Consummate Artistry–A Guest Post by Jim Webster

Consummate artistry

There are times when a chap finally begins to feel put-upon. Benor rolled
the ten alar piece across the table from his left hand to his right, and
then back again. He watched the light glinting on the gold coin.
“Benor, stop it.” Shena’s voice cut through his musings. “Tallis and Mutt
are sitting there watching with their tongues hanging out.”
Benor looked up; both Tallis and Mutt were indeed fixated on the coin.

“Sorry. I was thinking.”

“Meks a change,” Mutt muttered.

Benor ignored him, “It was that note our clerk friend saw. I wrote it down,
but I can damned near remember it word perfect. ‘So if the two lilies will
die from salt water, how are you going to kill the little dragon? I trust
that too will look like an accident.’ Well are the two lilies the
Chevaleresse of Windcutter Keep and her daughter? And who is the little dragon?”

“Has she got a son?” Shena asked.

Benor shrugged. “I haven’t a clue to be honest. We didn’t discuss families.
I wasn’t even introduced to the daughter and she was in the room.”

Tallis muttered something under his breath which sounded like, “I wouldn’t
introduce my daughter either,” but Benor chose to ignore it.

“Let us assume there is a son,” Shena said, reasonably. “What can we assume?
I’d say he’s still a junior, younger than the sister, or he would have
stepped into his father’s shoes and taken over Windcutter Keep.”

Benor nodded thoughtfully, “I’d guess that the son must be in Port Naain or
close by, otherwise Minny wouldn’t be expected to deal with him.”

Obviously feeling he wasn’t contributing Tallis added, “I know ladies who
know the Chevaleresse; they’ll know how many children there are.”

Benor rubbed his eyes with one hand. “If you could do that, I think it would
be useful.” He turned to Mutt. “We could do with somebody watching Minny to
see what she gets up to. She might even know where the boy is.”

Mutt held out a grubby hand. “It’ll cost.”
Seeing Shena glaring at him he shrugged. “Not me. I’ll need others as well.
They’ll want paying.”

“Who is paying for all this?” Tallis asked, rather too casually to be
convincing.

“Nobody.”

Almost simultaneously, Mutt and Tallis exclaimed, “Nobody?”

“Because I’m the idiot who is doing it as a favour for a priest who has
managed to make me feel guilty.”

Mutt pointed at the coin lying briefly ignored in front of Benor. “You got
money.”

“Not for long,” Benor sighed, “and how long do you think this will last if
we have to find and then hide the boy?” Then he appeared to see the coin for
the first time. “Mutt, you know all sorts of people.”

“Yeah.” Mutt’s reply was distinctly cautious.

“I know somebody with a lot of money, but I need a forger. I assume you’ll
know one.”

“Yeah but it’ll….” He stopped, looked guiltily at Shena and just mumbled,
“Yeah, I’ll take you to him.”



Benor wasn’t sure what he expected when he’d asked for a forger. Mutt led
him to a bollard by the Graving Dock. “Sit there, say nowt.”

Obediently Benor sat on the bollard, just another idler passing the day in
idle contemplation.

Mutt sat on another bollard and they waited. After ten minutes a young girl
approached Mutt and they squatted together on the wharf, playing Slow-go on
a board they’d scratched on the timbers. After five minutes the girl ran off
and ten minutes later returned with a boy a little older than Mutt who
surveyed the board with interest. He was obviously commenting knowledgably
about the state of play. Mutt replied and the soft-voiced discussion
continued, both boys moving pieces backwards and forwards as if trying to
find a way out of an impasse. Finally the boy left. Mutt drifted back to
Benor. “I might a got one.”

“Might?”

“Well the good ‘uns are careful. Why’d he want to meet wi’ you? He don’t
know you.”

“So what happens now?”

“You take me to Ninno’s and we drink coffee and eat sugar buns.”

Benor looked at him askance.

Mutt explained, a little shiftily. “They can watch and see if they want to
deal with you.”

“In the Merchant Quarter?”

Mutt merely shrugged. “Happen he’s a merchant?!”

Benor sighed and stood up. “Right, coffee it is.”

“Wi’ sugar buns,” Mutt added, helpfully.



