Junior Inquisitor

Junior Inquisitor

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Review time!

I've been busy promoting other authors for a bit, and thought it was time a plain old book review or two. I am a voracious reader, when I have the time I knock out a book a day, sometimes more. Since I'm sure none of you care what I think of Steven Pinker's The Better Angels of our Nature (excellent but flawed by the authors glibness and personal stances) or David Kilcullen's Out of the Mountains: The Coming Age of the Urban Guerrilla (phenomenally researched, but still think an urban guerrilla will come to the same end as did Carlos Marighella and for the same reasons). Instead I'll focus on books I've recently read for fun.

Rick Gualtieri's The Wicked Dead
I've known, via the internet, Rick Gualtieri for a while. About the time I was considering moving forward with my own stories, I discovered Bill the Vampire. It is one of a few series I will re-read over and over again. As Rick was an Indie author with much more experience that myself, I sent him an email, and he promptly responded, answering my questions and giving me a bit of advice.

Rick is one of the few indie authors I know who has managed to make the leap from part-time to full time author. Something I hope to emulate in the not to distant future.

Bill Ryder is a pudgy, immature, perpetually sexually frustrated geek who was turned into a vampire as a part of a cruel prank by some dickish vampires. However, it turns out Bill is a bit special and rather than being executed on the spot for being flabby and mouthy, he becomes a creature of the night. Just not the scary kind. In his latest adventure Bill has once again screwed up and been given a task that will most likely kill him. A heretic (yes, vamps have religion, sort of) had taken over Boston, and Bill's job is to kill him. Never mind that Bill normally has the fighting skills of a lawn chair and the killer instinct of a gerbil; it's do or die time.

Two things, The Wicked Dead, to me, starts off a bit slow, but gains steam quickly. The other is that Bill is growing up. While it is not that same as killing off Wash as he tries to soar like a leaf in the wind, some Bill fans are upset that Bill is not the same exact person he was in the first book. People, fictional or otherwise, do not remain static over time. They change, are molded by circumstance and events. Other wise the author is telling that same story over and over again, and just changing the scenery.

Everything is here, Sally, strife, Gan, wise-cracks, smarmy vampires, awkward love interests, Templars, Bigfeet and ridiculous situations. The only change is Bill is starting to act like a leader some of the time. Not a good leader, but he is trying to be in charge of the loose cannons, not be one himself.

I think it's another fine addition to the series, and if you haven't started to read it I have to wonder why you hate fun.

Wil Radcliffe's The Whisper King
OnebookTwo had a contest. I entered and won. There's a reason I follow them, this is one of them.

There are monsters in the shadows, they call out to desperate children, beckoning them to leave this world behind and serve the Whisper King.

I wanted to like this book. And parts of it were fantastic. The concept, the mythos, the monsters, all of it fabulous. But, for me, I never connected with the MC, I just never really liked him. There were also some questions I had that were never resolved. The Whisper King is building an army of stolen children turned into monsters, but to do what?

Perhaps you will enjoy this book. You probably should read it just for the story, even if, like me, you think the MC is an ass.
3 1/2 Stars

Elliot Kay's Dead Man's Debt

I am an Elliot Kay fan. As far as I know I've read everything he's written. Dead Man's Debt is the third of a series following Tanner Malone, and his efforts in war. The underlying concept is brilliant. In the far future when man has reached the stars, large corporation have reintroduced debt peonage. One of the more lucrative ways to amass profits is via education. A corporation runs the education system. Once you finish high school, you take a test, to determine how much you've learned and how much you owe. The better the score the lower the debt. Naturally most owe something, but for some reason those well connected seem to have an easier time than others. Tanner Malone is middle-class and smart, but is asked nearly impossible questions on his test and ends up heavily in debt. To pay it off he joins the military. At the same time, the president of his planetary system decides to default on the payments to the major corporations. War breaks out between the corporations and Tanner Malone's home worlds.

The first two were very fast-paced rollicking adventures. This last one however, seemed slow to me, the combat scenes, both in space and mano a mano were slow and predictable. I didn't find the tension and conflict that made the first two books so gripping in this last installment. There was never the worry that Tanner might not make it, as there was in the first two books.

