FYI July 08 & 09, 2021

On This Day

1099 – Some 15,000 starving Christian soldiers begin the siege of Jerusalem by marching in a religious procession around the city as its Muslim defenders watch.
The siege of Jerusalem (7 June – 15 July 1099) was waged by European forces of the First Crusade, resulting in the capture of the Holy City of Jerusalem from the Muslim Fatimid Caliphate, and laying the foundation for the Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem, which lasted almost a century. The capture of Jerusalem was the final major battle of the first of the Crusades to liberate and occupy the Holy Land begun in 1095. A number of eyewitness accounts of the siege were recorded, the most quoted being that from the anonymous Gesta Francorum. Upon the declaration of the secular state, Godfrey of Bouillon, prominent among the leaders of the crusades, was elected ruler, eschewing the title “king.” The siege led to the mass slaughter of thousands of Muslims and Jews, and to the conversion of Muslim holy sites on the Temple Mount into Christian shrines.[9]


551 – A major earthquake strikes Beirut, triggering a devastating tsunami that affected the coastal towns of Byzantine Phoenicia, causing thousands of deaths.[2]
The 551 Beirut earthquake occurred on 9 July with an estimated magnitude of about 7.5 on the moment magnitude scale and a maximum felt intensity of X (Extreme) on the Mercalli intensity scale. It triggered a devastating tsunami which affected the coastal towns of Byzantine Phoenicia, causing great destruction and sinking many ships. Overall large numbers of people were reported killed, with one estimate of 30,000 by the Anonymous pilgrim of Piacenza for Beirut alone.[1]


Born On This Day

1918 – Julia Pirie, British spy working for MI5 (d. 2008)
Julia Pirie (8 July 1918 – 2 September 2008) was a British spy working for MI5 from the 1950s through her retirement in the 1990s.[1] She was initially recruited to and primarily involved in spying on the Communist Party of Great Britain. In 1978, as that organisation had lost power, she withdrew from it and focused on other roles.

Early years and MI5 recruitment
Born in Harbury on 8 July 1918, Pirie lost her father Allen Grant Pirie in 1923 to wounds he had sustained in the First World War. She resettled with her mother Elizabeth Marie Pirie in Calcutta, her mother’s birthplace. She returned to her native country in 1939 to join the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) where she worked as a driver in England and later in Europe.[2]

She then worked for the Duchess of Atholl. The duchess was a fierce opponent of Soviet control in Europe. Pirie also joined the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY). During the war FANY had been a recruiting ground for the Special Operations Executive and MI5 also may have used them. In any case, Julia joined MI5 and infiltrated the Communist Party as a typist.[2]

Inside the Communist Party

In Pirie’s obituary in The Daily Telegraph, her obituarist writes that she was “a small, dumpy woman with the appearance of a confirmed and rather matronly spinster”, whose “unassuming demeanour masked a sharp intellect and the powers of observation essential for the task of a secret agent.”[2] She worked her way into the inner circles of the party, eventually working directly under party secretary John Gollan. This put her in a position to pass information from Gollan’s office to her MI5 handlers.[2] The Telegraph speculates that she may have been the inside agent who provided crucial information for two important MI5 operations described in Peter Wright’s book Spycatcher.

In 1978, Pirie retired from the Party. By this time it had been much weakened by Soviet invasions of Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968. The Party paid her pension until her death.[2]

Later assignments and retirement
Although she had left the Communist Party, Pirie did not retire from MI5, and her next assignment was against the Provisional IRA. She travelled to various European countries playing the role of a tourist but in fact collecting information about them. On one occasion, still playing a tourist, she rented a flat in Barcelona – just below an IRA safe flat. When authorities became concerned about the wireless emissions of her equipment, they raided her flat. Although the authorities were satisfied, there was a risk of the IRA having noticed, and the operation was abandoned.[citation needed]

After retiring from active operations in the 1990s, she lectured to groups of MI5 trainees and to the police.[2]

1764 – Ann Ward, English author and poet (d. 1823)[11]
Ann Radcliffe (née Ward; 9 July 1764 – 7 February 1823) was an English author and a pioneer of Gothic fiction. Her technique of explaining apparently supernatural elements in her novels has been credited with gaining Gothic fiction respectability in the 1790s.[1] Radcliffe was the most popular writer of her day and almost universally admired; contemporary critics called her the mighty enchantress and the Shakespeare of romance-writers, and her popularity continued through the 19th century.[2] Interest has revived in the early 21st century, with the publication of three biographies.[3]





By Brigit Katz, Smithsonian Magazine: How a Spy Known as the ‘Limping Lady’ Helped the Allies Win WWII


TAG Cyber Law Journal: CyberInsecurity News has merged with TAG Cyber. We will continue to bring you news lawyers and their colleagues need to know, only now as part of a growing leader in this exciting field.
Kristen Ashley, After The Climb: The Special Edition will be available to download for free from July 9, 2021 to July 18, 2021.

Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale now underway; Exclusive deals on 55,000+ ebooks
13th Annual Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale Runs July 1-31

Readers! It’s summer in the northern hemisphere and winter in southern hemisphere. That means it’s time for our Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale, our largest sale of the year!

The 13th annual Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale has begun, running now through July 31. Visit the sale at

The sale already features over 55,000 ebooks with deep discounts of 25%, 50%, 75% and FREE. Over 700 series starters are enrolled in the sale and available for free, joining over 6,300 series starters that are free every day.

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Browse by featured titles, discount levels, recently added to the sale, and recently purchased (a great way to see what your fellow readers are buying).

Use our multi-dimensional search filters on the left side of your screen to fine-tune your discovery of your next great reads in your favorite categories.

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Check out the deals from these Smashwords favorites: Evangeline Anderson, Brenda K. Davies, Shayne Parkinson, Gemma Halliday, Leslie Langtry, Annabel Joseph, Viola Grace, Ruth Ann Nordin, Jane Morris, Silk White, Nancey Cummings, Connie Shelton, Cynthia Sax, K Elliott, Sharon C. Cooper, Patti Larsen, Zacharias Tanee Fomum, Jamie McGuire, Rose Francis, Erica Stevens, Randolph Lalonde, Odette C. Belle, Claudia Hall Christian, Joseph R. Lallo, Tami Lund, Regina Scott, Caryn Moya Block, Marie Johnston, Melissa Wright, CJ Archer, Nicky Charles, Josh Lanyon, Linda Kage, and so many other greats we’re sorry we can’t mention them all.

If you’re looking for something on the adults-only side, over 20,000 erotica titles are enrolled in the sale offering a steamy smorgasbord for any imagination.

Monitor the sale regularly because thousands of new titles will cycle into the sale each week as the month proceeds.

Do you have a favorite author or publisher whose books aren’t yet in the promotion? Invite them to enroll in the promotion and then reward them with your patronage! We’ll be accepting new titles for the promotion up until the moment the sale ends at midnight Pacific time, July 31.

Browse the sale now

Smashwords Adds 35 New Romance Sub-Categories

Smashwords has added 35 new romance sub-categories to help romance fans search for their next read with greater precision.

The new categories fall under general romance, historical romance, paranormal, and YA.

Under general romance, new subcategories include Billionaires, Collections & Anthologies, Firefighters, LGBT, Holiday, Later in Life, Medical, Military, Multicultural & Interracial, Police & Law Enforcement, Polyamory, Romantic Comedy, Royalty, Sports, and Workplace.

Under historical romance, we’ve added 20th Century, American, Ancient World, Gilded Age, Medieval, Renaissance, Scottish, Tudor, Victorian, and Viking.

Under paranormal romance, we’ve added Shifters, Vampires, and Witches.

And under YA romance, we’ve added Clean & Wholesome, Contemporary, Historical, LGBT, Multicultural & Interracial, Paranormal, and Romantic Comedy.

We introduced the new categories in early June, and already our authors and publishers have recategorized nearly 1,200 books into these more precise categories. In the weeks ahead we expect many more to join books them.


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Welcome to the Stump the Bookseller blog!

Stump the Bookseller is a service offered by Loganberry Books to reconnect people to the books they love but can’t quite remember. In brief (for more detailed information see our About page), people can post their memories here, and the hivemind goes to work. After all, the collective mind of bibliophiles, readers, parents and librarians around the world is much better than just a few of us thinking. Together with these wonderful Stumper Magicians, we have a nearly 50% success rate in finding these long lost but treasured books. The more concrete the book description, the better the success rate, of course. It is a labor of love to keep it going, and there is a modest fee. Please see the How To page to find price information and details on how to submit your Book Stumper and payment.

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