Bishop & Hancock’s Pulse Fiction

title
G’day folks! It’s been a long time coming but I am proud to announce that Bishop & Hancock’s Pulse Fiction is now available in both paperback and eBook. This collection of wild pulp tales features my story Honor of the Legion, featuring French Foreign Legionnaire Mace Bullard, a man with no past and little chance of surviving the future. Join Bullard as he battles scimitar wielding Berbers, machine-gun toting Nazis, and tangles with the mysterious Sin Queen of Marrakech.

Here’s a brief snippet to whet your appetite.

BullardFrançois Mesmer was considered the Legion strongman. He was a mountain of muscle at six-foot-four tall, and impossibly broad shouldered. As he galloped back to camp at dusk, he looked a sight. Although his horse was a full sized muscular Arabian stallion, it looked like a Shetland pony carrying his great bulk.

He quickly dismounted and approached Sergent Mace Bullard who was leading the patrol, and currently seated around a campfire with four other Legionnaires. Bullard stood as Mesmer approached. The big man removed his kepi brimmed hat and flicked back his blond hair from his sweat soaked brow.

“Sir, eight riders are approaching,” Mesmer blurted, struggling for breath.

“Do you think they are trouble?” Bullard asked.

Mesmer didn’t answer the question directly. “They have a man with them, tied over his horse. I do not know if he is dead or alive … He’s wearing a Legion uniform.”

The hairs on Bullard’s neck stood up. “A Legionnaire, you say?”

“Yes sir.”

“Well, let’s give them a welcome.”

Bullard called his men to attention and outlined his plan.

***

The sun had set as the Berbers rode in. They rode in slowly, warily. Each of them was dressed identically, wearing a black djellaba with a yellow sash. The leader of the small band of cutthroats peered through the dim light at the camp site before him.

He felt uneasy.

The camp looked deserted, but there was something strange about it. The fire was still smoking, having only been recently extinguished. Then there were the horses. Six of them were tied together and standing nearby. If the occupants of the camp had moved on, surely they would have taken their horses.
The leader called his men to a halt with a hand gesture. He dropped down from his mount, and moved cautiously toward the fire. The boot prints around the site were fresh. The desert winds had not had time to obliterate them.

He was about to order his men to be on guard, when the sand before him erupted. Bullard had been hiding in the sand covered by a tarpaulin. It was an old Bedouin trick he had learned.
Caught by surprise, the cutthroats were slow to reach their weapons. Bullard shot the leader with his sidearm, and then sprang forward yelling, “En avant, la Legion!”
His men answered his call and swept down from the dunes, firing as they went. One of the Berbers produced a large curved scimitar and slashed at Bullard. The Legionnaire leaped backward as the blade zinged past at head height. As the marauder swung again, in mid stroke, he cried out in pain, dropping the sword and clutching at his bloody wrist. Mesmer, high on one of the dunes, had a smoking rifle in his hand.

“Merci,” Bullard yelled, acknowledging his compatriot.

The marauder scuttled forward, and retrieved the sword with his other hand. Clearly, he would rather die than surrender. Bullard was happy to oblige. Almost with a tinge of regret, he raised his pistol and pulled the trigger, putting the brigand down for good.

The battle was over in less than a minute. Bullard moved past the bodies of the cutthroats to the packhorse with the Legionnaire draped over it. The man hadn’t moved at all during the entire skirmish, and Bullard surmised the Legionnaire was dead. That in itself was strange. Why were the riders transporting a dead body?

Bullard raised the man’s head and stared at the face.

“I know this man,” he said, as he peered into the lifeless eyes.

Bishop & Hancock’s Pulse Fiction Volume 1 is available from Amazon.

No Comments Posted in Books, Books and Comics
Tagged , , ,
Challenge of the Lady Ninja (1982)

Challenge_Of_The_Lady_NinjaDirector: Lee Tso-Nam
Starring: Elsa Yeung, Chen Kuan-Tai, Peng Kong, Kam Yin-Fei

Challenge of the Lady Ninja is a difficult film to describe because it refuses to explain itself. Not that any film should have to spoon feed an audience, but in this instance it almost comes across as if they were making the story up as they were going along. But let’s see if I can put the pieces together. Firstly, it is a contemporary film, meaning it appears to be set in the year that is was made – being 1982. I know this because the villains drive around in modern motor cars. Next point, Japan has invaded China, and now controls Shanghai. However there is an underground resistance of freedom fighters who are rebelling against the Japanese oppressors. So Chinese / Japanese animosity is at an all time high.

