The alternative career of Dilkerton Thallawell by Jim Webster #BlogTour #EpicFantasy #ShortStory #Books #FamilyDrama
Welcome everyone. Jim Webster is once again on tour, sharing some tales from Tallis Steelyard. Today's story is The alternative career of Dilkerton Thallawell.
Dilkerton was a member of the great Thallawell legal family. To be fair his life was comparatively conventional, if only because he was somebody who instinctively tried to conform. So he went into the family legal practice, married a nice young lady and they had two delightful daughters. So whilst he worked hard, he made sure that he was home from work early enough to spend time with the family.
Now he wasn’t a great courtroom performer. On the other hand he had a real genius for cutting through to the crux of the case and working out what were the real issues. Indeed the partnership decided that his analytical mind was wasted on courtroom histrionics. Instead he would examine the case when it arrived with the partnership and then, when it was assigned to a partner, he would go through it with them and explain it. Even old Tildus Thallawell, the senior partner, and considered by many to be the finest legal mind in Port Naain, would discuss his cases with young Dilkerton.
This led to Dilkerton being much in demand, and the pressure was on him to work longer hours. He put this off as long as possible, but the girls were older, well into their teens, and his wife pointed out that there were going to be a lot of large expenditures to face soon. Daughters don’t get cheaper to keep as they grow older. So somewhat reluctantly, Dilkerton started working longer hours. To be brutally honest at this point, he did love the work so that side of it was no hardship. Initially he stuck strictly to his days off but his wife pointed out that if he could get money tucked away with his usurer now, once the girls were married and away, then they could relax a bit and spend more time together. This seemed reasonable, indeed it was a goal Dilkerton could work towards. So he threw himself into work. Indeed his wife arranged with the partnership to put up a bed in his office for him and every day somebody came in with a complete set of clean clothes and took away the previous set. Similarly, three times a day a lady arrived with his meals.
He settled down nicely into his new routine, his wife would send him a pleasant note every so often letting him know how things were going, and he set out to put aside enough money. He was lucky in that the partnership had a number of complex but fascinating cases. On the strength of his part in these, the Council of Sinecurists asked him to produce a codification of Port Naain commercial law.
He produced the first volume, ‘The rights, duties and perquisites of the Legal Person in Port Naain law’ in a couple of months. He was helped in this because he’d been prompted to do the research because of the complexities of one of the cases he was working on anyway. The second volume was, ‘The law of Land and Property, including inheritance and the duties and privileges of Landowners, absolute, qualified or possessory. The third volume was, ‘Maritime law, including maintenance and cure, reasonable care of passengers, maritime liens and mortgages, salvage, and piracy’. Legal experts seem to regard this as his magnum opus. Certainly it was immediately accepted within Port Naain. Indeed it was also adopted within a month of publication in Prae Ducis. Apparently well-thumbed and hand-written copies of the piracy sections have been seen being passed around rough bars in Ulwin and Rothturning.
I’m not sure how long this had been going on when he found, in his morning’s post, a letter from his usurer. It was an apologetic missive, it merely informed him that unless he could send funds immediately they would not be able to honour his monthly standing order to the Goldclaw Baths and Laundry. This came as a shock to him as he hadn’t realised he had such a standing order. He questioned the person who brought his clean clothes. Dilkerton had rather assumed that the chap was somebody from his household, sent each day by Dilkerton’s wife. It turned out that he was from the Goldclaw Baths and Laundry. Later that day he discovered that the woman bringing his meals was Madam Balgot, who had quite a nice business providing decent meals for men too busy to leave their desks. After he had finished his lunch he left the building and walked to his usurer’s offices. There he asked to see the ledger of his account. On the input side he could see the money he was earning, pouring into the account like a river. Unfortunately on the other side of the ledger he could see money pouring out like the retreating tide. He looked more carefully at where the money was going. Goldclaw and Madam Balgot were there, being paid their quite reasonable sums. Rather more surprising was the fact that judging by the sums disbursed, he was apparently the sole support for three of the city’s more prestigious ladies’ dress shops. Then to his genuine shock he discovered that he’d also opened an account in the last three months with a gentleman’s outfitter.
It was a remarkably thoughtful Dilkerton Thallawell who made his way home (to his house, not the office). He did wonder whether he would even be able to get into the house, but there appeared to be a ball in progress so he could stroll in unremarked. He found the situation disconcerting. He didn’t recognise the servants, he didn’t recognise the guests, and even the décor was strange to him. He suddenly had an irrational fear that he’d inadvertently slept for a century and was now surrounded entirely by strangers. As unobtrusively as possible he made his way through the house to where there appeared to be dancing.
Standing near the door he watched the dancers. He could see his wife dancing with a rather handsome gentleman. He turned to the man standing next to him. “Who’s the gentleman dancing with Madam Thallawell?”
“Damned if I remember his name, but I think he’s the favourite to be the widow’s next husband.”
A little dryly Dilkerton said, “I hadn’t realised she was a widow.” He thought briefly and asked, “Did she have any children by her first husband?”
“Yes, two daughters, but they both married in the last twelve months.”
Somewhat shocked by what he’d heard, Dilkerton made his way out. He noticed a copy of the Port Naain Intelligencer on the table in the hall, and for perhaps the first time in his life, when he looked at the date, he checked the year first. Much to his relief the paper and he agreed on the day, month and year.
