Jim Webster Has TWO New Books! #BookTour

Hello all!

Bitmoji Image

I am delighted to (re)introduce, my dear blog and fellow writer pal, Jim Webster, with news of not one, but two new books! And he has been kind enough to share a short story too!

Those of you who are familiar with Jim and his Talli Steelyard series, will be thrilled, and if you haven’t got in to them yet, well, now is a perfect time!

Without further ado, let me get Jim on the line, with a short story titled Remarkably Sharp. This is the picture that inspired it.

Remarkably Sharp
One or two of my patrons are ladies who are quite handy with a cutting
remark. Perhaps I should rephrase this. I suppose most of my patrons are
adept in this field, but some have, through long practice, mastered the art.
But every so often one comes across somebody who can be cutting and witty.
Although she is not a ‘professional wit’ (by which I mean one who is invited
to events purely because those inviting her hope she will deliver some
devastating put-down to a victim included in the guest list purely for the
purpose) Andei Addlespur was cutting in more ways than one. She was not
merely taught fencing, she was a master swordsman.
Let us deal with the ‘master swordsman’ first. There are few, of any gender,
who are recognised in Port Naain as having achieved this level of
excellence. Examination is entirely practical, you are expected to fight for
your ‘crown’. All bouts are against known experts and all are to first
blood, fought without armour. Injuries are neither unknown nor unexpected.
For the final bout the prospective master is matched against an Urlan,
trained from birth to be a soldier and a warrior. The candidate is not
expected to defeat the Urlan, (although some do) but must impress them with their skill.
As you can imagine, new masters are not created every decade, never mind
every year, and Andei was, for many years, the youngest. Indeed at the time, it was her youth, not her gender, which was held to be remarkable.
There were some who were prepared to quibble about the wording of the
designation. When she was awarded the title it was registered with the
Council of Sinecurists. A clerk wrote back, querying whether a lady could be ‘master’ and swords’man’ and was there was another equivalent title.
Old Toldan, the oldest of the surviving Masters, and hence in some ways
their spokesman was not impressed. I was fortunate enough to be asked to pen the letter he sent, (he wanted it written in a better hand than he could
manage) and the words I can remember still. “I care not whether our new
Master stands or sits when they visit the jakes. We have assessed their
skill with the sword and they have reached a standard where, frankly, they
can call themselves whatever they damned well like. There are probably not six people in the city with the ability to query their decision. But if you
are not happy with the situation, take up your blade and have it out with
her in person.”
Personally I felt rather sorry for the clerk who was probably just checking
that the terminology was right, lest they inadvertently offend.
Still, like the other masters, she tended to support herself through
teaching, and whilst Andei would consider anybody as a pupil, she did tend
to teach women. This led her into many complicated situations. There are any number of reasons why a lady might learn to fence, and take lessons.
The first is a genuine love of the art, allied to a desire to be able to
both defend herself, and to maintain a level of fitness. These ladies tend
to gravitate to Andei because she is a good teacher, and has a reputation
for being gentle with beginners. This latter quality is unusual, many
masters are brusque with beginners, feeling that they are casting their
treasure before the dogs. Most masters prefer to take competent pupils who
have reached a good standard but who can then be stretched and pushed until they’ve achieved the best they can.
The second reason why a lady may wish to learn to fence is that she has
conceived a desire for the fencing master rather than the art. There are any
number of ‘fencing teachers’ who have stepped forward to gratify this group.
The problem with these ‘fencing teachers’ is that they don’t have to be very
good, as their pupils are never going to aspire to achieve mastery, they
merely have to be better than the average Port Naain husband. To be honest
this doesn’t set a very high bar.
This then set a pretty problem for the husband of such a lady. What to do?
He was almost certainly unable to match his wife’s paramour blade to blade.
Indeed to do so would be to acknowledge that the fellow was actually his
