Clarissa Johal

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

On Hiatus #amwriting #paranormal #darkfantasy

I haven't posted in a while (and may do some re-posts) but I'm still here!

I've been working hard on Whispers in the Wood, my new paranormal dark fantasy. It's been a few rough and busy months for my family but never fear! The novel is being fine-tuned before it goes off to the publisher.


Join my mailing list or follow my Amazon Author Page to stay in the loop.


Whispers in the Wood - Coming 2018


It all began with an acorn.

There are some places you shouldn’t disturb, places where history lingers. When Rowan travels to England, she finds a remote village, hidden in the shadow of an ancient forest. Vague warnings from the local people aren’t enough to stop her from venturing into the trees, or from picking up a single acorn. It seemed a simple action. But when a stranger emerges from the forest claiming the acorn belongs to him, Rowan finds herself pulled into something both centuries old, and deadly.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

New Release -The Exile of Elindel (The Elwardian Chronicles) (Volume 1) by Carol Browne #fantasy #elves

The Exile of Elindel (The Elwardian Chronicles) (Volume 1) 
by Carol Browne

Print Length: 349 pages
Publisher: Burning Willow Press, LLC
Publication Date: October 8, 2017
ASIN: B075ZK3T5J
ISBN-10: 1947584065
ISBN-13: 978-1947584068

Blurb:

Elgiva, a young elf banished from Elvendom, must seek shelter among the Saxons as her only hope of surviving the coming winter.
Godwin, a Briton enslaved by the Saxons, is a man ignorant of his own inheritance and the secret of power he possesses.
A mysterious enemy, who will stop at nothing to wield absolute power over Elvendom, is about to make his move.
When destiny throws Elgiva and Godwin together, they embark upon the quest for the legendary Lorestone, the only thing that can save Elvendom from the evil that threatens to destroy it.
There is help to be found along the way from a petulant pony and a timid elf boy but, as the strength of their adversary grows, can Elgiva’s friends help her to find the Lorestone before it falls into the wrong hands?



Author Bio
 
Born in Stafford in the UK, Carol was raised in Crewe, Cheshire, which she thinks of as her hometown. Interested in reading and writing at an early age, Carol pursued her passions at Nottingham University and was awarded an honours degree in English Language and Literature. Now living and working in the Cambridgeshire countryside, Carol usually writes speculative fiction. Carol’s first novel The Exile of Elindel was published by Musa Publishing on 18th April 2014. Following the demise of Musa Publishing, she became a contracted author at Burning Willow Press. Her non-fiction novella Being Krystyna - A Story of Survival in WWII was released as an ebook by Dilliebooks on 11th November, 2016.

Twitter @CarolABrowne

Monday, October 9, 2017

#MeatlessMonday - Granola Super Bars #vegetarian #vegan #recipe

These have a ton of ingredients but are super easy to make. The recipe is quite versatile; substitute nuts of choice, raisins instead of cranberries and add any extras. They're great for hiking, snacking or a healthy after-school treat. Enjoy!


Homemade Granola Super Bars


Ingredients:

4 cups whole oats
3/4 cup almonds, whole or sliced
3/4 cup cashews, chopped
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
2/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup brown rice syrup
1/2 cup coconut oil
1-1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Directions:

Pour 1-1/2 cups of the oats in a food processor. Pulse until finely ground.
Mix all oats, nuts, seeds, coconut, and dried fruit in a large bowl and set aside. 
Spray a 13x18 glass dish with cooking spray and set aside. 
Mix brown sugar, honey, brown rice syrup, and coconut oil in a sauce pot. Bring to a boil and remove from heat immediately. Stir in the vanilla and salt. 
Pour the syrup over the dry ingredients.
Mix well and transfer the mixture into the glass dish. Spread and press mixture until packed. 
Refrigerate for 2 hours and cut into squares. 
Wrap individual bars and store in the refrigerator. Keeps for up to 2 weeks.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

#FolkloreThursday - The Sandman #European


De Zandman. Frontispice uit de Nederlandse vertaling
'Sprookjes: tweede verzameling', 1847

The Sandman. Most think of him as a mythical character from European folklore who sprinkles magical sand onto the eyes of children and brings good dreams. His appearance is usually that of an old man wearing a gold robe and carrying a bagful of sand. Innocuous enough, right?

But there are other creatures bearing the name Sandman--and these creatures are very different. The first has long fingers, sharp teeth and skin that is decayed and discolored, like a that of a dead person. It hides in the dark and whispers, "tik-toc, tik-toc" to its unlucky victim, putting them into a deep sleep. Once asleep, this Sandman will come out of hiding and devour the sleeping victim with its sharp teeth. It only needs to feast once per night, but will sometimes choose to kill for fun.
The other Sandman was used to scare children in the early 19th century. He would sneak into the rooms of children who wouldn't go to sleep and throw sand into their eyes, causing them to itch. When the child rubbed, their eyes would fall out on the floor in a bloody mess. The Sandman would then collect these eyes to feed to his pet bird that lived on the crest of the moon.
Sleep well, little children.