Next morning he left instructions that any income from his codification of the law should be paid to the Order of Illuminated Seditionists. He took leave of absence from work, took his current month’s salary in cash and walked out of the office and headed for the Roskadil Ferry. Eight hours later he was at the home of a client he’d always got on well with.
Next morning he started work. He watches over his employer’s horrocks, for which he gets a cottage and three meals a day. As he watches over his charges, Dilkerton will carve small animals from wood, just as he used to when his daughters were little.
During the evenings he reads a lot. Every so often he will send me a bag of the animals he’s carved and I’ll sell them for him. Then I’ll go to Alen Gaetz’s second-hand book shop. There I’ll buy as many fifty-dreg tales of derring-do and romance set amongst the bandit chieftains of Partann as the carved wooden animals would pay for. He trusted me to do this properly, as I had a list of the books I’d taken to him previously.
His wife I never really knew so cannot really say what happened to her. She wasn’t the sort of person to patronise poets. But Dilkerton didn’t leave her penniless. As a partner there would be his annual share of the profits. Although paid quite some time in arrears, there’d be enough for a lady living quietly in a small house. It might even be enough to pay somebody to come in two or three days a week to do the washing and cleaning.
A message from Jim Webster:
So here I am again with another blog tour. I’ve released two collections of short stories from Tallis and if you’ve enjoyed the one you just read, you’ll almost certainly enjoy these.
So what have Tallis and I got for you?
Well first there’s, ‘Tallis Steelyard. A guide for writers, and other stories.’ The book that all writers who want to know how to promote and sell their books will have to read. Sit at the feet of the master as Tallis passes on the techniques which he has tried and perfected over the years. As well as this you’ll have music and decorum, lessons in the importance of getting home under your own steam, and brass knuckles for a lady. How can you resist, all this for a mere 99p.
Then we have, ‘Tallis Steelyard. Gentlemen behaving badly, and other stories.’ Now is your chance to see Port Naain by starlight and meet ladies of wit and discernment. There are Philosophical societies, amateur dramatics, the modern woman, revenge, and the advantages of a good education.
So come on, treat yourself, because you’re worth it.
Below is a list of other stories and their scheduled dates. If you enjoy reading Epic Fantasy, these will be a real treat all for the price of a few clicks and perhaps a book or two?
A fine residence - July 14, 2019
A man who doesn’t pay his bills never lacks for correspondence - July 15, 2019
Be careful what you pretend to be - July 16, 2019
Call yourself a writer - July 17, 2019
Every last penny - July 18, 2019
It all comes out in the wash - July 19, 2019
Noteworthy - July 20, 2019
Oblige - July 21, 2019
Performance art - July 22, 2019
The automated caricordia of Darset Dweel - July 24, 2019
The dark machinations of Flontwell Direfountain - July 25, 2019
Thoroughly married - July 26, 2019
Water under the bridge - July 27, 2019
Who you know, not what you know - July 28, 2019
My compliments to Tallis Steelyard and Jim Webster for sharing their time and their stories with us. A "tip of the hat" to my fellow bloggers for their time and shares.
Founder of Call Sign Wrecking Crew, LLC
Can be found on Twitter as @LHallbrooks
This month, Double-Cross Lit's theme is Love & Death. The stories featured in this sales event contain something to do with military, history, and/or romance.
The sale will start on 21 June 2019 and run through 23 June 2019. The eBooks will be available for 99 cents USD or its equivalent. Box sets will be $1.99 USD or its equivalent. Stop by Double Cross Lit this weekend and see if there is anything that you just can't live without.
Founder of Call Sign Wrecking Crew, LLC
Forrest Fenn's Treasure Remote Viewed #BookSeries by Kiwi Joe #BookReview #Nonfiction #RealLifeMystery
There are times when I read a book simply because a friend suggested it. This is one of those times. Kiwi Joe's book series introduced me to a real-life mystery and his call to action intrigued me.
Kiwi Joe, among other things, is a remote viewer who has helped many different clients. A recent client requested his help in regards to Forrest Fenn in particular, his ability to remote view the treasure that was hidden in 2010. The information he gathered inspired him to write these books. After seeking permission from his client, he spent some of his own time remote viewing and put together some images that are now viewable by his readers. In my opinion, they are enough to help those already on the trail of the treasure as well as pique interest in those new to the venture.
Brief book series synopsis: In book 1, The Chest, part 1, Kiwi Joe provides a brief introduction of remote viewing and the ongoing search for Forrest Fenn's treasure. In part 2, he provides his impressions of the chest, what's inside, and the area immediately surrounding it. Book 2, The Location, briefly recaps information then goes on to provide Kiwi Joe's impressions of the location of the treasure.
My thoughts as a reader: When I read book 1, I was intrigued by the information but at times I felt it may have been a bit over my head. It could simply have been me and therefore I gave the book a 4-star review. When I read book 2, things started clicking in place - so perhaps the recapping worked. By the end of it, I found myself wanting to help solve the mystery. That's why I gave it a 5-star review.
