Monday, January 19, 2015

Welcome to the blog tour celebrating the 1 Year Anniversary of the release of Paranormal Gothic Horror Novel ~

STRUCK by Clarissa Johal  

Follow the tour (schedule posted below) to read new reviews, interviews with Clarissa, and exclusive excerpts.

"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.

Gwynneth awoke what seemed like seconds later. The green glow from her digital alarm clock read one thirty-two in the morning. She had been asleep for several hours. She felt Seth roll over and slide his arm around her waist. His leg slid over her thigh. Well, this is awkward, she thought. And a little on the sexy side too. She contemplated going back to sleep. Like that would be easy now. She felt completely awake in more ways than one. Sighing, she decided to do the right thing and tell Seth he should go back to his own bed. She started to roll over and felt the hard press of buttons down the sensitive skin on her back, and right away, she knew it wasn’t Seth.

She leapt out of bed. “Jesus! Where’s Seth?”

“In his room,” Julian replied.

He was dressed in the same clothing she’d seen him in last, which made her feel only slightly better, considering that he had been pressed up against her only seconds ago. Gwynneth straightened her pajama top and pushed past him.

Seth lay sprawled across his own bed, snoring lightly. “He looks so peaceful,” Julian murmured in her ear.

She pushed him back into the living room, closing Seth’s door behind them. “Can he see you if he wakes up?” she whispered.


That means I’m crazy, of course. Dammit. “I saw one of them in here, Julian. Those shadow things. I saw it. It went into Seth’s bedroom.”

A small frown creased his smooth brow. “You must have been imagining things, Gwynneth. Are you positive?”

“Yes.” She stared at him uncertainly. “You have to keep those things out of here.”

“You are asking for my help, then?”

Gwynneth hesitated. The question seemed to imply much more than it sounded.

“I need something from you in return,” Julian said quietly. He took her arms. “Just a small token. You won’t miss it.”

She pushed him away and took a step back. “I don’t understand.” She covered her face with her hands. “I’m going crazy. I must be. You’re a figment of my imagination. Forget it, Julian. Just go away.”

“Is that what you think I am?” He gently removed her hands from her face. “I’m not a figment of your imagination, Gwynneth. I assure you.”

She looked up at him. His face was so beautiful. Mesmerizing. She felt herself lean toward him without thinking.

“A small token.” His gloved thumb stroked her cheek hypnotically. “I can offer you so much in return. Let me show you.”

His storm-filled eyes made her feel like she was drowning. Before she could reply, Gwynneth was pulled into blackness.

Folding. Everything was folding in on them. The weight of the air pressed against her skin, crushing her. Beyond the air around her was something evil. Waiting. She could feel it. Poised to strike, it was ready to yank her from Julian’s grasp. She clung to Julian in fear, the blood pounding in her ears.

The weight was suddenly lifted, and they stood in the empty reception room of Homestead. “What was that—?” she began. ”Why are we here?”

“Trust me.” Julian held her as she gained her bearings again. “I will show you what it can be.”

“Nobody will die?”

“If you trust me.”

Perplexed, she allowed him to lead her down the hallway. They arrived at room 102—Mr. Allen’s room. Gwynneth liked Mr. Allen. Everyone liked Mr. Allen. Even his children came to visit him several times a week. There was always laughter and joy when he was in the room. She hated that his medication made him forget things from time to time, but most of the residents were on medication of some kind.

Mr. Allen sat on his bed, doing crosswords puzzles as he usually did. He was an insomniac, and she wasn’t surprised to see that he was awake at one thirty in the morning.

“He can’t see us either?” she whispered.

“No.” Julian stood behind her. His hands slid up her arms, and he nudged her forward. “Watch, Gwynneth.”

She watched, trepidation pricking at her insides. Something peeled itself from the wall and occupied space in the room. Something dark and filled with need.

“What is that?” she breathed. “Julian, you promised.” In a blink, it was beside Mr. Allen. The figure jerked and flickered, humanlike, but wrong. Its arms and legs were moving backwards against their joints, and its face morphed, but wouldn’t settle. It reached out with lightning speed and grabbed Mr. Allen by the shoulders.
“No!” she screamed.

Julian stopped her from lunging forward. His fingers dug painfully into her arms. “Tell it to go away, Gwynneth.” He pulled her back against his chest. “Stop it from taking his life. You can, you know.”

Her heart raced. Gwynneth felt like the air was being sucked from the room. Mr. Allen fell backwards onto his bed, and the figure crawled over him like an insect.

She lunged against Julian’s viselike grip. “Stop!”

The black figure immediately separated itself from Mr. Allen. In a blink, it was on them, and they fell backwards onto the floor. Icy cold washed over Gwynneth as the creature enveloped her body like a second skin. She was unable to catch her breath or think clearly.

“Enough!” Julian commanded.

It pulled away from them.

She gasped for air, but couldn’t seem to get enough into her lungs. This is what drowning feels like, she told herself. Or dying. She sensed the dark figure was barely containing itself from assaulting her again, and she could hear Julian mutter something. An incantation. The presence left as quickly as it came.

