Clarissa Johal: Welcome to the 2013 October Coffin Hop

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Welcome to the 2013 October Coffin Hop

**Please visit my fellow Coffin Hoppers at the end of this post!
All profits from the sale of DEATH BY DRIVE-IN will be donated to

The Story of Red
by Clarissa Johal

Halloween. It's the time when spirits come out to play. A time when the veil becomes thin and spirits can cross over at will.
Do you believe is ghosts? I'm going to tell you a ghost story, because it's what I do.

It was October of 2002 and I was pregnant with my second child. In my last trimester, I was carrying an extra 25 extra pounds, had morning sickness 24/7, and was almost ready to give up on my 2-year-old's social life. That's when I met Angie. Fun and free-spirited, Angie was also pregnant, and had a 2-year-old with boundless energy. We hit it off immediately. She and her husband had just moved into the area, and bought a beautiful old house from the 1920s. The house had been for sale as a fixer-upper for months. I'd driven by it several times, and when she invited me over, I was excited to finally see the inside.

The moment I stepped through the front door, I saw an old man standing by the window. I knew technically he wasn't there, because what I was seeing...was a ghost.

Let me explain how seeing a ghost goes--at least for me. You don't see with your eyes, but rather with a corner of your brain which slams an image into your thoughts. And there it stays, unlike any other. Does that sound weird? C'est la vie. It is what it is.

So, back to my story. The ghost stood facing the window, his head bowed. Light passed through him and washed out all color. He wore solid pants with a thin belt, a checkered, button-up shirt, and dress shoes. The sorrow and sadness radiating from him was overwhelming. Every time I visited Angie, he'd be there. Same position, same clothes, and seemingly stuck in a world of his own.
And essentially, I guess he was.

I pondered on whether or not to bring the subject of him up. Our friendship was new, and I realize that some people got weirded-out discussing these things. But as time passed, I was distracted by the old man's presence. It felt rude not to acknowledge him. Kind of like I was ignoring another person in the room.

Finally, I decided to broach the subject. The conversation went like this:

"Angie, do you ever see an old man in your house?"
"No, I haven't."
"Do you believe in ghosts? Because I kind of feel like you have one."
"There was an old man who died in this house before we bought it," she said. "How weird! Describe him to me."
And I did.
"Do you get a name?" she asked.
Up until that point, I hadn't. But as soon as she asked, the name "Red" slammed into my thoughts pretty hard. "Red?" I repeated, unsure.
Angie's eyes widened. She jumped up and began to rummage through a drawer in her kitchen. "His name is in here," she said. "Oh, my God, I have to show you." After several minutes, she pulled out some papers.
To my surprise, Red was the nickname of the man who died in the house. He was a WWII war veteran, and never quite recovered from his experience. He lived with his daughter until the day he died, apparently not speaking a word after returning from Germany.
I was kind of overwhelmed. Aside from that, I felt helpless. It made me sad that he was stuck in Angie's house--trapped by his past, and unable to move on after his death.

That experience will always stick with me. Up until then, I hadn't trusted myself when it came to supernatural happenings. The things I saw and experienced while growing up, had been categorized as "weird stuff" that could logically be explained away.

So, do you believe in ghosts now? Does this count as evidence of the existence of ghosts? No, because you don't know me, and I may be making it all up.
Except that I'm not.

Speaking of supernatural happenings, take a look at...

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.

*Second place in the Preditors and Editors Readers Poll 2012

BETWEEN buy links:
Musa Publishing 

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.

*Coming from Musa Publishing January 17, 2014

Author Bio:

Clarissa Johal has worked as a veterinary assistant, zoo-keeper aide and vegetarian chef. Writing has always been her passion. When she’s not listening to the ghosts in her head, she’s dancing or taking photographs of gargoyles.
Clarissa shares her life with her husband, two daughters and every stray animal that darkens the doorstep. One day, she expects that a wayward troll will wander into her yard, but that hasn’t happened yet.

