Blast Off with Space Dust by Eloise De Sousa #BlogTour

Hello all! Please join me in welcoming my dear friend Eloise De Sousa for the last day of her Blast Off blog tour for her newest book, Space Dust! For a little review by me, you just need to read down to the bottom!

Hello and thank you for joining me at Ritu’s beautiful page. This is our final stop on the amazing tour Blast Off with Space Dust. I’d just like to thank you all for joining me on this exciting trip through the blogosphere and for spending time visiting all these great bloggers who have been kind enough to host Space Dust.

Let’s get the party started with a final giveaway. How about 10 more free ebooks? Just click on the pic below to receive your free ebook copy of Space Dust.

Remember, there are only 10 available so you gotta be quick to get that winning click!

Click the Image!

It has been an incredible journey. Every stop has given us the opportunity to meet new blogging friends and readers, as well as learn more about Space Dust, its characters and the writing process behind it. I’d like to add a bit more to our last post about striking the right note for readers. When creating an event in the school library where I work, I enjoy adding a little extra by holding treasure hunts and giving away prizes such as word searches and book markers. That way, I know I am catering for my readers and rewarding their continued support. Since I haven’t thought of a way to add a treasure hunt to this tour (which would have been fun and something to think about for the next one), I do have some prizes for you taking part. Please find below a word search created just for Space Dust readers.


Now a little music. We have travelled through space and found some pretty awesome creatures along the way. The only song I can think of that suits this trip is the famous song by Bob Sinclair’s ‘World Hold On’.

For our final celebration, here is a snippet of me reading the Space Dust to the Birch Hill library children who attended the Summer Reading Challenge over the summer holidays. As you know by now, Space Dust was created to help encourage children to participate in the Challenge, to read more about space and, of course, to enjoy the many activities available at their local library.

It’s now time to say good-bye…

Our canoe is packed away and so is the absolute favourite spoon.

Big Ox made sure Little One is asleep, and Mummy will be home soon.

Tomorrow is another day filled with adventure and fun.

Who knows where they might go – maybe the moon, or the sun!

I do know Big Ox won’t be around to play,

so who will help Little One fill the day?

Will Mummy be able to go on a trip to the moon,

steering Big Ox’s canoe with his absolute favourite spoon?

With that in mind, I will bid you farewell.

Let me know what you think of the book;

receiving pics or reviews of the book would be swell!

Find out more about my books or about me, please click on any of the links below:

Eloise De Sousa

Author Page




And there you have it! Eloise’s tour is done… what with a giveaway and wordsearch, you guys are pretty lucky!

But wait… I haven’t finished yet! Here’s my review…

A children’s book needs imagery, and Space Dust has that in spadefuls. Imagine the mind of a little one who has been left at home, by mummy, with no explanation at all.

That’s what happens to Little One, but he’s lucky as he has Bix Ox with him, to take him on an adventure of his own, into space, on his canoe. They visit planets, and see amazing space creatures, collecting space dust on their shoes as they go.

Enjoy Eloise’s beautiful illustrations and poetic words that give the story a wonderful rhythm.

I read this book to the children in my reception class and it it was lovely to watch them react in different ways. The children with English as a second language were engaged by the striking illustrations and the children who had a better grasp of the English language, were awestruck at the thought of space lions and seahorses in space!

They enjoyed it immensely. ❤

Home Truths by Susan Lewis #BookReview #BlogTour @susanlewisbooks #HarperCollins @fictionpubteam

I am absolutely made up to be a part of the blog tour for this book!

Susan Lewis has been a favourite author of mine for many years, and to be asked to be a part of the promotion for her newest release was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up!

Let me tell you a little bit about the book first.

Home Truths

22nd August 2019

The emotional new novel from the Sunday Times best selling author Susan Lewis

Angie Watts had the perfect ordinary family. A new home. A beloved husband. Three adored children.

But Angie’s happy life is shattered when her son Liam falls in with the wrong crowd. And when her son’s bad choices lead to the murder of her husband, it’s up to Angie to hold what’s left of her family together.

How far would you go to keep your family safe?

Her son is missing. Her daughter is looking for help in dangerous places. And Angie is fighting just to keep a roof over their heads.

But Angie is a mother. And a mother does anything to protect her children – even when the world is falling apart.

My thoughts?

I have read a lot of Susan Lewis’s earlier books and was so pleased to be given a chance to read Home Truths as I have always loved her gritty yet realistic storytelling.
And I was definitely not disappointed.
We follow the story of Angie Watts, a woman who is thrust into the life of a widowed mother of two after the tragic murder of her beloved husband.
The loss of her husband is heightened by the subsequent disappearance of her eldest son who has been swallowed up by gang culture and drugs. 
Spiralling into debt, Angie is faced with hard decisions, whether to feed her family or to pay those who are biting at her ankles for their money.
Losing her home, the home her husband had lovingly created for their family, is the last straw.
Until a saviour, or several saviours, enter her life, and help her rebuild her home and life.
It sounds like a total fairytale, but it really isn’t.
This story deals with gang culture, drug addiction, homelessness, mental health issues, grooming of young girls for sex work and loss.
I was gripped.
And I can admit to sitting on my sofa reading, and having to message a book group I am a member of, to say how that moment when you feel your lips turn up slightly, at the prospect of all the downs turning to ups, in a book your reading is my #perfectreadingmoment.
And there were tears in my eyes at moments, of both sadness, but of happiness too.
A must read!