My thoughts as an author: Nonfiction books are not at all like fiction books. It isn't easy to share what you may have spent a lifetime acquiring. You want to provide the facts but not tread on information that others have already shared. It's a tricky balance. That aside because a particular reader doesn't get what the author is saying the first time through is not necessarily a reflection of what the author wrote. It may have more to do with how the reader's life's journey connects (literally or figuratively) with what they have read.
My recommendation: If you love being a part of solving real-life mysteries, or perhaps remote viewing is your thing, then pick up these books. Read through at your own pace. If you feel the books are worthy of a review, then share your thoughts on Amazon, Goodreads, or wherever you feel is appropriate.
Afterword: If you read these books and they help you find the treasure, contact Kiwi Joe via the email address he provides inside the books. He looks forward to adding your photos of the treasure chest and the location to the two books.
Happy Reading and Mystery Solving,
Founder of Call Sign Wrecking Crew, LLC
Have you been following Double-Cross Lit? If the answer is no, don't worry, it's not too late to join in on the fun.
This month's theme is Mirth and Mischief which features books that fall in the Humor category, Thriller category, or a combination of both. It's a great deal for readers because the prices start at 99 cents USD. Grab up the books that suit your fancy and then grab more for your friends and family... or simply share this post with them.
While you're there sign up to learn about future events because unlike many other promotional opportunities, Double-Cross Lit has a whole website that caterers to authors and readers.
Founder of Call Sign Wrecking Crew LLC
Today I present part 10 of the blog tour featuring Tallis Steelyard's adventures. If you've missed reading one or more of the other parts you can catch up by visiting these links.
Part 1: A significant gesture
Part 2: An eye to the future
Part 3: Butterfly net
Part 4: Getting rich moderately rapidly
Part 5: In tune with the Zeitgeist
Part 6: Learning a role
Part 7: Love letters
Part 8: Matchmaker
Part 9: Mother mine
Now on to, today's part: No strutting or fretting.
I’ve known and respected old Tallan Wynfeather for many years. He is, in my humble opinion, one of the great actor-managers. Admittedly you’ll rarely see him or his troupe grace a Port Naain stage. But over the last forty years he has kept on the move. By his own account he’s performed in every keep, town and village in Partann, and in every community north of Port Naain as well. They’ve performed before brigands, nobles more bloodthirsty than brigands, and burghers more avaricious and hypocritical than nobles. Yet he has brought his people through it all and has not lost one to the manifold dangers of the area.
There are times when I find that it is advisable not to be in Port Naain. I’m not talking about the occasions when it’s necessary to disappear for months, but sometimes it helps if you’re not available for a week or two. I’ve discovered over the years that if you’re too available, nobody appreciates you. So in the early years I got into the habit of disappearing off for a fortnight, and travelling with Tallan did at least mean that I still ate.
Now one of the strengths of Tallan’s troupe is that he has never written the plays. Far too many actor-managers do, to ensure they get the good parts. With Tallan, on those occasions where he hadn’t got a writer, the troupe wrote them. Mind you, such was their repertoire; it was possible for them to survive without a writer for many months.
Indeed they performed a very wide variety of works. Depending on just who they had travelling with them at the time, they could put on some of the old standards such as ‘Darkshore Revealed’, Cleethbart Ingratstone’s famous ‘Silent Monologue’, and ‘Three Shorecombers and the Lost Dinket’. But the company’s real strength is its ability to put on a score of different tales of ‘Forfulum the Buffoon.’ You must have seen some of them; they are based on a series of comic tales about the sordid, debauched and incompetent individual after who they were named.
Sometimes Tallan and his thespians have to cross the city to get from the villages in the North back to Partann, or vice versa. Tallan will always book a hall or even a theatre if the price is right. So on perhaps two nights a year, in some years, you can see a performance in Port Naain. He’ll send out children pasting up fliers and handbills to bring in an audience. At the start of the evening, the audience will take their seats, as strait-laced and po-faced as you could hope for. By the time you get to the interval they’re clinging to each other and hooting with laughter. The reviewer will write an utterly damning review, and next time Tallan passes through the city, the theatre will be packed again.
Nowadays, Tallan’s daughter, Tessi, writes for the company. To be entirely accurate, she doesn’t merely produce new plays for them; she pays suppliers and generally acts as Tallan’s factotum. She even pays occasional walk-on parts and helps with the catering.
To give you a feel for the life, I can do no better than describe what it was like the last time I was with them, north of Partann. We had just finished the evening performance in Lannan Crossroads. The performance had been held in the great barn that was part of the Crossroads Hotel. The performers were relaxing with a meal Tessi and I had prepared whilst the play was being performed.
Tallan had spent that day in Muckleport. We were going to move there next. He had arranged with the Dullard’s Lament, the largest Inn in the village, that next day the Landlord would erect an awning outside the inn. Then that evening the company would put on a play. The whole thing was cleverly arranged. To get under the awning you had to pass through the bar, so the landlord was happy, he’d sell more food and drink. At the same time it made it easier to make sure nobody attended without a ticket. Tallan had already been spotted by people who asked when the performance would be, so he reckoned that they’d get a good crowd.
Once this was arranged Tallan then loafed about the bar for an hour or so, chatting and listening to gossip. Then he rode back in time for the performance, played the part of Ruff Tumble, the unfortunate pimp who has inadvertently purchased the indenture of Forfulum the Buffoon. The play is the tale of how he tries a series of increasingly desperate expedients to get his money back.
