New Book at the Pre-Order Price of Just $0.99 / £0.99

For fans of paranormal romance, I have a new book ‘Partners in Time‘ now available for purchase at the temporary pre-order price of just $0.99 / £0.99.  It will be published on May 20th, and the price will increase after this date.

One hundred and thirty years separate them. Will Emily and John’s love survive time’s relentless march?

John Finbow, a successful writer, and his wife Kay move into Southcombe rectory, a large Victorian house that has been empty since the 1960s. It had previously been owned by the Cuthbertson family who had lived there for generations. Their marriage is under strain, as John, 39 would like children before he gets too old, but Kay, 34, does not.
When John is working in his study soon after moving in, he is disturbed by the sight of a young woman who appears out of the blue on his sofa.

Emily Cuthbertson, whose old bedroom is now John’s study, was 25 at the time of her death and the youngest of 8 offspring of the late Reverend Arthur Cuthbertson and his wife Delia. Emily had died in 1868 but is now unwilling to leave behind her old life on earth, due to having missed out on a family of her own whilst being a companion to her widowed mother. Emily is still desperate for a husband and children, and John is the answer to her dreams.

Any reviews would be greatly appreciated before launch day (thanks in advance)!


PDFelement: Guest Post from Celine Liao at


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PDFelement: How Important is a Good PDF Editor to My Writing?

By Celine Liao of

PDFs have been around for a long time now. Professionals and students frequently use PDFs on a daily basis to handle their documents. Non-professional users also have to use PDF files once in a while, just like we do when writing our own books. We also need to format them with illustrations and text.

pdf picture

Sometimes I have to upload many manuscripts and mark many papers, or use references for my writing.  I not only want to read as well as edit and update in a specific case, but I also might want to put a security check on a document containing confidential information.  It’s then I realise how important it is to have a PDF editing tool.

There are several tools in the market to read, edit and manage a PDF file: Adobe Acrobat, NitroPro, and PDFelement. After I tested free trials of them, I would like to say that the PDFelement is better for me and my writing.

A very commonly known PDF editor is Adobe Acrobat. It is a very well-known tool in the market, but there are a few aspects that do not go with user comfort.

Though Adobe Acrobat offers you many features, it is very costly to keep it as it has a high monthly subscription. The other setback is that even if you only need Adobe Acrobat, you still have to purchase the complete package that includes other elements that are not required.

If you consider the cost effectiveness with available features, then you have a better option in the market while spending less.  Though the Acrobat is the creator of PDF format, now there is a better tool that edits PDFs in a far better and professional way.

The PDFelement is the a tool that offers you several state of the art facilities to edit, update, convert and/or secure documents with an economical price tag.

The crucial point is to know the needs that are to be addressed while editing, updating, converting and/or securing a PDF file.

It is a very handy and practical tool that allows you to do things such as:

Ø  Read, edit and save PDF files.

Ø  Add, replace, delete, move, resize and/or rotate any graphic content.

Ø  Create interactive forms and also cleverly recognizes the form fields.

Ø  Ease of securing the document with a password option.

Ø  Ease of converting PDF documents into Word, HTML, Text, and Image.

Ø  Can fetch specific data from single or multiple PDF documents and convert them into a Word or Excel file.

Ø  Batch processing documents with different features, such as water marking, bate numbers and data fetch.

Ø  Option of a digital signature for approving documents and other files.

Ø  Ease to insert page numbers, bate numbers, page elements and book markings.

Ø  Making text editable on images with OCR.

Ø  Can also run OCR in user defined fields on scanned documents and images.

stevie pdf.jpg

These above mentioned features have made the PDFelement a unique tool that helps the user almost in every aspect.

If you are looking to remove, resize, add and/or rotate your graphic content on email, presentation slides or any document, then it is possible with no hassle at all.

The form creating facility in PDFelement lets you create forms of any style and can also choose from different templates. It also recognizes the form fields automatically.

Now the user can secure its documents with confidential information or viewable to specific members by putting a password on the document.

A PDF file can be converted into many other file formats as Word, HTML, text and/or Image. You can also fetch specified information from single or multiple documents. It is now very easy to add a page number, and bate numbers for indexing and booking or marking PDF documents. This is very important for my writing and learning.

