#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 |

about the author3

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 |

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#damppebblestakeover with Bill Todd (@williamjtodd) | #GuestPost: Arresting Behaviour #DannyLancaster #GodlefesCuckoo

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“Danny Lancaster has been missing since the fishing boat exploded.

Police are closing their inquiry but Wanda Lovejoy continues her campaign to find the truth.

An evil man kept alive by machines nurses a corrosive hate. As drugs and disease pull his dying mind apart he throws his crime empire into a scorched earth quest to find one man.

If Danny Lancaster isn’t dead he soon will be.”

It’s Friday, yay! Which means it’s time for another #damppebblestakeover but before I make today’s introductions, I have to pop out to the supermarket. Sorry. Bit of a nuisance but needs must and all that. Back in a tick….

I’ve taken over. Found a window on the latch round the back of damppebbles HQ. Now I’m in, no problem.
Locked the doors and windows. Had a quick look round, Emma’s got a nice place here, lots of books, coffee’s good too.
Don’t panic. I’m not going to do any damage. Won’t nick anything either, apart from a cup of coffee and a splash of semi-skimmed. So, no sinister intent, just a bit of precious peace and quiet, thinking time.
Thing is, I’ve written six Danny Lancaster crime thrillers. He’s a wounded ex-paratrooper, an Afghan veteran, trying not very successfully to make a living as a private investigator.
His new career might be struggling but Danny’s cases have been varied, from dangerous missing cargo to murdered rock stars and ruthless diamond smugglers.
A favour for a friend in book four found Danny in danger on the Rock of Gibraltar. Book five was a short novel and six short stories. The latest, Godlefe’s Cuckoo, was published in March and forces Danny to face new threats.
So here’s the reason for today’s break-in, the need for a bit of peace and quiet. I have a very promising idea for a new book. Question is – Danny7 or standalone?
All of my Danny novels can be read without any prior knowledge. They’ve had some cracking reviews and I’m really pleased that many are from women readers who form the majority of Danny fans.
On top of that, some readers with a military background have given Danny their seal of approval and other supportive reviews have come from readers new to the genre. All in all, a broad and encouraging spectrum of positive opinion.
But it doesn’t solve my problem. No spoilers but the new plot idea follows a fractured family torn further apart by the revelation of an older relative’s forgotten memory from his youth. When this bubbles to the surface there are dramatic consequences.
It’s a case that Danny, with his unshakeable sense of justice in one form or another, would love to get his teeth into.
Then again, the family at the heart of the drama could grasp the nettle and battle to resolve their own fate.
I’m like a cat sitting between two juicy treats. Go left? Go right? Pepperoni or mushroom? Custard or ice cream? Blonde or brunette? Yin or Yang? Still can’t decide.
Just need a bit more peace and quiet for some blue sky musing, follow the threads, see where they go. Maybe Emma wouldn’t notice if I pinched a second coffee.
Whoa! Hold on. I hear a noise. Key in the front door. Just time to rinse my coffee cup, then out the back window.
Will just have to muse on the bus home.

Right. Sorry. Back as quick as I could. Today’s #damppebblestakeover author is Bill Todd, author of the Danny Lancaster series. Bill…..? Bill, are you here…..? Hmm, where is he? Maybe he changed his mind. Nevermind, I’ll just say instead that Bill has written six Danny Lancaster novels which are;

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The Wreck Of The Margherita: Someone is killing to recover a lethal cargo washed overboard in a storm.
Death Squad: Who shot Seventies rock legend Mickey ‘Tattoo’ Carpenter?
Rough Diamond: Danny Lancaster finds out the hard way that diamonds are not always a girl’s best friend.
Rock Hard: ‘The heat was murder but that wasn’t the worst of it. There were the bodies’.
Gargoyle Pixie Dog: How do you find a homeless girl who lives off the grid? + 6 short stories – The Cuckold’s Calling, Selfie, The Hoodied Man, The Germans Can’t Kill Me, Inside Job, Sudden Death.
Godlefe’s Cuckoo: If Danny Lancaster isn’t dead he soon will be.
All six Dannys are available as ebooks and paperbacks and The Wreck of Margherita is free to download. All the other ebooks are just 99p/99c.

Godlefe’s Cuckoo by Bill Todd was published in the UK on 10th March 2018 and is available in paperback or eBook formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which mean I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Goodreads |

about the author3

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I’m a journalist and travel writer who has visited more than 40 countries from the white wastes of Arctic Finland to the ancient deserts of Namibia. Love a good wilderness. I received the Ed Lacy travel award in 2007.
I’ve written six crime thrillers featuring soldier-turned-investigator Danny Lancaster and was startled and delighted to be voted one of the 100 best crime authors in the WH Smith readers’ poll in 2015. I’ve also written three short factual military histories. I live to write although keyboard time has been cut lately with the arrival of grandson Theo.

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

#damppebblestakeover with Karla Forbes (@KarlaForbes) | #GuestPost: Inspiration versus Desperation #NickSullivanThrillers #IndieAuthor

cronus cover.jpg

“To the outside world, Dan Masters is a law abiding I.T. expert working for the Metropolitan Police in London.