The play over, their meal eaten, Tallan and Tessi retired to the wagon which serves Tessi as office, writer’s studio and home. Tessi sat down, picked up her pen and asked, “So what do we perform tomorrow?”
Tallan had been contemplating this, “Forfulum the Buffoon and the Magistrate. Make the magistrate female and let her be thin, venal and severe, with a fat, self-important husband. That way they’ll recognise her as Lady Vestan, who sits here in Lannan Crossroads.”
Tessi makes a brief note. “What about the arrest scene? Gallan has been working on his pratfalls and it would be nice to give him a chance to use them.”
Tallan nodded. “Yes, and Treggor and Mifelt can do their clothes washing scene. Have them washing the magistrate’s formal regalia before the trial.”
Thus and so, the next evening’s play is decided. Tessi will hand out a synopsis to the cast with their breakfast so everybody knows their role, and if anybody does need to learn their lines, during one of the stops, they can copy them from one of the script books kept in the wagon.
Mind you, to see father and daughter at work, one really had to be there when they decided to play Woodpin. The village sprawls over about four miles of road. There are farms and fields in the middle of it. When you arrive from the west the first building is the Woodpin Grandiloquent Hotel. When you leave heading east the last building is the Woodpin Salutation Hotel. The two hotels are managed by two sisters, termagants who apparently loath each other even more than they dislike the rest of humanity. Yet they both brew decent ale. Given that they were taught by the same mother, there is little to choose between them when it comes to brewing, cooking or general cleanliness. A fair man might comment that the standard is high and all that is lacking is hospitality.
Over the years Tallan had tried to be reasonable. He’d suggested that his troupe alternate between the two inns. He’d even offered to stay two days and play each inn on the same trip. Finally Tessi came up with a plan. Father and daughter went to see old Bulwin. Bulwin farmed exactly in the middle of the village. He brewed his own beer and shunned both inns equally. Bulwin was happy to let Tallan put up a big awning against his barn and brew house. They’d put a stage under the awning and put on the play there. Bulwin even promised to run a temporary bar. The evening was a great success, and judging by the number of drinkers supping old Bulwin’s beer, there couldn’t have been many in the two hotels.
The next morning, Tessi went to see the two termagants. She explained that she was already thinking ahead to the next time they passed through. She and her father had agreed with old Bulwin that they’d have a Woodpin theatrical festival stretching over three days (and more importantly, three nights).
The two older women were not entirely happy at this, but then Tessi pointed out that whilst they could doubtless allow people to camp, she and her father felt it better to help those who became partners in the festival. This they would do by insisting there was no camping and people stayed in one of the two hotels.
Immediately the two ladies were more sanguine about the plan, especially when Tessi suggested that they might both like to have their own temporary bar, one on each side of the theatre, where they could sell drink and food.
By this time they were calling her a wise young woman and came dangerously close to mothering her. In fact they were so caught up in her vision that both paid over twenty alars apiece in cash for her to use on advanced publicity.
The author has a few words to say about Tallis Steelyard's other adventures.
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.
You can find in UK Amazon here or US Amazon here.
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. Which you find on Amazon UK here or Amazon US here.
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 UK Amazon or US Amazon.
Tallis even has a blog of his own here.
Want to see what other adventures Tallis Steelyard shares with everyone, visit these links over the next few days.
Part 11: Something of the night?
Part 12: The civilising influence of Betta Thrang.
Part 13: Unfashionably tired
Part 14: Vegetating
Wordsmiths work not only for the kind praises but the sale of wares to put food on the table and a roof over their head. Therefore, if either of these books tickles your fancy, then click on the appropriate link or visit Jim Webster's Amazon page to see what other delights might suit your palate for reading.
Founder of Call Sign Wrecking Crew, LLC
Upfront stuff: I was provided an advanced copy of The Rescue by Steven Konkoly courtesy of Thomas & Mercer via NetGalley. The book was released to the general public on 1 April 2019. However, anyone who was an Amazon Prime or First Reads member was able to download a Kindle version on 1 March 2019. In fact, within 24 hours, it was number 1 in all categories. Not bad, for the first book of a new series.
Parental note: This book has violence as well as adult language and situations. To be honest some of the scenes may be unnerving for some adults.
Brief synopsis: Ryan Decker, USMC has more questions than answers. For example: Why the heck has everything gone wrong? Why imprisonment for doing his job? Why are people being sent to eliminate him? Harlow Mackenzie, Private Investigator, has some answers. Will they lead to the truth or more questions?
My thoughts about this story as a reader: The men and women of the US military branches are human beings who train hard to do a tough job. That training and willingness to serve others are what I admire most about those who serve honorably. The character, Ryan Decker, has served his country with honor even working for the CIA. After moving on from that, he formed a company to find people who've been taken from their family. While we, the reader, only see Ryan Decker's dark days in this book, we also get a glimpse of the strength that made him a Marine, CIA operator, great husband, and loving father. This made me want to root for him to succeed in his mission... no matter what it took.
My thoughts about this author as a reader: The first book that I ever read by Steven Konkoly was The Jakarta Pandemic. I was drawn in by the medical aspect as well as the military background of the main character. Over the last several years, I've read everything that he has written. I have loved every single one of them. This book, in my opinion, outshines them all. On a personal note as an author, I am inspired by all that Mr. Konkoly has achieved through hard work, dedication, and allowing himself to grow as an author. The result shows in this book. I am really looking forward to reading the next book in this series.
