Niccolo Paladina is tasked with investigating possible demonic
activity. Nothing is as it seems, however, and things quickly begin
spiraling out of his control.
are worse in Everett than either of them could ever have imagined. As
his world collapses around him, Niccolo will be left with one
terrible question: what is my faith worth?
to assist Arthur in hunting down the Bishop and bringing him to
justice for the crimes he has committed. He knows that the Bishop has
something big planned against the Church.
against The Ninth Circle and atone for his mistakes. Atonement,
however, can be difficult to come by…
haunt him. He’s been reminded once more that the shadowy world in
which Arthur inhabits is not his own.
has dealt with the threat he’s helped to create. Things are getting
desperate, though, and they are worried that more people will be hurt
before they can bring things to an end.
many different parts of the world, including Australia and Cambodia,
but always returns home to his pugamonster and wife. His love for
writing was kindled at an early age through the works of Isaac Asimov
and Stephen King and he enjoys telling stories to anyone who will listen.
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“Come out, come out, wherever you are!”
Father Paladina knelt in his uncomfortable position beneath the staircase, eyes closed and struggling to control his breathing. Each gasp sounded like the cracking of a tree branch, and he couldn’t fight down an occasional sob of terror. His heart beat in his ears, and his veins seemed about to burst open.
“I can smell you, Priest. I know you didn’t run far. Where are you?”
The voice came from upstairs in the local priest’s office. Niccolo couldn’t remember a time in his life when he had been so on edge and afraid. It felt like a sickness in his stomach, as all of his muscles tensed simultaneously. It made his body shake, and he worried that he might throw up at any moment.
“We both know how this will end. If you come out now, I’ll do it quick. If you make me come and find you, though …”
Niccolo struggled to control his breathing as hot tears ran down his cheeks. He reached into his front-right pocket for the single item he kept there. His rosary, which he held between his fingers and pressed against his lips, praying as hard as he could for the strength to deal with whatever was happening to him.
Not to overcome it, though. Part of him—if he were honest, a large part—knew he was about to die alone in this church, and the only thing he prayed for was the strength to die well.
After all, right now, not only his life hung in the balance: so did his everlasting soul.
“This basement has no exits. I know this church. This is my church. Not yours,” the man—if still a man—said from just upstairs. “I never thought I would actually get to kill a priest here. This is delightful!”
What is he waiting for? Niccolo wondered, in fear. Tim Spencer—or whatever controlled him—seemed to enjoy taking his time. Every muscle in Niccolo’s body ached, and he had to fight to keep from sobbing. Why is he doing this? Why is he waiting up there?
It felt like he’d been hiding under the stairs forever, but it had probably lasted for less than a minute.
“We’re having fun, aren’t we, Priest?” Tim asked.
Niccolo couldn’t contain a shudder, and the movement caused his shoulder to bump against one of the boxes behind him. The noise it made wasn’t that loud, but to Niccolo, it rumbled like an explosion in the stillness of the basement.
If his pursuer heard, though, he didn’t let on. Tim hummed to himself as he took his first step down the staircase. It creaked heavily underfoot, and Father Paladina winced when dust fell on his head.
Another step; the sound of the boot on the stairs sounded like a nail in the priest’s coffin. Tim kept on coming, humming a tuneless tone, until the father could see muddy boots in front of his face.
“Priest? You know I’ll find you. You can’t hide from me.”
Niccolo’s whole body trembled, and the man had called it true. His hiding place seemed weak and pathetic now. As soon as Tim reached the bottom of the staircase, he would spy Niccolo. The priest had backed himself into a corner and had nowhere to go.
He shouldn’t have stayed here at Saint Joseph’s Cathedral alone. Should have gone with Father Reynolds to his home; splitting up had turned into a terrible idea, and one that might well cost him his life.
Tell us about your latest release, including its genre. Does it cross over to other genres? If so, what are they?
I tried to blend together horror and action in this novel, because they are two of my favorite genres and it fits in with the Raven’s Peak Series that is already written. I like mashing up different things and making it feel like the world isn’t just one note.
Why did you write your book (or series)?
A lot of readers told me they wanted to know more about Arthur and what happened earlier in his life after reading Raven’s Peak. He was such a broken character in that novel that I really wanted to flesh him out more.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always been writing stories, and it’s just something I do for the fun of it. I don’t really want to get stuck in a position that I have to write to make money, but I do love to finish new projects.
What do you find are the best and worst parts of being an indie author?
You have complete control over your career and what you choose to do, but it also means you have to do it all alone. That makes things a lot more difficult and means that you have to write, market, publish, research, and more tasks that traditional authors can avoid.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Watch TV with my wife or go on walks with my dog, Luther.
Do you have any pets at home?
Yep, my pugamonster Luther. He likes to sit on the back of our couch and watch out the window. You know, because he’s weird.
How much of your personality is in your main character?
A little bit of my personality ends up in all of my characters, and I try to also give them more than just one element. I want them to feel real and interesting.
What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
Have fun with the writing, and don’t be afraid to market and promote. You’ll make mistakes along the way, but in general people who don’t market don’t sell, and if anything that trend is getting worse.
Are your stories driven by plot or character?
Character. I design plots, but the characters never follow along with my original outline and I find the story changing as it moves forward.
What book, movie or TV show has most influenced your life or writing? (You can list more than one, but do include an explanation.)
I love the television show Supernatural, and I also loved reading The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher.
What are your current projects and plans for the future?
I want to wrap up this series and move on to a horror/sci-fi series I want to write that will be totally bonkers. It fits into my Graveyard of Empires Series and tells an entirely new story.