Wednesday, 25 November 2009


This was one tough ask.
I remembered what Nik Morton and Charlie Whipple said about focusing on your character. I just hope that I've done you guys proud.

What follows is Part 17 of the Story With No Name from Peter Averillo.
To catch up the first sixteen parts are now all in one place at The Culbin Trail. The link is
Loads of writers have taken part in producing this story and include I.J.Parnham, Jack Giles, Chuck Tyrell, Jack Martin, Evan Lewis, James J. Griffin, Joseph A. West, Robert S. Napier, Richard Prosch and Paul Dellinger.
I have really enjoyed taking part.


The town of Bannon was quiet under the heat of the midday sun when Walt Arnside rode along the main street.
He was stiff and tired from the journey that had been punctuated with nights of fitful sleep.
All he wanted was to fill his aching belly and find a soft bed where he hoped to sleep without being plagued by the nightmares of his desert experience.
He had howled as the blood flowed back into his right hand causing painful spasms. Pain that was replaced by anger as he fought the knots that bound his left hand to the stake. Anger that was not spent when, with a rasping roar, he sent the Texas Ranger badge flying through the air to plop, in a spray of sand, close to Silas Bartlett’s feet.
And then more pain as blood rushed through his starved ankles into his feet. Rolling, cursing as each spasm surged up his legs.
Only when his body settled did he try to stand and staggered over to the remains of Silas Bartlett where he plucked the lance free. He paid no attention as the corpse crumpled to the ground. Instead he concentrated on plunging the tip into the sand to clean it. But even then his imagination played with his anger as each time the tip hit the sand so it was stabbing into the body of Zack Roden. Into the body of Silas Bartlett. And into that of a man named Bourbon.
Until exhaustion and tears of frustration drove him to his knees.
Slowly, sanity came back to him and with it an absolute priority. Using the lance as a support he pulled himself back to his feet, then hacked at the cactus. Holding the mashed flesh above his mouth squeezing precious drops of water onto his tongue. Groaning as the water moisted his tongue, mouth and throat.
It was nearly dusk by the time he felt strong enough to crawl to where Deuce Harmon’s body still lay stiff in death. Painfully, stretching taut burned skin he had stripped the clothes from the corpse and dressed himself before laying back in the sand waiting for his strength to return.
He stared long and hard at the mass of tracks that pointed south west and knew that he was in no fit state to go off in pursuit. He had to be stronger and better equipped before he could even think of going on the vengeance trail.
The galleon, even if it existed, was no longer the goal. He wished that he had never heard of the damned boat. Wished that he had not stopped that train nor heeded Silas Bartlett’s call. For from that point on he had been shot at, gutshot and left for dead and, been staked out to die in the desert. He had put his life on the line for people that he had looked upon as friends and each had turned out to be an enemy. Nor could he be certain where Lola stood in all this.
Where to go? Matlock would not be safe and he had no wish to head back to Lola’s cabin. Bannon seemed to beckon as the safest haven where he could work out what to do next.
Slowly, he climbed to his feet and crested a dune. He stopped dead, his mouth gaping as he saw Harmon’s horse tethered to a cactus. Looking cautiously around him he approached the animal.
“What the hell?” he croaked, sure that the animal had run off after Sawtell had emptied the saddle. Then allowed himself to grin. “Thanks, Sawtell. I do have a fighting chance – now.”
After leaving his horse in the livery, Walt strode across the hardpan to the cafe opposite. He felt a tad rich after he had discovered just over fifteen dollars in notes and loose change in Harmon’s denims. At least he could pay for his immediate needs.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009


L7 is an American all girl alternative metal band that was formed back in 1985 by singer/guitarist Donita Sparks and Suzi Gardner. In the beginning they had a male drummer but he was replaced by Dee Plakas. Various bass players joined and left the group but Janis Tanaka was in the final line-up when the group disbanded in 2000. Janis went on to be the bassist for Pink.
It is L7's heavy riff orientated sound that makes them stand out from the crowd.
Their music has formed part of the soundtracks of such movies as 'Natural Born Killers', 'Pet Sematary 2', 'Foxfire' and 'Tank Girl'. Their single 'Pretend We're Dead' features on the video game 'Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas' and 'Rock Band 2'.
As a group they made an appearance in the Bridget Fonda film 'Point Of No Return' and as Camellips in 'Serial Mom'.
Their debut album, simply titled 'L7', came out in 1988 and was labelled as part of the emerging grunge scene.
They made only 6 albums:
L7 - 1988
Smell The Magic - 1990
Bricks Are Heavy - 1992
Hungry For Stink - 1994
The Beauty Process: Triple Platinum - 1997
Slap Happy - 1999
Live: Omaha to Osaka - live performances released in 1998
The Slash Years - a compilation disc of music from 1992 -1997 issued in 2000.
My first encounter with L7 came with 'Pretend We're Dead' and I got hooked on their driving sound. Both this song and 'Wargasm' can be found on You Tube.
Not to everybody's taste and some lyrics should be labelled 'Parental Guidence'.
Although the group disbanded Donita Sparks and Dee Plakas have formed a group called Donita Sparks and The Stellar Moment.

Thursday, 5 November 2009


I have been reading some of the back pieces where people write about books that they think should not be forgotten.

At first glance, to someone like me, it looks like a pile of old books that have no place in the modern world.

But I've been taught that I shouldn't dismiss something or criticise is until I know something about what I'm talking about.