If you wish to learn more about Steven Konkoly and where to get his books you can visit his website or follow him on Amazon.
As always, any polite comments are welcomed and appreciated. If you are a Steven Konkoly fan, do you agree this is his best work to date? If you are new to Steven Konkoly's work but have read this book, what do you think of it? Would rather not comment, that's okay.
If you know someone who would love to read this book or learn more about Steven Konkoly, feel free to share this with them.
Happy reading and writing,
Founder of Call Sign Wrecking Crew, LLC
Jim Webster, author of The Port Naain Intelligencer series, is a recent addition to my author friends. We met on Goodreads. I'm most honored to be among the people he trust with this blog tour.
You are welcome to visit the various blogs to see what has been going on or buy the book and read on your eReader at your leisure.
Parts thus far:
1) For want of a knight
2) The eyes have it
3) The miser and the demon
4) Just one more glass
5) Occasionally one has to do the right thing
6) Consummate artistry
7) Something fishy
8)The ethical choice
9) Delicate work
Without further ado, here's the next part in the ongoing story.
10) A cup of Wine, a Loaf of Bread — and Thou?
Benor sat drinking coffee with Faldon and went through what he had learned
from the boat yard. The priest sat thoughtfully staring out of the door, his
heavily bandaged ankle propped up on a stool.
Slowly he said, “I keep going back to that note, where it says, ‘The two
lilies will die from salt water.’ Perhaps the intention is to use the boat to kill the Chevaleresse and her daughter, not just as an insurance fraud.”
“It could be. But how would they get the two women on the boat. They’re in
Partann and that boat would never survive the journey.” Benor paused, “The
same note hinted at a son being killed in an accident as well.”
“But do we know where the child is?”
“No.” Benor sighed. “I’m not sure how on earth to find him either. We know
nothing about him except for the fact we’ve deduced his existence from the
desire somebody has to kill him. And then Tallis found a patron who is sure
his mother the Chevaleresse mentioned him in passing.”
Faldon stood up. “I’ve heard nothing, but I was given this. He reached down
and picked up a bundle of old sheet that was on the floor beside him. Slowly
he unwrapped it and revealed a drinking cup. He passed it to Benor.
“Yes Benor, silver. Virtually pure.”
Benor examined the drinking cup carefully. There was no handle but it just
sat nicely in his hand, reassuringly solid without being over heavy.
“It is a nice piece.”
“Look at the engraving, Benor.”
Whilst there were the usual bands of decoration, on one side there was a
running horse. It was beautifully executed. It was so lifelike Benor
wondered if it was the image of a real horse, a much beloved companion
immortalised in silver. Then below the front feet of the horse he noticed
there was a small crouching dragon, and below the rear feet a small stylised
He reluctantly handed the cup back. “I might be able to put a name to the
person who engraved it.”
“A Partannese artist?” Faldon asked.
“Vortac Lilywhite. I’d put money on it.”
Faldon contemplated the cup he was holding. “I got it given.”
“Somebody must have been really pleased with their haircut!”
“In a way, perhaps he was. I won’t mention his name; he’s a jeweller and
‘almost a fence.’”
“I thought you were or you weren’t. Being almost a fence is like being
almost a virgin.”
“I think he mean that he did buy and resell stuff, but he always managed to
convince himself that the person selling the item did genuinely own it. In
this case he couldn’t do that. It was obviously stolen. The woman who
brought it to him merely described it as ‘an heirloom.’ So he tested her. He
offered her a third of what he’d normally offer and she took the money and
“So how is it that you’ve got it?”
“That’s my fault. He heard me talking about honesty and the advantages of a
clear conscience, and he realised that he wasn’t comfortable with what he’d
done. Up until he’d got this cup he’d always managed to convince himself he
was an honest man. Now he couldn’t, he was just another crooked jeweller. So he gave it me and asked me to find a good home for it.”
“Did he say how long he’d had it?”
“Just a couple of months.”
“So what now?”
“Well I thought you could approach your Vortac Lilywhite…..”
Benor interrupted, “It’s Vortac Saltwrack now.”
Faldon continued as if Benor hadn’t spoken, “And show him the cup, ask if he knows anything.”
Benor thought briefly. “I wonder if he knows where his son is.”
“I think you should first ask him if he has a son. After all we’re only
Benor knocked on the house door which was opened by Vortac. The tall man’s face fell. “I wondered when you’d come back for the blackmail?”
Benor held out the cup. “No, I just want to talk to you.”
Vortac took the cup, glanced at it, “Then you’d better come in.”
He led Benor through the house to his workshop and gestured for Benor to sit on the bench.
Benor asked, “So is it yours?”
“My work certainly, but not my cup.”
“So whose is it?”
Vortac seemed to take a long time to collect his thoughts and put them into
words. “I made it for my wife. I gave it to her when our daughter, Natisse,
Vortac held the cup and stared at it as if trying to see into the past. “She
loves horses, and hadn’t dared ride for months. The horse I engraved on the
cup was one of her favourites. I remember her face when I gave her it. She
burst out crying and hugged me.”
