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Friday 1 February 2019

☀☄♨ Rotten Peaches - Lisa de Nikolits

Thank you for joining us on the opening date of the Virtual Book Tour for Rotten Peaches, a Noir Suspense Thriller by (, Inanna Publications, 300 pages).

Don't miss our interview with author Lisa de Nikolits.

PREVIEW: Check out the book's synopsis and the Excerpt below.

Lisa is also sharing with us her amazing recipe for one of the South African desserts mentioned in Rotten Peaches

Author Lisa de Nikolits will be awarding a $10 Amazon GC, a print copy of Rotten Peaches (US/CA only), and three digital copies of Rotten Peaches to five randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.   Please do take part: comment on our post and follow the tour where you will be able to read other excerpts (☀), interviews (ℚ), reviews (✍) and guest blog posts (✉).

|| Synopsis || Trailer || Teaser: Excerpt || MelkTert Recipe || Author Q&A || About the Author || Giveaway & Tour Stops ||


Rotten Peaches is a gripping epic filled with disturbing and unforgettable insights into the human condition. Love, lust, race and greed. How far will you go?

Two women. Two men. One happy ending.

It takes place in Canada, the U.S. and South Africa.

Nature or nurture. South Africa, racism and old prejudices — these are hardly old topics but what happens when biological half-siblings meet with insidious intentions?

Can their moral corruption be blamed on genetics — were they born rotten to begin with? And what happens when they meet up with more of their ilk?

What further havoc can be wreaked, with devastating familial consequences?

Teaser: Excerpt



I AM NOT A KILLER. I just fell in love with the wrong man.
      I went too far this time, and there’s no going back. There’s no going anywhere, period.
      I nearly stayed afloat, but my luck ran out. Luck, that mystical mythical glue that holds the shards of despair together and makes life navigable. But fragmented despair, that’s what sinks you.
      It’s the middle of the day and the ghost of a cat walks across my bed. I am hidden in the downy softness of bleach-laundered sheets, sheets ironed with starch and cleansed of their filthy sins by scalding Catholic water.
      The bed is high and wide and the pillows are like clouds ripped from a summer’s sky. I bury my head in cotton balls, puffy meringues and whipped cream, and try to ignore the ghost of the cat that is walking the length of my back.
      The cat settles at my feet but it gets up again and pads along my legs. When it first started its prowl, I sat up and reached for it but, like all ghosts, it immediately vanished and waited for me to turn away before settling in a warm, heavy lump against my side. Its weight is comforting in a way, like being massaged by the hand of God, but it isn’t God. It can’t be, because God, like luck, has left the building of my life.
      I am here on a business trip. Right now I should be standing next to my table at the tradeshow luring in the poor and the desperate. Sell SuperBeauty and make Super Money!
      But I can’t get out of bed. But I’ve lost that right, along with the rest of my life.
      “My luck has gone,” I tell the cat. “The glue has desiccated and all that’s left is despair, and despair is gunk in the engine; the engine is dying a gunk-filled death.”
      So, what? You’re going to lie here until you die?
      Be hard to do, wouldn’t it? Realistically, I mean. Who ever died by lying in the world’s most comfortable bed? Suicide by soft, cushy whiteness?
      You’d have to take some pills, the cat says. He’s trying to be helpful.
      “I don’t have any pills left,” I reply. “And besides, I don’t want to kill myself, I just want this hell to end. I want to trade in my current life for a new model, this lemon’s run out of gas.”
      The cat settles like a soft sigh on the back of my thighs and I bury my face deeper into the pillow, wishing I had closed the blinds and blocked out that glittering day, but it’s too late and I am not getting up now.
      I am pulled down into the undertow of the bed and the day turns to night and even the cat leaves me. It joins God and luck and all the missing socks of my life. It joins the childhood assumption that life gets easier when you get older, not harder, and that courage is rewarded and that fortune cookie guru zen crapfests still make a modicum of sense.
      There’s a knock at the door and I want to answer it but I can’t move, my body won’t move. I hear the door being opened and I am relieved. He has come to get me.
      “Leo, baby,” a voice says and I blink.
      I want to move but I can’t. I can’t even tell him that I can’t move.
      He explains something to a man who must be the hotel manager. He says, “I’ve got this, you can go now,” and the manager makes a few cursory protesting noises, but he sounds happy to be leaving this mess for someone else to clean up.
      “Baby, we’ve got to be somewhere,” he says and his voice makes my groin hot and tight, and I hate myself for my reaction, hate myself like I always do when I am around him.
      He helps me sit up and he props a pillow behind my back.
      He puts the coffee machine to work and he feeds me some water, a little at a time and the fog starts to clear.
      “What the fuck, JayRay?” I manage. “What the fuck?”
      He looks at me.
      “It’s time to get our shit together. It’s time, Leo, it’s time.”



