Jim Webster’s Blog Tour.Day 2 A Goal Break.

To Jim Webster for the second day of his latest Blog Tour.

First the Story

A gaol break
I never bumped into Orwan Bullip every decade. But Orwan and I went back along way. If we’d come from a better background you’d have said we went to school together. In reality we had been schooled together, but we’d learned our harsh lessons as children on the streets of Port Naain. Even then he ran
with a group of tough lads who looked to him for leadership. I remember them all, Little Toddy, Dillup, Mad Dog, Niblo, Batt, decent enough lads and worth knowing if you felt you needed friends in a hurry.
But there was a parting of the ways, I drifted into the fringes of
respectability and they lingered longer on the boundaries of organised crime. But then Orwan, recoiling from the thought of just becoming another street bully with a few thugs, led them south into Partann. They trailed
along as baggage guards for a respectable company, but when the company returned home, they stayed.
I’d remained in touch, albeit inadvertently. If they wanted a message getting through to a parent, then they’d write to me and I would go and read
the letter to the aged relative. Occasionally the letters would contain coins, jewellery, or some other small valuable that a dutiful son was sending to his doting mother. Sometimes they appeared in the city, and I would spend an evening drinking with them, listening to their tales and
telling them about the doings of people they left behind.
But these visits were never long ones. There was always somebody in authority who would have a list of difficult and embarrassing questions that they felt ought to be answered. In all candour I have often felt that whatever is buried in Partann is best left buried. Still it must be admitted that the judiciary rarely take my opinions into account.
Thus I wasn’t entirely surprised when Orwan Bullip came back to see his sister and her children. He was only expecting to stay a week but four days into his stay he was arrested and then charged with the murder of Neeping Willow. Now I’d heard the tales of Neeping Willow and frankly his death
ought to have been a cause of public rejoicing. Certainly a responsible society should have organised a silver collection for those who had rid the
world of him. Admittedly Orwan had not killed Neeping Willow from some sense of civic duty (although if I had been called as a witness I would surely gave raised the possibility for the jury to consider). Neeping had crossed,
double-crossed, and then betrayed Orwan and Orwan rather lost his temper. A frank and open exchange of views ended up with Neeping sprawled dead on the
floor of some rustic inn, his sword clasped in his stiffening hand and his wounds in his chest.
Now normally this would be the end of it. But it so happened that Orwan had crossed Lord Kastair of Slipshade Keep. The Kastair’s had been ejected from the keep by brigands greater than they were, and they had retired to Port
Naain to plot and dabble in the politics of both Partann and Port Naain.
Since then, Lord Kastair had been running a few schemes in Uttermost Partann. Orwan, loyal to his employer at the time, had thwarted them. Lord Kastair saw his chance of vengeance. He laid charges against Orwan and had
him arraigned in a Port Naain court. The arraignment turned into a trial and evidence was produced from eyewitnesses that Orwan had struck Neeping down
from behind as the other man stooped to give a titbit to a kitten.
Much of the evidence consisted of sworn written dispositions collected from people present. These dispositions formed virtually the entire case for the
prosecution. Given some of these dispositions had been sworn by people even I knew to have been dead for twenty years or more when Neeping died, I think
everybody felt the case would be thrown out. But; I sought to remind In case you forgot
Some judges are blind
Some jailers are not

