largest bookstore in South America. Sophie meanders through the grand room until she finds the Book of Dark Spells. When she tries to return the nefarious tome to the shelf, the shop owner, a diminutive goblin, tells her she cannot. The book now belongs to her whether she wants it or not. When she opens the cover, she sees the list of previous and deceased owners, and her name has been mysteriously added.

The True Love Tree

The True Love Tree is an old mulberry tree growing in front of Sophie’s house where she lives with her quirky Aunt Janie. For the first time in three hundred-and-fifty years, the tree is bearing fruit. Long ago, beneath the tree, two lovers first met and exchanged promises. When this girl, a witch ancestor of Sophie’s, fell in love with Francis Mather, a cursed ordinary, she herself was cursed to die. After her death, the grief-stricken boy, drank a goblet of wolfsbane potion and dropped dead beside her grave, where he was soon after buried; ill-fated lovers resting for eternity. In the present, it is where Sophie’s true love, Alexavier Mather, goes to die when he falsely believes Sophie has died trying to break his family’s true love curse.

The Village Cemetery

Inspired by the real life Village Cemetery in Wethersfield, this setting is where Aunt Janie tells Sophie the story that sparks her curiosity about Alexavier Mather’s family secret. The story involves Judge Mather, Alexavier’s father, digging up one of their ancestors to have genetic samples taken so he can get to the root of a family medical problem. The judge learns the problem is not genetic, but rather a curse that has affected the Mather bloodline since his ancestor condemned Sophie’s ancestor, the witch, Rebecca Greensmith to hang at Gallows Hill. Very creepy!

Kingshill Detention Center

Kingshill Detention Center is a fictional setting inspired by the Crownsville Hospital Center in Crownsville, Maryland, which served as a hospital for the insane and was where patients died from shock therapy and botched lobotomies in the early part of the twentieth century. The hospital was closed decades ago, but looks eerily pristine as it sits off a main road outside of Annapolis. And ghosts have been known to haunt its empty halls. In Disenchanted, this detention center is on the outskirts of Wethersfield and where Judge Mather, taking revenge on the witches, locks them up for crimes of public mischief and con artistry when he spies them unleashing their magic around town. The old iron locks on the doors make it nearly impossible for the witches to escape. Nearly.


The old fairgrounds
The old fairgrounds are the fictional setting for the climax scene where Sophie comes into her power and shows her unsuspecting coven exactly what she can do. The haunted grounds are filled with dilapidated buildings and rusted amusement rides. There is a circle of white marble columns surrounding a stone basin that holds the witches’ fire for the Seeking ceremony, an event that happens to coincide with a very powerful eclipse and causes Sophie’s power to surge.


Title: Disenchanted
Author Name:  Leigh Goff
Genre(s): Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Occult
ISBNs: e-Book ~ 978-0-9947490-0-0  Print Book ~ 978-0-9920490-9-6
Number of Pages:  264
Release Date: June 1, 2015

A forbidden love. A dark curse. An impossible choice...

About Disenchanted:

Descended from a powerful Wethersfield witch, sixteen-year-old Sophie is struggling to hide her awkwardly emerging magic, but that’s the least of her worries. When a dangerous thief tries to steal her mysterious heirloom necklace, she is rescued by the one person she’s forbidden to fall for, a descendant of the man who condemned her ancestor to hang. He carries a dark secret that could destroy them both unless Sophie learns how to tap into the mysterious power of her diamond bloodcharm. She will have to uncover dark secrets from both of their families' wicked pasts and risk everything, including her soul to save them from a witch's true love curse, but it will take much more than that.

PURCHASE LINKS

Mirror World Publishing 
Amazon


About the Author:

Writing Enchanting Ever-Afters ♥

Leigh Goff grew up in Maryland where she resides today. Her writing is inspired by an unusual childhood, a vivid imagination, and compelling historical events. After taking several writing courses in college and attending professional writing workshops after she graduated from the University of Maryland, she joined the Maryland Writers' Association and Romance Writers of America. She is also an approved artist with the Maryland State Arts Council.

Learn more about Leigh Goff on her WEBSITE or at Mirror World Publishing.



Thursday, June 4, 2015

Thoughtful Thursday - Sex, Lies...and Facebook

I may be guilty of not enough coffee this morning but...

Please stop sharing ridiculous things on Facebook. You know what I'm talking about.


"Vaccinated Children Five Times More Prone to Disease Than Unvaccinated Children!" 
"Semen Is 'Good for Women's Health and Helps Fight Depression!"
"Facebook removes amputee photos!"
"People in Denmark are paid twice as much as Americans! America sucks!" 

