Sunday, June 30, 2013

Review of An Alien's Guide to the Human Species

Review of

An Alien’s Guide to the
Human Species

by Deb McEwan

Reviewed by R. Murry

“I wish I was a fly on the wall when they had that conversation.” is a common saying in America.  I don’t know how that phrase is used in English across the pond in the United Kingdom and won’t attempt to try.   Ms. McEwan has other creatures listening, and watching in on English families from the floors and walls in her enjoyable novel of aliens conducting their investigation of the human race.

This family comedy has its aliens translating for their planet and the reader what is going on in the daily lives of a couple from their meeting to marriage up until an event that explodes into pandemonium.  Daily lives of a family are boring, but not seen from the eyes of outsider – spiders with webcam units, reporting back to their planet those normal day to day happenings.    

If you don’t know what a cuppa, a nutter, a nappy, or blokes are, you may need an English dictionary.  I’m just kidding. Deb McEwan's writing is clear cut and clever. 

The alien’s description of an event such as potty training a child is delightful and others are somewhat hilarious to the creatures they are reporting to in the weekly TV report.  To us humans, it’s just life.  And the aliens have their own problems on the mission they’re on – conflicts abound.  They have a life too, as told by their leader.

If you want to have some fun and see what the humans and aliens are doing in England, get Debbie McEwan’s book and read it event by event, laughing in between each events.  

Debbie’s links: It’s available on Amazon in print or as an e-book at these links.  

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Interview with Deb McEwan

Interview with
Deb McEwan

Questions: R. Murry
Hi Roy, thanks for interviewing me this week.

Can you tell me a little about yourself?
I grew up in the valleys of South Wales and joined the Army as a teenager. 34 years and many life experiences later, I’m about to leave and move to Cyprus with my husband, Allan.
I spend my free time writing, reading, playing sport and avoiding most forms of housework! I’m kind to most animals and fascinated by spiders. (Please keep reading, I’m not a weirdo)!

Do you remember the first story you wrote?
Not really. I started writing stories and verse when I was very young, this stopped for a while when I first joined the Army. I got back into writing about 10 years ago and started writing verse and lyrics, and co-wrote a number of songs. In 2010 I published a rhyming Christmas storybook entitled ‘Reindeer Dreams’. I’ve always wanted to write novels and love creating new worlds.

Were you inspired by someone or something?
I’m inspired by everything and anything, but the best ideas pop into my head when I’m out walking. I jot down a few notes when I get home and that’s how I start most of my stories.

What do you like about writing a story?
So many things! How long have you got?  It’s the sheer pleasure of creating a world where anything can happen.  It’s the way that characters seem to take on a life of their own and sometimes surprise me with their actions (sounds daft I know, but that’s the way it is.)  Very often the story is quite different to the one I set out to write. And it’s the satisfaction of holding the completed manuscript and thinking, ‘I did that!’

Can you tell us about your book?
Most of the story is told from the point of view of spiders from the planet Phoenix. They have a choice; be eaten by aliens or come to Earth and film a TV series about humans. After receiving training, the Terries send them to Earth and the spiders follow the lives of a family. They secretly record and analyze human mating rituals, various customs and habits and the vagaries of our waste disposal system, and try to discover whether leprechauns are real.

What genre best fits for the book?
Although as the title (An Alien’s Guide to the Human Species) suggests, it’s a family  humorous book.

Are you working on something new at the moment?
The sequel which is less humorous and more sinister – my dark book! The planet Largo is in danger of dying and 20 Terry families are sent to Earth to live amongst us. Only a small percentage of people are able to recognize Terries as different, and their Chief Scientist is very ambitious. She won’t allow anything or anyone get in her way.

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Everyone has a book in them so the saying goes, but you have to write it. It can be hard work but also very rewarding. Allocate yourself writing time and switch off the internet and any other distractions and write. In fact, why not go and write 1000 words now and see how you get on?
Try and remember that most people need people, so make time for others.
My final tip is not to let self-doubt get in the way of your dreams.

