Friday, November 29, 2013

Mystical High by Lisette Brodey (Excerpt, Review and Interview)

Title:  Mystical High
Author:  Lisette Brodey
Published: October 7th, 2013
Publisher: Saberlee Books
Word Count:  72,700
Genre:  YA Paranormal
Content Warning:  Mild sexual content and non-gratuitous profanity
Recommended Age:  14+
In Mystekal, a small, dying town in the Southern California desert, only 75 students attend the old, sometimes creepy high school dubbed “Mystical High,” where strange things have been known to happen. Jessie Dalworth and Jinxsy Patterson are juniors and lifelong best friends. At home, Jessie deals with the pain of an absentee mother who has abandoned the family for the lure of Hollywood; Jinxsy contends with a 17th “birthday present” she never wanted or expected.

Meanwhile, at school, the unexplained activity begins to escalate when Jinxsy keeps seeing a long-haired guy in the hallway checking her out. Jessie can’t see him, but her younger brother, River, can.

Then, in English class, a stapler mysteriously flies off teacher Eve Carrow’s desk, hitting a student in the face who has just mouthed off to her. The beloved teacher is in the unenviable position of having her brute of a father as principal, so she hates sending any student to his office. As Principal Ernest Carrow begins to terrorize Eve and others more openly, something or someone unseen decides that it’s payback time.

School is getting stranger, and Jinxsy and Jessie are faced with mind-boggling changes in their home lives that complicate everything. When a string of shocking events expose explosive secrets, decades-long mysteries are finally revealed.
Excerpt from Mystical High by Lisette Brodey