Footsteps echoed down the hallway, and Fenten burst into the room. “Mr. Allen? Shit.” He picked up the room phone and punched 9-1-1.

“Time to go now,” Julian murmured.

They were in her bedroom again, and she sagged against him, her energy drained. “What just happened?”

“A miracle.”

“I don’t believe in those. Am I hallucinating?”

“Perhaps. And now we must discuss our exchange.”

Publisher: Musa Publishing
Cover Artist: Kelly Shorten
ISBN: 978-1-61937-690-8 
Number of Pages: 255
Price: $4.99

Purchase Links:
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. She 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.

*Member of the Author's Guild

Coming May 19, 2015 from Permuted Press
VOICES, a paranormal psychological horror

STRUCK, a paranormal gothic horror
(2014) Musa Publishing
*Indie Book of the Day Award
*Nominated for the Preditors and Editors Readers Poll 2014

BETWEEN, a story of the paranormal
(2012) Musa Publishing
*Second place in the Preditors and Editors Readers Poll 2012
*Paranormal Reads gives BETWEEN 4 out of 5 Bats

PRADEE, a young adult fantasy
(2010) CreateSpace
*Second round finalist in Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Award Contest 2012

Short stories:
PIGEONS, published in the literary journal Susurrus
THE ROPE, published in the literary journal Susurrus

A WAY OF LIFE, published in The Sacramento Bee

Find Clarissa Online:
Praise for STRUCK:

Lovely Reads
"This book grabs you in right away and hold your attention...I so loved this book and didn't put it down until the very end." Read More ~ Lovely Reads

Bex 'n' Books
"This is a spooky thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat. You won't be able to put it down because you must finish it to see what happens, even if it keeps you up late at night to do so." Read More ~ Bex'n'Books 

Bibliophilic Book Blog
"STRUCK will get beneath your skin from the very beginning. Gwen’s a likable character with a difficult past and tenuous future after meeting Julian. I liked the secondary characters, especially Fenten and Poppy. The characters were definitely all well-developed and engaging." Read More ~ Bibliophilic Book Blog 

Straight from the Library
"The characters are well drawn and likable....The action is fast paced-- I read the book in one sitting." Read More ~ Straight from the Library 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
How did you come up with the idea for STRUCK?
Some stories begin as random scenes, some as characters, and some are born from asking the question, “What if?” I was hit with the idea of STRUCK while running on a forest trail near my house. It was during a thunderstorm and I wondered what it would be like to be hit by lightning. I write about ghosts and things that go bump in the night and in essence, those entities are energy. What if a portal was opened by a lightning strike? And what if that portal allowed the energy from those entities to escape? The idea was intriguing and I went to bed still thinking about it. That night, I dreamt I stood in a field, with lightning striking the ground all around me. But the lightning wasn’t just releasing electrical energy, the lightning was releasing negative entities from the Otherworld. I woke from the nightmare in a panic, thinking those entities had somehow attached themselves to me. And so a story is born.

I went on to research the effects of being struck by lightning, interviewed several lightning survivors, and began writing STRUCK. I’m continually amazed how a, “What if?” idea can expand into a novel.

What first inspired you to become a writer? And what compels you to continue your career as an author?
I wrote my first short story in grade six. I was asked by the teacher to read it aloud to the class, which terrified me. After I was finished, I realized that I actually had everyone’s attention! I was shy and we moved every year, so I was always the new kid. When you’re in that situation, it’s kind of like being invisible. Finding my voice through story-telling made me realize how powerful writing could be. As far as continuing—truthfully? I think I’d go nuts if I didn’t write.

What made you choose the genre of paranormal gothic horror?
I started out writing fantasy fiction. I was working on the second installment to my PRADEE series when there were two characters that kept showing up on the page, over and over. They didn’t belong in fantasy novel, nor did they belong in my story! But their backstory came to me so vividly, that I set aside my series and wrote my first paranormal novel, BETWEEN. I’ve been pulled into the Otherworld permanently now. The ideas come faster than I can write them down.

Tour Presented by:

Tour Schedule:

January 1: Tour Kick-Off

January 2: Exclusive Excerpt

January 4: Review

January 5: Review

January 7: Exclusive Excerpt

January 9: Exclusive Excerpt

January 12: Review

January 15: Exclusive Excerpt

January 17: Review

January 19: Exclusive Excerpt

January 20: Exclusive Excerpt

January 21: Interview

January 23: Exclusive Excerpt

January 26: Interview

January 28: Review

January 31: Reviews (by 3 different tour hosts)





  1. Thank you for hosting me in your blog, Sloane!

    1. My pleasure, Clarissa. I like your writing style and wanted to share you with others.

  2. Anonymous8:45 AM

    Thank you so much for hosting STRUCK and Clarissa today, Sloane.

  3. Congrats on your first anniversary, Clarissa! Wishing you much success! Cheers!