One ecopy of my novel BETWEEN
(and) One ecopy of COOKING WITH MUSA
Both in the format of your choice

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Prize winner will be announced on November 1st

*Please visit other Coffin Hoppers for more chances to win cool prizes.

*Coffin Hop Art by Axel Howerton: Coffin Hop Press


Unknown said...

Thanks for the giveaway! Between sounds like a great read!

Anonymous said...

I do believe in ghosts and presences. The last apartment my grandparents lived in Los Angeles, prior to moving to Sacramento, was really old and musty. That smell has stuck with me for years and every so often, I'll get a whiff, usually when I'm really stressed or anxious about something. It's the last place I saw my grandfather before he died, so it's how I know he's watching out for me.

Clarissa Johal, Author said...

Thank you for stopping by, Katherine! It's nice to know someone is watching out for you, Brianna. Thanks for stopping by! (I lived in Sacramento for many years, I miss it!)

A. F. Stewart said...

I believe in ghosts, there are lots of stories in my family.

Clarissa Johal, Author said...

I do hope you're writing them all down, A.F.!

Heather R. Holden said...

I've always believed in ghosts, although I've never had any eerie encounters like yours to convince me. It's just something that's always made sense to me!

Clarissa Johal, Author said...

I think more and more people believe there's "something" going on with all the ghost reality shows that are popular. Some of them get really good evidence. Thanks for stopping by, Heather!

Cait OSullivan said...

I believe in ghost, my Dad's family had a poltergeist in their house for years. Newcastle Uni came out to inspect and couldn't explain the goings on, stuff like (and I know you're going to think I'm making it up) hands under the bed grabbing your ankle, pictures being changed about. But they all got on with it and eventually moved. And that was that!! Nice post, Clarissa!

Clarissa Johal, Author said...

Nope, I judge nobody. I've experienced too much that sounds weird, even to me. That's really interesting, Cait. A little unsettling, but at least nobody was hurt, right? Thanks for stopping by :)

Paul Stansfield said...

Hello again, Clarissa. Creepy story! And glad to hear your books are garnering awards in the readers' polls and contests. Hope you're enjoying the Hop!

katie M John said...

Wow - Great post. Loved it.

Clarissa Johal, Author said...

Thanks Paul and Katie for stopping by!!

CA Verstraete said...

Interesting post... I believe it. And the excerpt sounds great too! Coffin Hopping by! GirlZombieAuthors

Clarissa Johal, Author said...

Thank you for stopping by, Christine! I'm glad you found the post interesting :)

James Garcia Jr said...

Hi, Clarissa. How are you? I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get down the list to you. The Hop is very cool, but my crazy schedule just doesn't allow the blogging like it used to. Hopefully it will be much better in December. We'll see. In any event, it's great to see you. I hope you and yours are well, and that you are enjoying the Hop. Thanks for the giveaway op. Take care, ok?


Clarissa Johal, Author said...

Keep writing, James! We're all working hard :) Thanks for stopping by.

Anonymous said...

Great post and giveaway Clarissa.
Yes I believe in ghosts and can see them too.
Most of the houses I have lived in since a child have all been haunted.
Happy Hopping!
- KimK

Clarissa Johal, Author said...

Thanks for stopping by, Kim! I guess it's becoming more acceptable to come out of the broom closet about these ghosty things, isn't it? ;)

Georgina Morales said...

I love ghosts in stories, but because I do believe in them, I don't play games with them. I used to when I was younger and learnt my lesson.

Jolie du Pre said...

I believe in ghosts. I just don't understand how you can be so calm about that experience. It would have freaked me out! ~~

The best ghost story I have happened to my husband. He had a dream that his grandmother came by his bedside to say goodbye to him. In the morning, after he woke up, he learned that she had died during the night.

Clarissa Johal, Author said...

I think it just becomes "normal" stuff, Jolie! And yes, I hear about loved ones dreaming things like that. A final hug and good-bye, so to speak.

Clarissa Johal, Author said...

They definitely deserve the same respect you'd give anyone, Georgina. Thanks for stopping by :)