Clarissa Johal: October 24-31 Coffin Hop

Friday, October 24, 2014

October 24-31 Coffin Hop

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

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

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

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

Silent scenarios

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

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

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

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

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

* * * *

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

* * * * 


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

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

* * * * 
Buy Links 

30% off for the month of October at Musa Publishing

Author Website

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


HL Carpenter said...

Do we have to be silent if we win? :)

Clarissa Johal, Author said...

Ha!! Absolutely not :)

Heather R. Holden said...

I completely agree with you about silence. It never fails to make a scene more ominous, somehow!

Clarissa Johal, Author said...

The calm before the storm, hehe

A. F. Stewart said...

Some of the best horror comes out of the silence.

Clarissa Johal, Author said...

Indeed! Thanks for stopping by :)

Penelope Crowe said...

Oooo thanks for the creepy good story!!
Happy hopping!

Clarissa Johal, Author said...

Thanks for stopping by, Penelope!

Mary Preston said...

A great excerpt.

Clarissa Johal, Author said...

Thank you, Mary! Happy hopping!

DarcNina said...

Are you sure you don't live at my house? lol Lovely descriptive of 'the creeps'.

Happy Hopping!

JKP said...

Damn silence is scary. True. When the floor creaks and you're stuck in the darkness, feeling something is in the room with you... A ghost, an evil spirit, or just the cat. Oh well. It's scary all the way!

Johanna aka The Manicheans

Clarissa Johal, Author said...

Thank you for stopping by, Nina and Johanna!

Anonymous said...

Great post Clarissa! Silence can be such a creepy thing - at the worst possible times!

Paul Stansfield said...

Hello again, Clarissa. Congrats on your latest release! See you around the hop!

Clarissa Johal, Author said...

Thank you, Paul! Have fun :)

James Garcia Jr said...

Hey there, Clarissa! How are you? Hope all is well, my friend. It's always very cool to cross paths with you. I hope you are enjoying the event.
I would love to be involved in the giveaway. I'm off to fill out the Rafflecopter now... *dashes off*


Clarissa Johal, Author said...

Who was that masked man? heehee Thanks for stopping by, James

Anonymous said...

I think I entered the Goodreads part correctly? Anyways - making my coffin hop rounds and you're my latest stop. Struck sounds good :-) Happy Hopping!

Clarissa Johal, Author said...

Thanks, Rebecca!

Unknown said...

I am very excited to read this! Great excerpt.

Clarissa Johal, Author said...

Thank you for stopping by, Camela!

Unknown said...

I agree. Psychological horror is definitely better than blood and guts.

Clarissa Johal, Author said...

Thanks for stopping by, Rachelle!

Georgina Morales said...

Thanks for adding so much to the Coffin Hop. I had a blast!

Clarissa Johal, Author said...

Thank you for stopping by, Georgina :)