Eve Carrow, Mystekal High’s English teacher, glanced at the giant wall clock as Jessie and Jinxsy slipped into their seats seconds before the bell.
“Welcome, you two. I wasn’t sure you were going to join us today. I like to be fashionably late at parties sometimes, but school is a different story.”
The old bell sounded loudly.
Jessie opened her notebook, grabbed To Kill A Mockingbird, the current class book, from her backpack, and sat upright in her chair. “See? We’re on time. Ready to go.”
“Yes, you are.”
Jinxsy, still fumbling through her backpack, looked at her friend, then at her teacher. “Jess had a mishap with her locker. Cut her finger.”
From the back of the room, Taylor cackled. “Yeah, it took her ten minutes for Her Vampiress to suck a few drops of blood and ten more minutes for the Jinx to calm her down.”
Jessie turned abruptly in her chair. “You are so exaggerating, Taylor. Keep out of my business.”
“Your boring business.” Taylor ran her fingers through her blond and purple hair. “No wonder you don’t have a boyfriend when the biggest part of your day is a little boo boo on your finger. Waaaaaaaah!”
Eve, though usually of the sweetest demeanor, slammed a book down on her desk. “Taylor Dennison. Stop. Now. Everyone else, face front.” As she looked around the room, her angry look softened. “Okay, who wants to begin our discussion about Boo Radley?”
Sophia Chavez raised her hand. “I will.”
“Thank you, Sophia. Please go on.”
“Well, I know the kids made up a lot of stories about him, but it’s only natural, you know? I mean, he never came out of the house. There were creepy rumors, like how he stabbed his dad in the leg with scissors. If I heard that about someone, I would be thinking the same way that Scout, Jem, and Dill did.”
Eve nodded her head in agreement. “It’s very easy to assume all kinds of things when we don’t know the truth.”
“So why is that, Ms. Carrow?”
“Well, Sophia, I think it’s because as human beings, we like answers. If an answer can be looked up or found out, most of us will choose that route. But when the answer to a question isn’t readily available, we tend to make things up, to satisfy our inquiring brains. It’s not a good thing to do, but human beings engage in this practice quite liberally. What do you think of my assessment?”
Jessie, with little animation on her face, responded to her teacher’s question. “I think you’re right.”
Taylor yelled from the back of the room. “Why? Because people talk crap about your hermit crab aunt?”
Jessie turned and glared at Taylor. She bit her lip so hard it almost bled. She knew that if she responded, the words would be ugly ones she wouldn’t want to be heard saying.
Eve was furious. “Taylor, that was positively uncalled for. And just plain cruel. I’m being extraordinarily generous by not sending you to the principal’s office. But one more outburst and I won’t hesitate.”
Silence fell over the room. The principal of Mystekal High was Eve’s father, Ernest Carrow. He had been the principal since Eve herself was a student. The only person who seemed to tolerate him at all was his secretary, and he seemed to like children as much as picnic goers like ants.
Carrow was the wealthiest man in Mystekal and owned a large percentage of the real estate, both commercial and residential. He didn’t need the salary he earned as Mystekal High’s principal, but he liked to control people, and being in charge of everyone at the school helped him to do just that.
Even though she couldn’t stand sending students to her father’s office, Eve hated making empty threats even more. She despised him, and sending a student for discipline meant that she had to deal with her father as well. She would have to endure a lecture about how she wasn’t able to control her class or how she had failed to mete out proper discipline. Eve pretended not to hear Taylor’s last remark and prayed she would not step over the line again. At least for the remainder of class.
“Would you all please take out your class assignment for this week? We’re going to share.”
Cade Swift raised his hand.
“Yes, Cade?”
“Do you mean the paper you asked us to write on who we thought Boo Radley really was? The one where you wanted us to write a description of how we saw his life inside that house?”
“The one and only.”
Cade bit his lip. “Uh, would you mind calling on me last?”
“Since when are you shy?”
“I’m not. But after what you said to Sophia I’m thinking maybe I need to rewrite my paper.”
Taylor’s boyfriend, Santino Vega, laughed. “Dude, don’t you mean write it. Period.”
Cade, the dark-haired boy known for his smiling eyes was quick to respond. “No, Vega, I mean rewrite it.”
Eve Carrow was intrigued. “Why do you want to rewrite it, Cade?”
Cade looked embarrassed and responded more softly than usual. “Um, I think maybe I was too judgmental. Just want to do it over.”
Jessie looked admiringly at Cade, then at her best friend. Jinxsy knew Jessie had a crush on him but had been denying it. Jessie’s glance confirmed that she was ready to admit it. But whether or not she was ready to seek out Cade’s affections was an entirely different story.
Eve Carrow smiled. “Actually, Cade. I’d like you to read your paper as you wrote it and then tell us how you’d like to change it.”
“Oh, man. Do I have to?”
The class giggled and Jessie’s eyes grew wide with anticipation.
“As your teacher, I would truly appreciate it.”
“Read it, dude. Then tell everyone how you’ve gone soft on Radley.”
Eve looked sternly at the class loudmouth. “Mr. Vega, I can only surmise by your comments that you would prefer to lead the class into this exercise. By all means, why don’t you go first?”
Santino looked angry. “Listen, Ms. Carrow. I think it was really a stupid assignment. I mean, Harper Lee already wrote the character. There’s no point in us rewriting the dude. Sorry, didn’t do it and I’m not gonna do it. Any questions?”
As Santino’s words fell on the shocked class and the disrespected teacher, a gust of desert wind rushed through the open window, blew a small stapler off Eve Carrow’s desk, and sent it flying through the air before it landed sharply on Santino’s mouth.
“What the —?” Santino wiped the blood from his mouth.
As the class focused on the freak accident, Eve looked out the window and noticed that it was a very still day. The sagebrush was not moving. There was not even the faintest trace of wind.

Review for Mystical High

Jessie and Jinxsy are just trying to get through their junior year of high school in the dying town of Mystekal. Jessie is just starting to build up some normalcy after her mother Arielle's abrupt departure for Hollywood (and a sleazy producer) and she thinks she's ready to start dating thoughtful (and cute) Cade. Now if only her aunt and brother River could be a little less eccentric, home life might not seem quite so bizarre.

But bizarre is just beginning for Jinxsy, who finds out a terrible secret the day she turns seventeen that turns her life upside down. But that's nothing compared to what she runs into after she tries to run away, and that doesn't stack up to what saves her after.

What does this have to do with the boy only Jinxsy and River can see, why is their English teacher Miss Carrow starting to get increasingly nervous around the girls and what finally pushes Jessie's aunt over the edge? And is Arielle's return going to mean life's going to get easier for Jessie, or is that going to make everything much worse?

