Junior Inquisitor

Junior Inquisitor

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Eden Royce's "Containment"

While it may come as a surprise to some, not everywhere celebrates Thanksgiving today. Tragic I know, but thems the facts. Why, my cousins in Canada already celebrated their Day of Thanks! So while I spend the day editing, perhaps smoking a cigar and drinking bourbon, playing with little girl, and salivating as the lovely Dr. Farish turns a nearly flightless bird into dinner, I have the talented Eden Royce to carry the day for my weekly blog post, here to talk about her novella “Containment.” As usual I do have an announcement about The Witch's Lair, which will be at the end of the post.

Life is different among the dead.”
They are kept in chambers, their energy used to feed the City’s voracious appetite for fuel now that traditional sources are long gone. These grisly fuel cells are kept watch over by Feast, a devil-human hybrid whose recent run-ins with the City leave him questioning its authority.

When he is needed to bring in one of the most dangerous creatures for containment, Feast is faced with a decision that may make him the next power source.

Life is different among the dead. It didn’t completely end for them, but it changed. Most still had movement. Some held on to desire. Some kept sadness or rage. It fascinated me even as I watched them, intent blazing in their eyes.
You’d think their eyes would be empty. But they were vibrant and full of hatred. And revenge. And I was alone with them.
Swirling patterns of phosphorescence left by wraiths turned into grotesque artwork as they moved about their containment chambers. On rare occasions these ghosts, or spirits, or whatever they were, stopped moving long enough for me to get a good look at their faces as they spiraled toward me at astounding speeds. They were hollow-cheeked, wide-eyed, and terrifying as their transparent forms thudded against the glass. The sound danced off the walls and echoed in my ears.
Even after doing this job for over five years, it was still mesmerizing to watch the random movements of their incorporeal bodies as they slammed against the Pseudoglas to no avail. In lab tests, the barrier had held against simulated hurricanes and tsunamis; it wouldn’t be affected by infuriated ghostflesh.
It affected me, though. Each shift in this cramped office alone watching over the spirit room killed my hopes a little. Constant reminders that each person, down to the humblest soul would end up here, as a restless phantom or tormented spirit giving the City the last of its spectral energy.
Row after row of clear reinforced Pseudoglas separated the dead from my mortal flesh and kept them from having any effect outside their boxes. Apparitions. Ribbon ghosts swirled their light trails into crude abstract designs. Spectral vortexes with their roiling, tornadic force slammed against their confines. Their eerie cacophony was the soundtrack of my dreams and nightmares.
Main Character's motivations:
Feast is motivated partially by the need for self-discovery. He’s part human and part devil. Since he doesn’t know his father, he’s left feeling like a part of his nature is a mystery even to himself.
What are their secret strengths/ weaknesses?
Feast’s strength is he’s a loner. He knows he’s different and doesn’t feel the need to conform or try to fit the mold.
His weakness is he underestimates his abilities and doesn’t know his true strength. Yet.
Any philosophical issues in this story? If so how do you address them, how does MC live and overcome them?
The issue of death is the underlying theme of the story. Is it right to use spectral energy to power a city? Shouldn’t the dead just rest in peace?
Abuse of natural resources is addressed as well. There was a war over resources and while the reader won’t see the war itself in the book, all characters are dealing with the fallout.
Any offbeat, obscure or 80s references?
Aw…now I wish I had some.
This story takes place in the future, specifically the twenty-second century. How we live now is ancient history and most pop culture references are lost to time. There is a reference to books made of paper and the few crumbling copies are preserved as decorations in digital libraries. No one’s read them. But maybe they should.

When did you start to write this one and why?
Around five years ago, Containment started as a short story because I wanted to write about a character who had grown up with one parent and knew little to nothing about the other. Feast knows only that he is part devil and his father’s people are hated.
While Feast is older for a human, he’s young for a devil. He wonders what traits he shares with the devils and as he gets older, what is he going to become?
The world grew until I had a novella. Then I had people emailing me, wanting to know more about Feast and the next thing I knew I was writing a trilogy.

What's next in this series or in your next book?
Containment is (currently) a three part series. In part two, Feast is being hunted. Not by ghosts—which he can handle—but by creatures he’s never seen before, determined to destroy him. The only lead he has to go on is his father, so Feast travels to the city of devils to find answers. But has he gotten himself into even deeper trouble?