wife’s paramour. Most would prefer to avoid forcing an open breach, in the
expectation that their wife might get over what was, hopefully, a short
lived infatuation.
The arrival of Andei upon the scene suddenly gave these gentlemen a way
through their dilemma. They would hire her to teach their wife, ensuring
that she arrived when the ‘fencing teacher’ was present. The husband would introduce Andei into the situation, explaining that he was so impressed with his wife’s devotion to her new interest that he decided to hire for her the very best.
This forced the lady’s own fencing teacher into a difficult position. One
particularly foolish and over-confident individual dismissed her with vulgar abuse. Andei merely stood with her hand on the hilt of her blade and
commented, “One day you may achieve the level of sophistication set by this
table, it at least has a certain polish.”
When he drew his sword and attacked her she casually disarmed him and drove him from the house, thrashing his buttocks with the flat of her blade.
Another of these gentlemen saw her as she walked along Ropewalk and decided to take advantage of the busyness of the street to insult her. He told her, at length, what he thought of her. She glanced at him briefly and replied, “I don’t care what you think about me, I don’t think about you at all.”
It has to be said that Andei was never vindictive about it. If the fencing
teacher went, Andei just left it at that. On occasion she would come across
the same individual, but in a different household. In these occasions it was
often enough for her to just stare at him for him to make his excuses and
leave.
Still, there are always those who seem too stupid to learn their lesson.
Flatan Artwight was one of these. After being ejected from one house, he
decided to get his own back by starting a whispering campaign. This alleged
that Andei won her coveted status not by her ability with the blade but by
engaging in unusual erotic practices with various unnamed (but obviously
powerful) people.
One evening I was helping Madam Kalinsa plan an entertainment she was
holding the following week. I did notice she keep looking at the clock, but
wasn’t entirely sure why. Then a maid arrived and announced, “It is time for your fencing lesson, Master Flatan Artwight has arrived.” I thought this a little strange, as it was late in the evening and I knew that Madam’s
husband was in Prae Ducis on business. Still I made my excuses and left,
passing Flatan in the hallway as I did so. I was walking down the drive
towards the road and met Andei Addlespur walking towards the house. I bowed slightly.
“Good evening Andei, I confess I am surprised to see you here.”
She gave one of those quick smiles which displays teeth rather than humour.
“Master Kalinsa asked me to keep an eye on things and drop in if necessary.”
She paused as if pondering the situation. “Would you be so kind as to
announce me please? And when you do, stress I am entering the house behind you.”
Nothing loath I turned round, walked back into the house and was met in the passage by a bemused maid. “I have a message for your mistress, and could you greet Andei Addlespur at the door and show her in please.”
With that I knocked on the salon door and after allowing a short period to
elapse I entered the room. Madam was seated on the settle and Flatan was
apparently engaged in getting a speck of dust out of her eye. Without
ceremony I announced, “Andei Addlespur has arrived, your maid is at this very moment showing her in.” 
Flatan cursed, opened the window and climbed out. Intrigued I made my way to the window. As Flatan prepared to tiptoe into the shadows and make his way through the garden to the road, Andei appeared in front of him with her sword drawn. The light from the window glinted on the blade. She said nothing, merely watching him, her sword half raised. Finally Flatan’s nerve obviously broke because he drew his sword and charged towards her. She deflected his blow with her blade, guiding it to her left. Then she half stepped sideways to avoid his attempt to body slam her and trust with her sword. Flatan fell dead.
She looked down at the body, sighed and wiped her blade on his shirt. Then
she turned to me as I stood at the open window. “Tallis, I think I’d better
spend a while in Partann. I am not sure if the authorities are going to
smile upon this particular incident.
I could see that. “Well you have rather burned your bridges. They could
claim it was murder, even with me as a witness to state he attacked you.”
I got a genuine smile for that. She sheathed her sword. “Always remember,
Tallis. If you’re being pursued by idiots, burning your bridges sometimes
seems an entirely sensible thing to do.”

