Clarissa Johal: August 2012

Friday, August 31, 2012

Friday Guest Blogger

Please welcome my guest blogger, Victoria Grefer, author of The Herezoth Trilogy, beginning with The Crimson League.

Lessons I Learned From Writing

Looking back on my experiences as an author, from the first mystery stories I wrote in third grade to my first horrible, melodramatic novel in undergrad that will never see the light of day, to my (much better-written) Herezoth trilogy, I realize the journey has been one full of surprises, stumbles, and lessons, some of which I learned easily and some of which truly humbled me. I thought it would be nice to share a few of those lessons, to see if other writers agree or have had vastly different experiences than I have. So, here goes!

1. I LEARNED WHAT THINGS IN LIFE TRULY MATTER TO ME. I look at the themes of my first published novel in particular, and I see many threads running throughout the book: the value of sacrifice; the importance of family; the need for integrity, loyalty, mercy, and forgiveness; courage, and how I define courage; the purpose and the place of love in our lives. I reflect upon my characters and who they are, how they respond to adversity, and how I feel, personally, about those reactions, and I find myself questioning, reasserting, and developing my worldview. I believe this is one of the greatest benefits to writing, and why I continue to write.

2. PATIENCE AND PERSEVERANCE ARE TRUE VIRTUES. Anyone who’s published a novel could tell you, if you’re going to write a novel yourself and have it be of good quality, you’ll develop these two traits. It takes a long time to write novel—at least, it does if you’re also a full-time graduate student trying to balance both teaching and the classes you’re enrolled in at the same time (like me), or you’re working a full-time job, or you’re responsible for young children at home. And even if you’re fortunate enough to have all the time you could wish to devote to your writing, there are the roadblocks: lack of confidence, the specter of the blank page, uncertainty as to where to take the story next, urgent interruptions that demand your attention. But you know what? Writing’s worth it. It would be meaningless if it were easy. You pour your very self into your fiction, and at the end, what you have is a piece of you. That’s a beautiful thing. Finishing a novel is a true accomplishment because it’s a test of endurance. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

3. BE TRUE TO YOURSELF. Ask any writer, especially one who’s self-published, that they should have ended their novel a different way and see how she responds! My story is my story. It ends because I know that’s how it needs to, and how it should. A novel is fertile ground upon which to express yourself, your values, your doubts, your beliefs, and your fears. If you’d let people tell you that your story needs to end a different way, then you’re not being true to yourself. (That’s not to say you don’t need editors and proofreaders, or that you shouldn’t consider their suggestions. But you should never let someone rip out the heart of your story: its essense, it purpose. What constitutes that heart? Only you can know.

4. IT’S NOT ALWAYS ABOUT THE END PRODUCT. IT’S ABOUT THE JOURNEY. I mentioned above a first novel that I’ll never publish. It’s just not good enough, not even close. The plot is stale, the characters cliché, and it’s honestly so melodramatic it’s quite humorous. It’s kind of that way on purpose, but still…. Do I regret the countless hours I spent writing and editing the work? Not at all! That novel taught me how to write. The characters, as uninteresting as others would find them, are truly dear to me, and I discovered SO much about who I am in the process of drafting that work. It was not a waste because I won’t publish it, not in any sense of the word.

So, those are just a few of the things writing’s taught me. I hope you found the post interesting, and I’d love to hear your thoughts. What has writing taught you, if you’re a writer? If you’re not, what things have taught you about yourself and developed or expanded your opinions and beliefs?

I’m a fantasy author by trade, so if you like fantasy (or you want to try something new), the first novel in my Herezoth trilogy, “The Crimson League,” will be free in e-book version for everyone on September 3-5 (through It’s the story of a seventeen-year-old girl who joins a resistance movement fighting against the noble-born sorcerer to slay the royal family. The second installment comes out in November, so this is a great chance to scoop up the first for no cost and see if you want to keep reading.

Purchase The Crimson League on

Victoria's Amazon Author Page
Victoria's Blog
Independent Author Network

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Spiritual and Demonic Possession

In this post, I tread lightly.

The topic idea came to me while my daughter and I were watching a program on television. During one of the many commercial breaks, a movie preview came up which was completely inappropriate for children. Why do The Great Commercial People do that? I seriously want to kick their behinds or at the very least, make them get up in the middle of the night to calm a freaked out ‘tween. In this case, the preview was for a movie produced by Sam Raimi called The Possession. And supposedly, it’s based on a true story.