Where can people go to read your work?
It’s available on Amazon in print or as an e-book at these links.     

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Review of Childhunt.

Review of Childhunt

Written by Faith Mortimer    

Reviewed by R. Murry

The crime is perpetrated by a man from the past at the beginning of this suspenseful novel.  Yes, the novel is about an abduction of two children.  However, it is much more thrilling than one might expect when knowing who and where the deranged perpetrator is.

Historical background of the children’s mother is suspect; the frustration of dealing with the local police is disturbing; a clairvoyant unravels some truths; and Diana Rivers puts her skill as an investigator to work.  These actions are chilling to the point that one does not suspect what might be around the next corner.

No detail is left out of Ms. Mortimer’s novel.  The characters and the local in Cyprus we know from reading other books in the series, but this novel stands on its own.  New characters are developed well to support and enhance this finely tuned additional adventure of writer, part time sleuth, Diana Rivers.  

Tensions rise and fall throughout, psychologically speaking.  Mother’s grief and her being suspect involves the reader to feel deep emotions for what she is going through.  The children’s plight at the hands of a hideous man keeps the reader involved.  The fact that the weather and the limited intelligent police force are hindering the search for the children leads to concern.

All the above and more is a good reason to read Faith Helen Mortimer’s novel Childhunt.   I hope she does not let Diana Rivers fade away.  If Ms. Mortimer does, we are grateful for her short reign as the sleuth on Cyprus.  

Purchase at:  

Amazon US


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Interview of Faith Mortimer

Interview of Faith Mortimer
Author of Childhunt!

Questions by R. Murry

Can you tell me a little about yourself?

Good morning Roy. May I take this opportunity to thank you for having me as your guest author this week.

Briefly, I live about 70% of the time in an old stone-house in the foothills of the Troodos Mountains on Cyprus and the remainder of the year in the south of England where I’m from. I began writing seriously around 2000, when my husband and I took early retirement and decided to go off sailing! We are both qualified Yacht masters and before we settled in Cyprus, we explored the seas from as far north as New York down the east coast of the USA to the Caribbean and Venezuela and then back across the Atlantic into the Mediterranean where we finished our travels in Turkey – a fantastic eight years living on our sailing yacht – and the perfect place to write books!

Do you remember the first story you wrote?
I’ve always written stories ever since I can remember. The most serious was when I was about fourteen. It was a romance set in Borneo!

Were you inspired by someone or something?
I’ve always enjoyed playing around with words (and of course reading), at a young age I knew I wanted to write my own stories

What do you like about writing a story?
Oh that’s easy. It’s MY world. My people, my places, my feelings. I love drawing the characters from people/friends and then taking a bit from one person and adding another – a real mix and great fun.

Can you tell us about your book?
I’ve now written eight books. Five are mystery suspense thrillers known as the Diana Rivers series.. The titles include: The Assassins’ Village, Children of the Plantation, The Surgeon’s Blade, Camera, Action…Murder! and Childhunt.

My other book genre are romantic suspense/historical fiction/family drama/action & adventure; these are The Seeds of Time and Harvest (parts 1 & 2 of The Crossing) and my first romance set in France, ‘A Very French Affair.’ I have a short story collection entitled, The Bamboo Mirror, which is FREE on Amazon, Barnes & noble, KOBO, iTunes and Smashwords.
I’ve almost finished my next books which is a psychological thriller set in Scotland. This is a stand-alone book of many which I plan to write as a separate series. My working title is The Devil’s Brae and it is due out for release in July/August.

How did you come up with your storylines?
Almost all my stories feature either something I’ve experienced, or they are set somewhere where I’ve lived. If I like an idea I’ll go with it and set it down as soon as I can find time.

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Yes – never give up. It is often a lonely occupation and only you can write your story. Don’t let others put you off, or tell you what you’re doing and how you’re doing it is wrong…it is how you feel and think and more often than not you will be right. Stick to your plans!

