New Release Desert Star by Lisette Brodey!


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Title: Desert Star
Series: The Desert Series #2
Author:  Lisette Brodey
Published:  November 12, 2014
Publisher:  Saberlee Books
Word Count:  100,000
Genre:  YA Paranormal
Content Warning:  Mild sexual content and non-gratuitous profanity
Recommended Age:  14+
Larsen Davis isn’t afraid to stand up to those who bully him, but in a two-against-one situation at Mystekal High, it’s never easy. When classmate River Dalworth witnesses the abuse and intervenes, the two seniors become good friends. Larsen explains that he’s fighting another battle at home: his own mother, Raylene, bullies him for being gay.
When Larsen meets River’s mother, Arielle, and learns she is overseeing the renovation of the Desert Theater, he shares his dream for a career on stage. Soon, Arielle offers Larsen a job as her assistant, but Raylene is dead set against the idea of her son doing what she considers “gay work.” After Raylene gets a new boyfriend, Reggie, the bad situation at home worsens and Larsen has no choice but to leave.
Now working at the Desert Theater, Larsen feels the unearthly presence of someone in the long-abandoned theater. Meanwhile, as the theater nears completion, a talent show is scheduled for opening night. As it becomes more evident that the theater may have a ghost, it also comes to light that someone may be sabotaging the renovation and the show. Is the ghost real or just the handiwork of someone with a grudge?
Opening night at the Desert Theater sets the stage for a crime, never-imagined reunions, long-awaited explanations, and otherworldly miracles.
Larsen’s eyes began to water. “My father died when I was eleven. My mom says that the lack of a good male role model is what made me gay. She’s clueless. You know, Riv, when I was ten, my dad took me to the mountains one day. We were just sitting there, looking at the view, and he told me, ‘Son, when you grow up, there are gonna be some people who will bust your balls for being different. But take it from your old man, it’s okay to be whoever you are.’ ” “So your father knew you were gay?” Larsen wiped away a lone tear. “Yeah, he knew before I did. And I think he knew he was sick. That’s why he told me. I’m sure of it.” “Oh, damn, dude. I’m sorry. What did he die from?” Looking right, then left, Larsen paused before answering. “Some kind of lymphoma. My mother won’t talk about it.” “Sorry, Lars. I really am. So, what’s up with her?” Larsen looked in the distance and saw Jax and Antonio jump into a black Mustang where the driveway to the school met the main highway. “Let’s go, Riv. You don’t need to stand here and watch me hold the building up.” River laughed as he and Larsen started walking away from the school, toward the large expanse of desert where several students were still milling about, waiting for rides, or just talking. “I’ll tell you, if you can hold the building up, you can take care of those two clowns.” Larsen frowned. “Yeah, maybe. Anyway, my mom, well, she’s embarrassed to have a gay son. Tells me all the time that it’s hard enough being black, so what the hell did I have to go and be gay for. I keep telling her that I had as much choice in being gay as I did being black. But she’s not buying that. She told me she’s gonna squeeze the gay right out of me one day.” “Yeah, right. C’mon, come over to my house. Hang with me for a while. I live about a mile down the road, off to the right.” “I live about a mile and a half in the other direction. Oh, man, Riv. What if someone sees us walking to your house together?” “Then it means their eyeballs are in good operating condition. C’mon.” Surprised but pleased, Larsen walked alongside River. “You’re a pretty good guy.” River was embarrassed. “I’m okay. Tell me about your mom.” “She works as a waitress in Palm Desert. She goes in before I get home from school and gets off work around ten-thirty.” “She’s not around to cook dinner for you?” Larsen sighed. “No. I eat mostly frozen dinners. Sometimes on the weekend she cooks up a pot of something and leaves it for me to heat up. Or I cook a little something myself. But that’s not the worst part, Riv. My mom picks up men all the time. And she doesn’t know them that long before she brings them home. She says she’s doing it for me. Wants me to meet ‘real men.’ They stick around for a couple of weeks and dump her.” “Wow, dude. That’s some lame shit.” Larsen picked up a small rock and threw it as far as he could. “She told me the last guy dumped her because he couldn’t sleep in the house with a homosexual in the next room. What kind of idiot thinks that gay people are attracted to just anyone of the same sex? Or that we’re all sexual perverts? Makes me mad. Anyway, Mom told me I’m ruining her life.” River bit his bottom lip while Larsen’s words replayed in his head. “Sounds to me like it’s the other way around … sorry, I shouldn’t have said that.” “S’okay, Riv. I’m down with the truth. Your parents gonna have any problems if you bring me home. I don’t want to—” “No. No way. My family isn’t like that. We’ve got our own history, you know. Nobody in my house is going to judge you. This is probably TMI, but my mom split on us years ago and went to live in LA with some loser producer. It’s a long story, but she came home, stuff happened, and then she and my dad fell in love again and got remarried. When she first left, we thought she was gone for good. So you never know. We’ve even got a dog now. Maybe things will get better for you.” “Don’t think so, Riv. My mom hates me more every day.”
About the Author:
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Lisette Brodey was born and raised in Pennsylvania. After high school, she moved to New York City where she attended Pace University and studied drama. After ten years in New York, several of them working in the radio industry, she moved to Los Angeles, where she held various positions at Paramount Studios in Hollywood and CBS Studio Center in Studio City, CA.
Back on the East Coast, she worked for many years as a freelance writer, specializing in PR and the entertainment industry. In 2010, she returned permanently to the Los Angeles area. She is the author of five novels. Her first- published book, CROOKED MOON (General Fiction) was published in 2008. Her first-written, second-published book, SQUALOR, NEW MEXICO (General Fiction) was published in 2009. MOLLY HACKER IS TOO PICKY! (Women’s Fiction), was published December 1, 2011. In October 2013, Lisette’s fourth novel, MYSTICAL HIGH, book #1 in a YA paranormal trilogy, The Desert Series, was published. In January 2013, the author edited and published a book of her mother’s poetry (written 50 years earlier) called MY WAY TO ANYWHERE by Jean Lisette Brodey.
DESERT STAR, Book 2 in The Desert Series, was published November 2014.
Giveaway Details:
There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
  • $25 Amazon Gift Card
Giveaway is International
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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My Interview with the Lovely Lisette