Perhaps, I am being unfair, I was reading this right before bed. Maybe I was tired and didn't enjoy the book as much as I would fully awake. Perhaps. I will re-read the series at some point, and maybe I'll have to correct this review.
3 1/2 Stars

Brian S. Leon's Havoc Rising

This is the other book I won in the OnebookTwo contest.

Diomedes didn't die in the Trojan war, but given immortality by Athena and made her champion on earth. Fast forward a few millennium and Diomedes is now going under the name of Steve, and runs a charter fishing boat. And there's a problem.

I enjoyed this book for it's history, and depth of knowledge of Greek mythology. My only beef was that, to me, the final show-down was a bit draggy, and there was no doubt in my mind that Diomedes and his main crew would succeed and they would all live. The red-shirts were obvious, and died, a lot. I remember reading most of the red-shirts were dead, multiple times.

Still a pretty damn good book.

So there you go - honest reviews. As no two people have ever read the same book, your mileage may vary.

Speaking of things that vary, the lovely Dr. Farish AKA the smoking hot redhead is STILL pregnant. Apparently number two will not come out unless you buy my books. Help end the suffering. Buy copies today and get some for all of your friends.
Junior Inquisitor Book One
Inquisitor Series - http://goo.gl/mJtTf8

Soulless Monk Book Two
 Smashwords - https://goo.gl/NXw3Gr
Inquisitor Series - http://goo.gl/5lCyaX

The Witch’s Lair Book Three
Smashwords - https://goo.gl/MokJnC 
 Inquisitor Series - http://goo.gl/mJtTf8

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Dr. Ray Silver, cracking backs and snapping necks. A question from The Vampire of Rome. Lastly upcoming reviews.

The Vampire of Rome continues to chug along, with luck I'll get some good quality writing time in this weekend, and work through a sticky point Sebastian and crew seem to have gotten themselves into. Which is worse a mundane betrayal, for riches or advancement, or one done when the person is possessed and death is on the line?
Once again I'm featuring another author, Richard I. Levine, and he's here to talk about his series The Dr. Ray Silver Adventures.
Prophet$ Of Deception marks the 4th installment of the Dr. Ray Silver Adventure series that began with Indie Reader Discovery Award Finalist: Eye of the Redeemer in 2012, and followed by Reader's Favorite 5-star reviewed: Beyond Redemption in 2013, and 5-Star reviewed The Last Angel in Hell in 2014.

Prophet$ Of Deception

It's been three years since Dr. Ray Silver last tempted fate—but when a local news station attack-dog goes after Ray for his outspoken alternative views, and local families begin to shun Ray and Leigh Anne, tensions start to rise. It's not long before Ray finds himself looking for a missing pharmaceutical researcher-turned-whistleblower who might have the answers he's looking for--a task not so easy since she went into hiding after several of her colleagues had fatal "accidents".

There's no telling what lengths Ray will go to in order to get to the truth and there's no telling to what lengths some others will go to keep him from finding those answers.


LabsWhite Plains, New York

January 2008

Ray checked the time on his cell phone for the third time in five minutes. Making sure he was safely in the shadows, he looked over at the large metal door, lit by a single halogen flood, and spied the red power light on the security camera mounted just above it. A rustling of snow-laden branches from the other side of Haarlem Avenue grabbed his attention as quickly as it did his breath. He watched, frozen in place, exhaling long and hard when he was sure there was nothing there. He watched the condensed vapor rising up from his mouth and wondered if it was visible to the camera. Off in the distance a lone siren broke the predawn silence, at first becoming louder—eliciting protest from a stray dog—then fading off until it and the canine could no longer be heard. He glanced back at his phone. “It’s three o’clock—where is this guy? She said he’d be here at three.”