Come and get to know Susan Lewis

Susan Lewis *

Susan Lewis is the bestselling author of over forty books across the genres of family drama, thriller, suspense and crime, including her most recent novel the Sunday Times bestseller One Minute Later. She is also the author of Just One More Day and One Day at a Time, the moving memoirs of her childhood in Bristol during the 1960s.

Susan has had quite the career. At 18 years old she got a job at HTV in Bristol and then four years later moved to London to work for Thames. She worked as a secretary in news and current affairs before training as a production assistant working on light entertainment and drama. Susan has lived in Hollywood, where she was neighbours with George Clooney, and the South of France, before moving to her current home in Gloucestershire which she shares with her husband James, stepsons Michael and Luke, and mischievous dogs Coco and Lulu.

For more information about Susan Lewis and her books, visit her website,

For more posts on the Blog Tour, check below.

* International best selling author Susan Lewis – 9th of August 2018. Picture by Antony Thompson – Thousand Word Media, NO SALES, NO SYNDICATION. Contact for more information mob: 07775556610 web: email: The photographic copyright (© 2017) is exclusively retained by the works creator at all times and sales, syndication or offering the work for future publication to a third party without the photographer’s knowledge or agreement is in breach of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988, (Part 1, Section 4, 2b). Please contact the photographer should you have any questions with regard to the use of the attached work and any rights involved.

Jim Webster’s Done It Again! Two New Books! #BlogTour

Guess who is joining me on a blog tour again?

Good ole’ Jim Webster! And here is a little story for your perusal.

