I have moved my blogging home. I’m now (back) over at Blogspot: http://julismapsroom.blogspot.com where I find I’m babbling more often…:) About just about anything that comes to mind. So, if you’d like to keep up on all my er, notes and latest releases, I have subscription links at the bottom of the blog. They look like this:
If you are following me on bloglovin’ you’re probably good. If you aren’t then do go look for those (*at the bottom of the blog!). *sigh* Meanwhile, I hope y’all have a good weekend and good luck in the giveaway, (if you try for it)!
I’m excited to announce that my young adult action and adventure novel, The Gladiator and the Guard, is now available for purchase! This is the second book in the Krillonian Chronicles, sequel to The Collar and the Cavvarach.
First Things First: a Little Information about Book 1:
Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is desperate to see his little sister freed. But only victory in the Krillonian Empire’s most prestigious tournament will allow him to secretly arrange for Ellie’s escape. Dangerous people are closing in on her, however, and Bensin is running out of time. With his one hope fading quickly away, how can Bensin save Ellie from a life of slavery and abuse?
What is the Collar for, and What is a Cavvarach?
The story is set in a world very much like our own, with just a few major differences. One is that slavery is legal there. Slaves must wear metal collars that lock around their neck, making their enslaved status obvious to everyone. Any slave attempting to escape faces the dilemma of how and where to illegally get their collar removed (a crime punishable by enslavement for the remover).
Another difference is the popularity of a martial art called cavvara shil. It is fought with a cavvarach (rhymes with “have a rack”), a weapon similar to a sword but with a steel hook protruding from partway down its top edge. Competitors can strike at each other with their feet as well as with the blades. You win in one of two ways: disarming your opponent (hooking or knocking their cavvarach out of their hands) or pinning their shoulders to the mat for five seconds.
for $2.99 a discounted price ofjust 99 cents through May 30th!
And now, The Gladiator and the Guard, with another awesome cover by the talented Jack Lin!
Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is just one victory away from freedom. But after he is accused of a crime he didn’t commit, he is condemned to the violent life and early death of a gladiator. While his loved ones seek desperately for a way to rescue him, Bensin struggles to stay alive and forge an identity in an environment designed to strip it from him. When he infuriates the authorities with his choices, he knows he is running out of time. Can he stand against the cruelty of the arena system and seize his freedom before that system crushes him?
Since it’s close to Halloween, I’ve decided to chat about what scares me. My girls find it frustrating that very little scares me. They are forever trying to jump from darkened corners, hide things in my bed, or dream up other diabolical ways to make mom scream.
To be honest, there are only two things I’m afraid of–werewolves and butterflies. My fear of butterflies will always remain a mystery, but I can trace my fear of werewolves back to one Halloween when I was six-years-old.
I had decided, as kids do, to pick the most impossible costume for my mom to sew. I wanted to be Snow White—complete with the huge skirt, laced bodice, and puffy sleeves. To my mom’s credit, she did a brilliant job sewing it together. So brilliant, in fact, that she refused to let me wear the dress until Halloween night. She was afraid I would ruin it.
Halloween night finally arrived, and off I went in full costume, my mom and dad in tow. I was never afraid of the dark, so when we came to one house that happened to have all the lights off, it didn’t occur to me that it was a set-up.
With pillow case in hand, I gathered my Snow White skirts and ran up the walkway, completely focused on my task at hand. The last thing on my mind, were the bushes on either side of the door. Bushes large enough to hide a teenager, dressed up as a werewolf, and completely focused on Halloween festivities of his own.
Out he jumped, and off I ran, screaming at the top of my lungs. I guess I must have snagged my skirt on a bush, because I remember hearing it rip and my mom screaming something of her own.
But, I was sure it was the werewolf—making a grab with the intent of dragging me back to his lair. So sure, in fact, that I continued to run.
My mom was mortified.
The teenager was mortified.
I was oblivious and kept running until my dad finally caught up with me.
From that point, all I remember was being dragged back to the house where the werewolf lived. I don’t remember the teenager removing his mask, I don’t remember him apologizing profusely, I don’t remember the fact that he dumped his whole stash of candy into my pillow case (so my parents tell me). I pretty much just blanked out.
And so a fear is born. I can’t watch werewolf movies before bed, else I have nightmares. I write scary stuff about ghosts, demons, and things that go bump in the night, but I won’t touch the subject of werewolves with a ten-foot sword. My girls think it’s great fun to don one of those rubber werewolf masks in the Halloween stores and chase me around with it. We laugh, but inside, that little six-year-old girl is screaming.
And candy is the farthest thing from her mind.
Thank you for having me as a guest, Night Mistress!
Mistress: Oh my! That’s just terrible, Clarissa. Most of the werewolves I know are rather cuddly, once you give them the right puppy chow. At least it provided fodder for some intriguing stories, yes? Why don’t you tell us a little about your novel, BETWEEN?
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.
Sounds wonderful, Clarissa! A spooky tale for a Halloween night for sure. Thank you for joining us.