The latest OCR option is one state of the art feature with which you can extract text or make the text editable from any image scanned, or imported from any file.

PDFelement is a very easy to work tool that saves time and hassle. It has proved its professional approach for PDF annotation with very economical spending.

Now PDFelement has a discount of 50% OFF.  You can test it free for your laptop or download app to try if you like it.


Hyperlinks for you:


50% OFF:

Download app:

Thanks to Celine Liao for this guest blog.  If you would like your post to be featured on my blog, please email with ‘Guest Post’ in the subject box.  You can also subscribe to my mailing list at:

Blog Tour: The Port Naain Intelligencer Series, by Jim Webster.

I’m pleased to showcase two of Jim Webster’s new books today, which are part of The Port Naain Intelligencer series of short stories.  The first one, ‘The Plight of the Lady Gingerlily‘ features our friend Benor, who takes on a few small jobs in order to find a lost husband, to vet potential suitors for two young ladies, and to find a tenant for an empty house.  He begins to feel that things are getting out of hand when somebody attempts to drown him!

Jim has given you a taste of Port Naain in the delightful story The Eyes Have It below:

It was early evening and Benor was dozing quietly. Technically he was
reading but his eyes had closed in spite of his best efforts. He was
awakened by a rapping on the door of the barge. Shena, sitting nearest,
opened it to admit a tall, well build young woman. Benor thought he
recognised her, but couldn’t put a name to her.
“Begging your pardon sir, but after meeting you at the house of the
Chevaleresse of Windcutter Keep I thought I’d seek your services myself.”
Now he’d been given a clue, Benor recognised her. “Ah, of course, you’re
Minny. You are the maid for the Chevaleresse.”
“Not any longer sir, I gave my notice a month since.”
Looking at her, Benor could tell. That was one reason he hadn’t recognised
the young woman. As Minny the maid, he’d seen her in a blouse which fastened
at the neck, with a skirt that hung decorously at the calves. The dress she
wore now was still long but seemed to ‘swirl’ as she moved. The dress was
also displayed considerably more embonpoint than the previous blouse had
even hinted at.
Cautiously Benor asked, “So what are you doing now?”
“Well I found my sister, as I was asking after. She’s here in Port Naain,
and has her own clothes shop. So I’m in partnership with her. I had a few
trinkets and suchlike I’d put aside from my time in service, so I sold those
to raise the capital needed.”
It has to be admitted that the answer was more respectable than Benor had
feared, so when he offered his congratulations, they were genuine. Then he
asked the obvious question. “So to what do we owe the honour of this visit?”
“It’s a matter of the heart.”
Benor could see a grin steal across Shena’s face. Shena was still standing
behind Minny having just closed the door after her. Cautiously Benor asked,
“Could you explain.”
“Well my sister and I have admirers and seeing as how we’re young women with
no father to fall back on, we wondered if you would investigate them for us
and see if they’re everything they claim to be.”
Before Benor could say anything, mischievously Shena said, “I’m sure Mister
Dorfinngil would be delighted to assist you in this. But remember he’s a
busy man and his time is money.”
Benor started to say something but Shena continued, “For a simple case like
this I think ten vintenars will cover it. Is that acceptable?”
Minny winked knowingly at Benor, “Perfectly and I’m sure my sister and I
will cover any costs.”
Hastily Benor asked, “And who are these gentlemen?”
“Santon Gilfell and Wast Divot.”
“And where could I find these two?”
“Well that’s the difficulty. They’re gentlemen adventurers and if we need to
contact them we have to leave a message at the Black Grapes.”
Benor ostentatiously noted down what he’d been told. “And where can I catch
you or your sister?”
“There’s a dress shop called, ‘Two Sisters’, just down Dollymop Street.”
“I know it,” Shena said, “You’ve got some nice stuff in the window, but if I’m
right, you make most of the clothes yourself to fit the lady when she comes
Minny turned round, and Benor heard genuine enthusiasm in the young woman’s
voice. “Yes, that’s us. I’m glad you like it.”
Shena allowed herself to be caught up by the enthusiasm. “I do. When I first
saw the display I thought it might be a bit young for me, but you’ve got
some dresses with really classic lines. Somebody has a real eye for colour
and line.”
“That will be my sister Timmy, she’s got the way with that sort of thing. I’m
a better needlewoman than her, but she has an eye for style.”
Shena opened the door for their guest. “You and your sister can rest assured
Benor will have something for you by this time tomorrow.”
“And my sister and I will have something for Benor.” Saying this, Minny
curtseyed to them both and left. Shena closed the door and leaned on it,
giggling. “Benor, if you manage to get paid in cash you’re a tougher man
than I think you are. In fact if you avoid being paid in kind, I’ll match
whatever you get.”
Benor looked under the galley table, “Coming Mutt?”
The boy crawled out, clutching his shoes. “Is this cartography?”
Benor paused. “Not properly, but it’ll teach you some useful skills.”
Mutt looked at his shoes and then put them carefully back under the table.
“I heard money mentioned; ten vintenars don’t sound like cartography.”

