Clarissa Johal: 2015

Monday, December 14, 2015

On Grief.

I write about aspects of death and the paranormal every day, so you'd think it would make dealing with "real" death easier. It doesn't. As open as I am about pretty much everything, I’m private when it comes to grief. I don't go to funerals or wakes, I don't talk about loved ones who have died, and I don’t commiserate their loss with others. Not because I'm heartless, but because my grief is private. Nothing anyone can say can take away the pain. Nothing.

A friend of mine passed away unexpectedly last week. It was a shock to everyone. She wasn’t feeling well one evening, and was dead by morning. Just like that. I'd spoken to her the week before, and she seemed fine. When she didn’t answer my last email, I figured she’d gotten busy. In retrospect, I should have called her. Maybe I would have sensed something was wrong. Maybe I could have said something that changed the outcome. Maybe not. I keep running our last conversation over-and-over in my mind, and find myself wishing I’d turned it around. “Yes, my daughter’s birthday is coming up. Anything you get will be awesome. Now…how are you doing? What are your plans this week? What would you like for Christmas?” My list of regrets goes on, but it doesn't matter. Such is life.

I've seen people share on Facebook when someone dies. The slew of comments that follow leave me at a loss for words. "They're in a better place," "Condolences," "I'm so sorry for your loss." In spite of the fact I live in words, I don’t comment when it comes to those kinds of posts. I feel a little guilty, but honestly, nothing I say will make you feel better.

I've been off social media for the past week because it was hard to pretend things were cool. Writing about the paranormal and death has been difficult.  Losing someone you love sucks. Loss isn't new to me, but it doesn't get easier. I think what pulled me out of my introspection was a call from an old friend of mine. Thank you, Christopher, for sharing your wedding plans with me. I'm not sure you realize how much your call meant, or the timing of.

My advice if you haven't been in this situation yet: Give your loved ones a call. Today. Ask them how they’re doing. And then…listen. Don’t put it off because you’re busy. It’s way more important than all that other junk. Trust me.

I worked on my book today, which bodes well. Life goes on.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Holiday Idea - Donate Blood to the American Red Cross #‎blooddonation‬ #free #gift

I'm a proud Blood Donor for the American Red Cross 

I hate needles
They scare the crap out of me
But I do it anyways.
Nobody is a bigger baby than I am

I'm throwing out the gauntlet to my fellow authors!

Find your local Blood Drive right HERE

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Blog Tour - DWELLING by Thomas S. Flowers #supernatural #horror

DWELLING by Thomas S. Flowers
Subdue Series, Book 1
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
Release Date: Dec. 8, 2015

: : : SYNOPSIS : : :

A group of inseparable childhood friends are now adults, physically and psychologically devastated by war… 

A horrifying creature emerges from a sandstorm just before Ricky Smith dies in battle. Forced to leave base housing, his widow Maggie buys a home on Oak Lee Road in the town of Jotham. Maggie is isolated in the historic house…and disconcerted by strange clicking sounds inside the walls. 

Jonathan Steele attempts to drink the painful past away… 

Jonathan was wounded in that fateful battle and now suffers from PTSD. He wants to put the nightmare behind him, but when Ricky’s ghost appears with cryptic warnings about Maggie’s house, he begins to question his sanity. 

Bobby Weeks is a homeless veteran struggling with a lycanthropic curse… 

Afraid of bringing harm, Bobby stays far away from those he loves. But after a full moon, a mysterious woman approaches him and reveals a vision about a house with a sinister presence, and he realizes staying away might no longer be an option. 

Minister Jake Williams lost his faith on the battlefield… 

While Jake will do anything to reconnect with God, he turns to vices to fill the religious void. But a church elder urges him to take a sabbatical, and a ghost tells him to quit the ministry, and his life is more out of control than ever. 

When Maggie wakes in a strange subterranean cavern, she can’t deny her home harbors dark secrets. Desperate, she sends letters to her old friends to reunite in Jotham, and events conspire to draw them all to the house…unaware of the danger awaiting them. 

The friends have already been through hell, but can any of them survive the evil dwelling beneath the House on Oak Lee?