SHAME. IT HAPPENS EVERY TIME. The same sickening thud of realization that I am failing again. Failing to keep my stupid crazy impulses under control. My greed will get the better of me yet again. And the most shameful thing of all is that the object of my lust is spectacularly ordinary, thoroughly stupid, and wholly unremarkable. It is a handmade pottery mug, pot-bellied and orange brown, with blue and white daisies etched into the uneven glaze. I want it, not only for the reassuringness of its unassuming shape but because of the insignia inscribed in uneven white cursive icing cake script: Live your dreams.
      Some crazy part of me is convinced that if I take the mug, I will take the magic too, and all my dreams will come true. If I stop and ask myself what my dreams are, the answer will be that I want to be happy, normal and free. I can’t tell you what the specifics of that picture looks like.
      Maybe it is as simple as a moment on a sunlit sandy beach, or baking cookies with my kids, or going apple picking. But no, none of these fit the Instagram post of me being happy, normal, and free. Instead, I’d like to ask freedom to unlock the chains of my self-destructive, humiliating urges; yes, that would be a dream come true — to not want to steal other people’s shit all the time.
      Right now, I am not free. I can only see one thing in the room, the mug, that mug. I can’t hear what anyone is saying because the trillions of synapses in my brain are sounding the siren of need, the unquenchable, uncontrollable need to own that mug.
      Live your dreams. I need the mug much more than my colleague does. She’s got a great life, her dreams have already come true, but mine haven’t, not by a long shot.
      But how can I get my hands on it? It’s surrounded by a protective barrier of post-it notes and papers and file folders and pictures of grandkids.
      I realize, yet again, that I should get some pics of Maddie and Kenzie framed for my desk, but somehow I always remember this at the wrong time, like now, when all I want to do is inhale that pot-bellied mug and fill the gaping, yearning hole in my own belly.
      I can’t concentrate. I’m in the open office plan desk area we call the pigpen, riffing off cops having a bullpen. The pigpen is full, each desk occupied by a happy little piglet, each conscientiously attending to their workerly duties. Except for me. I am obsessed with someone else’s magic. I try to distract myself with my usual complaint that I rate a personal office, a glassed-in cubicle at the very least, but my boss says I’m not there often enough to warrant the cost and besides, he says it’s good for me to “bond with my fellow colleagues at a grassroots level.”
      My phone rings. It’s my husband, Dave. I reach for it and look up to see my boss signaling. I wave at him and point to the phone.
      “We figured we’d make you mac and cheese,” Dave says. “Since you’re home and all, tonight.”
      “Great.” I feel helpless with hatred. “Sure, Dave, sounds great. I’ll be a bit late, an hour or so.”
      “No worries,” Dave says and it always annoys me when he says that. Who is he, some faux Aussie cheerleader: no worries, mate?
      Two little koalas, that’s Dave and me.
      The mug-owning colleague starts wrapping up for the day. I watch her tidy her desk in the time it takes an ice age to melt. She finally gets things into some semblance of order and then she takes her mug to the kitchen. When she returns to collect her purse, her hands are empty.
     She must have left the mug in the kitchen. My skin is burning and I scratch at my arms while I wait for her to get the fuck out of Dodge. I manage to sit still for five minutes after she leaves and then I stroll into the kitchen. The mug is drying upside down on a stack of paper towels. I am about to reach for it when my boss comes in and I snatch my hand back and flick the kettle on instead.
     “I did the math on the last show,” Ralph says and he gives me a high-five. I try to smile. “You did good. Listen, are you sure you’re still okay with all this travel? You can start training Sandra any time. She can do the shows and you can focus on advertising and product development.”
     “I’m developing the product all the time and Sandra’s a fucking moron,” I say and Ralph laughs.
     “Why don’t you tell me what you really think? But you are right. She does lack your edge. We’ll hold off for a while. But I don’t want you to burn out, okay? You’ll tell me if you start feeling stressed? You sleeping at night?”