Well, as some of the books are either not available or cost more than a year's pocket money to buy I had to find another solution.

I got lucky and went into a shop called 'The Works' and picked up a book called 'The Big Book Of Pulps' for a price that hardly made a dent in said pocket money.

Here I found short stories by authors like Dashiell Hammett, Erle Stanley Gardner, Raymond Chandler, Frank Gruber and Norbert Davis. Those short stories were a good influence that I have now read 'The Big Sleep' by Raymond Chandler; a Perry Mason novel and a Saint book.

There are a lot of old books in granddad's bookcase and he's always adding to them.

So what I got from all this is an appreciation of Friday's Forgotten Books.

OK so some styles show how dated they are but there are good stories out there that are told in such a way that at the end there is a kind of satisfaction. Many of these books don't take up a lot of space nor are they padded out to justify their existence.

While I think that e-books and e-readers are a part of the future the value of Friday's Forgotten Books is that many of them will not see their way onto electronic books. Enthuse about these e-books is fine but I, also, think that in a world where paperbacks no longer existed many of these books would disappear. That writers like Orrie Hitt, a writer that James Reasoner highlights, would just be names on someone's blog.
Full line up of Friday's Forgotten books can be found on the Pattinase blog at

Tuesday, 3 November 2009


This Caleb Thorn book is written against the background of the American Civil War.

The book opens with the graphic whipping of a slave for looking at his owner, Rachel Lowell, in a lustful way. Then she changes her mind and claims that the slave touched her. Rachel takes over from the overseer and whips the man to death.
Meanwhile, fifty miles away and among Washington society Caleb Thorn is celebrating his 21st birthday by having a duel with a young lieutenant Janson who he kills.
This has repercussions that occur later in the story.
Caleb Thorn is not made in the heroic mold. He's a strutting bully who killed his father and has an weird relationship with his mother, Jolene. Although he is engaged to marry Rachel Lowell, he has eyes for his future mother-in-law.
He really couldn't care less about the looming war and has no interest in fighting.
With the battle of Bull Run about to happen Washington society descends on a hill overlooking the battlefield as though the coming fight is some sort of spectator sport where the Union forces are expected to score a home run against the Confederates.
Things do not go according to plan and the home team are forced back. Artillery fire begins to land amongst the spectators who panic and run from the field. Civilians and soldiers cram onto a small bridge that is blown apart. Amongst the csualties are Caleb Thorn's mother, sister and fiancee - though in Rachel's case she learns that it is pointless threatening a slave with a whipping when she's drowning.
All Caleb Thorn wants is revenge against the Rebs because they killed his mother.
So Lieutenant Caleb Thorn arrives in an Army camp only to find that the Commanding Officer is
Lieutenant-Colonel Janson the father of the man he killed in the duel.
Janson has no intention of taking revenge but suggests that Thorn take charge of a bunch of convicts and go on a suicide mission. Unfortunately Thorn makes the wrong decision by choosing to reject the offer. Janson goads Thorn into striking him and Thorn winds up in the stockade with the other convicts.
Inevitabably they all set out on the mission and, as this is book 1, they pull it off and survive.

On this book alone Caleb Thorn just comes across as a weak little bully boy who has been spoilt to the point that he expects to get his own way. Though I say that by the end of the book Thorn and his band do bond.
The adult content was boring as all it seemed to do was highlight that Thorn is God's gift to women. LOL.
What is good is that there is a lot of history tucked away that tells of the descent into war that culminates in the Battle Of Bull Run.
There was enough in the second half of the book to make sure that I continue to Book 2: The Raiders.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

SMACKDOWN vs RAW 2010 - Review

After all the hype the game was released by THQ on October 23rd.
"It's your world now" the hype proclaimed.
It was all about creation. From creating your own wrestler, designing outfits, entrances, moves and to enhance the character by refining their superstar abilities. All very much like creating a character in a book.
Added to this a player can share their creations online within the WWE Community.
Drawback to this is that the character that has been carefully built comes with some missing bits - like entrance music and superstar abilities.
But having built a character no one wants their creation tampered with which is not an unreasonable thought. But not to have the superstar abilities is an oversight that no one can rectify.
Also, the game comes with glitches that should have been ironed out before THQ released the game.
Play with too many created wrestlers and the game freezes.
Some moves result with the wrestler wandering around with a broken arm.
Some hairstyles disappear and reappear during play.
It seems to have a problem with two shades of orange - entrance freezes or just doesn't load.
Simple solution is to not have an entrance; don't use orange; use a different hairstyle and remove moves that leaves the wrestler with a broken arm.
But why?
So how about the game play itself?
Well, in a few words 2010 is just a rehash of 2009. So, nothing new there except that on the 'Road To Wrestlemania' storylines there has been an added story for created wrestlers and one for female wrestlers.
In the past THQ have been far more innovative and creative in producing their Smackdown vs Raw games. The career mode has taken different paths but this time around they have chosen to repeat themselves.
On the plus side it has to be said that on the creative side they have almost surpassed themselves. Truly is the creator player's world now. At long last they have brought in a tool that puts the Highlight Reel to some use by allowing the player to create their own entrance movie.
This should have been brought into play long before now.
Downside is that uploading the character into the community does not come with entrance movie and there is no point in downloading it seperately as the two cannot be married up.
On balance the plusses and minuses equal each other - but I don't rate it as highly as gamer mags and sites do.
Just play and enjoy - it's what I do.