So you can read my books

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


{"Wisdom is nothing but healed pain."
- Robert Gary Lee.}

{Ghost of Samuel Clemens here.

Roland had entered this "Back To School" Blogfest :

So I will submit for him this excerpt from his YA fantasy, CAPTAIN OUTRAGEOUS,

detailing the adventures of the 13 year old street orphan, Victor Standish,

who's spent his entire life on the streets of seven different cities due to an unstable mother.

While the undead Texas Ranger, Captain Sam McCord, has been distracted by rioting in the Katrina-ravaged streets of New Orleans,

Victor has been knocked unconscious and carried away from the "safety" of the jazz club, Meilori's.

and he's about to learn there's a price to education :


The black in my head was deeper than sleep but not so deep as death. I slowly woke up. I hurt all over.

My head the worst. My wrists were second. I looked up.

Oh, crap.

I was hanging from my bleeding wrists, slowly swaying, the ball bearings in my pockets softly jiggling from it. A spotlight stabbed down upon me.

There was applause.

I was hanging from handcuffs attached to chains from a stage's ceiling. I blinked my eyes to clear my throbbing head.

Hard footsteps to my left. Boots. As black as the Nazi S.S. uniform of the man heading towards me.

Seeing the man sent an ice pick stabbing into my chest.

Captain Sam had pointed this guy out to me last week. He'd warned me to stay away from this madman with the strange stitching all around his neck.

Major Strasser.

He stopped a foot away. He ignored me. My feelings weren't hurt.

He turned to the slowly swaying people in the front row of the theater. I fought down a shiver.

They were swaying to the beating of my heart.

He spoke loud. "You are new to the Hunger. I will begin your orientation with a lesson on Blood Bags."

Their swaying got faster as my heart became a jackhammer trying to punch its way out of my chest. My mouth was desert dry. I was more scared than I had ever been.

But I was Victor Standish. And I wasn't about to knuckle under to any bully.

"Can I skip class, Teach?," I smirked.

He slashed open my face with his riding crop. "Blood Bags are to be silent!"

"What about dirt bags?," I snorted.

Again with the riding crop. "Silence!"

The stage's light gleamed from his bald head, and he muttered under his breath. "The next slash will take out an eye, Standish."

I could take a hint. I shut up.

He turned to the new revenants (that's what Captain Sam called vampires; me, I called them creepy sons of ... the South.)

"Blood Bags are slow."

He hit me in the cheek with the crop.

"Blood Bags are weak." Again with the crop. I was getting real tired of that thing.

He was getting worked up. I was going to lose an eye no matter how quiet I kept.

Lucky that Captain Sam had me doing my own "home schooling" taught me by an undead vaudevillian magician.

Weisz Erik.

Who is he, you ask. You probably know him as Harry Houdini. You really didn't think a live human could get out of all those traps, now, did you?

I had already used the trick he showed me to work my right hand free from its cuff. It had only cost me some blood and skin.

I swallowed hard. The left one was on too tight. I was going to have to break my thumb to get loose.

My heart hammered even harder at the thought of breaking it. I sneered at myself. What was a little more pain? Pain was the only thing I could count on in my life.

"Blood Bags," roared Strasser, " are ...."

He swept down in the same arc. Cocky bastard. I ducked and snatched his crop from his hand with my teeth and spit it out onto the stage.

"... unpredictable, Fritz."

Strasser roared in anger. Just like every thug I'd ever met on the streets, he swept up his arm to backfist me.

Ulysses was my hero. So was Bruce Lee.

I had read every book on acupuncture I could lay my hands on. I knew all the points ... and a few new ones thanks to Captain Sam's library.

I angled my chin just right as the back of Strasser's fist snapped my head back. The point of my chin caught the back of his hand just where I wanted.

He screamed in pain. Yep. That particular point was a bitch.

I used the momentum of his blow to break my left thumb. Damn! That hurt! I dropped like Strasser's jaw. I hit the stage in a roll, popping to my wobbly feet.

"We also read, Cue Ball."

He walked slowly towards me. I made him frown by walking towards him. I smiled thinly.

"Cue Ball, you ever wonder why you can think without a beating heart pumping oxygen to the old noggin? Nah, of course, you didn't. You'd have to be smart to do that."

I turned to the startled revenants on the front row, jerking my unbroken thumb to Strasser. "Who ordered the honey-dew melon?"

He drew a nasty-looking dagger.

I reached into my pocket and came out with my ace in the hole. "Meet my bestest buddy, Mr. Ball Bearing."

Nobody cares if you carry ball bearings in your pockets. They might think you're weird. But on my best day, I'm borderline, so no skin off my nose.

And I've practiced and practiced and practiced with them until I could thumb a ball bearing into a wooden wall so hard it would stick in the hole it made.

"You are dead, swine."

"You first."

I thumbed the ball bearing into the hand he backfisted me with. He screeched. Yeah, the 364th fabled lost acupuncture point. It wasn't just a bitch. It was THE bitch.

Strasser's eyes rolled up, and he reeled like a wet sack of flour to the stage. Yeah, who needed a stake through the heart when you could sever the flow of his chi?

