I’m excited to introduce you to Joyce Mangola. She’s a multi-published author in several genres, and she’s just released her first YA novel with Lycaon Press. I’ve not yet had an opportunity to read her story, Ghosts in the Mirror, but the cover and blurb are so intriguing, it’s jumped to the top of my TBR pile.
Blurb: Sixteen-year-old Jeremy Riggs has lived his life in and out of the hospital. While the doctors are clueless as to why he lapses into comas, he is well aware of his unique ability to merge with a wandering spirit. With his own soul too weak to sustain life, it’s the only thing keeping him alive.
Waking up from a coma a year after being found at the county dump—next to the remains of the last spirit to inhabit him—Jeremy finds the newest spirit is nothing like the previous ones. It’s bent on revenge and has the will to take control over his body. With the police lining him up as a murder suspect and an ancient evil pursuing him, Jeremy must help the ghost hitching a ride in his body find eternal rest without seeing his own soul snuffed out.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the excerpt below.
The trees along the sidewalk offered a little shelter from the few headlights from passing cars. Jeremy moved as fast as his fear allowed. That sick feeling just wouldn’t leave him, and he fished out a lollipop to calm his nerves. What good was packing a survival kit if it didn’t include his favorite snack?
His steps faltered, and he looked to his left, shivering. The house he’d been looking for stared back at him. The broken door looked like a jagged smile, the windows more like sinister eyes. Three stories high and he’d have to scale every single creepy step to get to what he needed.
A whip of cold wind had Jeremy moving into the house, squeezing through the broken slats. His nose wrinkled, and he pulled his shirt up over half his face as his lollipop fell out of his mouth. Dust hung in the air. It clogged his nostrils, and he gagged, but he couldn’t stop his exploration. At the base of the first flight of stairs, he closed his eyes. Eerie whispers filtered through his ears, and he shakily ascended the first step. Halfway up his hand came away from the rail as if it burned him. The sickening feeling crawled all over his skin, and he fought the urge to run back outside.
“This was a bad idea.” His right hand tapped his leg twice, and he sighed. Beverly wouldn’t allow him to run if he wanted to.
He ignored the rooms on the second floor and continued to the third. At the top, he leaned over, the urge to throw up strong. Jeremy wiped the tears away from his cheeks, waiting for his eyes to adjust to the dark. His right hand fumbled for the small flashlight in his backpack, and he stopped it.
“Not yet. Give me a minute.” He hunched over again and gagged, glad his stomach held down his cookie binge. He made his way down the hall. Above him, the string for the attic steps dangled, cobwebs stretched along the expanse. His fingers grasped for the cord.
The door gave away when he tugged. Jeremy covered his face as dust and debris fell down. His feet fought to steady themselves on the steps. One by one he ascended, his breathing labored. He scrambled into the small space and slid down against the wall.
“Okay. Now let’s get some light.” Beverly grabbed the flashlight out of the backpack and flicked it on. Jeremy had no idea what he was looking for, only that it was located in the attic. That eerie radar the ghosts gifted him with never steered him wrong before.
The chill of the room had his teeth chattering, and he swept the light around the small space. Broken furniture and a few deteriorated cardboard boxes adorned the rat-infested abode. Jeremy could hear their scurrying and plotting to expunge the trespassing human. Blinking, he concentrated. Something lingered, waiting for him to discover it. He froze as he saw the markings along the rafter beam.
“There.” He stood up and walked closer. “That’s it. Whatever that is, I’m sure of it.” He studied the lines, and the possible way the artist had created the symbol. Gouged into the wood, the marking reminded Jeremy of the hieroglyphics he studied at the library.
“Why is someone putting these in the old buildings? I see that they could be undisturbed and whatnot, but why?” He dug in his backpack and brought out a small notebook. With a pen, he quickly sketched the markings. Jeremy didn’t want to rely on his memory to remember how the symbol looked.
He checked his watch. “It’s about midnight, Beverly. Time to get home.”
Jeremy stepped to the attic ladder and staggered, dropping to his knees. His vision wavered, and the pounding in his head started. His head swiveled to the symbol as an inky shadow slithered along the floor.
A cold voice beckoned him. Wooden and jerky, Jeremy stood and shuffled like a marionette toward the odd etching in the rafters.
“Beverly,” Jeremy whimpered. “Don’t listen to it.”
“Touch it,” the voice hissed again. Jeremy gasped as his right hand reached out and caressed the symbol. A jolt of electricity coursed through him. He fell back, convulsing. Rolling over to his side, he threw up. It tasted of ash and cinder, and he gagged as more came up. He started crawling to the opening, feeling the sickly slimy sensation dance along his spine.
Joyce Mangola has been writing for most of her life, spinning outlandish tales since she was twelve. She is a multi-published author over several genres and Joyce is her pen name for the young adult side. Writing has always been the one dream she pursued relentlessly until she succeeded with her first short story publication. She hasn’t looked back since. Besides bringing to life the different characters in her head, she enjoys drawing and playing the flute. Though a Pittsburgh native, she calls Carlisle, Pennsylvania her home for over twenty years now and has no plans of moving—unless it’s back to Pittsburgh, of course. She’s a proud mother of two sister rescue cats, Brine and Ariel. She encourages anyone who has the heart to adopt a furry companion. Give them love and receive it back tenfold.