But he is also a high ranking member of Cronus, a secret group of vigilantes who are growing exponentially and spreading terror across the country.

When Nick is persuaded, against his better judgement, to help Beth Masters keep a track of her husband’s whereabouts, he unwittingly stumbles into the Cronus network and compromises its security.

Soon he is fighting for his life in a new and frightening world where no one can be trusted. For who can he turn to for help when anyone could be a Cronus member with a powerful reason to want him dead?”

It’s Friday, which can mean only one thing. It’s #damppebblestakeover day and I am delighted to welcome Karla Forbes, author of the Nick Sullivan series, back to damppebbles today. I’m handing over the keys to Karla who last paid us a visit during my #R3COMM3ND3D2017 feature (click HERE to see which books Karla chose as her three recommended reads from 2017).

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

Inspiration versus Desperation
Karla Forbes

I am currently writing my 14th crime/thriller and although it should be getting easier, it isn’t. When I wrote my first book, I had a vague idea of a plot floating around in my head. It was based on a comment someone had made to me that, during the cold war, Soviet scientists had invented a nuclear bomb that could be carried in a suitcase. After extensively researching plutonium, dirty bombs, the cold war and many other subjects that had been strangely missing from my school curriculum, I sat down at my laptop and the words flowed from my fingertips to the keyboard. Several months and 106,000 words later, I had written my first book, named it ‘Fallout’ and, very naively, thought how easy this whole writing malarkey is. Wrong! Unless your name is Margaret Mitchell and you write a single best seller called Gone with the wind, you will be keen to start your second book. This time, the chances are that you have used up all your ideas on your first literary masterpiece and you will be forced to dig a little deeper to find your next plot.

The advice given to aspiring authors is to write what you know about but unless readers want to follow the scintillating drama of your protagonist going to work, standing in a queue at the supermarket checkout and slobbing in front of the television every night, you’re going to have to exercise your imagination and come up with something a little more exciting. By now, I had decided to write a series of thrillers based on the hero of ‘Fallout’, Nick Sullivan, who is a stubborn, self opinionated but thoroughly likeable character who I couldn’t bear to part from. This meant that I was spared the pain of thinking up a whole new protagonist and supporting characters but I needed a new plot. I cast around for ideas and in a moment of inspiration thought of my daughter. She has a PhD in artificial intelligence and was perfectly placed to give me the science behind a computer virus that couldn’t be stopped. Once again, I had set myself up for disappointment. Not only was she none too pleased to have to condense her entire life’s study into easy sentences that I could understand but I then had to incorporate it into an exciting thriller that wouldn’t bore the reader senseless.

I managed it in the end but you get the picture; constantly thinking up new plots is harder than actually writing the book. Since those early beginnings, I’ve written about, among other things, blowing up Grangemouth which the largest oil refinery in Europe, counterfeit drugs getting into the National Health Service, Ugandan terrorists stealing from charities to fund their activities, the illegal trade in endangered species, fracking in sleepy Sussex, a nationwide group of vigilantes wreaking havoc on the guilty and innocent alike, a Russian oligarch poisoning half of London in pursuit of money ( I wrote that one before the Novichok outrage) and I’m currently writing about an attack on the London Stock exchange which has the potential to wreck the economy even more effectively than the combined efforts of our bickering, political masters.

Each time I finish a book, I start searching around for the next plot but as I said in the opening paragraph, it doesn’t get any easier. I’ve heard it said that Barbara Cartland wrote several hundred novels but in reality, she wrote one novel and simply changed the names and locations. A clever woman Ms Cartland. Perhaps my next book will be a romance. In the meantime, back to destroying the economy by attacking the City of London…

Thanks so much, Karla. I would struggle to come up with one plot idea (don’t expect to read my first novel any time soon!), let alone 14 so I’m always amazed when authors can continue to come up with fresh and exciting stories, time and time again. I guess that’s why they’re the authors and I’m the reader, right? 😂

Cronus by Karla Forbes was published in the UK in 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 | Goodreads |

about the author3

www.midsussexphotography.co.uk | www.midsussexwebsites.co.uk

Karla Forbes first began writing books when she was twelve years old. Heavily influenced by Ian Fleming, she wrote about guns, fast cars and spies. Naturally, she knew nothing of her chosen subject and was forced to use her imagination to make it up as she went along. These books, half a dozen in total, ended up being thrown out with the rubbish. Several years later, she dabbled in a futuristic sitcom and a full length horror story. Although both of these efforts were also consigned to literary oblivion, at least no one could have accused her of being in a genre rut.

She began writing properly more than ten years ago and her first book, The Preacher was published on Amazon in July 2011. Fourteen books in total are available to download from the Amazon kindle book store. Other books will follow at regular intervals. She writes about ordinary people who find themselves in extraordinary situations and she aims for unusual but scarily believable plots with a surprising twist.

She lives in Sussex with her husband and bull mastiff and has discovered that the secret of keeping them both happy is regular meals, praise and affection.