And now a brief note from Jim Webster.

It’s really just to inform you that
I’ve just published two more collections of stories.

Jim Webster, 2020

The first, available on Kindle, is ‘Tallis Steelyard, Preparing The Ground,
and other stories.’
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0872GGLF9

More of the wit, wisdom and jumbled musings of Tallis Steelyard. Meet a
vengeful Lady Bountiful, an artist who smokes only the finest hallucinogenic
lichens, and wonder at the audacity of the rogue who attempts to drown a
poet! Indeed after reading this book you may never look at young boys and
their dogs, onions, lumberjacks or usurers in quite the same way again.
A book that plumbs the depths of degradation, from murder to folk dancing,
from the theft of pastry cooks to the playing of a bladder pipe in public.

The second, available on Kindle or as a paperback, is ‘Maljie. Just one
thing after another.’
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Maljie-Just-thing-after-another/dp/B0875JSJVM/

Once more Tallis Steelyard chronicles the life of Maljie, a lady of his
acquaintance. Discover the wonders of the Hermeneutic Catherine Wheel,
marvel at the use of eye-watering quantities of hot spices. We have bell
ringers, pop-up book shops, exploding sedan chairs, jobbing builders,
literary criticism, horse theft and a revolutionary mob. We also discover
what happens when a maiden, riding a white palfrey led by a dwarf, appears
on the scene.

Be sure to go and check them out!

Tallis Steelyard, Bringing The Joys Of Civilisation #BlogTour

Guess who’s come to visit my blog again, with another blog tour?

Dear Jim Webster is back with three delightful books from his Tallis Steelyard collection, and a special story just for the lucky readers of my blog too!

