Feb 132019
 
Rotten Peaches by Lisa de Nikolits Tour banner

Rotten Peaches

by Lisa de Nikolits

on Tour February 1-28, 2019

Synopsis:

Rotten Peaches by Lisa de Nikolits

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?

“Wow. Just wow. Lisa de Nikolits’ Rotten Peaches blew me away. A dark, compulsive, and addictive story in which the characters’ secrets and needs conflict with each other and fold back in on themselves in an ever-tightening noose, Rotten Peaches will keep readers gripped until the very last page. Highly recommended!” —Karen Dionne, internationally bestselling author of The Marsh King’s Daughter

Book Details:

Genre: Noir Suspense Thriller
Published by: Inanna Poetry & Fiction Series
Publication Date: September 20th 2018
Number of Pages: 300
ISBN: 1771335297 (ISBN13: 9781771335294)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Inanna | Goodreads

Rotten Peaches Trailer:

Read an 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.

***

Excerpt from Rotten Peaches by Lisa de Nikolits. Copyright © 2018 by Lisa de Nikolits. Reproduced with permission from Lisa de Nikolits. All rights reserved.

 

Bonus Content!

Bake Your Way To Happiness by Lisa de Nikolits
amazon barnes & noble Goodreads

In addition to Lisa’s amazing new thriller, she’s also released a new cookbook. To celebrate she’s sharing the recipe for one of the South African desserts mentioned in Rotten Peaches!

Download your copy today & start baking your way to a nourished body and spirit!

Click Here to Download Your Copy of Melk Tert Recipe

 

Author Bio:

Lisa de Nikolits

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.

Q&A with Lisa de Nikolits

Which of your characters do you dislike the most and why?
That’s like asking a mother which of her children she dislikes the most! I love them all. A lot of them are pretty weird and they behave in self-destructive and morally reprehensible ways but that’s what makes them so interesting! One day, in the afterlife, I’d love to hold a banquet and invite every character I’ve ever written! All of them! Or maybe we’d rent out a resort in the Bahamas for a month and get to know each other!

Which of your character is the hardest to write and why? Leonie who was hard to write and she definitely took the most work. I think it’s because I thought she was perfectly formed in her first draft and it took the persistent nudging of a good friend to say hey, who is this gal? Once I started fleshing her out, I just loved working with her!

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned through writing?
That you can work as hard as you like, be the hardest worker in the world and still, you may not be able to make your dreams comes true. Hard work doesn’t guarantee success and not even success guarantees success. I know a lot of really talented writer friends who’ve had bestselling novels and they’re struggling to find homes for their more recent books. It’s one of life’s assumptions that if you reach a certain point, that there will be no downhill from there but that’s so untrue! Which is why I love watching documentaries about movie stars or writers or musicians who peaked and then fell and then rose again and it was even sweeter the second time around. Also, you get to see how extremely hard those artists work, they practice every day, write every day, and they’re relentless in their comittment to their craft even when you’d think they’d be ready to sit on their laurels and enjoy doing not much of anything in the sunshine!

What has been your biggest challenge to your writing career
The biggest challenge is that I don’t write a straightforward, genre type of novel. Readers, booksellers, agents and publishers like books that neatly fit a slot and mine don’t do that! And if you mention the word ‘cross-genre’, people get suspicious. And the question, ‘who do you write like, or so what are your books about, or, tell me a book that’s similar to yours

What inspired you to write your first book?
I’ve tirelessly written books for the past thirty years! However, in the beginning, I didn’t actually realize what it meant, to write a book. I didn’t know anything about plot arcs or character development or strong dialogue or setting as character. I studied English Literature (with the goal of wanting to become a writer) but back in the day, we didn’t have creative writing courses. So I wrote long manuscripts that were awful streams of consciousness – terrible things!