: : : EXCERPT : : : 

Chapter One



Iraq, 2004

Something caught his eye. A glimmer. A shadow in the dark yellow fog.

The fuck? He reached for his binos in the turret. Across the street, Johnathan spied through the dust scratched lens vendors hastily tucking and clutching whatever goods they could get their hands on. Only the most meager of items remained on the street. Even the sound of the Humvees seemed to fade, as if the entire world was holding its breath.

What’s going on? Johnathan shook, his nerves pricked. Hairs stood on-end. His knees locked. He watched, hands resting on the M2 .50-cal. He searched for someone, anyone to put the tightening in his stomach at ease. Where are they going? Shadows snaked in between the empty spaces and seemed to grow larger. The yellow dust whipped the air. Al-Hurriyah was being consumed by it.

Johnathan could feel the lump in his heart become heavy. He pulled his scarf off. He choked on the dust, tasting all the nastiness of the Baghdad ghetto, but paid little heed. The soldier scanned his field of fire. Anticipation boiled in his veins. Then the yellow sand darkened again.

The glimmer returned, taking shape, forming in the dust. His mouth fell agape. “What the fuck is that?” He screamed inside, his mind rattled and confused and terrified.

From the alley across the road the shadows dissolved, giving form to some massive Thing with skin covered in bristle-like hair as black as tar. The bulking torso hissed, and swelled, hissed and swelled. Its thin, but otherwise muscular, fragile-looking legs twitched in the sand, protruding and stretching out, pulling down the tarps of the vender huts near it.

How many legs does this thing have? What is this? I’m dreaming, have to be. This can’t be…

In the dust-whipped wind what looked to be mandibles where its mouth should have been opened and then snapped shut. It was hissing, but the hissing sounded like clicking, the rattle of teeth in a glass jar or a snake poised to strike. On its head was an unmistakable shape, as frightening as it was. Bulging from its head, two swollen red eyes taking up nearly all of the creature’s face glared in the dust, compound, like the eye of a fly, gazing directly at him.

Its antenna drooped low, and then it began talking to him with a wild rush of clicks in its throat. The sound was terrible, reminding him of spring months back home, the swarms of cicadas that blanketed the canopy in his parents’ backyard every few years or so and the eerie sound they made, the clicking, horrible hissing, just like in that one movie Ricky loved to watch when they were kids around the same part of the year, the 1950s atomic-age science fiction flick, the one with the giant ants.

Partially hidden in the dust, the height of the hideous Thing was hard to guess, but whatever is was, it wasn’t possible. None of this was possible. It couldn’t be real, yet there it was all the same, hulking out from across the street, large and hungry looking.

“Are you seeing this?” Johnathan croaked, his voice pained with fear and doubt.

“What?” asked Ricky. He turned in his seat, looking out the driver’s side window. Searching. “I don’t see anything.”

“Are you fucking kidding me!” Johnathan yelled, panic stained in his voice. He kicked the driver’s seat.

“Dude, we’re about to dibby out. Stop being so jumpy,” Ricky scolded. “I don’t see anything, man.”

“Look, you asshole!” Johnathan kicked the driver’s seat again with his boot.

“Dude!” Smith turned fully around and peered in the direction Steele was gesturing. He fell silent for only a moment and then he yelled, “Get down!”

“We need to do more than—” Johnathan had started to say, but was cut short. He looked back to the alley where the Thing had been, but the monster was gone, replaced by a man with a shaved head shouting something terribly familiar and propping an equally terrifying object across his shoulder.

Is that?

“RPG!” Ricky screamed on the radio.

The air sucked back. Johnathan thought he was going to puke as he watched a plume of white smoke rocket toward him. The world was motionless for a second, perhaps less. In that moment he thought of Karen and Tabitha, he thought of his childhood and his friends that filled it. Then the explosion hit, lifting his Humvee upward into the air.

The large metal behemoth came crashing back to earth with a thunderous moan. He fell inside. His head smashed against the gunner’s platform below. He saw nothing, only white, burning light. Outside, he could hear the crackle of gunfire faintly against the ringing in his ears, like fireworks in a neighborhood a block away.

