Undertaker: Last Ride – Review

To seek out closure in any aspect of life is a truly rare thing. For any performer to willingly let go of the spotlight and a sold out audience is something rarer. In professional wrestling many have never been able to close the door on their own terms and to be able to do that, to end a legacy and tenure on one’s own terms is something that doesn’t get seen very often. 

For those who know me will know that the pageantry and mystique of professional wrestling has had a place in my heart since before the years I ever aspired to pen any book, or write any blog but still to me wrestling is story telling. When it’s good, it’s awesome and of course many will laud the bad’s of an industry that once upon a time I aspired to get into. We’ve all heard of the premature deaths, or various scandals of new and old, most of us have even done a few laps on the whole ‘fake’ contemplation racetrack. The truth is wrestling is a performance; something I always dreamed of doing.

WWE The Last Ride: Who Should Be The Undertaker's Final Opponent?

Of course I itched my performing scratch big time by swapping out the ambition of stepping between those ropes to treading the boards and taking in the spotlight via theatre instead, and even though my ten years as a performer don’t compare anywhere near to most who have any type of career in pro wrestling, I can fully relate to the addictive nature of what performing is. For me and quite fortunately I had always been eyeing up a way off the stage, to have my day and be done, then to find a way to escape the pressure of learning lines, wearing goofy costumes, dealing with performers who don’t take things as seriously and of course risking my own mental health to stand up in front of strangers. That escape came in the form of script writing and so I haven’t fully turned away from performing but taken a diagonal turn towards new challenges. But most importantly my escape from performing was both peaceful and final. It was the ‘Star Wars’ ending, it was closure.

The Undertaker is a name that sits in the very upper echelons in the realms of pro wrestling. It’s a character that has never really been broken or had any type of backstage lid lifted upon it. There hasn’t been any ‘shoot’ type interviews over the many years by the man behind the ‘gimmick’ Mark Calaway who has operated, since 1990 mind, when the likes of Hulk Hogan headed match cards. Luckily for me I managed to see the Undertaker way back in 2009 when at a Smackdown taping in London where he faced off with the Big Show and yes his entrance is as awesome as it looks, even from the nose bleed seats…

Quite recently the WWE network has premiered 5 special and ever so candid documentary style interviews with the Undertaker in the form of a series called ‘Last Ride’. Each episode follows the Undertaker who, without many realising this really is his final ride and crowning piece to a thirty year career. It goes into depth about the feelings of a man who has gone round and round in his time in the squared circle.

Much of the theme focuses on family. The Undertaker has kids and a wife, Michelle McCool – a name fans of the female wrestling movement will know and you can see the strain it is putting on her concerns for a man who might not know he is at the end of his career. During these 5 episodes we get a roller coaster ride as it covers his final years and matches with have been rare occasions of recent, from his initial ‘retirement’ moment against Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania to the few special exhibition matches that didn’t go too well; Bill Goldberg comes to mind. There is even some in depth look at the ‘streak’ where the Undertaker went 21 years without a loss at Wrestlemania – something that should have never been broken in my mind. In a sense it just goes round and round on a somewhat damning repeat for the Undertaker who is either looking for redemption in one match or finality in another. This vicious cycle is something he must break to find some finality.

10 Things We Learned From WWE's Undertaker: The Last Ride (Final ...
Without giving much away because even on this blog spoilers matter, the whole docu-series is well worth watching, even for the casual fan of wrestling, like me I don’t tune in much these days. You’ll see wrestling in a different light and through the eyes of a man who has been there the longest. ‘Taker’s interactions with others backstage is seen for the first time along with his emotional journey of seeking closure, it really is gripping. Those with their ear on the Twitter verse ground will know the Undertaker has used this show to laud his perhaps final retirement, and whether or not he is going to stay away from the spotlight and squared circle, this show has been the vessel for a great ending of a great career in performance, sports entertainment and the culture of wrestling. For the Undertaker it has been closure.

 

 

A Dish Best Served Cold: An ‘Archer’ Novel by Steve Lumsden – Review

Page turning British crime that keeps readers immersed…

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Steve Lumsden tells a unique crime story in a unique way. Presented Over six parts A dish Best Served Cold is a revenge and criminal underworld story that see’s implications from the past shape the present day and the characters in it.

At the beginning we don’t quite know what ‘Archer’ is doing or what his motives are other than disrupting a crime syndicate but he’s a man on a mission and gets things done. His mystique and intrigue carries the opening parts of the book while it intertwines with the opposing forces he is messing with. Just who ‘Archer’ is and what his connection is to the people he faces is what this story is all about. His journey eventually becomes apparent but you’ll be guessing for a while.