The very first book I wrote was called Single Girls Go Mad Sooner and it was supposed to be a collaborative effort with an illustrator friend of mine. I would write anecdotes about dating (pre-Internet!) and she would illustrate these tales of disaster! This was in my early twenties. Then she bailed on me and I went ahead and wrote it anyway. It was, truly, one of the most poorly written collection of short stories to ever see the light of day but at least I tried! I always tell myself that, to not be disparaging of my early efforts because they all showed passion and commitment and the desire to do that which I really felt was my calling. Thankfully, there are no copies of Single Girls Go Mad Sooner out there and at one point I thought of rewriting it and I read it and shuddered! There wasn’t anything at all to salvage from it!

So really, the first book I sat down to really write in a proper way, was The Witchdoctor’s Bones, which was twelve years ago. By that time, I had attended conferences and workshops, I had read books on writing by the stack, I studied books in a different way, I dissected books to see how they had been written. I left my day job (madness!) and sat down and wrote The Witchdoctor’s Bones.

And one more note, clearly I hadn’t done my homework well enough because I wrote the book at 220 000 words! The average book length should be between 70-85 000 words! This resulted in many rejection letters and a lot of rewriting but the The Witchdoctor’s Bones made it into the world in 2014 and I was just delighted! I still love this book so very much

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I’d like to say, please give Rotten Peaches a try! I know some readers are more used to my more serio-comedic books, like The Nearly Girl and No Fury Like That but Rotten Peaches will give you a good read! It has a unique setting and story line and it’s a good, entertaining read! When I read a book, the thing I want most, is to escape into that world and I offer readers an escape!

Fun Questions:
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
I can see Charlize Theron as Bernice and Sandra Bullock as Leonie. Both are very strong women and would bring such power to the roles! And I’d love to see Sandra Bullock as the really nasty sociopathic, amoral Leonie.

Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book or series:
I tried to turn one aspect of Rotten Peaches into reality! In Rotten Peaches, Bernice is the author of self-help cookbooks and I thought this would be a hit in real life! So I got together with a wonderful therapist, Marilyn Riesz, and an extremely talented food editor, Gilean Watts, and we came up with Bake Your Way to Happiness. You can find it on Amazon (link below). Unfortunately this book did not fly in the way that I truly believed it would (and should!) but you never know, it’s day might still come – it really is a wonderful book and it got great reviews! https://amzn.to/2FhJjxe

Favorite foods?
My husband, Brad, made slow-cooked scalloped potatos with aged cheddar, garlic and parmesan cheese! That is definitely my most favourite thing in the world right now! Followed by birthday cake! Give me those two things in one meal and I’d be ecstatic!

Favorite activities?
Having a nap is definitely on the top of my charts! Talking to my cat, having a few good reads on the go at the same time, finding a fabulous new series to binge watch! I love finding a series with about eight episodes because that way you’re not going to lose your entire life for months but just a few hours! I’d love to watch Sons of Anarchy but with seven seasons and ten episodes (and actually I think there are more!), that’s 70 hours! Which is, I guess, two work weeks, so if I ever have a two week vacation and don’t know what to do with myself, I’ll do that! I love going for bike rides in summer and I also love exploring abandoned places! If there’s a hole in the fence, I’m in! Travel is high on my list too. If I won the lottery, Brad and I would travel the world, with the cat of course!

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Catch Up With Lisa On:
lisadenikolitswriter.com, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!

Lisa de Nikolits picture credit Richard Picton

 

Tour Participants:



Don’t Miss Your Chance to WIN!

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Lisa de Nikolits. There will be 5 giveaway winners. There will be 1 Grand Prize winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. There will be 1 2nd Prize winner of one (1) Print Edition of Rotten Peaches (US & Canadian Mailing Addresses only). There will be 3 additional winners of one (1) eBook Edition of Rotten Peaches. The giveaway begins on February 1, 2019 and runs through March 1, 2019. Void where prohibited.

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Feb 072019
 

Valentine smiley photo cupid.gif



Happy Valentine’s Day, well almost!!

This is the month of romance, flowers, and candy. But we all know, being book lovers, we would probably want books too. So in case your honey didn’t get you any, here’s a chance for you to receive not 1, but 14!!

I’m teaming up with Book Trib to spread the word about their giveaway!!!!!!