People were shouting. His squad mates, maybe. Language seemed beyond him at the moment. He could smell sulfur and the awful hint of something else…like overcooked meat on the grill, he imagined, dazed and numb. Through the broken window he watched the battle of Al-Hurriyah with disbelieving eyes.

Another explosion struck somewhere nearby. Pebbles or chunks of the police station perhaps rained down on his truck. The radio was abuzz with noise, fire direction, casualties. Someone yelled through the mike, “Death Blossom.” Death Blossom…? Are we under attack…? Yes…Ricky called it out, didn’t he? His head rung with the battle cry.

Johnathan shifted his weight. One of his legs fell from the strap he used as a seat, the other felt strangely dead. He looked. Among the yellow dust and stars that filled his eyes, he could see, though blurred, the gnarled remains of what was once his right leg.

“Shit!” he screamed, clinching at his thigh. I can’t look. I can’t look. Ricky. Ricky? “Smith? Ricky? Are you okay, man?” he winced, straining to get a look at his friend.

No answer.

More rattling pinged off his truck. Someone nearby yelled, “Got you, you fucking bastard!” Another voice screamed in language not entirely unfamiliar.

Must be some of the Iraqi police, he thought vaguely caring. Death Blossom…those assholes are going to ping someone in the back…

Something was pinching his neck. He reached and felt warmth and something hard. He dug whatever it was out and pulled his hand to see. He glared dumbfounded at what looked like a tooth.

Not mine, he thought, testing his teeth with his tongue. He looked at Ricky, but his form was covered in haze.

Gunfire continued to crackle outside, but in the broken and torn Humvee, the world felt like a tomb.

He could see Ricky now, lying awkwardly in his seat, one hand still clutching the radio receiver. Smoke wafted from his body. He didn’t move. And the smell…the smell was terrible.

Johnathan blinked. Not real. Not real. “Ricky, you son of a bitch, answer me! Are you okay?” he yelled. Hot adrenaline coursed through him like a drug, pooling in a venomous sundry of dreadful sorrow and hate, lumping together in his heart, stealing his breath. Maggie’s face flashed in front of him and then Karen’s, but he pushed them away.

Please, God. No.


: : : THOMAS S. FLOWERS : : : 

Thomas S. Flowers is the published author of several character driven stories of fright. He resides in Houston, Texas, with his wife and daughter. His first novel, Reinheit, was published by Forsaken. He also has a short story, “Lanmò,” in The Sinister Horror Company’s horror anthology The Black Room Manuscripts. In 2008, he was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army where he served for seven years, with three tours serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2014, Thomas graduated from University of Houston Clear Lake with a BA in History. He blogs at machinemean[dot]org, where he does author interviews and reviews on a wide range of strange yet oddly related topics.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Guest Author & Video Q&A - Dying Light by Kory M. Shrum #urban #contemporary #darkfantasy

VIDEO Q&A with Kory M. Shrum

Dying Light
A Jesse Sullivan Novel: Book Four

by Kory M. Shrum

Genre: Contemporary/Urban/Dark Fantasy
Publisher: Timberlane Press
Date of Publication: November 2nd
ISBN: 0-9912158-9-3
Number of pages: 220 Kindle/ebook
Number of pages: 465 paperback
Word Count: 79,000
Cover Artist: John K. Addis

Book Description:

In the wake of her handler’s death, Jesse has never felt more alone. Her best friend is distracted by a new love. Her mentor Rachel is missing and her boyfriend Lane isn’t returning her calls.

Worse, a Necronite with the ability to heal any wound wants to kill Jesse and absorb her power of pyrokinesis.

With little to hold her to Nashville, Jesse agrees to work as a freelance agent for Jeremiah Tate, a pharmaceutical tycoon in Chicago. Together they plot revenge against Caldwell, the mastermind responsible for the genocide of over 100,000 Necronites worldwide.

When Jeremiah fails to dominate Jesse and her pyrokinesis, tensions escalate, dividing her from her allies.

Then Caldwell gives Jesse an ultimatum she cannot refuse.