The first stop was the Black Grapes. Benor looked round the bar and noted
that his friend Xeston, was sitting finishing his meal. Benor walked across
and sat next to him. “I thought you gallant condottieri were always off
doing great deeds of derring do?”
Xeston gestured around him. “This place isn’t as busy as it was a week ago.
The companies are gathering their horsemen together and issuing contracts
for the next season. In another week I’ll be riding south.”
“Anywhere special?”
Xeston just shrugged. “South about covers it at the moment.” He paused and
then asked, “Why don’t you come with us for a season?”
“I’m not a man-at-arms.”
Xeston made a rude gesture. “Which is true, but seriously, we need people
who know which way up to hold a map, and can tell us what is over the next
Benor paused. “Well not this season Xeston, but you never know. Perhaps next
year I’ll want to head home, and if I hire on with a company, I can leave
them and head west over the Paps at the end of the campaigning season.”
“I might just keep you to that. Anyway, you rarely wander in here for no
reason, so why are you here tonight?”
“I’m looking for two young men called Santon Gilfell and Wast Divot.
Apparently they’re ‘adventurers’. Whatever that means.”
“It normally means ‘poseurs.’”
“I suspect as much, but apparently they’ve given this as a place where they
can be contacted.”
Xeston stood up. “Then that we can investigate immediately.”
He walked across to the bar, Benor and Mutt following him. The barman walked
across to them and Xeston asked, “I’m looking for two chaps.” He turned to
Benor, “What were their names again?”
“Santon Gilfell and Wast Divot.”
Xeston continued, “We could be a few men short riding south and somebody
mentioned their names and said that they might be interested in hiring on.”
The barman laughed. “Somebody has been teasing you. They’re a couple of
clerks who have messages left behind the bar here because they don’t want
their landlady discovering what they’re up to.”
Benor said, “Clerks?”
“Well Gilfell is, because I’ve seen him working in the offices of Raswil
Muldecker the usurer.”

It was next morning Benor and Mutt called in at the offices of Raswil
Muldecker. It was a traditional establishment and there, on a board outside
the door was listed the names, first of the partners, and then of clerks and
others in strict order of seniority. Benor started at the bottom and soon
found the names Gilfell and Divot. Glancing in through the window he could
see a
lady sitting behind a desk, placed to intercept anybody who entered. He
weighed her up briefly and then walked it.
The woman looked up from some papers she was working on. “Can we help you
Hesitantly Benor said, “I’m afraid I’ve got a rather embarrassing duty to
As he hoped, she immediately looked interested. He continued, “Can I ask for
your complete confidentiality?”
She glanced round; all the doors out of the hallway were closed. “Yes.”
“I’ve been asked by two young ladies if I would investigate Santon Gilfell
and Wast Divot. They don’t have a father to fall back on for this sort of
thing so they’ve asked me. Apparently there is some romantic interest and
the girls wondered whether they were two respectable young men.”
The woman’s smile had been growing broader as Benor explained. “Oh yes they’re
respectable enough. They try to be rakish, they try to be dashing, but to be
honest they’re two quiet hardworking young men and I confess I have a soft
spot for them.”
Serious now she added, “And actually Master Muldecker liked his clerks to be
married and settled, so if they were serious and did go through with it,
they’d probably get a bit of a promotion on the strength of it.”
“So you’d vouch for them?”
“As much as I’d vouch for anything male; but a lass could make herself a
decent husband out of either of them.”