As the movie opens in Shanghai, we meet the villain of the piece, Lee Tung. We know he is the villain, because Darth Vader’s theme from Star Wars plays when we see him first. Lee Tung lives in a luxurious villa, with high walls and four specialist bodyguards – skilled at various martial arts.

Lee Tung is a Chinese business man but is reviled because he works hand in hand with the Japanese, He is considered a traitor to his people. His uncle, and prospective father-in-law calls on Lee Tung and begs him to change his ways. Lee Tung refuses. Uncle has no option but to try and kill Lee Tung. But before he can strike, he is cut down by the body guards.

The movie changes location to Japan, and we are introduced to Yu Chow Wei. She is at ninja school, and the time has come for her to prove she is worthy of being a ninja by passing a series of tests. Wearing a fire-engine red ninja costume, during the test she is attacked by the other ninja students as she tries to make it through a forest to a temple where she must retrieve a medallion. It is during this test, we are introduced to Miss Wu’s special ninja power – which I have got to say is kinda goofy! Surrounded by a cadre of ninja men holding swords, with a Linda Carter Wonder Woman twirl, she magically appears as a smokin’ hot bikini babe. The ninja men go all slack jawed and goggle-eyed. They drop their weapons and rush forward to… well, I guess some kind of ninja gang-bang. Thankfully before the movie gets all rapey, it is revealed that the smokin’ hot babe shtick is all an illusion planted in their minds. She is standing to the side, still dressed in her ninja costume. She throws a smoke bomb at the ninjas who are groping thin air. Then she continues her quest.

Her last challenge is against the number one pupil at the ninja school. He is guarding the medallion. If she gets past him, she will become the first lady ninja. She does succeed by outwitting him. However, he thinks she is unworthy of being a ninja for two reasons. Firstly, because she is a woman. And secondly, because – shock horror – she is Chinese!

At graduation, Miss Yu is informed of her father’s death. If you haven’t worked it out, she is the first cousin of Lee Tung (and his fiance). It was her father that was killed in the opening scene. So now equipped with freshly minted ninja skills, she heads back to Shanghai for her father’s funeral, and naturally to avenge him – because she is a ninja!

Upon arrival back home, Miss Yu finds things are worse than she though in Shanghai. She decides to train three other women in the art of ninja-ism so they can take down Lee Tung and his Japanese lackeys. This provides the opportunity for a training montage as the ladies get into shape – and it must be said, it contains a studied amount of leering, upskirt, crotch-shot photography. I always like to use the words upskirt, crotch-shot where possible in my film reviews because it helps the blog attract more traffic. While I am at it, I would just like to add naked, nude and porn. They have little to do with the movie, but once again will increase the amount of hits this post receives. But the film does have boobies though, so there’s that. But where was I? Actually I think I’ve finished. So let’s wrap this up.

So the rebels, with the assistance of four lady ninjas take on Lee Tung and his bodyguards. Ninja mayhem ensues – swordfights, smokebombs and er, mud wrestling! Despite any veneer of being a cheesy sleazy ninja flick, Challenge of the Lady Ninja actually turns out to be a cheesy sleazy spy flick, complete with a twist ending (which I have to admit I did not see coming).

Needless to say, this film is not for everyone. But let’s face it, the name Challenge of the Lady Ninja tells the viewer everything they need to know. Ninjas. Ladies. And it’s relative obscurity means you’re not going to accidentally pick this film up. You’d have to seek this one out, and if you’re the type to seek out a cheap-jack Hong Kong film called Challenge of the Lady Ninja, then you know what your in for before you even start watching it. Therefore my thumbs up or thumbs down opinion is pointless really. But let’s just say the overall goofiness of the film won me over in a guilty pleasure kind of way.

For a more in-depth review with screencaps, head over to TarsTarkas.net

1 Comment Posted in Film, Film and Cinema
Tagged , , , ,
Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat: Graphic Novel

Microsoft Word - TSMG GRAPHIC NOVEL Press Release.doc
Microsoft Word - TSMG GRAPHIC NOVEL Press Release.doc
Microsoft Word - TSMG GRAPHIC NOVEL Press Release.doc

You can find out more about the Kickstarter campaign and the associated perks by clicking here.