Which authors inspire you?
MM Kaye. Tolkien. Dickens.  I can read a great novel and I then go around thinking about it for days – the author may have a style that I admire and it gives me the impetus to get down and begin to write a new book. No one writer or person inspires me though.

Where can people go to read your work?
Amazon US
Amazon UK
The book depository (paperbacks)
Snippets and chapters are often found on my website
Barnes & Noble
Where can people find you on the internet?
Facebook author page:
My website

Is there anything else you would like to share with your readers?
Be yourself. Don’t judge others too harshly and always be there to give a helping hand – it could be you wanting that help some day. As I’ve already said it can be a hard slog. When you’re ready to publish make sure that the product you’re going to offer is as good as a paperback. Take time to edit and reedit, over and over. Be patient – it will take time to make any real progress. Be friendly and polite to everyone within the same market – you never know when you might need them and good manners never hurt. You can also learn lots from others as well.

Thank you so much for having me on here today!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Review of Lallapaloosa

Lallapaloosa written by

Rags Daniels

Reviewed by R. Murry

What’s a Lallapaloosa, a prospective reader may ask?  According to a Bolivian guide it’s an inquisitive man who departs this world many times before he lives, metaphorically speaking that is or maybe it is by being drug induced on a native coca concoction into a trance of knowledge.

Richard Strang is a London private investigator and ex member/leader of a mercenary group that worked for El Che, Ernesto Guevara, in his unsuccessful Bolivian revolt.  That endeavor has come back to haunt him and the members of that aging group – they are being killed one by one thirty years after they fought for money not ideology.  Are the two connected?

This thrilling and intriguing adventure is brought together with witty dialogue of characters that complement each other.  Mr. Daniels, with his twist and turns, keeps the reader pegged to the page with his colorful prose that will have the reader laughing at times and wondering what might come next at others.

While his comrades are being murdered in Europe and he is trying to unlock the mystery of their demise, Mr. Strang, in his narrative, brings the reader back to where it all began in Bolivia and the El Che guerrilla warfare that failed. There are conflicts with the CIA, the KGB, and the Bolivian military.  These transitions are written in a way that the reader doesn't get lost in historic-isms.

This novel is a bit complex, but the adventurous reader will enjoy the fast pace of the narrative of the main character until the end when a bomb shell is dropped on the Lallapaloosa.  Will the adventure continue?

Rags' links:  

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Rags Daniels' Interview

Interview with Rags Daniels
Author of Lallapaloosa

Questions: R. Murry

Can you tell me a little about yourself?
     Rags Daniels was born into a working class family, the second of four children in Salford, 1944.  He migrated South 1956. Wild and curious, he ran off to London where he met the majority of the characters he writes about. 
      The swinging sixties and early seventies played a major role in his insatiable thirst for adventure, and against a backdrop of mini-skirts, mod’s, rockers and Muhammad Ali, bore witness to an era of crazy fads, culminating in Britain’s first ever woman Prime Minister in 1979, of whom Lord Acton said, ‘Absolute power corrupts absolutely,’ and by the end of her era.
      Thatcher was case in point. And while the Nation paddled through rubbish, bodies unburied, strikes, power cuts, spiraling inflation, limited working weeks, abysmal production, etc. etc., the real money was going into the pockets of fraudulent corporate boards and City Yuppies. Groomed to Kill, his first book was written against a backdrop of inner city poverty and tells of lad who became a government assassin.
      He worked in Norway on timber frame construction where he met John Millen a naval architect who designed Pearl Harbor after the war. Became a ‘minder’ for his mother-in-law both on and off his motor yacht in which he and his wife toured the world. Returned home, attended Brunel   University and passed I.O.C.W. (GB) Inc. exams.
     Then he worked for Borough Architects Dept. He resigned, then got married and built his own house while running several companies. After constructing a steel mill in India and a tiger compound in Nepal for the World Wild Life Trust.
     Widowed, he returned to writing and investigative journalism…It is from his diaries of the 60’s and 70’s he wrote POLICY, creating a fictional account of one such tale of political intrigue, and one for which he was interviewed by MI5.
     His book Lallapaloosa is currently being scripted for the silver screen. He now resides with his son, an A level English teacher, and Roxzan, his 13 year old adopted granddaughter.  