Scenes and pages fly by with a writing style that doesn’t keep readers in one place for long, its different in that sense and works. While the story unfolds it’s told through multiple characters that are all moving towards a satisfying resolve that contains a few twists – some expected and some not so much. There are some characters who may appear to be of the bad persuasion but are actually a force of good.

From drug dealings to sordid affairs there’s a subtle level of grit that makes for an easy to read British crime story…

4 Stars – Reviews left via Amazon UK and Goodreads

Is Facebook dead?

Who here actually uses Facebook as their number 1 social media platform?

I’ll admit that good ol’ life invader is probably number 4 in terms of social media platforms I exist on. Just last year I spent the majority of December with the Facebook app deleted and the revelation was, I felt so much better for being without it…

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It’s not news that ‘FB’ have been involved in a bunch of ‘unsavory’ activities when it comes to data, our data. Cambridge Analytica happened and this is without mentioning many more speculative activities the social media giant have been linked to all of which links back to our data. Both Trump and Brexit are could be suggested here…

From all of these revelations, I just get this feeling that things are no longer the same. Yes Facebook boasts a huge amount of users but do they use it as much these days? Is the social network just a reanimated corpse walking around with users who seemingly latch on because there isn’t an alternative? Most of us know their history of less than reputable dealings but I take a look around and long gone are the days where most of the people I know put up statuses on a daily basis. It feels like a ghost town, or a mining town where the gold ran dry.

I’ve boasted for a long time that my usage of ‘FB’ is limited to messenger and events planning. That’s probably the same for most of you. My author page sits idle a lot of the time and I probably post something every other week. The real truth is I don’t know anybody who’s Facebook page is their go-to platform anymore.

Out of all the super businesses in the world Facebook doesn’t actually produce anything. They earn money from advertising and they also take a shit ton of our information on a daily basis. Most of the people who will read this right now will be logged in to Facebook and not bat an eye about it. Much like our devices, Facebook is listening, it’s a harrowing sinister thought that for some reason nobody seems to challenge. You ever talk to someone about a particular subject and then that subject appears in a pop up ad on your browser? I suppose that’s the answer when you ask what they are doing with out data.

Fu**ed up isn’t it? And that’s without mentioning the repercussions social media is having on our mental health. The instant gratification and mining for likes generation are soft and vulnerable by their own means. And the generation just before were brought up on the Simpsons, South Park, Little Britain and the Office and they are just as afraid to say their mind because it could offend. This really is a world trying to figure itself out.

Social media has given birth to that new world and I could go deeper but the world Facebook has created could ultimately be its undoing. It’s already began. This is without even mentioning some of the fantastic positives social media has. Most of you reading this wouldn’t be doing so without social media. Some of the people I have come to know at the other end of a keyboard are probably the reason I haven’t given up. It’s a strange old world.

 

What do you think of Facebook? Have we changed or has Facebook? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Darke Blood: You’ve never known true darkness is FREE to download today!

“If you were to only read one new vampire book I would recommend Darke Blood. “

These aren’t my words but words from a recent review of my words known as Darke Blood. I feel as if I have said ‘words’ too much but I’m not kidding when I say Darke Blood is free to download today until this Friday and I give you my word…

This is a limited one time deal and Darke Blood probably won’t be free to download for quite some time. I’ve also said Darke Blood too much haven’t I?

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It’s a pretty looking cover, but admittedly most folks don’t just judge a book by its cover these days, especially well read cultured types such as yourself. So you’ve seen the front cover, but what does the blurb say? 

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In the past year I’ve managed to convince just a handful of awesome folks to review ‘DB’.

One of those recent reviews came from awesome book blogger Blair of Feed the Crime  and she had these thoughts to share…

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“This book wasn’t the cliche of a dark stranger arriving in town and rescuing the damsels. Blake doesn’t even know who he is, never mind taking on vampires and witches!”

“I was blindsided by the last 20% of this book, like where did all these revelations come from?
Mind = Blown”

You can read the full review here

From the inspirational mind of Billy Mays let me say….

BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE!

And so here’s another recent review from Hall of Information Hall of Fame Supporter Jaycee Lynch of Thinking Moon Blog. Trust me when I say this book has got some very important admirers…

“I usually have very high standards when it comes to vampire novels (loved King’s Salem’s Lot, did not care for Meyer’s Twilight), so when I say Darke Blood is an interesting vampire novel, believe me. There is intrigue from the moment the book starts and although you are mainly focused on Blake Malone’s exploits for me the true protagonist is Caitlyn. The mystery unfolds page by page and you are hooked until the last word. A fun yet thrilling read.”

You can read JC’s full review here 

 

Final Attempt at selling you something that is FREE…. 