No Comments Posted in Books, Books and Comics
Tagged , ,
The Thirty Nine Steps (1978)

39steps2

Country: United Kingdom
Director: Don Sharp
Starring: Robert Powell, David Warner, John Mills, Eric Porter, Karen Dotrice, George Baker, William Squire, Timothy West
Music:Ed Welch
Based on the novel by John Buchan

Because Alfred Hitchcock’s version of The 39 Steps is considered one of the greatest movies of all time – a point of view that I fully concur with, this version of The Thirty Nine Steps is often written off as rubbish, or as an un-necessary remake. Nothing could be further from the truth. Firstly, it is not rubbish – it’s actually a finely crafted thriller that had me riveted from beginning to end. And secondly, it is not a remake. Hitchcock didn’t adhere too closely to John Buchan’s novel. This film, while it too takes its artistic liberties, is a far more faithful rendering of Buchan’s novel.

The film opens with a brief message on the screen. It says, ‘Early in 1914 a coded cable was sent from a European power to a house in West London. Decoded it read: LET THE SLEEPERS AWAKE’.

In London three men are meeting on a boat on the Thames. One man is Scudder (John Mills) and he is a secret agents. He has gathered information that suggests that a political leader in the Balkans is about to be assassinated. This assassination is only the tip of the tentacle, as this murder is intended as a prelude to war. The two men that Scudder is reporting to are Lord Harkness (William Squire) and Sir Hugh Portan (Timothy West). Both men agree that war is coming but not for some time. They dismiss Scudder’s theories as wild and unsubstantiated.

On the shore, watching discreetly is Sir Edmund Appleton (David Warner). Appleton, despite his upper class veneer is actually a Prussian spy. Gathered around he has assembeled a band of cronies who have to silence Scudder. And now that he has told Harkness and Portan they are targets too. As Scudder’s meeting with Harkness and Portan comes to end, he leaves the boat. Waiting for him is one of Appleton’s assassin’s but he cannot take a clean shot due to a particularly thick pea-soup fog.

Appleton decides to take care of Harkness personally and meets him as he walks home that evening. As they walk, Appleton pulls a knife from his cane and stabs Harkness.

39Steps1The next day, Scudder reads about Harkness’ death in the newspaper and rushes to warn Portan, but he only gets close enough to witness his assassination. The unusual thing about the killing, is the second before Portan was shot, Appleton grabs his arm, holding him in place. Scudder sees Appleton and realises he is behind the plot. Scudder scurries off into the crowd and heads back to his apartment.

Appleton is no fool and sends two men to Scudders apartment and they arrive as Scudder is trying to leave. With the stairs blocked and no way to go down, he chooses to go up and knock on the door of the gentleman upstairs. This gentleman happens to be Richard Hannay (Robert Powell). Scudder tells his story and Hannay gives him sanctuary for the night.

The following morning, Hannay has to leave Scudder. Hannay is on his way to South Africa and has a train to catch. He leaves Scudder in his apartment, but it doesn’t take long for the Prussian agents to work out where he has been hiding. They come for him. Scudder escapes via the fire escape window and makes his way to the train station. As he makes his way onto the crowded platform, he spots Hannay and calls to him. Hannay turns and comes to meet him, but in the few metres between then, one of the Prussian agents catches up to Scudder and sticks a knife in his back. Scudder falls forward into Hannay’s arms. As he falls he tries to pass over a diary with important information about the assassination plot, but the diary falls to the ground and then is unwittingly kicked under a set of scales by a passer-by.

Hannay tends to Scudder and as he turns him over, notices the knife in his back. That too, is when the bystanders on the train platform notice that Scudder is dead. All they see is Hannay standing over a dead man with a knife in his back. They falsely believe that Hannay is the murderer. It’s not an isolated view either. Hannay is taken into police custody, and without the diary as evidence, he is quickly tried and sentenced for murder. His penalty is to be hung by the neck until dead.