With Mutt as a chaperone, Benor called in at the dress shop, ‘Two Sisters.’
He caught the young women at a quiet moment and explained what he’d learned.
He wasn’t entirely sure whether they’d be entirely happy when their
gentlemen adventurers had somehow metamorphosed into clerks. Still they
seemed to take it well enough.
It was Minny who asked, “If they are as you say, they might actually be a
bit shy.”
Benor considered this. “Certainly they might want a gentle push. Especially
if they know you have discovered their real employment.”
Minny asked. “Could you bring them here this evening then, just for the four
of us to have an evening of wine and pretzels, just to get to know each
other properly.”
“We can pay you tomorrow; we’ve got the money together.”

Thanks to his ally in reception, it wasn’t difficult for Benor to arrange to
meet the two young men immediately they finished work. Initially somewhat
surprised, they allowed Benor’s devil-may-care attitude to win them over and
pausing only to drop round at their digs to change, they allowed him to
escort them to the dress shop.
Benor, remembering his role as nominal father, accompanied the two young men
upstairs to where his two nominal daughters had made their preparations for
entertaining. He performed the formal introductions and accepted a glass of
wine, with which he drank to the health of the assembled company. Then he
made his excuses and left. He felt his presence would serve no further
useful purpose.
That being said, as he closed the door behind him, the look of growing panic
in Wast Divot’s eyes would haunt him for some time.

The following evening Benor dined with Tallis and Shena. It was here that
Shena asked a question that had obviously been on her mind.
“So when are you going to collect your pay from those two young ladies?”
Adopting the air of an innocent abroad, Benor said, “I’ve already got the
Surprised, Shena gestured for him to produce the evidence. Benor placed on
the table five silver vintenars.
“The agreed price was ten.”
“Yes, well I sent Mutt to collect and obviously he got half. As he most
perceptively said, ‘Shena said she’d match whatever money you collected, so
you’ll still have ten.’”
Shena glared at him. “Benor Dorfinngil, that’s cheating!”

In the second book, 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.



A note from the author, Jim Webster:

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.

Open Book Blog Hop -18th February

This week the topic is ‘What was your best ‘drop the mic’ moment?’

I must admit, I had not heard that phrase here in East Anglia, UK.  I’ve heard of ‘Taking the Mick’, but not ‘Dropping the mic’.  However, my US blog-hopper friends quickly translated it for me as a kind of ‘glory’ moment that you experience when you know you’ve nailed it.

Okay, well… I had to wait a long time for my glory moment – I’d say about 20 years.  It all goes back to when my sons Leon and Marc were aged 16 and at the point of leaving school.  Neither of them wanted to go to university; in fact all Leon wanted to do was play computer games, and all Marc wanted to do was play his guitar in the garage along with several hirsute, unwashed musos that you’d never want to come across on a dark night.

I informed both boys quite sternly that they would have to do something to earn a living, and reiterated what my own father had said to me: “If you think you’re going to sit on your arse and do nothing, then you can think again.”

Leon carried on playing computer games, and Marc turned up the volume on his Mesa Boogie amp to drown me out.  I asked them how they intended to eventually keep a family and pay a mortgage, but they told me they had no intention of ever getting married and had no desire to move out in the foreseeable future.

However, I was not to be put off.  I knew the boys were not particularly academic, but they were very practical like their father.  I went along to a place in town that advertised apprenticeships for young people aged 16 -19.  I came away with a list of local apprenticeships available, and stuck them in front of Leon’s nose in 1998 and again in front of Marc and his guitar-which-needed-to-be-surgically-removed in 2001.  Both boys reluctantly picked out two each.  Then it was a case of making sure they’d filled in the application forms correctly, which unfortunately neither one was in any hurry to do.  I even posted the bloody forms as well.

About two weeks before they left school, the boys received invitations to attend for apprentice interviews.  Nervous, suited and booted, they turned up. They must have impressed the interview panel, because Leon received offers to become either a car mechanic or an air-con engineer (he chose the latter), and Marc had an offer to become a lathe operator/CNC machinist.  They left school on the Friday and started work on the Monday and were actually quietly delighted, especially when they discovered they would be paid a weekly wage and given a day off to attend college.