"Does this mean I get an F, Fritz?"

All the revenants on the two rows rose as one, hunched over, their fangs growing. Oh, crap. I couldn't ball bearing them all.

Thunder rumbled angry overhead, and it seemed to become a voice.

"Mighty big compliment they're giving you, Victor."

The revenants froze like deer in the headlights. I flicked my eyes to the voice. The weight flew off my chest.

Ramrod straight, Redwood tall, Captain Sam McCord loped like a prehistoric wolf out onto the stage. All in black, from his Stetson to his boots, he had a Walsh Navy Colt in each hand.

And his eyes were windows into Hell.

"They're saying it takes all of them to make just one of you. But I'll take the edge off that compliment if you don't mind."

"N-No, Captain Sam. I-It'd be greedy of me to hog all the f-fun."

He angled so only I could see him wink. My eyes stung with hot tears. After being scared so, so long on the streets, I wasn't alone anymore.

I didn't even mind the headache from the thundering Colts.



  1. Wow, where do I start? Strasser's head is sewn on, so this takes place after Roland talks to Bogart and then sets off for Hell. Hmmm. Why in the world did someone sew that creep's head back on?

    It would have been of better use to mount it on a wall as a dart board...

    Young Victor has some spunk but I'm very glad Sam showed up.

    Is this taking place around the time Roland is in Hell?

    The movie trailer for Priest looks AWESOME. I'm a Paul Bettany fan....

    This was really great: intense, lots of subtle action, and everyone loves a hero, especially a flawed or conflicted one. Wow.

  2. Words Crafter : This occurs right after my Avator enters Hell, but before Sam enters it.

    You see, Toya lied : McCord hadn't actually entered Hell yet. She wanted my Avatar to die in Hell to set Sam free of the power of my Lakota blood

    Strasser was hoping to kill Standish as a cruelty just before McCord entered Hell. He's a Nazi S.S. officer. They don't enlist saints.

    Thanks for liking my serial. I feel you and Terry and Olivia are the only fans of it. Sigh.

  3. Um, I really have to disagree. While people may not be commenting all the time, I've watched your follower count go up by well over 100 people since you began it.

    Do not despair, my friend. Numbers don't lie!

    Another blogger mentioned that her readership has slacked off lately. People are back in school, running kids to all sorts of sports practices, taking their last vacations of the just ignore stuff sometimes and do what I want. I'm rebellious that way. And I pay for it with the stress of catching up.

    But that's okay, too. I do better under the gun....

    So anyway, consider yourself Gibbs-slapped. Stop letting the negative words of blind, ignorant, and apparently illiterate agents bring you down.

    As soon as this is in some sort of book form, I'm buying it so fast, there will be a smoke trail in cyberspace! Chin up! And, like Vatche says, write on!!!

  4. Words Crafter : Thanks, I needed that. I've just run myself down physically at work I guess. Have a great day tomorrow. Roland

  5. Wow, I must be tired to ramble on so. My comment was so long, and really didn't say a thing about the submission. Deleting; trying again.

    This was such a fun read. I like Victor's sarcasm, and his knowledge and skill in administering pain. Awesome. You know I don't shy away from blood and gore. Not that this was gorey :)

    The pacing on this was excellent. The scene plot reeled out in a steady progress. Loved Sam's entrance. I'm envisioning Stephen King's Roland Deschain - only more personable.

    A good teaching scene.

    Have a good evening Roland. And honestly, I didn't mean to abandon you, or the series. WC is right you know; your followers grow daily, and even if they are not commenting, they must be reading.


  6. This is a part of a series, right? I need to go back and start where it would make more sense than it did right now.
    But even as I do that, I want to tell you how much I like your writing.

  7. although you're writing a dark series, I think of you as a kind sensitive soul, who knows how to fight back with words... and physcially if you have too. correct?

  8. I love the opening line. Really great stuff, but this too:

    Ulysses was my hero. So was Bruce Lee.

    And the part where they're swaying to his heartbeat? Creeptastic.

    Nice job, Roland!

  9. Roland: This was great. Really enjoyed the action and the creative fight scene. You're really talented at coming up with original ways to kick butt. :)

  10. Great scene. Dark and fast and highly entertaining!

  11. I liked the MC in this Roland - defiant and humourous in the face of adversity. As usual, this piece is full of your vivid descriptions and imagery. Count me as a regular reader, irregular commenter. Life's been busy - isn't it always? - and keeping my own blog updated week-daily is like laying tracks in front of a moving train. Anway, know that the first thought I have after reading one of your pieces is usually, "why isn't this published?"

  12. Dude, I LOVE the ball bearings. It's hard to come up with unique and interesting weapons, and I'm not sure where you got that idear, but it's a good one.

    WC mentioned it before I did, but you have a larger following than you think. It's the Silent Majority thing. I poke in and read from time-to-time (I'm not an avid daily blogger), and don't always comment, and I miss some of your posts since you are more active than I am.

    But I always like what I read.

    You bundle up your stories, edit em, find some way to get em published, and I'll buy the best of them, maybe even the worst, and that's a guarantee.

