Junior Inquisitor

Junior Inquisitor

Saturday, August 29, 2015

My review of Hope 239 by Jeffery Goff

Fiction has always been a way to safely explore ideas and concepts without riling up those in power. "I'm not criticizing the king," says the author, “that is a fictional character complaining about a ruler in a make-believe country,” and with that the author gets to keep his head attached, most of the time.
Science- fiction took up this mantle as it was created, asking how would man act in space, how would humans react to meting aliens? What if the aliens were violent/ peaceful/ inscrutable/ insane? And many, many more ideas and questions.
Science fiction also asked philosophical concepts like, “What are the limits of freedom?”
Not by directly asking the question, of course, but by placing the characters in a situation where boundaries were tested, and showing what happened next.

Equality for the masses-sorta

What indeed Piggy, what indeed.

Some might say that in recent years Sci-Fi has lost that edge, it has become more about telling a good story, or worse yet, advancing a political ideology, rather than asking its readers to think about difficult subjects. For the most part, I disagree, what has happened is that some social mores have shifted, science has advanced, and as a result, answered those questions that early Sci-Fi authors asked.
Totalitarian regimes fail, both those driven by Romanticism and Realism as well as those led by messianic figures. Sexual liberation is possible, but there is a cost both to the individual and to society. Individualism taken to the extreme leads to anarchy, not utopia. You can not chemically “improve” a person for any length of time, nor can we alter the mind, yet.
There are plenty of other basic questions that have not yet been answered and the best authors still ask them.

Jeffery says - "I will make you think while you enjoy my stories."
Hope 239 is one such book. On the surface it is a simple tale about a colony ship that has traveled to another series of worlds and is about to begin settlement. Under the surface of the words, however, are some very dark, uncomfortable questions.
Can you be called “aware,” and still be blindly obedient to instructions?
If the perceived best course of action is for a subset of a group to commit suicide, so that the rest may flourish, is it still the best course of action?
Is there a difference between domestication and slavery?

Buy me today!

As I have said before, books that make me think, while telling a damn fine story are my favorite kind. Hope 239 is this kind of book and I look forward to Jeffery's next novel.


                          Available now on Amazon as both an e-book and paperback
                                                        Hope 239

The Soulless Monk, number two in the Inquisitor Series, is just about ready to go. Once it is formatted and submitted for publication I will have a date when it will be available.

Blurb from The Soulless Monk
Brother Sebastian is in trouble. Again. Banished from New England and sent to train with the hyper-violent Hammers, Sebastian wants to atone, but an army of necromancers, battle-mages, and at least one sorceress is seriously messing up his plans. James, former Inquisitor and disciple of Thaddeus, is lurking about, and even with the help of a bunch of heavily-armed Hammers, will Sebastian be able stop gut-rippers, constructs, lichs...and a newly returned Thaddeus?

Junior Inquisitor, book number one of the Inquisitor Series, is still a bargain at 2.99. You can find it at Amazon in both paperback and e-book.

or at Smashwords as an e-book

Smashwords - Junior Inquisitor


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Jack Hammer by Dr. Lynne Campbell

Some of us, the lucky ones, are rarely touched by darkness, some go into the dark to learn and help the rest of us understand, if possible. Let me introduce my friend Dr. Lynne Campbell and her latest book Jack Hammer.

I've looked into the darkness
Dr. Lynne Campbell holds a Ph.D in Forensic Psychology and specializes in Serial Crime. She has worked in both open and closed custody settings, interviewing, assessing, Serial Offenders, for more than 10 years. Dr. Campbell has also spent just as long teaching "The Prevention and Management of Aggressive Behaviour", "Defusing Hostility", "Community Safety", and "The Personality Disorders". She has taught at hospitals in Canada such as Mount Sinai, Toronto General, and CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health), as well as for Students of The University of Toronto, York University, George Brown College, and CTI (Canadian Training Institute).

What's wrong with Jack? ...Everything.
Jack Hammer isn't like everyone else. In fact, you could say that he's 'all wrong'. He just can't seem to stop doing very BAD THINGS. Maybe someone will stop him. No...Jacky's way too smart for that.
This is both his story, and his diary of evil deeds. Are you brave enough to experience The Hammer?
Extreme Horror Violence and Brutality. Graphic Depictions. Adult Content and Language.