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To celebrate Valentine’s Day, BookTrib is spreading the love with a huge giveaway. One winner will have the chance to win 14 different romantic reads from a variety of fantastic authors like Jill Shalvis, Eva Leigh, Jennifer Ryan, Sally Thorne and more!
 

Giveaway starts today, February 7th
and runs through February 14

U.S. ENTRIES ONLY

To enter, either click on the link HERE or the image on the sidebar.

GOOD LUCK!!!!

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Jan 242019
 

The Company Files: The Good Man by Gabriel Valjan Banner

The Company Files

The Good Man

by Gabriel Valjan

on Tour January 14-26, 2019

Synopsis:

The Company Files: The Good Man by Gabriel Valjan

Jack Marshall had served with Walker during the war, and now they work for The Company in postwar Vienna. With the help of Leslie, an analyst who worked undercover gathering intelligence from Hitler’s inner circle, they are tasked to do the inconceivable: recruit former Nazis with knowledge that can help the U.S. in the atomic race. But someone else is looking for these men. And when he finds them, he does not leave them alive.

In this tale of historical noir, of corruption and deceit, no one is who they say they are. Who is The Good Man in a world where an enemy may be a friend, an ally the enemy, and governments deny everything?

Book Details:

Genre: International Mystery, Crime Fiction
Published by: Winter Goose Publishing
Publication Date: December 15 2017
Number of Pages: 251
ISBN: 1941058736 (ISBN13: 9781941058732)
Series: The Company Files: 1
Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads

 

Read an excerpt:

At 0300 his little black beauty warbled from the nightstand, and stirred Walker from his semi-erotic embrace of the pillow. Grable, his .45, was sleeping next to the receiver. She could sleep through anything. He was jealous.

“Awake?” Jack’s distinctive voice came over the wire.

“I am now.” Eyes focused on becoming alert.

“Meet me at the Narrenturm, ninth district.”

“Why?”

“The IP are here already.”

Walker washed a hand over his face, still in the fog.

“What is it, Jack?”

“Dead body in the Fruitcake House.”

The informative sentence ended with a click. The IP, the International Police, presence was a guarantee that the crime scene would not be kept contained.

Walker got out of bed.

His room was square, clean, and impersonal. The room measured 50 square meters and served as living room where the nice, upholstered chair was and bedroom where stood the bed. A modest walnut armoire rested against the wall space next to the bathroom door. There was a set of doors out to the balcony so small that it was an insult to a poor man’s suicide.

There was no pretension to domesticity or habit, like paintings, books, or luxurious furniture. His mirror in the bathroom was his daily reminder of what he presented to the world, and on the nightstand rested his Leich desk phone with its felt-covered base, curled cord, and petite Bakelite body that he answered when the outside world called him.

Each night before bed Walker draped a towel over the upholstered chair, and he placed a pail of water on the balcony. Then he inventoried the room. He knew that if something changed in the room he would wake up. Out of habit he slept without socks, his feet in the open air, so he could respond to anything that moved uninvited in the room.

The AKH is the General Hospital in Vienna, the Allgemeines Krankenhaus, the largest in the country, and the Narrenturm was the second mental hospital in Europe after Bedlam in London. The German word for the place was Gugelhupf because of its architecture. The asylum housed the mentally ill, the criminally insane, and political prisoners.

The AKH boasted the first lightning rods in Vienna on its roof and breakthroughs in hygienic practices. Walker wondered whether the lightning rods had anything to do with the electroconvulsive therapy he had read about back home, as he walked over to the chair, grabbed the towel, and tossed it onto the floor by the balcony door. Blood groups had first been typed in thorough Teutonic style at the AKH, while patients were chained to lattice doors at the Narrenturm, screaming like the forgotten poor and unrepentant heretics in medieval dungeons well into the nineteenth century.

He took off his shorts, went out onto the balcony naked in the cold air, picked up the pail of now freezing water and poured it over his head.