    You're dark as hell, have that cornball wittiness that reminds me of both Jack Sparrow and Jack Burton, guys who are 51% cool, 49% goob, if you get my drift, and you have a fast-paced and easy-to-read style that engages and delights the reader.

    I don't say that lightly, bro. I dig your work and your voice. You're one of the few bloggers I follow who aren't romance or YA-para!

    One of the fewer still who write straight-up MAN BOOKS!

    There's a reason you have 5x the followers I do. Think about that point.

    Anyway. Nice post. I was too entertained to bother with editing or critiquing it.

    - Eric

  13. I think this is one of my favorites of yours. I adore your first hooked me instantly..."The black in my head was deeper than sleep but not so deep as death."
    This piece has great pacing for the story. The action is well placed and clearly you have put some work into it. thanks for posting.

  14. threw me into that world inhabited by Dickens orphans and runaways! I loved the cocky inner voice of the kid, the knowledge that explained his daring escape...but most of all I enjoyed his giving in a little to his relief when McCord stepped in. I was actually cheering. Great last did it again, Roland.

    Edge of Your Seat Romance

  15. I'm a fan, too! I just don't always have time to read. I do try to catch up when I HAVE time though!

    And let me tell you, I can't WAIT to read it in print because really if noone snatches this up they're just stupid.

    All the best and PLEASE KEEP GOING WITH YOUR STORIES I love reading them!

  16. Yikes!!! That was one lesson I'm glad Victor escaped from! Very gutsy, bloody and viscious! And those were the good guys! :-)

    Take care

  17. This story is epic. It's filled with life lessons, sadness, cruelty, but most of all, bravery in the face of the cruelty, danger and pending defeat. Truly a tale for heros and heroines! :) Bravo!!!

  18. Donna : Yes, Sam is a bit like Stephen King's Roland but with a larger heart, coming from seeing his family murdered before his eyes and not being able to do anything about it. I'm glad you liked the pacing.

    Jo : Happy you liked it -- I saw it as a movie in my head.

    Rayna : Yes, all my stories about Sam are interconnected in some way. I hope you were able to enjoy it anyway.

    Letters : I was deserted on the roughest street in Detroit by my father and survived as best I could like Victor. But I strive to keep a poet's soul. Thanks for picking up on that.

    Elena : I was aiming for creepiness in the swaying. Happy it worked. Thanks.

    Mesmerix : I tried to be original in ways to tackle the bad guys. I'm very pleased you liked this way.

    Jennifer : Yes, Victor is a kid who kicks butt.

    Franklin : I loved your analogy about blog writing as laying tracks in front of a moving train. Isn't it though!

    Eric : Your praise means a lot to me. I was beginning to feel as if perhaps I was boring my friends. And that wouldn't be very neighborly of me! And Victor would be pleased with the comparisons to Jack Sparrow and Jack Burton!

    Summer : I worked hard on that first line, and I'm pleased you liked it and the rest of the story.

    Raquel : You caught that Victor puts on a bold front to fool the predators but deep down is frightened. That you felt like cheering at the end means so much to me.

    Tessa : Your encouragement puts the wind back into my sagging sails. Thanks. Roland

  19. Kitty : Yes, I'm glad Victor didn't have to pay too steep a tuition for this lesson. As for the new revenants, McCord taught them never to pick on a young boy he loves as a father.

    Terry : Victor is a 13 year old Ulysses all right ... with a bit of MacGuyver thrown in. I tried to make Victor's story and McCord's as well, one that is epic.

    In a sense we are all living an epic. We are outnumbed, the "gods" (politicians, people in power over us) seem all too often oblivious to our plight or against us -- My stories are meant to light a small flame of hope and laughter within all who read them.

    Thanks for liking my efforts. It means a lot, Roland

  20. THEATRE OF BLOOD/LESSONS OF PAIN --> Chilling and Thrilling. You never disappoint. I want to read more! Loved it! :D

  21. Roland, I don't just like your efforts. They are more than efforts. I love your stories and their wisdom. You are a poet and a philosopher.

    You light a bigger flame of hope than you may think. And yes, laughter. We all need that, my friend:)

  22. Brenda : Victor thanks you. I try not to disappoint. Your praise helps me keep keeping on.

    Terry : You thinking of me as a poet and philosopher puts you in the company of my best friend, Sandra ... who then tweaks my nose, telling me not to let it go to my head!

    The thought that I help kindle hope and laughter in the cyber-darkness helps me feel that, even though I may never be published, my efforts weren't totally in vain. Thanks is too small a word, Terry and my other friends who've commented today. Roland

  23. What was a little more pain? Pain was the only thing I could count on in my life.

    Lovely words that bring out Victor's character, and I love how you put Houdini into this, great job!

  24. Hey, Roland! Sorry to get by here so late...

    You always have the most interesting stories, and this one is no exception.

    Some of my favorite lines:

    "The black in my head was deeper than sleep but not so deep as death."

    "...I looked up.
    Oh, crap."

    "A spotlight stabbed down upon me."

    "Seeing the man sent an ice pick stabbing into my chest."

    But the best has to be:

    "They were swaying to the beating of my heart."


    Great entry. Thanks for participating in my blogfest!