Junior Inquisitor

Junior Inquisitor

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Reality Seed, Vampire of Rome updates, and book trailers

So I've been editing The Vampire of Rome, and I'm wondering about the ending. Should I have everything wrap up all happy, or at least as happy as one can get while fighting the forces of evil? Or should I end it with another cliff hanger? I'm not sure, which way makes for a better story. Of course, I could go full- George RR Martin and kill everything. Options abound and I have to admit, I'm still conflicted.
How about a nice book trailer while I think about this?
I'll work it out, and you'll be able to read The Vampire of Rome on/about the 15th of October. I should be setting up a pre-order option on Smashwords shortly, as well as on Amazon. I'll be sure to tweet and FB about it once that is all set up.
Speaking of monsters both internal and external, let me introduce you to Phillip Stevens and his latest Novella Reality Seed. Take it away Phillip -

Reality Seed


With the discovery of alternate dimensions, a new perspective of the universe has allowed incredible technological innovation and amazing philosophical advances. But a monster is lurking within the human psyche, threatening consciousness itself, and the future of everything will hinge on a soldier lost in reality, a woman fighting for love, and an expedition trying to survive at the edges of the universe. Reality Seed: Where the truth lies.

Reality Seed


The Closed Gate

She walked into a large oval room with smooth metal walls and a curved ceiling. Crates of various sizes were piled neatly around the sides, and a wide, black metal case, almost a metre long with a flashing lock-mechanism in its side, hung from the ceiling to the left of her. Then her eyes fastened on an object at the centre of the room — a steel sarcophagus encrusted with circuits and extruding cables, with an opaque glass screen in its front. A nano-tank. Two marines were busy disconnecting the various cables coupling the tank to the Vector, when a third entered, saluting Keeves. “The sled is prepped, Sergeant.” His voice was a coarse drone through his helmet comm. “I can route power when the tank is in position.”

Why isn’t it already?” Keeves said, spinning to confront the two men still disconnecting the last of the N-tank. “The enemy is at the gate, you dogs! Hurry the fuck up!”

They lifted the tank from its berth with mechanically enhanced arms, and hauled it onto the pad at the room’s centre. Arelis admired the tank’s intricate controls and sleek curves. The activation grid was right in front of her. A simple procedure and Avril Sonota would be on the irreversible path to consciousness, but if Arelis did nothing… what would happen then?

A low moan sounded as the stern wall of the cargo module folded apart to reveal a long silver tunnel stretching off along the length of the Vector. “Get away from that tank, Exo-Tech,” Keeves snapped, startling her. “I presume you’d rather not be crushed.”

Panels in the floor slid aside and a flat cargo-sled ascended on a pulse of hoptocrons. It rotated ninety degrees until it was facing the tunnel. “Get both items loaded!” Keeves barked. “I want them secure and ready for transport in twenty segs!”

Who’s in there?” Arelis asked, keeping her voice as neutral as possible.

I have no idea,” Keeves said, as a pair of heavy mechanical arms descended from the ceiling, gripping the N-tank and hauling it up onto the sled.

A marine lowered the black metal case from the ceiling and clamped it to the back, next to the tank, then climbed aboard with the other two. Keeves pointed at a seat, his eyes narrow. “Sit, Exo-Tech.”

Arelis climbed up alongside the three marines and rested the back of her head against the hard metal of the nano-tank. Where it went, Lexi Sonota would follow, bringing a terrible vengeance with her. Arelis shivered. Thinking about it made her uncomfortable, like Lexi was there, watching her, examining her.

Power’s fluctuating,” Keeves said, reaching past Arelis to manipulate the control panel. “The level’s good, all the diagrams check out.” He glanced at something over her shoulder and his eyes grew wide. “It’s here!”

The marines opened fire as one. Arelis felt the flash of heat, saw plasma burn white trails across her vision, and ducked down in her seat, covering her head with her arms. After several segs, the firing stopped, and she leaned forward to see around the bulk of the N-tank. The metal floor of the hold was glowing red beneath flickering puddles of residual plasma, and within the flames a charred form lay curled up on the floor. Then Arelis saw a darkness growing in the fire — specks of black that blossomed like inkblots on paper.

Start the sled!” Keeves shouted, slamming his visor down.