Be careful what you pretend to be. 
I would like to say that when I heard what Garamie was planning, I knew it
wasn’t going to end well. Unfortunately I must confess that at the time I
thought he had come up with an excellent strategy given his obvious
limitations. Garamie wanted to be a savant. He wanted to be looked up to and
respected for his knowledge. Unfortunately he didn’t want to dedicate a
lifetime to study, so he could reap the benefits of his status as a
well-respected scholar in his old age. He wanted the benefits now. I could
see the source of his confusion. Garamie was quite well off. He’d been
through the University here in Port Naain, but like many students he
appeared to have left more muddled and less accomplished than when he
arrived. What university had taught him was that the road to proper
scholarship is hard.
Have you heard the comment, “The easiest way to be recognised as a savant is
to ensure your field of expertise is so tedious that nobody will ever
question you about it?” Garamie took this one stage further. He decided that
he would make his field of expertise so terrible that nobody would ever
raise the subject. Thus, after brief thought, he proclaimed himself a
Traditionally necromancers shun people, daylight, and soap. Garamie was the
exception to the rule, in that he merely wanted the fame, or perhaps more
properly, the notoriety. He had no interest in truly studying necromancy. So
where most necromancers have no social life, Garamie became the socially
acceptable face of necromancy and was invited to all sorts of parties and
social events.
When out and about, he could dissemble adequately when it came to discussing
his dark art. If somebody asked him anything, Garamie would bluff. He could
mix into his conversation mumbled phrases from long dead languages, most of
which he made up on the spot. He found it harder to convince people he was a
genuine necromancer when they visited him at home and discovered that he had
none of the impedimenta of the trade. It seems that to be accepted as a
necromancer, or as any sort of mage, you need a workroom. You need the
paraphernalia. Young ladies, fascinated by him, expected to see the tools of
his trade when they visited his abode. Obviously they weren’t looking for
cadavers in the bedroom, (although one or two of his rather more
‘specialist’ lady-friends gave the impression that this was the sort of
thing they rather anticipated.) 
As I said, he had money. This was a positive disadvantage. If he’d had no
money he could have done wonders for very little. After all, if I want the
skull of a hanged man, I merely ask Mutt and he’ll return later demanding
twenty-five dregs for a perfectly reasonable skull. Indeed it may even come
from a man who was hanged. (In Port Naain the chances are at least
reasonable.) I certainly would not seek out one of the Exulted Purveyors of
the Imperishable Wisdom. Admittedly they would guarantee that the skull came
from a hanged man, even if they had to bring forward the hanging for your
convenience. But on the other hand they’d expect me to pay an alar for it.
It’s the same with cadavers really. I remember the time Lancet and I found a
chap who’d passed out with drink. Lancet painted the fellow’s face so he
looked like a corpse, and we sold his clothes to pay for a cheap shroud. To
be fair, that is common enough, the dead man doesn’t need his clothes any
more, and the money left over after buying the shroud traditionally goes to
paying for a round of drinks for his friends. We then carried the corpse
along Ropewalk on an improvised stretcher. I might have mentioned that it
costs one silver vintenar to book your place on the corpse boat. When the
boat is full they sail out to the west and drop the weighted bodies
overboard for their last rest. It’s considered a charitable gesture to give
a vintenar so that a poor man can make that last journey, and as Lancet and
I tearfully solicited money for the poor deceased we were carrying, we did
quite well. 
Then somebody offered to buy the body off us. I’m not sure why, it wasn’t as
if it was a particularly good body. The owner hadn’t been taking any real
care of it. But Lancet had got our potential buyer up to twenty vintenars.
They’d shaken on the deal and the happy purchaser was about to give Lancet
the money when the ‘corpse’ groaned. I said, probably too quickly, “It’s
just the air escaping.”
Unfortunately at this point the ‘corpse’ tried to sit up. At least one of
the bystanders screamed, Lancet and I dropped the stretcher and ran in one
direction, whilst the putative purchaser ran in the other. The ‘corpse’
staggered forlornly down Ropewalk, struggling to walk in a shroud.
Alas, Garamie was spared this education by his wealth. He merely ordered his
bits and pieces from the Exulted Purveyors of the Imperishable Wisdom. Of
course you have to ask why they sold him the material. It’s obvious to
anybody who talked to him that he wasn’t a serious student of the dark arts.
Perhaps it was merely a case of him being a free-spending incompetent who
differed little from their usual run of customers?  
I once saw Garamie’s ‘workroom’. I found myself roped in because I’d been
passing as a courier’s wagon arrived. At the same point the heavens opened
and Garamie, spotting me, asked if I’d give a hand helping them to unload.
Apparently there was a risk that three bags of ‘grave dust’ might turn into
several buckets full of ‘grave mud.’ 
Garamie had chosen a modest downstairs room as his workroom. It was
naturally poorly illuminated, a small north window providing entirely
inadequate light. He proceeded to fill it with clutter. Several crudely
built tables were piled high with skulls, candles, battered tomes one
assumed were of eldritch lore, and any number of strange crystals. I confess
I looked at the books. Let us be honest with ourselves here, how could I, a
poet and a man of letters, not look at the books? Let us be equally honest,
those I examined were likewise split between recipes collected by cooks and
housekeepers of a previous century, the account books of large estate, the
latest entry at least two centuries previous, and a selection of those
history books one only ever finds in school libraries. I am willing to admit
they were fascinating, I have a weakness for history books that are so old
that the history they cover was virtually current affairs for the writer.
But still, unless necromancy has changed direction in recent years I
wouldn’t have regarded them as particularly macabre. 
Still Garamie must have picked up some more specialist literature. He
acquired habit of dropping esoteric phrases into conversation. I was in the
Misanthropes on one occasion when he said something and the hairs on the
back of my neck stood on end. On other occasions people claim that when he
spoke the candle flames flickered out or the room grew strangely colder. 
I still hold that he hadn’t any idea what he was doing. I do know that he
was in the habit of jotting ‘interesting’ phrases in a pocket book. He
showed me it once. It looked like a collection of nonsense phrases but
should he wish to impress the sort of girl who likes ‘bad’ boys, he’d drop
one or two into his conversation.
We’re not sure exactly what happened to him. The woman who ‘did’ for him
went in one morning to discover he wasn’t about and that the workroom door
was locked. She tidied up a bit and decided that there was a strange smell.
At that point she thought to send for the watch. They broke into the
workroom to find the walls liberally decorated with Garamie. His pocket book
was open on one of the tables but was so liberally daubed with blood that it
was illegible. His death was registered as ‘suicide by means of unthinking

And now we’d better hear from Jim Webster.

So here I am again with another blog tour. I’ve released two collections of
short stories from Tallis and if you’ve enjoyed the one you just read,
you’ll almost certainly enjoy these.
So what have Tallis and I got for you?

Well first there’s ‘Tallis Steelyard. A guide for writers, and other
stories.’ The book that all writers who want to know how to promote and sell
their books will have to read. Sit at the feet of the master as Tallis
passes on the techniques which he has tried and perfected over the years. As
well as this you’ll have music and decorum, lessons in the importance of
getting home under your own steam, and brass knuckles for a lady. How can
you resist, all this for a mere 99p.

Then we have, ‘Tallis Steelyard. Gentlemen behaving badly, and other
stories.’ Now is your chance to see Port Naain by starlight and meet ladies
of wit and discernment. There are Philosophical societies, amateur
dramatics, the modern woman, revenge, and the advantages of a good

So come on, treat yourself, because you’re worth it.

#BlogTour – Jim Webster – Tallis Steelyard – Two more Books!

Time for another visitor!

It’s Jim Webster again, with another of his fantastical tales!