He heard another rustling followed by a series of short piercing cries of what sounded like a music student torturing the scales and saw the shadows of two cats stretch across the road before melting into the darkness. “Don’t chase after the pussy, you fool. The first rule of dating is, you let her come to you.” Ray gave in to a laugh—his first in a while. At any other time the sounds of the night would have gone unnoticed or perhaps would have tricked a willing subconscious into adding a new dimension to an evolving dream. But with his senses amplified by adrenaline, anything that broke the calm seemed louder than usual and made him uneasy. “If you’re not used to this stuff by now, Ray Silver, you need to give this shit up once and for all.” He narrowed his gaze on the service door as if it might pop open by the force of his will.

No matter how many times he had reviewed the plan, stud ied the online satellite images of the company grounds, or looked over Paige’s drawings of the main building’s interior, Ray was still anxious—anxious enough, in fact, to ignore the throbbing sensation from the gash he’d sustained to his knee when he crested the twelve-foot fence. He cursed himself for not having executed this a week earlier when his anger had fully suppressed his other emotions. He cursed the additional downtime that allowed him to become distracted with the trivia now competing for his attention. “Stop thinking about that stuff.” Ray was convinced he would have been completely focused on the task at hand and easily able to do whatever had to be done in order to get the information needed to exact his pound of flesh…had they not waited. “Too many distractions! Just gotta stay focused. I can still do this. I can. Just gotta stay focused on the mis sion…on why I’m here.”

The mission was designed to finally expose the fraud, cor ruption, and cover-ups, as well as the corporate insiders at gov ernment agencies who were making life-and-death decisions based solely on one critical component: profit. Regardless of the consequences, he wanted to shed light on every ounce of it. And if he got caught, there would be plenty.

Unlike his previous exploits, this mission wasn’t govern ment-sanctioned, nor was it orchestrated by a quasi-indepen dent agency subgroup. This undertaking was self-created. This one was personal. Ray was just a private citizen—a “whack-job alternative health-care provider,” as some in the press had called him—taking the law into his own hands. There wouldn’t be a well-placed handler at the CIA or the NSA standing by to clean things up, not even his son. Even if Jimmy had offered, Ray would never consider jeopardizing his career. He had to admit that without the broad shoulders of Uncle Sam prop ping him up, his bravado felt a lot less bulletproof. Success or failure, this one was entirely his—and Paige’s. And as far as he was concerned, failure wasn’t an option.

The delay had given doubt the opportunity to plant a few seeds of hesitancy—just enough to make him think what his life would be like if Leigh Anne were no longer a part of it. He knew she could only put up with just so much of what she called his “insatiable need to risk life and limb,” of that there was no doubt. Ray had come very close to losing her the last time, and he now worried he would go home to find out she really had had enough. He could only hope she truly understood that what he had to do was every bit as impor tant as their relationship. He hoped that after all was said and done she would be there for him. He knew if he had moved sooner, it wouldn’t have changed the situation at home—but also that he was deceiving himself that he wouldn’t have allowed it to become a distraction. Now that it was, he hoped she would allow herself to be seduced by the insatiable lust he had for her, which always made her feel guilty for even think ing about leaving. “She has every right to be angry. After all, this is the third time I’m breaking a promise to never do anything like this again…and yet here I am.” The extra week spent in the Rockies had given him ample time to relive their debate, second-guess and reconstruct his argument, and question the validity of his solution. “A little late to worry about that now, Ray…put it to bed so you can focus!” He scolded himself for his lack of discipline and for being careless enough to have lost his grip while climbing the ice-covered fence, which made him think of his knee.

Ray looked down at the stain on his torn trousers and then noticed a few drops of blood in the snow. “Shit!” As he quietly dug his heel at the ice crusted surface—covering up his mess just as a cat would work a litter box—he thought about the time when he was ten years old and came home with a rusty nail embedded into his right foot. His mother had nearly fainted when she saw the trail of blood leading from the front door to his bedroom. She screamed about lockjaw before drag ging him off to the doctor’s office for a tetanus shot. “You can’t get tetanus from rust, Ma,” he’d said. Remembering, he shook his head at the old wives’ tale. “Stay focused, damn it!” He tied a handkerchief around his right knee. “If this is going to work, then you need to maintain discipline…and stay focused.” He con tinued to scold but couldn’t keep his mind from wondering, a blessing in disguise as it kept him from thinking about the cold. When the wind kicked up, he again checked the time and cursed. “Damn it, Paige.” The delay challenged his patience, just as the weight of the snow challenged the tree branches along Haarlem Avenue. His mind danced back and forth between Leigh Anne, his children, Paige Motz, and everything in between—replaying almost every bit of minutia Paige had shared. “Where the fuck is this guy? Maybe he’s not coming. Maybe he had second thoughts.”

