When Benor Dorfinngil made his way back to the barge he might even have admitted to a sense of smug self-satisfaction. He still had a little of the cash earned from his map making work jingling in his purse. Added to this he had escorted the enchanting Ella Branwit half way across Partann. Finally he had helped convict a murderer. By now Arad Branwit might well have received his rightful punishment.
His mood lasted until he arrived in the barge. As he entered the galley he noticed that Tallis and Shena had a guest, a young man who looked as if he had spent several days in the saddle.
Shena gave Benor a smile that immediately made him nervous. “Benor, I’d like to introduce you to Gawin, oldest son and heir of Lord Addlestrune of Tarrant.”
Before Benor could even bow, Gawin asked, “Where the bluidy hell have you been hiding.”
Somewhat guiltily, Benor answered, “Nowhere.”
“Then where did you get to, I’ve been hunting for you throughout Port Naain.”
“Ah well that explains it, I haven’t been in Port Naain, I was making my way back from Tarrant.”
The young man glared at him. “Nobody can take fourteen days to travel from Tarrant to Port Naain.”
“Ah well I went via Prae Ducis.”
Tallis burst out laughing. “I bet you were escorting a lady.”
Gawin continued to glare at him and Shena was obviously trying not to laugh.
“Well whilst you were mooning idly around Partann with a lady, my father has been frantically trying to find you.”
Benor was genuinely surprised at this. “Why.”
“Because Arad Branwit is probably innocent.”
Benor was briefly reduced to silence.
Gawin continued, “He produced the letters that he claimed came from Anna.”
Well I did say ‘look away now.’
When I decided to release ‘A licence to print money,’ I discovered that I had a lot of people who loved the jumbled musings of Tallis Steelyard, but to them, Benor was just some optional extra in the stories Tallis tells.
Given that I’ve written far more Benor stories than Tallis stories this came as a surprise to me, but then nothing about Benor had been published for well over a year. (And a year is a long time in the indie publishing world.)
Now when I publish something I like to run a blog tour to go with it. With the Tallis Steelyard books, it’s easy, I merely write some more Tallis stories and these make up the blog tour. But with Benor it was more difficult. With Benor it’s a different voice. I narrate them. With Tallis, he is the narrator. Admittedly a somewhat unreliable one at times; and he comes with his own eccentricities. So I felt launching a Benor novella with Tallis doing the blog tour would merely confuse people more.
So I’d do Benor stories to go with the blog tour. Except Benor stories do tend to be investigations, almost detective stories. (But thanks to Port Naain there’s no nonsense about police procedure.) It’s not easy to slim one of these down into a blog post. Then I had the brain wave. I’d do a multipart Benor tale; that way people would meet Benor again and could decide whether they liked him before buying the books.
So in the nine episodes people got a complete tale. No cliff hangers to lure you into buying the book. And also, between ourselves it was too short to really be a novella. I’d have felt I was cheating people selling them the nine episodes for 99p.
So everything is ready, dates are set, a lot of really nice bloggers are poised, and the blog tour is ready to roll. And in the middle of the night I wake up thinking, “And I know where the story goes next.”
So I finished the story, another six thousand words! Suddenly ‘A measured response’ was genuinely a novella. But, importantly, because I dislike cliff hangers, those who read the freebie got a story with a proper ending. Being human I confess to putting the question mark at the end of the last episode.
So having explained to you what’s going on and why I’m doing it, I’d like to announce that ‘A measured response’ is now available for purchase at the traditional price of £0.99. The second collection of the Port Naain Intelligencer stories is now under way!