Let’s start with a photo…

Followed by a tale…

Getting Rich Moderately Rapidly
Some people seem to drift into jobs that don’t really suit them. If they’re 
lucky then their lives get shaken up and they finally find themselves where 
they ought to be. Still it can be a traumatic experience and you end up 
hoping that it was worth the effort.
I knew one couple who went through this process. Both were in jobs which 
they didn’t particularly like but weren’t quite sure how they could escape 
from them. One was Roa. She was a young woman who somehow ended up a downstairs maid. Even though it was a large establishments she found herself doing a fair bit of kitchen work as well. Many women quite take to the life and even look back on it with a degree of affection, once matrimony was whisked them away from it. Others frankly loath it and get out as soon as possible. Roa was trapped because whilst she didn’t like the job, her 
dislike wasn’t intense enough to drive her to do something about it.
She was, after a fashion, courted by Erlman. His job was a little 
specialist. He was employed by a legal practice who would hire him out to 
householders worried about the honesty of their servants. Erlman would be
sent to the household and would try and entice the servants into corrupt 
practices. If he succeeded the servant would be sacked.
The problems became apparent when Erlman started to ‘test’ Roa as his 
contract of employment demanded. Firstly he was smitten with her. Secondly, when he suggested some minor peculation, Roa scolded him, not for his dishonesty but for his lack of imagination. Erlman had suggested she add a couple of bottles of wine to the order when the household wanted to top up their wine cellar. His cunning plan would be that they wouldn’t be missed when she spirited them away and they resold them.
Roa pointed out that it would make far more sense to put in an extra grocery order. Rather than just have it delivered, tell the supplier it was for the family’s rural estate and so Erlman and her could hire a wagon, collect the extra and then sell that
As I said, Erlman was probably more than a little in love with Roa at this 
point. So not only was he swayed by her genius, he also saw it as a way for 
him to get out of a job he disliked. Roa put in the order; Erlman collected 
it and then started a grocer’s business, selling produce from the back of a 
wagon. Obviously they couldn’t put too many extra orders on thehousehold
budget because somebody would notice. Roa came up with the idea of putting in extra orders for other households as well. It was all quite informal, Erlman would present his list and whilst that was being fulfilled, then he would present a second, much shorter list. This he asked them to put on another account. He merely commented that as he was virtually passing the door of one establishment on his way to the other, everybody seemed to think it made sense for him to collect the extra. By sounding somewhat ‘put-upon’ he managed to convince everybody.
The system worked remarkably well, they even bought their own wagon, pulled by two horses. Yet eventually the housekeeper in one of the establishments noticed that they seemed to be buying an awfully large amount of carbolic soap (one of Erlman’s best sellers,) and yet could never find any when they wanted it.
Everything rushed headlong to an embarrassing climax. Roa was summoned by the housekeeper to the Master’s Study to discuss matters with an officer from the watch. She managed to slip away and ran to where Erlman should be to tell him that the game was up and they’d better flee. Alas when she found him, he was already under arrest. She was arrested and the pair of them were incarcerated awaiting trial.
Their future looked grave. In such cases the city sells the indenture of the 
guilty party, and they labour in the Houses of Licentiousness, sorting 
through the eggs of shore clams in the great tanks, sorting male and female 
for immediate consumption or further growth. One is always cold and wet, and because the cost of food is deducted from your wages, one is probably hungry as well.
Roa and Erlman were comparatively lucky. Lord Cartin was taking his 
condottieri east along the Paraeba to assist the cities of the upper river 
against the Scar nomads. These savages were raiding south of the river and 
Lord Cartin was contracted to put together an expeditionary force with some urgency. Obviously he had his own men-at-arms and crossbowmen, but he was desperately short of supply wagons. In Partann, one is never short of villages or towns from which to buy supplies. On the Red Steppe and in the foothills of the Madrigals there is no point in attempting to live off the land. Everything you need, you have to carry with you.
So Lord Cartin bought Roa and Erlman’s indenture, on the understanding that their horses and wagon were included. They found themselves indentured as sutlers. They bought military and non-military supplies and attempted to make a profit selling them to the troops.
It was not an easy role to take on. Making excess profits by overcharging 
your customers was dangerous. Lord Cartin disapproved, but even more to the point, so did the customers, and they were heavily armed and often 
belligerent. On the other hand Roa and Erlman soon realised that it was 
relatively easy to purchase their stock at very competitive prices. They 
merely had to ask Lord Cartin to let them have an armed escort when they 
went to restock, and the presence of a dozen truculent crossbowmen soon 
encouraged even the most avaricious wholesaler to reason.
Still, it wasn’t what one would call an easy life. More than once, Scar 
raiders attempted to hit a small relief column they were part of. Erlman 
soon acquired a sword and a crossbow whilst Roa learned to drive a horse 
team with one hand, whilst fending off questing light horsemen with a whip held in the other. They finally paid off their indenture by presenting Lord Cartin with the ponies of three Scar braves who’d attempted to run off the wagon. Two had fallen to Erlman’s crossbow; the third had died under the wheels of the wagon, having fallen off his pony when entangled in the whip.
Lord Cartin asked them to serve out the campaign for wages. This they did, 
before settling in Oiphallarian to set up a grocer’s business.
Strangely enough I know met both of them after the siege of Oiphallarian. 
They’d both survived, Roa had brained a Scar warrior with a dolly peg, and 
Erlman had been appointed captain of one of the many militia companies which were formed to help man the walls. They were in Port Naain, buying a boat load of food to take to the stricken city. Just for old time’s sake, they 
managed to split the cost between the accounts of a dozen wealthy households who might not notice for months.