Now, I enjoy a good scare like anyone else. In fact, the novel I’m working on now is paranormal horror. However, once the line between “fact” and “fiction” is blurred, my enthusiasm wavers. My older daughter, who also loves a good scare, is begging to go see The Possession. My younger one, not so much. And me? Nope. No desire to see it or take my daughter to see it. We already sat through The Exorcist and I ended up having nightmares. I know of too many cultures that take this stuff seriously and have personally witnessed too many weird things via anthropology courses I’ve taken (thank you for the memories, Professor Crane).

For those of you living under a rock (and who have never seen The Exorcist) here’s a definition of the two kinds of possession:

Spirit Possession: a supernatural event in which spirits, gods, demons, animas, extraterrestrials, or other disincarnate or other entities take control of a human body or inanimate object. The concept exists in many religions, including Christianity, Buddhism, Voodoo, Wicca, and Southeast Asian and African traditions.

Demonic Possession: held by many belief systems to be the control of an individual by a malevolent supernatural being. Demonic possessions often include loss of memory, change in personality, convulsions and fainting. Other descriptions include sudden knowledge of foreign languages, changes in vocal intonation and facial structure, the sudden appearance of injuries (scratches, bite marks) or lesions, and superhuman strength.

There are people in many cultures, including our own, who believe that such things exist. As an anthropology student some years ago, I was able to witness an exorcism wherein the person possessed truly believed they were being taken over by a malevolent spirit. After the exorcism was over, they considered themselves “free” and went on to live a normal life. Odd? Yes. Interesting? Very. Kind of creepy in a “what if” kind of way?
Most definitely.

My thought is this; if the belief is there, then in fact it’s real. At least real to them. Did the possessed person's head spin around and did he vomit pea soup? No. Do I believe those things can happen? I've never witnessed anything of the sort so I would have to say at this point, no. Unless I personally witness something and cannot find a plausible explanation, I remain a skeptic. Do I think that the power of belief can change someone’s thought processes, actions and personality? Absolutely. If you believe in prayer or positive thinking, I would challenge that you believe in the same.

Science and religion are continuously at odds with such beliefs. In order to believe in demonic or spiritual possession, one must believe in demons and spirits. (Some cultures and religions use the term “malevolent spirits," others define these spirits as actual demons; fallen angels, the devil or Satan.) The medical field attributes beliefs of this nature to dissociative disorders, Tourette's syndrome, schizophrenia, sexual abuse, and/or group hysteria. The demons of science. Whichever you believe, possession in both forms is an interesting phenomena and one that continuously pops up in movies, literature, cultures and society.

Of interest:

Fascinating paper by Ralph B. Allison, M.D. on The Evolution of a Belief System Regarding Exorcism & Possession

The Exorcist was loosely inspired by the case of Robbie Mannheim.
Read more about that here: The Exorcism of Roland Doe

And for you brave souls who wish to see the movie preview of The Possession, here you go. Don't say I didn't warn you...
Based on a "true" story.
Read more about that here: The Dibbuk Box Story-The Haunted Jewish Winebox

Friday, August 24, 2012

Friday Guest Blogger

Please welcome guest blogger Paul Stansfield, author of Kaishaku.

Horror Author/Movie Trivia
by Paul Stansfield

Since my ebook, released today, is horror, I thought it’d be appropriate to throw out some tidbits about some other horror authors and movies.

