by Clarissa Johal
Nowadays, with my kiddos and husband, I seem to get less strays coming my way. Different neighborhood, I suppose, but we do get them. There’s the four pound cat that followed my husband to his car after work (she now weighs a hefty 15 pounds), a goldfish with a defective swim-bladder that needed to be hand fed, freshwater crabs that came to us as ex-classroom pets, a dog that had been chained in someone’s back yard for years and hadn’t the slightest idea of what “inside” meant, an iguana that had broken every bone in her body because she was fed iceberg lettuce for years, the list goes on.
But what about attracting strays when it comes to writing? Is that possible? I’ve talked before how my paranormal novel BETWEEN came to me. I was working on my fantasy series when I was hit by two characters that didn’t belong. Though I kept setting them aside, they wouldn’t leave me alone and seemed determined that I write their story. Which I did. I had the rough draft for BETWEEN in a month and the finished novel a year later. It was accepted for publication three months after that. In retrospect, the novel came “out of the blue.”
This gives me pause for thought. Can writers attract “strays” when it comes to the spirit world? Is that possible? We’re open to ideas and thoughts and commit them on paper. Given that there are probably many people in history with stories to tell, would it not make sense that the spirit world would take advantage of that? I guess we’ll never know but it’s certainly up for debate.
Find out what story Lucinda, Lucas and Cronan have to tell in BETWEEN.
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.
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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.
Learn more about Clarissa Johal on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.