"Kory Shrum's writing is smart, imaginative, and insanely addictive! 
I have begun to think of her books as my Kory Krack. I beg of you to pick them up. You will NOT regret it!" 
-Darynda Jones, NY Times Bestselling Author of the Charley Davidson Series

About the Author:

Kory M. Shrum lives in Michigan with her partner and a ferocious guard pug. She has dabbled in everything from fortune telling to martial arts and when not reading or writing, she can be found teaching, traveling, or wearing a gi. She is the author of four books in the Jesse Sullivan contemporary fantasy series. She is also an active member of both SFWA and HWA.

Author Website

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Beautiful Freaks by Katie M. John #UpperYA #Paranormal #Horror #Dreadpunk

A 12 part serial: weekly release
Release Dates December 3rd – January 28th

A dark and twisted saga that winds its way through the Victorian streets of London like a luxurious and lethal ribbon.

When a series of terrifying and seemingly paranormal murders occur at a rapid rate, panic and fear grip the city. Still haunted by the ghost of the Whitechapel Ripper case, Inspector Steptree is forced to admit the murderer he now pursues maybe even more wicked and brutal. As the case closes down on the mysterious No.7 club, owned by the enigmatic Evangeline Valentine, Steptree discovers that evil is far from a fantasy.

It is against this backdrop that Kaspian Blackthorne turns eighteen and begins his apprenticeship under the scientific maverick, Doctor Greyson, a pioneer in brain surgery, and human transplantation. Whilst Kaspian is introduced to the horrors and wonders of man’s scientific progress, he also begins an epic adventure of self-discovery and infatuation. Guided into the decadent and luxuriant world of the London West End night scene by his new friend Hugh Denvers, Kaspian tastes the sweet temptation of a life less ordinary, but such a privilege comes at a terrible price.

A cast of timeless characters and dark, grown-up fairy tales interweave to create a rich and haunting tale of fear and desire.

Based on the original novel, ‘Beautiful Freaks’ written and published in 2013 by Katie M John, this series is a development of that world. This is the first season of a planned three seasons. You can find out more about this season and forthcoming seasons on the Official Site.

#Gothic #Dreadpunk #Paranormal #Demons #Fae #FairyTales #Phantoms #Vampires #Creations #Frankenstein #ParanormalRomance #Murder #Detective #Horror #SecretSocieties #CrossOver #UpperYA

Published by Little Bird Publishing, Katie M John is the author of the U.K No.1 best-selling YA Paranormal Romance and Dark Fairy Tale series, The Knight Trilogy.

You can find out more about Katie and her books over at:

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Guest Author - Dragon Lore: Books Two and Three by Ann Gimpel #paranormal #fantasy #romance

Elements of Great Storytelling
by Ann Gimpel

I’ve thought about this a lot lately since I ran into a spate of uninspired books, both on my Kindle and in Books on CD. I will say, though, that in the latter format, a gifted actor reading an audiobook can make even a mediocre story come to life and can gloss over awkward grammatical constructions so they aren’t quite as noticeable.

How about if we start with characters? It goes without saying they need to be three dimensional, which means they have thoughts, feelings, and actions that are congruent with their personalities. In my opinion, if a book doesn’t have characters that reach out and grab your heartstrings, then it’s DOA. It can have the most inspired plot in the world, but it’s wasted if readers don’t care about the characters.

Alrighty, so we have decent characters. Maybe not great characters, but they’re good enough you want to pick up the book to see what they’re going to do next. Plot determines the next moves in a book. Plot is basically the story that the book tells, but it’s how we get from point A to point B that weeds out talented writers from the rest of the pack. Brilliant plotting is tightly woven, and the writer’s hand is all but invisible. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been somewhere in a book and something happens that just screams “convenient plot twist.” As an aside, this is why all writers need someone—crit partners, publishers, editors—to be a fresh pair of eyes. No matter how seasoned a writer is, he (or she) can’t see the foibles in his own writing. Not all of them, anyway. Another plotting issue is plot threads that go nowhere. They look intriguing, but the writer just never gets back to them.

Corollaries of plotting are pacing and tension. The plot has to move fast enough to draw a reader along, yet not so fast as to lose them. Writers accomplish this by inserting pacing into the plot and building/releasing tension. Of course certain genres, like horror, have a whole lot more tension than most romances. But even romances—the good ones—have at least one big, dark moment when it seems like the hero and heroine will never be able to bridge the gap between them. This introduces tension and draws readers into turning pages to see what’s going to happen next.