1)      Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley showed her talent at an early age.  She wrote the classic Frankenstein at ages 18-19, and it hasn’t been out of print since its debut in 1818.  According to family lore, when her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley was cremated, his heart wasn’t consumed.  A friend, Edward Trelawny, retrieved it and gave it to Mary.  Her family found the ashy heart remains in her desk after she died.  They were later interred with her son, Percy Florence Shelley.
2)      Director Stanley Kubrick was notorious for being a perfectionist on the set, and during the filming of The Shining he was evidently at his most extreme.  Guinness credits the scene where Wendy (played by Shelley Duvall) swings the baseball bat at Jack (Jack Nicholson) while ascending the stairs as having the most takes of a single scene, 127.  However, the assistant editor and Steadicam Operator for the movie claim that this is an exaggeration, but that another scene when Dick Halloran (Scatman Crothers) explains what the shining is to Danny (Danny Lloyd) was shot in 148 takes.  But either way, the movie holds the record.  Also, both the young actress (Lia Beldam) and the older actress (Billie Gibson) who played the naked, homicidal ghost in Room 237 never appeared in a movie before or since.
3)      During his lifetime, Dracula author Bram Stoker was better known as being actor Henry Irving’s personal assistant, and the business manager of Irving’s London-based Lyceum Theatre.  The original typed manuscript of Dracula turned up in a barn in northwestern Pennsylvania in the early 1980’s.
4)      The prequel to The Exorcist was actually made twice in succession.  While it’s not uncommon for studios to fire a director during a shoot, they usually do it early on, for obvious financial reasons.  However, director Paul Schrader completed his version, only to see the studio shelve it, and bring in director Renny Harlin to shoot the movie again, using many of the same actors, sets, etc., but with a different, more violent and bloody script.  The second version, Exorcist:  The Beginning was released in theaters in 2004.  Schrader’s version, Dominion:  Prequel to the Exorcist was later release in 2005.  On a personal note, I thought Harlin’s version was ridiculous and stupid, while Schrader’s was decent.
5)      Speaking of The Exorcist, the author of the original 1971 novel (and writer of the original movie’s screenplay as well as being the writer/director of the third Exorcist movie), William Peter Blatty, made his name first as a writer of comedies.   These included Which Way to Mecca, Jack? (novel), Johnny Goldfarb, Please Come Home (novel and movie), and cowriting the movies A Shot in the Dark ( the second Pink Panther movie), What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?, and the musical Darling Lili.  Blatty was inspired to write The Exorcist based on an alleged real possession case in the Washington, D.C. area in 1949.
6)      Distinctive actor Michael Berryman, who appeared in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Weird Science, Star Trek IV, The Devil’s Rejects, and most memorably, in the original The Hills Have Eyes, has a rare genetic condition called hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia.  Individual symptoms can vary, but most sufferers have no hair, sweat glands, fingernails, or teeth.
7)      As a young child, author Stephen King witnessed a friend being struck and killed by a train.  He returned (understandably) in a mute and shocked state.  King himself has no memory of this—his family had to tell him about this.
8)      David Hess, for my money one of the very best movie villains in films like the original Last House on the Left and The House on the Edge of the Park, was an accomplished and prolific musician.  He wrote songs for Sal Mineo, The Ames Brothers, Pat Boone, and Elvis Presley, along with the soundtrack to Last House and his own successful solo albums.
9)      Edgar Allan Poe, who essentially invented (or at least perfected) the horror genre, had a huge beef with fellow writer Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  He even publicly accused Longfellow of plagiarism, a charge to which Longfellow never responded.  Poe’s death in Baltimore still remains a mystery, as his death certificate has disappeared and the newspaper accounts were vague, listing “congestion of the brain,” and “cerebral inflammation” as the causes, which were polite codes for unsavory causes like alcoholism.  Modern theories of the actual cause include delirium tremens, heart disease, syphilis, menigeal inflammation, epilepsy, cholera, rabies, or even “cooping.”  “Cooping” was a nasty 19th century political crime where gangs would kidnap people and keep them in rooms called “coops,” give them alcohol and drugs, and force them to vote for a particular candidate, using changes of clothes and disguises to enable them to vote numerous times.  It wasn’t unheard of for them to beat up or even kill their victims, too.  Finally, using a questionable transfer of power of attorney from Poe’s aunt/mother in law (yes, she was both these titles), Poe’s enemy Rufus Wilmot Griswold was able to become his literary executor.  Griswold used this to release a biography filled with scandalous lies and exaggerations about his deceased foe.
10)  Movie studios started experimenting with subliminal messages in the 1950’s, most famously via subliminal suggestions to buy theater concessions in advertisements before the show.  Studios later developed a process called “Psycho-Rama,” where subliminal images would be present throughout an entire feature, designed to elicit the appropriate emotions they wanted.  The first movie to be put out using this process was 1959’s My World Dies Screaming (also known as Terror in the Haunted House ).  Subliminal images included snakes to inspire hate, skulls to inspire terror, two hearts to symbolize love, and the word “blood” written in huge letters to cause fear.  Due to controversy over the process, the movie had a limited distribution, and was apparently banned until the 1980’s.  By now, tests have indicated that the power of subliminal images has been largely overblown.  I got a chance to see Terror in the Haunted House, and the only thing it inspired in me was boredom.



