Friday, January 4, 2013


Today I want to welcome a very special guest, Clarissa Johal, who will be chatting a bit about her not-so-secret love for Skyrim. Us writers who are also gamers gotta stick together, right? Slaying dragons FTW! I might be guilty of alt-tabbing in World of Warcraft while posting this, even. Ssh.


by Clarissa Johal

Thank you for hosting me in your blog, Laura!

I’ve decided to disclose a little secret here because I knew you’d understand…I’m addicted to Skyrim.

Yep. The game was given to my younger daughter as a Christmas present last year. Up until then, I had never picked up an Xbox controller, or played anything remotely resembling a video game. Even when games like PacMan were popular in the ‘80s, I never had the inclination to play them because I was too busy partying (yeah, yeah, we won’t go there).

But when my daughter begged me to try her game, I did so willingly because I’m a mom and we do things like that. The moment I picked up the controllers, I knew my trepidation wasn’t unfounded.

I was able to design my character, not a problem, and kind of had fun doing that. But when it came to game play? My Dragonborn was looking at the sky, at her feet, walking into castle walls—basically making a ridiculous fool of herself. Several minutes of that and I was ready to throw my controller across the room. A bit frustrating.

I gave up and watched my 10-year-old play for the next few weeks, but I could tell that I had failed “cool mom” status. Big time.

One day while she was at school, I decided to give Skyrim another go. It took me awhile, but I finally got the controls down and…omg.
When my character found her first awesome sword—I was hooked. Frost trolls in Skyrim? Not a problem—I killed them. As disturbing as that was. A treasure chest full of gold, armor and potions? I stole it all. When Faendal the archer elf offered to be my follower, I snapped him up too.

My girls never completed the game and have moved onto other games since. But, I admit—I’m still hooked. I’ve completed it twice with two different characters, scramble like a little kid to buy the latest DLC, and custom made myself a Skyrim coffee cup that says “Faendal is my Hero.”
My girls won’t be seen with me when I use it.

But I don’t care. I’m the Dragonborn. And Faendal and I will save the world.

My paranormal novel, BETWEEN, was released through Musa Publishing on December 14, 2012. No dragons, but plenty of other paranormal happenings. I hope you’ll check it out.

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.


A young woman stood beside the bed, anguish on her face. She looked vaguely familiar, though Lucinda couldn’t place her. The forgotten colors of her blousy dress had faded into indistinct shades of grey. The woman grasped Lucinda’s hand and pressed a key into it. Lucinda felt the jagged, metal edges pricking her skin. Somewhere in the distance, a car engine roared to life. The woman’s lips moved but the growling engine drowned out all other sound. The sound became louder.
Growling. Darwin was growling.
Darwin?” Lucinda woke with a start.
The shepherd growled again and hopped off the bed, padding into the living room.
A quiet knock sounded from the front door. Lucinda rolled out of bed to answer it.
Pushing Darwin aside to open the door, she peered sleepily into the moonlit night. A breeze blew across the clearing, stirring the grass. Confused, she shut the door before the breeze could make its way inside.
“Come on back to bed, Darwin. Nobody there.”
As she pulled the blanket up to her chin, the knocking started again.
Lucinda slipped out of bed and walked back into the living room. The sound clearly came from the other side of the door, faint but unmistakable. She slid her hand quietly over the knob. At once, the knocking stopped. Turning the knob slowly, she pulled the door open a crack, heart pounding in her chest.
“Hello?” An icy breeze slipped by her thigh as the scent of ozone assailed her senses. Her heart beat erratically. “Darwin, no!” The dog tried to push past her, growling once more. Rattled, Lucinda closed the door with a bang and locked it.
Lucinda lay in bed and shivered, unable to get warm. A chill slipped under her covers, stealing up her spine. The smell of roses clung to her blanket, the warmth from their scent seemed to be at war with the cold. An hour passed and she finally dropped off to sleep.
For the remainder of the night, the two unseen presences in her room remained at an impasse.


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.

Author website:

Amazon Author Page:

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Goals, Thanks, and Flying Penguins

Yes, those are flying penguins. Flapping, rather. In midair, World of Warcraft style. What do they have to do with the new year? Nothing, really. But hey, I thought they were cute.

I used to write a huge journal entry every new year's eve. It was kind of a tradition for me, in which I moped a whole bunch about the past year, and had better hopes for the future year. It was never a resolution type of post, since I'm not a huge fan of resolutions per say, but goals? Sure, I like goals. In retrospect, it was also a tradition to not look back on those journal entries full of goals because I usually never completed them.

2012 has been a little different, I'm happy to announce. I did write up a goal post for the year, but it wasn't quite in the same tradition as my new year's eve posts. Less mopey for one, which was definitely a step in the right direction! I'm also happy to announce that I actually completed all of the goals, and even rose above them. I wanted to finish Captive by the Fog and start submitting it to publishers. I succeeded, and saw it published in the same year. :D

I've been a little quiet on the blog front after Captive by the Fog's release (See? I really am bad about this blogging thing). Part of the silence is due to starting work on a new, big project-- a four part series of novels that will feature a cool host of LGBT characters and a fantasy universe complete with teleportation between multiple worlds. The project's a little ambitious and I have began writing on it, but found myself backtracking a bit in order to do some careful character planning. But fear not, I will journey onward! 

I also wanted to take the time during this new year's celebration to thank some very awesome people who made a difference during the release of Captive by the Fog:
  • Clarissa Johal, thank you for the promotion help and for the random email commentary we've been exchanging as you read through Captive by the Fog. I love getting to see your reactions. :D
  • Lyman from Gamut, our Guild Wars 2 guild, thank you so much for your awesome comments! Rereading this comment-- "I loved it! It was creepy and fascinating and terrifying and hot in all the right places."-- still makes me grin like an idiot. 
  • Thank you to Sandy on Facebook, who approached me out of the blue and asked to be my friend after reading my lil' novel and enjoying it. That seriously made my day. <3
  • Special thanks to my sister, Debbie, and her best friend Kim, for devouring Captive by the Fog and sharing plenty of reactions, encouragement, and great feedback!
  • Mitch Sanford, thank you for being so awesome and enthusiastic about the joys of being a newbie writer, and for leaving wonderful reviews everywhere!
  • Corrii, thank you for being, well, you. ;) For carting me around to see flying penguins, putting up with my half-drunken 4 am babbling, and everything in between.
  • And last but not least, thank you to all the people who bought Captive by the Fog or intend on picking it up at some point! You're my unsung heroes.
Now, back to those flying penguins. 2013 is looking to be a decent year so far, and I hope I'm able to pull off what I've got planned. I don't have my goals for the year written up yet, but within the next month I'll probably be able to figure some things out and do just that.

Penguins aren't supposed to fly, and it sometimes seems just as hard to make a living off this writerly stuff. I've still got a ways to go, but with some luck and a little persistence-- I'll try my best to spread these wings and take flight. I'll never match the cuteness of a flying penguin, but hey, that's fine by me!