A great surge of darkness broke over the flames, dousing them and hitting Keeves head on. The marine Sergeant barely kept his balance as it poured over him, wrenching the weapon from his hand with snaking tendrils of black. Keeves roar of rage gurgled to an end as the substance slid through the ventilator in his visor and into his suit. He fell to the ground with a crash, his body shaking as darkness advanced over his helmet and down his chest. It rippled gently, Keeves’ body tensed, then lay still. Arelis gripped the sled with her hands, trying to focus on the cool metal — the solid, logical reality amongst all this — but she couldn’t avoid the sight before her.

A blackened skeletal figure stood at the centre of the room, wreathed in smoke and dripping molten flesh onto the sizzling metal at its feet. It was nothing more than bone and roasting muscle, white teeth and empty eyes, but she knew it had once been Slev.

Lights flashed on along the length of the tunnel, and Arelis felt the sled rise on a swell of hoptocrons. The marines resumed firing on the Hive, but the darkness was soaking up the plasma while slithering forms raced out from Slev’s feet, gliding across the floor like the serpents she’d seen recorded in the historical index.

The sled seemed to move in slow motion as a snake of darkness reached them, writhing up a marine’s leg and encircling his body. A squawk of pain sounded over his helmet comm as the darkness constricted, crushing the armour plate like it was aluminium foil and compressing the man’s body into a grotesque shape. The marine nearest to her got to his feet, only to be pierced through the chest by a blade of pure darkness, and then Slev was next to Arelis, grasping her forearm tightly with blistering fingers as it climbed onto the accelerating sled. The last marine hesitated, and a loop of ebony streaked from beneath the sled, encircled his neck and violently yanked him from his seat, where he careened off the wall and disappeared behind them in a shower of sparks.

Arelis felt sick, and looking at Slev made the feeling worse. His ribs were shining yellow through the cooked flesh of his torso, and his face was a bloody mess, with lips burned away to reveal a cadaverous grin. Black threads were leaking from his eye sockets and weaving over his frail body, connecting and strengthening the scorched muscle and bone. “You should be dead,” she said, her voice sounding distant to her own ears.

Reality Seed
Author Links:

Reality Seed

Additional Purchase Links:

Reality Seed

Reality Seed Q & A

Main Character's motivations

Reality Seed is a trilogy of novellas with three primary characters, so there are varied motivations, but they do share a desire for truth and a need to find something that’s been lost. Skedic Vom, the protagonist of ‘Glyphein’, is seeking forgotten memories, specifically those concerning a family he no longer remembers. In ‘The Closed Gate’, Lexi Sonota searches for the answer to a mystery at the edge of the solar system while her sick wife lies dying back on Earth. And in ‘Infinitesimus’, Arelis Flim is thrown into a situation which demands she find a solution to a seemingly unstoppable evil. Basically they’re all clinging to life and sanity in an impermanent world. Yeah, just like you and me.

What is MC's secret strengths/ weaknesses

Skedic is a strong, capable fighter who has lost everything but won’t give up, and this stubborn streak could save or damn him. Lexi is a highly trained cyborg with a keen mind and a strong sense of duty, but her love for her wife could compromise everything. Arelis is clever and resourceful, but, as a noncombatant, she is ill prepared for the horrifying events in her future and will need a little help.

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

The main philosophical drive of the story involves the concept of reality — an ultimately real and solid plane we can stand upon and know to be true. I think it’s natural to build a narrative as we grow older so as to make the world intelligible and provide purpose, whether it’s religion, philosophy, or some artistic or poetic interpretation. There is a difference, however, between the universe we are perceiving and the definitions which we use to understand it. In Reality Seed, I’ve presented these different perspectives with a multidimensional universe that exists within the mind, meaning that the world acts differently according to the individuals understanding of it. If this sounds heavy, be assured I’ve veiled these deep concepts in violence and adventure!

Any offbeat obscure or 80s references?


When did you start to write this one and why?

I graduated with a BA in English Philosophy and decided I should do something a bit serious. I had an idea for a SciFi story set in the blasted remains of Africa, so I began ‘Glyphein’ as a serial and released it on a web magazine. By the time I’d finished it, I realized it was connected to my main project, ‘Captain Wizzlebeaks’, so I wrote a sequel, ‘The Closed Gate’, and published them both independently on eBook while I finished the final part. ‘Infinitesimus’ was a nightmare to write. It took me over two years to finish, but I think it ties the trilogy together well.