He looked up at Benor, “And now she’s given it away.”
“We don’t know that. It could have been stolen by a maid.”
“That’s as might be.” Vortac seemed to have sagged into himself. Somehow he didn’t seem as tall as he had done. His face looked older.
“Well I could write to her, tell her I’ve found a cup, describe it for her
and ask her if she wants to buy it off the current owner.” Improvising as he
went along Benor added, “I’ll ask her how much I should offer for it?”
Vortac still looked almost grief stricken. Benor added, “If she wants it
back enough to pay for it, then the cup must still mean something to her.”
Vortac sat the cup on the bench next to Benor. “Do it, we’ll see.”
“Do you want to keep the cup safe while I do it?”
“No!” Vortac almost shouted the word. Then softly he said, “I do, but not if
she doesn’t want it.”
Benor carefully put the cup back in his bag. “Another thing, do you have a
“Yes.” Vortac seemed surprised. “Young Vortac.” He looked a little
embarrassed. “We’re short of imagination in our family. Every generation a
son is called Vortac.”
Cautiously Benor said, “There might be a conspiracy afoot to kill him. Is
“He’s the heir to a Partannese keep, of course it’s possible.”
“Do you know where he is?”
“Katin and I were going to have him educated in Port Naain. We’d reached an
agreement with a school master up here. Garrent Woolmin. He was going to
attend his school and live in.”
“If I can find him we might have to get him to a place of safety. Could he
“Of course!” There was no hesitation in Vortac’s voice.
“Can you let me have a token from you so he knows he can trust me?”
Vortac slipped off a ring. “It’s not my seal; I left that for Katin when I
disappeared. It’s a ring of mine he loved. He used to sit in my lap and play
with it on my finger. He loved tracing the engraving with his little
Benor produced a piece of cord and hung the ring round his neck. “Right, now we’ll try to find him.”
A Message From The Author Regarding This Blog Tour
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 lose 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.
If you’d like to learn more about Jim Webster and his characters, simply visit his Tallis Steelyard blog.
If you've been following the blog tour, here's what's next.
11) An appropriate boy
13) Everything going swimmingly
Polite comments are always welcomed. Many thanks, Jim Webster and fellow bloggers, for allowing me to participate in this event. I hope you've been enjoying the story as much as I have.
Don't forget you can always pick up your copies of Swimming for profit and pleasure as well as The Plight of the Lady Gingerlily whenever you're online.
Founder of Call Sign Wrecking Crew, LLC
I first started reading books by Nicholas Sansbury Smith after Anthony J. Melchiorri and Steve Konkoly recommended his books. That was early 2018 and since then I have personally read his Orbs, Trackers, and Hell Divers series. At the moment, I have the Extinction Cycle series on my eReader ready to go. On the whole, as a reader, I was very impressed with his writing style. I am not alone. In the last few months, I have seen many people “sing his praises”. Perhaps that’s why he is among the top-selling authors in the Science Fiction/Post-Apocalyptic genre. Fellow authors, please join me as I ask some questions so we can learn a few things about how to be one of the leaders in the industry. Fellow readers, if the author information is not for you, feel free to skip to the end where you can find information on books and where to follow Nicholas Sansbury Smith.
LH: Thank you for visiting with me today. For those just meeting you, please explain what you did before you were an author?
NSS: I worked for Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management in disaster management and recovery. This work has played a vital role in my stories. Before that, I worked in government, and that also helped me understand how our local, state, and federal government responds and operates during emergencies.
LH: I can certainly tell that your previous work has played well into your stories. I suspect that is what makes them spookily realistic and you such a great writer. What type of author do you consider yourself – Self-published/Indie author, Traditionally published or Hybrid - a mix of Indie and traditional?
NSS: I’m a hybrid, and always have been. Half of my stories are self-published and the other half are with Orbit/Hachette Publishing, as well as, Blackstone Publishing. I had a series with Simon and Schuster but got the rights back and have self-published those books. I’m also almost exclusively with Blackstone for my audio.
LH: You have a lot going on publishing-wise yet it seems to have paid off. I’ve seen your impressive author ranking on Amazon. Many authors would love to be able to obtain that. What do you think helped you attain that level of success?
NSS: Hard work and understanding how to market. For the past six years, I’ve worked pretty much seven days a week on writing and marketing my books. I always strive to release my best work and I think that has helped with the longevity of sales and high ranking. Quality is just as important in self-publishing as it is in traditional.
LH: Quality is important, from what I’ve read of your work, you set high standards. I'm sure that takes extra effort from the start. Would you be kind enough to walk us through your process from outlining to proofreading?
NSS: I always start with an in-depth outline that breaks the book out chapter by chapter, and who the POV (Point of View character) for each chapter is. Then I write the first draft. Go over it three times. Once I’m satisfied it goes to a content/line editor. Two passes are done until the book is in good enough shape to go to a copy editor. Once they finish the proofers and beta readers come in. Usually, my books have had at least 10 people read it before it sees print.
LH: When you finish this rigorous editing/proofreading process what happens next with the book?
NSS: It goes onto formatting and out to trade magazines and other reviewer type sites.
LH: Anthony J. Melchiorri was recently here visiting. I know he works hard on the next book while the previous ones are being edited and so forth. He was kind enough to give his take on working with you. What was that process like from your perspective?