 

Darke Blood is set in a wider universe that also contains two other books I have written. If this current promotion is a success and enough folks download it and review it, then there will be a sequel. You can read yesterday’s post where I poured my guts out about this subject…

Disclaimer * No real guts were poured out. I am fine. I think. 

Where can you find Darke Blood? Right here

 

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That many likes for something without a cat, food or cleavage…

 

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It has been 5 years since the Hall of Information opened it’s doors. Here’s a look back at the first ever blog entry. A nod and a thank you to everyone who has supported this; old or new!

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It’s that moment, much like when you watch the first ever episode of a TV show you come to love years later.

Where it all begins, a wild eye medical intern called JD passes through the walls of a daunting hospital known as sacred heart. Or that moment a cartoon layabout and accidental time traveler meets a well-known robot bending unit, unaware he has just stepped into a suicide booth.. Yes I am referencing TV pop culture because apparently it’s appealing. I pity the fool who doesn’t use pop culture to entertain, ok I’ll stop now.

Many of us have those favorite shows we watch over the years but never see the pilot. We will have that eureka moment when we realise why something is the way it is. That is of course if you are lucky enough to be around for the first episode. For you this is that…

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Indie April Book Review Wrap Up

Indie April so happened to be my most successful month as an author, book reviewer and blogger. Although I love to just talk about me, the world is a better place when I share the spotlight so during April I also found time to support fellow indie authors by reading and reviewing their stuff. Here’s a rundown of my Indie April reads…

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First up came probably what is the most scared and on edge I have been whilst reading for well, ever and I am proud to say ‘Within the Dark Places’ by Duncan Thompson happened to be a great and terrifying read.

This shorter novel as quoted from my review ‘follows a small group who decide to spend their weekend in a woods with chilling results. From the very beginning there’s a stack of mystery and intrigue as to what exactly is lurking in the shadows which starts to play on the readers imagination more than anything; something which is text book horror and also very effective in a book like this.’ 

If you are looking for a good text book horror scare then I highly recommend this one and the great news is, there’s a sequel, but more on that further down…

‘Original page turning action with a powerful voice that speaks of prophecy, coming of age and warriors’ is how I described my next read Daughter of Kali: Awakening by Shiulie Ghosh.

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This young adult action tale is indeed a journey down the rabbit hole of an original premise that follows the ‘chosen one trope’ of one girl who discovers there is a huge world out there full of demons and warriors who fight them. I very much enjoyed this story and even more so for the linkage to the Hindu faith which intertwines ancient religion and mythology with the modern day; something I haven’t seen before. The good news is this story is a part of a wider trilogy with the sequel that has just dropped!

The author has also recently released some new cover art work which I am happy to share here and of course on my original review.

Indie April became the month of sequels for me as I decided to take on more chills and dark hidesedge of the seat thrills by delving into ‘Where the Darkness Hides’ by Duncan Thompson, a sequel to Within the Dark Places; and although the story did kind of end it cleverly opens up again in the very early stages of what is ‘A sequel and continuation into the shadows’; as quoted from my review

This one is more of a slower build and full of tension leading towards what we know is going to happen. It goes to places that are unexpected and isn’t just a re run of the first story; something which is important for sequels. Overall I enjoyed what is a great companion to a terrifying but highly readable pair of stories.

 

And so sequels became the theme of my April reads as I took on ‘Daughter of Kali: Unholy Alliance’ by Shiulie Ghosh. My decision to read and review the follow on story from Daughter of Kali: Awakening was quite simply a no brainer; firstly I was approached with a free copy by the author in exchange for a review and secondly I enjoyed the first, thirdly the story was still fresh in my mind, so I figured lets do this…

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With the world of Warriors and Demons already established that rabbit hole I previously mentioned opens wider into a great continuation. Much of what is suggested first time round comes to light, with new characters and new challenges for the main character with feisty but likable traits. ‘Kaz’ must continue her journey into this world and as she so powerfully says “I’m not a kid anymore. I’m a Warrior now…”

It’s just as good as the first and seeing as this is a trilogy series it didnt suffer from middle story syndrome in anyway. You can read my full review here

 

And so that wraps up my reading and reviewing efforts for April; a busy month for me as a writer, blogger and life in general. Thanks to everyone for the support and a tip of the cap to all of those who follow and actively go out of their way to make this blog a success!  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seeker: A story in ChaosNova universe by David Noe and Laura Loolaid – Review

Page turning sci-fi with plenty of drama, deception and the unexpected…

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‘Seeker’ is a story and journey of discovery set in a wide futuristic universe of space travel.

‘Jewel’ the M.C is a bounty hunter or ‘Seeker’ and her latest ‘contract’ sends her on a journey that becomes a little close to home. What follows is a story full of intrigue, tension and twists that takes the reader on an eventful ride for ‘Jewel’ who makes for a strong and independent protagonist looking for answers; something which readers will immediately align with.