A few questions –
Most serial killers are sad onanists from the fringes of society, who are quickly caught, why are we so fascinated with them?
I feel our the fascination with Serial Killers stems from the desire to understand the unknown. They are still not so easily explained with respect to the 'Why?' of how they lack most of the emotions in the human spectrum as well as to their addiction to killing. The great debate of Natures vs. Nurture continues in Forensics. Additionally, they are often of extremely high intelligence, and are difficult to catch. In some cases they have been killing for years, with unimaginably high body counts, before they are apprehended (if they are apprehended). There are always a large number of active Serial Killers in the world and I believe people want to know why, and how to better protect themselves and their loved ones.
Where you got some of your ideas?
My ideas for Jack Hammer are based upon my experiences and my knowledge of Serial Predators over the course of my career. I took the most extreme cases and combined them to create the enigma that is Jack. As a character of fiction, but rooted in true crime, he is a safe learning tool for those that want to get inside the mind of such a heinous predator. It's violent and upsetting, because they are, but knowledge is power.
Any literary inspirations?
My literary inspirations are vast and include the works of Doug Clark (former RCMP Officer who established Profiling), Dr. Scott Peck, Martha Stout, Colin Wilson, Doug Seaman, and John Douglas (Former FBI Profiler and Task Force Lead), to name a few.
Big fan of what kind of genre of books?
My favorite genres include True Crime, Horror fiction, The Occult (non-fiction), Paranormal Investigations (non-fiction), World History, World Religion, Spirituality, as well as Urban Legends and Folklore.
        Plans for the next book?

I do have the outline for my next book in the works. It's called Mr. Stone, which is an acronym for 'Monster', which will be an Occult Horror Fiction novel. I have to keep a lid on the rest for now, except to say it will explore other realms and the darkness that may come for us should we open the wrong 'doors'.


What is the underlying message about your book?
"It is not a random book of violence. It is the tale of the evolution of a Serial Predator worse than any in history, based on my experiences, research, and knowledge as a Forensic Psychologist. I created the novel so that people can learn about the way these individuals think, the emotions we have that they lack (empathy, compassion, love, regret, remorse, guilt), and how they behave. I hope to open the reader's eyes about how such predators stalk and lure people in, so that they may better protect themselves in the real world. There is an educational and informational purpose to Jack Hammer. I hope the majority of people who read my updated Preview and my novel, will see the bigger picture here. I do not condone what Jack Hammer does. I do not condone violence, period. I am showing his cruelty and his violent nature in graphic detail in my novel because there are people out in the real world who have a cruel and violent nature. Jack Hammer is vile and disturbing because such predators are vile and disturbing. There are people that torture and kill both animals and people, and the more we can understand about them, the better off we are. There are people who are wired differently, and who feel nothing with regard to the suffering of others. Many of them. Knowledge is Power. Ignorance is not bliss. The wiser we are, the safer we are."


Jack Hammer is available now on Amazon.

If you want some madness and mayhem from a slightly less scientific perspective,

Monsters, Witches, Madness, and those who have to stop them!

Now for the low price of 2.99, less than a cup of fancy coffee, and never bitter.

                        Amazon - http://goo.gl/D6KrbX

                Smashwords - http://goo.gl/XsGgAC

Saturday, August 22, 2015

I've lost my writing buddy

I haven’t done much writing recently. Sure, I’ve posted to Twitter, responded to emails, but actual writing? The kind of work where through pain and thought, words are extruded in bloody clumps? Written ideas which are polished and fitted properly to spark the imagination, so that you have, as Mark Twain described, lightening and not the lightening bug; for that I’ve been quiet.
Is it feeding time?
I’ve been reserved because I have lost my writing buddy. Calvin the Helper Dog died on the 9th of August, and I’ve just not been motivated to, figuratively, pick up the pen and sally forth into battle. I haven’t been able to write about his death as the lovely Dr. Farish was on vacation, and nothing ends fun on the beach faster than finding out your dog, your protector and house guardian, is dead. The choice was wreck her vacation, or keep mum on the issue. Either choice was going to get me in trouble. I kept silent, until now.

He was sick often the last few months.
At the Vet hospital I got a lot of dumb looks and suggestions for really expensive tests from very specialized clinics in the region. With a broad spectrum antibiotic, he got better for a bit, and then started to crash again, eventually they figured out it was Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Compounding their inability to do good medicine, the antibiotic prescribed was ½ of the therapeutic dose. Dogs can survive RMSF, but only if it is caught early and treated properly. We figured out the dose was wrong and fixed it, and for a while Calvin was doing better. The fever went away, he was back to himself. Things were good. Several weeks later, however, a few days after my wife left for her vacation, which I had to miss out on due to military duty, his appetite disappeared again. It got hard for him to walk, he lost proprioception, and then, he died. And I could not tell her.

Calvin lived for about 7 and a half years, not terribly long for a dog, even one as big (145 pounds) as he grew to be as an adult.
Really he did start off small
I used to joke that Calvin was the Incredible Hulk of Rhodesian Ridgebacks, he was at least a third larger than any other of his breed I have met. He was not fat, but just taller, wider, and more muscular than any other of his kind. The last time we took him to a dog park he stared barking with joy and the place emptied quickly. His chin was actually higher than our first dining-room table. Big is too small of a word to describe him. Perhaps massive would be better.