NSS: It was great! He has much more knowledge about science and I have a bit more background in military writing so together I think we made a great team in those regards. We also had a blast outlining and writing and plan on another series together soon.
LH: I’ve enjoyed a few collaborative efforts but you guys make it seem so fun and easy. In my role as a self-published author, I have to wear many hats from marketer to being a financial manager. Do you do everything or do you have a personal assistant?
NSS: I do most everything but I have hired a few people to help me with things like FB ads and editing my newsletters.
LH: That would make life a little easier. Perhaps one day, I’ll get to that point. I’ve learned a lot from working with and reading fellow author’s books. Do you have anything that you would care to share with our fellow authors?
NSS: Never give up. Hard work does pay off. If you’re struggling with sales or marketing reach out to another author that is doing well in those regards and see if they will provide some feedback. Sometimes we can’t see our own flaws and need to count on others to point them out.
LH: Great points. I know that sometimes people make fun of human flaws. There are some movies that were strictly made to be funny. Would you ever consider making a funny Post-Apocalyptic movie? If so, what would the scenario be?
NSS: Probably not to be honest. I don’t think apocalyptic storylines should be funny. I remember getting comments about the second draft of an old novel from my agent and he said there was too much joking and too much smiling in the situation. I agree. It made it seem like it wasn’t very realistic. Now if you’re aim is to make it not realistic that’s another story... I just happen to enjoy writing serious post-apocalyptic stories, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t watch a funny one. : )
LH: I supposed that's why I have a hard time watching one of those "B" movies even if they have my favorite actor in them. Thank you for being here with us today, where can visitors go to learn more about you and your present as well as future books?
NSS: You’re welcome. Thanks for having me here. You can start with any of these links:
Amazon author page:
Facebook Fan Club:
Facebook Author Page:
You can also sign up for my spam-free newsletter to learn more about future releases, how to claim a book patch, special offers, and bonus content. Subscribers will also receive access to exclusive giveaways. Click this link to learn more (if that doesn't work simply copy and paste this link into your browser): eepurl.com/bggNg9
Nicholas Sansbury Smith is a very busy person yet I know that he has been known to answer questions in his Facebook fan club. Sometimes his fans answer questions as well. If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading his stories. I suggest visiting his website. Each book is different in what vendors are available to it. Check out the series, you’d like to know best and start with the first book in the series and go from there. Below is a slideshow of books, I believe I’ve captured the series in the order they came out. All the books link back to Nicholas’s website.
Thanks for stopping by.
Author Reader Cheerleader
Author/founder of Call Sign Wrecking Crew, LLC
I was one of the lucky winners of the Goodreads Giveaway of American Vineyard by Vincent Lowry. I am under no obligation to post this book review but I loved the book so much that I wanted to share it with you.
Before I share my thoughts, I should let those who are sensitive to violence, as well as, adult language and situations know there are those moments throughout the book.
My Take: The story is told from the first-person point of view and has a memoir feel to it. As the story unfolds you realize that the narrator is reminiscing about a particular school year - the last year before entering high school. A particular event at the beginning of the school year is the crux which catapults the group of friends headlong into adulthood.
My thoughts as a reader: Mr. Lowry did a wonderful job of drawing me into this world. I felt a connection to the main characters and their plight. I have to admit as the book was finishing up, I had lots of tears in my eyes.
My perspective as an author: To me, the true test of an author's ability is when they connect with a reader on an emotional level. Since it was selected as a finalist in the 2017 New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards, I'm guessing I'm not alone in that opinion.
If you'd like to learn more about Vincent Lowry and his books, check out his Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Vincent-Lowry/e/B002W58D2S/
If you decide to pick the book up, I hope you enjoy it as much or even more than I did.
Author Reader Cheerleader
During my time as a self-published author, I have watched several authors go from the lowest rung to so high it is hard to keep up. My first guest on my newest blog is Anthony J. Melchiorri. I first met his work as a member of the Reading Deals Review Club when I read Enhancement. I loved how he interwove the medical elements into that story so much that I had to contact him, via his website. From there, we have had a symbiotic relationship. He writes awesome books and I devour every word. Not literally. From time to time we exchange thoughts on writing, books, and medicine. Today, we are going to discuss different aspects of being an author. You, dear visitor, get to be in on it. If you are a fellow author, please remain calm and save your questions and comments for the end. If you are a reader and don't want to read about the author stuff, feel free to scroll to the end for the links to where to find him, his books, not to mention, a cool slideshow I put together.
LH: Please tell our visitors a little about your background and how it led you to be a published author.
AJM: I tried to stick with a career just pursuing science. But I couldn’t do it. Back when I was studying biomedical engineering in college, I picked up a degree in English, too. I remember wandering around the University of Iowa campus dreaming about the writer’s workshop quite frequently. The cozy building and library, that houses the workshop and visiting writers, overlooks the Iowa River. In the winter, snow covers the sloping river bank and I would walk by that building thinking about how cool it would be to stay warm inside that library, writing with the river, ice, and snow as my backdrop. I met so many great writers at Iowa and took some workshops and classes that kicked my butt into gear. And amid all that, one piece of advice sticks out in my memory: Write every day if you want to be a writer. And so I did until I finished my first book. Then, rinse and repeat to get my next.
