Guest Authors

Desert Star by Lisette Brodey Book Tour, Interview, and Giveaway

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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+

Synopsis:

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.
 Excerpt:
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.”

Keep Calm Lisette and Answer These Questions 

Do you consider yourself a logophile? If so, have you always been?

Absolutely. I love words. I love puns (so did my mother), word games, word origins, and of course, reading.

What is your favorite color?

This is a question I’m often asked and can never answer. The color I might like for a new car might be different from colors I would wear or use to decorate my home. I am not a fan of primary colors, though. I like purple a lot, and I also like muted earthy colors a lot. I like blue but only with gray or green in it. Some shades of royal blue and bright red actually freak me out. Yes, I’m strange.

Where were you born? Where did you grow up?

I was born in Philadelphia and grew up in the suburbs, but I moved to New York right after high school. And I continued to grow up there. I think.

What is your favorite football team?

I don’t enjoy football at all. I do love baseball, but I never have time to follow it anymore. I used to have season tickets for the NY Mets.

Who is your favorite author?  What is your favorite book?

I don’t have one favorite author, but I do love the way Charles Dickens wrote and the life he gave to his quirky, colorful characters. I love the prose of F. Scott Fitzgerald. I love writers who do beautiful things with words.

What do you do when you are not writing?

Do you mean aside from all of the writing-related activities, like social media, promotion, and everything else? I love spending time with friends, enjoying the outdoors, going to the movies, reading, playing with my cat and dog, listening to music, and much more.

Do you have a day job as well?

Once in a blue moon, I work as a SAG background actors in films and TV shows.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Write about what you are passionate about. Take your time to write, to edit, to rewrite, and to find a good editor. Compete with yourself, not with others. Don’t rush to publication just because you’re eager to have your work out there. Be careful not to share your WIP with the entire world. Some people do it, but I don’t recommend it. Getting feedback from the masses can be a debilitating, confusing, and soul-crushing experience.

Is being a writer a curse or a gift?

It is a gift that on any given day can feel like a curse.

Where do you write?

I write at my desk in the living room. But I work on my books around the clock. And I mean that. I have actually dreamed solutions that I’ve need for a particular novel.

Do you prefer silence or some noise while you write?

Quiet. Always. Sometimes I can edit without music, but composing requires absolute concentration. If there is loud noise outside, I’ll put on classical music to drown it out.

What do you typically drink while writing?

Mostly water. But I will have one diet soda per day because it gives me a much-needed boost.

When did you first start and when did you finish your book?

I started Desert Star in the fall of 2013 when the first book in the trilogy, Mystical High, was with my editor. I then stopped to finish book one, publish it in November 2013, and then I finished Desert Star in March 2014.

How do you market your book? What avenues work best?

I always market in several ways, but social media and advertising would be the top two methods.

What has been the toughest criticism so far?

All art is very subjective. From the very beginning, I have to accept that my work will not be for everyone.  There is no book, film, song, artist etc. that will be liked by everyone. That’s impossible. If someone doesn’t like my book, I can accept that; I expect that. The most frustrating criticism is usually from someone who has misread or misunderstood something. For example, a recent review criticized a scene in one of my novels that never existed. I do not engage with reviewers, so I just have to let it go. But it is maddening.

What has been the best compliment?

I’ve been lucky enough to be on the opposite end of some wonderful praise. Quoting my best reviews is awkward for me, but the greatest compliments are always when people really GET what I set out to do and tell me they loved the characters and couldn’t put the book down.

Is anything in your book based on real-life experiences or purely all imagination?

My books are always based on my life experience in some peripheral way, but the characters are always hybrids of people who I have known, seen, or simply imagined. One of the main themes in Desert Star is bullying. In one scene, a very ugly note is taped to the locker of the protagonist, Larsen Davis. The words are very ugly, but they are not mine. They are the words that someone wrote to a college friend of mine many years ago. We were riding on the elevator at school and someone had posted a bullying sign in the elevator. My friend gasped in horror as he read it and I was so struck by the coward’s words that I used them in this book many years later.

How did you come up with the title?

I can’t tell you precisely because it would give away the book. But I can tell you that Desert Star is Book 2 in a trilogy that takes place in the southern California desert. Much of the action takes place in an abandoned theater that is being restored, and the main character, Larsen Davis, is an aspiring actor.

Will there be a sequel?

There will be a book 3, which will be the last in the series. I’m writing all of these books so that they work as standalone novels, but of course, the reading experience is richer if you’ve read the previous book(s). I don’t like to write cliffhanger endings. I think readers deserve a real ending after taking the time to read an entire novel.

What project are you working on now?

That would definitely be the final book. I hope to have it finished and published by next summer. It will be the most romance-oriented book in The Desert Series.

What question did I leave out that you’d like to answer?

What are you going to do after The Desert Series is completed?

I’m going back to writing literary fiction. As a matter of fact, I’ve already written 27K of my 7th novel. It is based on a story that I started writing at 17 years of age. I then turned it into a one-act play, a two-act play, and now it will be a novel. The characters are very strong and this book excites me so much because I’ve known the characters most of my life.

Keep Calm and please don’t litter.

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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2 Comments

  1. Pingback: LIVE Book Tour - Desert Star by Lisette Brodey

  2. Hi, Kristy:

    Thank you so much for featuring me on your blog today! It’s been a pleasure.

    With all best wishes,

    Lisette

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