So welcome back to Port Naain. This blog tour is to celebrate the genius of 
Tallis Steelyard, and to promote two novella length collections of his 

So meet Tallis Steelyard, the jobbing poet from the city of Port Naain. This 
great city is situated on the fringes of the Land of the Three Seas. Tallis 
makes his living as a poet, living with his wife, Shena, on a barge tied to 
a wharf in the Paraeba estuary. Tallis scrapes a meagre living giving poetry 
readings, acting as a master of ceremonies, and helping his patrons run 
their soirees.
These are his stories, the anecdotes of somebody who knows Port Naain and 
its denizens like nobody else. With Tallis as a guide you’ll meet petty 
criminals and criminals so wealthy they’ve become respectable. You’ll meet 
musicians, dark mages, condottieri and street children. All human life is 
here, and perhaps even a little more.

Tallis Steelyard, Deep waters, and other stories.

More of the wit, wisdom and jumbled musings of Tallis Steelyard. Discover 
the damage done by the Bucolic poets, wonder at the commode of Falan 
Birling, and read the tales better not told. We have squid wrestling, lady 
writers, and occasions when it probably wasn’t Tallis’s fault. He even asks 
the great question, who are the innocent anyway?

And then there is;-
Tallis Steelyard. Playing the game, and other stories.

More of the wit, wisdom and jumbled musings of Tallis Steelyard. Marvel at 
the delicate sensitivities of an assassin, wonder at the unexpected revolt 
of Callin Dorg. Beware of the dangers of fine dining, and of a Lady in red. 
Travel with Tallis as his poetical wanderings have him meandering through 
the pretty villages of the north. Who but Tallis Steelyard could cheat death 
by changing the rules?

If you want to see more of the stories from the Land of the Three Seas, some 
of them featuring Tallis Steelyard, go to my Amazon page at

Tallis even has a blog of his own at

The Plight Of The Gingerlily – Jim Webster #blogtour

Today, I am delighted to host fantastic author Jim Webster as he is going on a tour of the Blogosphere for his new release, The Plight of the Lady Gingerlily.

Without further ado, I shall pass you over to Jim!

We shall start with a photo, and the story that was inspired by it!

Delicate work
A casual observer might have assumed that Benor Dorfinngil was in a good mood. He had a spring in his step and might even be whistling a merry tune. 
There was good reason for his high spirits. Things were going rather well. 
He had funds. Admittedly he’d ended up giving two of the ten alar coins to 
Shena, on the grounds that the costs entailed in purchasing a dress might well come within the definition of legitimate expenses incurred during the investigation. On the other hand, he’d been firm with Tallis. Benor couldn’t see why Tallis needed compensating for the strain of looking after innumerable grandchildren. Given that the alternative would have been accompanying Shena to purchase a dress, Benor felt he’d taken the easy option. Once she’d accepted the coins, Benor had mentioned the name, Salat 
Wheelstrain, to her and Shena had, in good grace, promised to ask around.
Another of the coins had been broken into a most commendable quantity of small change and Mutt was using this to marshal his array of watchers. If 
the two sisters left the house their movements were tracked and their 
conversations overheard by a collection of inconspicuous and apparently 
innocent children. Benor had been surprised just how much activity Mutt 
could command for a comparatively small outlay.
Now he was intent on seeing Faldon the priest. As Faldon had been the instigator of the inquiry, Benor felt that it was only right that he occasionally reported back on what had been achieved. There was the problem that Faldon was disinclined to support anything to unethical, but Benor felt he could gloss over some matters. There was also the hope that Faldon would keep his eyes and ears open and might even have something to contribute to 
the investigation.
When Benor arrived at the house he found Faldon sitting out in the street enjoying the afternoon sun. Unwilling to accept payment for cutting the hair of passers-by, Faldon tended to be paid in kind. Obviously, somebody had gifted him a bench of solid but inelegant construction, and this was set against the front wall of the house. Faldon sat on it, but when Benor appeared, the priest moved to one end to allow the younger man space to sit 
“So how are things progressing?”
Airily Benor said, “I now have the two women watched by experts.”
“Hopefully we shall be ready if she makes a move against the child.” Faldon shifted his position on the bench as if his comment had left him uncomfortable. Then he changed the subject, “So what do you know about 
Jorrocks Boat Yard?”
“Well, they bought a lot of very poor quality second-hand timber. Also it 
appears Minny thought it important that Santon handled the Jorrocks Boat 
Yard account for Raswil Muldecker the usurer.”
“What do we know about the yard?”
“I’d never heard of them,” Benor admitted. “But then I thought to ask Shena. 
They are one of the smaller yards. Old Yalla Jorrocks had a good name, his son, Belan, wasn’t a bad boat builder, but by all accounts, he wasn’t the cheapest and apparently you had to keep an eye on him or corners were cut. 
Of the current generation, Ardal is in charge and he is, apparently, the person to go to if you’re planning an insurance swindle or want something
doing that isn’t particularly legal. The smugglers tend to deal with him.”
Faldon asked, “So would it be worth having a look at the yard?”
“It could be. But I doubt they’d welcome casual visitors. I suspect I’d have 
to look round at night.”
Hesitantly Faldon asked, “Would you like me to come with you?”
Surprised Benor said, “Certainly, it’s good to have support, but it didn’t 
strike me as the sort of thing you’d want to get involved in.”
“I’m feeling a bit guilty,” Faldon admitted. “I dumped this job on you and 
haven’t really done a lot to help.”
“Fair enough. If Mutt can spare the time I’ll get him to come as well. Today 
has been overcast so it looks like we’ll get a dark night.”