He had learned this trick from a Russian POW. Cold water forces the body to discharge negativity and disease. The POW, he was told through a translator, did this ritual every single day without fail regardless of season. The water made his skin scream. Walker never got used to the shock. The heaviness went out of him through his heels and his mind focused.

He toweled off, dressed, and coaxed Grable out of her sleep and under his arm.

Any time of night the Narrenturm is a nightmare. The building had a corkscrew circular corridor that spun off twenty-eight patient rooms on each of its five floors. Dessert cake. Each room had slit windows that only a starving bird could contemplate for roosting. Escaping the place was as formidable as finding it.

After Walker had given a brief flash of his papers and had inquired after directions, the MP told him in factual German that Courtyard 6 was accessible from one of several entrances. ‘Take Alserstrasse, Garnisongasse, or Spitalgasse, and then consult any one of the gateway maps.’ It was just the right number of precise German details to confuse him.

In darkness and frustration Walker found the wrought-iron gate with a nice curvy snake that he thought was the caduceus. He looked at the serpent. Was it the caduceus of Hermes or the rod of Asclepius? He touched the single snake, ran his fingers across the diamond-shaped iron fixtures. Old man Hermes must have stolen back his staff and had just enough time to get away from the crazies with only one of his snakes. The caduceus, he remembered, had two.

Above him, darkness; ahead of him, in the curving hall as he climbed, voices. He saw Jack, who, intuitively turning his head to his shoulder, saw him before turning his head back to face forward, as International Police and some suits swarmed around, the air charged in a Babel of languages. Even in a crowd Jack Marshall stood out as a man not to crowd.

Walker went to stand next to Jack. Standing at ease – hands behind his back – out of habit. Jack uttered his words just audibly enough for Walker to hear. “The German word for magician is Der Zauberer. Our friend is a magician. He sets the stage, does his trick, and then poof he’s gone. No clues. Nothing.”

Approaching them were the four-to-a-jeep policemen, one representative for each of the national flags that controlled the city. They were reporting to the Inspector in their respective languages. Walker knew the Inspector would summarize the scene for him and Jack in English.

The Frenchman who wore a long haggard face from smoking too many cigarettes, spoke with a phlegmatic bass. The Brit recounted events in his reedy voice with an affected posh accent; no doubt picked up from the BBC back in Birmingham. The Russian, after he had spoken, stood at attention with winter in his face, whereas the American, a young kid, gave a smiling report, about as graceful as a southpaw in a room of righties. Walker’s ears listened for any German, keen for the second verb at the end of the sentence so he could understand what was being said. The Inspector scribbled notes with a very short pencil that took brevity to an art form.

Finally. In his lilting Austrian-inflected English: “Gentlemen, it appears we have an unfortunate scenario here. The victim was discovered this evening, two hours ago to be precise. The police arrived at the scene after hearing a tip from an informant that this facility was being used for black-market trading. Thinking that they might discover black-market penicillin or other commodities popular these days, they made this discovery. Our medical examiner is making an assessment as I speak.”

Jack and Walker remained silent.

The man continued as the four policemen lingered solemnly and choir-like behind him. “The victim in question was, according to our preliminary findings, a man of the medical profession with questionable ethics.”

“You mean a Nazi doctor,” Jack said in his tone of an officer weary of formality and needing facts.

The Frenchman murmured “Bosch” and covered his racist word with a cough. The Inspector’s eyes looked behind him without turning his head.

“Yes, a doctor. The deceased is said to have performed unseemly medical experiments on prisoners in the camps. He did horrible things to children, women, and particularly, Russian prisoners of war. Unconscionable.”

The Russian, a silent Boris, stared ahead without a flinch or thaw.

The Inspector with a modest bow of the head and genteel click of his heels handed Jack a piece of paper. It was a preliminary. Jack said nothing. His eyes took in the paper with a downward glance and he began the short walk to the scene.

Walker and Marshall entered the patient’s cell. The room smelled of something tarry. Some other men who had just been there left in whispers, leaving them alone with the doctor and the body. When the doctor, who was dressed in the all-black priestly garb of his profession, saw his helpers leave and these new men arrive, he switched from his native language to English the way an owl with fourteen neck bones moves his head in ways not humanly possible.

