#damppebblestakeover with S.E. Lynes (@SELynesAuthor) | #GuestPost: In Praise of Insecurity #TheProposal @bookouture

the proposal.jpg“The first thing you should know, dear reader, is that I am dead…

Teacher Pippa wants a second chance. Recently divorced and unhappy at work, she uproots her life and moves to the countryside, determined to make a fresh start. But Pippa soon realises: your troubles are never far behind.

When Pippa meets blue-eyed Ryan Marks, he is funny and charming. He is haunted by his past – but insists he is a changed man. 

He might just be the answer to all of her problems. And Pippa can tell the truth from lies. She’d know if she were in danger. Wouldn’t she?”

Hello bookish friends.  I am delighted to welcome you to the blog today and to a #damppebblestakeover, hoorah!  I am thrilled to welcome one of my favourite authors to the blog, the fabulous S.E. Lynes.  Back in yesteryear (2016 to be precise), I was asked to join a blog tour for a book called Valentina.  It was the author’s debut and that author was S.E. Lynes.  The book blew my mind! Since signing last year with Bookouture, Susie’s books have gone from strength to strength culminating recently with Bookouture republishing the mighty Valentina.  But things haven’t stopped there.  On Friday 21st September Susie’s latest release with Bookouture was published, The Proposal.  I am absolutely kicking myself as I am monumentally behind in my reading at the moment but The Proposal is riding high on the TBR and I hope to bring you a review sooner rather than later.  But until then you can enjoy a brilliant guest post from the author herself.  Without further ado, I’ll hand over to S.E. Lynes…

The first question I ask my writing students is not why do you write but why don’t you?

Why don’t you write?

Their answers are variations on the same themes: ‘no time,’ ‘I’m worried I don’t have a story,’ ‘I’m scared people will think it’s rubbish,’ ‘I doubt I’ve got anything interesting to say …’

Pushing the old ‘no time’ chestnut to one side … that’s a whole other article … you will notice words like worried, scared, and doubt. How then do I get these would-be writers to put words on a page? How on earth do I get them to read those words aloud to their classmates?

Well, firstly, I have to get them to acknowledge their insecurities and see them in a different way. And they’ve already taken that step: voicing their worries aloud and realising that everyone else is worrying about the same things. The relief is palpable.

I didn’t write. For years. I was too full of insecurity. And then I did write, but I threw my work away. All of it. Why? Because nothing I wrote compared favourably to my favourite authors, to say the least. My conclusion ran something like: my work isn’t as good as theirs, therefore my work isn’t good at all, ergo, I’m not good. Needless to say, this kind of insecurity was not helpful.

I used to think the answer lay in getting rid of insecurity and reaching a place where I was completely confident. Because being completely confident is possible, right? After all, here we are, in an internet world of bumper sticker philosophies and motivational poster-bites which tell us to believe in ourselves, to be strong, to shine, to be different, to let our weirdness show … whatever. I have no problem with these slogans. In fact, I find their axe-to-crack-a-hazelnut approach a great antidote to my own personal brand of the heebie-jeebies. However, sometimes you feel insecure, you just do, and when that happens, those slogans can compound your insecurity by making you feel inadequate about feeling insecure in the first place. Sheesh! That’s not so helpful! What can be helpful, to me at least, is to embrace my insecurity and use it … and I try and pass that on to my students.

In class, the first thing I try and banish is the ‘my work is not good therefore I am not good’ equation and make a new one along the lines of ‘my work is not good – yet – therefore I need to study and practise’. No writer comes to their first page and dashes off a masterpiece. Well, there might be a few, but they are a very small minority and I blow a raspberry in their general direction. For the rest of us, when faced with the blank page, the pressure to shine is the death of creativity. If you’re trying to shine, you’re not learning. You’re not thinking about your characters and how they see the world. You’re not wondering where they were when they told their wife about the dead body in the bathroom or what they were doing/thinking when they said that. So, in the creative writing classroom, the spirit needs to be not ‘check this out, it’s pretty flipping awesome’ but ‘this is what I’m trying to do, how can I improve it?’ That requires removing your ego from the equation. It’s not about you! It’s about the work! THAT is helpful. THAT is a place of learning.

I encourage my students to think about writing as oboe practice. To write every day not to produce something great but to become a little bit better than last time. And in order to see the need to practice they need to be able to see their work as ‘not good’ or ‘not good enough’ in the right way. They need to embrace the right kind of insecurity.

So, on the cusp of publishing my fourth book and after some lovely reviews, am I able to say ‘I am good’? Good God, no! If I say that, I am dead creatively. None of my books are as good as I want them to be. If I’m proud of them it is because they are the best that I could possibly do at the time. Whatever I do next, I will try to do better. I will read my work back and think, no, not good enough. But I will not sit in a corner and weep. Well, I might, but after that I will return to it and think, how can I improve it? In practical terms, this might be cutting the dialogue back, or showing the character through an action, or upping the tension. In personal terms, it is using insecurity in the right way, using the critical voice constructively.

But maybe the question here, for all of us, is not why don’t we write but why don’t we do whatever it is we dream of doing? Releasing into the world the work you have sweated and fretted over is a risk. It is terrifying. It is exhilarating. Getting on stage is the same. Ditto singing in public. But if you think about it hard enough – and boy, do I ever – walking out of your front door is a risk, isn’t it? What if no one likes you? What if you say the wrong thing? What if your skirt is tucked into the back of your knickers? We are all of us worried about something. But if we can acknowledge our insecurity and realise everyone else feels it too, we can be kind in our intentions towards others and most importantly towards ourselves. We can relax and create the space we need to improve, in whatever it is we’re aiming to do.

Thank you so much for this insightful and inspiring post, Susie.  Dear reader, I hope, if you’re a budding writer, that you’ve taken note.  And as Susie said in her piece, the same applies to us all in whatever we dream of doing.  Feel the fear and do it anyway!

My reviews of S.E. Lynes’s books: | Mother | The Pact | Valentina |

The Proposal by S.E. Lynes was published in the UK by Bookouture on 21st September 2018 and is available in paperback, eBook and audio formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | BookDepository | Goodreads |

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S E Lynes Author PhotoAfter graduating from Leeds University, S E Lynes lived in London before moving to Aberdeen to be with her husband. In Aberdeen, she worked as a producer at BBC Radio Scotland before moving with her husband and two young children to Rome. There, she began to write while her children attended nursery. After the birth of her third child and upon her return to the UK, she gained an MA in Creative Writing from Kingston University. She now combines writing with lecturing at Richmond Adult Community College and bringing up her three children. She lives in Teddington.

Author Links: | Facebook | Twitter |

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#BlogTour | #GuestPost: Death Dolls by Simon Farrant (@asfarrant) #DeathDolls

Death Dolls Cover .jpg“Benjamin McGuinness fulfils his dream of establishing successful businesses and gives jobs with a new home to some of life’s misfits, deep in the English countryside on a farm. Everything seems perfect and his workers are as close as family.

A fire strikes close to home, a disaster that changes his perception of life and one of his loyal workers takes the chance to propose a life-changing venture.