Had he known his imagination would take advantage of him, just as a politician does a tragedy during campaign season—and he should have known, given his recent past—he would have insisted they stick to the original date. But there had been enough suspicion to believe their plan had been compromised.

I’m telling you, Ray, we have to push the date back until I get some reassurances from my guy at McTavish.”

We both know this whole op is risky, but to delay because of an e-mail from a former coworker is not—”

Several e-mails from a few former coworkers.” She waved a number of pages in the air.

Giving nothing more than cryptic warnings. You said so yourself. You would think they’d come right out and—”

Their e-mails could be monitored. They can’t risk it.”

And how do they know you’re even planning a visit?”

They don’t. But they’re not stupid. I’ve been asking a lot of questions and perhaps they—”

Perhaps they told security?”

Which is why we should hold off until I hear otherwise.”

OK, fine. And in the meantime, what? Sit here in the middle of the forest…in the freakin’ cold?”

Just until I hear from Ambrose.”


Richard I Levine is a native New Yorker who was born and raised in the shadows of Yankee Stadium. After working in the auto parts business for several years and a one year wanderlust trip that took him coast to coast and back again, this one time North White Plains, N.Y. volun teer fireman, North Castle, N.Y. auxiliary police officer, and bar tender returned to school and eventually became a chiroprac tor. A cancer survivor who opted for natural intervention he is a strong advocate for the natural healing arts as well as an environment free of man-made chemi cals that are not congruent with the health of the planet or its inhabitants. New York remains in his blood but he’s called the Pacific Northwest home since 1991


Main Character's motivations

We meet Dr Ray Silver in the first book of what has now become a tetralogy. Eye of the Redeemer (2012), Beyond Redemption (2013), The Last Angel In Hell (2014), and now with Prophet$ of Deception (2016). Ray is no Hollywood action hero hunk by any means. He's not the glittery smile, perfect cioffed, golden tanned secret agent who's perfect in every way. He just this “average-joe” chiropractor. When we first meet him in Eye of the Redeemer he's been in practice for 20 years, recently divorced, and both his kids are grown and newly commissioned officers in the United States Navy which is something that had been a family tradition except that Ray was kept out of the service because of a spondylolisthesis. Here's the promo blurb that gives a better idea:

"Newly divorced and with two grown kids off to pursue their Naval careers, all Dr. Raymond Silver wanted to do was move on with his life as peacefully as he could. But unanswered questions, guilt, and an unfulfilled desire to carry on a family tradition to serve his country gnaw away at him. When he sets out on a personal quest to atone for his past and validate his existence, he never imagined that he would be the catalyst for three others longing to do the same. As his life becomes intertwined with a young marine biologist, a nurse and an elderly veteran, this 45 year old “average Joe” chiropractor battles with bureaucrats at the local veterans hospital, becomes the love interest of two beautiful women, and finds himself on a 60 year old naval relic sailing for the Philippines, an accidental key player in a CIA operation to stop a terror group from unleashing a nuclear holocaust."

What is their secret strengths/ weaknesses

Ray’s strength comes from his family. He was raised by parents who instilled the value of doing what is right relative to what is easy. He grew up with a personal code of God, Family, and Country and the belief that all people should be treated with fairness and dignity. So when it comes to his wife and his children they are his motivation to be the best he can be as well as being their first line of defense. But at times it’s those values and that internal drive to protect them that has also been his weakness; the precipitating factor that causes him to get into situations beyond his control.

Any offbeat obscure or 80s references?