“How’s the patient?” Marshall asked the little man near the body.

“Dead a day or two by his liver temperature. Rigor has set, as you well can see from the positioning.” The doctor was making his own notes while he talked.

“Any thoughts to cause of death, Herr Doktor?” Walker asked, knowing that coroners had looked at enough mortality to be either humble or inhumanly arrogant.

The doctor used his fingers to show an invisible syringe and did the motion of pressing the plunger. Abgespritzt. Lethal injection. I would say, carbolic acid.”

“Sounds to me that would be a fast way to go, Doctor,” Jack said with his hands in his topcoat’s pockets.

“Not necessarily. Ten to fifteen millimeters of the liquid, if injected directly into the heart, should induce ventricular tachycardia in, say, fifteen seconds. Our man here was not so lucky. First, I found no such puncture in the chest. I did find, however, a puncture in one of the extremities. I would say this man took an hour to die. Look at him.”

With this pronouncement, the small birdlike man clicked his little black bag shut and left Jack and Walker inside the cell.

Walker’s eyes took in the history of the room. He estimated that the room was tall enough, walls thick enough, that a man could scream all he wanted and nobody would know he existed. He imagined centuries of such screams within this room and maybe some claw marks on the walls, too. “How did he get in here?”

“And what does the staging job mean?” Jack said.

The dead man was propped on a stool, naked. A metal T, evidentially meant for chaining prisoners, was behind him with one part of the cross bar holding his left arm secure while his right hand, bent in rigor, rested over his heart. The corpse’s left arm had received the injection, the head was cocked back, the throat muscles taut but the mouth closed shut in typical Germanic reticence. The eyes were clouded over, the light gone from them when the heart had stopped. The legs were neutral, the back straight in a way that any mother would be proud of such perfect posture.

Walker and Jack walked around the body without saying a word. In front of the corpse was an SS uniform, folded neatly in a stack. The shirt’s right collar patch bore the runic double lightning bolts, the left patch and matching right shoulder board said, with its three diamonds and two double bars, Hauptsturmführer, Captain. His .32 was holstered and accounted for at his feet, next to his shined-to-a-sheen boots.

Jack said nothing. His mind had already processed the scene.

They descended the stairway towards the exit. Both stopped to look at the display of the hydrocephalic baby inside a formaldehyde jar. Walker and Marshall stopped, looked at it, and said nothing, because there was nothing to say.

“What do you think, Walker?” was the question once they were outside.

“The Inspector said that this dead man was a medico but there was no serpent badge on the uniform. That tells me he wasn’t in the Medical Corps. He had to be a straight-up SS man, maybe with some medical knowledge or simply passing through the camp. But he’s no doctor, so I don’t know how the Inspector could say he was doing medical experiments, unless that report of his says something I’m missing.”

Jack answered, “It doesn’t. Anything else?”

“Those slacks,” Walker replied. “They had cat hair on them.”

“So the dead guy either had a cat…”

“Or the killer has one, because there are no cats here that I can see. Another thing: those clothes were pressed and regulation-folded. He wasn’t wearing them when he was killed. Besides, nobody would walk through Vienna these days with that uniform. They either were placed in front of him as he was dying, or after he was dead. It’s all staged to make some kind of statement. Question is, where did his street clothes go.”

Jack touched his breast pocket, where the Inspector’s report rested privately. “We have another problem, Walker.”

“And what might that be?” Walker thought he knew what Jack was thinking but he waited.

Jack was quiet.

“What? You want me to go chase down an orange tabby?”

“Relax, Walker. That Inspector’s report is in German. That’s why I didn’t show it to you.”

“So my German isn’t perfect, but I can manage. What does it say?”

“It gives us the man’s name.”

They stood outside together as the sun was arriving.

“That man…” Jack pointed with his eyes upward to the stone turret from hell “was on our list. Either way we’ll never be able to talk to the Captain.”