Preview of your next book?
Feast!” The young woman leaped at me, mouth open. Her long, oddly thick teeth hung over her lower lip. She was fast and had me knocked over and pinned to the conference room floor before my synth coffee arrived.
The real horror is that nothing so stressful should happen before coffee.

When will it be available?
If I can keep my pace up, I expect Containment 2 to be released in January 2016.

Eden Royce is descended from women who practiced root, a type of conjure magic in her native Charleston, South Carolina. She currently lives in Kent, The Garden of England, with her husband and a maniacal black cat named Samurai. Featured in her work are the language and traditions of the Gullah people, descendants of the first slaves brought to the Sea Islands off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia.
Eden is also one of the writers for The 7 Magpies project, a first of its kind: a short horror film anthology written and directed entirely by black women. She is also the horror submissions editor for Mocha Memoirs Press where she conceived and edited The Grotesquerie, an anthology of twenty-one horror short stories written by women. She also writes a regular feature for Graveyard Shift Sisters, a site dedicated to purging the black female horror fan from the margins, where she interviews black female authors and reviews their latest work.
When she’s not writing, Eden loves roller-skating, watching quiz shows, and perfecting her signature dish for Masterchef. Learn more about Eden’s brand of horror via her social media links.


The first 2/3 of The Witch's Lair are back for the second round of edits. The cover has also been finalized. Designed by the talented Danielle Fine, who has once again captured the book in visual form. Expect the cover reveal soon.

Junior Inquisitor

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The Witch's Lair, number three in the Inquisitor Series, release date - Valentine's day 2016. Excerpt follows
Brother Sam come here quickly,” I sent out.
He shambled up and looked down.
Oh no, not again,” he said sweat pouring of off his white face.
What is it?”
A Mine Wretch,” he said in a shaky voice. “Mine accident occurs, miners are trapped and die, slowly. As they die one by one in the dark, something turns that fear into anger and creates a Mine Wretch. A body of sorts is formed from the rock and it begins to hunt. It’ll kill anything alive and stomp the body to bits. That’s why I joined.”

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Armand Rosamilia talks about zombies and Hell’s Bells: Highway To Hell 2

Got a hankering for Zombies? The Walking Dead just not doing it for you? Well come on down to the Sunshine State and meet Armand Rosamilia. That's right, wildly prolific horror author Armand Rosamilia is here to talk about Highway To Hell 2. And as usual I'll throw in a few lines and updates from The Witch's Lair.


Randy Jackson's car has been stolen by a hot redhead, more guns pointed at his face than he can count, and zombies around every corner. Just when he's about to toss in the towel, a mysterious blonde saves him... but why?

The long-awaited sequel to "Highway To Hell" (which began the "Dying Days" zombie series) and sequel to "Dying Days: Origins" is upon us...

The zombie apocalypse is in full swing but sometimes your fellow survivors are more deadly than the undead.

Main Character's motivations

Randy's motivated by survival and not getting bitten by a zombie. He's a coward who tries to convince himself otherwise at times, but he's just not built to fight off a horde of zombies or other survivors.

What's Randy's secret strengths/ weaknesses

He's not as cowardly as he thinks he is. Despite his track record of sometimes getting the job done, he is very down on himself. But when push comes to shove he finds a small well of strength to overcome.

Any philosophical issues in this story? If so how do you address them, how does MC live and over come them?

The issue is who is worse: the zombies or the other survivors. Randy has to figure out in which world would he be safer: living on the streets with zombies or inside a compound with people who aren't the nicest people.

Any offbeat obscure or 80s references?

The main character's name is Randy Jackson, not named after the American Idol guy but the lead singer of Long Island rock band Zebra from the 1980's. I always sprinkle in pop references in most of my stories.

When did you start to write this one and why?

I started Highway To Hell 2 about six months ago. it had been over five years since the first one came out. I've been busy writing other books in this same world for my Dying Days series, but never got back to Randy's story until now.


Hell’s Bells: Highway To Hell 2

Armand Rosamilia

Chapter One
       Randy Jackson didn’t know the make and model of the pistol aimed at his forehead and right now he didn’t care. His arms were growing tired from keeping them over his head. His shitty day was getting worse and worse.