This new business drags Lisa, his sister, into the deadly web of deception.

When exiled Russian twins join the family a symbolic tattoo is created that drives Benjamin’s money into a new league.

Benjamin knows that his future is defined by ‘the family’.

Will greed cause everything to crumble before his eyes, or will there be brutal consequences to their actions?”

A very warm welcome to the blog today and to my stop on the Death Dolls blog tour.  Look at that cover, isn’t it fantastic? Regular visitors to damppebbles will know that I like my fiction dark and dangerous and oh boy, that cover SCREAMS dark and dangerous at me!  And then you read the blurb…. Well, dear reader, I can confirm Death Dolls is riding high on my wishlist!

I am delighted to welcome the author of Death Dolls, Simon Farrant, to damppebbles today as part of the blog tour celebrations.  Simon is going to share some deep, dark secrets with us….

Hello, and thank you for inviting me onto your blog Emma! When I read what you wanted me to talk about, I did wonder if I could think of ten things… But we all have things about us that we forget that not everyone knows!

1 – I have a reptile pet! Before we got Skeddie I never thought that I’d have a reptile in a month of Sunday’s. We visited Bugtopia ‘zoo’ at Rutland Water, and I was mega impressed with the skinks. To the person who has never seen one before, imagine a snake with legs.

Of course, me being me, I didn’t go for a Blue Tongued Skink as they are the more common skink pets. Skeddie is a Pink Tongued Skink. All she eats is snails! She is an ideal pet for me, as a chronic illness sufferer. She needs no walks or high maintenance, just a small amount of husbandry such as picking snail shells out of her home and love.

2 – I was born with 2 extra fingers! Well, not properly formed ones but little stubs off the side of each little finger. Gross! I’m told that when I was born the hospital tied cotton round each one and they died and fell off… yuk!

3 – The doctors told me that I couldn’t father any children. Now we have three! Reuben, 10, Gabriella, 8, Tobias, 3.

4 – In the 1980s, as a child, my Dad tried to get me to take up football. I took up bellringing, aka campanology, at a local church. That didn’t last long…

5 – My last job before I lost it due to the chronic illnesses was a HGV C+E driver. An articulated truck driver, which I did for Morrisons for over 10 years. In addition to the car and truck licences I also hold a full motorbike licence too!

6 – This is getting tricky now… My books are not the first time that I have had the written word published. Back in the 1990s I did work experience for university at the Sunday Express newspaper in London. I had a short article about fire safety in the home published.

7 – I once did a bungee jump and a static line parachute jump for charity.

8 – Last year I summoned up the courage to go for my first tattoo. I wanted a lion. The artist said that everyone has a lion or a pocket watch. I left with a lion and a tiger half-sleeve! I have said that if I get to 2000 copies sold of Death Dolls then I shall get the featured tattoo…

9 – I have written two books of a trilogy that I shall release a week apart from each other. These are completely different from the books that I have already written. (Does this one count?)

10 – I am the eldest of 6 cousins. Maybe not the most grown up though.

I feel we know so much more about you now, Simon. And no, number 9 does not count *sigh*.  I must say, I am suddenly very keen for you to sell at least 2000 copies of Death Dolls (so you have to get the featured tattoo!).  I’m off to buy my copy now….

Death Dolls by Simon Farrant was published in the UK on 22nd August 2018 and is available in paperback and eBook formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | BookDepository | Goodreads |

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Simon Farrant Author Picture.jpgI am an emerging author, a submission to a short story anthology kicked it all off.

Black Cat is my first short story, and the hero isn’t maybe who you would assume.

Originally from Doncaster, South Yorkshire and now Corby in Northants. I’m in my forties, married with three children. We share our home with a Bengal cat and a Pink Tongued Skink.

I’ve been lucky enough to have had an interesting (well to me!) life. I have been a truck driver, university graduate and motorbike salesman amongst other things.

My two novellas, Newdon Killers series, The Crucifix and Famously Ordinary are out now! The third book, Death Dolls is coming soon estimated launch date 22 August.
Later this year a new series in a different genre Mystery / contemporary fantasy will be published.

I have a Facebook page, Simon Farrant Official, I’d be pleased to see you there.

Twitter @asfarrant

I also have a newsletter. Sign up to receive the latest news first 🙂
https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/b2t0m0

Author Links: | Facebook | Twitter | Author Newsletter Sign-up |

#damppebblestakeover with Nicole (@nicoleauthor1) | #GuestPost: Living the Life #AFewBadBoys #SurvivalAtAnyCost

a-few-boys-edit-ver-1-jpg (1).jpg“Lucy Fratelli is the girl who has everything – beauty, brains, her own apartment, a close family and friends.

Unfortunately, she is hiding a secret from her family and her best friend, Julie.

Lucy knows that she can tell her family and Julie anything but she also knows that if they find out her secret, there will be hell to pay.

Terry Fratelli, Lucy’s father, is a gangster and lives for his family. He will do anything to make them happy and protect them at all costs.

When Lucy’s secret is revealed he will stop at nothing to keep her safe.”

A very warm welcome to my regular Friday feature here on damppebbles, #damppebblestakeover.  Today I am delighted to welcome crime author, Nicole, to the blog.  Nicole’s debut, A Few Bad Boys is available to purchase now with her follow-up, Survival At Any Cost to follow hot on its heels soon.

So without further ado, I’ll hand over to Nicole…

I am delighted to be part of #damppebblestakeover and want to tell you more about my fascination with crime genre.  I have loved writing and reading for as long as I can remember and although I read many genres, I love a good crime novel.  I also like to read books by authors unknown to me.  It is surprising how many hidden gems there are out there.

I am originally from London but have lived in Spain since 2000.  My grand-parents, like so many others, worked endlessly to move away from the East End, but I was the one who returned.  I guess I’m the black sheep of the family and was intrigued by the stories I had heard, first hand, about the Krays and the Richardsons.  Throughout my life I have met numerous people from all walks of life, from Prime Ministers to the homeless and I am intrigued how people end up in situations.  The old school gangsters do hold some kind of respect and the ones I have met, for research purposes, are pleasant people who do what they do in the same way that people go to an office to work.  The thing that does concern me is the new breed of wanna be gangsters who appear to just relish in mindless violence against people that have nothing to do with their circle.

My debut novel, A Few Bad Boys, and my next novel, Survival At Any Cost (which will be published soon) also touch on issues that are a growing concern for people that are not members of the criminal fraternity. These issues include domestic violence, alcohol abuse and drugs.  These issues can affect any family and, sadly, more and more people, if they are not the one suffering, know someone who is affected.  These issues don’t affect only the victim of domestic violence or the user of drugs or excessive alcohol; they affect their family and friends.  Leaving an abusive relationship isn’t a simple case of collecting your things and leaving. Giving up alcohol and/or drugs is more complicated than you can imagine.

One of my works in progress is a detective novel, Dead Eyes.  It is very different to the works of mine that I have already mentioned but I am enjoying writing it and creating my strong female detective, Ellen Knight.  My plan is to make a series for her without neglecting my more dramatic novels that are waiting to be written, one of which will definitely be located in Spain.