There's this little site called Snopes. There, you can look up story headlines before sharing so you don't look uninformed. It takes two seconds. Or better yet, JUST LOOK IT UP. Stop reflexively pressing that "Share" button. It's a trap for sharing hoaxes, scams, rumors, urban legends, embellished truths, and flat-out lies.

And as an aside, nobody needs to read bad news. Seriously, why would you share that?

Rant over. Coffee now.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

#Paranormal Wednesday - #Haunted Properties for Sale

Ever want to buy a haunted town? How about a haunted house? I came across these properties for sale this past week. Let me know if you come up with the money because I think owning either would be awesome. I wouldn't even mind sharing--it might make for good story inspiration.

Photo courtesy of  Rick Harris via Flickr
The 62-acre historic ghost town of Johnsonville, Connecticut

Selling for a mere 2.4 million, this desolate 19th century Victorian mill town is on the market. In the 1960s, Ray Schmitt purchased the town with plans to restore it to its former glory. Notoriously eccentric, the enthusiastic hoarder of Victorian curiosities began to add his collection of curiosities to give Johnsonville an authentic appearance and open a tourist attraction. To compliment the existing homestead and mill, he moved a 19th century Quaker meetinghouse, a Waterford, Connecticut stable and chapel, and a general store onto the property. Mishap after mishap kept the carefully designed would-be tourist destination from reaching Schmitt's idea of its true potential. In the 1970s, lightning struck the mill and burned it down, and in 1994, Schmitt got into a dispute with the local officials. He died in 1998 and his ghost is said to haunt the area.

In 2001, the town was sold to the Meyer Jabara Hotel Group. They originally hoped to turn it into a residential community for adults over 55 but in September 2001, the economy took downfall and the project was delayed. Johnsonville became a ghost town the second time. After selling at auction for $1.9 million in October 2014, the buyer's financing fell through and the town is once again, up for sale.

Photo courtesy of H.L.I.T via Flickr
If an entire town is too big for your tastes, check out the Gustav Mayer house located on Staten Island, New York. 

Up for sale at 2.31 million, this 7,700 sq.ft. 10-bedroom house is undergoing some renovation. The mansion was owned by Gustav A. Mayer, a 19th-century inventor and creator of the Nabisco Nilla sugar-cookie recipe. He died in 1918, but his two daughters, Paula and Emilie, stayed in the mansion until beyond their 100th birthdays. The two women never went outside and sequestered themselves in just two bedrooms for the better part of a century. Developing an elaborate pulley system, they were able to bring in groceries, mail and anything else they needed from outside. Their ghosts are said to roam the hallways. 

Any takers?

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Tangled Tuesday - Guest Author, Bret Bouriseau: The Prince of Knocknafay #adventure #horror #fantasy

Please welcome my guest author, Bret Bouriseau. Take it away, Bret!


The Prince of Knocknafay in three sentences;                                          
Travers McCraken, a dashing and magical Irish highwayman, rescues a beautiful sultana, Marguerita Francesca de la Rosa, from the harem an evil djinni. He then raises a ship and crew of rogues and vagabonds to return the voluptuous Latina to her homeland in the Creole city-state of Cibonay. During their Homeric adventure, shenanigans ensue as the djinni and his villainous inner-circle give chase.


