Day Four of Lazy Days Book Tour…


The other day, I forget which, I promised to post an excerpt, and must have promptly forgotten to do it. I have no excuses, apart from the fact that I have a few things fighting to get my attention these days, and sometimes I lose the thread!

(Anita has been making little comments about early onset dementia, but, as I am very quick to point out, I have always been as daft as a brush!)

So without more ado, here is the excerpt from Lazy Days…


Everyone is looking forward to Yarmouth today, and as much as I love the waterways, I can’t wait to see the sea. This holiday is turning out much better than I thought it would. Everyone is happy, all the eternal arguing is down to a minimum. I should have remembered that this sense of euphoria never lasts long.

After breakfast, when the daily chores were done and the dogs had been walked, I go to start the engine and nothing happens. I double check the starting procedure and try again. Alarming wisps of smoke start to appear from somewhere deep inside the engine, so I turn it off. My stomach sinks into my shoes as I realise we probably won’t be seeing Yarmouth today after all.  I remember something a friend of ours said before we left home, about there being a fire on the boat. Something we took with a pinch of salt at the time, for she had many of these premonitions. Pity, she didn’t tell us what happens next, I thought.

What were we supposed to do now? We were miles from anywhere, with no idea how to get any help. I hadn’t thought to ask this question, in the beginning, a definite oversight on my part, so much for all our careful planning.

I volunteer to go and telephone the boatyard and find one further along the bank by the windmill. They tell me to stay put, and that help is on its but how could we do otherwise? I try hard to be civil, but the joke about us staying put has ruffled my already flustered feathers.

When I return to the Sovereign, I could have sliced the silence like a loaf of bread. The kids were in their cabins and I was grateful to be spared their looks of disapproval. Even the dogs seemed to glare at me.

Anita, sitting in the Captain’s chair had a black cloud hovering over her head. I hesitate, unable to find the right words and terrified of finding the wrong ones.

‘Well?’ she said. ‘What the hell happens now?’ She turned around to glare at me and suddenly I could see through her rage to the upset behind it.

‘They are coming to tow us back to the yard… they didn’t seem to think it was serious… I think it will be all right.’

‘I hope you’re right, for there are four disappointed kids back there…’

Two hours later, help arrives, and we are towed to the boatyard at Burgh Castle. This brought the kids out from the cabins, to watch the Sovereign being hooked up to a much smaller boat. We had been expecting the boatyard owner, but a rather chubby middle-aged man with a ruddy complexion and permanent smile turned up instead. He chatted away with the kids and managed to make the short trip to the boatyard a pleasant experience.

All the way there, I sincerely hoped it would be nothing serious and we could enjoy the rest of our holiday. It had begun to feel as if we had been cursed, and I didn’t like the feeling.

Turned out the battery hadn’t been charging properly, but this didn’t explain all the smoke.

After a sandwich lunch, we take the opportunity to fill up the water tank, which must be empty after our showers last night, and when we are finally fixed, we set off again and I discover how hard it is to steer a boat with all my fingers crossed.

We think it might be a good idea to change our plans, in case we have any further trouble with the engine. We try a different route and pass Reedham, where we find the entrance to a small river and decide to explore. The river Chet is small and narrow, with horrible bends all along it. A bit touch and go, literally, for passing other boats. At the end of the river, we find an idyllic marina in a village called Loddon. It is even more peaceful here, with several huge willow trees trailing their branches in the water. Living in London, you don’t realise there are places like this. Life can be so different in other parts of the world, and you can find yourself there with a bit of effort.

We spend the rest of the day in Loddon, as I think the morning’s drama had unnerved us all a bit and probably best to relax before going any further.  I turn the engine off, praying it would start again tomorrow. The weather is warm but cloudy and we hope it doesn’t rain. The good thing about these boats, you can still drive cruise with the sliding canopy closed, so any rain won’t stop us, and fingers crossed, neither will the engine!

Our food supplies are getting low, and the need to walk on solid ground is becoming urgent, so I suggest we go for a walk. Their rush of enthusiasm surprised me, it would seem we are all feeling the same way.