I think a lot of people like to know about the dark side of life and by picking up a crime novel they can experience it without being harmed or ending up in prison.

With all my writing there is a lot of research to be done, which I love doing and there is a lot of imagination needed, which thankfully I have.

Someone I know, after reading, A Few Bad Boys, couldn’t believe that, I, a positive inspirational person, could write something like it – you have been warned!

Thank you for your interesting and thought-provoking post, Nicole.  As an avid crime reader, I think a lot of what you say is very true.  I live a very normal (wonderful, happy) life but my choice of reading material means I get to indulge in the dark side, in a fictional sense of course!

A Few Bad Boys by Nicole was published in the UK on 25th May 2017 and is available in paperback and eBook formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Goodreads |

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0014 (3).jpgNicole was born in London but moved to Spain in 2000.  She has two children, James and Phoenix, who have been her driving force behind her completing her debut novel, A Few Bad Boys.  Prior to having children she worked for Karren Brady, which added to her determination to succeed in all goals.

Nicole has wanted to write a book for as long as she can remember, and although she has written articles and helped others with their writing, it is only last year that she finally completed and published her debut novel, A Few Bad Boys. Although the journey to becoming published has been long and difficult, she is overjoyed that she has managed it, but understands that there is a lot more work to do.

Nicole is a firm believer in living life to the full but also living a balanced life.

Nicole is currently working on her second novel, Survival At Any Cost and has a regular blog.

Author Links: | Twitter | Facebook |

#damppebblestakeover with Tony J. Forder (@TonyJForder) | #GuestPost: Series versus Standalone #DIBliss @Bloodhoundbook

if fear wins

“When a torched body is found in a country lane, DI Bliss and Chandler are called in to investigate.

The detectives are drawn towards recent missing person reports and believe their victim will prove to be one of them. Bliss thinks he knows which, and fears the outcome if he is proven right.

Soon the body is identified, and Bliss and Chandler discover evidence suggesting this murder might be a terrorist attack.

Meanwhile, someone from Bliss’s past needs his help, and soon he is juggling his personal life with the demanding case. To make matters more complicated, MI5 and the Counter-Terrorist Unit are called in to help solve the case. But are they on the right track?

Bliss and Chandler soon find themselves in a race against time, and this might just be their most challenging case yet…”

It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the blog today and to the return of #damppebblestakeover, whoop! Now if you’re fairly new (sort of new…ish) to my blog then you won’t know what in the foggiest I’m talking about, so let me explain.

#damppebblestakeover is a series I first ran back in 2016 where I invited authors (of any genre) to make use of my blog for a little bit of free promotion. After all, it’s all about the #booklove, right? It was such a fantastic success and I had meant to resuscitate it last Summer but, y’know, plans don’t always go to plan! If you fancy catching up on the posts from 2016 then click HERE. But now it’s back (from outer space…. ;)) and better than ever. My plan is to not restrict it to the Summer months but continue for the long haul and I’m only inviting the criminal kind to post this time around (I’m a crime blogger, I LOVE crime fiction).

Starting us off on the right foot is Bloodhound Books author, Tony J Forder. You will be able to find out a little more about Tony later on along with information about his books and links to purchase should you wish. So without further ado, I’ll hand over to Tony…

SERIES VERSUS STANDALONE

When I wrote Bad to the Bone it was not with the intention of writing a series. It actually came about as a result of a failed novel, called Burnout. The manuscript featured a lead character by the name of DI Jimmy Bliss, who worked closely with his more than able DC, Penny Chandler. I completed the book, and it’s fair to say that it had some good features and some scenes I liked, but overall it did nothing for me when I read it back. Neither did I think that I could improve it with months of editing or rewrites. In some ways I think I treated the process as part of a learning curve. However, by then the idea for a new story had come to me, and with it being another crime novel set in Peterborough where I live, it seemed to fit the same two main characters perfectly.

Even when it was done and I was pleased with the result, I never imagined writing a follow-up. It was only when Bloodhound Books signed me up for a two book deal, which was for Bad to the Bone and an as yet unwritten sequel, that I had to start thinking hard about how I might accomplish that. The first choice I had to make was whether to suggest to Bloodhound that I rewrite the book and bring it up to date (Bad to the Bone is set in 2005). If I didn’t, then I would have issues with the sequel. On the other hand, there was a lot of dating in the book, and I was a bit fearful that I might overlook something obvious during the edit process. Equally, now that I knew a second book would have to be written, I had to decide whether or not to make changes to Bad the Bone so that certain aspects of the story were not tied up or expanded upon in that first book. Believe me, a lot of hard thinking went into those months following the signing of my first publishing contract.

Ultimately, I decided to keep Bad to the Bone rooted in 2005, but set its sequel in the year I was writing it – 2017. Explaining away the 12 year gap was not the only issue I had to contend with, however. Because even people in their forties and fifties develop as time passes, so I had to reach inside the characters and get a feel for how a dozen years might have impacted on them. After finding solutions for everything, I then had to confront something entirely new: I now had to anticipate a third book in the series, and perhaps more. The decisions this time, then, were what to include and what to leave for the next one, also which snippets I might feed into the second book in preparation for a third.

So there are clearly some difficulties in writing a series that you simply don’t get with stand-alone books. Something you have to keep in mind if you intend continuing with a series is finding ways to keep things fresh. Currently, the way I address that problem is to ensure the storylines are very different each time. Of course, relationships will be carried over from book to book, and no matter what the case, certain procedures will inevitably have to be repeated, such as briefings and the decision-making processes that occur in any murder investigation. You also have to find a way to refer to previous cases, so as to provide a baseline for new readers. At its core, the Bliss series is a police procedural, but the intention is to add layers of plot complexity, and hopefully more than the odd thrill. I regard them as procedurals with an edge. Finding new ways to provide that edge is part of the attraction.

The other side of the coin is that you get to develop your characters and their chemistry with colleagues, friends and family. You have time to delve into their back stories, the canvas already sketched out for you by the time you come to write the next book in the series. Of course, you do have to keep a wary eye out for continuity, and that can be time-consuming. I do have a character profile that I can dip into, but you have to take care. However, the character is there for you and fully-formed when you come to write their next adventure, and that does make life a little easier, as you are not having to create them from scratch.

In addition to my DI Bliss series, I have two stand-alone novels. At least, that’s how they were written. Degrees of Darkness is a dark, psychological chiller featuring a serial-killer. It predates Bad to the Bone in terms of when I wrote its original version, and it was the first novel I completed that I was happy with. It was only ever going to be a one-off, and although many readers have said they would like to read more books featuring the main character – and I have subsequently considered developing a suitable storyline – I suspect Degrees will remain a stand-alone.

Scream Blue Murder is a different proposition. For two-thirds of the book it was written as a one-off, but as I approached that final third I realised how much I had enjoyed writing the main characters, and how much I had appreciated the freedom the very different style of writing gave me. I realised that I was considering carrying on with these adventures, and knew immediately where I would set the next one, and the idea for the sequel came shortly afterwards. Since the release of Scream Blue Murder I have dipped in and out of its follow-up, and I am thrilled to say that my publishers recently accepted the completed manuscript and a contract signed. Cold Winter Sun will be released in November 2018.