The night was as dark as Benor hoped. Mutt met them just outside the yard. 
He’d insisted on doing a private reconnaissance first. When they met he led them down a narrow lane between two boatyards leading to the estuary. The yards on either side of the lane had tall fences made of a mixture of second and third-hand timber; in various states of decay. As they got close enough to see the water glinting in the estuary, Mutt stopped.
“This bit is rotten; I got through. You two can follow me.”
Luckily both men were slender and wiry; a more thickset man would have had trouble. Still, by the time they’d pushed through, the hole was noticeably larger. They entered the yard behind a pile of timber. Fortunately, it hadn’t been piled against the fence, probably because it was unlikely that the fence could support the weight. The three of them crept out from behind the pile of wood and into the open. The entire area seemed to be a haphazard collection of piles of timber looming out of the darkness. Benor led the way. He could see something against the skyline which looked like a boat on the stocks.
He stopped and listened. There was no sound, just the noises of the city in the background. He stood up. Quietly he said, “I think we can walk. There 
doesn’t look to be anybody about.”
Cautiously the other two stood up. Mutt hissed, “I’ll go to the right a bit, 
see if there’s any sign of anybody over there. There’s some sort of hut near 
the gate in.”
Benor nodded and made his way towards the boat. Faldon moved off to the 
left, “There’s a pile of something over here.”
Benor kept his eye on Mutt, the boy disappeared around a pile of wood, but
there was still no sound. He waited but the boy didn’t come back, so he’d obviously not found anything. He moved forward and as he did so there was a 
ripping sound and then a scream to his left. He spun around and Faldon wasn’t there. Hastily he dropped down onto his hands and knees to make himself less conspicuous and crawled in the direction of the scream. Suddenly his hands touched canvas.
Quietly he said, “Faldon?”
From below him came Faldon’s voice. “Down here. I went through the canvas. 
The ground here is stone slabs!”
Benor reached out, found a torn end, and tore it further so he could see down. Below him, he could see the pale blob of Faldon’s face. Mutt appeared
next to him. “What ‘appened.”
From below Faldon commented, “There’s a boat down here.”
Benor explained, “So Faldon’s fallen through the cover over a dry dock.”
“Well get ‘im out. There’s a hut over there with a light in the windows. I 
heard the scream, they might of.”
Benor reached down. “Can you grab my hand?”
Faldon tried to stand up. “I’ve damaged my ankle.”
Benor tried to estimate the depth. “Is there a ladder, I don’t fancy the 
“Yes, just along there.” Benor tried to see in the direction Faldon was pointing. There might be something. He tore the rotten canvas and made his way in that direction. Yes, there was a ladder. “Mutt, I’ll go down and help 
him up, you catch him.”
At the foot of the ladder, Faldon was waiting; he’d used the ladder to haul himself upright. Slowly and with Benor taking the weight, he climbed the ladder.
“Get on, someone coming.”
Benor put his shoulder under Faldon and pushed the other man out of the
hole. As he did so a rung, rotten with age, snapped and Benor fell onto the next which also snapped. At this, he tumbled back into the hole.
Mutt repeated, “Someone coming.”
“Get Faldon hidden, I’ll hide down here.”
“If they find owt, I’ll let ‘em chase me.”
Benor looked round for a hiding place. His eyes were becoming accustomed to the light. There was a boat here; perhaps he could hide inside the hull. He scrambled up the rope tied to the side, dashed across the deck and lowered himself over the combing and into the hold. In there it was dark. He stood completely still and listened.
A voice said, “Telled you there were someone. The sheet’s torn.”
A second voice said, “Better go down and look then.”
There was silence then a curse. “Watch the bluidy ladder, it’s knackered.”
“Here, stop moaning and I’ll pass you down the torch.”
Suddenly there was a hint of light inside the hull. Obviously, some of the planking hadn’t been caulked yet so light was coming in between them. Benor glanced around; he could make out the mast, seated in a block fastened to the keel. He moved and stood behind that. From outside he heard, “Nobody out 
“Then look inside the boat.”
“Waste of time.”
“Why, had you got something more interesting planned? Look inside the boat.”
Benor heard muffled cursing then there was the sound of booted feet on the deck above him. Suddenly there was light streaming in through the hatch. 
Benor pressed himself against the mast. Now with more illumination, he could see something strange at the stern of the boat. There was some sort of box.
From outside a voice said, “Well are you going in?”
“If I am you can bluidy well come up here and hold the ladder.”
Benor looked around desperately for a better place to hide. The box at the stern was the only possible place. He made his way carefully to the stern. 
He paused briefly. There were two large timber planks, curved to match the curve of the hull. There was one on the port side, another to starboard, and they appeared to be fastened to the timbers of the hull. For some reason, the two planks were linked, across the hold, by a rope. Benor carefully stepped over it. It appeared to be bar-tight.
Then he saw that running from this rope was another rope which led unto the box. Hastily Benor ducked under the second rope and climbed up into the box. 
It appeared to be full of canvas. Frantically he burrowed into it and lay there. Now whoever was holding the light was obviously in the hold. Benor could see it coming in through the gaps between the planks of the box.
“Still see nowt.”
A third voice said, “Well happen it’s because there’s nowt to see.”
The second voice replied. “Then stop wasting time and let us search the rest 
of the yard.”
The light grew dimmer. Benor lay utterly still in the darkness. He listened to men cross the deck and drop down onto the ground. He then heard somebody cursing the broken rungs of the ladder and finally he was alone in the silent darkness. He lay there, still listening; in the far distance he could hear voices but couldn’t make out the words. Carefully he pulled a stub of candle out of his belt pouch. Then he took a match out of its tin and with the small pliers provided by the manufacturer, crushed the bulb at the end of the match. It flared into flame and he hastily lit the candle. Then he looked around.
He found himself lying on neatly folded canvas in a box that was comfortably large enough to hold him and the canvas. When he looked, the back of the box was the stern of the boat, but it seemed to be hinged. Why would you want to get out of a boat under the waterline? Also, why was there a rope sewn to the canvas and disappearing out through a hole in the hatch?
