Tuesday, 18 October 2016


Included in the new Indie Collection anthology Spectacular Tales 111 is a short story titled 'The Quarantine Zone'.

This is a story that has evolved over time - in fact sometime around 2000 to 2005.

Back then I wrote a story called 'The End' where boy meets girl after an unnamed apocalyptic event. Girl loses boy who rides off into the sunset after telling her that he wasn't about to play Adam to her Eve.

As a simple one thousand word piece it did a job of a kind. About three or four years ago I did an edit while I was with the writers group in Felixstowe. This did expand on the original idea but read out loud there was still something lacking.

I was about to delete it from the computer when I was asked if I had anything that could be used in a sci-fi anthology. I should have said 'no' because I didn't think that the story was really fit for purpose but the theme rather saved it.

The boy became a 55 year old man and the girl changed to a 21 year old rebel. They meet up in the same location in the aftermath of a devastating plague in an opening that has a 'western' flavour to it.

As 'Red Moon Rising' it was published in Spectacular Tales 11.

The Quarantine Zone is set in London and introduces three new characters and throws a different light on the plague. This time there is a Polish nurse, a girl shy security guard and a streetwise teenage boy - just three of the survivors trapped inside the fenced off grounds of a hospital.

That story is not 'the end' though for within a couple of days of completing that story I started on a third that would bring another character to life.

Even as I write this a plan is afoot to add some more stories. A bunch of short stories that will all link up to create a whole. An idea very much inspired by Hunter Davies 'I Knew Daisy Smuten'. This was a collection of short stories by various writers with Hunter Davies providing the finale. Add to the mix Howard Hopkins 'The Dark Riders' a western where the hero has to work out how to kill a gang of outlaws who refuse to die.

I have learned that sometimes stories don't work even though the plot idea sounds good. Near enough a decade on and it has taken on a life of it's own. Simple message there is never give up - when the story is ready it will come.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

CHANNEL DASH by Terence Robertson

During February 1941 the German battle cruisers 'Scharnhorst' and 'Gneisenau' just disappeared. They had got past the Home Fleet's patrols through the Denmark Strait and into the north Atlantic where over the ensuing months they had sunk around 300,000 tons of Allied shipping.
This caused some disruption as the Home and Mediterranean fleets were depleted to provide escort along the shipping lanes. While, at the same time, trying to hem in both the 'Bismarck' and 'Tirpitz' in their Norwegian bases.

Eventually, by chance the two battle cruisers were found to have reached Brest where they had docked along with the heavy cruiser 'Prinz Eugen'.

Hitler was convinced that Allied forces were getting ready to make a possible invasion into Norway so he looked to Admiral Raeder to find a way to get the ships in Brest up to help with the defence. After much deliberation a plan was hatched - one that was so daring that many dismissed it as impossible.

However improbable a scenario it represented the Allies had long put into action 'Operation Fuller' that would be implemented should the threat become reality.

On the night of 14th February 1942 the R.A.F bombed Brest Harbour twice - on neither occasion were any of the ships hit. After the first raid photographic evidence showed them at anchor.
At 9:45 pm that night the three ships slipped out of the harbour and disappeared into the night.

A British spy tried to make contact but failed. The British submarine 'Sealion' that had been on watch had to dive in order to recharge the batteries and so missed their departure.

So began the hunt for the German warships as they steamed their way up the English Channel right under the Allied noses.

What followed was a series of blunders that would cost the life of Eugene Esmonde (who would be given the Victoria Cross) and his squadron of Fairey Swordfish as they attacked through unrelenting fire in an attempt to destroy their targets. Not so long before Esmonde and his squadron had distinguished themselves against the 'Bismarck'.

As the German fleet approached Dover on the Kent Coast the task of halting the dash fell into the hands of the man behind the successful evacuation of the British Army from the beaches of Dunkirk - Admiral Ramsey.

For the Germans it was a victory - for the Allies it was just a bewildering mass of confusion, bungling, mis-communication and disbelief by some.

It had Churchill demanding: "Why?"

Terence Robertson's book attempts to answer the question but it does boil down to a plan that was made for a contingency that no one really believed would happen. The drama of those twenty four hours comes vividly to life in this book - and for those who don't know about this episode from the second world war then this book is a good place to start.

Monday, 3 October 2016


After entertaining the folk of the silver mining town of Conejos Blancos the travelling Mexican circus moves on.
Yet while the audience had watched the death defying skills of the knife and trapeze artists, so Roger Hart is assembling a small army to take over the town and steal the silver in a well thought out plan of action.
No sooner has the circus left than Hart's gang ride in. The sheriff is killed and the townspeople are taken hostage. Still the best laid plans do not take into account the ingenuity of children two of whom escape the outlaws net to fetch help.
It is the circus performers that they turn to; people with the skills to bring the outlaws down.

Armed with a strong cast of characters the story flows with lightening speed that takes it into 'unputdownable' territory.

Ross Morton is a writer who entertains and knows his craft (check out Nik Morton's book "Write A Western In 30 Days"). There will be those who will think of a certain movie and there is a tip of the hat to it but this is not the major element as events encompass more 'heroes' than the title suggests.