Orwan was condemned to death, and the question was raised, where was he to be held until he could be led out to execution. The Watch pointed out that they had nothing suitable. (They got a bit sniffy about this, pointing out that an arraignment is not a trial, but precedes by the trial by a period longer than it takes to pick up the pencil you dropped. They explained that this allows others involved in the justice system time to get organised.) Normally the Watch got round the problem of housing contemned criminals by having the guilty party led straight from the court to the place of execution. This has the advantage of reducing the risk of such failures of justice, such as the guilty party being released on appeal. Still here Lord Kastair could step in and assist the authorities. On the excuse that he had the power of low, middle and high justice in Slipshade (a town he had not held for some years) he had built a couple of cells in his cellar. Orwan was incarcerated there.
Little Toddy, Dillup, Mad Dog, and Niblo, (Batt had died in a skirmish some years previously) were determined to stop this and had apparently spent some days trying to work out how to break Orwan out. Their preferred method
involved blowing the front door in with blasting wax and charging into the house with drawn swords, cutting down anybody who got in their way. They would then leave on fast horses. I was contacted because they wanted
somebody they could trust to hold the horses whilst this desperate
undertaking occurred.
I confess that I was somewhat taken aback. It wasn’t that I objected to helping. After all I have known them for a lot of years and I agreed with
them that Orwan did not deserve to die for the killing of Neeping. But frankly I had no confidence in their plan. I had no doubt that they could blow the door in. I had confidence in their ability to fight their way in to rescue Orwan. It was the leaving that worried me. To cross the river to go south into Partann you have to take the Roskadil ferry. Pick the wrong time and you’ll have to queue for it. Whilst the argument could be made that your pursuers might be some distance behind you in the queue I’m not sure it held
up to close examination. Escaping to the north or east was out, they would soon be found and recaptured. Instead I suggested that I get Orwan out for them.
They were a little disappointed, indeed in discussion it did come out that they had rather been looking forward to six horsemen with drawn swords riding full pelt down Ropewalk. I confess that I was rather touched that they included me in their number for that escapade, and I also confess, a
little shamefaced, that it did have its attractions. Still I felt I had a
better way. I approached the Widow Handwill and asked if she could throw an evening
entertainment in the next few days. I also asked if she could both invite Madam Kastair to attend as a guest of honour, but also to hire Darstep Balstep to perform. Darstep was the leader of the clan which ejected the Kastairs unceremoniously from Slipshade. Indeed he was Lord of Slipshade
Keep until he in turn was ejected. He had made his way to Port Naain and was now a poet (and a good one). One of Madam Kastair’s pleasures was mocking Darstep for how far he had fallen, whilst he, in all candour, gave as good as he got. Both enjoyed it hugely, I suppose it reminded them of the good old days back in Partann. I could not imagine Madam Kastair declining the invitation.
The Widow gave instructions for the event to be held and then asked me exactly saw what I had in mind. I explained and she made a few useful suggestions of her own.
On the appropriate evening, I opened the proceedings, introduced Darstep and then stepped back out of the limelight. Indeed I quietly made my way
downstairs to the kitchen. There I found my four fellow conspirators sitting drinking tea and chatting with the kitchen staff. As inevitably happens at
these events, they discovered that some of the ladies had, many years previously, been in service with the mothers of these four ruffians.
Taking Mad Dog with me, I left the other three to their conversations. Mad Dog and I rode to the Kastair residence where Mad Dog hammered on the door
demanding admittance. When a uniformed flunky opened the door to ask what we, wanted my companion merely barged past him whilst I followed, helping the flunky back onto his feet, brushing him down and apologising.
In the middle of the hallway, in a voice that had echoed across
battlefields, Mad Dog shouted for Lord Kastair, informing him that we had his wife hostage. This was followed by a somewhat heated exchange where threats of terrible vengeance were exchanged, but half an hour later, Lord Kastair had bowed to the inevitable and we led Orwan Bullip to freedom. We then rode (at a sedate pace) back to the house of the Widow Handwill, collected the other three and made our way to the ferry. We arrived, the other five purchased their tickets and walked their horses on board. I waved them off, returned to the affair at the Widow’s and arrived just as the party was breaking up. I bid Lady Kastair good evening as she stepped into her sedan chair and then went inside to help tidy up.
Obviously questions were asked, but even the law was impressed with the Widow Handwill’s statement that had it not been for my defusing of the situation, somebody could have been hurt.
Lady Kastair on the other hand was somewhat bemused by all the fuss, feeling that if you have been held hostage, you really ought to notice.


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.

The first, available on kindle, is ‘Tallis Steelyard, preparing the ground,
and other stories.’

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.’

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.