     “Yeah,” I tell him, thinking of the bottles of Nyquil that give me a couple of hours of shut-eye. Lately, I’ve been adding pain meds for arthritis, which helped for a while but the effects only last for so long and I need an increasingly heavy dose. I scored a pack of muscle relaxants on the last roadshow; got them from Fred, a regular with a booth piled high with handmade silverware from Maine, two stalls down from me, and I added those to my mix. Despite my ministrations, sleep and rest remain elusive, but I don’t tell Ralph that.
     “I’ll leave you to it,” Ralph says and he brushes the kitchen counter with the palm of his hand and wipes it clean on his trouser leg. “Remember kid, you ever need me, my door is always open. Feel free to reach out any time.”
     I nod. Is he referring to anything specific? But he walks out before I can say anything else.
     The kettle has long since boiled but I don’t care. I pick up the mug, tuck it under my armpit, and walk back to my desk, my arms folded. I sit down quickly. My heart is a shuddering jet plane in my ears and I am deafened by the fear that I will be caught. I lean down and shove the mug into my purse and it falls with a dispirited clank, hitting something metal. Probably some forks I picked up at the Best Western. I wonder if the mug is broken but I don’t dare look. My armpits are slick and the heat rises through my blouse like a steamy forest fog, something raw and unbathed. The other pigs in the pen don’t notice anything; they’re chatting about some new TVshow they love or some crap like that.
     Sirens are going off in my head: put it back, put it back, put it back, and its usual place on my colleague’s desk is already spotlit with loss and accusatory stares. I stare at the glaring absence but I cannot return the mug. I need the magic. The mug is mine now.
     Still, my thoughts whirl with confusion, self-hatred, and shame. Why can’t I just put it back? I want to but I can’t. YOU’LL BE CAUGHT! HUMILIATED! FIRED! EXPOSED!
     But I can’t put the mug back.
     I get up. I am late for Dave and Maddie and Kenzie, and I am late for mac and cheese. But I can’t take the mug home. For sure one of the kids will find it in my purse, brandish it, and then Dave will get in on the action.
     “That’s not your style, Lee,” he’ll say and he’ll want to know the whole story.
     I leave work and stop by my storage locker, and I text Dave. On my way, I’ll be home soon.
     I pull up to the garage door of the unit and flick on the light. No one knows about my storage locker. I pay for it in cash and it’s my secret. It’s piled high with junk that I have stolen over the years. I’ve had this filthy little secret cave since before I even met Dave. I got it a couple of months after I started studying chemistry, when it became apparent that along with stealing knick-knacks and useless, blameless, worthless shit, I liked to steal samples from the lab. How I never got caught is beyond me. My heart was a runaway train in my ears every single time and I couldn’t breathe. The thought of getting caught filled me with terror and yet, still, I had to take. And take and take.
     The shelves on one wall hold my most toxic stash. If ever discovered, the chemicals would need to be disposed of as hazardous waste. Why did I take them? For the same reason I took the mug. A sick compulsion. What do I do with my random, shabby treasures? Nothing. Sometimes though, I bring a bottle of water and I sit inside my locker, with the door pulled down and a shallow bowl of water in front of me. I shave off tiny pieces of sodium, one sliver at a time, and I watch the fragments explode into flames and rush around, a skating frenzy of dazzling fire. Somehow this never gets old.
     I collect chemicals whenever I can. I have an inside source at the company lab in Mexico City and when I go down to check that they’re still producing our products according to semi-official Food and Drug Administration laws, the fellow gives me tiny vials of illicit goodies, cash exchange, no questions asked. Lead oxide, nitrocellulose, acetonitrile, formaldehyde, chloroform, methanol, sodium hydroxide, acetylcholine bromide, ethanolamine, mercurous chloride, potassium cyanide, mercury II thiocyanate, and mercury itself — beautiful, beautiful mercury, heavy, silver, breaking off into tiny balls and coming back together as a whole, sliding, pushed by its weight, its movement swift as light.
     I force myself back into the moment. I’m already late for supper. I put the mug on a box of Christmas ornaments I have stolen from various shopping malls and I leave, locking the door behind me.