Sitting he was about 3 feet tall

Like everything in life he was not perfect, he had a stubborn streak, which meant learning things like “sit,” “stay,” “stop gnawing on the neighbor’s cat,” took a while to sink in. He would occasionally counter surf, and if you were unaware, food would vanish, but for the most part he’d beg and with those sad hound dog brown eyes and guilt you into providing treats.
I deserve this treat
When he was little he was allowed on our old couch, and never quite understood why he couldn’t get on the new one. He did eat a rug I’d brought back from Afghanistan, and when he had digestive issues…. I’ll let you figure out the rest.
I'd never eat a book though
Still, he was there, ready to play, or watch me type and curse my way through a book or article, or even a computer generated zombie attack. If there were crunchy leaves to run through and roll around in, he was a happy, happy doggie. 
I will protect your from the evil squirrels

I never had to worry about my wife or little girl not being safe or the house being broken into while he lived. If anyone ever cased my house or admired the smoking hot redhead out for a walk, any nefarious ideas vanished upon seeing Calvin. He never forgot who I was and was excited to see me when I returned even if I was gone for a year or so on one of my deployments.

He was a good dog, he was my dog, he was a part of our family, and I miss him very much.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Duncan Ralston is ready to scare the pants off of you.

Grab you blankie, because Canadian Horror Meister Duncan Ralston is here to tell us about his latest scare-fest GRISTLE & BONE

Duncan when he's happy; you do not want to see angry.

Short and novella-length dark fiction from the twisted imagination of Duncan Ralston.

"Mr. Ralston writes horror fiction that is unflinching and pulls no punches." - The Ginger Nuts of Horror

"A collection of stories that will have you glued to them from the first words." - Confessions of a Reviewer

"God damn is Ralston a fine writer!" - DLS Reviews

"Duncan Ralston is writing honest stories about real people, pitched headlong into extraordinary situations. And that is what makes them so horrifying." - Ken Preston, author of Joe Coffin (review for Dirge Magazine)

               From the story //END USER

     The final message from Mason's mysterious Spammer was a link. He didn’t want to see what this person—or persons—had to show him, but curiosity trumped logic yet again. Logic wasn’t having a very good day.

Squinching his eyes shut, Mason clicked it.

He heard the rumble and screech of a subway train.

No, his mind screamed. No, no, NO!

But his eyes confirmed the answer was indeed yes. Yes, it was College Station. Yes, the timecode was just about the time of the suicide—or murder—and yes, he was more than a little terrified. His heart leapt like a cat in a cage as he muted the sound.

The train entered a crowded station. Passengers filed out, passengers filed in. The doors closed, and the train rolled on. The security camera had a good view of the Designated Waiting Area, looking down on the benches and waste cans, the suicide hotline phone—diplomatically (as was Canadian custom) referred to as the "Crisis Link"—and the yawning black mouth of the exit tunnel.

A few riders were left on the platform, one of whom was a man in a trench coat who stood on the yellow line, much too close to the tracks. A few more people filed in: a woman with an overly large stroller (what Mason liked to call a Baby Mobile Command Unit); a man walking while staring at his tablet; a gaggle of teenage girls laughing and acting generally annoying; and a man with a bushy beard and stained coveralls, who looked like he could have been homeless.

Suddenly a huge spark of electricity zapped out from the covered cables on the wall. Tablet Man, who'd been leaning against the wall to read, jumped out of the way, his large feet kicking out comically as he backed into Trenchcoat. Trenchcoat stumbled, still much too close to the tracks. He swung his arms in a circular motion to regain his balance, the tail of his coat whipping out behind him like an actor in a John Woo movie.

Too late. Trenchcoat disappeared behind the ledge. Smoke began to rise, presumably from the third rail, as a crowd gathered. The homeless-looking man ran for the edge and reached out. A charred hand came up from the tracks, grasping at it….

The homeless man jerked a look to the left. He jumped to his feet and waved his arms frantically.

Bystanders leapt back in terror as the train rushed in, filling the void, wincing as the train crushed the man in the trench coat to death.

              Lots more where that came from

After doctors tell her she can't be pregnant, Candace learns that not every child is a gift.

Disgraced soldier Dean Vogel returns to his hometown and confronts the bullies, and a horrifying event, from his past.

A reporter uncovers what really happened to the latest internet sensation, a troubled girl who disappeared on camera.

Gonzo pornographers learn a brutal lesson following a tragedy they inadvertently caused when life imitated "art."

Anti-social conspiracy theorist Mason Adler’s life is turned upside-down when he begins receiving eerily personal and prophetic spam that could be heralding the Apocalypse.

