Werewolf? There wolf.

So, I prepared a little surprise for any potential trick-or-treaters (well, there’s no point making it easy, is there?).

Meet Wilf – a six-foot, free-standing werewolf with glowing red eyes. Should sort out the sheep from the goats.

The head is a relic from Halloweens past, actually made for a hoax story in a magazine many years ago. More on that later. For the ‘body’ I used Sir Pell (see previous post) and added some poseable arms. Just because.

Here’s the work in progress pic.

As you see, Wilf actually appears pretty friendly in daylight. At night, however, emerging from the bushes with an uplighter and his eyes lit… Well, we’ll see who makes it to the door.

 

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Sir Pell

Sometimes, you need to hit something with a sword. And occasionally, you want to do so without maiming or killing it. That’s where a pell comes in.

A mainstay of a knight’s training, the pell was essentially a post of approximately human height upon which an individual could practise sword strokes without restraint, building strength and accuracy in a manner that was – in terms of physical commitment, at least – as close to real combat as possible. Often the pell would simply be a rough pole, but later in the medieval period might be fashioned to resemble the enemy of the day.

I wanted a pell I could seriously twat with a variety of weapons. So I made one.

Anyone who has read Hood will recall that Gisburne has an elaborate training device which he calls ‘Sir Pell’, featuring free swinging arms with gimbals and counterweights so it actually responds to attacks with its own counterblows. On one occasion, it knocks Gisburne senseless. I decided to start more simply.

The post is plain timber with a crosspiece at the top, the whole length tightly padded and tied around with hessian sacking. Dimensions are about those of an average man, so mail or other armour can be hung on it if desired. The head is not really designed to withstand heavy blows unprotected (what head is?) but is properly proportioned so a helm will fit it, and is made it so it can take strikes from arrows. An archery target can also be hung over the chest.

I have now given it a good few whacks and can confirm it works well (though the base needs some widening to make it more stable). It’s also immensely therapeutic. You think a punch bag is satisfying? Well, this is the next level.

Even better, though, will be when I dress it up over Halloween to scare the crap out of trick-or-treaters. Time to dig out the old fake wolf’s head, I reckon…

Zombies and guns

zombie meJust in case you missed yesterday’s, #zombiesurvivaltips tweetfest, here they are all gathered into one place, like zed-heads in a mall:

  • The zombie apocalypse (ZA) has happened. You’re in a huge mall that sells everything. What do you grab first?
  • Guns? Lots of guns?
  • You’ve just ensured you’ll last the week. Maybe five days.
  • Minor problem: Guns are loud. That one zed you shot? Great job – but now 100 more are coming your way.
  • Major problem: Guns need ammunition, and no one is making that shit any more.
  • Unless you can make it from scratch, it is a finite resource – and the clock is ticking.
  • I give it a week.
  • A bow, however… It’s quiet. No unwanted attention when you dispatch that one walker that happened to see you.
  • It kills at a distance – better than relying on that machete. (Much as I respect the machete.)
  • Ammunition for a bow CAN be made from scratch. Even a badly made arrow can do the job at close range.
  • But keep it simple. Forget compound bows. If they break, they’re hard to fix. Maybe impossible.
  • So, man up. Train up. Learn to draw a longbow.
  • If you had to, you could even make a simple bow. The materials are all around.
  • This the key to your strategy for surviving a ZA. Get medieval on its ass. Learn to make and do.
  • Learn to live free of industry. Of mass production. Of anything you cannot achieve with your own two hands.
  • So what should you have grabbed in that mall, besides food?
  • Tools. The means to make and do.
  • Congratulations. You just increased your survival chances by 1000%

#zombiesurvivaltips

The Red Hand deleted scenes – free ebook download

image001“Too much! Too much!”

That’s what my editor had said upon receipt of the manuscript of The Red Hand, whilst banging his head repeatedly on the desk.

So, I did the cutting thing – to the book, that is, not him. The end result has now been striding about the world since January, and, I’m happy to say, nabbing four and five star reviews.

But then there were the leftovers. Too good to waste. So, to mark the anniversary of Good King John’s darkest hour I cooked them up into a tasty ebook, which you can have right now, free.

To open and start reading right away, or to download and keep, just click on:

The Red Hand deleted scenes.pdf

God bless King John, and the Devil take the Lionheart!