As Hannay is being transported from the court, Appleton’s Prussian agents rescue him at gunpoint and spirit him away to Appleton’s palatial headquarters. Appleton enquires about the whereabouts of Scudder’s diary. Hannay claims to have no knowledge of the diary. Appleton almost believes him, but still has him locked away. But he makes it rather easy for Hannay to escape. Hannay needs Scudder’s diary to prove his innocence, so Appleton assume that if Hannay were free, he would search for the diary.

In time, Hannay does escape, and Appleton has his men discreetly follow Hannay who returns to the train station and starts searching high and low for the missing diary. From there on it begins to fall into line with other filmic incarnations of the tale – that is, until the climax, which I won’t spoil here – but the film posters tend to give a lot away.

The Thirty Nine Steps is a brilliant old-fashioned thriller. Sure the politics at the start are a little confusing but they don’t really matter. This is first and foremost a chase film, and this film provides one hell of a chase, culminating in a spectacular climax with Richard Hannay dangling from one of the hands of the Big Ben clock face. This film may not have the same reputation as Alfred Hitchcock’s version, but it is still a film well worth investing your time in.

1 Comment Posted in Film, Film and Cinema
Tagged , , , ,
Covert Ops: Tear Down the Wall

Gemini

Last week I talked briefly about a new project from Pro Se Productions called Covert Ops: Gemini, which is fashioned on the sixties and seventies TV series, Mission Impossible. The anthology contains three stories, The Havana Protocol, by J. Walt Layne – Romanoff and Juliet, by Tim Lasiuta – and “Tear Down This Wall!” by Wesley Smith.

Recently, I asked Smith about how he approached his contribution to the project.

CovertOpsGeminiIt’s difficult to explain why I approached this project in the way that I did. Coming up with ideas from scratch is difficult for me. There are infinite directions in which to go, and I can never choose just one. Throwing in random elements requires more creativity. Tell me to write any kind of story that I want and I’ll lock up. But if you tell me to write a western that includes the USS Constellation, Jefferson City, Missouri and the Monkees… Now that’s a challenge.

That’s how I started “Tear Down This Wall!” I pulled out 1,000 Places to See Before You Die and landed on the entry for The Brandenburg Gate. If my finger had fallen on The Blarney Stone or the Drakensberg Mountains, the story would be unrecognizably different.

Once I saw the picture of the Brandenburg Gate, I knew that the story I would write would be named “Tear Down This Wall!” (taken from Ronald Reagan’s speech in the shadow of the Berlin Wall itself) and that the climax would be on top of the gate itself. The basic plot came together from there.

Outside of the basic plot, what was eventually published beared almost no resemblance to the story I had intended to write. Since I had never attempted a 10,000 word story before, I grossly over-plotted it. My original vision could easily have been 50,000-60,000 words longer. It included a team twice the size of the one that saw publication, had subplots about human trafficking and blackmail. Like William Goldman’s / S. Morgenstern’s classic The Princess Bride, what you read in “Tear Down This Wall!” is truly the good parts version.

One of the things I enjoy most when writing is when the characters take the story in an unexpected direction. Furman Valero was like that. Before I started writing the scene where he was introduced, he was simply “Thug #1.” Again, I chose his name from a couple names list websites and was immediately had vision of who Valero would be: a brooding, somber, former Mexican wrestler who had fallen on hard times and was trapped in Germany with no easy way out. And instead of being a minor character, he suddenly became the emotional center of the story.

Things came quickly after that. I already had the climax of the story, but I wanted scenes worthy of an action movie. Since “Tear Down This Wall!” is set in Germany, a car chase on the Autobahn was required, and the fight in the meat packing plant was built around a couple specific images that came to me.

I am extremely proud of “Tear Down This Wall!” I always try to create something I’d enjoy reading. “Tear Down This Wall!” certainly succeeds on that level. This may sound corny, but if the readers enjoy “Tear Down This Wall” half as much as I enjoyed writing it, I’ll be happy.

Wesley Smith started creating stories when he was five,and hasn’t stopped since. He has lived in St. Louis, Omaha, California wine country and Memphis before settling in the central Ohio area, with each city bringing a new set of experiences to draw from. He and his beautiful wife/editor live in a 120-year-old farmhouse with three wonderful girls and a boy. When he’s not losing sleep over his next story, he’s losing sleep while taking care of his new baby girl.

Covert Ops: Gemini is available from Amazon.