They sat for half an hour at Ninno’s and it wasn’t until Mutt got his second
bun that something happened. Ninno’s had filled up; the cafe obviously had a
successful lunch-time trade.

“Excuse me, do you mind if I join you, the other tables seem to be full.”

Benor looked up. A man of about his own age was standing there holding a cup
in one hand and with a plate of cold pasty in the other. Mutt kicked him
under the table and when Benor glanced at him, the boy nodded slightly. “Why
yes.”

The man sat down. “I’m Tyro.”

“Benor Dorfinngil, cartographer, at your service.”

Tyro took a mouthful of pasty and chewed it with obvious enjoyment. “I heard
you might need some engraving services?”

“Yes.”

“I do some specialist work, even producing specie.”

“You could be the person we need,” Benor said cautiously.

The other man leaned forward. “So what do you want?”

Benor produced the ten alar piece and passed it across the table. Tyro
looked at Benor’s coin, “So you want some more of these.”

“Yes please. How many can you make me?”

“Depends what you want to do with them. How much inspection will they get?”

“Really I want them to sit in a box, mixed in with a lot of real ones, and
not be noticed.”

“Right, so they’re not going to be handled a lot. Gold leaf gilding will do
that for you. But we’ll need blanks. Then I’ll need to strike them before
gilding. I’ve got an assortment of coin dies, I’m sure to have some the
right size and I’ll have a city crest for the obverse. The reverse is
trickier, but I should be able to do something.”

He scrutinised the reverse. “Yes, it’s the common one.”

Benor asked, “Why how many dies are there?”

“Not many being used now, gold is a soft metal and you can strike an awful
lot of coins before a die wears out. So there aren’t many reverses out
there. I’m pretty sure I can borrow one.” He nursed the coin in his palm.

“Now what about weight, pretty much everything is lighter than gold, will
somebody notice if the coins weigh less?”

Benor could imagine Minny picking the box up. “I think we want to keep the
weight.”

“That makes it tricky. I think I’ll go for lead; I couldn’t use it if the
coins were getting a lot of handling, but if they’re for display, then they’ll
do. I’ve got some which has some printers’ type mixed into it which means it’s
harder than you’d expect. I can stamp the blanks and then gild them.”

”How much?”

“Give me that coin and I’ll give you ten back.”

Benor considered the deal. “Seems reasonable, what about timing?”

Tyro gestured at Mutt. “He knows where my shop is. Send him round the day
after tomorrow at this time and I should have them ready.”

He finished off his pastry. “I can see why Mutt wanted to meet here. Mind
you there are cheaper places a lot closer.”

Sanctimoniously Mutt said, “But Ninno’s does good coffee and Benor likes ‘is
coffee.”

================================================================

And now the hard sell.

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.

 

Gilded Gossip

Two stories for free. Yay! Russell tells us he’s been retired now for 16 months and works harder than ever with less time off. He was definitely kept in the dark about that beforehand. He also tells us about a collection of cats, not the furry kind. If you enjoy this madness, just click on the book covers above and to the right. You can do more by reblogging this post on your blog.

What's So Funny?

People in the workforce get one to two days off every week and vacation time based on their years of service. I have been retired now for over 16 months without a single day off. I can’t even call in sick and sneak off fishing. It’s ridiculous and unfair.

With the amount of stuff retired people have to do, and the limited number of hours we have to work with, you’d think the Department of Labor would step in and rectify this terrible injustice. After all, we spent our entire life working and paying taxes, and just because we’re retired doesn’t mean they can walk all over us.

I encourage all of you, retired or not, to contact your representatives in Congress, Senate, Parliament, etc., and urge them to pass legislation to address this critical issue.

If you’re new to Friday Flash Fiction, our on-site bloggers rights activist is Susan…

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Colleen’s Coming Attractions: Two New Novellas by Author, @JimWebster6

Benor Dorfinngil may be involved in a murderous venture involving one Wast Divot. Also, Jim Webster has two books on offer. They are both humorous and interesting.

Word Craft: Prose & Poetry

Hi, everyone. Jim Webster has a couple of new novellas coming out and I offered to help him spread the word.

Author, Jim Webster

Someone once wrote this about me…

“Jim Webster is probably still 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 fantasy and Sci-Fi novels.”

Now with eight much-acclaimed fantasy works and two Sci-Fi to my credit it seems I might be getting into the swing of things.

Amazon Author Page: Jim Webster

Today, Jim shares a…

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There IS a Wrong Way to Write a Book Review!

Great, common sense advice of how not to and then how to write a book review.

WordyNerdBird

This week I read a blog post that asserted there is no right or wrong way to write a book review. The writer made some good points, particularly about reviews needing to be individual and personal responses to a book, but I disagree with the basic premise of the article.

I am writing this post from the perspective of a reader, not an author, and I realise that some people won’t agree with me, so let me explain my reasons.

A book review should never recount the story of the book. It shouldn’t give spoilers. Yet time after time, I see reviews that do exactly that. My issue is that if I already know what is going to happen, I feel as though I no longer need to read the book. The joy of the journey has been neutralised. That review has effectively cost the author a sale. 

In all…

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Jim Webster Blog Tour. Swimming for profit and pleasure & The Plight of the Lady Gingerlily.

Benor Dorfinngil is hired to walk a housemaid home who has had one glass too many. On the way, he questions her for information wanted by Tallis Steelyard. Also, there are two interesting books by Jim Webster on offer.

willowdot21

Hi everyone I am so excited today because Jim Webster has asked me to be part of his latest Blog Tour introducing Swimming for profit and pleasure &The Plight of the Lady Gingerlily.

Below is the timetable of the tour so you can follow it and read the chapters.

1, For the want of a knight.

Monday 18th January Chris Graham

2, The eyes have it. Tuesday 19th February. Stevie Turner

3, The miser and the demon Wednesday 20th February. Annette Rochelle Aben.

4,Just one more glass. Thursday 21st February. willow willers

5, Occasionally one has to do the right thing. Friday 22nd February. Colleen Chesebro

6, Consummate Artistry. Saturday 23rd February. Suzanne Joshi

7, Something fishy. Sunday 24th February. Robbie Cheadle

8,The ethical choice. Monday 25th February Anita

9, Delicate work. Tuesday 26th February Ritu Bhathal

10,A cup of wine, a loaf…

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A Renewed Call For Hate???

Some of the things happening in the U.S. these days and an effort to improve conditions.

Filosofa's Word

I was working on an environmental post when this headline crossed my radar … TWICE!

Editor of Alabama newspaper calls for the Ku Klux Klan to ‘night ride again’

Say WHAT???  And then again …

Alabama newspaper editor calls on KKK to lynch Democrats

Deep breathes … in … out … in … out …

WHAT the Sam HELL is wrong with these damn people???Goodloe SuttonThe editor is Goodloe Sutton and the newspaper is the Democrat-Reporter in Linden, Alabama.  He said Democrats were going to raise taxes and that the KKK should hang them and raid Washington DC.  This, my friends, is the depth to which this nation has sunk.

“Time for the Ku Klux Klan to night ride again. Democrats in the Republican Party and Democrats are plotting to raise taxes in Alabama… This socialist-communist ideology sounds good to the ignorant, the uneducated, and the simple-minded people. Seems…

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The Miser and The Demon

A tale about Benor and a miser being aided by a priest of the Temple of Aea in chasing away a troublesome and smelly demon. Also, two books on offer by Jim Webster.

Annette Rochelle Aben

Benor was walking down Slip Pike Lane at a steady pace. Anybody watching him might have noted that his stride was precise, each step exactly the same length as the last. Somebody particularly observant might have noticed that every ten paces, Benor made a mark on a piece of paper with an indelible pencil. At this point they might have realised that they were witnessing a cartographer at work.
Slip Pike Lane is one of the streets that run parallel to Ropewalk. The
original houses were all quite large and now virtually all of them have been divided into apartments. Benor quite liked the area, the houses were solid, everything looked reasonably well maintained and the people put on a brave face and made the best of a very modest prosperity. One house had caught Benor’s eye. Perhaps alone of all the houses on the street it appeared to be derelict. There was no glass in the windows, there were slates…

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Tough Times

Very true. This is good to remember in today’s world.

Orlando Espinosa

Life can be downright difficult at times. Tough times don’t last, but tough people do. In order to get through the tough times, you need to look at your haves rather than your have-nots. When you’re trying to get through the tough times, sometimes gratitude is the quickest pathway to happiness and peace-of-mind.

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