Was it a drogue to slow the boat down or assist steering?
He climbed out of the box and lowered himself onto the bottom of the hold. 
He stepped over the taut robes. If the drogue was released into the water, 
it would pull on the cross rope, but the planks fastened to the sides of the hull would take the strain. That didn’t make a lot of sense. If asked to build something like this, he’d have fastened it to the keel, or even to the block in which the mast was seated. These were more substantial pieces of wood, and capable of taking the strain.
He made his way to the entrance hatch. He climbed up the ladder and onto the deck, shielding his candle with his hat lest the light be seen from outside. 
He walked silently across the deck and lowered himself over the edge, 
dropping down to the ground at the stern of the boat. From the outside the hatch was visible and it had a length of rope dangling from it. He shook his head, puzzled, and made his way along the side of the boat. A third of the way along, he came to a plank running vertically up the side of the boat. He held the candle nearer to it, lifting the hat slightly with his other hand to let more light shine on the hull. This plank seemed to be bolted to the plank inside the hull as if to ensure the strain was spread across more of the timbers. He looked at them carefully. They were freshly nailed, but the more he looked at them, the more incredulous he became.
He then looked round the dry dock. Stacked against the side of the dock there were some more planks. These had obviously come off the side of a 
boat; you could see the nail holes where they’d been fastened on. Now it wasn’t uncommon for a boatyard to replace ships timbers, but these were in excellent condition. They’d obviously been taken off the hull and replaced by wood in a very poor condition. At this point, Benor remembered what he’d heard about the yard buying a lot of very poor quality second-hand timber.
The only thing that made sense was an insurance fraud. The crew could wait until they were out at sea; get all sails set and then abandon ship. They would then pull on the rope at the back of the boat so that the drogue deployed and very rapidly this would put too much strain on the hull and would tear in two large areas of planking. Benor guessed that the water pouring in through the great gaps in the hull would sink the boat within minutes. He stopped and thought about it. It was a bit fussy and involved a lot of planning, but there again; it could be done perfectly safely by the person doing it.
He continued along the side of the boat. At the bow was a nameplate. He raised the candle to illuminate it. The Flower of Partann.
A shout from somewhere in the yard brought him back to the present. 
Somewhere out there was Faldon who needed help. Swiftly Benor snuffed out the candle and climbed the damaged ladder, avoiding the broken rungs. There were raised voices and angry shouting near the gate. He couldn’t imagine 
Mutt could have got Faldon to the gate on his own, so he made his way back towards the way they’d come in. He’d not passed the second pile of timber 
before he heard a soft voice saying, “Benor, this way.”
He ducked down behind the woodpile. Faldon lay there waiting for him. “Mutt 
has gone to get Tallis; he reckons it’ll take two of you to move me any 
“How’s the ankle?”
“Probably broken.”
“Right, so which way will Tallis come?”
“Mutt said to go to the hole we came in through.”
”Right, I’ll try and get you there.”
Benor helped the other man to his feet and Faldon threw an arm over Benor’s shoulders. The priest’s inability to put his left foot on the ground slowed them considerably, and Benor kept looking over his shoulder towards the main entrance. “I hope Mutt got away.”
”He said there were other holes he could get through.”
As he glanced back, Benor could see light moving in their vague direction.”
“Down, we’ll have to crawl this bit.”
On hands and knees they made their way behind the pile of timber screening 
the hole in the fence.
A voice shouted, “Right, now search this bluidy yard properly. Cover every 
bluidy inch of it. That kid must be somewhere and he probably wasn’t alone.”
For the next half hour Benor watched the lights working methodically around 
the boatyard. More lights appeared as reinforcements were called in.
“I think I better help you through the hole.”
“What about Tallis?”
Benor bit his tongue and then said, “Tallis can look after himself. If the 
worst comes to the worst I can get you down to the Estuary and into the 
“I’ve never tried swimming with a broken ankle.”
“There’s a first time for everything. Don’t worry, I can support you and we’ll 
let the current carry us away from here.”
“Where will it take us?”
“That’s just an embarrassing detail; away from here is the important bit.”
Faldon fell silent and Benor helped him wiggle through the hole. Then on 
hands and knees they continued down the narrow lane towards the beach. By 
the water’s edge Benor said quietly, “I’ll go back to the hole. If Tallis 
gets here soon we might be able to go with him.”
Benor stood in the dark for what seemed like hours. The searchers were 
getting closer, at some point they would reach the hole in the fence. Then 
he heard another noise, footsteps. Somebody was coming down the lane. In the 
gloom he could see several men who appeared to be carrying something. Ahead 
of them was Tallis. “Where are you Benor?”
Benor hissed, “Keep your bluidy voice down.”
Tallis turned round. “We’re here. Put the chair down.”
He turned back to Benor, “Where’s the casualty.”
Silently Benor pointed down the lane to the estuary. Tallis nodded, “This 
way chaps.”
Benor looked on with astonishment as a two-person sedan chair with four 
chairmen made their way past him. He would have sworn that a lady smiled at 
him out of the window. He grabbed Tallis. “What in the forty-seven hells is 
going on?”
“Mutt found me at the house of the Widow Handwill. It was she who pointed 
out that a sedan chair was the obvious mode of transport, and that the 
presence of a lady would help maintain decorum.”
“Will it?” Benor asked, his tone indicating disbelief.
“If not, the presence of four sturdy chairmen will,” said Tallis with an air 
of absolute confidence. “And then there’s Mutt.”
“Why, what’s he doing?”
“A diversion, listen.” There were shouts from in the boatyard. Benor ducked 
down and looked through the hole. There were flames at the far end near 
where he’d assumed the offices were. “He’s set fire to something?”
The sedan chair came back past them, the bearers were grinning. Benor saw 
two faces smiling at him through the window. “Coming?” Asked Tallis, “or do 
you want to spend the night here?”