Clarissa: And thank you for the tea. *sniffs tea suspiciously* I’m actually a coffee drinker. Forgive me if I set it aside for now…
Mistress: No, there’s nothing wrong with the tea, dear. I’ll see about getting you some coffee, though… 😉
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.
Okay, okay, girls. Stop looking under the kilts. 😉 We all know what’s under there. Or do we? I don’t know about wearing a heavy tweed skirt in summer, do you? (Okay, so it’s sweltering here). The weather makes everything just a wee bit uncomfy, doesn’t it? Nonetheless, I am writing (or #amwriting for those of you on Twitter!) and spoke with author Beth Trissel recently about my new release–about the ever-popular topic of men Kilts ;). Interested to learn a little? Then you can see the post here.
And check out Beth’s books while you’re there. They are fantastic! 🙂
Hello, everyone! I’m still working on that getting back to normal thing. In the meantime, I’ve a guest for your reading pleasure. For lovers of SF and YA , Mr. Michael S. Fedison is here to talk about his new release, The Eye-Dancers. Michael, you have the podium, sir!
I want to thank Juli for giving me this great opportunity to post on her website! I really appreciate it!
Late last year, I published a Young Adult sci-fi/fantasy e-book called The Eye-Dancers. This was a novel I felt I was meant to write. The four main characters are inspired by friends I knew growing up, and the themes in the story—the challenges, joys, and struggles of adolescence; the bonds of friendship; the mysteries of what we term “reality”; the concepts of quantum physics and parallel worlds; and an exploration into the oneness of all existence—are all things that resonate on a deep level for me.
I had a lot of fun writing The Eye-Dancers, and it is my hope that it takes readers of all ages on a wild and imaginative ride.
Here is a brief overview of the story . . .
Mitchell Brant is not your typical seventh grader. He is a compulsive liar, who adamantly defends his lies, no matter how outlandish they are. When he is tormented by a recurring nightmare of what he has come to call “the ghost girl,” he is certain that no one will believe him. Three nights in a row, he has dreamed of this “ghost girl” and her blue eyes that expand and swirl when he gazes into them. He is sure she is not of this earth, and that she is trying to draw him in to her world—wherever that may be—through the hypnotic power of her eyes.
Desperate to tell someone about his dreams, he decides to confide in Joe Marma, his best friend. To Mitchell’s surprise, Joe believes him; because he, too, has been having the same dreams—three nights in a row. They soon discover that their friend, Ryan Swinton, is also haunted by the “ghost girl.” What does it all mean? Who, or what, is this girl? And will she indeed transport them to her world the next time they fall asleep and dream?
Banding together, and convincing their classmate Marc Kuslanski to stand watch as they sleep, the three boys, along with Marc, are unwillingly thrust into an empty blue void. When they awake, they find themselves in a world that seems much like their own, and yet very different at the same time. The layout of the streets, the contours of the land, the feel of the place is familiar, almost like a replica of their town on earth. Yet the differences are puzzling. Old-fashioned cars that resemble 1950s designs; currency they’ve never seen before; an absence of PCs and cell phones. Even the spelling of words is slightly off. They wonder if this is all an extension of their dreams—or if it is actually real.
To solve the mystery, they need to work together, as a team. Joe, a natural leader and take-charge person, is short, with a chip on his shoulder, eager to think with his fists instead of his head. Ryan is the class clown, always wanting to elicit a laugh, but unable to make a decision on his own, preferring to go along with the group. Marc is a science whiz, and looks at the world through a rigid lens of rationality and logic. He continually tries to view their situation through scientific reason. This naturally collides with Mitchell’s storytelling and less logical, more intuitive nature.
Marc suggests they are in a parallel world, a variant of their hometown in a different universe, and the mystery deepens when they spot a poster of a kidnapped girl nailed to a telephone poll. They realize with astonishment that the picture is of their “ghost girl,” who is, evidently, not a ghost at all, but a seven-year-old girl named Monica Tisdale who has been missing for several days. It all adds up, though the conclusions strain belief. This kidnapped girl has somehow managed to pull them into her world, in a parallel universe, because she needs their help.
Marc rejects this explanation, and attempts to find a way back home based on the principles of quantum mechanics. But Mitchell, Joe, and Ryan understand—the only way to return home is to rescue Monica Tisdale from her kidnappers. Questions remain. Why were they chosen, from a different universe, to come to her aid? If she has such great powers, why wasn’t she able to communicate with people from her own world through the vehicle of dreams? The answers are elusive—for the boys and even for Monica Tisdale herself. They were chosen. That’s all that really matters.
Throughout their experience in Monica’s world, each of the boys must confront not only the dangers of the situation, but also himself. Mitchell learns that he doesn’t need to puff himself up through lies to be heard and appreciated; Joe discovers that fighting isn’t always the way to solve one’s problems; Ryan realizes he has what it takes to stand up and be decisive when he needs to; and Marc comes to understand that science and logic and theories cannot always solve all of life’s mysteries. There are some things that can never be fully explained or comprehended.
Finally, they learn that everything is connected. Events and people that seem so far away, a universe away, are, in actuality, much closer to us than we ever dared to think.