After receiving a DUI, Dustin Dempster is working off some community service hours at a hospital.  While there he’s asked to do some amateur counseling of sometimes difficult patients.  He thinks this a waste of time, but he reluctantly agrees.
     One of these difficult patients is Levon Howard, a man paralyzed from the neck down because of a car accident.  He’s initially uncooperative, but after being charmed by Dustin’s brutal honesty and willingness to break some small hospital rules, he agrees to participate.  Soon he’s revealing his biggest secrets to Dustin…
     For Levon is an obsessed and unrepentant killer of the worst sort, only with a personal quirk.  Despite his revulsion, Dustin finds himself intrigued by Levon’s story.  Soon he finds himself doing what was once unthinkable, and realizes that he’s being affected by what he’s learned.  Will Howard’s madness claim yet another victim, or even another perpetrator?

Dustin pulled up his chair, and listened intently.
     “For starters, my name is Levon, so call me that.  Not big on ‘Mr. Howard.’  Fort is right in a way—I do want to talk.  Just not to someone like him, or his flunkies, or a nurse.  What I’m going to tell you I’ve never told anyone—but I figure, why not?  My life—my real life—is over.
     “You never told anyone?  Why not?”
     “Shut up and listen!  You’ll see.  But anyway, the most important thing in my life is that I’m obsessed with killing.  With a catch—I’m not a murderer.  I’ve never been arrested, never went to jail, and never even broke the law.”
     Levon paused to catch his breath, and Dustin just stared at him, and resisted the urge to laugh.  Come on!  This guy’s gotta be fucking with me!  Or was he?  He looked pretty sincere—could he be serious?  Maybe he would have been better off not talking to him.  But, on the other hand, Levon could hardly attack him even if he wanted to, and besides, Dustin was a little curious.  So he waited for the paralyzed man to resume.

Buy Links for Kaishaku:

Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday Author Interview

This week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Liz DeJesus, author of First Frost.

        So, Liz, please tell us about yourself and how you came to be a writer.

My name is Liz DeJesus, I’m a stay at home mom to two beautiful little boys and I’m also a full time writer (if you can call writing between naptime being a full time writer). I’m the author of Nina, The Jackets and First Frost. I started writing when I was 12 years old, and moved on to poetry at 13 (blame my first boyfriend. He was into poetry and I was trying to impress him). It turned out that I was pretty good at writing poems so I stuck with that for a while. Then when I was 18 I decided that I wanted to be a novelist. I’ve been in love with writing novels and short stories ever since.

You started out writing women's fiction such as Nina, The Jackets and Note to Self, which are quite different than First Frost. What made you embrace the genre of young adult fiction?

I’m actually a huge fan of young adult fiction, especially books in the fantasy genre. The main character, Bianca, is seventeen years old and after much soul searching I decided that First Frost would be a fantastic book for young adults. Her best friend Ming is the comedic relief (they have an amazing back and forth dialogue). And basically I’m just having fun writing these books, my hope is for it to be an ongoing series, but for now I have ideas for up to four books. But lucky for me Bianca is an incredible main character and there is an enormous amount of fairy tales that I can draw inspiration from.

Where did the idea of First Frost come from?

I was watching a commercial for a local children’s museum while feeding my son his bottle and I remember thinking ‘Why don’t they have themed museums? Like a pirate museum or a fairy tale museum. Hmm, how would that work? I guess they could get fake items and get kids to think they’re real.’ And then it sort of took off from there. It was almost like being struck by lightning once I got to thinking about it. I was still holding my son in my arms and my notebook was on the other end of the couch. LOL I was so desperate to get to it but I didn’t want to interrupt my son’s feeding. Anyway, I managed to grab my notebook and I jotted down a few ideas. It sort of wrote itself once I had the pen in my hand.

How long did First Frost take to write? How do you deal with a writer's block and/or do you get them?

The first draft took me about nine months (kinda like having a baby LOL). After a few months between revisions (second and third draft) and then I sent it to my editor friend Shon Bacon. She cleans it up and makes it all pretty for me before I started submitting it to different publishers. As for writer’s block? I can’t afford to have writer’s block especially with two little boys to take care of. Any free time I get I spend it writing (or promoting my book) even when I don’t feel like it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard to write when I’m not inspired but I make it work. I just pick up the pen and doodle until things start looking like words. LOL.

