Clarissa Johal: January 2013

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Contest to win an ecopy of BETWEEN

**Thank you to all that entered the contest to win a copy of BETWEEN. The winner has been chosen and notified :)

I'm at supernatural fiction author Juli D. Revezzo's blog today.

Leave a comment on Juli's blog for a chance to win a free ecopy of BETWEEN. Contest is open for 3 days. Would appreciate if you'd spread the word!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Death of a Computer

This week I've been having computer issues. On top of that, our internet was down for two days.

While I'd love to say that being disconnected from the internet lent an epiphany of how reliant upon my computer I am, I can't. It sucked.
There are so many times I found myself wanting to look up a question that popped into my head, "How would one banish a demon and close a portal?" or needing to help my daughter with her 5th grade math homework, "How DO you write a variable expression where 48 is decreased by W?" (Really? WTH?), or even just feeling the need to check the weather forecast. And I couldn't do any of that.
Which gave me the screaming mee-mees.

I'll admit it, I'm reliant upon my computer for information. It's like my own little library. Not that I don't use the library, because I do. But the computer gives me instant info with the tap of the keys.

During this information blackout, my laptop decided to act up as well. I can suffer through being disconnected from our home internet service, because I DO have my teeny-tiny little phone and it's miniscule keypad if I really feel the need to surf. But my computer dying on me? No.

So, the first draft of the novel I'm working on now and all my random writing from the past six months--were sitting on my desktop, waiting patiently to be transferred to a memory stick. And and there they sat, with me unable to retrieve them.
I swear all my nefarious, supernatural creatures just suck the life out of my computers because I've gone through three of them in the past few years.
After having a full-blown tantrum (why do kiddos always catch you swearing at inanimate objects?) I calmly informed my husband that I was going to expire and jump off a cliff, not necessarily in that order.
My husband is my hero. He was able to perform surgery on my computer and retrieve everything I had been working on.
He's just clever like that.

This week, I'm left without a laptop and relegated to a desk top computer. I'm not complaining however, because I have my writing.
My supernatural creatures have some explaining to do.

Contest and New Book Blog

On January 26th Saturday, join me on Gaea, the Greek Goddess of Planet Books blog for an author interview and discussion of my young adult title, PRADEE. This is a kid-run and mom approved NEW blog where Gaea will be discussing and reviewing middle grade and young adult fiction.
If you have/know of any kiddos that would like to follow this blog, please spread the word!

A young adult fantasy by Clarissa Johal

What if there was an artifact that could see the past and change the future--would you use it?

Three friends are accused of poisoning an Elder in their village. They escape to the mysterious region of Vel to search for the Guardian of a mythical artifact. If they find the artifact; it is reputed to have the powers to see the past and change the future, thus proving their innocence. However, if it falls into the wrong hands, the artifact could destroy the future of their world as they know it. 

In the tradition of The Dark Crystal by Jim Henson and Frank Oz, PRADEE will pull the reader into an exciting, otherworldly adventure. 
*Second round finalist in Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Award Contest 2012

Buy links:

On January 27th Sunday, join me on Supernatural fiction author Juli D. Revezzo's Blog and enter a contest to win a free ecopy of BETWEEN! Contest will run for 3 days.

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.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Why Writers are Like Actors

I stayed up late the other night to watch American Horror Story. I shouldn't have, really. I've been setting aside late nights as writing time. My kiddos are still on holiday and, while they're fine at entertaining themselves, I can't write with other people around. But sometimes my brain wants to zone and writing late at night isn't an option.

I love American Horror Story. The good and the bad of it (mental institution good, There are few programs I can say that about. Doctor Who, BBC's Being Human (sorry folks, the American version sucks), True Blood and Grimm. That's about it, really. A cooking reality show here and there. With a gazillion channels on television, I have to wonder why there's such a small gene pool to pick from.

For the most part, I can watch American Horror Story and it doesn't bother me a bit. But there are times it makes me squirm and I think, "Now there's some good writing." Add to that, superb acting, and it becomes a feast for the senses. In my geeky and writerly brain, I often find myself trying to imagine how to translate that feast to a page.

Have you ever done that? Watched something and imagined what the script must have looked like and how it would read in a book?

*Scary Movie Script*
Act 5, Scene 1

Victim: "What do you plan to do with me?"
Scary Guy: (waves knife around) "I don't know. I'm sure we can come up with something. Given time."