Where’d the woman go?” the dirty man holding the gun finally asked through rotting teeth. He was flanked by two men also threatening Randy with weapons. “The redhead. We saw her drive away in a car.”

My car,” Randy said. “She stole it. She left me stranded.”

Lover’s spat?” one of the men asked and all three laughed, but kept their guns aimed at Randy’s head.

I didn’t really get to chat with her much. She jumped me and took my car. That’s about it,” Randy said.

Bullshit. You’ve been with her for awhile and she fucked you out of your wheels. Isn’t that right?”

Randy sighed and put his arms down. If they were going to kill him they’d do it regardless of where his hands were. “Not even close.”

I’m listening,” the leader said.

I drove into town and when I stopped the woman carjacked me. I barely saw her but I’m guessing there aren’t too many redheads running around. That’s it. I’ve been wandering around for a couple of days trying to keep warm and find another way out.”

Where did you come from?”

Baltimore area,” Randy said.

Why’d you leave Baltimore?”

Because it’s worse there than here, if you can believe it. I was… out of my head for a bit. I lost someone very near and dear to me.”

We all did,” one of the other guys said. “The fucking redhead killed a lot of people before she left. We’re going after her.”

The leader shook his head and stopped aiming at Randy’s head. “No, we ain’t. We have no way to follow her and it is too damn cold. We have no real idea where she’s heading, either.”

South,” the guy offered. “Jimbo and me were on the roof when we saw her driving south.”

Well, that really helps clear it up. Easy as pie now. We just go south. It ain’t like it’s a thousand miles to fucking Key West. And that’s if the bitch drives straight down and follows I-95. God forbid she turns at any point,” the leader said. “You’re an idiot. You know that?”

Randy sighed. “Look, I’m no harm. I’m just a guy having a shitty week. I want to find somewhere to sleep that’s warm tonight. The zombies are everywhere and we’re standing in the middle of the road.”

You ain’t going anywhere, buddy. So shut the fuck up and put your hands back on your head,” the leader said. “We’ll decide what to do with you once we get back to the warehouse.”

Does the warehouse have heat?” Randy asked. His fingers were on the verge of being frost-bitten. The days were getting nicer but at night it was still really cold.

We live on the roof,” one of the men said.

Shut up,” the leader said. “There’s no room for you at the warehouse.”

Randy was confused. “Huh? You just said you’d figure out what to do with me once we got back to the warehouse. I heard you. How about you guys?”

You did say it,” one of the men admitted.

I changed my fucking mind,” the leader yelled. “He’s another mouth to feed and we’re almost out of food. This town is dried up. Ain’t nothing left but zombies. But no one will listen to me. I’m not watching him.” He held up his pistol and took a step back. “I’m going to kill him and be done with it.”

I think there’s an easier way,” Randy said, having no clue what it would be but trying to stall. He had his arms up again, waving his hands. “We can work this out. Every move doesn’t have to end in violence, buddy… I’m Randy. Randy Jackson.”

Like the guy from American Idol?” one of them asked. “You, uh, don’t look like him.”

Randy had heard it a million times. Right now he didn’t want to get into a long-winded explanation about where his name came from. Although… “Have you ever heard of a rock band from Long Island called Zebra?”

All three men shook their heads. At least no one had shot him yet.

I was named after the lead singer from what my mom tells me. I don’t know if it’s true or a coincidence. But I never had a problem until the show came on. I’ve even had people ask if we’re related,” Randy said. When the men laughed he felt relief. Maybe he could get them to joke around. He’d do a dance if it meant staying alive.

That’s a great story. So long, Randy Jackson,” the leader said.

Randy closed his eyes. End of the line, he thought. What a horrible life and a horrible way to die.

What's next in this series or in your next book?

Highway To Hell 2 wraps up the story for not only Highway To Hell but also a character from Dying Days: Origin. From this point on I'll only be writing the main Dying Days story.

Preview of your next book?

Nothing I can share just yet. Working on Dying Days 6 for a June 2016 release.

When will it be available?

Highway To Hell 2 is available right now.