I’m sure you’ll all agree that was a fantastic story! But what about the book, time for Jim’s input…

Jim Webster
Here’s the man, himself!

I’ve thought long and hard about blog tours. I often wonder how much somebody reading a book wants to know about the author. After all, I as a 
writer have gone to a lot of trouble to produce an interesting world for my characters to frolic in. Hopefully, the characters and their story pull the
reader into the world with them. So does the reader really want me tampering with the fourth wall to tell them how wonderful I am? Indeed given the number of film stars and writers who have fallen from grace over the years, 
perhaps the less you know about me the better?
Still, ignoring me, you might want to know a bit about the world. Over the 
years I’ve written four novels and numerous novellas set in the Land of the 
Three Seas and a lot of the action has happened in the city of Port Naain. 
They’re not a series, they’re written to be a collection, so you can read 
them in any order, a bit like the Sherlock Holmes stories in that regard.
So I had a new novella I wanted to release. ‘Swimming for profit and 
pleasure.’ It’s one of the ‘Port Naain Intelligencer’ collection and I 
decided I’d like to put together a blog tour to promote it. But what sort of tour? Then I had a brainwave. I’d get bloggers who know Port Naain to send me suitable pictures and I’d do a short story about that picture. It would be an incident in the life of Benor as he gets to know Port Naain.
Except that when the pictures came in it was obvious that they linked together to form a story in their own right, which is how I ended up writing one novella to promote another! In simple terms, it’s a chapter with each picture. So you can read the novella by following the blogs in order. There is an afterword which does appear in the novella that isn’t on the blogs, 
but it’s more rounding things off and tying up the loose ends.
Given that the largest number of pictures was provided by a lady of my 
acquaintance, I felt I had to credit her in some way.
So the second novella I’m releasing is ‘The plight of the Lady Gingerlily.’ 
It too is part of the Port Naain Intelligencer collection.

So we have ‘Swimming for profit and pleasure’

Benor learns a new craft, joins the second-hand book trade, attempts to rescue a friend and awakens a terror from the deep. Meddling in the affairs of mages is unwise, even if they have been assumed to be dead for centuries.

And we have ‘

The Plight of the Lady Gingerlily

No good deed goes unpunished. To help make ends meet, Benor takes on a few small jobs, to find a lost husband, to vet potential suitors for two young ladies, and to find a tenant for an empty house. He began to feel that things were getting out of hand when somebody attempted to drown him.

Find Jim’s blog:

And his Amazon author page here.

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