Twenty years on,  after many exam passes and a couple of changes of employers (but still not with any university degrees between them), Marc is the general manager of a Cambridge-based precision engineering company, and Leon is a senior manager in a nationwide building/engineering company, ever competitive, and with his sights set on getting the same title as his younger brother .  They’ve both taken time to thank me for my efforts in obtaining them gainful employment when they were 16 and didn’t know any better, which they realise eventually helped them to pay their mortgages and keep the families they said they’d never ever have!

I must admit, when my now 30-something sons thanked me and gave me a hug, I think it was my ‘Drop the mic’ moment.

What was your ‘Drop the mic‘ moment?  Click on the blue button below to discover other blog-hoppers’ moments of glory, or even add your own:

1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

How Safe Is Your Online Data? (Infographic)

Thanks to Nicholas C. Rossis for this useful information.

Nicholas C. Rossis

I will conclude this special feature I started with my post, The Fight Against Fake News, with an infographic on online data, courtesy of TechJury. The infographic will show you how big companies that provide free service (read: social networks) get to know you better than your own parents and what they do with this knowledge. It will also help you learn more about the most common tactics used to get your data.

(Hint: if you can’t read the image below, please right-click on it and select “Open image in new tab,” then click on it to enlarge!)

Online data safety | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

Online data safety | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

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#99 Word Challenge for Carrot Ranch Literary Community


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February 14, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about valentines. It can be Valentine’s Day, the exchange, love for another, romance, or friendship. Have a heart and go where the prompt leads!

Here’s my effort below, entitled ’12 Red Roses’.  Last week Sam actually did fly to Perth on Monday and then returned on Thursday….


“See ya …

I’m off to Australia.”

On Monday he flew

From Heathrow, terminal two.

I wondered whether he may

Forget about Valentine’s Day.

In the world of business,

There’s no time for flowers or kisses.

On Thursday, my man

Carried a bouquet in his hand.

Twelve roses there were

As he stood at the door.

He looked rather seedy behind the flowers,

As he’d been on a plane for 17 hours.

Said he as he held out a card,

“This week I’ve worked hard,

But I knew if I’d forgotten these roses,

My balls you would have decompos’ed.”

Which one are you?

Today I learned a new word, which describes me very well.  I’m not an extrovert, partying and socialising at every opportunity, nor am I a total introvert, stuck in my room writing.  I’m an…


Yeah, definitely.  Ambiverts have a balance of extrovert and introvert in their personality.  I go to work and talk and mingle with the other staff in the department, but then look forward to going home to check on my writerly world alone.  I like to attend parties once in a while, but tend to talk to one or two people rather than working the whole room.  I’m not the loudest one in the room, but I’m not totally silent either.

It’s lovely when the family visit; two sons, two daughters-in-law, and four grandchildren. Suddenly we’re the family from hell, with honking car horns, screaming kids and Leon’s foghorn gob.  However, Sam and I will sit down with a sigh and a cup of tea when they’ve all gone home and enjoy our quiet house again.

When I’ve spent all morning writing, it’s nice to go out for a walk and talk to the dog-walkers I see.  It’s always the same faces and dogs that I meet.  We’ll have a chat and talk about the weather, and then I’ll go back home and do some more writing.

Yep, I’m definitely an ambivert.  I’m also fairly ambidextrous, so I guess I’m just an ‘ambi’ kind of girl…

Are you extrovert, introvert or ambivert?


Friday Click & Run – 15th February

Sometimes when we’re busy it’s nice to simply leave a link to our blog or blog post and run, and so Friday Click and Run is just for that purpose. However, of course you can check out others’ links and share away if you want to. So… every Friday do add some info of what your blog is about and also a link to your blog or blog post in the comments if you’ve got a minute. You don’t have to do anything else such as sharing or commenting unless you really want to. Isn’t that cool? People may decide to check your link out, or they may not. They might decide to leave their own link and run as well, so you may meet each other heading out the door. If I see a post that’s a bit risqué, then I shall be running too – straight to the ‘delete’ button!

Fire away then… let’s see what we end up with. This blog will run until next Friday. Thanks to the 9 bloggers who left their links last week.