LH: I love your imagery. I've been known to stare out my window at the mountains for inspiration. Writing every day is a challenge, yet it seems that advice has done well for you. You know I’ve enjoyed everything that I’ve read of yours. Yet, I noticed there has been a huge difference in your popularity after The Tide and Eternal Frontier series went live. What do you think made the difference between your early works and what you are writing now?
AJM: I really wrote my first few books for me. I combined my love of sci-fi with biomedical science, scientific characters, and a near-future world in some kind of turmoil. However, I didn’t really write those books with an audience other than me in mind. They were quite literally a hard-sell. Once I dug a little more into where existing readers were (post-apocalypse and zombies, space exploration and pew-pew starships), I wrote my stories in packages that would appeal to those readers. And I think that worked. I try to combine my own writing passions with stories and settings that I know will appeal to and please readers out there.
LH: I’d say that proves that education doesn’t stop when you leave school. In my experience all types of authors do lots of research and self-education, what type of author do you consider yourself?
AJM: I’m primarily self-published verging on a hybrid. I’ve liked dealing with traditional publishers for audio, and I’m looking at bringing some new projects to the traditional side, if possible. Most of my work still falls squarely in the self-published realm, though.
LH: You’ve put in a lot of effort thus far into your writing career. I know that you work full time and write part-time. To me, you produce more books than others I know in your position. What would sway you to become a full-time author?
AJM: I’ve spent so long pursuing a career in science that I think it has become part of my identity. It’s hard for me to turn away from the lab bench and research that have been such an integral part of my life’s story so far. Not being able to jump right back into science admittedly scares me a bit. That, and I like having health insurance, which becomes frighteningly expensive to try to get on your own for a family.
LH: That makes total sense. If things were different and you were to become a full-time author, would you seek or accept a publishing contract from someone such as Thomas & Mercer?
AJM: I would certainly accept a publishing contract, so long as it had the right terms. I value the freedom I get self-publishing, so I wouldn’t want a contract to infringe on that. I also have some idea of how much my books are worth now, so the financial agreement would have to be fair, too. But with that in mind, I’m definitely interested in and pursuing some traditional agreements. Anything to get my books out to new readers is welcome by me.
LH: I think you have a firm grasp of your value as an author and your sense of independence. If everything offered fulfills your expectations and you were to take a publishing contract, would you still produce books on your own or be exclusive?
AJM: I would prefer to still be able to produce books on my own. It would take one heck of a great deal to push me to be exclusive.
LH: On to another topic. I know that you sometimes work with Nicholas Sansbury Smith. What is it like to be part of that writing duo?
AJM: Working in a duo is both easier and harder. Easier in that we come up with some fun ideas and push each other with character and plot ideas. When one of us gets stuck, the other usually has a great idea to help. The hard part is making sure that our parts of the stories line up and our characters don’t seem different when we combine our work. I think the more we work together, the better we accomplish this.
LH: From what I've seen you do a pretty great job of blending. Do you have any upcoming books that you can share about at this time?
AJM: Nick and I are working on a spin-off series from his Extinction Cycle world. I’m excited to work on it because Nick enlisted me early on in developing the science for the series. So writing in the actual world for me is a blast. I’ve got the last couple of books in The Tide series that will also be releasing over the next several months. Beyond that, I have a new military sci-fi series in the works that I’m hoping will be a lot of fun.
LH: Speaking of fun. If, in the next few years, mankind was able to go into space and travel long distances safely, would you consider going?
AJM: I would definitely be down. I love traveling, and space would be the ultimate destination. However, being realistic, I probably wouldn’t want to travel from Earth for more than a few months unless we were in one heck of an awesome spaceship with plenty to keep me entertained. And admittedly I would like to see my family every once in a while.
LH: What if you were able to bring your family along?
AJM: I think even if I could bring my family along, I'd prefer to have some ties to Earth. I think I'd miss all the outdoors and greenery!
LH: I think I would miss the outdoors as well. Thanks for being here today with me. Where is the best place for someone to find you and learn about your books?
AJM: Thanks for the great questions! Amazon is the best place to see everything I’ve got out there: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00KHDOHBI
LH: Where can they follow you?
AJM: I’m most easily reached and followed via Facebook and my website.
If you are new to Anthony J. Melchiorri's work, you can pick where to start, although I would recommend starting with book one of his series. Because if you don't you'll be like what the heck is going on here. Lots of medical and sometimes military elements mixed in with great action and adventure to round out your science fiction not mention post-apocalyptic reading. Feel free to let the slideshow run to see his books from the earliest days to now.
I hope you enjoyed visiting with Dr. Melchiorri - yes doctor, he has a Ph.D. - as much as I did. He's a busy person but if you have any questions, I'll field what I know. As for those I don't I'll look into it for you...or you could just follow him on Facebook and ask him yourself.
Author Reader Cheerleader
Founder of Call Sign Wrecking Crew, LLC
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Who am I?
I'm Lynn Hallbrooks - an author, blogger, cheerleader, founder, proofreader, reader, and reviewer. I have read and reviewed books for Masquerade Crew, NetGalley, and Reading Deals, to name a few. I enjoy reading books by new-to-me authors as well as sharing my love of books with others.
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