While I don't read a lot of YA or paranormal, I found this short novel engrossing and finished the book in a day. Throughout the story, I was deeply impressed by the themes of second chances, complicated motivations and secret identities. While I could figure out pretty quickly who some of the mysterious characters were, I was genuinely surprised by others. The only disappointments I had were that the villain's motivations weren't explained as thoroughly as the other characters (but I wonder if this will be addressed in future installments) and that the ending wrapped up a little too neatly. However, I was still excited by the prospects that were hinted at for the characters and the town as a whole. I look forward to reading the next installment.

Recommended for fans of YA and paranormal.

About the Author:
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.

Her first-published book, CROOKED MOON (General Fiction) was published in both the trade paperback and Kindle editions in 2008. Her first-written, second-published book, SQUALOR, NEW MEXICO (Young Adult/General Fiction) was published in the Kindle and trade paperback versions in 2009.

Her third novel, MOLLY HACKER IS TOO PICKY!, a romantic comedy, was published December 1, 2011. The author blogged as her character, Molly Hacker, for over a year. All blogs can be found at

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.

Lisette's fourth novel, MYSTICAL HIGH, is the first book in her YA Paranormal Desert Series trilogy.

Author Interview

This is the second YA novel you've written. What do you like about the genre that keeps you coming back?
Oddly enough, when I wrote my first YA book, Squalor, New Mexico, I had no idea I was writing in that genre. I only found out when an agent, responding to my query, wrote to me and said something like, “I love your writing. Darla is a delightful narrator. I’m sorry, but I don’t represent YA.” Sounds silly now, but I was stunned.
I wrote the Squalor, New Mexico because I wanted to tell a story about a girl growing up in a family (in 1970s East Coast suburbia) who were consumed by the past and by the lies they kept telling to protect what they believed to be true. I came back to the genre because I believe that the teen years, when we transition from being a child to an adult (or to feeling like one), are a critical time in our lives. For that reason, it’s a special time to write about.
This time you went with a paranormal angle. What made you decide to venture into that category?
I’ve had a lifelong interest in the paranormal. Not only have I experienced some events, but also I know many people who have. I think it’s fascinating because there’s always that part of me that wonders, Could this really happen?
I also believe that the paranormal may be a bigger part of our lives than we think. Paranormal events may not always reveal themselves as such, but I believe they exist in ways we may never imagine.
In a lot of novels, especially for this age group, the story centers on one character. This story follows best friends Jessie and Jinxsy pretty evenly. What was your thinking behind having two protagonists?
Friendships have always been important to me, as I believe they are to most people, and many of my childhood friends are still my friends. My novel Crooked Moon also has two protagonists whom I write about evenly, but it’s a very different story. It’s about two women who went their separate ways at age 18 and reunite 23 years later after having lived drastically different lives. All of my novels to date have a strong theme of friendship.
In Mystical High, Jessie and Jinxsy are two girls who live in a dying desert town, so their friendship and close bond is of special importance, because there aren’t many people left in the town of Mystekal. The closeness they share is an integral part of their growing up. They learn not only from their own life events, but also from one another’s. I find it interesting, both in real life and in fiction, how the circumstances in people’s lives can change so quickly. For Jessie and Jinxsy, having an inside look at each other’s personal lives, not just their own, offers them a more complex view of the world as they come of age.
Not surprisingly, a lot of strange things happen in this book. They trace back to a pivotal event, but are we going to find out there's something about Mystekal that makes it conducive to the paranormal?
I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but I can tell you that there is more to the story I tell in Mystical High that will be revealed in the second book. Each book in The Desert Series can be read as a standalone novel but, of course, will be even juicier if you’ve read the previous one.
As much drama as was created by certain paranormal phenomena, there was much more created by the unreliable adults. Do you think that's something that's gotten worse or better in real life since you were a teenager?
Certainly not better. This is an interesting question and one someone could write a book about. For one thing, since I was a teenager, the world has become a different place. Although I had pen pals growing up, that was pretty much the only way for me to learn about the lives of others in different countries. Now, with technology, the Internet, and social media, our world is very small. People are mingling in ways that they never did before. There are pros and cons to almost every innovation. I think life is much more complicated in today’s world, though I never felt it was uncomplicated when I was a child.
Mystekal was really a short drive to Hollywood and Beverly Hills, but they're worlds apart in every other way. While there isn't such a place as Mystekal, did you have a particular location in mind when you were creating this world?
Mystekal and Beverly Hills are about two hours and change apart. I’ve visited many desert towns, both in the area where this book takes place and in other parts of California. Mystekal is not meant to be one particular town. It is a hybrid of places that I have seen. In all of my novels, I fictionalize neighborhoods and small towns.
Leaving aside Jessie and Jinxsy, which character did you most enjoy writing for?
Fourteen-year-old River, Jessie’s brother, is probably my favorite character. He’s smart, has a passion for knowledge and words, and sees dead people, plus his mouth is usually two steps ahead of his brain. He works hard to hide his vulnerability and sensitivities that have been formed through the hurts in his young life. He’s a quirky and complex character.
Most of Jessie and Jinxsy's classmates had a lot of shades of gray; I found myself rooting for people toward the end who had made me sneer in the beginning. I also found myself horrified in the middle by someone who had started out as a "good guy." Taylor, however, was consistently bad news. Are we going to find out more about her story in the next installments?
Perhaps. I can’t give away too much, but I can tell you that Taylor’s younger sister will be a main character in the second book in this series. So, at the very least, readers will hear about Taylor and know where she ended up after high school.
Without giving anything away, which character can we expect to see the most changes in as the series continues?
I can tell you that River will be a high school senior in book 2 and one of two main characters. (Yes, I’m doing it again: two protagonists, only this time with two boys who are best friends.) The Dalworth family will be a part of the story, especially Arielle. Many of the characters from Mystical High will be present, but I will be introducing brand-new characters/families and fresh stories that will add more intrigue to the story already told. There will be new paranormal elements as well. That’s a promise.