The different mind-set when writing a stand-alone book is an interesting one. For a start, you have to tie up absolutely every loose end. You also have to include as much back story as possible to make your characters three-dimensional and interesting, whilst keeping the pace of the story flowing, the interest of the reader focussed. It’s a different approach entirely, and a challenge in its own right. I wouldn’t say it’s preferable to writing a series, but it does stretch you as an author, and I certainly want to write more.

With a stand-alone book you tell an entire story using around 100,000 words. The main character arc has to be complete, and the wrap-up must deal with every plot strand you have thrown out there. On the other hand, I think of the crime series as an on-going story, where you focus on solving each case within those same 100,000 words, yet each book rolls into the next, allowing you to reveal more about your characters with each subsequent release. It’s like a gradual drip-feed of information as opposed to a mass transfusion. It provides the author with a great deal more freedom, but in exchange for that you have to also look both backwards and forwards to ensure the elongated arc is consistent.

Now that I actually have a series on the go, writing outside of it provides a release of sorts. There are no expectations beyond that book. You tell your story and you get the hell out of there, hoping you have successfully wrapped it all up in a pretty bow and created a package your readers will be happy with. But it must also please you, the author, because once it is out there it’s out there for a long time and you will be judged by it. For me, the best thing about writing a new stand-alone book is creating my characters, getting inside their skins and trying to develop them along with the storyline. In the case of Scream Blue Murder, those characters wormed their way inside my head so much that I simply found it impossible to resist the allure of writing them a brand new adventure. Perhaps that is because I am driven to characters more than storyline. When I read, a brilliant character can bring me through an unexceptional story, but it doesn’t work the other way around. Nothing pleases me more than when people make positive comments about my characters, and the real trick is getting the balance between character and story just right.

The next book after Bliss #4 will definitely be another stand-alone, as the story outline is sketched out and the first few scenes already written. It’s another crime thriller, but a very different one for me. I’m certainly going to have to up my game to take on this new main character, that’s for sure. I’m very much looking forward to taking up the challenge once again.

As for whether there are more DI Bliss books to come after the one I am currently writing, well, given the situations he confronts throughout the entire story, the answer really depends on whether he and/or his career survives this latest outing. I know the answers, of course, but I think I will keep them to myself for a little while longer.

Thanks so much, Tony. Such an interesting piece, and it’s always good to see the workings of a crime writer’s mind. I think us crime fiction fans are so used to books being part of a series that we tend to expect a sequel (or is that just me…..? lol). What do you think, dear reader? What do you prefer? Series or standalone? Let me know in the comments.

If Fear Wins by Tony J Forder was published in the UK by Bloodhound Books on 29th May 2018 and is available in paperback and eBook formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | BookDepository | Goodreads |

If you’re a published crime writer and you would like to feature on #damppebblestakeover then drop me an email: damppebbles@gmail.com.

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Tony J Forder is the author of the critically acclaimed crime thriller series featuring detectives Jimmy Bliss and Penny Chandler. The first three books, Bad to the Bone, The Scent of Guilt, and If Fear Wins will be joined by a fouth in the series in 2019.

Tony’s dark, psychological crime thriller, Degrees of Darkness, featuring ex-detective Frank Rogers, was also published by Bloodhound Books. This is a stand-alone novel. Another book that was written as a stand-alone was Scream Blue Murder. This was published in November 2017, and received praise from many, including fellow authors Mason Cross, Matt Hilton and Anita Waller. Tony subsequently wrote a sequel, and Cold Winter Sun will be published in November 2018.

Tony lives with his wife in Peterborough, UK.

Author Links: | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Barnes and Noble | Bloodhound Books |

#GuestPost: Gone to Ground by Rachel Amphlett (@RachelAmphlett) #KayHunter6 #GonetoGround

Gone to Ground Cover MEDIUM WEB“While attending a crime scene on the outskirts of Maidstone, DI Kay Hunter makes a shocking discovery.

The victim has been brutally cut to pieces, his identity unknown.

When more body parts start turning up in the Kentish countryside, Kay realises the disturbing truth – a serial killer is at large and must be stopped at all costs.

With no motive for the murders and a killer who has gone undetected until now, Kay and her team of detectives must work fast to calm a terrified local population.

When a third victim is found, her investigation grows even more complicated.

As she begins to expose a dark underbelly to the county town, Kay and her team are pulled into a web of jealousy and intrigue that, if left unchecked, will soon claim another life.”

It is my absolute pleasure to welcome one of my favourite authors to the blog today to celebrate the publication of Gone to Ground; the sixth novel in her well respected and much-loved detective series.  I am, of course, talking about the wonderful Rachel Amphlett and her utterly compelling Kay Hunter series.  I love this series and will move mountains to make sure I read the latest release as soon as it’s available.  There aren’t many other series I can say that about!  I was thrilled to be able to share my review of Gone to Ground with you all on Sunday but if you missed it, here’s the link again (along with it’s five predecessors):  1. Scared to Death2. Will to Live3. One to Watch4. Hell to Pay5. Call to Arms and 6. Gone to Ground.

To celebrate the release of Gone to Ground I am delighted to welcome Rachel to damppebbles to talk to us about a killer’s motivations:

What might motivate a killer?

As I was writing book six in the Detective Kay Hunter series, Gone to Ground I realised halfway through that the person I thought was the murderer wasn’t, and another character came to light who had a lot more motivation to do the evil deeds I was uncovering.

Motivation is essential to a good police procedural. It doesn’t matter if they’re one of the good guys, or one of the bad guys. Everybody has motive for what they do.

It sounds so simple, but as people we’re a complicated mix of emotions and traits and it’s really important to me as a writer and reader that motives are believable.

Even characters who some might describe as “minor characters” have a motivation that drives them. That person who tells Kay a white lie to protect themselves or casts doubt on another aspect of the investigation to prevent a sordid part of their past being exposed – it’s all motivation.

My antagonist in Gone to Ground is motivated by revenge.

However, although I might start with revenge as a motive, I then delve into that a little further in order to develop the character and make that motivation believable.

Why does our killer seek revenge? What has been done to that character that someone has to die?

Meanwhile, my protagonist, Kay Hunter, is obviously motivated to catch the killer, but she’s also driven by the need to prove herself to her colleagues and to her superiors. She’s in a new role and juggling a lot of other tasks on top of her day-to-day duties and we see her motivations shift as the story unfolds.

I can’t wait to share Gone to Ground with you to see if you can spot the killer – these motivations paint some dark and twisted reasons why someone would be a murderer, and all of them are valid!

Excellent post, thanks so much Rachel.  I have to confess that I wasn’t able to spot the killer, despite having my eagle ‘crime fiction reader’ eyes on the hunt for the culprit from the opening pages!