Something like that handed to an actor requires them to squeeze emotion and tension from the lines and translate them to the audience. I know this from experience, I graduated from a high school of performing arts (eons ago) and majored in acting and dance. Gleaning emotions from the script as an actor is much the same as gleaning emotions from the reader as a writer.

Try reading this instead:

"Scary Book"
Page 200

"What do you plan to do with me?" She felt the annoying tickle of perspiration run down the side of her brow. Her heart was beating so hard, it made it difficult to breathe.
"I don't know," he replied. The knife caught the dim, yellow light overhead as he waved it back and forth hypnotically. "I'm sure we can come up with something."  The dead look in his eyes sucked the last bit of hope from the room. "Given time."

More words are required to squeeze emotion from the reader. And even then, the writer is hoping the reader can see the wan light overhead, the peeling paint on the walls (which I saw in my head right now and would have disclosed in a previous paragraph) and the juxtaposing tension on the characters faces. It's similar to acting--but working the internal/cerebral vs. external/visual.

Which is probably why I can't write with people around. The acting required (in my head) is so internal, any external is a distraction. I do often externalize a scene to see how it sounds--but I wouldn't want to scare people and make them think I talk to myself. Yeah.

So, I'll leave you with a video of one of my favorite moments from American Horror Story.
It captured the unexpected, surreal and 1960's quality of the series--all in one scene. Absolutely brilliant.

Set up: Sister Jude's (played by Jessica Lange) shock-therapy induced hallucination.

"The Name Game" from American Horror Story

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Next Big Thing

 Thank you to my fellow writer Joanna Fay, author of the dark fantasy Daughter of Hope,  for tagging me in The Next Big Thing. The game here is that writers answer a string of questions about their work, describing what will be their Next Big Thing and then tag five other writers. Those writers answer the same questions and tag other writers. So here goes:

What is the working title of your next book? 

Where did the idea come from for the book?
I had a scene replay in my head, over and over.  As soon as I wrote that scene down, the rest came like a literal lightning strike.

What genre does the book fall under?
Paranormal horror

What actors would you choose to play the parts of your characters in a movie rendition?
I never think in terms of actors or actresses. I know what the characters look like, they look like themselves. That's not to say I wouldn't like my novels to be made into movies, because I most definitely would!

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
I hate summing up my book in one sentence! Okay, here goes:
A woman who is struck by lightning is rescued by a mysterious stranger who offers her a gift...but one that comes with a price she is unsure of. 

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I'll start seeking a publisher by March of this year. That's when I hope to be finished.

How long did it take to write the first draft of your manuscript?
It took me four months to complete the first draft

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I can't really compare my book to others. If I were to pick authors in my genre that I admire, they would be Neil Gaimen and Brom.  I read voraciously but I try and stay away from my genre while I'm writing, which is 99% of the time. I want my ideas to be unique and fresh and if I read too many paranormal novels, I find that doesn't happen for me.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Like I said, the book grew from the one scene I kept envisioning. As far as the "who" goes, I saw this painting that I kind of fell in love with.  I ended up having dreams about the person that was in it. I knew that that's what my antagonist would look like.

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Follow this link to Lichtenberg figures. That's all I'm going to say.

Now for the tagging! I really didn't know whom to tag, so I picked on a handful that have made comments or that I've received emails from recently. If you're in edits or busy, please don't feel obligated! 
I'll even tag a few extra in case those writers are busy:

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

It's 2013--Happy New Year!

Happy New Year's everyone! Here's hoping you have a great year ahead of you. I've had several friends ask me if I've made any New Year's resolutions. I tend not to set myself up for those. I like to take my challenges as they come my way. I do make a wish when I ring in the New Year, however. Last year, it was that BETWEEN would be published. I got my wish and I couldn't be happier. This year, my wish was that readers would like it.

Oh, and that BETWEEN would sell a million copies. Forgot that bit. Haha. I wish big.

What are your resolutions for this year?

I have some guest spots coming up for 2013 and hope you'll join me. Check back as I will be adding more...

January/February 2013 issue of Southern Writer's Magazine

Stars Dive into Sunlight

Musa Publishing's Blog

Books and Tales Author Interview

Eleni's Taverna

Morgen Bailey's Writing Blog Author Spotlight

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Southern Writer's Magazine

I'm in the Jan/Feb. issue of Southern Writers Magazine

Not on the cover...but give me time. heehee

Find out what I have to say about the hardest decision to make about main characters. 

Purchase your copy or subscription here: 
Southern Writer's Magazine Jan/Feb 2013