“So what’s your recommendation?” asked Walker, afraid of the answer.

They walked to the curb together. Jack had hailed a cab, opened up the suicide door, got in, but delayed the driver with a few words in German, and from the car window said to Walker, “Talk to Leslie later to see what she thinks after I get tonight’s details to her. I’ll get a report on your desk that might interest you.”

He banged on the side door as a signal to the driver to take off.

***

Excerpt from The Company Files: 1. The Good Man by Gabriel Valjan. Copyright © 2018 by Gabriel Valjan. Reproduced with permission from Gabriel Valjan. All rights reserved.

 

Gabriel Valjan

Author Bio:

Gabriel Valjan is the author of the Roma Series and The Company Files from Winter GoosePublishing as well as numerous short stories. In 2018, he was shortlisted for the Bridport and Fish Prize Short Story Prizes.

Gabriel lives in Boston, Massachusetts, where he enjoys the local restaurants, and his two cats, Squeak and Squawk, keep him honest to the story on the screen.

Catch Up With Gabriel On:
gabrielvaljan.com, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!

 
 

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!


 

Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Gabriel Valjan. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on January 14, 2019 and runs through January 27, 2019. Void where prohibited.

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Jan 162019
 

Dark Paradise by Gene Desrochers Banner

Dark Paradise

by Gene Desrochers

on Tour January 1-31, 2019

Synopsis:

Dark Paradise by Gene Desrochers

Boise Montague’s life in Los Angeles has fallen apart. After his wife dies, he returns to the tiny island where he grew up. Unfortunately, coming home doesn’t bring him the peace he’s looking for. Things have changed drastically since his last visit. The island has moved on and so have the people he once knew. When Boise tries to find the one friend he thinks he can count on to be there for him, he’s confronted with another death. A murder. A murder that the police did not think important enough to investigate thoroughly. Boise wants answers. He enlists a local reporter named Dana, who has theories of her own, to help him dig deeper. With not much left to lose, a bone to pick with the justice system, and a relentless partner, Boise sets out to do what the police would not: solve the murder of Roger Black. The island of St. Thomas is a gleaming tropical paradise. Welcome to the Caribbean, where murder is as common as sunshine.
 

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery (Caribbean Noir)
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication Date: June 25, 2018
Number of Pages: 336
ISBN: 1947392166 (ISBN13: 9781947392168)
Series: Boise #1
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

 

Gene Desrochers

Author Bio:

Gene Desrochers hails from a dot in the Caribbean Sea called St. Thomas. He grew up with minimal supervision and free-roaming animals in a guesthouse that also served as a hospital during wartime. He has spent his life steadily migrating west, and now finds himself in Los Angeles with a beautiful wife, cats, and kids. After a lifetime of writing and telling short stories, he ventured into the deep end, publishing his first novel, Dark Paradise in 2018. If you ask, he will regale you with his Caribbean accent and tennis prowess.
 

Guest Post by Gene Desrochers

How is Boise Montague (the main character from Dark Paradise) similar or different from you?

The most compelling similarity between Boise and I from a plot standpoint is we both had a childhood friend who became a drug dealer get murdered. The way Boise discovers that his friend, Roger, is dead, was somewhat similar to the way of found out a friend of mine was murdered. From there I asked the question, “What if I decided to figure out what really happened rather than accepting the party line that he was murdered in a drug deal gone wrong.” That became the nugget of Dark Paradise.

Physically, Boise and I have a mix of commonalities and differences. He’s one-quarter African and three-quarters European and his skin tone alludes to his heritage, although, he could be Puerto Rican or something else. His appearance is not standard or easily categorized. I too have some ambiguity in my history that makes me hard to characterize. I have olive skin and I’m definitely largely Italian, however, I also have Creole in me and perhaps some more deeply ingrained African blood since my mother’s family had been in the Caribbean for generations, interracial relations were not uncommon. We also have similar hair, although I keep my trimmed short so you cannot tell how bushy and curly it is most of the time. We differ in that Boise is overweight and I am not. He’s a little taller but not much.