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

The Reality Seed Compendium is a prequel to my next series, ‘Captain Wizzlebeaks’. I’ve been working on Wizzlebeaks for ten years and have completed three drafts. The next one will be the last.

Preview of your next book?

My next series, ‘Captain Wizzlebeaks’, continues the ‘Reality Seed’ story centuries later. The last survivors of a distant reality are travelling through the dimensions aboard their ship, the TCS Crow, as they search for an end to the Hive — a parasitic evil that brings damnation to all it touches. Julius Wizzlebeaks, Captain of the Crow, has other priorities, however. His wife and children were killed when the Hive destroyed his world, and now he seeks for them in other dimensions, other realities, all the while knowing that, according to the Laws of Dimensional Relativity, they cannot exist. With the fate of all realities at stake, Wizzlebeaks must wager the future of everything against the losses of his past. Fortunately, he’ll have help…

When will it be available?

Reality Seed is available now on paperback and eBook. Captain Wizzlebeaks will be a year or so, so no date as of yet.

A year? Heck by then I should have number 5 of the Inquisitor Series done, or typed up, or maybe just a rough outline....SIGH
In any event Phillip's books are out and you should buy them, not only for yourself, but your friends and family.
Speaking of books you can use to turn enemies into friends and you should buy to had out on street corners to the less fortunate, how about checking out The Inquisitor Series

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

The Vampire of Rome Book Four 
Coming in October

When Chased by a Werewolf

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

RL King's Alastair Stone, White Mage and emerging bad-ass

Stone and a Hard Place

It’s hard enough for Alastair Stone to keep his two lives—powerful mage and mundane Occult Studies professor—separate without an old friend asking him to take on a new apprentice. Especially after a university colleague wants him to investigate a massive old house for things that go bump in the night. Still, Stone figures it’s an easy job: just turn up, put on a little show, and announce that the house is clean.

Only it isn’t. A malevolent spirit is reawakening in the basement, imprisoned between dimensions and intent on escape. If it succeeds, countless people will die. Worse, a trio of dark mages want to help it break free so they can control it for their own sinister purposes. They’ll do whatever it takes—including seducing Stone’s young apprentice and using him against his master—to get what they’re after.

With time running out, Stone has to stay alive long enough to uncover the spirit’s secrets. But even if he does, he fears that his own power won’t be enough to send it back.

My Review

This was a damn fine book, I enjoyed reading it, and it was well worth the price.
The pace is neither slow nor frenetic, the ideas of magic and what it is and is not what it can and can not do are unique and interesting. Alistair Stone is a complex, fully-fleshed out character, with good and bad points about him. The other characters are similarly rendered. The bad guys are more than evil for the sake of evil, they have plans, but those plans conflict with Stone's, and only one group can win.
I will be waiting for the next one in the series.

The Forgotten

When a friend asks Alastair Stone to question a disturbed child who's committed a horrific act, Stone has no idea what kind of rabbit hole he's starting down. His investigations uncover more instances of appalling crimes, all committed by people with no history of violence. And other people have turned up missing...

It's not long before Stone crosses paths with Jason Thayer, a young man searching for his runaway sister who might be a victim of the same bizarre affliction. Together, Stone and Jason are embroiled in a network of odd homeless people, strange symbols, a growing conspiracy, and deadly danger. Even if they find Jason's sister in time, there's no way to know if they can help her--and it's soon clear that the problem is a lot worse than they originally suspected.

What do you do when you discover an extradimensional plot that threatens the safety of the entire world, but you can't tell anyone about it because literally anyone on Earth could be part of it?

My Review

Alastair Stone is a magic user, Mage, and a professor of Occult studies at Stanford. He is neither a White nor Black Mage, but stays in the Grey realm. The story starts off with a child possibly committing murder, but it can not be explained why or how the incident occurred. Stone is called in to advise and things take off getting weird and deadly. Stone was a bit off putting in the first story, but after being knocked about, he has mellowed and become more human less standoffish. Still cool, in the British sense, still snarky, but much more tied in to the “mundane” world.
Good action, not a lot of “Let's stand around and talk about the problem for ten or twelve pages, while the bad guys wait for us to make up our minds,” excessive dialog there to add to the word count. I look forward to number 3.