Who would you want to be stranded in the Everafter with and why? 

Terrance. Because he’s cute, smart and knows how to hunt (so we’ll be able to survive in the forest).

You obviously have a love of fairy tales. If you could be a character in one, who would you be and why?

The princess from The Three Heads in the Well. She’s a go-getter, she doesn’t sit around and wait for a prince to rescue her from her crappy situation. And things work out for her in the end because of her kindness.
For more info on this fairy tale check out this wiki page 

One of my favorite lines in your novel is, "Magic will follow you no matter where you are. Magic has no boundaries." Has there ever been a point in your life/writing career where you've felt this was true?

I wouldn’t exactly call it magic, at least not the way I describe it in the book. But I do believe that love is a form of magic and THAT I truly believe in. I am surrounded by people that love me and support what I do. My parents, my brothers, my husband, my children, my friends, among others that take their time and come to my book signings or follow me on my blog tours, that sort of thing. So yeah, I do believe that love (or magic) follows me around and helps me through my day to day life.

Bianca and Ming have a really nice friendship. Did you base that on anyone in your life? Do you write characters based on people you know?

Not really. I have a combination of amazing friends that I used to create Ming (you guys know who you are *wink wink*). I don’t normally create my characters based on people I know, but I do use a few interesting quirks here and there as well as funny bits of conversation that I hear throughout the day. Most writers are excellent eavesdroppers (no one is safe with me…so be careful what you say around me…because chances are it will end up in one of my books).

What three things are always in your refrigerator?

Milk. Chocolate. Cheese. I love ice cold milk with my cereal. I love chocolate. And I love cheese (I make lots of sandwiches). 

What’s one thing about yourself that would surprise your readers to know?

I’m a jack of all trades. I’m an amateur photographer, I make collages (I’ve made three decks of tarot cards all in collage form) and I will sometimes stare off into space until someone snaps me out of it. Most of the time I get my best ideas while I’m either in the shower or just before I drift off to sleep. Don’t know why that is…

Do you have any advice for other writers out there that may be just beginning their career?

Read. Read everything you can get your hands on. Read books about the craft of writing. Read books on how to write a proper query letter and synopsis. Follow the guidelines. Try to make friends with other writers in your neighborhood, you learn a lot from others critiquing your work (there is a difference between a critique and someone criticizing your work.) Never give up.

I'm looking forward to your next installment to this series, Liz. I've read Bianca gets to visit the fairy realm! (:

:D I can’t wait to finish the next book in the series. It’s titled Glass Frost and there are several fairy tales that I’ve incorporated into this book. Cinderella, the Frog Prince, Toads and Diamonds and I do delve more into Snow White’s story and what happened to the seven dwarves after she met the prince. It’s going to be a little longer than the first book but I explain a lot of things that I didn’t get a chance to talk about in the first book. And yes, Bianca visits the Fairy Realm and meets Queen Titania. *claps hands excitedly* It’s going to be so good! J

For generations, the Frost family has run the Museum of Magical and Rare Artifacts, handing down guardianship from mother to daughter, always keeping their secrets to “family only.”

Gathered within museum’s walls is a collection dedicated to the Grimm fairy tales and to the rare items the family has acquired: Cinderella’s glass slipper, Snow White’s poisoned apple, the evil queen’s magic mirror, Sleeping Beauty’s enchanted spinning wheel…
Seventeen-year-old Bianca Frost wants none of it, dreaming instead of a career in art or photography or…well, anything except working in the family’s museum. She knows the items in the glass display cases are fakes because, of course, magic doesn’t really exist.
She’s about to find out how wrong she is.

Buy Links for First Frost by Liz DeJesus:

Friday, August 10, 2012

Guest Blogger Friday

Please welcome my guest blogger for today, Joanna Fay, author of Daughter of Hope.

Dark Skies, Blue Wings: Introducing Joanna Fay's Daughter of Hope

Daughter of Hope, my first published novel, sits at the front of an epic fantasy sequence, The Siaris Quartet. In some ways, Daughter of Hope works as a prequel book followed by a trilogy, that opens the world of Siaris at an angle while tracking the fortunes of a winged immortal – but very vulnerable – girl.
The story arc of the quartet was already established and drafted before I turned back to the beginning and decided to write a whole new novel, catalyzed by a particular character, Revetia. I knew her as a survivor, and as the daughter of the embittered, vengeful villain, Xereth. A glimpse of her childhood flashed into view, and when I asked her how she handled it, and how she managed to not only survive but change the path set in front of her, the whole story tumbled out.