Giveaway Details:
There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
  • $35 Amazon Gift Card (INT)
  • Print copy of Molly Hacker Is Too Picky! (US only)
  • Print copy of Squalor, New Mexico (US only)
  • Print copy of Mystical High (US only)
  • Tote bag (US and CAN only)

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Monday, November 25, 2013

Bird of Prey by Danielle-Claude Ngontang Mba (Excerpt, Author Interview and Character Interview)


TITLE– Bird Of Prey - Sémya Slotin Mystery #1
SERIES – Sémya Slotin Mystery
AUTHOR – Danielle-Claude Ngontang Mba
GENRE – Mystery Romance
PUBLICATION DATE – October 7th 2013
PUBLISHER – Ever After Edition
COVER ARTIST – Danielle-Claude Ngontang Mba

Bird Of Prey Cover Final ebook  


This was supposed to be an easy case...

 Sémya Slotin had spent the last three years living in London with her best friend Polliannah Koch staying away from solving cases. After Hawaii, she was taking a break from puzzles, cases and mysteries that could potentially get her killed. Instead, she had been doing her second and third favorite things, drinking and selling expensive vintage wines and having earthshattering sex with the mysterious, sexy, beautiful but ever so secretive Josh Heinz. Life in London was good….until her funds ran out. Too much wine drinking, not enough wine selling!

When fashion designer and adoptive mother, Annika Slotin, summoned her back to Paris to hire her for what Sémya considered being the easiest case of her amateur sleuth career, all she could think of and seeing was money signs and a well-deserved Cuban holiday once it was solved.

What Sémya didn’t see was her stumbling on the fresh corpse of supermodel Johanna Cartier. She didn’t think that male model turned fashion designer Julian Marais-Caldwin, who also happened to be Sémya’s ex, would be suspected of brutally murdering her. Johanna was his girlfriend, his muse and he loved her. Sémya didn’t see the dead bodies piling up or the conspiracy theories.

Sémya was a little rusty. But then again, it was supposed to be an easy case and she was going to solve it. One vintage wine at a time… Sémya Slotin was officially back in business!