I think I’m probably like most writers in that I write the same type of fiction I like to read. For me, it’s fast paced, with strong characters that collide with one another. Lots of passion. Lots of angst. Big, dark moments that are really big and truly dark. In a lot of ways, writing isn’t so different from being a psychologist. Not everyone will like what I write. I don’t expect them to. Likewise, I always told my patients that the first couple of sessions were “getting to know one another,” and seeing if we were a good match. Just like I’m not the right author for everyone, neither was I the right therapist. That’s just common sense, really.

What sings to you in books you read? Why do you adore your favorite author? If you had to pick great characters versus great plot, which would it be? 

Dragon Maid
Dragon Lore
Book Two

Ann Gimpel

Dream Shadow Press
64K words
Release Date: 10/5/15
Genre: Paranormal romance

Tumble off reality’s edge into myth, magic, and Scottish dragon shifters

Book Description:

When pressed, Jonathan Shea admits magic runs through his blood, but he’s always been ambivalent about it—until a dragon and her mage show up in the Scottish Highlands, and then all bets are off. Jonathan’s charmed and captivated by the dragon—a creature fresh out of myth and legend—but the woman bonded to it is so enticing, he tosses caution aside and catapults into the magical power he’s avoided for so long.

Britta and her dragon prepare for a battle to save Earth. Freshly transplanted from a much earlier time, she feels awkward, out of place. The first person she lays eyes on is Jonathan. There’s something about him. She can’t quite pinpoint it, but he has way more magic than he lets on. Magic aside, it runs deeper than that. For the first time ever, she questions the wisdom of remaining a maid. If she doesn’t make up her mind damned fast, though, her choices will fritter away. Beset from every side, she’s never needed her magical ability more.

Surrounded by dragon shifters, Celtic gods, Selkies, time travel, and a heaping portion of magic, Jonathan comes into his own fast. Fell creatures target him, Britta, and her dragon. In the midst of chaos, he and Britta find scorching passion and love so heartbreakingly tender, it will change their lives forever.

Dragon’s Dare
Dragon Lore
Book Three

Ann Gimpel

Dream Shadow Press
85K words
Release Date: 10/19/15
Genre: Paranormal romance

Tumble off reality’s edge into myth, magic, and Scottish dragon shifters

Book Description:

Bloated on chaos, the Morrigan leaves the Scottish Highlands to gather power. A trip through Hell yields quite the assortment of allies tagging along behind her. Fell creatures straight out of myth and nightmare that haven’t darkened Earth’s boundaries for centuries heed her call.

Heartily sick of the Morrigan’s maneuvering, the dragons are close to shutting their world off from everywhere, Earth included. If they do, every dragon shifter bond will be broken. Horrified, Lachlan and Britta launch a desperate campaign to hang onto their dragons.

Magic may bite back, but if the dragons take their magic ball and go home, Earth will fade, along with all other worlds. That suits the Morrigan fine. War and anarchy are her favorite companions, and she collects misery like children gather beloved toys.

Arianrhod’s fellow Celts found out about her fall from grace and her half-Druid son, Jonathan. With nothing further to hide, she goes back in time hunting Angus, Jonathan’s father. Forty years apart was a steep price to pay. The world needs Angus’s magic. And Jonathan needs all the help he can get. Late to accept the power thrumming through him, he holds a key role in keeping the world from spinning off its axis. Reluctant at first, Jonathan finally gets it.

Absolute focus.

Absolute commitment.

Anything less and everyone he loves will pay an unthinkable price.

About the Author:

Ann Gimpel is a national bestselling author. A lifelong aficionado of the unusual, she began writing speculative fiction a few years ago. Since then her short fiction has appeared in a number of webzines and anthologies. Her longer books run the gamut from urban fantasy to paranormal romance. Once upon a time, she nurtured clients, now she nurtures dark, gritty fantasy stories that push hard against reality. When she’s not writing, she’s in the backcountry getting down and dirty with her camera. She’s published over 30 books to date, with several more planned for 2015 and beyond. A husband, grown children, grandchildren and three wolf hybrids round out her family.