The fate of an entire world will be decided by the actions of one young girl.

The Guardians of Siaris have been warring for thousands of years, torn apart by betrayal and lost loves. Xereth waits patiently for his chance at revenge. The only thing standing in his way is one of his own offspring.

As Xereth's daughter, Revetia’s destiny is to help him destroy Siaris and those who wronged him, but Revetia's will is strong. With hope and help, she might be able to break free from Xereth's tight and treacherous grasp, but at what cost?

Sier has always tried to stay out of affairs that threaten his family's safety. When Revetia asks him for help, she forces him into a position that could cost his family, the elden, and humans their lives. Is he prepared to put those he loves and protects in jeopardy?

With the fate of Siaris resting on Revetia’s shoulders, will her actions trigger a war between gods, slaves, and Guardians?


  Revetia glanced around the courtyard and shivered.
  “Ree?” Tieren’s quiet voice broke into her thoughts. “Shall we continue?”
  Revetia wasn’t going to grace her brother with a reply, but she wouldn’t leave either. She wanted to hone her flight-skills, and Tieren was a good teacher even if she hated him beyond measure.
  Why do you persevere? she screamed in silence. Probably only because you’ve been told to – by your precious masters!
  Tieren didn’t react to the words she flung at him, but for a faint tightening around his eyes. He spread a wing before her and directed her attention to his longest flight feathers. “When you shift into spell-flight, you need to extend and retract – like this. Then the spells built into your body will take over.”
  Midnight-blue pinions splayed and snapped back into line in a blurred fraction of a second. “You’ll get used to it fast...the shift will become automatic in a few sessions.” He held out his hand. “Try it, Ree.”
  She arched her wings and followed him up through the spiralling gale. She wobbled and rocked on a sharp gust, but held her course with grim purpose.
  Ready? Flick, and flatten. Now.
  Revetia did as he ordered. Her body floated on the silken curve of her own will. Elation pushed her higher on the cold air. Her body no longer responded to the buffeting weather; it was hers to command as she wished. Inside, warmth streamed though her. Outside, the cool of the spell-void unfurled in her wake. She swung right and spun in slow circles. Tieren hovered below, scrutinizing her and giving a pleased nod.
  Very good. You’ve got it now.
  Revetia didn’t answer. She looked up through the swirl of dark clouds above. I could fly away!
  Tieren’s voice ran through her head. Don’t try it, Ree. Hit the masters’ border-spells and you’ll wish you hadn’t.
  She looked down at him. Anger whipped up through a black pit in her gut. The taste of Erren’s blood ran over her tongue, boiled again in her stomach.
  I’m leaving.
  She flicked her wings, cut an arc on the wind, flattened them and slipped into spell-flight. Her wings were light as snow. She could arch them out, or tuck them down for comfort if she wanted. Darkness closed in. She sliced through it, tasting a second of freedom.
  No you don’t.
  Tieren’s arms closed around her waist, dragging her back down, her spellsheen disabled by a tight command before she could attack him. She began to cry in huge, gulping sobs.
  “I h-hate you. I hate you s-so much,” she stammered.
  A hint of exasperation gleamed in Tieren’s eyes, but his voice still remained even. “You won’t keep yourself safe, Ree. So I’m doing it for you.”
  “Why?” she cried. “Why do you even bother?”
  Tieren made no reply. The courtyard’s grey walls closed in again, and her feet touched stone. Revetia pushed herself away from her brother’s grasp and walked away without a backward glance.

Daughter of Hope is available through Musa, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I hope you enjoy my book. 

You can find me at my:  


Monday, August 6, 2012

YA Imprint by Musa Publishing: Club Euterpe

Musa Publishing is starting Club Euterpe! If you join, you will get to read select Euterpe books (in ebook form) before they're released for free! In exchange, Euterpe asks that you simply spread word about the book however you can (i.e. leave a review, post about it on FB/Twitter, recommend it to your friends). 