Gone to Ground by Rachel Amphlett was published in the UK on 8th July 2018 and is available in paperback and eBook versions (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | BookDepository | Rachel’s online bookstore | Goodreads |

about the author3

rachel-2016-2141Before turning to writing, Rachel Amphlett played guitar in bands, worked as a TV and film extra, dabbled in radio as a presenter and freelance producer for the BBC, and worked in publishing as a sub-editor and editorial assistant.

She now wields a pen instead of a plectrum and writes crime fiction and spy novels, including the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the Detective Kay Hunter series.

Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel cites her writing influences as Michael Connelly, Lee Child, and Robert Ludlum. She’s also a huge fan of Peter James, Val McDermid, Angela Marsons, Robert Bryndza, Ken Follett, and Stuart MacBride.

She’s a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold sold to Fanucci Editore’s TIMECrime imprint, and the first four books in the Dan Taylor espionage series contracted to Germany’s Luzifer Verlag.

Her novels are available in eBook, paperback and audiobook formats from worldwide retailers including Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, and Google Play.

A keen traveller, Rachel holds both EU and Australian passports and can usually be found plotting her next trip two years in advance!

Author Links: | Twitter | Facebook | Website | Amazon Author Page |

#CaseClosed: #June2018 #BookOfTheMonth #amreading #amreviewing #bookblogger #damppebbles #booklove #20BooksofSummer

Hello my bookish friends. You nearly caught me out there, I was convinced Sunday was the last day of June! It’s currently Friday evening and I had sat down to a lovely chilled glass of wine after a busy week, only for the penny to drop – and cue one chilled out Emma dashing from the sofa ‘a là comedy moment stylee’ and flinging open the laptop. It’s true, I could have left posting until Sunday but that’s not how these things work and I would have been waaaaaay too twitchy. But it’s OK, everything is OK…phew!

A very warm welcome to June’s #CaseClosed post and for the first time, a #20BooksofSummer update. June has been an odd month at damppebbles HQ. I’ve been reading like crazy but the blog has been relatively quiet. I’ve even read two books this month that I haven’t (shock, horror!) reviewed. What has happened to me?!

During June I took part in five blog tours:

Four posts were reviews:
When the Waters Recede by Graham Smith | Perfect Dead by Jackie Baldwin | The Date by Louise Jensen | After He’s Gone by Jane Isaac |

And one was a guest post:
A Steep Price by Robert Dugoni |

I also managed a number of other reviews and posts:
Rubicon by Ian Patrick (book review) | Gone to Ground by Rachel Amphlett (cover reveal) | The Puppet Show by M.W. Craven (book review) | The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond (book review) | Hide and Seek by M.J. Arlidge (book review) | The Caller by Chris Carter (book review) |

Plus I can’t forget to include the two books I have chosen not to review; a short collection from a well-known author and a crime thriller.

Here’s how my #20BooksofSummer list currently looks:
The Rule of Fear by Luke Delaney
The White Road by Sarah Lotz
Unsub by Meg Gardiner
Watching Edie by Camilla Way
The Dark Inside (Charlie Yates #1) by Rod Reynolds
The Last Days of Jack Sparks by Jason Arnopp
The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond
The Nightstalker by Sebastian Fitzek
Perfect Remains by Helen Fields
Rattle by Fiona Cummins
Sirens (Aiden Waits #1) by Joseph Knox
The Caller (Detective Robert Hunter #8) by Chris Carter
Heartman by M.P. Wright
Hide and Seek (DI Helen Grace #6) by M.J. Arlidge
Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager
Normal by Graeme Cameron
Blood City by Douglas Skelton
Cut To The Bone by Alex Caan
Don’t Make a Sound by David Jackson
Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips

Not off to the best start but I hope to improve on that during July. I have a couple of books coming up that I would like to get reviewed for publication day, along with ONE blog tour read. Yup, just the one. Nothing scheduled for August at the moment so I’m feeling positive – I CAN DO THIS!

damppebbles blog tours has the MOST exciting week ahead. I have organised four absolutely cracking blog tours next week; three starting on Monday and one starting on Thursday. If you’re not already on my blogger database then please do sign up. And if you’re a crime author looking to promote your book then maybe I can help ➡️ damppebbles blog tours.

Which leaves only one thing left to do.

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My book of the month for June is…….

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The Puppet Show by M.W. Craven

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“I have a bit of a thing for serial killer novels. They’re my favourite, particularly if they are a smidge on the gory side as well (which this book is). I also thoroughly enjoy books which make you think the plot is heading one way and then totally flips things over and makes you gasp in surprise when you end up somewhere you didn’t expect (which again, this book did). Another thing I love is a cast of well-written, individual, stand out characters who all add something to the story (yup, that’s The Puppet Show). I loved this book.

“Would I recommend this book? I would, most definitely. If you’re a fan of crime fiction, if you can stomach a drop of blood or a pool of melted human fat (OK, it is a little grisly in places and you may need a slightly stronger stomach than I’ve alluded to in this paragraph, but for me I loved the gruesome touches to this book. Plus the author provides a wealth of information about burns and the effect of fire on a human body) then you will enjoy this well-written, engrossing crime thriller. I struggled to put it down and I’m left wanting more Washington Poe and more Tilly Bradshaw. I can’t wait for the next instalment.”

So there we have it! I can’t wait to find out what my book of July will be (although I do have a sneaking suspicion. I won’t say any more at this point!). That’s it from me for this month. Make sure you join me on Friday 6th July as I have a rather fabulous cover reveal to share with you. It’s an Orenda Books book, it’s written by Steph Broadribb and it features a certain bounty hunter (girl crush swoon!). Don’t miss it!

#BlogTour | #GuestPost: A Steep Price by Robert Dugoni (@robertdugoni) @AmazonPub @midaspr @SophMidas #ASteepPrice #ThomasandMercer

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“Called in to consult after a young woman disappears, Tracy Crosswhite has the uneasy feeling that this is no ordinary missing-persons case. When the body turns up in an abandoned well, Tracy’s suspicions are confirmed. Estranged from her family, the victim had balked at an arranged marriage and had planned to attend graduate school. But someone cut her dreams short.

Solving the mystery behind the murder isn’t Tracy’s only challenge. The detective is keeping a secret of her own: she’s pregnant. And now her biggest fear seems to be coming true when a new detective arrives to replace her. Meanwhile, Tracy’s colleague Vic Fazzio is about to take a fall after his investigation into the murder of a local community activist turns violent and leaves an invaluable witness dead.

Two careers are on the line. And when more deadly secrets emerge, jobs might not be the only things at risk.”

I am delighted to welcome you to the blog today and to my stop on the A Steep Price blog tour. A Steep Price is the sixth book in the Tracy Crosswhite series written by bestselling author Robert Dugoni. To celebrate the book’s release earlier this week I have a fantastic guest post to share with you today about Robert’s path to becoming a full-time writer and the obstacles he had to overcome.

So without further ado, I’ll hand over to Robert…

I knew long before I became a lawyer that I wanted to be a writer. I just needed the courage to pursue that dream.

I come from a family of compulsive overachievers. I have nine brothers and sisters. Growing up as the middle child I watched my siblings choose their career paths – doctors and pharmacists and accountants. My siblings were all science oriented, but I was always different. I’ve always wanted to write novels. That was my dream since I was a young boy.