Armand and cuddly Cthulhu


Armand Rosamilia is a New Jersey boy currently living in sunny Florida, where he writes when he's not sleeping. He's happily married to a woman who helps his career and is supportive, which is all he ever wanted in life...
He's written over 150 stories that are currently available, including horror, zombies, contemporary fiction, thrillers and more. His goal is to write a good story and not worry about genre labels.
He runs two very successful podcasts on Project iRadio,
Arm Cast: Dead Sexy Horror Podcast - interviewing fellow authors as well as filmmakers, musicians, etc.
Arm N Toof's Dead Time Podcast - with co-host Mark Tufo, the duo interview authors and filmmakers and anyone else they feel like talking with.
He also loves to talk in third person... because he's really that cool. He's a proud Active member of HWA as well.
You can find him at
http://armandrosamilia.com for not only his latest releases but interviews and guest posts with other authors he likes!
And e-mail him to talk about zombies, baseball and Metal:



Edits for The Witch's Lair, Inquisitor Series #3, continue,

expect to be finished by this weekend or next.


Junior Inquisitor
Still just $2.99
Inquisitor Series - http://goo.gl/mJtTf8


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Excerpt from The Witch's Lair, Book Three of the Inquisitor Series - We only got in a few miles, far enough that no one could hear our screams, when a twig fury stepped out from behind a tree, and tackled me. A twig fury is exactly what it sounds like, five feet of angry sticks held together by a bitter, malevolent spirit, bent on mayhem and death. 


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Michael Durkota's Once in a Blue Year

As I'm busy working my fingers to the bone, getting The Witch's Lair (Inquisitor Series #3) ready, another Indie Author has offered to help me out with this week's post. Also, as promised, there are a few lines from The Witch's Lair at the bottom of the post, if you want a teaser of what will happen next to Brother Sebastian.

In the mean time, sit back and learn about being a Submariner, and what happens when you train and train for an event and then can't go.
Meet Michael Durkota

He's written a book called Once in a Blue Year


Set during the Gulf War, this engrossing dramatic narrative follows two barracks roommates who remain onshore when their submarine is deployed— leaving each to resolve his own inner conflicts.

Yep he knows a bit about the Navy


Once in a Blue Year begins during the first days of the Gulf War, with two navy barracks roommates remaining onshore as their submarine leaves without them. Unraveling through different points of view in both present action and flashbacks, the story follows Dan, who is conflicted about receiving a medical discharge, and Trevor, who is seething with anger over the incident that forced him to miss his deployment.

With nowhere else to go, Dan moves into the home of his friends Nathan and Heather and their young son, James. Meanwhile, Trevor is furious with Nathan, who has managed to volunteer to go to battle in Trevor’s place. But Trevor’s hotheaded temperament has finally caught up to him, and regardless of his skill as a true naval warrior, he’s suddenly been ordered to “stay in.”

In Nathan’s absence, Dan is charged with looking after Heather and James as he rebuilds his life, while Trevor struggles with his anger and intimacy issues in his relationship with girlfriend Tara. But before they can move forward, they must both come to terms with the fateful event at sea that changed their lives forever.


About the Author

Michael D. Durkota, a former submariner in the US Navy, holds a master of fine arts degree in fiction from the University of Pittsburgh. His debut novel, Once in a Blue Year, follows two friends during the Gulf War as they struggle with their navy service, adulthood, and relationships. Durkota lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with his wife. He is currently working on his second novel and an odd collection of stories.

Excerpt (from the prologue)

She will reach for her glass of wine, and, as she takes a sip, she will catch a reflection of him, of them, in the glass. The boy and the man. One, then the other, depending on how she tilts the glass and catches the light. She will alternate between the two. The tiny pink representations of them. The boy now peacefully asleep. His chest rising and falling like waves. The man, near sleep himself. His head tilted back. His fingers combing through her hair.

The boy. The man. She will feel content with her head on his lap. The boy. She will feel content with him by her side. The man. She will wonder what he is thinking. Then she will ask in a whisper.

But before he answers, someone will pull into the driveway. Headlights will flash off the mirror, the clock. And for a moment the room will light up. Shadows will transform. She will see the wax on the table. She will see the toys scattered on the floor, like casualties of war. She will feel his leg flex beneath her. The man. She will hear him stir. The boy.