A couple discovers the secret of a tourist town's prosperity may lie in its sinfully delicious cuisine.

When successful restaurant owners Jim and Leanne Taymor confess to a grisly series of small town murders, their neighbor learns the gruesome truth that led them to kill. In Knee High, Nebraska, someone–or something–has been stalking household pets in the dead of night… but would they rather be hunting us?

Feeling brave? You know you want to buy a copy. Go ahead; what's the worst that can happen?

                 Get your copy today : Gristle & Bone

Now if you are looking for dark urban fantasy that's almost horror, there's always my book, Junior Inquisitor.

The Soulless Monk will be coming out soon as well, so make room on your shelf, bedside table, or reading cubby because Sebastian is back with even more troubles, monsters, and darkness to fight.

Smashwords - http://goo.gl/XsGgAC

Google Play - http://goo.gl/g2kNPa

Saturday, August 1, 2015

When my reaction is “Meh,”

Last night the lovely Dr. Farish and I went out for dinner and a show. Being upper tier, almost aristocratic snobby types,

Like this, but in color, and I'm not the PM of England.

we usually hit the Roller Derby,
I'm the distinguished gentleman in the background.
but this time decided to break up the routine a bit and return to Medieval Madness. Think dinner theater, only far less scripted, the audience gets involved, it's set in the 1300's, there's actual sword-fights, and the food is actually quite good.

This will teach you to not take the last slice of roast beef again!

Oh yes, they have a LARGE selection of beer, ales, mead, and wine; inebriation is almost required. Dr. Farish and I have been there several times before, and it's always a fun experience. Last night, after the show, the wife and I talked to the owners/ main performers, and they asked what we thought of the new material they were trying out. It was tough to reply, did I have a good time? Yes, definitely. Will I return? Damn skippy. Would I recommend others to go? Yep.

But the new show was just okay in my mind. It wasn't bad, but for what ever reason if just did not make me laugh as much last night as in prior times. Perhaps it was me. Different things are more or less funny to me depending upon my mood. Worse there was no one thing I could really put my finger on, no one screwed up their lines, parts were quite good, the sword fight was the best I've seen, and I had a great seat for watching it. Food was great and there was enough of it, and I tried out a new beer which was very tasty. And yet....

Get to the point already!

Occasionally the same thing happens when I've been asked to critique a book. Now it is easy to give an honest and in-depth critique if the book is excellent, or if it's crappy. I've read books where the formatting had words all over the place, one where an entire chapter was repeated. There have been cases where there were so many typos, misspellings, and poorly constructed sentences, that I had to stop. I have run into stories that were two-dimensional, where it was all tell, and read like a giant run on sentences, devoid of emotion or movement.

This book needs a good burning!

Then there are more technical matters, where someone has a character jumping out of a jet going Mach-one, without a parachute only to land on a “just happened to be in the neighborhood,” blimp, and after subduing the entire, evil league of evil, crew with a toothpick and one liners, the hero lands in time to rescue the orphans from their burning building. Or the characters are sneaking into a hostile country on a super-classified, plausibly deniable, secret-squirrel mission, to take care of bad guys toting only US equipment, with their team logo “Good Guys Justice Society,” prominently displayed.

No one will ever guess it was us - totally super secret!

There is character development, where the MC is a bit of a dick, or goes out of his way to kick puppies, or has a back story either bland or incongruous to the situation, “Steve lost the bet, and sacrificed his parents on the blood stained alter of Frodo the Hobbit. He then went on to run the day care in a kind and loving manner, until he met Marissia, daughter of a billionaire who, after being tossed out of her last porn movie for being 'overly slutty' and filled to the gills with cheap tequila, just happened to clip Steve's car when he was at the Farmer's Market to buy fresh food for the children.”

That's an easy to critique story, but what do you do when you have finished the story and it's really not made any impression? When there was nothing wrong with the book, but it was just okay. You have no desire to prepare an auto-de-fe for the author, but at the same time the story did nothing for you? It's easy to spot mistakes, or poor character development, or even far to many pant-less clown jokes, but when the story was 'blah?'

Yeaaaa. I got nothing here man.
Those are the tough critiques for me. Perhaps it was just a one off, I was having a bad day, or was sleepy while reading or something. The only problem is I have very little desire to read the book a second time in order to give it a second chance. And so when the author inevitably asks “what did you think,” I have a tough time answering. I try to help, but it comes across more as bumbling Cthulhu chants that a coherent critique; when the story is just “meh,” there's not much advice I can give.

Now for a story that's really not “meh,” my book Junior Inquisitor.

Okay there is one 3 star rating, but there's 30 five-star ratings.

It's got the thrills you crave.

Smashwords - http://goo.gl/XsGgAC

Google Play - http://goo.gl/g2kNPa