Do you remember the first story you wrote?

‘POLICY’ Because it remained on ‘ice’ for eight years, I wrote 30sex Hours, taken from the transcripts of a bdsm trial.

Were you inspired by someone or something?
I was asked by a local newspaper to do reviews on local musical talent, and it escalated from having my own entertainment column, to writing a mixture of fact and fiction….Or ‘Faction’ as I call it. ‘Lallapaloosa’ is a case in point. It took a year to write including very lengthy research into the subject, and is told in flashback.

What do you like about writing a story?
I like the solitude. I write facing a blank wall to avoid distraction and to maintain ‘the flow.’  Because once I begin, especially with dialogue, I tend to live the part. I even go to bed with a notebook in the event I get a flash of inspiration and need to make a note of it.

Can you tell us about your book?
     October 8, 1967, 'Che' Ernesto Guevara was executed... Or so the world believed. 
     Inspired by a true sequence of events, ’Lallapaloosa’ tells in flashback the story leading up to the betrayal and 'capture'  of the world’s most famous revolutionary and master of disguise.
     Original,  fast moving, and atmospheric to the last whiff of  a Partagas cigar, it begins thirty years after the event with a series of sinister murders against a fraternity of retired mercenaries who, having fought alongside 'Che' in the Congo,  grouped for one last mission in the jungles of Bolivia.
     For thirty years, Richard Strang, thought he shared the world’s best kept secret with no one.  Then one summer evening, the tap of a blind man's cane, and a nose for the toasted Cuban leaf, changed all that.

What genre best fits for the book?

Adventure/crime thriller

Are you working on something new at the moment?

I’ve been asked to do sequels to two of my books, and am considering both.

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

I’m lucky, all my kids have grown up (except one) and fortunately she enjoys writing too, so we both appreciate the solitude and silence that enables one to concentrate. Never be afraid to edit one’s work and to go on a crusade of  erasing seemingly cumbersome passages. It’s not the word count that matters, it’s the quality.

Where can people go to read your work?

Goodreads: Authonomy: Amazon

Do you have anything to add?

In the words of Michael Caine: ‘Not a lot of people know this’…But I’ve had three strokes, and the fight backs have kept me compos mentis. ‘Foxy Lady’ has just been released, and is a rewrite of POLICY with the following footnote.
It has since been discovered that almost 20 million pounds of Party funds have gone missing, and which I understand are still in an offshore account controlled by Sir Horace Duncan and the former Prime Minister. And that the former Prime Minister stood up for Sir Horace Duncan, when information was passed to the PM by the Security Services in relation to Sir Horace’s activities. It was only after considerable pressure was put on the PM that Sir Horace was removed  from his post before information leaked out.
It is now being assessed for scripting for a two part TV series.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Review of The Patriot Game

The Patriot Game                                    

By Ron Culley

Reviewed by R. Murry

An intriguing thriller, The Patriot Game, firstly, is an impelling suspenseful journey into the background of Ireland during World War II.  The twists and turns of the main plot and sub-plots are brought to endings that one would not anticipate.  The reader will have no problem following them to their conclusion, as I did.

Secondly, the novel purposes an underlining theme – Who is a patriot?  The soldier who pulls the trigger to kill the enemy, the one receiving the lethal bullet, or both?  Having been an intelligence specialist in Vietnam, I once pondered this question to my own conclusion as Mr. Culley questions in a number of demonstrative ways.

The soldier in waiting to kill his prey; the assassin who is creative in his assaults; the woman beaten to unconsciousness for information; and the spy who intrudes into the lives of non-combatants are a few of Mr. Culley’s ways of portraying some of his characters as their countries’ patriots.  He does it so well; the reader will understand the portrayal of either side of their lethal actions.

