Saturday, 25 July 2009


Sorry everyone but I cannot manage this blog on my own so I'm quitting.
But.....I'm not going away.
In the words of the Terminator - I'll be back!
Thanks for following me.

Monday, 6 July 2009


Wimbledon is not my scene. No way. But yesterday's final was something else.
On the one hand there was the Swiss tennis player, Roger Federer, looking to make his 15th grand slam and beat a record set by Pete Sampras.
On the other was an American, Andy Roddick, all out to prove something to himself.
Strangely, I found myself rooting for Andy Roddick. I don't know why because he had dumped Andy Murray out of the finals.
From the start it looked good when Andy Roddick broke Roger Federer's serve in the first set and it looked like he was going to make it two in a row until Andy Roddick stuttered a bit in the tie-break.
Roger Federer won the next two sets on a tie break but Andy Roddick didn't play like it was all over. No he broke Roger Federer's serve in the fourth set and took the match into a fifth and final set.
This was the showdown and there was no give in either player. This could have gone either way.
Roger Federer had failed to break Andy Roddick's serve but Andy had broken Federer's twice.
If the odds favoured anyone then it had to be Andy Roddick.
The fifth set at Wimbledon does not have a tie-break so this match went into epic mode. This was edge of the seat stuff. Both men had to be both physically and mentally exhausted but they fought on. As Roger Federer had served first his score would always be in front. In the 30th game of the set Roger Federer finally got that vital break of serve that had him lift the trophy.
Final score:
Roger Federer 5 7 7 3 16
Andy Roddick 7 6 6 6 14
To me the match might have been epic and Roger Federer may have broken records to become Wimbledon Champion. But Andy Roddick made him fight for it. Every match has to have winners and losers but yesterday's final in my mind - both men were winners.

Sunday, 28 June 2009


Hi I'm going out on a limb here.
This is the opening chapter of a book that I'm writing. I would appreciate some constructive criticism please. Good or bad - OK?