Thursday, 22 September 2016


High Valley Manhunt is the first book featuring B.S.Dunn's hero Laramie Davis.

Gunfighter Laramie Davis rides into the town of Rock Springs looking for a drink, a meal and a place to sleep. The hospitality he receives at the saloon soon puts him at ease with a free beer and a juicy steak in front of him. His moment of tranquility is interrupted by the local Deputy Sheriff who wants to buy Laramie's horse. This is someone who doesn't take 'no' as an answer for he is a member of the Coltrain family - and what a Coltrain wants so a Coltrain gets. As the deputy discovers when Laramie says his horse isn't for sale then stealing it isn't an option - and the confrontation ends with a shoot out that has Laramie on the run.

Chased by Jeb and Zeb Coltrain, the sheriff and judge and the deputy's brother Laramie finds himself involved with outlaws, Blackfoot indians and a mountain man. Alliances are formed and broken in a bloody manhunt that leads to a final showdown.

This is the first book that I have read by B.S.Dunn and was quite impressed by the strong characterisation and the way that the story played like a word/movie.

There are three more Laramie Davis available in this series - all available on Kindle or paperback

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

VICE RAID - 1959

It was a recollection of a film poster that I had seen in a cinema foyer. I think it may have been in the Odeon, North Finchley. That poster had a pink background and a swim suited Mamie Van Doren in black and white.

Back then this film carried an X Certificate (adults only) so I never got to see it - until yesterday. Curiosity led me to a copy on You Tube and I quite enjoyed the 70 minute movie.

The movie was written by Charles Ellis and directed Edward L. Cahn for Imperial.

The story evolves around Sergeant Whitey Brandon's (Richard Coogan) attempt to bring down the vice empire of Vince Malone (Brad Dexter). Malone, however. has a plan to get rid of his adversary by employing an out of town model Carol Hudson (Mamie Van Doren) to frame the detective. The plan works and Brandon gets kicked off the force.

Brandon isn't done as he sets up business in opposition to Malone - in the process tries to enlist the aid of Carol Hudson but she's not interested as her younger sister Louise (Carol Nugent) has arrived for a visit.

Events take an ugly turn when Malone's lieutenant rapes and beats up Louise - which leads to the alliance of Carol with the cops.

Though the cast were largely unknown - except for Brad Dexter who was about to become part of the cast of an iconic western 'The Magnificent Seven' - this was quite an enjoyable, though predictable, movie.

Mamie Van Doren, I discovered, made up one third of what was known as Hollywood's 'Three Ms' - Marilyn Monroe. Jayne Mansfield and Mamie. Yet they never appeared in a movie together though Mamie Van Doren and Jayne Mansfield did.

Today, Mamie Van Doren is 82.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015


Spectacular Tales 2 is a collection of sci-fi and fantasy tales that is published as part of the Indie Collaboration. Editors Chris Raven and Dani J Caile have collected together another anthology of short stories by rising and established stars of independent publishing.In this collection the reader discovers stories of intergalactic policemen, virtual soldiers, spirited princesses, lonesome spacemen and even megalomaniac dogs and a kleptomaniac goat.

The writers include Chris Raven, Regina Puckett, Dani J Caile, Kalyan Mattaparthi, Donny Swords, James Gordon, Peter John, C.S.Johnson and a contribution from Ray Foster (me).

Spectacular Tales 2 is available as in the Kindle format as well as paperback. Both are listed on Amazon.

Monday, 28 September 2015

HOT FOR CERTAINTIES by Robin Douglas-Home

Robin Douglas-Home, a leading socialite (or celebrity) of his time was the nephew of a former British Prime Minister. Amongst the women he was 'seen with' were Princess Margaretha of Sweden and Princess Margaret, the Queen's sister. In between he married the fashion model Sandra Paul.
Robin Douglas-Home was an accomplished jazz pianist and writer. He had written a biography of Frank Sinatra before he ventured into the fictional world of 'Hot For Certainties'.
This first novel centres around public schoolboy, David Melrose.
For the most part our hero is an observer to the world around him. With grandparents trapped in their own world and unaccepting that things have changed since the second world war. Public school life trapped in another kind of time warp that will eventually clash with the real world. The divorce of David's parents leaves him strangely cold as though the result was something that was inevitable. While his mother remains an interfering 'I know what's best for you' person David's father marries a younger free spirit who finds it natural to bare herself in his presence.
Eventually, David finds his own way as he embarks on his coming of age journey with a relationship with his grandparents maid, Jean, with whom he shares a passionate night. Looking forward to the next holiday and enlarging his relationship with Jean, David's well meaning mother sends him off on a holiday with his best friend aboard the family yacht. Here he meets the frigid (soon to be man-eating) Polly.
Because of this Jean gets engaged to another boy and dumps our hero. Then David meets Laura the sister of the school 'pin-up' and from there things come to a head through a series of misinterpretations. Observer now becomes challenger and David questions the world around him.

This novel holds the interest because there is the insight of the main character who can add a often humourous slant even in the gravest moments.

'Hot For Certainties' was first published in 1964 by Longman's and by Pan Books in 1966.

Robin Douglas-Home died at the age of 36 in 1968. He had suffered from clinical depression for years.