No Comments Posted in Books, Books and Comics
Tagged , , , ,
Giorgio Ardisson: The Italian James Bond

Fans of Eurospy films may want to check out Matt Blake’s new book Giorgio Ardisson: The Italian James Bond. Matt was one of the co-authors of the Eurospy Guide and really knows his stuff. Here he presents an overview of one of the most popular Eurospy stars, Giorgio Ardisson.

As a refresher, here are my reviews from Passport To Hell (1965) and Operation Counterspy (1966).

Here’s the spiel.

ardissonGiorgio Ardisson might not be the best known actor in the world; outside Italy his name was almost totally unknown and even in his own country his brush with fame was short-lived. But his career, which lasted from the end of the 1950s to the early 1990s, was fascinating. Not just because of the sheer variety of films and filmmakers that he was involved with, but because in many ways his story is also the story of Italian film itself.

He started out in the glory years of cinema in Rome, when it was the glamorous centre of a thriving and much respected industry, working in a variety of popular genres including peplums, swashbucklers and comedies. While the films of Sergio Leone were propelling Italian popular cinema onto a world stage, Ardisson carved out his own niche with a series of exceedingly profitable spy films which sold across the world. For a few years he was much in demand with producers looking for a lead actor with an American look. But then, with the arrival of the 1970s, things changed. Budgets dried up, genre lifespans reduced drastically and distribution networks collapsed. There was less call for good looking leading men as a grittier, more downbeat trend took hold of Italian cinema. So Ardisson re-crafted himself as a supporting actor in an increasingly peculiar selection of weird and wonderful films. Many of these were seen by almost nobody, many are still impossible to find and many of them are entirely rubbish.

This book is the first detailed look at the curious career of Giorgio Ardisson, including reviews of his most important films, interview material – much of which is published in English for the first time – and contemporary reviews. It’s lavishly illustrated throughout, including eight pages in full colour.

Giorgio Ardisson: The Italian James Bond is available from the Wild Eye Shop.

No Comments Posted in Books, Books and Comics
Tagged , , , , ,
Fist of Africa

Just a heads up for those following Fight Card, that February’s title, the fourth in the MMA series Fight Card MMA: Fist Of Africa from Balogung Ojetade has just been released. The cover illustration is by Carl Yonder.

Here’s the spiel:

FIGHT CARD MMA: FIST OF AFRICA

Amazon“>Fist Of AfricaNigeria 2004 … Nicholas ‘New Breed’ Steed, a tough teen from the mean streets of Chicago, is sent to his mother’s homeland – a tiny village in Nigeria – to avoid trouble with the law. Unknown to Nick, the tiny village is actually a compound where some of the best fighters in the world are trained. Nick is teased, bullied and subjected to torturous training in a culture so very different from the world where he grew up.

Atlanta 2014 … After a decade of training in Nigeria, a tragedy brings Nick back to America. Believing the disaffected youth in his home town sorely need the same self-discipline and strength of character training in the African martial arts gave him, Nick opens an Academy. While the kids are disinterested in the fighting style of the cultural heritage Nick offers, they are enamored with mixed martial arts. Nick decides to enter the world of mixed martial arts to make the world aware of the effectiveness and efficiency of the martial arts of Africa.

Pursuing a professional career in MMA, Nick moves to Atlanta, Georgia, where he runs into his old nemesis – Rico Stokes, the organized crime boss who once employed Nick’s father, wants Nick to replace his father in the Stokes’ protection racket. Will New Breed Steed claim the Light Heavyweight title … Or will the streets of Atlanta claim him?

Fist of Africa is available from Amazon

And don’t forget to check out the other MMA titles.

Chain Link Fence

No Comments Posted in Books, Books and Comics
Tagged ,
Covert Ops: Gemini

Last week, Pro Se Productions released their latest spy anthology, Covert Ops: Gemini, which is in the style of the Mission: Impossible television series – wherein a team of specialist agents take on a dangerous mission that nobody else could accomplish. I have started reading it, and so far it is pretty good. I couldn’t help but smile when I read that the team leader is named Steven Graves!

Expect a full review in a week or two, but until then, here’s the promo spiel.