For you romantics, Ron has also interwoven interludes of compassion between some of the main characters that leads to unlikely conclusions.  These emotions offset the seriousness of the conflicts of a world in turmoil.  In his writings, he portrays his characters as humans, not stereo typed combatants.

Mr. Culley has put together an interesting tale worth reading for one who enjoys reading plausible historical adventures.  I enjoyed it immensely.  I hope you’ll enjoy it too.

Mr. Culley’s web site, where The Patriot Game and all of his other books are exhibited. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Interview Ron Culley

Interview of 
Ron Culley
Author of 
The Patriot Game

Questions by R. Murry

Can you tell me a little about yourself?

Yeah. I'm a full time author with five books under my belt. I'm lucky in that I retired early and can indulge my passion for writing. I'm a proud Scotsman and live in Glasgow where my wife and four strapping boys also reside. My wife's half-Irish which accounts for her occasional, hands-on-hips bad temper and for the fact that our two youngest have Irish names rather than Scottish like their two older brothers. It also accounts for Irish themes in my books.

Do you remember the first story you wrote? 

I suspect that I'm more than lucky in that the first story I wrote is also the first story I had published. My publisher saw something in my writing and took the plunge despite the fact that I was something of a novice. He's a great guy - other than the fact that he made me change the name of the book from 'The New Guards' (from the wording of the American Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776 which permits Americans to install ' new guards' in Congress if their present politicians fail them - and which is why US citizens are permitted to carry arms) to the more anodyne and confusing 'The Kaibab Resolution'. It explores the question of gun control in America, the Mafia and the IRA and was received very well.

Were you inspired by someone or something?  

In a sense, I watched a TV program one night about the importance of first sentences in books...'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times' (A Tale Of Two Cities) and I lifted a pen (it was before computers) and wrote ten 'first sentences' on a piece of paper. I can still remember the one I chose as the best. It was...
'Las Vegas had suggested itself as a gradual golden glow in the night sky when the plane was still ten minutes flying time from McCarran Airport.'
The sentence became a paragraph, then a chapter and ultimately, The Kaibab Resolution'.

What do you like about writing a story?   

To be honest, the paraphernalia that surrounds writing - but that which has to be undertaken; researching, proof-reading, dealing with publishers, arguing about book covers, moaning about pricing etc, all feels like actual work but when I'm engaged and involved in the art and practice of committing words to a page or an iPad, I'm completely transported. It's a wonderful feeling to know that I'm telling a story that will intrigue and entertain other people. The feedback I've received over the years has been fantastic and can be a motivating factor when I'm dealing with writer's block if a character is struggling or if the narrative seems to be heading for a cul-de-sac.

Can you tell us about your book?

My latest is 'The Patriot Game', so named after the Irish folk song written by Dominic Behan whose first stanza is;
Come all you young rebels and list while I sing
For love of one's country is a terrible thing
It banishes fear with the speed of a flame
And makes us all part of the patriot game
                                                             Dominic Behan 1958

During times of war, all parties call on patriotism as a duty and as an inspiration to action. During World War Two, Winston Churchill, Irish Prime Minister Éamon de Valera, Adolph Hitler, Eisenhower and Menachim Begin all saw themselves as patriots. All claimed God on their side.
The book recounts the true (if largely unknown) story that during the Second World War, fearful of a German occupation of the Republic of Ireland, Churchill offered the Irish Prime Minister or Taoiseach, Éamon de Valera, the realisation of his dream of reuniting Ireland by returning the six counties of Northern Ireland if the Republic joined the war on the side of the Allies. He was immediately rebuffed by de Valera who had no love of Churchill nor of the British Army after his searing memories of the bloody Easter Risings which heralded Ireland's independence.

The German Reich saw the prospect of exfiltration of senior Nazis to Ireland if the war went badly for them and also courted de Valera. However, both the Allies and Axis powers also developed plans to invade Ireland who’s Prime Minister, Éamon de Valera vowed to maintain its neutrality, despite the efforts of the British Secret Service and the German Abwher to make Ireland a belligerent.