Justice Of A Sort


It was perhaps a month after I’d arrived back from Slipshade and the whole
episode should have faded from mind. As it was, it seemed determined to
haunt me, like some over-spiced meal eaten too late in the evening. So, for
example, one evening I was at the Misanthropes. I hadn’t actually dined. In
fact I wasn’t entirely sure I would. The money I had earned from my
Partannese adventure had gone, frittered away paying creditors and suchlike.
Thus it was a little disturbing when I had noted a small group of men,
obviously displaced Partannese brigands, in the street. One of them I
recognised from Slipshade, he was the gentleman who won the pie eating
contest. Given I had been the person to hand him his prize and congratulate
him, I was sure he’d remember me. Thus I faded down a side street and hoped that they hadn’t seen me. As I pondered their presence, it struck me that Port Naain has the power to draw people to it. After all, had I not already met Darstep Balstep, previously lord of Slipshade Keep, and now a jobbing poet? It struck me that Balstep had merely arrived early than these others. He was doubtless more focused on his future and had probably stolen a horse as well. I could imagine the small collection of ruffians I had just seen would be initially indecisive with nobody to issue them with orders. It could well take time for them to make their minds up as to what they ought to do.
So I put aside my irritation that the ill-starred ramifications of the
Slipshade episode were still occurring, long after any financial recompense
for my sufferings had been spent. I feel that there is a lesson there for
the young. Given that the unfortunate consequences of your actions will
always be with you, wisdom demands that you think long and hard about your plans. Ensure always you are more than adequately compensated, ideally in advance.
But in all candour I was at peace with the world and was sipping a glass of
moderate wine. I was willing to let the evening pass as it would. I had no
patron to flatter that evening, no recitals that needed arranging, and any
impromptu verses that I might need over the next few days had already been written well in advance. I was there purely to relax, and was hoping to hear some tale or some drollery that I might tweak and work into my own
performances.
Then even as I sipped, I heard a voice cry, “Steelyard, you currish,
crook-pated, codpiece.”
I was somewhat taken aback, had the Partannese ruffians I’d seen in the
street tracked me down already? I looked up, and saw Flobbard Wangil
striding across the room towards me. He looked furious and even as he
approached he snatched a plate from in front of one of the diners and hurled it at me. Fortunately I dodged and it hit Lancet who was sitting in the armchair next to me. He ended up covered in a hot pepper sauce. He leapt to his feet and hurled a pie plate at Flobbard. This latter individual, whilst angry, was not one of those rendered unobservant by his emotion so ducked and the pie plate struck Julatine Sypent full in the chest.
It must be said that Julatine and Lancet do not get on. Part of it is
professional jealousy. Julatine is a good painter, but his bread and butter
comes from painting twee cottages and similar. Lancet is not a bad painter,
(he’s a better painter than he is a poet) and occasionally he too will paint
some quaint rustic scene. His pictures always sell more quickly than do
Julatine’s and will command a higher price.
Even more galling for Julatine is that he is a perfectionist. He will take
days over a piece of work. Lancet will knock the same thing off in an
afternoon. What makes things worse is that Lancet has been known to dwell on this topic in conversation, at length, to Julatine’s obvious irritation.
Between ourselves a lot of the rancour is Lancet’s doing. Whether he
considers provoking his rival to be a piece of performance art I’ve never
thought to ask him, but he brings to it a dedication and a level of
preparation worthy of such an endeavour. As an example, he was walking south of the river and came upon Julatine who had just started to paint a
particularly pretty cottage. Lancet hid to avoid being seen, came back to
the city and demanded my assistance. That evening, armed with paint, we
approached the cottage. It was painted a primrose yellow. The paint Lancet
had acquired as a rather paler yellow shade. So that night, when the
occupier was asleep, Lancet and I painted the front of the house in this
shade. I would paint the plaster, and Lancet would then come along with some white paint which he cleverly used to ‘fade’ and ‘distress’ the yellow.
It was obvious that Julatine must have noticed because in the Misanthropes
early the next evening he was complaining about how the light had changed and given a whole new perspective on colour. Apparently he’d had to redo a considerable piece of his work.
So later that night Lancet and I returned to the cottage. The woodwork was
picked out in black and had obviously been repainted no more than a couple of years previously. We repainted the woodwork so that it was a more faded and washed-out grey. Early the next evening Lancet and I dropped into the Misanthropes but Julatine merely sat at a table glowering at the world and said nothing. After some supper we went back to the cottage with a saw.
There was a young tree standing in front of the cottage. As quietly as we
could, we cut it down. But we felled in very close to the ground, the idea
being that we would camouflage the stump by putting some stone or turf over it. Then it would be as if the tree had never been there.
Unfortunately just as we’d finished, the owner came out. He had obviously
grown suspicious over the past couple of days. We had just hidden the tree
in some scrub and had come back for the saw. He spotted us, shouted, and we fled. He didn’t try to pursue us but I suspect he’d mentioned the incident
to Julatine. My suspicions were aroused mainly because somebody poured a bucket of whitewash over us as Lancet and I stood chatting outside the door of the Misanthropes the following evening.
Still I digress. Flobbard Wangil was inadvertently prevented from
approaching me by the hail of projectiles and insults Lancet and Julatine
were hurling at each other. Others were dragged into the exchange as they
became caught up in things, but finally Flobbard got close enough to be to
attempt to belabour me with a chair. I managed to snatch up a stool from by
the bar and was successfully fending him off with that.
Finally Lancet inadvertently summoned the Watch. It seems that he had
managed to irritate a number of those present in the Misanthropes, and they ganged up on him and threw him out of the window, and he landed on two watchmen passing below. They burst in upon us. To be fair they were too wise to ask a silly question like, “What’s going on?” Instead they got down to the root of the matter by asking, “So who started it all.” Somewhat to my surprise everybody pointed at Flobbard and me.
Thus, protesting our innocence, we were arrested and given the day had been hectic, from a judicial point of view, we were led straight before
Malanthon. The clerk read out the charges, which were largely affray in
several of its forms. Then the clerk asked Flobbard what had happened.
Flobbard brought up the story of the Slipshade expedition and how I’d
abandoned him there. The clerk then asked me for my version. I recounted the story as well, but stressed that I had abandoned him because I had assumed he had stolen the stones and secreted them within his person. The clerk glanced at Malanthon and attempted to sum up. “So you, Flobbard Wangil, are angry because thanks to Steelyard here you spend three weeks in a cell with only a commode and a selection of laxatives for company?” Flobbard nodded.
“And you, Tallis Steelyard, handed Flobbard Wangil over to the authorities
because you believed he had the stolen gems?” I too nodded.
At this point, Flobbard burst out, “But I didn’t have the gems, I never had
the gems, I never touched the gems.”
This rather shook me. Flobbard’s tones were not the whining of a petty
criminal caught playing a game too rich for him. He spoke with the voice of
an honest man (in this matter at least) who was exasperated beyond measure at being accused of a crime he had not committed. To be fair to him, if a three week diet of laxatives had not produced the stones, then I had to face up to the fact that he had probably never had them.
Malanthon made some notes and then looked at us. Flobbard just shook his
head. I could see his point, he didn’t feel particularly guilty.
Malanthon looked at me. I cleared by throat. “I think I owe Flobbard an
apology.”
That got a smile from Malathon so I turned to Flobbard. “I’m sorry Flobbard. I was obviously wrong.”
He was obviously in a state of shock, I don’t suppose anybody had ever
apologised to him before. He shook my hand, and we both turned back to
Malathon. The clerk read out from the piece of paper that he had been given.