The biggest thing that ties us together psychologically is a feeling of not belonging anywhere. Both of us grew up in bars and alcoholism was a major factor in our lives. I had two alcoholic step-fathers and Boise had an alcoholic, controlling father. None of our “fathers” ever got treatment or into a program.

My biological father was not a drinker. He was into a healthy lifestyle, which I have personally mirrored. Boise on the other hand has a drinking problem and eats terribly. Unfortunately for my life, but perhaps fortunately for my writing, I did not spend a lot of time with my father as my parents divorced when I was very young and my mother maintained custody. I do not struggle with eating or drinking disorders, however, I have lived with the consequences and witnessed the results of addiction up close and personal for most of my life.

Boise’s position in life and his lost nature reflect the way I’ve felt throughout my life. I did not fit with my family, particularly my mother and her parents. I felt like something was just not right, but I struggled to fit my round self into the square life of my childhood. Boise has similar feelings of displacement. Los Angeles is a place for those who don’t fit elsewhere. That’s why we both wound up there. I tried to return to a past home at one point, but did not fit and in a few months wound up back in Los Angeles for good. I did not have a powerful catalyst driving me away permanently. Boise on the other hand did. Evelyn’s (his wife) death and the subsequent issues with the local authorities over what had happened to her propelled Boise away with a vengeance. For him, L.A. held too many reminders of his loss. He needed to start over, but do it somewhere he felt comfortable. St. Thomas was that place.

I do believe that both Boise and I are men of convictions and a healthy cynicism about the watchers. Between that common fear and the driftwood nature of our early life with people we did not feel anchored to, Boise and I ultimately have a lot more similarities than differences where it counts. I’m exploring those intersections and trying to entertain while doing it.

 

Catch Up With Gene Desrochers On:
genedesrochers.com
Goodreads
Twitter
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Read an excerpt:

Behind me, the door I’d entered through opened. A very tan redhead showing signs of aging from many days spent in the sun entered carrying a laptop bag and shouldering a camera. A red Carnegie Mellon University baseball cap that looked like it had been run over by a garbage truck covered part of her tough, but beautiful face. She looked me over like I was a mongrel who’d wandered in begging for table scraps.

“You need something?” She dropped her stuff down on the cushioned chair next to the counter.

“Uh, yes, I wondered if I could get some clippings or microfilm or copies or whatever it is newspapers give for issues two to eight years old. Are they digitized yet?” I stammered.

“Seriously, what do you want?” She pulled her Ray-Bans off and the gray-blue of her eyes stunned me for a moment. Using her sunglasses, she tapped my shoulder. “Hello?”

The faint odor of cigarette smoke assaulted me when she got close.

“Clippings, you know, news from the past,” I said.

As she slipped the glasses into a case from her purse she said, “Yes, but you implied that something here was digitized.” She pursed her thin lips. “This newspaper went online three years ago, so, the last three years are available online in the archives section if you buy a subscription. You a subscriber?”

“I don’t have a subscription,” I said defensively.

“Figures. This is why my job is constantly in danger. Everyone expects news for free.” Her fine hair moved in a blur as she shook her head derisively while she rummaged for something in her bag.

“Hey, I’m happy to buy a subscription. I support journalism,” I said. It sounded lame.

We both flinched as a thunderous banging rang through the room as something or someone hit the other side of a door to my left.

She threw her hands up, exclaiming, “Not again!”

“What? What’s that?” I said.

“Calling the cops,” she sang out. “They said they’re gonna start charging us if this happened again,” she whispered.

Another, more urgent banging erupted through the room. The reporter had her cell out.

“Wait,” I said. “Is it really that dangerous?”

“No, just annoying.” She pressed a button on her phone. “You believe this? Now I’m on hold. I could probably walk over to the police station faster. He’ll probably take a dump on the floor by the time we get back.”

***

Excerpt from Dark Paradise by Gene Desrochers. Copyright © 2018 by Gene Desrochers. Reproduced with permission from Gene Desrochers. All rights reserved.

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