1st Page excerpt 
 Chapter 1  The Lost Highway Tavern
           When last we left Travers McCraken, the outer doors of the Royal Harem of Amon Sin Algol were giving way under the combined weight of three large guardsmen. The sultan was due back from the Council of Sinister Magicianals by nightfall. He would not be pleased. To further worsen matters, the harem had only been half-serviced while cognac rations ran fearfully low.
            Hearing the sound of wood splintering at the other end of the seraglio, Travers knew it was time to get dressed and prepare an elegant farewell for the lovely ladies he so regretfully had to leave behind.                                                                  
      “Attention, m’ many loves m’ minutes that fly by oh so quickly.” He spoke in a clear Irish voice that rumbled slightly like distant thunder. It gently commanded all within the sound of it to listen. The one hundred and eight wives of Amon Sin Algol rose as one and moved closer to the young wayfarer.
            “A toast,” he continued. “I crept in t’ y’r beds, like a thief in the night/T’ plow through  y’r gardens o’ earthly delights/Alas I must go—but return o I will/With a stiff drink in me one hand…an’ in the other…/Somethin’ far stiffer still.”  
            For the next few moments there was much giggling and clicking of glasses. Suddenly the happy mood was broken by the sound of the inner doors to the harem bursting open. At the sight of the trio of burly men with their scimitars drawn high, Travers decided it was time to make his exit.
            He was above all else a lover, but since many a husband seemed put out by his chosen profession, being a fighter had become a necessary second vocation. Sadly, he grabbed the next to the last bottle ofL’Esprit de Courvoisier cognac he had brought then shattered it against the head of the first eunuch guardsmen to reach him. The defender of the harem fell like a stone. The wives of the sultan descended on the other two but reinforcements had already been summoned.
            Travers put on his boots and britches. He casually tucked in his shirt and buckled his sword belt as if time had agreed to go in slow motion until he was ready for his grandiose exit from this garden of pleasure. He then donned his longcoat, a gift given to him by the sorceress Tammera at the start of his ramblings so many years ago. With equal parts flourish and flair he snatched up his last bottle of cognac, flung open the tails of the longcoat and put his fingers to his lips bidding the harem a fond farewell.
            Before Travers could fall back into the folds of the coat as he had done so many times in the past, a jewel caught his eye. It was Margay, the olive-skinned favourite of the sultan. Her almond eyes pleaded for Travers to take her with him. He knew well why the sultry sultana was Amon Sin Algol’s favourite. In a move both foolhardy and fateful he grabbed her warm, willing body. They kissed deeply. She closed her eyes and sighed as they fell through the portal at the back of his magical garment.
            When the royal guards finally made it through the beautiful multitude to where Travers and his eager captive once stood, all they saw was a magnificent longcoat, woven of the finest thread, free-floating before them. It hung in mid-air as if occupied by a headless phantom.
            Suddenly a hand shot out from the interlining, bejeweled fingers outstretched. It grabbed the lapel and disappeared back in, taking the free-standing coat with it. There was a rustling of heavy cloth flapping together, then abrupt silence. Next a tiny pop broke the stillness, caused by the sudden rush of air filling the space where the coat and the couple stood only a jiffy before. This was accompanied by the unmistakable sound of the last bottle of well-aged French brandy shattering against the quartz-tiled floor.           
            A familiar voice shouting, “Noooooo,” echoed on every wall of the marbled bath.
            Travers McCraken offered to Bacchus, the god governing such matters, a curse-filled prayer. He prayed that wherever their journey ended, a blazing fire, good companionship and a well-stocked liquor cabinet would bid them a warm welcome. 

***

As of now, Travers McCraken The Prince of Knocknafay is sold only in book form @ knocknafay.com 



BIO 

Bret Bouriseau currently lives in a never-completely renovated farmhouse with his wife, Marguerite and two sons, Walker and Morgon, in rural Missouri. In the spring and summer he enjoys travel. During the fall and winter he prefers a warm fire, a dark brew and reading stories that were originally printed on pulp. As with most writers, he loves cats and would be eager to exchange recipes.

Monday, June 1, 2015

#MeatlessMonday - Black Bean and Corn Salad

We're going to go for something quick and easy today. I'm in edits for THE ISLAND and when I'm in edits, my family gets salad because it's super-simple. Enjoy!



Photo courtesy of Mirium Wilcox via Flickr
Black Bean and Corn Salad

1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 ounce) can corn
1 avocado - diced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
6 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley (or cilantro)

Directions

Whisk lime juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl.

In a salad bowl, combine beans, corn, avocado, red bell pepper, tomatoes, green onions, and parsley. 

Pour lime dressing over salad and stir. Serve.

June 1-5th Blog Tour & #Giveaway VOICES #paranormal #suspense

Title: VOICES
Genre: Paranormal Psychological Suspense
Author: Clarissa Johal
Editor: Bobbie Metevier
Published by Permuted Press May 2015
ISBN: 9781618685698
ASIN: B00WAH55JW
Pages: 264

About VOICES:

Sometimes the ghosts from your past…are real.

Moira Flynn is arrested for attacking a door-to-door solicitor with a knife. She claims a voice told her the man was intent on assaulting her. The trouble is, she was the only one that heard that voice. Moira strikes a plea bargain and is sent to a psychiatric hospital for voluntary treatment. Dr. Richard Cassano is hesitant to treat her as schizophrenic, as she does not show the standard symptoms. As their sessions progress, Moira confesses there are two voices—and they aren’t voices in her head, but the voices of ghosts. Are they imaginary? Or are they actual spirits, attached to her for reasons of their own? As Moira’s doctor uncovers more of her past, he begins to realize that her ghosts are real. And one of them is determined to drag Moira into the afterlife with him.

Buy Links:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
KOBO
Smashwords



Tour Participants

~June 1~

Spotlight with Non-Exclusive Excerpt

Spotlight with Non-Exclusive Excerpt

~June 2~

Exclusive Excerpt

Spotlight with Non-Exclusive Excerpt

~June 3~

Exclusive Excerpt

Spotlight with Non-Exclusive Excerpt

Lakeview Times
Spotlight with Exclusive Excerpt

~June 5~

Guest Post

Exclusive Excerpt

Sapphyria's Book Reviews
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