My mother was an English teacher out of college and had terrific books around the house that I gravitated to. I read The Great Gatsby, The Old Man and the Sea, Of Mice and Men, To Kill a Mockingbird, and many other classics. As I got older I recall reading, All the President’s Men in one day. I read books like Lonesome Dove, A Prayer for Owen Meany, The Great Santini, and many others. These inspired me to want to tell stories.

When my high school basketball career fizzled I got the best advice of my life from the most unusual source. The basketball coach told me while cutting me from the team that the journalism instructor mentioned that I could really write, and he suggested that writing might be a better path for me. I remember leaving his office and feeling relief. I remember being excited to get the chance to write, and to have people read my articles. So I became the editor in chief in high school and moved toward a career in journalism at Stanford University. Again, however, my peers were all heading to professional school and I felt pressure to join them. I’d ruled out medicine, but I thought I could go to law school, get a degree, and put that in my back pocket while I pursued a writing career.

It didn’t work out that way, at least not right away, but the passion to tell stories never left. I found different outlets. I pursued acting and landed roles in theatres all over the San Francisco Bay Area. Those ten years instilled in me a desire to not give up on my dream to write. When that desire hit me hard again in my thirties, I pursued it without hesitation, but a lot of trepidation. I was married with a young son when I left the practice of law and all the security a regular salary provided to take on a new adventure.

I started with legal thrillers, something I first started to think about in law school when I read Presumed Innocent. Scott Turrow and John Grisham exploded onto the market with best selling legal thrillers. It seemed a natural fit for a lawyer looking to start a writing career. There were a lot of stops and starts – mostly stops – along the way, but I fell under a lucky star when I reluctantly attended a party and met an agent from the Environmental Protection Agency. Together we wrote The Cyanide Canary, a 2004 Washington Post best book of the year selection. I then created the character David Sloane, an attorney in San Francisco seemingly unable to lose a case. That story became The Jury Master. Four more novels with David Sloane followed. I then created Tracy Crosswhite and wrote My Sister’s Grave which became a runaway bestseller in half a dozen countries and has sold more than a million and a half copies.

Just recently I had a chance to write the story I grew up reading as a young boy, the novels my mother used to hand to me. The story came to me in bits and pieces, but when I had the character, the plot came in a wave, and I found myself getting up in the middle of the night to write The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell. It is a story of a man looking back on his life with Ocular Albinism. He has red eyes. It is a story of love, of faith and of hope that reminded one reviewer of the early works of John Irving.

It’s taken me nearly twenty years to reach my dream of telling stories fulltime, but it is a journey I would not trade for any other profession in the world.

Thank you for joining me today Robert and sharing your road to becoming a full-time writer. It’s always fascinating to see the dedication and drive of a writer; that desire to write, no matter what.

A Steep Price by Robert Dugoni was published in the UK by Thomas & Mercer on 26th June 2018 and is available in paperback, eBook and audio formats (please note the following links are affiliate links): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | BookDepository | Goodreads |

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about the author3

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Robert Dugoni is the critically acclaimed New York Times, #1 Wall Street Journal and #1 Amazon Best Selling Author of The Tracy Crosswhite series, My Sister’s Grave, Her Final Breath, In the Clearing, and The Trapped Girl. The Crosswhite Series has sold more than 2,000,000 books and My Sister’s Grave has been option for television series development. He is also the author of the best-selling David Sloane series, The Jury Master, Wrongful Death, Bodily Harm Murder One and The Conviction, and the stand-alone novels The 7th Canon, a 2017 finalist for the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award for best novel, The Cyanide Canary, A Washington Post Best Book of the Year, and several short stories. He is the recipient of the Nancy Pearl Award for Fiction, and the Friends of Mystery, Spotted Owl Award for the best novel in the Pacific Northwest. He is a two time finalist for the International Thriller Writers award and the Mystery Writers of America Award for best novel. His David Sloane novels have twice been nominated for the Harper Lee Award for legal fiction. His books are sold world-wide in more than 25 countries and have been translated into more than two dozen languages including French, German, Italian and Spanish.

Author Links: | Website | Twitter | Facebook |

Author image and biog © https://www.robertdugonibooks.com/

#GuestPost: In For The Kill by Ed James (@EdJamesAuthor) @EmmaFinnigan #InForTheKill #DIFenchurch #ThomasandMercer

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“A university student is found strangled to death in her bedroom, but when the embattled DI Simon Fenchurch is called in to investigate, the case strikes dangerously close to home.

On the surface, the victim was a popular, high-performing student. But as secret grudges against her emerge, so too does evidence that she was living a double life, working on explicit webcam sites for a seedy London ganglord. Everyone Fenchurch talks to knows a lot more than they’re willing to tell, and before long he’s making new enemies of his own—threatening to push him and his family pastbreaking point.

With too many suspects and not enough facts, Fenchurch knows his new superiors are just waiting for him to fail—they want him off the case, and off the force for good. His family is in more danger than evr before. So how deep is he willing to dig in order to unearth the truth?”

I am delighted to welcome author Ed James to damppebbles today. Yesterday saw the release of the fourth book in Ed’s DI Fenchurch series, In For The Kill (a belated ‘happy publication day’ to Ed and the folk at Thomas and Mercer!). And that’s exactly what Ed is going to tell us about today; the glitz and the glam of being a published author on launch day. Over to you, Ed…

Today’s your book launch.

You’re sipping sweet champagne for breakfast, along with the freshest croissants, leafing through a Tesla catalogue, looking at that Model X that’ll get from 0 to 60 in a stupidly short time but also like save the planet. Then you remember that you’ve got a reservation at the Ivy tonight. But the doorbell goes. Who could it be? Oh! It’s your new yacht! Twenty foot longer than the old one. And it’s gold-plated. And filled with fresh fifty-pound notes.

Right?

Or are you sitting at your desk, feverishly going through the copy edits for a book you’ve slipped the deadline on twice now, hitting the refresh button on the Amazon product page every five seconds to see if the ranking has changed or if anyone’s reviewed it or—

The ranking has changed! It’s gone down. Oh.

People think when you get that book deal, that’s you hobnobbing with the stars, pricing up yachts or villas in Greece, but what’s the reality like?

By the time that bloody book comes out, it’s a weight off your shoulders. You’ve spent months writing it, probably took a few years off your life in the process. Your agent tore it apart, so you rewrote it until they liked it. They sent it out, it got rejected but you were lucky enough that someone bought it. And they edited it, four different stages which seemed to go on forever and took more years off. They commissioned a cover and you acted like you know what you’re talking about when you critique it. They do some nice blurb text, which you comment on like you even care by this point. Then you wait, checking Amazon for the sales rank on preorder. Checking Goodreads. Checking your google alerts are working. Wait, is that a new review? No, it’s that old one, the one on Goodreads that someone posted for the wrong book.

Then you meet your publicist and they’ve got loads of really funky ideas to get you in the papers and on the telly. Then you get the advance copies through the post and you’re a professional author! Actual books! And CDs and DVDs with the audiobook! You start to feel something in the pit of your stomach — is it excitement? Or just sheer terror?