Teaser - Bird Of Prey


Polliannah knew that Sémya would go all Nancy Drew on her tonight. After playing nice with a few guests from the fashion house, she discreetly slipped to the hallway and gestured her to come with her. “I just need to see what’s going on over there?” she whispered as she was removing her shoes.
“Is this not a felony?” she asked Sémya. And she wasn’t going to remove her shoes! Sémya frowned back. How could it be a felony, they are not breaking and entering. They are already inside the house. Every step she was taking was making a sound. “Sorry,” she whispered when Sémya hushed her for the fourth time.
“This house is a maze,” she said opening the third room. It was yet another bedroom, another empty bedroom. She looked around, and apart from the furniture, the place was empty.
“What are you searching for?” She whispered.
“Something…anything. I’ll know when I see it,” Sémya muttered back. “Hide here,” she said when they heard footsteps. She left the door slightly opened so they could see. Johanna was at the edge of the corridor with the gorgeous man they saw at the beginning of the party.
“She’s cheating on Julian?”
“Hush Polli, I want to hear what they’re saying,” she told her.
“Because you have dog hearing?” Polliannah said. The man smoothly passed his hand around Johanna’s waist but she removed it. “Okay maybe he’s just a grabby guest?”
“No, he’s completely invading her personal space. She’s just being careful,” Sémya said. “Peter! Not here, not now.” Johanna said before moving away.
Peter stayed behind and looked their way. They both held our breath until he walked away. “And now I found it,” she smiled. They quickly sneaked back to the party.
“So are you going to tell Julian?” Polliannah asked her.
“Tell him what? That she was talking to some bloke?” She said as she put her shoes back on. “This is Eileen Clarke,” Sémya told Polliannah when the bubbly blond woman joined them. “You’re late but you look lovely tonight.”
“Nice to finally put a face to the name, Polliannah I presume.” Eileen blushed and turned her attention the younger woman who was next to her. “And this is Emma Blum, Johanna’s assistant. She organized this entire shindig for Miss Cartier. I just got here but everything looks great!”
Emma looked a little shaken. “Are you alright Emma?” Sémya said.
She looked away for a bit but smiled. “I’m fine. Who’s up for a tour?"
Polliannah looked at Sémya, they just had their own private tour. Eileen looked very excited about the idea. They all nodded back. “Shall we?” Emma said.



Bird Of Prey  - Book soundtrack  teaser


Bird Of Prey  Teaser IV



Semya - Character bio Dreamcast vignettePolliannah - Character bio Dreamcast vignetteAlly - Character bio Dreamcast vignetteJosh - Character bio Dreamcast vignetteJulian - Character bio Dreamcast vignette     
  Bird Of Prey  Teaser I



1 $25 GC amazon, iTunes or BN 10 Kindle Copies of The Plot Thickens, Bird Of Prey first sequel

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  Bird Of Prey  Teaser II


Meet Danielle-Claude Ngontang Mba 

The Author, The Blogger, The Cheeky Reviewer

“My life journey is like my playlist, amazingly unique but full of contradictions with surprising joys with every song...”

I was born in Quebec City, Canada from Gabonese parents but grew up in Paris and Libreville the Gabonese capital until the age of 18. Are you yawning yet? I am... I moved back to Canada in 1999 after high school in Libreville to study Cinematography and Digital movie production in Laval University in Quebec then The International Academy of Design and Technology in Toronto. After graduating in 2003, I decided to sell my soul to the corporate world and worked in the Benefit Outsourcing Industry for seven in Toronto before reconnecting with her first passion writing.

"A teacher told me in high school that people didn't read anymore so I decided that I would make movies that didn't stick…"

I finally went back to school to study creative writing at Georges Brown College in 2010 and 2011. I started to write The Coulda Woulda Shoulda Song Series as an assignment and finished Book One in late 2011 before moving to London.

And the rest as they say is history... Almost two years later, I'm in London and wrote three novels: This Could Have Been Our Song! A coulda woulda shoulda ballad... (Book one) currently available on amazon and soon in iTunes, Kobo, Barnes and Nobles and Smashwords. The sequel This Would Have Been Our Song! Catchy tune and dancers tales will be release in January 2014. Bird Of Prey, my first mystery novel will be release in October 7th, 2013 on paperback before its wide release in November 25th, 2013. It will be followed by The Plot Thickens (a novella) in January 2014 and Polliannah Got Married! in April 2014 or earlier.