Euterpe prefers that applicants be between ages 8 and 21 (members will be sent age appropriate books). Parents are welcome to apply on behalf of younger children.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Guest Blogger Friday

Please welcome this week's guest blogger, E.H. James, author of Laura and The Visitor's Room.

Title: Laura
Genre: Paranormal (Short Story)
Publisher: Musa Publishing
Release Date: January 13, 2012

Laura – Blurb:
George had seen some pretty strange things over his lifetime, traveling those roads. But if he had thought he’d seen it all, he was sadly mistaken. For if he thought finding Laura alone, along some deserted roadside, in the middle of the night, was strange, then he had no idea that what was to follow would challenge the very boundaries of everything he’d ever known.


The road was long and black before him, stretching out into the night. He hated these rural roads with no street lights, no homes, nothing but blackness pressing in around him. He strained to see the lines in the road, swallowed as they were by a heavy black haze.

But the rain had stopped now, and the wipers screeched in complaint as rubber drew across the dry windshield. He turned them off. The remaining water formed rivulets that ran together, making their way slowly up the glass.

At times like these, he wished he had gotten the radio fixed. He reached for the dial as though it would work this time, but all he got was a faint popping sound and some static. He turned it off and leaned back into his seat. “Damn.”

His annoyance wasn’t so much at the dead radio as at himself. He should have started sooner. He'd had one—no, two—drinks for the road. Now, here he was with two more hours of driving ahead and already it was well past midnight. He couldn't refuse a free drink, though. After all, he was retiring next week, and this was the last time he’d have to make a trip like this—all the way out here, into the middle of nowhere, holding the hand of one more client.

He drew his hand across his face as if to pull the weariness from his mind. Straining against the darkness, he thought he saw something in the headlights, a movement perhaps, maybe a reflection. He slowed down, staring out into the blackness. It was then that he saw her, standing on the side of the road. She turned toward him, staring into the headlights.

Laura – Buy Links:

* * * *

Title: The Visitor’s Room
Genre: Paranormal (Short Story)
Publisher: Musa Publishing
Release Date: March 23, 2012

The Visitor’s Room - Blurb:

If Amy thought this day on the psych ward would be just like any other, she would be wrong.

For although everything seemed normal, well as normal as a place like that could be, there was something that was not quite right. That she couldn’t put her finger on it only made it all the more perplexing.

Don’t go asking questions you don’t want to know the answer to, especially when you're on a psych ward, and even you begin to question your sanity.


“Today’s as good as any to get a shock treatment.”

Amy lifted her head from the pillow to see Larry standing at the foot of her bed.

She waited as he turned and shuffled out the door, then laid her head back down and closed her eyes. Sleep began to return.

And then he was back, the rhythmic swish of slippers on tile as he approached. “Today’s as good as any to get a shock treatment.”

She sighed and waited a moment. Silence. Melanie was sound asleep in the next bed, unaware of the intrusion.

“Today’s as good as any to get a shock treatment.”

“Larry!” she said, her eyes snapping open. “Shut up and get the hell out of here!”

Larry smiled half-heartedly, turned, and wandered again from the room. This time, his shadow disappeared out of the doorway completely.

That had done it. She was definitely awake now.

She looked at Melanie and frowned.

Dead to the world. Like I should be. That girl could sleep if a freight train came roaring through here. Then again, who knows what meds they have her on this week?

She climbed out of bed and pulled on her slippers — blue terry cloth, just like her bathrobe, so cheap, her toe poked through the seam.

She padded over to the window.

The sun was rising over the horizon, but the building directly across the street was still buried in darkness. She wasn’t normally awake this early — though someone did knock promptly at seven every morning to inform her breakfast was ready.

It was quiet though. Peaceful as a grave. She could get used to this.

And then she heard it: the sound of water dripping.

Stepping away from the window, she walked — as she had yesterday and the day before, and every day for the past three weeks — to the bathroom. The sound wasn’t louder there, but she couldn’t imagine where else it might be coming from. It wasn’t muffled, as it would have been inside the wall. No water came through the collapsible ceiling. It wasn’t raining. No drain pipes ran outside her window.

The sound was like Larry: it came and went and was irritating.

And now it was gone.

The Visitor’s Room – Buy Links: 

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Author Bio:
E. H. James is an author writing novels, short stories, and poetry in the science fiction, horror, thriller and fantasy genres.

Contact Links for E. H. James