The Threshold

It's been less than a month since Alastair Stone, Jason Thayer, and Jason's sister Verity discovered a monstrous conspiracy to take over our world one mind at a time. The battle in San Francisco struck a major blow--but it didn't eliminate the threat.

Not even close.

Where do the Evil come from? How did they get here? As Stone, Jason, and Verity dig deeper into these questions, they make a shocking discovery about the nature of the Evil--and what happened that opened the door into our dimension. What they find sends them on a desperate cross-country race from the wilds of West Virginia to the dark neon wonderland of Las Vegas as they attempt to stop the Evil at its source before it's too late.

From a new colony of Forgotten to a powerful and mysterious gray mage with unclear motives, they will find help in their efforts--but will it be enough?

My Review

R.L. King’s The Threshold is R.L. King's the third book in her series The Alistair Stone Chronicles. This installment is very well done as it truly is a standalone as well as an integral part of the overall story arc. Alistair continues his investigation into the Evil with Verity and Jason who are more than just lightly sketched sidekicks or foils, they are tangible assets to the story and to Alistair. Secondary characters and locations were well drawn without over detail or plodding. I appreciated the fast pace nature of this novel.
I have enjoyed being in King's world and look forward to reading #4. Do yourself a favor and pick up Stone and a Hard place and get ready to be entertained.

The Source

The portals are closed. The Evil have lost their pathway between their home and ours. No longer does humanity need to worry about extradimensional bodysnatchers with a thirst for pain and terror pouring through to wreak destruction on Earth.

So that means Stone, Jason, and Verity can rest for a while, right?

Yeah, maybe not.

The problem is, while there might not be any new Evil coming through, a whole lot of very powerful, very angry Evil are still stuck on our side. Desperate now, they're forced to put aside their differences and work together to come up with an ambitious plan to get their pipeline of soldiers up and running. And now they've got a dangerous ally on their side: a black mage with a longstanding hatred of Stone.

Will Stone and his friends figure out what the Evil are up to before they can set into motion something that can't be stopped--and that will end up killing thousands of people in the process?

My Review

Of all the places evil could try and seize, why did it have to be at Burning Man? I had visions of Cartman riding Cthulhu, slaying concert goers left and right. So for me this book brought a smile to my face. As always RL King delivers. Good plot, good pacing, secondary characters are fleshed out. I’m not sure if King has been to the desert, Burning Man, or is just blessed with a descriptive imitation, but she gets the details right. You chafe, you chap, you itch, and it distracts from everything else you are trying to do. Keeping people frustrated for long periods of time brings out their worst, but in this case it brings out King’s literary depths. Probably her strongest novel to date.

Core of Stone

Alastair Stone knew it would take a big sacrifice to end the Evil’s hold over our world. He was ready to make that sacrifice—but he expected it to be his life.

Never in his worst nightmares did he think it would be his magic.

Despairing and grief-stricken at the loss of the abilities that defined his existence, he’s on the fast track to self-destruction when a dear friend convinces him to take a desperate last chance. He heads to Las Vegas to find the only man who might be able to help him, but instead finds some old allies in dire need of his own help with a deadly—and very magical—threat.

Stone’s answer to nearly every problem has always been magic—but that’s off the table now. All he’s got are his wits and his courage to keep himself and his friends alive. Can he put aside his pride and bitterness long enough to prove there’s more to him than magic?

My Review

What kind of man are you when you lose your identity, the core of what you are? Can you adapt? Or is it time to go gentle into that good night? Simple and deep at the same time, these are the questions Alistair Stone is forced to endure when it appears that his magical abilities have been lost for good. Something went wrong in the desert and he’s not getting better.

Briefly putting aside his self-induced termination, Stone travels to Vegas, where he has only his wits and knowledge keeping him, and people counting on him, alive. Series is going strong and difficult questions are handled deftly.

Blood and Stone

When his friend Jason Thayer disappears after heading to his home town to attend a wedding, the only clue Alastair Stone has to his whereabouts is a cryptic phone message about "something weird" Jason saw shortly before he vanished.