CovertOpsGeminiIn a world where no one can be trusted and no one is safe, spies are everywhere. In the kitchen of the small house on the corner. High above a city at the top of a skyscraper under construction. In the checkout line at the local grocery. People with skills unheard of by most normal citizens living normal every day lives as accountants, teachers, plumbers, and more. Every day existence is their only battle…until a lone voice on the other end of the phone or in the static of a radio or even whispering in their ear from over their shoulder welcomes back to the war. Their own personal codename followed by one word – GEMINI. And then the housewife, the normal joe, Mr. and Mrs. America become the deadliest espionage agents this country has ever created, members of the top secret initiative known by very few as COVERT OPS: GEMINI!

Pro Se Productions, concept creator Tommy Hancock, and authors J. Walt Layne, Wesley Smith, and Tim Lasiuta proudly presents COVERT OPS: GEMINI.

In the tradition of Mission: Impossible, COVERT OPS: GEMINI delves into the world of international espionage and looks at the men and women who make up the deadliest team of spies ever. Led by Steven Graves, roguish and calculating agent, and overseen by the mysterious Officer James, members of Covert Ops; Gemini live regular lives, hold down normal jobs, build families and careers, until they are needed. Then they step away from their desks, their aprons, their very existences and put skills outside of their normal persona into use as they were trained to. What follows for them may be failure or even death. But, if they succeed, not only does the world go on, but they get the one thing back they value most- their covers.

Classic Spy Fiction at its best. COVERT OPS: GEMINI from Pro Se Productions!

Covert Ops: Gemini is available from Amazon and the usual affiliated outlets.

No Comments Posted in Books, Books and Comics
Tagged , , ,
Swamp Walloper

SWAMP smallAuthor: Paul Bishop
Published: October 2013

Swamp Walloper is the follow up to Felony Fists, the first book in the Fight Card series written by Paul Bishop. Fists saw L.A. cop, Patrick ‘Felony’ Flynn fighting on two fronts, first corruption on the streets, and then duking it out with one of gangster Mickey Cohen’s minions – it was a fantastic, uplifting story with a knockout ending.

Walloper heads in a different direction, and sees Flynn plying his skills – as a cop first and as a fighter second – in the Crescent City, N’Awlins, and in the croc infested Bayou Sauvage. The villain of the piece is a crooked prison warden named Lucas Trask – a man steeped in dark voodoo rituals.

The tale is pure pulp, dripping with steamy New Orleans atmosphere, and featuring great characters – heroes you want cheer, and villains you want to hiss. The action packed climax will raise the hairs on the back of your neck. Like Felony Fists before it, Swamp Walloper punches above its weight and recommended to all fans of rapid-fire adventure.

No Comments Posted in Books, Books and Comics
Tagged , , , ,
Leaving Bondi

BondiAuthor: Robert G. Barrett
Publisher: Harper Collins
Published: 2000

Over the years I have read a few of Robert G. Barrett’s Les Norton series. I don’t know how many there are in the series. I have about seven of them, and I’d guess there’s probably that many I don’t have. I have always found them to be – for wont of a lazy comparison – a knockabout variation on the Cliff Hardy stories – the obvious connection being that they are often set in Sydney (but the boys move around a bit from story to story). However Les is not a Private Detective like Hardy. Instead he’s a trouble shooter at the Kelly Club. ‘Trouble’ being the operative word. Les seems to attract it. In this story he gets mixed up in a movie deal – the movie being called ‘Leaving Bondi’.

As I implied above, I have enjoyed many of Norton’s adventures – but this one was undone by one particularly sleazy scene which ruined the whole book. In the scene, Les rescues a drugged girl from a cult of devil-worshipers who are about to slit her throat. After the rescue, Les takes the unconscious girl back to his hotel room – and let’s just say things get a little rapey for my liking. Worse, still the incident is passed off as a joke a bit later on. The Les Norton stories have never really been politically correct, but this one went over the line for me.

I doubt international readers would find a lot to enjoy in the Les Norton series. They are very Australian with little explanation of the wheres and whyfores – if you’re not familiar with the place names and products you may feel left out – and very much of their time. This book is fourteen years old and some of the products mentioned are no longer available, television shows are no longer on etc…

The Les Norton books can be good fun, but unless you’re a die hard fan of the series, I’d give this one a miss.

2 Comments Posted in Books, Books and Comics
Tagged , , ,