A few words about the author Jim Webster

Jim Webster

Jim Webster is probably fifty something, his tastes in music are eclectic, and his dress sense is rarely discussed in polite society. In spite of this he has a wife and three daughters.
He has managed to make a living from a mixture of agriculture, consultancy, and freelance writing. Previously he has restricted himself to writing about agricultural and rural issues but including enough Ancient Military history to maintain his own sanity. But seemingly he has felt it necessary to branch out into writing SF and fantasy novels.
He lives in South Cumbria.

He has even been cozened into writing a blog, available for perusal by the discerning (or indeed by the less than discerning) at Jim’s WordPress Blog

and the timetable so you can find him.

Friday 1st May: Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo

Saturday 2nd May: Willow Willers

Sunday 3rd May: Robbie Cheadle

Monday 4th May: Writers Co-op

Tuesday 5th May: Stevie Turner

Wednesday 6th May: Jane Jago

Thursday 7th May: Annette Rochelle Aben

Friday 8th May: Chris Graham

Saturday 9th May: Pete Johnson

Sunday 10th May: MT McGuire

Monday 11th May: Ritu Bhathal

Tuesday 12th May: Anita Dawes and Jaye Marie

Wednesday 13th May: Ken Gierke

Thursday 14th May: Suzanne Joshi

Thank you Jim be safe.


It’s day one of Robbie Cheadle’s Blog Tour. She is over at Miriam’s Blog The Shower of Blessings.

Read at Scource.

Whie the Bombs Fell

While the Bombs Fell

Marjorie Mallon’s Blog Tour for Mr. Sagittarius. Day.

Hi everyone guess who has come to join me today for a cuppa,

and a chat about her latest Blog Tour. Yes it my dear friend Marjorie Mallon.

Marjorie how are you today? Here get comfy, help yourself to some cake and let’s have a nice chat.

Just before we start a little Birdie has told me that your Dad is 91 years young today so let’s wish him a very Happy Birthday!

What gave you the idea for this book? 

I think my lunchtime wanders in the Cambridge Botanical Gardens played a considerable part in creating this book. The beauty of the trees, flowers and the magical creatures of the garden: particularly a visit from a robin, and a dragonfly encouraged me to write Mr. Sagittarius. Moreover, my tendency to ‘people watch’ had a huge impact on the creation of my two main characters: Harold and William. I observed two elderly gents sitting in a coffee shop one day on my way to work. There was something so striking about them. Identical twins, both wearing beanie hats, and glasses.I just had to write about them! Their story sits amongst the poetry, prose and photography in a perfect way as if they were meant to be there. 

Where do you get your ideas from?

All sorts of ways: observing people who ‘catch my eye,’ listening to conversations, (I love to eavesdrop,) appreciating the beauty of the world around us whether it be in its natural form, or expressed by art.  

Do your family have any influence on your writing?

My family are probably sick to the death of my writing! I’m obsessed… 

My dad (especially when he was younger,) was a mad keen golfer and talked endlessly about his love of golf. Now, I write and blog I can relate to that obsessive tendency!

I’d say that there are three main influences: 

  • My father who has always had many fascinating tales to tell (he travelled all over the world.) 
  • Also, my mother’s childhood in Malaysia and her move to Britain at the tender age of eighteen when she married my father. Both my mother and father are such interesting characters.
  • Then, there’s my eldest daughter who reads masses, writes too, and we share an interest in fantasy books. Though, Mr. Sagittarius is a bit different from my usual genre: YA fantasy.

Where do you like best to do your writing?

At home in my office. It is the only place where I have the peace to write. I also like writing at the seaside. I did this one year – went off to Brighton – to write for a long weekend and I loved it. I wrote in cafes, in the library and chatted to lots of interesting people. It was a blast! I’d recommend it. 

Do you write better during the day or night ?

Daytime, early morning preferably. I never write at night, I like to sleep!

I think we have all learned a lot about you and how you approach your writing. Would you like another cuppa? Oh! Before I forget I do have another question for you.