Find Ann At:
Author Website
Author Blog
Amazon Author Page
Facebook Page
@AnnGimpel (for Twitter)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Island by Clarissa Johal - #1 Best Seller #paranormal #horror - #FREE Nov 9-14th Only!

by Clarissa Johal

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.

#1 Best Seller in Horror on Amazon.UK and

FREE Nov 9-14th Only!

Amazon US
Amazon Canada
Amazon UK

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Guest Author Spotlight - The Knight Trilogy by Katie M. John #YA #paranormal #romance

The Knight Trilogy
Celebrating 5 YEARS


A UK No.1 Best Selling Paranormal Romance and Dark Fairy Tale series
The first book of ‘The Knight Trilogy’, called ‘The Forest of Adventures’ was published in December 2010. Within months it had reached the coveted spot of UK. No1. Best Selling Fairy Tale and Paranormal Romance, as well as going on to become an overall Best Selling Amazon title in both the U.K and the U.S.A
In 2012 it was awarded ‘Bloggers Choice Award’ from The Kindle Book Review

Five years later, all three books of the Trilogy have been published, and the series continues to reach top listings and cultivate a committed fan base. Katie has since gone on to write a stand-alone novel, ‘Beautiful Freaks’, a twelve episode series by the same title, and the first three books of the seven book series, ‘The Meadowsweet Chronicles’

To celebrate this incredibly important milestone, Katie M John is giving away some very special Knight Trilogy Swag. Prizes include; sterling silver Celtic earrings and Breton Jewellery purchased in the Forest of Broceliande,  to signed paperbacks and beautiful handmade Tibetan Silver book hooks, decorated with semi-precious stones, signed postcards. There will be two lucky winners of the Birthday Gift Box.

The Forest of Adventures (Book One Of The Knight Trilogy)

An Ancient Legend
A Modern Love Story

Seventeen year old Mina Singer is the typical good girl; she already knows where her life is taking her, and she is in a settled relationship with the boy next door. However, when the mysterious new boy, Blake Beldevier arrives at college on the first day of the spring term, everything she has come to understand about reality is turned upside down.
Catapulted into a world she only believed existed in fairy tales, Mina discovers that the past and the present aren’t quite so far apart as she thought, and fairy tales certainly aren’t for children.
As the timeless and wicked Morgan Le Fay sets her sights on gaining the heart of Blake, Mina discovers the true of the darkness which threatens to extinguish the light.

Immortal Beloved: Book 2 of The Knight Trilogy (Volume 2) As Mina begins to piece together her broken heart Blake’s heart is in the hands of the evil and beautiful Morgan Le Fay - and it is in mortal peril In the aftermath of the Blakequake, Mina finds herself back in the Real World and lost at sea. It is only the power of friendship that stops her from complete self-destruction. And then, just when she begins to accept that the fairy tale world of The Realm was nothing but a magical memory, The Realm comes calling. This time it is up to the damsel to save her knight. As events unfold in Egypt, and ancient, dark rituals are resurrected, Mina and her friends are forced to race the clock to save Blake from the terrors of the Egyptian Underworld - and the bewitchment of Morgan Le Fay. The question is, who will win in the fight for Blake’s heart?

Starfire: Book Three of The Knight Trilogy (Volume 3)

When Mina and Blake return from Egypt, they dare to believe in a happily-ever-after. Then the full moon comes, and Mina discovers it wasn’t only Blake who came home changed. When a young woman is found murdered at Meadowlake on All Hallows Eve, suspicion quickly turns to Mina, whose involvement with the secret society of the Starfire Sisterhood has caught the unwelcome attention of The Knights Templar Arrested for sorcery and due to burn at the stake, Blake is offered a way to save her... All he needs to do is deliver the Holy Grail.

Published by Little Bird Publishing, Katie M John is the author of the U.K No.1 best-selling YA Paranormal Romance and Dark Fairy Tale series, The Knight Trilogy.
You can find out more about Katie and her books 


a Rafflecopter giveaway