     I go home and eat mac and cheese and pretend that everything is fine. I try to listen to what Maddie and Kenzie are telling me about school, a project they have to do about being sisters, but it’s all static noise. I drink red wine and try not to see Dave watching me with a look on his face like he’s lost something he once loved.
     I drink too much NyQuil at three a.m. and fall into a drugged doze, which makes me late for work. When I arrive, there’s a riot in the pigpen and the mug woman is hysterical, trying to find her missing treasure. I have already forgotten about the mug and I can’t even remember why I took it. I know they won’t rest until some explanation comes to light. I have to fix this thing, find a way to smooth things over.
     “Oh yeah, right, look sorry, I broke your mug last night,” I say and silence falls, like a snowy countryside in winter, and I think, oh shit, look at the trouble I’ve brought on myself, and I know it’s going to be a hard sell to get out of this.
     “I was drying it,” I tell her, “and it slipped out of my hands and broke. I threw it out. Here, take this one.”
     I reach for a gaudy mug on my desk. It’s a souvenir from Vegas, a naked, d-cup woman kneeling doggy style. Her big butt is fashioned into a handle and it’s so wrong but I don’t know what else to do. I stand there, holding the mug out in front of me, and this woman, fuck, I don’t even know her name, looks at me with horror. Her eyes fill with tears and she runs out of the room.
     “It was just a mug,” I tell the quiet, accusing faces and I put the big butt mug back on my desk. I sit down and open my laptop.
     “Her daughter made it for her the week before she died of cancer,” one of the other sales reps says. He’s an aggressive little shit and his numbers are down, which isn’t my fault. “Why did you touch it at all? Everyone knows not to touch Moira’s mug.”
     Right. The woman’s name is Moira.
     “I wanted to do something nice by taking care of it,” I say. I sigh, and go and go after Moira. She is in the washroom, surrounded by a colony of angry birds, all clucking and fluffing their feathers around her.
     “I am sorry,” I say inadequately and this other woman, June, turns on me. June’s always hated me. She was in on the business with Ralph when they were a happy hippy startup and she’s never forgiven me for kicking SuperBeauty into the real world and leaving her on the sidelines, a tired, old, saggy cheerleader.
     “Where are the pieces?” June asks, her face red with her useless anger. “We’ll glue it back together for Moira.”
     “I chucked them away,” I say and I fold my arms across my chest.
     “Let’s go and find them, shall we? Garbage won’t have gone anywhere.”
     “I put them in a plastic bag and took them with me. I threw them away when I stopped to get a burger. I thought Moira would be more upset seeing it broken, so…”
     June falls silent and I think that will be the end of it. She can’t challenge me. I’m the bringer of rain and she knows it. But as she turns to leave, her arm around Moira, she stops. “Funny how things go missing or get broken when you’re around,” she says, her pug eyes bulging with her boldness. “Think I haven’t noticed? We’ve all noticed. But you’re Ralphie’s blue-eyed girl, so the sun shines out of your ass, doesn’t it?”
     Then she looks down, scared witless by what she has said, and the women scuttle out of the washroom. I watch them leave and I soap up my hands and rinse them under the hottest water, cleaning the crap away.
     By now, I fully believe my own story about the mug and I can even see myself at MacDonald’s, twisting the plastic bag tightly and discarding the broken shards through the scratched, soiled black plastic swing door of the garbage disposal.
     Ah fuck it. I tell myself it isn’t my fault the whole thing happened. It’s just something I do when I got stressed. I take other people’s crap. It’s a release valve; we all have them, and seriously, it was just a mug. It’s not like I ripped off Moira’s life savings or anything. I try to imagine the mug in the darkness of the storage locker, but it means nothing anymore, it’s a dull and dusty relic, devoid of any magic, power, or memorability. I can’t, for the life of me, remember why I wanted it so badly. The whole thing is tedious and boring now.
     Thank god I have a show soon. I’ll be with JayRay and he will put the whole world right. He will understand, he always does. Because JayRay is as broken as me.