In the latest installment of this series (Prophet$ of Deception) Ray, who lives in Hawai’i, is unknowingly calling too much attention to himself as he searches for an infectious disease expert who doesn’t want to be found. At one point he’s confronted by someone who accuses him of being as bad an investigator as Magnum PI.

When did you start to write this one and why?

I actually began storyboarding a completely new concept with different characters immediately after my third novel The Last Angel In Hell was completed. But after repeated starts and stops I came to realize that I missed Ray, his wife Leigh Anne and several of the other characters—afterall, they have been with me since 2011 when I first created them and I wanted to spend a little more time with them. So the opening scene of Prophet$ Of Deception was written about eighteen months ago.

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

I have two projects that I want to do and the first will help me with the second. So right now I’m actually reviewing my first book Eye Of The Redeemer. I feel, in fact I know that my writing skills have become much better so I am rereading what was the final draft of the Redeemer manuscript and I want to restructure a number of sentences and edit out any redundancies. Once I clean that up then my next novel is actually a prequel where we get to delve into the life of Ray’s brother who was a Navy SEAL during and immediately after Vietnam. We’ll be looking into his life, the affair he had with a Congressional Aide, and the secret mission that led to his supposed death.

So you’re a full time chiropractor and an author. How do you handle writing and treating patients?

Office hours should be dedicated to the office and all that goes with it--seeing patients, running the business end of things, but I freely admit that when I get time to check emails I tend to get distracted by facebook and twitter. So that can become a time waster if I let it. So I do all my writing when I'm away from the office (nights, weekends--instead of watching television).

Some of your favorite authors?

I’m a history buff and I like biographical accounts but historical fiction is great too. I recently read Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken which chronicled the true ordeal of American Olympian Louis Zamparini and what he went through surviving for several weeks in a raft after his plane crashed into the Pacific as well as his ordeal as a prisoner of the Japanese during the second world war. My all time favorite book is a science fiction tale called Earth Abides by George R. Stewart. I first read it when I was a teenager and I think I read it a dozen times since then. Being an introvert , I was intrigued by the events and challenges that the protagonist, Isherwood Williams, had to face in a world in which almost all of the population had succumbed to some sort of virus. Back in the 80s I read a lot of Joseph Wambaugh and Stephen King. I also like W.E.B. Griffin. The Genres are different but the writing styles of each of those authors easily captured my attention. I often felt as if they had written specifically for me.

Sounds like an exciting series to me, and speaking of exciting series, have I mentioned I've written a few books?
Click on the links and check them out for yourself.
Junior Inquisitor Book One
Inquisitor Series - http://goo.gl/mJtTf8

Soulless Monk Book Two
 Smashwords - https://goo.gl/NXw3Gr
Inquisitor Series - http://goo.gl/5lCyaX

The Witch’s Lair Book Three
Smashwords - https://goo.gl/MokJnC 
 Inquisitor Series - http://goo.gl/mJtTf8
Next week I'll be doing some reviews of books I've recently enjoyed, or not. Which books you ask?
Rick Gualtieri
Wil Radcliffe
Elliot Kay
Brian S. Leon
And possibly more!
You know you want to find out what I think of these books, so make sure you check in next week.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Nevada based noir Westerns in the era of ragtime bands, and another snippet from The Vampire of Rome

I continue to work on The Vampire of Rome, but this week, progress has been a bit slow. Lots of things are occupying my writing time, and that just will not do. Like spice, the stories must flow. I shall endeavor to make up on lost ground this weekend. A small snippet to whet your appetite while we wait for October to arrive.

He opened it to reveal an old cramped 1920 style elevator complete with a scissors folding screen door to keep the occupants from falling out. That was also shoved aside and we entered.

Father Antonio moved over to a bronze handle that had an arrow head tip. The plate where it was pointing said “Caleus,” moving the handle up and the arrow head down lead to the second position “Inferus.” Roughly translated; Heaven and Hell.

This week I have gone a bit further afield in introducing you to authors. I will readily admit I have read and enjoyed many books by Louis L'amour and what could be better than a Western? How about a noir-Western that's not all cowboys and Indians? This week I give you Quinn Kayser-Cochran, and his upcoming book WIDOWMAKER.