“Tallis Steelyard is to apologise to Flobbard, and is to also organise a pie
eating contest in which Flobbard can participate.”

And now we’d better hear from Jim Webster.


So here I am again with another blog tour. Not one book but three.
The first is another of the Port Naain Intelligencer collection. These
stories are a bit like the Sherlock Holmes stories. You can read them in any
order.

On the Mud. The Port Naain Intelligencer
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mud-Port-Naain-Intelligencer-ebook/dp/B07ZKYD7TR
When mages and their suppliers fall out, people tend to die. This becomes a
problem when somebody dies before they manage to pass on the important
artefact they had stolen. Now a lot of dangerous, violent or merely amoral
people are searching, and Benor has got caught up in it all. There are times
when you discover that being forced to rely upon a poet for back-up isn’t as
reassuring as you might hope.

Then we have a Tallis Steelyard novella.


Tallis Steelyard and the Rustic Idyll
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07ZKYMG1G/
When he is asked to oversee the performance of the celebrated ‘Ten
Speeches’, Tallis Steelyard realises that his unique gifts as a poet have
finally been recognised. He may now truly call himself the leading poet of
his generation.
Then the past comes back to haunt him, and his immediate future involves too
much time in the saddle, being asked to die in a blue silk dress, blackmail
and the abuse of unregulated intoxicants. All this is set in delightful
countryside as he is invited to be poet in residence at a lichen festival.

And finally, for the first time in print we proudly present:


Maljie, the episodic memoirs of a lady.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07ZKVXP24/

In his own well-chosen words, Tallis Steelyard reveals to us the life of
Maljie, a lady of his acquaintance. In no particular order we hear about her
bathing with clog dancers, her time as a usurer, pirate, and the
difficulties encountered when one tries to sell on a kidnapped orchestra. We
enter a world of fish, pet pigs, steam launches, theological disputation,
and the use of water under pressure to dispose of foul smelling birds. Oh
yes, and we learn how the donkey ended up on the roof.

All a mere 99p each!

Get to know a bit about Jim over on his blog here.

And you should check out all the blogs where Jim and his blog tour are visiting!

Sue Vincenthttps://scvincent.com/Friday 8th NovCartographically challenged
Willow Willershttps://willowdot21.wordpress.com/Saturday 9th NovSilent justice
Robbie Cheadlehttps://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/Sunday 10th NovKnowing your profiteroles
Writers Co-ophttps://writercoop.wordpress.com/Monday 11th NovComing clean
Stevie Turnerhttps://steviet3.wordpress.com/Tuesday 12th NovBringing the joys of civilisation
Colleen Chesebrohttps://colleenchesebro.com/Wednesday 13th NovTrite tales for little people
Annette Rochelle Abenhttps://annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com/Thursday 14th NovA licence to perform
Chris Grahamhttps://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/Friday 15th NovWorking the Crowd
Ashlynn  Waterstonehttps://waterstoneway.wordpress.com/Saturday 16th NovAnd home again
Ken Gierkehttps://rivrvlogr.wordpress.com/Sunday 17th NovNot particularly well liked
Writers Co-ophttps://writercoop.wordpress.com/Monday 18th NovMore trite tales for little people
MT McGuirehttps://mtmcguire.co.uk/Tuesday 19thA poet is always a gentleman
Ritu Bhathalhttps://butismileanyway.com/Wednesday 20th Justice of a sort
Jayehttps://jenanita01.com/Thursday 21stGetting to the bottom of it all


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
necromancer.
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
stupidity.’

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. 
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tallis-Steelyard-guide-writers-stories-ebook/dp/B07
TRXJH8C/


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
education. 
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tallis-Steelyard-Gentlemen-behaving-stories-ebook/d
p/B07TRYZV6C/


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 
tales.

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.

Firstly;-
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

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jim-Webster/e/B009UT450I/

https://www.amazon.com/Jim-Webster/e/B009UT450I/

Tallis even has a blog of his own at https://tallissteelyard.wordpress.com/

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 
down.
“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 
drop.”
“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 
here.”
“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 
distance.”
“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 
water.”
“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: http://jandbvwebster.wordpress.com/

And his Amazon author page here.

My interactive peeps!

Peeps are reading in…

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