It so kind of you to donate some of the royalties of this book to the Australia fund what let you to this.?

I felt so sad to hear about the staggering loss of the unique wildlife and species of Australia and the local people and fire rescue services caught up in such a monumental catastrophe, people losing their lives and homes destroyed too. 

It is inconceivable to comprehend that: ‘More than 10 million hectares have been burnt, and this number continues to climb. That’s the equivalent of 40% of the entire UK.

Lives, homes, and an estimated 1.25 billion animals have been affected, including 30% of the entire koala population in mid-north coast of New South Wales. These catastrophic megafires are worsening the extinction crisis we’re already facing.’

Quote from: https://support.wwf.org.uk/australia-bushfires

Australia may be far away from my home in the UK but this is a stark warning. We must care for our planet, the effects of global warming are devastating and will only get worse if we choose to turn a blind eye. Time to take action. 

I am delighted to say I have my copy of Mr Sagittarius and I am reading it for the second time, and seeing even more in it this time around.

As I said that is so kind of you Marjorie to help Australia, don’t you think everyone? Now let’s get down to some authorly facts.

Author Bio

Marjorie Mallon

I write YA Fantasy/Paranormal novels, Horror/Ghost short stories and multi-genre flash fiction as well as micro poetry – haiku and Tanka. I share book reviews, poetry, flash fiction, photography and inspirational details of my writing journey at my lovely blog home: https://mjmallon.com/

I’m a member of two professional writing groups: The Society of Children’s Writers and Book Illustrators  and Cambridge Writers 

As well as this I run a supportive group with fellow Administrator D G Kaye on Facebook: Authors/Bloggers Rainbow Support Club

I work as a Receptionist/Event organiser for an international sixth form and live in Cambridge, England. 

Kindle Cover Reveal 


Who Is Mr. Sagittarius?

And what is his connection to twin brothers, Harold and William?

When Harold dies, he leaves a simple memorial request

Will his sister Annette honour it?

Or, will the magic of the garden ensure that she does.

A magical story expressed via poetry and prose with photographic images.

Mr. Sagittarius is a collection of poetry, prose and photographic images inspired by the botanical gardens in Cambridge. It features a variety of my photos including: trees, a robin and a dragonfly! As well as this there are several stories, and even some Halloween poems! 

I doubt I would have created Mr. Sagittarius if it wasn’t for these two amazing ladies: Colleen Chesebro (for her weekly poetry challenges and Charli Mills – Carrot Ranch (flash fiction challenges.) Both ladies have been a huge source of inspiration and encouragement. 

Mr. Sagittarius is a magical celebration of the natural world, a story about the circle of life, with an emphasis on the changing seasons of the year and sibling relationships.

Huge thanks to my amazing cover designer and formatter: Rachael Ritchey who has done an amazing job creating the ebook, paperback cover and graphics. 

Contents include:

THE GOLDEN WEEPING WILLOW (story and poem plus photo of a dragonfly)

GOLDEN WILLOW TREE (poem and photo) 

ROBIN: ETHEREE (poem and photo)


LIFE LESSONS FROM CATS – poem – (photo image via Samantha Murdoch)

MR. FROWNING TREE (poem and photo) 

RAINBOW CHILD – story – (image of Tourmaline crystal via Samantha Murdoch)




MR GHOST WITH EASE (Halloween poem)


ODE TO LOVE –ETERNAL (Ghost/love poem)


GHOST: SEPTOLET (Ghost poem)




SERENA’S CHRISTMAS BUBBLE MONSTER (humorous story and photo)






MR. SAGITTARIUS DIED THIS DAY IN THIS SNOW DROP GARDEN (poem/prose/photo of snow drops.)

Love (story)

Other Books by M J Mallon:

YA Fantasy:

The Curse of Time Book 1 Bloodstone 


Coming in 2020

YA Fantasy:

The Curse of Time Book 2 Golden Healer.