Walking away from the Sovereign felt good, and from the amount of cheerfulness that arrived from nowhere, I think everyone else felt relieved too. The morning’s drama with the engine, although it had turned out to be insignificant, must have damaged our new found confidence. The more I thought about it, the more I worried about the rest of the holiday. Would we be able to move on from this point, or would we have to go home? I wanted to talk to Anita to find out what she thought about it, but not with the kids within earshot.

Loddon had a lot going for it, and we decide to leave the shopping until later and explore. We visit The Holy Trinity Church first. Built in 1490, its tall tower and finely flinted walls gleaming white in the sunshine, seemed to draw us closer like a magnet. We are not particularly religious, but we like to explore some of Englands finest old buildings, usually full of history and connections with the past.

We see several signposts for something called The Wherryman’s Way, and we all want to know more about it. Turns out aWherry was a large cargo carrying barge with elegant black sails,  once a common sight in this part of the Broads. The Wherryman’s Way is a long walk beside the River Yare, some 35 miles long, so not exactly our idea of an afternoons walk, so we end up walking around the village instead.

We see more signposts for something called Hardly Flood. Just under a mile away and described as a lake with masses of wildlife and the occasional otter. An area created when this part of South Norfolk first flooded back in the 1940’s. This walk sounded reasonably doable, so we pick up sandwiches and cakes from a local bakery and set off.

As we walk along in the sunshine, the dogs enjoying all the different sights and smells, I think we all began to relax and become united as a family again. Something other than engine failure had happened this morning, something which made some of us retreat into ourselves, affecting everyone else. I couldn’t have been the only one to have had visions of leaping into the water from a flaming boat.

We find a lovely spot for our picnic, and the rest of the afternoon flew by. The kids wander off to explore, so I take the opportunity to ask Anita how she is feeling.

‘Now, you mean, or about this morning?’

‘Both. I think it has unnerved us all a bit. What do you think?’

When she didn’t answer straight away, I thought the worst.  I couldn’t think of anything else to say, so I waited.

‘Well… this morning could have been more serious, it’s true. This is the trouble with adventures, you walk a thin line between fun and fear. By tomorrow it will all feel better. At least, I hope it does.’

‘And if it doesn’t, does it mean going home?’ I finally asked the question that had been nagging me all day and wasn’t sure which answer I wanted to hear.

Again, a delay in answering, our attention interrupted by a group of noisy ducks having an argument, splashing around right in front of us.

‘I think it will take more than a little smoke to make us abandon ship…’

And now to todays Book Quiz Question…


We have just delivered a late breakfast at the Event over on Facebook, why not pop over and meet everyone?

See you all tomorrow?

Of Mice and Men!


We are getting closer to launch day for Lazy Days, and my head is swimming with ideas to make it even more interesting. It is making it a lot more complicated too, but I digress!

I am also being driven mad with worry that I have done something wrong, or worse still, forgotten to do something vitally important. We have 10 brilliant authors taking part in the tour, so I hope they will shout if they see something amiss!


I have even booked an event on Facebook, including a Book Quiz. There will be a different book quote from a famous book every day of the tour, both on Facebook and our website. Free ebooks and a £5 gift voucher are up for grabs, so be sure to pop in if you are passing!

new BT.jpg

Help Needed setting up the Book Tour for Lazy Days…




There we were, a family of six on the Norfolk Broads for the first time. Was this a good sign?



I might have chosen the wrong time to try and arrange a book tour, what with Christmas and the New Year almost upon us, but… I have started, so I’ll finish… to quote that famous quiz show host.

Having spent most of 2017 creating Lazy Days, I wanted to launch it properly and as the last tour we ran was a lot of fun, the idea took hold and we ran with it.

I had been gathering all the material needed (we supply everything you will need!) when an idea dropped into my head.

How about giving away e-books each day of the tour! And not just Lazy Days, any of our books!

I thought we could run a daily competition, and the winner gets to choose a book. More about this later…

There are still some spaces on the tour for anyone who would love to join us on 8th January 2018…



The Monster of Bell-Wether Gardens and other Stories by Jim Webster #short stories

Today, we are joined by Tallis Steelyard, otherwise known as Jim Webster, on day two of his book tour for his lovely book of short stories. Just the ticket for those odd moments when you simply have to read something interesting!