After the war, rather than head to Argentina or Bolivia, many senior Nazis headed for Ireland to escape the Nuremberg Trials. De Valera let it be known that belligerents from either side would be safe so long as they did not harm the interests of the Irish State and many senior German officers were subsequently feted in Irish society.
This book tells the true story and wraps it in an entertaining narrative.
What genre best fits for the book? 

It's a work of historical fiction. I've researched it meticulously and have tried to weave a story round the facts which both tell the story in a way that makes it accessible but which also entertains. The best examples of historical fiction I can bring to mind might be books or films like Titanic, Pearl Harbor, Charlie Wilson's War or Saving Private Ryan...true episodes in history but given a burnishing to make them more accessible and entertaining.

Are you working on something new at the moment?

Yeah. I'm working on a play and another historical fiction about Ireland called 'A Terrible Beauty Is Born', named after the famous lines penned by Irish poet WB Yates. It deals with the uprising in Dublin in 1916 which was a prelude to Irish independence. It's a  huge subject though and every Irishman's an expert on that period of their nation's history so I'm giving myself two years to write it rather than the more usual one year.

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Only one...tenacity!
Like many other authors, I've lost count of the number of people who've told me that 'they've a book in them'. I dare say they have but it'll amount to the square root of nothing at all if they don't actually put pen to paper, keep at it through thick and thin and produce a piece of work.

Where can people go to read your work?

Any good bookshop - although given the recent tsunami in book retailing, the easiest way is probably to find The Patriot Game on Kindle, Amazon or another on-line retailer. The book's available in both digital and paperback format.
Alternatively, have a look at my web site, where The Patriot Game and all of my other books are exhibited along with reviews, excerpts, purchase options and a blog that I don't attend to half as much as I should (but which still has some pretty interesting and humorous stuff, if you're interested.)

Do you have anything to add?

This'll mean absolutely nothing to American readers but my second book, 'I Belong To Glasgow' has a foreword written by the legend that is Sir Alex Ferguson, recently retired manager of soccer club Manchester United, the biggest sporting franchise in the world. Yes...bigger financially than the Yankees, Red Sox, Cowboys, Redskins, Dodgers or Knicks.

Anyway, he took to print, wrote a foreword to my book to say how much it had inspired him and extolled the hope that others might find it as I do now! I was humbled by his testimony.

Thanks for listening to my meanderings, Roy. I appreciate your interest in my latest book.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Review of The Battle.

The Battle (The Four, Series) by
Margaret Millmore

Reviewed by R. Murry

If you like morphing of humans into werewolves and vampires feeding, then The Four, Series is for you.  Those readers who shun away from reading about hearts being extract from bodies and heads being ripped off humans and non-humans should jump right in and enjoy themselves.  The Battle is much more.

“…today will be the beginning of the end of mankind, as we know it…,” noted the leader of the Dark Ones, while in the middle of a predicament.  This is the underlining story of the novel.  Who will control the world – good or evil?

Yes, this theme will be used many times more, because of popular demand.  Ms. Millmore’s twist on this ancient story is well written using modern intelligence devices that make the story seem plausible.  Most of her characters are ageless with strength of a bodybuilder.  A few are intelligent humans who understand what would happen if evil prevailed and help in fighting The Battle.

The Battle is fought around the world.  However, ancient command posts are the center of concern for both sides.  A major part of the plot is that The Four and their comrades have never seen the leader of the Dark Ones or know of his whereabouts.  There are many sub plots that will entertain the reader – battles won and lost by the warriors on both sides of the line.

All in all, I had an enjoyable read for a non-believer.  If you are a believer, the series should be started with The Beginning, Book 1.  It’s fast pace and introduces you to The Four.  However, The Battle stands alone as a read.

If you’re a non-believer in this genre, you don’t know what you’re missing.

Margaret’s links are below in her interview: