It’s a strange game this writing business. But at times it can get pretty hectic. Tricia asked me if I could send her some stuff for a blog. Now I hate just sending out the same gumph twice. I like every blog post to be different, and ideally it should ‘fit’ the blog.
I suppose it’s the freelance-journalist in me, to ‘sell’ the same article to two publications simultaneously is unprofessional. But anyway Tricia sent me the email; I replied and leapt into action.
Or would have done if an editor I write for hadn’t sent me an email asking how I was getting on with the four articles she’d asked me to do.
Unfortunately after some investigation she discovered she’d sent them, a month previously, to the wrong email address. But still, in the course of three days I’d done her articles on Penknives, woodcraft, Second World War archaeology that we see as we travel about (pill boxes) and a week later when I’d finally got hold of someone with the pictures, an article on cycle touring.
Add to that worming, dagging out and checking the feet of 600 sheep (because I also farm) and you can see why I’m finishing this blog post somewhat later than I intended.
So excuses politely made, on with the literature.
I’d come up with a great female character, she fitted nicely into the fantasy background I have, and she looked interesting.
An aside; in case you don’t know my fantasy, it doesn’t have a lot of magic and I guarantee no elves, dwarves or hobbits.
But back to the point, I started writing the story. I had Shena and her husband Tallis. She was a practical lady, sharp, switched on, he was a poet. The chemistry worked, it was fine. Unfortunately it just didn’t sparkle and was no fun to write. I gritted my teeth and kept going. Then Shena stepped out of the cabin on the barge she and her husband live on, and nearly tripped over one of my favourite characters, Benor. Suddenly it came alive; it sparkled and was a joy to write. Shena remains the sharp practical lady, and her husband remains every bit the jobbing poet. But it became more fun and less worthy.
So I’ve written six stories which collectively make up ‘The Port Naain Intelligencer.’ Each one is a ‘stand-alone’ detective/mystery, somewhere between 15,000 and 20,000 words, and the cunning plan is that they’ll be published, as regular as clockwork, every four months. As they’re already written and edited even I can surely manage that.
The first one, ‘Flotsam or Jetsam’ is now out there and has been well received.
A review from a ‘top 500’ Amazon reviewer
“Benor is a cartographer and he’s come to Port Naain to produce a handbook. He makes a home with Tallis, a professional poet and his wife Shena. She’s a mud-jobber or as we might say, a beachcomber. Some of her combings include bodies. Everything has a price and families will pay for the privilege of burying their dead and, if possible, finding who caused it. Benor is a natural. He’s a nosy person and, with the aid of the wonderful Mutt, a ten year-old wise beyond his years, he sorts out the villains from the corpses. This first short story from The Port Naain Intelligencer bodes well for the rest of the series. A really great Whodunit.”
But the stories have rather taken on a life of their own. As I mentioned, Tallis is a poet, and of course he’s almost professionally obliged to drop lines of poetry into his conversation.
My editor, Mike Rose-Steel is also a poet and asked if he could borrow Tallis. He then wrote ten poems for him.
Benor then wrote the social/historical background stuff, and another poet by the name of Lancet Foredeck wrote the literary criticism.
This we also published as ‘Lambent Dreams.’
It also got good reviews
“This short book really amused me. If you’re familiar with the stories of Benor the Cartographer from the author’s Land of the Three Seas then you will have some idea of what to expect. Tallis Steelyard is a poet. He makes his living that way. Lambent Dreams is a collection of some of his works and his friend Benor comments on them to give some historical or geographical insight. Then there is the commentary from fellow poet and critic Lancet Foredeck. These remind me of the notes you get on wines from some of the ‘experts’ and I chuckled along with them. Perhaps funniest of all was the fact that, somehow, the footnotes inserted by one of the typesetters were left in by accident; a much more refreshing view is revealed!
This won’t take you long to read but I guarantee you’ll smile a lot while you do. A little gem!”
Obviously Tallis, as a professional poet, has to have his own blog,
Lancet Foredeck is not going to be outdone so also has one which he asked me to look after for him
Whilst mine own poor efforts are to be found at
You had best be warned that mine is the least literary of the three.
The Land of the Three Seas has its own Facebook page where you can see pictures of all (and sundry) arrayed in their best.