Peter Averillo

The sun was a huge orange ball that was, slowly, sinking into the distant horizon. Diffused light painted the town purple with stretched black pools of shadow.
Against the sun both the stationary horse and rider were a black silhouette that cast a long deep shadow down the hard packed, purple rutted, sun reddened earth that formed the main street.
The rider sat still, moving only to pull a roll of paper from a black leather boot. With a flick of the wrist the poster unfurled enough for the rider to study the artist’s impression of the wanted man. Another wrist movement allowed the paper to curl back again before it was replaced.
Shaded eyes looked down the street where some shopkeepers, unaware of the rider’s presence, commenced shutting down their stores. Blinds were pulled shutting away the day before some retired to their backrooms to count their takings.
None of which was of interest to the rider who gently nudged the horse into a slow trot down the street towards the town’s only saloon. Here the rider dismounted and tied the reins to the hitch rail before climbing the two steps to the boardwalk. There was no hesitation as the rider swung through the batwing doors and stepped up to the bar.
The saloon was like any other. The bar ran the length of the saloon; the floor was covered in sawdust and circular tables were scattered around a potbelly stove. A couple of men sat at one table, their beers forgotten, as they played a game of chequers. In the far corner were four men playing poker – a couple of cowboys, a salesman and Aaron Park. Park’s was the face that adorned the poster that had interested the rider.
“Hey, feller,” a painted, buxom lady greeted as she approached the stranger. “Name’s Marie. Buy me a drink and maybe – just maybe, I’ll show you a good time.”
A pair of ice-cold green eyes swung in her direction and froze the smile to her face.
“I don’t -,” Marie spluttered, backing away.
“Nor do I,” the stranger replied, the voice soft and husky.
Marie gave the stranger a good looking over.
The stranger couldn’t be more than five foot five nor weigh much more than one hundred and thirty pounds – if that – with a slim, compact figure. Dressed in a black denim waist length jacket that matched the black jeans tucked into knee high black leather boots.
Around the waist was a black leather gun belt with a silver eagle buckle and rigged for a left-handed draw. Close to the butt of the pistol rested a black leather gloved hand; the moleskin leather stretched tight like a second layer of skin.
The only change to the colour scheme was the grey shirt unbuttoned to mid chest and exposed a smooth expanse of lightly tanned skin.
The face beneath the wide brimmed, low crowned black hat and framed by a mane of black hair, was triangular in shape – but it was the eyes, shaded by the hat brim, above high cheekbones that held Marie’s attention.
“Park winning or losing?” The stranger asked of Marie.
“Winnin’,” Marie replied with a smirk, finding it amusing that this kid was hunting a known killer of men. “Then he always does.”
“Has to lose sometime,” the stranger shrugged with eyes watching Park as he scooped a fistful of dollars from the pot and stacked them in front of him.
“Kid,” Marie advised, earnestly. “You ain’t gonna fool him. You look the part but he’ll be wise to you. He’ll cut you down while uppin’ the ante with them.”
A slight smile touched the stranger’s lips.
“Touched by your concern, Marie,” the stranger said, genuinely, eyes swinging towards the intended target. “But I guess he’s made his last bid.”
“Well, don’t say I didn’t warn you,” Marie sighed with resignation. “Aaron Park’s planted too many kids like you. Still, you look like your minds made up; so don’t know why I’m botherin’. You’re funeral, kid.”
“Wrong,” the soft voice was as cold as those green eyes. “It’s his.”
The stranger bent down to slide the poster from the boot before striding across the room to where Park was dealing a fresh hand.
“Let’s up the ante,” Park suggested, thumbing his grubby, grey felt hat, further back to reveal a balding pate. “Five dollars?”
“Five hundred sounds better,” the soft voice interrupted, as the stranger tossed the wanted poster onto Park’s stake. “Either way I win.”
Park unrolled the poster, then grinned: “Dead or alive, now, huh?”
“Which way’s it going to be?” the stranger asked, the eyes watchful.
“Neither,” Park sighed as he looked up at the stranger. “And this is one bet you’re going to lose.”
The other three card players were quick to scrape back their chairs and get clear of this sudden arena. The stranger did not bat an eye but did step back a pace or two in anticipation. Nor was that move made too soon for Park upended the table scattering cards, money and beer glasses across the floor. At the same time he went for his gun, only to stand there open mouthed as the gun in the black-leathered hand erupted twice. Two bullets, one to the chest and the other to the head slammed him back into the wall. For a moment or two the body leaned there before sliding down, leaving twin trails of blood, to slump in a sitting position. With his head lolling to one side and his unfired gun resting in his lap it looked as though Aaron Park had fallen asleep.
The stranger whirled around but there was no threat from the other card players for they all had flung their hands in the air the moment the gun barrel arced in their direction.
“Anyone else want to play?” they were asked.
All three shook their heads.
“Then best you take your money back,” the stranger suggested – head nodding to indicate the dead man. “Feller, there, was dealing from the bottom of the pack. Guess tonight he was the one got fleeced.”
“Man,” the salesman gasped, as he rushed over to crouch down and help himself to a wad of cash. “Never seen anything like that. Been in many places but never seen a fast draw – not like that.”
This as the batwings crashed open and the law and its deputy rushed in.
“What was all that shootin’ about?” the law demanded, as his deputy raked the room with his rifle held at waist level.
“That kid just took down Aaron Park,” Marie offered, pointing towards the stranger.
The law glanced at the stranger and burst out laughing: “You gotta be kiddin’ me. That kid?” then looked towards the dead man. “Get up Park you ain’t foolin’ no one.”
The law stomped over to where Park lay and studied the blood trail before beginning to believe that he was staring at a corpse. While he was taking this all in the stranger rolled a cigarette and had just lit it when the law looked up.
“What you have to go and do this for?” the law demanded.
“The money,” came the soft, disinterested voice. “What other reason could there be?”
“The money?” the law repeated, as his eyes located the poster.
“Five hundred dollars,” the stranger pointed out through a haze of smoke. “Just like it says there.”
The law climbed to his feet and looked over to the deputy.
“Joe, go get the ‘Taker,” he suggested, before turning back to the stranger. “You’d best foller me. But I’ll say this you’d better spend that money quick. Park had a few friends and they’re goin’ to come lookin’ for you.”
“And I’ll be waiting,” the stranger assured him.
“Not here you won’t,” the law replied, grimly. “You take your money and git.”
“Don’t intend hanging around,” the stranger shrugged. “Just tell anyone who’s looking that I’ll be in a little town called Clementine.”
“And who should they look for?” the law wondered out loud.
“The name’s Darke,” the stranger supplied, with an impish grin. “Morgana Darke.”