Tagline: When the frontier closed, the West got wilder.

WIDOWMAKER     Coming 2017

Logline: When his longtime employer turns on him, a troubled company detective switches sides in a 1907 conflict tearing apart the isolated mining camp of Delamar, Nevada.

WIDOWMAKER is the first book in a semi-noir series following Shepherd Sunday, a war-scarred veteran of the Boxer Rebellion and Philippine War, and former chief of security for the Eastern Nevada Mine Owners’ Association.

It is 1907—an era of Ragtime saloons and isolated mining camps, horse-drawn wagons and swift new motorcars, overnight millionaires and unemployed hordes. In the scramble for Nevada’s incredible mineral wealth, mine owners and unions are locked in a death-struggle. In this war, no one is neutral, but the orders detective Shepard Sunday follows put him at odds with his long-dormant conscience. When his boss decides he wants Sunday’s girlfriend for his own, Sunday realizes there’s a price on his head and that the only people he can turn to are his former enemies in the miners’ union. Evidence of a monstrous fraud may be what Sunday needs to bring down his boss’s corrupt empire, but only if he can survive long enough to take it public. Fraught with class, social, and race issues that echo across the decades, WIDOWMAKER is a white-knuckled tour of one of America’s forgotten battlefields.

Huge gold strikes this past decade have pulled Nevada out of its depression, but they’ve also set a certain breed of men over the rest of us. Men who worship money and power. Remorseless men determined to crush anyone standing in their way. Men like my boss, Jack Lipford. Coming home after the war, there was a ready market for men with my skills, and I’ll admit I sold myself cheaply. For the past two years, I did whatever he asked. Anything to bring the miners’ unions to heel: arson, theft, and—however sorry I am to say so—murder. Anything Lipford wanted and all I have to show for it is scars and a guilty conscience. Man’s never satisfied, though, and when he went for my girl, I couldn’t take it anymore. Should’ve seen it coming. Now my closest friends are dead and my former deputies are trying to run me down. Give me enough time, though, and I can handle them. Handle them all or go down fighting. Lipford, too—hell, I know his weaknesses better than anyone. As it is, I’m running so hard now I can barely catch my breath. No breath, no water, and no rest. Lord, just give me a little more time and I will set things right again.”

Excerpt from WIDOWMAKER:

Funny thing about these desert snowstorms: rarely does anything accumulate. On the highest peaks, sure, but down in the basins or on west-facing slopes like the one Delamar occupies, often nothing stays. It can storm for hours on end but the stuff just blows away. I don’t know where it all goes.

No one’s out now and the streets are empty. Big Curt has chains on the tires so other than some slipping and sliding, our drive up to the Black Cat is uneventful. We talk shop. Nothing friendly and nothing important, and since neither of us can keep the windscreen clear, before long he has to lean outside just to see the road. This pretty well kills the conversation. Almost as bad, the fast-falling snow throws back so much glare from the Pierce-Arrow’s headlamps that he simply shuts them off and runs dark. Curt is nothing if not confident, though, and we continue at a pace that seems excessive in view of conditions. Road uphill is narrow but not especially steep, and good thing, too, given that it turns back on itself five or six times before we reach the narrow summit of Chokecherry Ridge. Down the ridge’s back, though, Christ, the road’s a rocky mess and it’s a wonder my teeth aren’t chipped. Curt has to throttle back until we are barely crawling between the whitened cedars.

Typical for this corner of the district, the Black Cat Mine is a shirttail outfit. Its dumps are small. Full-time crew of six, around four-hundred feet of drifts, and three buildings clustered near the main incline’s mouth. A concrete magazine for storing explosives hunkers in the woods a hundred yards to the south. I know this because I have one of the keys to it. To date, I don’t think the property has produced more than a few carloads of shipping ore. Could be that the Association keeps it going so that those of us in security have someplace we can put in scutwork without attracting attention. Or maybe it’s a blue-sky concern, operating just so our boss’s agents can curb stock in San Francisco and New York. Again, I don’t know.