Take it away, Jim…


Tallis Steelyard and the Monster of Bell-Wether Gardens.jpg

A seaside sojourn.jpg

A seaside sojourn

A poet can be susceptible to many influences. Yes the beauty of the rustic vista has stirred my soul and provoked me to verse. Similarly I have been inspired by the Beauty sitting opposite me at a table in a busy coffee shop. But all things considered, it is the sea in all its majesty which really stirs me. I feel the waters of the estuary sweep past me every night as I sleep in the barge. The water caresses the timbers of our bedroom and the scents of salt and weed and who knows what hang around us. Even deep in the city of Port Naain one can at times catch the taste of salt on your lips and hear the cry of the seabirds wheeling overhead.

My travels brought me at last to the coast. Where the mountains meet the sea you find Sweethaven. Apparently it was named because here there was both a stream of good water and a steeply shelving beach so that boats could come in to take advantage of it.
Now it’s a thriving fishing village which must have three or four hundred inhabitants. They live in sturdy stone-built houses with slate roofs and live by fishing and farming. Sweethaven even has a sea wall that stretches out like a protecting arm to give shelter to the harbour from the worst of the storms.

I arrived one evening and found my way to the only inn, the Fish Salter’s Arms. I slid a few coins across the table and purchased a glass of reasonable ale and a bowl of fish stew and a couple of rounds of bread. In casual conversation with men standing at the bar they asked my trade.

“I’m a poet.”

This was greeted with silence, then one of them said, in what I felt was a speculative tone, “So you’ll be able to read and write then?”

Now I realise there are oral poets who work entirely from memory but they are not a common phenomena in civilised parts, so I answered, “Certainly.”

“So you can do it quite well then?”

Here I felt that confidence was called for, “Absolutely.”

“It’s just our school mistress is ill and we could do with somebody to cover for her for a few weeks.”

Now I’m not a pedagogue. But I was a long way from home, could do with a few regular meals and a snug bed and was willing to be flexible.

“Well I’m available, but I’d like to know the terms and conditions first.”

Eventually we agreed that I would have my meals in the Fish Salter’s Arms, a bed would be made up for me in the small stockroom next to the school room, and, after much haggling, they’d pay me a vintenar a day. This latter was a pittance but they made a strong case by pointing out they were already paying for one school teacher who was lying sick in bed and couldn’t really afford to pay for two.

I agreed to the terms, the assembled company clustered round to shake my hand and several glasses of beer appeared on the bar for me. Then the assembled company disappeared to their own homes to tell their harassed wives that they’d got a new teacher.

Next morning, early, I dropped in to see the school teacher, one Dame Esbeth. She sat next to her fire, wrapped in blankets, coughing and shivering. Still she gave me a rough idea of how her charges were getting on. With that I left her and plunged into the fray.

I was lucky, it was a fine day. This meant that the older class were far too busy to attend school. They were either out on the boats or collecting salt for salting the day’s catch. This meant I had chance to get to know the younger class, a score of children aged between six and perhaps twelve. Firstly I heard everybody read. That gave me a baseline. I then decided to see how many could write. Chalk screeched on slate as they all laboriously copied what I’d written on the board. This done I could see that Dame Esbeth had mastered the basics with them and I decided to just keep them practicing.

There were problems. One was that they keep referring to me as Dame Steelyard. The idea that a male could become a teacher was so beyond their comprehension that they instinctively fell back on the comforting assumption that I was actually a lady.

The other was parental attitude. One mother, a cobbler, sent her daughter in with a last and some leather to work. The girl was supposed to do this whilst doing whatever else school involved. I gathered the other children round and let her show them what she was doing. As a group we explored the whole subject and some of them also had a try. I’m not entirely sure what the girl told her mother when she got home, but mother never tried that trick again. I think she was a little fearful that she’d end up with a village full of people perfectly capable of doing their own cobbling.

It was one wet evening as I sat over my meal in the Fish Salter’s Arms that somebody came in and said that the harbour light had gone out. Various worthies were summoned, the main bar acting as a village meeting house, and it was discovered that Old Joaggy, who had one leg and a liking for strong drink, had forgotten to fill the oil reservoir. The problem was that night was falling, the weather was rough, and all of the village boats, containing virtually all the men and quite a few of the women, were out at sea. They would doubtless be heading home as we spoke. Without the light to guide them, they could be in trouble.

Now because of my time in Port Naain, and working with Shore-combers and suchlike, I was used to harbour-side lights. I mentioned that I didn’t mind going out along the wall to fill it up and get it relighted.