Then the car lights will go out. And, if not for the footsteps, all would be as it was just a moment before. She will wish she could hold on to that moment just a little longer. The man and the boy. But the footsteps will grow louder as they approach the door. And chaos will enter the room.
When did you start to write this one and why?
I wrote a story called “Submergence” about 15 years ago. The original story was a mostly true telling of my experiences on submarines. In writing it, I realized I had a lot of demons that were in need of exorcism. I also realized that I was facing an opportunity to achieve my life-long goal of writing a novel. Fictionalizing those memories was a perfect therapy.
Main Character's motivations
Dan is largely unmotivated. Having just been discharged from the Navy, he finds himself at a loss for what to do next. His indecisiveness get him into trouble pretty quickly. Trevor is motivated to a fault; his sole purpose in life is to serve the Navy. When that is taken away he is rudderless (nautical pun intended).
What is their secret strengths/ weaknesses
Dan’s secret weakness: Although he qualified for submarine duty, he is terribly claustrophobic. Trevor’s secret strength: He is covertly training to become a Junior Inquisitor. (Good Choice!)
Any philosophical issues in this story? If so how do you address them, how does MC live and over come them?
There are several, mostly moral dilemmas from differing perspectives. Fitting to their motivations, Trevor overthinks them and Dan tries to ignore them. I’ve always thought the two created their own balance. The story also plays around with irony and coincidence. Oh, and there is a mention of Plato; does that count?
Any offbeat obscure or 80s references?
The story takes place in the early 90’s, so there are a few. I did a have a solid reference to the Beastie Boys, but I was strongly encouraged to remove it in order to avoid litigation. I have to admit it would have crushed me to be sued by my high school idols.

What's next in this series or in your next book?
Once in a Blue Year is a standalone novel. That said, one character was only in the present of the story for a few pages; Nathan existed mostly in flashbacks. He was an enigma, and that was all he was ever meant to be. However, I did enough exploration of his character to realize that he had an entirely different story to tell. The next book is a subtle prequel based on his early teen years. I have always been a fan of Michael Ondaatje, and I loved that Hanna from “The English Patient” was actually introduced as a young girl in “In the Skin of a Lion.” My second novel will be a feigned attempt to emulate the master, albeit in reverse.
Preview of your next book?
The story focuses on a teenaged boy living in a small rural town and how he and his friends perceive the early 80’s economic (steel industry collapsing) and political (Iranian hostage from US embassy) crises.
When will it be available?
Soon, I hope. If I keep to my current schedule, I should have a draft out for edit by early spring. Optimistically, I am hoping for a summer 2016 release.


Edits for The Witch's Lair, Inquisitor Series #3, are progressing, and should be ready for the next review soon.
Beta readers get ready.
                                    Junior Inquisitor
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                                        Soulless Monk
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Excerpt from The Witch's Lair, Book Three of the Inquisitor Series - The Hammer’s Chapel was too small to fit all of the caskets properly. Simple boxes, still smelling of freshly cut pine were stacked so they could all fit. The smell of flowers lingered faintly in the air.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Love a kick-ass female protagonist and an interesting mystery? EM Kaplan's got you covered.

Buckle Up everyone while I'm busy doing edits to The Witch's Lair, #3 in the Inquisitor series, Emily Kaplan, a renown author and massive presence on Twitter, has agreed to talk about her heroine Josie Tucker, and Josie's first adventure, The Bride Wore Dead to keep you entertained. And she will.
Subversive hip-hop Ninja
EM Kaplan is the author of un-cozy, un-culinary Josie Tucker mysteries. The newest snarky mystery, THE CUT-THROAT COED, will be released in 2016. She also has written a fantasy/paranormal series called Rise of the Masks.
EM Kaplan grew up in a part of Tucson, Arizona where there were no sidewalks. Like a tumbleweed, she moved from Massachusetts to California to Texas, and is now settled in northern IL. She's been a Girl Scout, trombonist, toilet-cleaner, beginner ninja, hip-hop dancer, and subversive marketeer.

More about EM-
Who am I? These are the basics: I’m a multi-genre author—I write snarky, humorous mysteries as well as epic fantasy adventures. I tweet like a maniac and try to blog weekly. I’m also a full-time office drone, mom, and dance fitness instructor.