Curt says something, but it sounds like he has a frog in his throat. “You hear about the Gold Cord’s run-up?”

Wasn’t paying attention so I ask him to repeat himself.

The Gold Cord, bub; upper Helene Wash. Cobb Farlane’s outfit.”

Haven’t followed the markets in a while.”

Your loss.” Curt clears his throat, spits out the window, and wipes his mouth with his sleeve. “One of the shift bosses told me something was doing—that they’d struck a rich, new ledge but weren’t gonna announce it for a few days—so last week I bought a thousand shares at twenty-five cents. Closed this afternoon at four and three-quarters. Sold it all, too—how do you like that?”

It’s something, alright. Congratulations.” Who knows if he’s telling the truth or just trying to get a rise out of me?

Minus commissions, that forty-one hundred, eighty dollars.”

I can do the math, Curt.”

The car’s rear wheels spin and spit rocks as we climb a rough stretch. I grab a strut to keep from bouncing out the door and a shotgun in the black seat clatters to the floor.

Soon as the car reaches firmer ground, Curt coughs and spits out the window. “Thought you played the markets, no?”

Not lately.”

Not since last March, anyway. Goddamn system’s rigged as far as I’m concerned. Back in February I was a rich man, too—on paper, anyway. Lasted about two weeks and then the floor collapsed. I’ll bet thousands of people all around this state could tell you how they’ve been butchered in similar fashion. Nevada has more former millionaires than New York and Boston have real ones. Me, I’d been reading about all the bigwigs making a killing—Charles Schwab, Bernard Baruch, and George Wingfield—and caught Greenwater fever at the eleventh hour. Sucker. Bought $5,000 worth of shares on margin. Watched these soar to $95,327.15, and ended up with a trunkful of paper worth about forty-five cents—all in the span of thirteen days. Worked off-book to pay down most of what I owed the broker, collecting debts and such, but still I’m short about a thousand dollars so I’ve been living like a bum ever since.

And despite this smashup—hell, because of it—I can’t help keeping my eyes peeled for the next big play. Just how it is out here. Everyone’s afflicted, everyone’s looking to get rich overnight. Something new ever comes along, mark my words, this time I’ll get out faster than I got in. I just need another break.

Too bad for you,” Curt says before turning again and spitting out the window.

Glancing sideways, even as he’s straining to see through the swirling darkness, I can see Big Curt grinning in that ugly way he has.


Author: Quinn Kayser-Cochran

Website: quinnkaysercochran.com

Twitter: @Qkaysercochran

Goodreads: https://goo.gl/lPK6Op

What is your main character’s motivation?

Initially, Sunday is obsessed with revenge against a former associate, someone who betrayed him twice—once during the Philippine War and again after they’d returned to Nevada. Later, Sunday finds himself at odds with his former boss, Jack Lipford, and his thirst for revenge becomes a burning desire to see Lipford brought low and his empire destroyed.

What is his secret strength/weakness?

Sunday’s greatest strength is his adaptability, whether assuming a false identity to escape a hostile situation or improvising during his escape from the isolated mining camp of Delamar. His greatest weakness is arrogance—a stubborn insistence on believing what he wants in spite of evidence to the contrary. This leads him to underestimate potentially lethal adversaries and to trust others who are anything but allies.

Any philosophical issues in this story?

I tend to root for underdogs. For people who make amends after doing wrong. Both of these outlooks figure into WIDOWMAKER. I also detest the abuse of power. I cheer when abusers—whether individuals, corporations, or governments—get their comeuppance.

In the course of my research, I found interesting parallels between events at the turns of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. First is a concentration of wealth in the hands of a few individuals. In both eras, these wealthy few subsequently used their money to try to bend the entire Republic to their benefit. Both eras also saw widespread public opposition to these plutocrats, there were controversial foreign wars, and racial animosities affected nearly every region of the country. Lastly, both eras witnessed rapid and disruptive technological changes.

When did you start to write this one and why?