The blog tour kicks off. The Amazon chart placing doesn’t budge. Your agent and editor stop answering your emails about how many preorders it’s done.

ARGH.

At this point, the book is like Shrödinger’s Cat, it’s both the biggest hit ever and the biggest disaster ever, at least until someone looks inside the box.

And it’s book launch day. Supposed to be the best day ever. But you stupidly checked your Amazon page just before you went to bed, didn’t you? Kept you thinking about stuff you can’t control when you’re supposed to be asleep. You even managed to get off to sleep after an hour spent working out where you’d like to meet JK Rowling, Stephen King and Lee Child for brunch. But then you woke up from a fever dream about accidentally mistweeting something, where you pissed everyone off and you have to go back to your old joke. So you get up for a glass of water, but you’re really checking your phone. The Amazon page has nudged up a little bit. Yay! But JK Rowling, Stephen King and Lee Child still haven’t got back to you. And you didn’t really mistweet something. Phew. So you go back to sleep, eventually get some, blissfully without a dream, then you give up tossing and turning at about six. And you get up. Again, like a lab rat, you check your phone for that dopamine hit.

Everyone at your publisher has wished the book well.

Your agent sent an encouraging message, their agency tweeted it.

The blog tour is going well.

And you can see the preorders. It’s going okay.

But what the hell do you do with book launch day?

Copy editing. Ignore everything.

Once you’ve sent an email to your mailing list. Once you’ve reminded your early readers to review it. Once you’ve tweeted about it. Once you’ve posted on your Facebook page.

You put the Beatles on to cheer you up. You don’t even like them.

But the lid of the box is open. You can peer inside, if you want. You can find out if it’s dead, or if it’s alive. But do you? Is it a monster hit? Is it a disaster?

So you check. The Amazon product page hasn’t changed since the middle of the night. It’s a disaster! But you keep refreshing the Amazon product page. You keep emailing your agent and editor to see how they think it’s doing and do they want any more books and is your career over, is it all a disaster, do you have to go back to your old job?

At some point during that day, you see it’s doing something. It’s defined itself. It’s a thing now, its success a tangible fact. The sales are recorded on some ledger somewhere, someone’s report or spreadsheet starts processing it. You lost any control of how good it was after you finished editing. It’s someone else’s baby now. And it belongs to the readers now, not you. You just wrote it, but it’s become something else.

And the reality is that all that weird stuff was inside your head. You’re getting too paranoid, too frazzled. Spending that time copy editing was smart, it distracted you for that hour. The book idea you sent to your agent, who enjoyed it enough to make you feel like it could work, that’s what you cling to. The next thing. Something shiny and new. Something you can control until they take it from your burnt fingertips and put you through that again.

Or is it you putting yourself through it?

The reality is somewhere in the middle. You should sit back and enjoy it for what it is. Some small part of the world will be yours for a couple of days, maybe a week, maybe a few months. You’ve achieved something very few people do — you wrote a book, you edited it, you made it as good as you could at that point in time. It’s out there, someone else’s baby. You’ve got peers now, you’re welcome at the table. You’ll have friends who are writers too, ones more successful than you, but ones less successful. The important thing is to enjoy it, savour the moment when your book is released and you pass it on for everyone else to enjoy.

But make sure you refresh the product page every minute.

I love this post, thank you Ed. I admire your honesty and if truth to be told, I did giggle a little at times whilst reading it.

I have the first DI Fenchurch book on my wishlist so hope to make a start on what promises to be a cracking series soon.

In For The Kill by Ed James was published in the UK by Thomas & Mercer on 19th April 2018 and is available in paperback, eBook and audio formats (please note, the following links are affiliate links): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Book Depository | Goodreads |

about the author3

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Ed lives in the East Lothian countryside, 25 miles east of Edinburgh, with his girlfriend, six rescue moggies, two retired greyhounds, a flock of ex-battery chickens and rescue ducks across two breeds and two genders (though the boys don’t lay eggs). While working in IT for a living, Ed wrote mainly on public transport but now writes full time.

Author Links: | Facebook | Website | Twitter | Instagram |

Author Image and Biog © https://edjamesauthor.com/

#BlogTour | #GuestPost: Our House by Louise Candlish (@Louise_Candlish) @simonschusterUK @jessbarratt88 #OurHouse

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“FOR BETTER, FOR WORSE.
When Fi Lawson arrives home to find strangers moving into her house, she is plunged into terror and confusion. She and her husband Bram have owned their home on Trinity Avenue for years and have no intention of selling. How can this other family possibly think the house is theirs? And why has Bram disappeared when she needs him most?

FOR RICHER, FOR POORER.
Bram has made a catastrophic mistake and now he is paying. Unable to see his wife, his children or his home, he has nothing left but to settle scores. As the nightmare takes grip, both Bram and Fi try to make sense of the events that led to a devastating crime. What has he hidden from her – and what has she hidden from him? And will either survive the chilling truth – that there are far worse things you can lose than your house?

TILL DEATH US DO PART.”

I am thrilled to welcome you to damppebbles today and to my stop on the Our House blog tour. Our House is the thirteenth novel from the pen of author, Louise Candlish, and was published by Simon & Schuster (UK) on 5th April 2018. Now, Louise Candlish is a new author to me (yes, I know what you’re thinking; thirteen books – how is that possible?!) but I am currently reading Our House and oh my gosh, what a thoroughly enjoyable read it is! The characters leap off the page at you, I’ve had many ‘OMG, NO!!’ moments and I cannot wait to see what the shocking twist is that EVERYONE is talking about (I don’t have a clue what it could be, by the way!).

The review is most definitely coming to the blog (pop back on Monday) but today, to celebrate the publication of Our House, I have a fantastic guest post from the author to share with you. Louise has chosen to tell us about the five books which inspired Our House. So without further ado, I’ll hand over to Louise…

Five books that inspired Our House
Louise Candlish

Capital by John Lanchester
I’m a huge fan of this book and was deep in Our House when the BBC dramatisation aired. The double-fronted house that causes all the trouble for Fi and Bram in Our House is not dissimilar to the one Roger and Arabella Yount live in in Capital – grand enough for south London, yes, but having accrued a value its builders could never have dreamed of. ‘The houses had become so valuable…and so expensive…that they had become central actors in their own right.’ Insane and terrifying.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Pretty much every thriller since 2012 owes a debt to Gillian Flynn’s smash hit, and the element that excited me was the husband and wife narratorial double act. Mainly the husband: Nick’s is the strongest voice, and the cheekiest – he even tips us off to his own untruths (‘that was my fifth lie to the police’). I see Bram as the key narrator of Our House. Because Fi is in the dark, the reader often knows more than she does and therefore the bond with Bram is stronger. That’s if he’s telling the truth, of course.

Peril at End House by Agatha Christie
Just about any Agatha Christie could be said to have inspired my writing, because she’s been a favourite since childhood, but I’ve chosen Peril at End House for its property and inheritance themes (there’s even a re-mortgaging). As one of the characters remarks, ‘I always knew something bad would happen in this house’. I also think this is a fantastic title, one of her best. ‘Peril’ is a great word.