By the late 19th century, the nightmarish Sandmen had transformed from monsters, into a benign character that brought children pleasant and happy dreams. This led to the belief that there were two Sandmen, perhaps brothers. One brought good dreams, while the other had more evil intentions. In some stories, the powers of these Dream Creatures became even greater. Each person or family had their own Sandman. They could give you a dream you want, power over your own dreams, or glimpses into your future. Over the years, the folklore continues to change due to references in popular culture. It will be interesting to see what happens to the Sandman fifty years from now.

So...which Sandman will be visiting your bedroom tonight?

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Tangled Tuesday - #Paranormal #Cat Fur and the #Dog Days of Summer

Summer is here! The teens are off from school and at Day Two, already bored. My latest book, Whispers in the Wood is proving to be quite the challenge to finish. That said, my goal is to finish it by the end of the year. My characters are already complaining I've put them on hold during the day, but I find it impossible to write with other people around. Unfortunately, that leaves the wee hours of the morning and late, late nights when my brain is babbling weird crap that makes no sense.

Another summer event is that my dogs and cats go out of their way to shed extra hard. I keep thinking they'll eventually go bald. C'est la vie, it's always house cleaning day. While sweeping up their offerings, I noticed that fur is quite paranormal in nature. Here's why:


Spiritual Attachment - It will attach itself to you and nothing short of an exorcism can get it off. Be forewarned.

Full-Bodied Apparitions - It hides under your bed and drifts out when you least expect it.

Feelings of Being Touched - Usually around the face and nose.

ESP - Black fur is especially sensitive to white clothing, while white fur is drawn to black clothing. I can only attribute this to the fact that fur must be psychic.

Reincarnation - Fur is reborn even after you brush it away. Fur is eternal.

Feelings of Dread - Usually experienced on house cleaning day.

Orbs - Fur appears "front and center" in photographs. Every. Time.

Unexplained Odors - Coming from the dog bed. Even after you wash it. Twice. 

I've tried salting and saging my house but the fur keeps returning, more powerful than ever. Crystals are next but I've never had luck with those.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Frightening Friday--Isla de las Munecas (Island of the Dolls)

Photo courtesy of Esparta via Flickr
Dolls. I've never been a big fan of dolls. I think they're creepy. Their blank stares, frozen expressions, predatory smiles...yeah, it's creepy.

Just south of Mexico City and between the canals of Xochimico, there is a small island known as Isla de las Munecas (Island of the Dolls). As if one doll wasn't creepy enough, here you have a whole island of decapitated doll heads, arms and bodies; weathered by the elements and home to spiders and everything else. Oh, and did I mention? The dolls that populate the island have been put there to appease the spirit of a dead little girl and are reputedly haunted.

Don Julian Santana Barrera was a hermit who lived on the island. The story goes that he witnessed a little girl who drowned and was unable to save her. Seeing a doll floating in the canal, he hung it in a tree as a way of showing respect for her spirit. Shortly thereafter, Don Julian claimed he was haunted by the little girl and began hanging more dolls in an attempt to appease her. After 50 years of collecting dolls and hanging them around the island, Julian was found dead, drowned in the same spot where he found the girl. 

After Don Julian’s death in 2001, the island became a tourist attraction run by his family members. Local legend says that the dolls move their arms, heads and open their eyes. Some witnesses claim to hear the dolls whispering to each other, while others say the dolls have lured them to come to the island. 

Here's a short video to get an idea what the island looks like now. A trip to la Isla de las Munecas is not on a regular tourist route. If you want to visit, you'll have to hire a private boat at $15 USD per hour, prices vary. A trip to the island takes about two hours. Any takers?



Thursday, June 8, 2017

#FolkloreThursday - Gashadokuro #Japanese #ghost

"Takiyasha the Witch and the Skeleton Spectre"
Ukiyo-e woodblock print by Japanese artist Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1798–1861)
Creative Commons
The gashadokuro are skeletal giants created from the bones of people who died of starvation. A class of supernatural monster, or yōkai, their teeth chatter and their bones rattle as they walk. If they come across a human at night, they will turn invisible and silently creep up on their victims to crush them in their hands or bite off their head. It is said the victim can hear the sound of ringing bells before they strike.

Victims of famine who die without receiving proper funerary rites are at risk of becoming gashadokuro. Unable to pass on, these souls are reborn as hungry ghosts. When the bones of hundreds of these victims gather together (due to a village famine or soldiers who die in battle) they can form the skeletal monster. Too large and powerful to be killed, it will continue to feed until the energy and malice stored within the creature has completely burned out. The gashadokuro are indestructible, though Shinto charms can ward them off.

The earliest record of a gashadokuro goes back over a thousand years ago. A samurai named Taira no Masakado led a bloody rebellion against the central government of Kyoto during the the Heian period. His daughter, Takiyasha-hime, was a famous sorceress. When Masakado was killed in battle, his daughter continued his cause. Using her black magic, she summoned a giant skeleton to attack the city of Kyoto. Her monster is depicted in a famous print by Utagawa Kuniyoshi (shown above).