Copyright: Chantel Foster 2009

Saturday, 27 June 2009


A Black Horse Western published by Robert Hale Ltd of London.
June 2009
Sam Bowden is one spoilt brat and his dad, Clem Bowden, is always bailing him out of one bit of bother after another. Now he's gone that step to far and killed a saloon girl something where a fine or a night in the cells can't solve.
Sheriff Cole Masters has no choice but to see Sam Bowden stand trial for his crime.
But Clem Bowden is not a man to stand aside and watch his son hang or rot in prison. Oh, no he has a plan to set his son free and frame the lawman for the killing.
Knowing that he has the town in the palm of his hand Clem knows that no one will be idiot enough to stand with the lawman so Cole Masters has no choice but to handle things on his own.
And with Masters' fiance and best friend held hostage there is not much that he can do.
So Cole loses his badge and his self respect. There is only one thing that he can do and that is get to the Judge before anyone else does and explain everything.
Sam Bowden, who his father has made sheriff heads a posse that is joined by two professional guns Boyd and Quill. I loved the interplay between these characters and Sam Bowden who really throws a tantrum as he's supposed to be the one in charge and, therefore, thinks he knows better.
This book is full of real people that I could relate to. As a straight western this is a good read.
I got something more for there is another level in this book and this comes to the surface when Jessie, the schoolteacher fiance of Cole Masters, tackles Clem Bowden head on and discovers the man's weakness and the reader is left in no doubt that he knows that he is in the wrong but he loves his son and must do whatever it takes to protect him. It's a magic moment.
I like writers who can take modern issues and take them back in time. It goes to show that some problems are not as new as people imagine.
This one goes on my list for the new proposed western section at the school library (proving that the Wild West Monday idea can work).

Friday, 26 June 2009


After the success of Red Dead Revolver the makers of Grand Theft Auto are due to release another western themed computer console game. Red Dead Redemption has notorious outlaw, John Marston, hired by 'The Bureau' to police the untamed wild west.
I enjoyed the first in the series and it is a great way to introduce people to westerns.
Another new game coming out is Star Ocean: The Last Hope. I thought that you might find the main hero's name amusing. It is Edge Maverick. Is this a game created by a western fan, I wonder?
Sorry for the lack of new posts but I'm taking time off in Wales. Went to the Millenium Stadium in Cardiff but couldn't find Captain Jack. I'm a great fan of Torchwood and it was fun to stand where some of the scenes are shot.
A new series of Torchwood starts on Monday 6th July on BBC 1. Five episodes will be shown on consecutive nights. A few nights in then.

Friday, 19 June 2009

FURY by Jim Austin

The moment John Fury spots a wagon train at a standstill in Pawnee country he knows that something is wrong. What has happened is that the wagonmaster, Leander Crofton, has been unseated from his horse that had been spooked by a rattler. Not only had he been stomped on by his own horse but run over by the oxen of the lead wagon.
Fury promises the dying man to lead the wagon train to Colorado Territory.
The scout for the train is a negro freedman called Joe Brackett. Through references to the difference between freedmen and runaway slaves the author manages to convey that the story is set before the American Civil War.
The book is full of characters like the veteren Amos Duggan who senses that age is overtaking him that he has decided that it is time to settle. And the level headed Doctor Gerald Lonigan who is the voice of reason when things get a bit tense.
Against these are Carson Thorn who is a gambler out for his own gain and backed by the shady Kreeg. Always feigning innocence when accused of cheating.
The character that I liked was the Polish tailor, Leo Sidowky, who had left New York to build a new life. He was driving the lead wagon that had run over the wagonmaster. It was a great piece of story telling that tells of this man's growth in character.
And there is love interest with the schoolteacher, Bess Jackson, who seems to be playing Fury against the foreman of the hands driving a bunch of cattle behind the wagon train.
For me life on a wagon train was an eye opener as I did not know that that a wagon train barely made a dozen miles a day, if that.
While there is danger from attack by the Pawnees the biggest problems that these people face come from nature itself.
An really marvellous book and I am looking for more by this writer.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009


GCSEs done and just the results to come.
No more school. Education's done.
Taking time out
To get about.

Not really sure what to do next. Most off my life so far has been stuck behind a school desk and college doesn't appeal right now. Maybe, I'll take a gap year and find my own level and try a few things out.
I have to admire my mum, though, she's off to Uni in Wales to study law.
She said she couldn't do it. Not at her age.
A couple of days later Granddad gave her the train fare and told her to meet some chap at the Royal Courts of Justice. Three months later she passed an exam and got a certificate. Now she's going to Uni.

As for me. He just says give it time. Let's see what results you get.