Author Links: | Twitter | Website | Nick Sullivan thrillers on amazon.co.uk | Karla Forbes on Goodreads |

#damppebblestakeover with Alice Castle (@DDsDiary) | #GuestPost: Why read cozy crime? #LondonMurderMysteries @crookedcatbooks

calamity in camberwell.jpg“Beth Haldane, SE21’s answer to Miss Marple, worries she is losing a kindred spirit when her friend Jen, the only other single mum in the playground, suddenly remarries and moves to Camberwell. 

Soon Beth has to face much more pressing fears. Has something gone horribly wrong with Jen’s marriage? What is her new husband really up to? Why is her daughter leading Beth’s son astray? And where on earth is Jen anyway? 

As Beth’s friends push her to start dating again, Beth turns to Metropolitan Police DI Harry York for help. But will they solve the mystery in time, or will it turn out that in south east London, not everyone gets to live happily ever after?”

I am delighted to welcome you to the second post in the resuscitated and reinvigorated #damppebblestakeover series.  Today I am thrilled to welcome the author of the London Murder Mysteries, Alice Castle, to damppebbles.  Alice is on the precipice of releasing the third book in her Beth Haldane and DI Harry York series so get those pre-orders in now (hitting eReaders on Monday 13th August)!

Without further ado, I will hand the reins of damppebbles over to Alice…

Why read cozy crime? By Alice Castle

We’re living at an extraordinary time for crime fiction. It’s officially now the most popular genre in the UK and, with steamroller successes like The Girl On The Train, crime is dominating not only bookshops but also TV, theatre and cinema screens too.

It might seem like an odd time to resuscitate the gentle tropes of cozy mystery, when the psychological thriller seems to be pushing new boundaries. But I believe that, in difficult times, people are drawn to Golden Age-type stories and find them just as satisfying, if not more so, than violent or shocking fare like twisty thrillers and grisly serial killers.

There’s still huge affection for Agatha Christie’s works, over forty years after her death, as evidenced by the success of recent TV remakes of Witness for the Prosecution, And Then There Were None and Ordeal by Innocence. These have led to the reissuing of many of the original novels in brand new tie-in covers. And who doesn’t love a good old murder amongst well-heeled folk in a country house, or feel a little thrill of satisfaction when the detective calls the suspects into the library for the final denouement?

I chose to write my series in the cozy crime genre, but have updated the formula by setting the stories firmly in contemporary south east London, with all the gritty urban problems that city life brings. I believe this gives my readers the best of both worlds – a secure moral universe, where evil-doers are always punished, a closed circle of suspects based in a beautiful area (lovely Dulwich!) and the real stresses and strains of modern life. Add a dash of satire on the frankly funny ways of the very privileged folk of SE21, and you have a series which I’m loving writing and which I hope will keep going far beyond the five stories which are either currently published or in the pipeline.

My single mum amateur sleuth, Beth Haldane, stumbles into her first investigation and is a hesitant but reckless detective. Her counterpoint is the Met’s DI Harry York, a pragmatist about crime but with a soft spot for Golden Age crime fiction – and for Beth.

If you’d like to read the stories, I suggest starting with Death in Dulwich (http://MyBook.to/1DeathinDulwich) and moving on to The Girl in the Gallery (http://MyBook.to/GirlintheGallery), then Calamity in Camberwell (http://MyBook.to/CiC, coming out on 13th August 2018) and Homicide in Herne Hill (3rd October 2018) with Revenge on the Rye following in 2019. They can all be read as stand alone stories as well. And do pop in to my blog, http://www.alicecastleauthor.com, for more news on the series and events I’m taking part in.

Thank you for joining me today, Alice.  Regular visitors to the blog will know that I love a grisly, gory serial killer – the more blood splatter, the better!  But I do have a rather large soft spot for cozy crime.  As for Christie, show me a crime reader who doesn’t love her books!  How do you feel about cozy crime? Let me know in the comments.

Calamity in Camberwell by Alice Castle was published in the UK on 13th August 2018 and is available in paperback and eBook formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | BookDepository | Goodreads |

If you’re a crime author and you would like to take part in #damppebblestakeover then please contact me via damppebbles@gmail.com.  Having originally planned to run the feature over the Summer, I have now decided to make it a regular weekly blog post on a Friday but I need YOU to write something.  No #damppebblestakeover next week though as I’ll be on holiday and it’s my birthday (a rather significant one, at that!).

about the author3

acb.jpegBefore turning to crime, Alice Castle was a UK newspaper journalist for The Daily Express, The Times and The Daily Telegraph. Her first book, Hot Chocolate, set in Brussels and London, was a European hit and sold out in two weeks.

Death in Dulwich was published in September 2017 and has been a number one best-seller in the UK, US, Canada, France, Spain and Germany. A sequel, The Girl in the Gallery was published in December 2017 to critical acclaim. Calamity in Camberwell, the third book in the London Murder Mystery series, will be published this summer, with Homicide in Herne Hill due to follow in early 2019.  Alice is currently working on the fifth London Murder Mystery adventure. Once again, it will feature Beth Haldane and DI Harry York.

Alice is also a mummy blogger and book reviewer via her website: https://www.alicecastleauthor.com

She lives in south London and is married with two children, two step-children and two cats.

Author Links:Facebook | Twitter |