Author Interview

You wrote another book with a very strong female character. How is Semya different from Lucia?

They are like night and day but they could totally hangout in London and bond over a bottle of tequila. Lucia, like me, loathes vodka. Lucia would tell her about her overbearing sisters, her complicated love life and her career. Sémya would call her a snob with petty issues and would point out that she’s “dating” the sexy owner of the lounge and she knows people who could take care of her problems. Lucia would call her out on wasting her talent and they would laugh and drink to that!

Lucia’s strength comes from her family whether she likes it or not. Sémya’s strength comes from her survival instinct and her obsession for the riddles, cases and the truth. She doesn’t really know who she is yet or where she really comes from.

By the way, they have both been in boarding school around the same time and are only a year apart. I’m just putting it out there! LOL
You set your story in the fashion world, but Semya isn't the kind of woman we picture inhabiting that world. Why did you decide to set it there?

Sémya was supposed to be nosy clumsy designer assistant when I first decided to write a mystery. Then I changed my mind, I just couldn’t see her this way. I still wanted to kill a model and I’ve spent some time working fashion house in London so the research part was already done. It’s not like in The Bold and Beautiful at all! Much less glamorous.  
Is it fair to say that Semya, as brilliant as she is, also has a self-destructive streak?

Yes and Bird Of Prey didn’t even cover it. Now that the sequel is done I can quote one of the characters: 

Polliannah to Dmitri:“She wants to go to Maska.”
Dmitri to Pollianah: “Of course she does. That woman has always had a death wish."

Not to give too much away, but I loved that the damsel-in-distress and knight-in-shining armor roles were reversed. Did you do that on purpose?

For Bird Of Prey yes, I thought the situation called for it. It won’t always be the case.

Semya's wonderfully loyal, but she's also deeply suspicious. Is there anyone that she lets down her guard for?

The only two people in her life that are not lying to her, or so she thinks, her brother Aaron and of course Polliannah. In the second book, The Plot Thickens we get to know Polliannah better and what she had been through before Bird Of Prey and during Bird Of Prey.

Every time Josh was in a scene, I spent half the time screaming, "Oh my god, he's a crazy stalker, get away from him!" and "Damn, he is so hot!" Is Josh good for her?

The short answer is no. Not so much for what/who Josh really is but mostly because he’s enabling her obsession of riddles by keeping his identity a secret. She gots to know!

I chuckled every time Semya brought out her board, but at the same time I was fascinated. What made you come up with that?

Dr Reed and the rest of the BAU in Criminal Mind, I love that show. Spoiler Shemar Moore is part of my Sémya Slotin Mystery fictional cast.

How many Semya Slotin mysteries can we look forward to?

With Bird Of Prey, seven but the story shifts gear in The Plot Thickens. A lot of mysteries or unanswered questions would need to get resolved before Sémya takes on a new case.  

And interview with "Josh Heinz" (yeah right!)

So... tell us how you met Semya?

(sexy chuckles) It’s a little embarrassing…I was at the beach with a friend in Honolulu and this beautiful woman said that she just have to see me naked. So I obliged… she wanted to…check out my ink.

And that's the real story?

Ask her, we hadn’t met nor spoken to each over before that day.

Right... and remind us what you do again?

I own a lounge in Camden Town, Skins, maybe you heard it?

And you've been doing it for how long?

Um…we opened four years ago in September.

Uh huh. And, um, what did you before that?

Odd jobs here and there.

Got it. So, let me ask you, as brilliant as Semya is, how long do you think you'll be able to keep up this charade?

What are you getting at? (he stopped smiling)

When are you going to tell her the truth?

I’m sorry who are you working for again? And what truth might that be?

Okay- last question. Do you know who Semya Slotin's father is?

(He comes very close and his voice completely changes) Do you know who her father is? This interview is over!


Bird Of Prey  Teaser III