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
I love every word Sarah Waters writes, every corner of every south London interior she creates. I live quite close to Champion Hill, where the house in The Paying Guests is set. Rooms must be let to Mr and Mrs Barber ‘if the house were to be kept going’ and there are so many dramatic possibilities in the idea of our hanging on to our home, whatever it takes. In Our House, Bram and Fi are separating and neither has a hope of buying the other out. They must share it – a plan that leads to tragedy.

The Wimbledon Poisoner by Nigel Williams
The south London suburb in Our House has a fictitious name – Alder Rise – but local readers will probably recognise its real-life equivalents. It’s definitely not Wimbledon, I can tell you that, and in any case SW19 already has a story of suburban murder and mishap that none of us can top. The opening of The Wimbledon Poisoner is a tour de force: Henry Farr decides he wants to kill his wife, remarking, ‘Being a convicted murderer had the edge on being a solicitor’. Savagery in the suburbs – and that’s just the humour.

Thank you for joining me today, Louise and for giving us a sneak peek into your inspiration for the fantastic Our House.

Our House by Louise Candlish was published in the UK by Simon & Schuster (UK) on 5th April 2018 and is available in hardcover, eBook and audio formats (please note, the following Amazon and Waterstones links are affiliate links): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

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about the author3

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Louise Candlish was born in Hexham, Northumberland, and grew up in the Midlands town of Northampton. She studied English at University College London and lives in Herne Hill in South London with her husband and daughter. She is the bestselling author of eleven novels, including The Swimming Pool (2016) and The Sudden Departure of the Frasers (2015), Her new novel Our House, will be published in April 2018 by Simon & Schuster in the UK and in August 2018 by Berkley in the US.

The Sudden Departure of the Frasers has been optioned for TV by Hartswood Films.

Besides books, the things Louise likes best are: coffee; TV (so much TV, too much, probably); cats and dogs; salted caramel; France (especially the Ile de Re); Italy (especially Sicily); tennis; soup; Vanity Fair magazine; ‘Book at Bedtime’; lasagne; heavy metal; ‘The Archers’; driving towards the sea (but not into it); anything at the Royal Opera House; white wine; Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (or, failing that, a Starbar).

Author Links: | Twitter | Website | Facebook | Instagram |

#GuestPost: Call to Arms by Rachel Amphlett (@RachelAmphlett) #DetectiveKayHunter #CalltoArms

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“Loyalty has a price.

Kay Hunter has survived a vicious attack at the hands of one of the country’s most evil serial killers.

Returning to work after an enforced absence to recover, she discovers she wasn’t the only victim of that investigation. DI Devon Sharp remains suspended from duties, and the team is in turmoil.

Determined to prove herself once more and clear his name, Kay undertakes to solve a cold case that links Sharp to his accuser.

But as she gets closer to the truth, she realises her enquiries could do more harm than good.

Torn between protecting her mentor and finding out the truth, the consequences of Kay’s enquiries will reach far beyond her new role…

Call to Arms is a gripping police procedural, and the fifth in the Detective Kay Hunter series:

1. SCARED TO DEATH
2. WILL TO LIVE
3. ONE TO WATCH
4. HELL TO PAY
5. CALL TO ARMS

A page-turning murder mystery for fans of Peter Robinson, David Baldacci and Harlen Coben.”

It is my great pleasure to welcome the brilliant author of the Detective Kay Hunter series, Rachel Amphlett, to damppebbles today. I absolutely love the Kay Hunter series and always make sure I keep up with the latest release. The marvellous Call to Arms, the fifth book in the series, was published on Sunday 11th March 2018. To help celebrate Rachel has very kindly agreed to join me today and tell us about one of my favourite aspects of the series; Kay’s rather dishy other half, vet Adam!

Regular readers of the blog will know that I like my detectives damaged, on the edge and very much alone (i.e. no romantic counterpart). That is not the case with Kay though. Kay and Adam’s relationship really adds to the story for me. Plus the steady stream of creatures he brings home from work always makes me smile (and in Call to Arms, I have to admit I cried a little too).

So without further ado, I will hand over to Rachel to tell us why she chose a career in veterinary medicine for Mr Kay…

Why a vet?

One of readers’ favourite characters in the Kay Hunter series is that of her other half Adam, who’s a vet.

Writing a crime thriller series can be quite harrowing. A lot of the research can be disturbing, and let’s face it – when you’re running around chasing a serial killer or trying to solve a cold case murder, there isn’t much room for laughter.

I knew when I was first developing the idea for the series that I didn’t want my female detective to have a fractured home life – there were already plenty of other books like that around – and, as a lot of the crimes Kay Hunter investigates are dark and disturbing, I wanted her home life to provide her with a sense of normality.

The idea of Adam being a vet really appealed to me as soon as it popped into my head. (I blame watching repeats of the BBC series All Creatures Great and Small as a kid.)

Here was a character who was Kay’s equal in intelligence, could provide her with a safe home life AND give me a perfect excuse to provide some light relief for readers during the course of the series.

After all, you never know what animals a vet might bring home!

As well as Kay’s own career lows and highs, Adam’s veterinary practice impacts their lives too and I really enjoy seeing how these two characters support each other throughout the stories and challenges that their lives bring.

Of course, events in Kay’s professional life have meant it hasn’t all been plain sailing for her and Adam, but I think the dynamic between these two people is something that is working and seems to have been well received.

In fact, I’ve been amazed at how well readers have taken to Adam’s character – he and Kay are a real team, and I think it’s because they have a relatively normal home life (again, depending on what guests he’s looking after!) that readers can relate to the problems they encounter.

In Call to Arms, Adam gets his own chance to shine as we find him caring for a terminally ill patient. The storyline gave me an opportunity to explore his own character further, balancing out the investigation Kay leads with an emotionally-charged scene that anyone who has had a pet will relate to.

I hope that in Call to Arms readers get a greater sense of how much Adam cares about his work, his patients, and their wellbeing.

Adam is a huge support for Kay, and I don’t think she’d be the detective she is without him in her life.

Thank you so much for joining me today Rachel, and for giving us an insight into Adam. I have read Call to Arms and was delighted to see Adam shine. My review of Call to Arms will be up on the blog later this week so keep an eye out for that.

Call to Arms by Rachel Amphlett was published in the UK by Saxon Publishing on 11th March 2018 and is available in paperback, eBook and audio formats (please note, the following Amazon and Waterstones links are affiliate links): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

about the author3

Author

Rachel Amphlett is the bestselling author of the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the new Detective Kay Hunter crime thriller series, as well as a number of standalone crime thrillers.

Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel’s novels appeal to a worldwide audience, and have been compared to Robert Ludlum, Lee Child and Michael Crichton.

She is a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold, being sold to Fanucci Editore’s TIMECrime imprint in 2014.

An advocate for knowledge within the publishing industry, Rachel is always happy to share her experiences to a wider audience through her blogging and speaking engagements.

Author Links: | Website | Facebook | Twitter |