What made you decide/what motivated you to write your first book?

I’ve always been a writer. I wrote 150 pages of my “first novel” when I was a teenager, but it wasn’t one I cared to finish. Although I’ve been writing all of my life, it took many years for me to realize that I wanted to be a novelist, rather than a playwright.

The first book I wrote was Squalor, New Mexico, a coming-of-age story about family secrets and dysfunction. It’s actually set in 1970s East Coast suburbia and has nothing to do with New Mexico. But the title is explained on the first page, so readers will understand its meaning right away.

My motivation was unusual. Every time I heard someone say that so-and-so lived in squalor, it sounded like a town to me. I wanted to open a novel with the words, “My aunt lived in Squalor,” and then build a story around that. As it turns out, the first line of the book is “My Aunt Rebecca lived in Squalor.”

That was my initial motivation, but beyond that, I wanted to show how dysfunction in families travels from generation to generation when issues are kept secret or not handled at all.

I should point out that although Squalor, New Mexico was my first-written book, I published it second. Crooked Moon was my first published book.

Did you wrestle with the idea of whether or not your work would be well received when it came time to publish your first book?

Not really. Not in the way you’re asking. I worked very hard to write, rewrite, and learn from the edits. I was more into wrestling with getting the book right than overwhelming myself with worry about its reception.

Writing is such a personal process. Is it hard not to take bad reviews as a personal insult and do you see good reviews as a personal compliment or purely a compliment of your work?

That’s a heavy question. First, I tend to accept the good and the bad as someone’s opinions of my work, not as that person’s opinion of me. There are reviews that cross the line, but over the years, I’ve developed a thicker skin. And I never forget there is nothing in this entire world that will be liked or appreciated by everyone. That’s impossible.

Do you have anything that motivates you to write? Do you have a specific process or do you just write as the ideas come to you?

I have no specific process per se. I write about stories that I feel passionate about. I write about life: the people who cross my path and make an impression, good and bad.