Stone travels to the picturesque tourist town where Jason was last seen and is soon caught up in a horrific web of murder, malevolent magic, and a mysterious and ancient force that's resurfaced even more powerful than ever after a long dormancy. What is it, how is it connected to the town and its residents, and why has it returned now? What does it want with Jason?

Alone and without his usual resources, Stone must find a way to track down and defeat the malignant entity before it cuts a swath of death across the town--and before it uses its insidious powers to destroy Stone's reputation, his livelihood, and his life.


My Review

Ojai, I’m told, used to be a nice touristy kind of town. A place where one could grow up in a safe, secure, friend-filled community before eventually go work for computer game companies. Then Alastair Stone showed up. And people started to die, lots of people, sometimes killed by others, sometimes killing themselves. Zombies, (kinda), possession, bear attacks, almost-Treants, blood sacrifice, and an old curse make this the darkest in the series; the one I enjoyed the most. Number Seven cannot come fast enough.

Better Buying Options

Want to check out King's books and not spend a fortune like me?

Get the box set of the first four.

So now the big question, Alastair Stone versus Brother Sebastian. At first Professor Stone, a white mage, was pretty damn weak compared to the witches in the world of Inquisitors. That's changed a bit, Alastair has fought a quiet war, learned much about offensive and defensive magic, both to stay alive, and because he has an apprentice to teach. He's also lost a lot of the “crazy wizard in a tower,” mentality. He's in more contact with other mages, both White and Black, recognizing his weaknesses and working hard to learn more. All in all, by my estimation, Dr. Alastair Stone, in Stone and a Hard Place, is a much more dangerous mage by the time by Blood and Stone occurs. One on one Alastair Stone might be able to survive a Purge. Which is why Inquisitors don't fight witches by themselves, excepting certain Hammer Practicals that end up going wrong.
Am I right? Check out both series for yourself and let us know.

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, September 7, 2016

Shoot 'Em Up and why I'm not starving

I have the house to myself this week. The lovely Dr. Farish was worried I’d starve to death left to my own devices. Ha! We have cereal, so I’m eating just fine. AOC (Army Colonel School) is almost over, IIRC I have just one more class and then the final wrap up and certificates. I will be glad when that day arrives as it does eat up a lot of free time.

The Vampire of Rome is undergoing edits, which makes me grumpy. Still predicting it’ll be out in October, exact date TBD.

So, in addition to military schools, Reserve duty, writing, editing, staving off starvation via Lucky Charms, working on the next trailer, Soulless Monk, and going to work on a regular basis, I’ve also been reading.

Let me tell you about it

Shoot Em Up

Janey Mack for some reason had her publicist send me an ARC (Advance Review Copy) of her latest book. It’s almost like I’m a real author or something. I’ve read and enjoyed Janey’s writing since her first book Time’s Up. I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, I do not care much for mysteries, or crime dramas. Janey and a few others are the exception to that rule. Give me a good enough story and I do not care about the genre.

Shoot ‘Em Up is Janey Mack’s strongest book to date. Maisie McGrane’s life continues to be twisted, exciting, and compelling. There is an authenticity to Masie’s shenanigans, a realism that leaps off the page, and drags the reader into the story. There was a real reluctance to put the book down, and a bit sadness when I hit “The End.”

Shoot Em Up
In Shoot ‘Em Up, Janey is beset by temptation. Lee, the hot bodied SWAT officer, keeps circling, and Maisie likes the attention. The McGrane clan would really like her to ditch her boyfriend Hank, do something safe, like marry Lee and settle down. Tempting to tell them she’s actually working undercover, taking down organized crime in Chicago, instead of a reporter for an alternative newspaper. Then there’s her target, a Mexican Cartel, which may or may not be involved in the assassination attempt on the mayor. It’s very tempting to run from that assignment, especially as Federal agents from the DEA and ATF are involved, and something is just not right.

Another giant mess for Maisie to clean up, helped and hindered by her family, friends, allies, and co-workers, Maisie is on the job. You know when you pick up this book, it’s going to be a fun ride. Janey Mack and Maisie McGrane do not disappoint. They left me wanting more.

Shoot Em Up


Next week I think I'll review R.L. King's Alastair Stone Chronicles. Excellent series, and she cranks them out almost faster than I can read them. Worth your time and your money.

Speaking of books you should read -
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