I started writing WIDOWMAKER about three and a half years ago. I love studying the history of mining and the settlement of the interior West, but I’m not aware of much fiction addressing these subjects from angles that interest me. Ninety percent of the time when I tell someone I’m writing Western fiction, they ask if it’s about cowboys and Indians, and I am just not a cowboys-and-Indians guy. Frontiersmen, romance, or ranching, either. Mines and miners are what I like. I’m writing what I want to read.

When will it be available?

WIDOWMAKER is currently with an editor; I hope to have all my re-writes completed by May of this year. Then my agent gets to do his magic. Early 2017, maybe?

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

I imagine Shepherd Sunday still has at least a half-dozen stories left in him, spanning the remainder of Nevada’s boom years (1900-1915), across World War I, and on into the Great Depression. He may wander into an adjacent state or two, but generally I see him as a creature of the West and living out his life there. I’m done researching and plotting books two and three, so I have a good idea what I’ll be working on for the next several years.

Where do you get your ideas?

Reading and travel. Reading for ideas about people, places, and events. Travel for the sensations unique to a particular place: it's weather, sounds, and smells. Far easier to write about a place having stirred its dust.

When did you start writing?

I’ve always enjoyed reading, and I think writing is a natural extension of that. I wrote for creative publications in high school and college. Had a few freelance articles published as an adult, but didn’t feel the urge to write books until I was in my 30s. Perhaps I heard some biological clock ticking. I’ve always held jobs where I’ve written a great deal, though typically it’s very dry, technical stuff. Creative writing is an antidote to all that repetition and conformity.

Before my kids were born, I had a small art career going and that was my creative outlet. By some quirk in my DNA, though, I find it intensely frustrating to sit down at the easel for anything less than four uninterrupted hours. Now that I have kids, that just never happens. With writing, I find I can easily pick up where I left off and ten minutes of writing is as satisfying as ten hours.

I self-published a Civil War novel in 2012 (http://www.amazon.com/Glorieta-Quinn-Kayser-Cochran/dp/0615669905 with more information at http://quinnkaysercochran.com/).
I don’t promote it much, though, because truth be told, I’d love to reel it back in for repairs. Let me spin a cautionary tale for independents working on their first book: more than a marketing plan, more than an online platform, even more than an agent, what you want is a good editor. Many independent authors could substantially improve their work by finding someone (freelance editor, wise mentor, etc.) who will call them on their BS and cull all the weak sub-plots, gaps in logic, and flabby prose everyone puts into their first several drafts. Not supportive friends or family who will overlook or minimize problems to spare your feelings. Writing is re-writing and finding someone to coach you through that process is essential. What you want is a cold-eyed realist who will drag you away from your own worst instincts. That said, finding the right freelance editor is hard. For one, the good ones are expensive but you will unquestionably get what you pay for. Someday maybe I’ll revisit GLORIETA. Then again, maybe I won’t. There are other stories that need to be written.

Who or what inspired you to become a writer?

Every good book I’ve ever read. For nonfiction, I appreciate J. Anthony Lukas, John Krakauer, Walter Karp, and academics such as Sally Zanjani and Brian Linn. For fiction, I enjoy reading Hilary Mantel, Joseph Conrad, Henry Miller, Donna Tartt, and Russell Banks.

As a reader, I skew 3/1 in favor of nonfiction, so I suppose my interest in fiction is my way of putting flesh on the bones of history. That, and I love every minute I get to spend in front of a keyboard.

What is the hardest part about being a writer?

Consistent production. Distractions are everywhere. And I write slowly. I wish I was monumentally productive, but I am not. Not at all. That’s the reason I rarely blog: it takes everything I have to produce one manuscript every four to five years.

I'm pretty sure I'll be pre-ordering a copy of WIDOWMAKER as soon as it is available. If the thought of a noir-detective Western appeals then you should follow Quinn, encourage him to write faster, and get ready to enjoy Nevada in the age of ragtime bands. And while we wait perhaps you'd like to check out my dark urban fiction/horror novels -

Junior Inquisitor Book One


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

Soulless Monk Book Two

Smashwords - https://goo.gl/NXw3Gr

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

The Witch’s Lair Book Three

Smashwords - https://goo.gl/MokJnC 

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