           The Bride Wore Dead: http://myBook.to/BrideWD

            FREE for the first time ever, from Nov. 20-23


Meet Josie Tucker. Food is her life, from her mother’s old restaurant to her newspaper column on restaurants and kitchens. She can soothe any problem with food or drink. Missed bus? Mango-orange smoothie. Mild doldrums? A piece of peppered beef jerky. But lately, she can’t even stand the smell of a watery cup of broth. Being at the mercy of an indignant and vengeful digestive system is no cup of tea.
So what happens when she gets roped into being the last-minute bridesmaid at a society wedding? The bride’s mother tries to kill her with kindness. Too bad for the bride, Josie isn’t the only victim.

Main character's motivations

Josie Tucker is an adult orphan. Kind of. Her dad died when she was in high school, and her mother has dementia. If I were to profile Josie, I’d say she has asocial tendencies, but yet, she has a close circle of friends and is generally well-liked by both acquaintances and strangers. Her doormat says “GO AWAY,” but her friends ignore it.

What is Josie's secret strengths/ weaknesses

Her outward appearance is deceptive. She has one of those faces that makes her look as if she’s intimately involved in whatever’s been shared with her—conversations, casual glances, whatever—on the other hand, she can fade into the background and go unnoticed, if need be. She inspires confidences and the spilling of secrets. She’s non-threatening and can easily be written off by people who underestimate her.

Any philosophical issues in this story? If so how do you address them, how does Josie live and over come them?

The Bride Wore Dead has a couple of main themes, but the one that motivates Josie is her coming to grips with the death of her father, even after all these years—more than a decade. By the end of the book, she’s found a surprising surrogate parent, who may or may not be the best choice.

Any offbeat, obscure, or 80s references?

Uh… Olivia Newton-John in the movie Xanadu. I was a big fan of that movie, but not for the reason you’re thinking. It’s because it had Gene Kelly. I watched a million of his movies when I was little.

When did you start to write this one and why?

I started writing The Bride Wore Dead before my son was born. He’s almost 14 now, so when I was getting ready to publish it, I had to go back and update a lot of things…Like, her lack of a cell phone and some other technological stuff that have become more prevalent since then.

What's next in this series or in your next book?

The second Josie Tucker book is called Dim Sum, Dead Some. It’s a standalone mystery, which means you can read it first if you want. She’s the same lovable, cranky person, but this time, she’s in San Francisco, searching for a missing software entrepreneur named Ivan Sorokin. This adventure takes Josie into Chinatown, Silicon Valley, and even into a burlesque showplace. It’s based roughly on the year I lived in San Jose…except for the burlesque part. Mum’s the word on that.

Preview of your next book?
I just started writing the next Josie Tucker mystery. She’s going back to college undercover, looking into a stalker situation. The working title so far is The Cut-Throat Coed. All I can tell you so far is that the book cover rocks.

When will it be available?

Hopefully, it’ll be out by late spring or early summer. Feel free to sign up for my non-spammy newsletter so you don’t miss it. Here’s the link: http://justtheemwords.com/index.php/subscribe/

Any freebies for your fans?

I just started writing a series of holiday-themed Josie Tucker stories. The first one is free on my blog if you want a quick introduction to Josie: http://justtheemwords.com/index.php/2015/10/19/halloween/
I’m doing a Josie Christmas story next.
Don't forget there's a fantasy/paranormal series called Rise of the Masks.

Add caption

And where can we find these amazing books and more about EM Kaplan?

                Website and blog: www.JustTheEmWords.com


As I said earlier, I am editing The Witch's Lair, #3 in the Inquisitor Series, and I should have a few lines ready to share next week. With luck it will be available by Valentine's day, which is good as there is a romantic scene or three in The Witch's Lair Of course since I'm writing them, they are dark, shudder-inducing romance scenes. Be prepared to say "Oh," and "Oh my," at the same time.

Just in case you have not started the Inquisitor series -

                    Junior Inquisitor

         Still just $2.99

          Amazon - http://goo.gl/D6KrbX

      Smashwords - http://goo.gl/XsGgAC

        Inquisitor Series - http://goo.gl/mJtTf8

                          Soulless Monk

         Smashwords - https://goo.gl/NXw3Gr

                 Amazon - http://goo.gl/p9fBn0

           Inquisitor Series - http://goo.gl/5lCyaX