Short Stories in Anthologies: 

Bestselling horror compilation –

Nightmareland edited by Dan Alatorre –

“Scrabble Boy” (Short Story)

Ghostly Rites Anthology 2019 –

“Dexter’s Creepy Caverns” (Short Story)

Ghostly Writes Anthology 2018 –

“Ghostly Goodbye” (Short Story) 

Marjorie’s author page on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/M-J-Mallon/e/B074CGNK4L/

Kindle preorder link to the posts: 
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B084DQV3HW
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B084DQV3HW/

Well Marjorie it’s been lovely having you join me for tea and cake


Mr. Sagittarius by M J Mallon #NewRelease #Poetry

Well it’s day 6 of Marjorie Mallon’s Blog Tour for Mr Sagittarius. Jacquie Bigger has an excerpt for us to enjoy.

Read At source

Mr. Sagittarius Blog Tour

Marjorie Mallon is over at the Carrot Ranch with Charlie Mills for day 2 of her Blog Tour.

Read at Source

LOOK! “Mr. Sagittarius is Here!”

Marjorie Mallon’s Blog Tour is off to a Perfect start.


Day 11 Marriage Unarranged Blog Tour.

WANT A TOTALLY FUN READ & ROMP THROUGH AN EXOTIC CULTURE?? Head over to Carol Casscara’s blog and read at source.

Staying in with Ritu Bhathal, Author of Marriage Unarranged

Join Linda and Ritu for an evening in with her new book. Read a source.

Marriage Unarranged #booktour #ritubhathal

Geoff on has some really interesting questions for Ritu today on her Blog Tour.

Head over and read at source.

Jim Wester, Blog Tour. A Poet Is Always A Gentleman.

I am delighted to welcome Jim Webster once again to my blog as part of his latest Blog Tour.

First off let’s have a look at the time table, so you know when and who to visit.

Sue Vincenthttps://scvincent.com/Friday 8th NovCartographically challenged
MT McGuirehttps://mtmcguire.co.uk/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
Willow Willers https://willowdot21.wordpress.com/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

A poet is always a gentleman.