The ChaosNova universe is delivered and described in a readable and enjoyable style making this story accessible and appealing for all readers; something which is hard to grasp in the world of science fiction. The co-authorship of this book works tremendously well in representing the genre and could even be comparable to cult TV show ‘Firefly’ in its approach. Shorter books don’t get anywhere near enough credit and this one deserves high praise for its detail and world building.

I particularly enjoyed the way combat was masterfully described in a particular scene; something I would very much like to see more of in this universe along with ‘Jewel’.

Overall ‘Seeker’ is a story that represents the main character’s journey in learning about herself and her history along with a valuable moral about family. I am looking forward to reading more from the ChaosNova universe; a concept where the creators have put in a lot of work and it shows.

4 Stars   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Ramble #23

I’m still coming down. And god damn I am proud of what we did over the weekend. For the first time in the 76 year history of Iver Heath Drama Club we put on our own written pantomime show.

This journey hasn’t been easy (and there’s still another weekend of shows to go), they never are and the reward is like nothing I have ever felt before. Writing plays is something I transitioned into from performing, every show I was cast in, I took that as an opportunity to fuel my learning. Eventually that turned into the unique ability to be able to tell my own stories and the open welcoming environment of Iver Heath Drama Club has fostered and nurtured my writing to heights I could never imagine.

I take a look around and ask myself how the fu** did we get here? How did this whole deal become this big. The answer, like all big answers is relatively simple. Without intentionally being deep, the answer much like everything good we ever do or create comes from within.

And I say this now as advice to anyone looking to succeed in not only writing, but in life and work. All you have to do is show up on time and work hard. Get there and roll up your sleeves. If the environment you’re in is decent and so are the people, eventually they will reward you for showing up and doing a shift. And quite possibly they might even love you for it. Everything else will follow, we all learn in our own way.

I view story telling as just a sequence of ideas put together in a neat orderly fashion. The more time you spend tidying up those ideas in that mind of yours, the better the stories will get along with those ideas. Above all I create because I enjoy it, making something gives me the greatest sense of fulfillment in life and this time around I am not alone. We put together a show as a team, and for the first time, writing hasn’t been a solitary lone affair, its been so much more and so I can live with being high on that for a while…

Weekly Ramble #22

Don’t let anybody ever tell you that you cannot create. We only learn in this world by creating, and we can only create by learning; these two forces foster each other and above all they give everyone in this world purpose. 

I have learned that to create is to feel and be free. To be free in this world is to live and to feel makes this whole deal real. Nothing sets me free more than writing and creating worlds. Find what sets you free, pursue it, get addicted to it, believe in it and shout about it. Some day soon if you try and keep trying, you’ll find a small group of wonderful like minded folks who may do the shouting for you, reward them, befriend them, be kind to them. Give back what has been given to you and be humble. Remember those who’ve helped and those who haven’t, don’t carry grudges; laugh at such things.

Buy that second hand guitar and teach yourself to play, you might suck to begin with; but you’ve gotta start somewhere and learn. Find others who suck and befriend them. Learn to play and figure this stuff out together. Put a band together and start to jam; get that first gig but keep playing no matter how crap the reviews are, eventually you’ll learn and eventually you’ll get good. You could even be the next Cobain or Grohl because they never gave up creating. They always had it inside them and so do you.

Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you cannot create.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Ramble #21

There goes another decade, well nearly. Time flies when you’re writing books I guess and this year just sort of crept up from the shadows. The past few weeks have all kinda merged but things are trying to settle down…

Lets talk goals for 2019; because A new year feels like a fresh start, this is my year and it may even be the crowning piece of one hell of a decade.

  • I’m handwriting the first draft for my next book, a paranormal romance in the form of a diary. Yes I said romance, my whole deal in writing is to nail as many genres as I possibly can. If you can tell a story, genres are just the variable. We’re looking at a festive season 2019 release and I may fully self publish this one, I will still need an epic cover though!
  • Book Code named ‘Project X43’… or the real title ‘Jack Thorn’ – ‘In the future there will be robots… and this book is my writing destiny’. This year I’m finishing the rebooted draft and I’m going to find an agent and get it published (yep easier said than done). Those who have followed me from the start will recognize the ‘Thorn’ name and yes this book is massively linked to it.

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  • Darke Blood Sequel: ‘Darke Awakening’ has already been drafted and for those who have been keeping up this one serves as not only a sequel to ‘DB’ but it’s the continuation of Open Evening and Cemetery House. This year I will hopefully edit and set a release date for the Awakening. It will probably see the ‘light’ in 2020.

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So that’s all of my writing goals for 2019, let me just take this opportunity to say, keep it real, be safe and may the force be with you!