How far will you go for Love?

Rotten Peaches
Available NOW!

purchase from purchase from purchase from purchase from Barnes & Noble purchase from Kobo UK find on Goodreads
A Taste of South Africa as mentioned in the popular thriller suspense noir novel Rotten Peaches: Melk Tert Recipe

INGREDIENTS (serves 8)
Recipe by

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry

6 oz butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups flour
pinch salt
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract

1 quart milk
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon


For The Crust
Cream the butter and add the sugar.
Beat in the egg.
Stir in the flour and salt.
Knead until a soft dough has formed.

Chill for 10 minutes.

Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and layer it into a greased pie dish.
Cover with a sheet of parchment paper and fill the void with pie weights.

Bake blind at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Remove parchment and pie weights.
Allow crust to cool completely on a wire rack.

For The Filling

In a heat proof bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, cornstarch, flour and vanilla.
Set aside.

In a medium size saucepan, heat the milk and butter at medium setting. Do not bring to a rolling boil.

Add about a fourth of the milk to the egg mixture, whisking to incorporate it evenly.
Pour the mixture back into the saucepan with the remainder of the milk.
Return to the heat and stir constantly until it thickens.
Do not boil!

Pour the filling into the pie crust and let cool completely.

Refrigerate until serving.

Sprinkle with cinnamon before serving.

**Download your copy of this recipe**

In Rotten Peaches, the protagonist pens a collection of Bake Your Way therapy cookbooks. Working along with two amazing collaborators, Marilyn Evii and Gilean Watts, Lisa Nikolits turned this book into a reality! Yes, you can Bake Your Way to Happiness!

If you liked Julie & Julia – either the book by Julie Powell, or the wonderful movie starring Amy Adams and Meryl Streep – you will love this book!

How do you bake your way to happiness?

The answer is easy. You bake the delicious recipes that have been tested especially for you by our wonderful food editor, Gilean Watts, and you follow the creative workbook reconstructions that have been formulated by our registered expert psychotherapist, Marilyn Riesz.

In Bake Your Way to Happiness, you will find fifteen recipes along with fifteen strategies and accompanying activities to nourish your body and spirit, and which will help you heal from all kinds of modern-day stresses and ails: sadness, body image issues, low self-worth, negative thinking, fear, insomnia, mood swings, anger, inner child issues, self sabotage, anxiety and more.

Start baking your way to a nourished body and spirit!

About the Author

Originally from South Africa, Lisa de Nikolits has lived in Canada since 2000.

She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Philosophy and has lived in the U.S.A., Australia and Britain. 

Her seventh novel, No Fury Like That will be published in Italian, under the title Una furia dell'altro mondo, in 2019. Previous works include The Hungry Mirror, West of Wawa, A Glittering Chaos, Witchdoctor’s Bones; Between The Cracks She Fell and The Nearly Girl.

Lisa lives and writes in Toronto and her very new book, Rotten Peaches is hot off the press to reader and literary acclaim.

Lisa a member of the Sisters in Crime, Toronto Chapter, Sisters in Crime, Mesdames of Mayhem, The International Thriller Writers.

Follow Lisa de Nikolits:

Visit the author's blog Visit the author's website Visit the author on Facebook Visit the author on Twitter Visit the author on LinkedIn Visit the author on their Amazon page Visit the author on GoodReads Visit the author on Instagram Visit the author on Pinterest Visit the author on YouTube

Giveaway and Tour Stops

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