I was given a heavy seaman’s woollen pullover. It comes down to your knees, is belted at the waist, and has so much lanolin left in the wool that it’s virtually waterproof. I was then given a small firepot which I hugged close to my chest. I was informed that there was oil in a barrel near the light. I left the bar and walked straight into the teeth of what I would have regarded as a gale; the waves were breaking over the harbour wall.

I made my way to the shoreward end of the harbour wall and looked along it. There was no rail, the top was absolutely flat and level. Apparently they had not bothered trying to fix a railing because any rail would just be torn off in the next storm. So I asked them to tie a rope around my waist with the other end held by my accomplices, half a dozen sturdy ladies.

So equipped I set off across the harbour wall. As I walked I tried to get a feel for the rhythm of the waves breaking across it. I stepped forward more quickly to try and avoid being struck, but the top was smooth and slimy, so I fell flat on my back and the wave rolled me off the wall and into the harbour. My stalwart band pulled me out. I collected another firepot and had a second go. This time I decided I’d mastered it. I waited until a wave had broken, and then started running. Because I was keeping a steady pace and watching where I put my feet I didn’t slip, but the next wave still caught me in the middle of the wall and pushed me off into the harbour again.

For my third attempt I decide that I would try another approach. I got them to put the third firepot inside a barrel. This I tied to me, and on hands and knees I scurried along the harbour wall. When a wave hit I lay flat and let the water just wash over me. I got across but barely. Twice I hung on to the top by jamming my fingers and toes into the gaps between the stones.

When I reached the end I stood up in the lee of the low tower. I opened the door and tied the rope to the handle. Then I surveyed the inside of the tower. It’s perhaps four times the height of a man with a spiral stair running up the middle. At the bottom was a barrel of oil and a jug. I filled the jug and carried it up to the lantern that was set just below the roof. I poured my oil into the reservoir and then set too to trim the wicks and get everything ready. As oil soaked up the wick I made several more journeys with the jug. How one legged Old Joaggy managed this I don’t know. No wonder he had a liking for strong drink.

Finally the reservoir full, I lit the wicks from the firepot. I carefully adjusted them, made sure the mirrors were aligned to collect the light and reflect it out of the window. By this time I had warmed up a little, and had even started to dry out. I spent a further half hour just warming myself and making sure everything was going well. Then with the casual insouciance of the hero, I left the tower closing the door behind me. I started to swagger my way along the harbour wall, when a wave hit me and washed me clean off the wall into the harbour. Without the rope I had to swim for the shore unassisted but made it.
To be fair the good folk of Sweethaven were most generous. Dame Esbeth had made a good recovery and was perfectly capable of taking her place once more in the classroom. I took her place by the fire, wrapped in blankets, coughing and shivering.


At this point it seems pertinent to mention that the story of Tallis’s escapades continues on other blogs. They will be reblogged in what may one day be accepted by biographers as the chronologically correct order on his own blog. Thus and so you can easily follow his gripping adventures.

Also, as an aside, the reason for this whole performance, (aside for being ‘Art’ with a capital ‘A’) is that another volume of his anecdotes has been published. Containing some work that has never appeared on the blog, this is ;

Tallis Steelyard. The Monster of Bell-Wether Gardens and other stories.




Our very First BLOG TOUR!

BL book tour

The idea of having a blog tour is really taking hold, and we want to be brave enough to give it a go. Unfortunately, it won’t have the reach of a professionally organised tour, funds just will not stretch that far, so we will be relying on all the wonderful bloggers and retweeters who follow us to help spread the word.

The general idea is to have week where lots (I’m hoping) of you offer to post reviews and promo posters and posts about my last book in the Lives series, The Broken Life.

We are looking for anyone who enjoys mystery crime thrillers and would be willing to offer your time and blog space to promote my book.

We offer #Free ebooks, promotional posters and material and of course, our eternal gratitude.

If you decide to help with a review or promotional piece about this book on your blog , Amazon, and  Goodreads, we will love you forever and return the favour when you need it.

Time plan: We were thinking of the week beginning 20th June. Please leave any comments below, or use the contact form on the website to email me.

The Broken Life is the third book in my mystery thriller series, but reads well on its own. We are also thinking of releasing them all as a box set in the near future.