There are times when past events catch up with you in a potentially embarrassing manner, and it takes a certain quickness of wit to deal with them satisfactorily. Whilst looking back on my Slipshade expedition with modest satisfaction, I confess I rather consigned it to the past. It had happened, it was done, and whilst the tale of my exploits would doubtless surface, suitably scrubbed and burnished, at some point when I needed material for some future work; I had every confidence that that part of my life was over.
Not only that but I was no longer being blamed for the politically embarrassing actions of cavorting imps and similar. I could walk the streets of my home city with my head held high. I had no more to fear that any other resident who walks the streets alone and after dark. True I still doubtless had creditors, but until you have those you cannot really call yourself a poet.
Thus when Dobart Strun sent me a message suggesting I met with him at the Flensers to discuss the possibility of working together, I set out to enjoy my evening with a clear conscience. I was also accompanied by Shena who has a lot of time for Dobart. Yes he is an artist, but he’s also a sculptor and Shena has managed to sell him all manner of strangely shaped pieces of stone, bizarre lengths of driftwood, and miscellaneous lumps of non-ferrous metals. Not only that but Lancet was also going to be there so she felt that it could well be an interesting evening.
We met at the bar and proceeded to the buffet. Here there was the usual jostling at the entry table where the termagant collecting the money had her lair. Normally we would be finding excuses to get somebody else to pay, but on this occasion we all seemed to genuinely wish to pay for everybody else. I was in funds thanks to Slipshade and felt that it was perhaps my turn to let others take advantage of me. After all I had eaten and drunk at their expense in the past. Dobart wished to pay because he felt he was in some way the host, trying to inveigle us into joining an enterprise, and Lancet wanted to pay mainly because he grows nervous if the rest of us show too much apparently spontaneous generosity. There are times when I feel he can be remarkably cynical. Perhaps that is part of what demarcates the performance artist from the true poet?
Eventually we let Dobart pay, collected our plates and made an opening reconnaissance of the buffet table. As we sat down to devour the prizes taken in our first sally, Dobart put forward his scheme. As I have said, he is a sculptor. Not only that he’s a big man. Tall, broad, and it’s all muscle. He will casually manoeuvre foundry pouring ladles full of molten bronze across his workshop. But for all that, whatever his appearance, he is a genuine artist, and can produce the most delicate work.
His plan was worthy of him. It had occurred to him that the market for bronze sculpture was limited, if only by the cost. So his plan was to produce something in pewter. But rather than just produce large pewter pieces the same size as his bronzes, he was pondering producing pieces where the human figure was not much larger than a man’s middle finger. We listened to him with interest, as to the best of my knowledge one sees only a trifling amount of work in that size. It was Shena who commented that she thought it was an interesting idea but why was he involving Lancet and me.
“I have been thinking, Shena. Once I’ve made the master, I want to be able to leave it to apprentices to cast scores of them. But I need people to be interested in them. That’s where Tallis and Lancet come in. If there is a story behind the piece, perhaps a poem people have heard, then they are going to be more interested. So ideally the poem with sell the sculpture to those who hear the poem and like it. Then perhaps the sculpture will sell the poem to people who see the sculpture, buy it and want to know more.”
Dobart then turned to Lancet. “Now then, pewter can start looking dull and uninteresting, and I remember you painting something to look as if it were made of bronze, it was a prop for a performance you gave. Could your paint work for my figurines?”
Lancet sat and thought. “Not if they clean them. Start rubbing them with a cloth and the bronze will start to come away.”
As he was obviously thinking, we sat in silence, waiting for his next pronouncement. “What you could do is rather than painting with bronze, ‘dry brush’ it.”
Shena and I obviously looked bemused by this comment so Lancet explained. “You put a very little of the paint on the brush, and just brush rapidly over the surface, so the bronze paint would stick to the raised bits. The result can be very effective, and if you varnish it, then the house-proud owner can wash them or whatever they want.”
“And nobody will accuse you of selling pewter figures as bronze,” Shena added.
It has to be confessed that Lancet and I were both quite interested in the idea. One is always trying to reach out to those who are, sadly, unfamiliar with one’s work. One feels duty bound to allow the light of one’s wit to shine into their benighted lives. We had recharged our plates and were pondering potential figurines when I heard a shout, “There you are, Steelyard, you worm.”
I looked up to see Darstep Balstep, previously lord of Slipshade Keep, striding across the room towards me. What really caught my attention was that he was drawing a long bladed knife. It appeared that he hadn’t forgiven me for my, admittedly inadvertent, part in his downfall. Dobart never turned a hair. When Balstep reached our table, Dobart caught the hand holding the knife and squeezed. There was a clatter as it dropped to the floor. Then Dobart caught the other man by the shoulder and propelled him into the empty chair next to Shena.
Shena glared at the new arrival. It must be confessed she has a low threshold of tolerance for those who threaten me with any form of weapon. She then turned to me and asked, in a reasonable voice, “So who is he and why does he hate you.”
I told everybody the full story of the expedition to Slipshade and how others had used us as cover to overthrow Balstep. Feeling that I ought to say something positive about him, I finished by tale by saying, “And actually he’s quite a good poet, he specialises in the rondel form.”
Immediately Lancet said, “Nobody uses that anymore.”
Somewhat hurt by this Balstep said sharply, “I do.”
“Yes and look where it got you.”
I raised my hand to silence the two of them. “I think I have an idea.”
They stopped and both looked at me. I said to Balstep, “What are you, a poet or a Partannese warlord?”
Before he could answer I continued, “Because you’re a fair poet, but frankly you drank too much to be a successful warlord.”
Balstep came right back. “If you’d had to live with that collection of almost mindless thugs, you’d have drunk as well! I could go for days, weeks, without any decent conversation.”
Dobart, who had been listening to this, said simply. “Balstep, you’re a poet.”
I added, “Look, if you can afford to dine here, you’re not penniless.”
Balstep almost looked embarrassed. “Well I did make an effort to stash some of my ill-gotten gains away in Port Naain whilst I was still Lord of Slipshade Keep.”
I asked him, “And if you try to hire fighting men and retake the keep, how long will it last.”
Glumly he replied, “Weeks.”
“And if you live sensibly and become the poet you could be, then how long?”
Balstep sat in silence for a while. “Depends how much I make as a poet, but quite a while I suppose.”
I smiled at him. “So I repeat my question: what are you, a poet or a Partannese warlord?”
He pulled himself up to his full height. “So now, I am a poet.” Then he slumped a bit, “But while I can write poetry a bit, be damned if I know how to be a poet.”
Shena said quietly, “Aea help you, but these two versifying wastrels can teach you that.”
I decided I better say something before Shena gave him the wrong idea about us. “Dobart, I have an idea for your first figurine. How about Balstep here, standing on the improvised stage, declaiming his poetry. Lancet and I can tell his story, you can do the figurine, and of course our patrons will all want to meet the warlord poet.”
Immediately Dobart was all business. He pulled a pencil and a notepad from his pocket. “Balstep, on your feet. Now then, strike a pose.”
Ten minutes later, the initial sketches done he condescended to allow Balstep to go to the buffet and get himself something to eat.

Actually it went rather well. Balstep still had the battered leather armour he performed in, and of course Dobart cast the figurine with him wearing it. Then when we got him an invitation to perform, he would wear the armour. Indeed he managed to cut an almost romantic figure, the warrior bard who had turned his back on the world of power and influence to follow his muse.
The figure Dobart cast of him worked to his advantage as well. The figurine standing on the stage provided a good solid base, and it was cast with a candle holder set off to one side. If the model was on a table next to a wall, when you lit the candle, the shadow of the figurine, combined with a shadow cast by some of the miscellaneous decoration around the candle base, looked as if the figure was a condemned man standing on a scaffold with a noose descending towards him. It gave him a pathos that intrigued people and Balstep rode the wave of interest well. Within a year he was suggesting to his patrons that they invite me.
Indeed such was his reputation, over the years there was a sporadic stream of Partannese villagers who would knock on the door of the house where he was currently performing and offer him an utterly inadequate sum to gather a small party of stalwart companions and travel south to overthrow the lordling who was currently oppressing them.
The audience would witness the play of emotions across his face as he struggled with his desire to throw himself once more into the maelstrom of Partann. I was there when this happened. He would turn to the emissaries and say, “With half a dozen stalwart comrades of mine from the past, I shall do it. I shall summon Rostarin to my side.”
One of the messengers would say, “But Rostarin is dead, he fell at the Dreg Bridge.”
“Rostarin dead! A paladin nonpareil, slain! What of Naltarm?”
Another of the envoys would say sadly, “He died in an ambush on Porta Beg.”
Balstep would go through six names, and would discover that each was now dead. He would sigh deeply. “Then surely it must be my turn to ride south and perish, to join them once more.”
At this point his patron would throw her arms around him and insist he gave up all mad thoughts of venturing south.
So he’d empty his purse into the hands of the leading messenger and suggest they approached Lord Cartin. Other guests would also feel obliged to contribute, and the sturdy peasantry would touch their forelocks and leave.
Later they’d drop round to his lodgings and give him half of what they’d raised.

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.

Let’s here some facts about Jim.

Jim Webster is probably fifty something, his tastes in music are eclectic, and his dress sense is rarely discussed in polite society. In spite of this he has a wife and three daughters.
He has managed to make a living from a mixture of agriculture, consultancy, and freelance writing. Previously he has restricted himself to writing about agricultural and rural issues but including enough Ancient Military history to maintain his own sanity. But seemingly he has felt it necessary to branch out into writing SF and fantasy novels.
He lives in South Cumbria.He has even been cozened into writing a blog, available for perusal by the discerning (or indeed by the less than discerning) at http://jandbvwebster.wordpress.com/

On the Mud. The Port Naain Intelligencer

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

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.

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

Jim for the visit it was fun to have you here.

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