My new book, Desert Star, contains many stories and themes. One of them is bullying. But it’s about so much more that that.

Right now, I have a basic outline for Book 3 in The Desert Series, which I have already begun writing. It will be the most romance-oriented book of the series.

When I’m finished with this YA paranormal trilogy, I’m going back to writing literary fiction. I’m already 27K words into my seventh novel, which began as a short story when I was a teen. I’ve known the characters for a lifetime, so you see, I’m very eager to finally put their story into a book.

I have plans for my eighth novel, but the details are still being formed. I have a folder on my computer for all of my notes and random thoughts. As I get closer to writing this book, I’ll have a physical notebook where I’ll jot down ideas as they come to me. This will be a very important book for me because of the strong, flawed characters I so want to write about.

I see that your work spans several genres. Has it been difficult to maintain a consistent readership or do you purposefully market to a diverse demographic? 

There are pros and cons to writing across different genres. But no, I didn’t really set out to market to a diverse demographic. I just told the stories I wanted to tell.

But to be completely honest, I did write Molly Hacker Is Too Picky!, my romantic comedy, for a specific reason. Before indie publishing was feasible, it was difficult to get an agent for my first two books, though I came close many times. It was so frustrating. When I’d go to the bookstores, I would see chicklit all over the tables of new releases at Border’s or B&N (bookstores, remember them?) and I decided to write a book in that genre to “get in the door.” Once I was 65K into Molly, publishing my work became feasible so I put down that book to publish the first two novels. A year or so later, I went back to Molly and finished it. I’m very proud of this book, and Molly has a lot of fans. But I can’t see myself writing in that genre again.

Anyway, despite writing in many different genres, my books all have a similar style in that they’re all character-driven novels with multiple story arcs.

Before the first book in the series, Mystical High, you had not written in the YA paranormal genre before. What drew you to write in this genre? 

I’ve always been fascinated by the paranormal and have had many firsthand experiences with it. The Desert Series is, as I see it, “realistic paranormal.” By that, I mean that the characters deal with very true-to-life issues first and the paranormal activity blends with their lives.

There are many YA paranormals whose plots seem interchangeable. What inspired you to write such a unique story and was it difficult to maintain that originality throughout the writing process? 

Thank you for that compliment, Courtney. I definitely did not want to write in any formulaic manner. I started with a basic idea, and then, as I always do, I built on it until I had enough going on to write a book. As I wrote, more and more details came to me and then the book came alive. This is how I write every book.

I’m glad I don’t micro-plot from the beginning. Some of the best twists are often the unplanned ones.

Where do you find your inspiration for your plot lines? Are they ideas triggered through personal experience or are they thoughts that come to you when you are in a creative mindset? 

I would definitely say that my inspiration comes from people, whether it is people I know, people I observe, or even see on TV. Usually the characters come before the plot. But not always. Ideas can fall out of the skies, be a whisper in my ear, or come to me in a dream.

If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, as many avid readers are such, what would you say to them? 

I would tell anyone who wants to be an author to write what she/he is passionate about. Don’t try to emulate anyone else; develop your own unique voice. I would also caution all aspiring authors not to make the mistake of rushing to publication with an unedited or poorly edited book. That said, it’s important that one’s book is ready to be edited. Do everything you can to get it right.

I have always had a fascination with the morals or purposes that every author weaves into their story that they hope to impart to their readers, hence my site's name, The Moral Of Our Stories. What do you feel the moral of this work is, and why was it so important for you to share?

This book is chock full of morals, some more obvious than others. One of the themes of this book is bullying. We all know that bullying is horrible and that when someone is bullied, the pain of such an experience can remain for a lifetime. But sometimes, good comes from bad in unexpected ways. As for bullies, things never really end well. Anyone who gets off humiliating another human being is seeking amusement/fulfillment in the most toxic of ways. Bullies aren’t very happy people. The reasons why people bully are varied. While one might understand the reasons a bully is such an unhappy person, that understanding does not condone a bully’s actions. Bullies don’t win, even when they think they do.

Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Courtney. It’s been a pleasure. Good luck with your blog and your writing.