Even if you cannot spare the time to read or review it, we would appreciate any retweets and reposts you can squeeze in during that week…


Here’s what some lovely people thought of books one and two…

 NL kindle x1

If you like the thriller genre that keeps up the momentum then The Ninth Life would be a good read for you. The pace never falters, building up the plot and characters with timely intervention. The author cleverly keeps the story centred around the main character, with the other players coming into the story and yet there are no plot holes or false timings.
Not once did I get bored reading it or find the story faltering at all – definitely one of those where ‘you need to know what happens next’ but I think the author’s gift when writing this is to keep the protagonist centre whilst keeping the reader constantly hooked. The antagonist is typically a nasty character, one whom the reader takes an instant dislike to and the edge he adds to the story is almost palpable.
Other characters are kept to a minimum but play pivotal roles in the story; the good thing here is you never know quite how they will turn out. Will your fears be unfounded? Or did you correctly guess the next step? The ending is not what you would expect (another good talent to have when writing) but you’ll have to read the book!


 LL kindle x2

I enjoyed reading Jaye Marie’s first book, The Ninth Life, and although the story was fast paced and gripping, the ending disappointed me a little. I was left wondering if the main character had really died or if the killer had managed to get away scot free. Perfect cliffhangers for a series though, and I looked forward to the next instalment.

The Last Life is, I thought, a much stronger story than the first. I fell in love with the new character, DI David Snow.  He brings a new dimension to an interesting plot, making the story far more of a crime thriller.

I love the attention to detail the author gives to all of her characters. They are like old friends and you instantly feel you know them well. The Last Life is a well written thoroughly enjoyable read, good plot and well- paced suspense. There is one more book in this series and I can’t wait to read what happens next.



The Experimental Notebook II



Today, we are lucky enough to welcome Craig Boyack, better known perhaps as to our blog, to tell the world about his new book of short stories, The Experimental Notebook II. A finer collection you will not find, believe me!

More from us further down the page, so over to you, Craig .



Thanks for inviting me and allowing me to promote my newest book on your site. This is a collection of short stories and micro-fiction with a speculative bent. You’ll find some paranormal, some science fiction, and the tiniest sprinkle of fantasy.

My first collection sold so well I wanted to produce another one. I took the easy road and added a number. It’s called The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack II.


This is the universal link for the book

I get ideas from everything. It could be music, a cloud formation, or some graphic I spotted online. Sometimes it’s an old movie.

There is a story in this collection based upon some debris I spotted in a stream beside my work. We’d been through a huge windstorm, and construction garbage was everywhere. This became a story called Parade Wave.

Most of these ideas won’t carry a full length novel. I discarded them for years before I started adding them to a list. When I burn out on my novel, I sometimes pick up one of these ideas and write something shorter. I left them on my computer for a long time, because I didn’t see publishing them individually.

When the short fiction market picked up, I decided to release my own collection. I made it a good deal, with the idea that someone might enjoy it enough to check out one of my novels. Both Experimental Notebooks are priced at 99¢. Since they are both collections, there is no requirement to read the first book ahead of the second one.

I hope some of your readers will check one of them out, and enjoy their foray into shorter fiction.




When I beta read Craig’s new book of short stories, The Experimental Notebook II,  I was under the impression we had reviewed the first book. I distinctly remember reading it, one of the reasons I offered to read the second one. However, I have double checked, and have not found our review anywhere. This post is supposed to be about The Experimental Notebook II, but I cannot let this oversight go unmarked and will subsequently review both books on Amazon and elsewhere.

Our Review

Craig Boyack has an imagination like no other. His short stories are well written and uniquely different. Such a wide variety of interesting topics, full of memorable characters. Every time you think you have a favorite story, you find another one!

This talent is evident on his website too, making every post a joy to read.


Craig’s Biography

I was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times, and other ways of getting by. Some of this bleeds through into my fiction.

I moved to Idaho right after the turn of the century, and never looked back. My writing career was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups I jumped in with both feet.

I like to write about things that have something unusual. My works are in the realm of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. The goal is to entertain you for a few hours. I hope you enjoy the ride.


No man ever wetted clay and then left it, as if there would be bricks by chance and fortune. – Plutarch

Follow my blog:

Check out my novels here:


On Goodreads: