Sunday, September 29, 2013

Review of A Perfect Setup

Review of Douglas Wickard's

Reviewed by Author Roy Murry

The world revolves around Sami Saxton, as it seems in this complex character driven novel. The author delves into the background of the main women characters to the point of telling us their intimate sexual preferences and choices of men. Sami’s ex is the only male character that women migrate towards. That is the reason for their parting ways – other women.

A young woman is murdered and the story begins. Sami’s ex, Jerry, is the prime suspect, but he wasn’t there at the time of the crime. Sami living her somewhat psychogenic existence believes that Jerry could never kill anyone. Or, could he?  

The development of Mr. Wickard’s attractive Sami Saxton character has her in a delightful existence in New York City with her lovable dog. In her journeys around town, the reader gets a taste of the big apple. She drives taxi cab drivers crazy with her back seat driver’s attitude. But in all other parts of her life, she has little clue as to where she is going or what is happening around her.

This mystery is thrilling at points, because of Sami’s mental aliments which are minor and controllable with legal prescriptions. However, mixed with wine she gets the feeling that someone is out to get her. They are, but it’s not who she thinks it is.

Mr. Wickard keeps the reader’s attention using the character’s explanations as to why they are doing what they’re doing. Some of the explanations are intriguing and entertaining.

The novel is a quick read that a reader of suspense novels will find captivating. I can’t wait to see what will happen to Sami in her next adventure. Or, should you?

Purchase: http://

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Interview of David Ronwinski

Interview with David Ronwinski,
Author of The Open Pillow

Questions: R. Murry

Can you tell me a little about yourself? My name is David Rowinski. I grew up in New Jersey-went to school with Dea Lenihan, the illustrator of The Open Pillow. Then I escaped for college at UMass where I studied English, Communications and Arabic.
After school I worked construction, as a security guard, and eventually spent a year in Egypt teaching English before working at a youth hostel in Athens and survived on borrowed money in Budapest the year the Communist regime fell. I also spent time in Zurich working as a PCA. I am married to the Kenyan/Tanzanian musician Sali Oyugi and split time between East Africa and Amherst, Ma where I am painting houses to pay bills.

Do you remember the first story you wrote?  Yes, it was Unfortunately-Planet of the Dog Men, which was my take on Planet of the Apes.

Were you inspired by someone or something?  I am inspired by my wife whose talent and dedication continue to amaze me.

What do you like about writing a story?  I enjoy the feeling when things suddenly fall into place and a story makes sense beyond what I had initially envisioned.

Can you tell us about your book?  The Open Pillow has its roots in my putting a friend’s son to bed. He asked for a story about an open pillow. My first thought was a torn pillow with feathers everywhere but it occurred to me that open could mean growing. Improperly placed in a flower bed, the pillow encounters rejection from various animals but continues to grow as it seeks it place in the world. The book introduces the concept of exponential thought and the notion of growth with aspects of animal behavior.

What genre best fits for the book? Though it is a children’s bedtime story the notion of persistence in pursuit of goals should never be outgrown.

Are you working on something new at the moment? Yes, The Book of Complements which morphed beyond a children’s book into something somewhat unclassifiable that I am tentatively calling graphic poetry or illustrated myth. There is a book trailer on under ‘BOC Trailer 080813’  I have a number of other ideas including a story arch called The Wending Tree and a novel about a shaman that is have been struggling with for years.

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers? I shall give the most useful advice given from my wife, “Finish something.”

Where can people go to read your work? The Open Pillow can be ordered on Amazon, B&N, Smashword, etc but can also be requested at any brick and mortar store which I prefer in an effort to support local bookstores.

Do you have anything to add? Probably but I was renovating an apartment until 11:30 PM and it is now midnight so nothing is coming to mind apart from thank you.

Review of Pillow:

The Open Pillow

Story by David Rowinski
Illustrations by Dea Lenihan
Review by Author Roy Murry

This cute little story is one you want to introduce to your little ones. They will learn as the pillow develops. It grows by the numbers and meets many characters on its journey to fulfillment.

Using an easy to follow rhythm, David tells an unusual tale which can be repeated without boring a child. Dea's illustrations helps bring the story alive giving any child a delightful visual enhancement to David's words. 

Pillow arrives at its destination giving pleasure to its owner who found it in an unlikely situation - one of unused floundering in a flower bed; and we all know flowers don't need a pillows.

Delightful little book that will help your little ones learn about numbers and life.

The Eric Carle Museum of Storybook Art  recently has featured The Open Pillow.


David's interview:

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Interview of Douglas Wickard

Interview of Douglas Wickard
Author of A Perfect Setup

Questions: R. Murry

Can you tell me a little about yourself? I live in Los Angeles, I work a full time job in the hospitality industry, and I fit in my writing early in the morning, before the world wakes up so I won’t be disturbed. I live a pretty boring existence, actually. I love Mexican food with margaritas, of course, and like Sami, enjoy a nice vodka martini from time to time.

Do you remember the first story you wrote? Yes, I’ve often mentioned it before. I was twelve years old and Reader’s Digest had a writing competition called FIRST PERSON’S AWARD. It was an opportunity for readers to write about a particularly rough time they were going through in their lives.

Of course, with my wild imagination, I decided to write about my fictitious heroin addiction. At twelve! My sister, Karen typed up the manuscript so it appeared professional and we sent it out, fingers crossed. I didn’t win, but it sure showed me what an adrenalin rush fees like, as well as what the power of imagination can unleash with the written word.

Were you inspired by someone or something? I have a blog post entitled A DEDICATION TO TEACHERS. My 10th grade English teacher, Patsy Grimm was that person for me. On my graduation day from High School, she presented me with a book, THE PROPHET. Inside she wrote a lovely letter, which is now framed and hanging above my writer’s desk, letting me know I would eventually come around to writing. Even though my mind was set on being a doctor at the time, I became a writer. Well, she was right! 

What do you like about writing a story? It’s freedom. The way a story unfolds. The relationship I develop with the characters from that first page until the last. It’s an amazing process.

Can you tell us about your book? A PERFECT SETUP is the sequel to A PERFECT HUSBAND. In my new Sami Saxton novel, I chose to make Sami more real.  My pitch is: Sami’s back, and this time it’s personal.  

After moving to the country house her deceased father built years ago and coming face-to-face with a serial killer, Sami moves back to the City. She is dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Agoraphobia from her experience. Then, the unthinkable occurs, her ex husband, Jerry, is taken into custody for the murder of a young woman found brutally murdered in a Midtown hotel.    

What genre best fits for the book?  Thriller; suspense; mystery.

Are you working on something new at the moment? I’m working on a new book called ENCOUNTER.  It is not a Sami Saxton novel, but a new series introducing FBI Agent Dan Hammer and Inspector Vanessa Sanchez from the SFPD. It is due for release on Halloween this year.

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers? Just do it! Go to the end. Don’t edit yourself during the creative process.

Where can people go to read your work? A PERFECT HUSBAND anywhere ebooks are sold and A PERFECT SETUP exclusively on Amazon.

Do you have anything to add? Thank you for this opportunity. I appreciate the support. Also, I send a big thank you to my readers.  

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Review of Shadow of the Realm

Shadows of the Realm
Book 1 of The Circle of Talia
Written by Dionne Lister

Reviewed by Author Roy Murry

Ms. Lister has written a jewel of a young adult fantasy story for the reader who enjoys an adventure with imagination. The plot draws the reader in from the get go, by setting the ground work for a series a young reader will want to complete.

Our young protagonists are Bronwyn and Blayke. At the age of eighteen, they’re sent on separate paths towards their destiny by The Circle of Talia. Their antagonists are coming of age, again, from another realm, as our main characters are being mentored into becoming realmist. A spirit the reader will learn about as the story progresses.

The author has ingeniously interwoven morals and philosophy into the teachings of our young realmists. Bronwyn’s mentor Avruellen teaches her, paraphrased, ‘As you’ll come to realize over time…no amount of worrying will help to solve a problem for the better or the worst.’ Tidbits like this will get the reader thinking in the right direction.

After the tedious part of laying out the background of the story and the characters involved, Dionne Lister’s adventures takes off.  The reader, with the basic intro knowledge given, will be reading rapidly to see what next happenstance will develop.

This is Book 1 in the series The Circle of Talia. Ms. Lister will have the reader thinking and saying, “Don’t end now; not at this point, I want to know what will come next.”  And that is Book 2. 

The author has done her job. She has hooked the reader into her fantasy which he or she will want to continue, and they should to settle their restless minds. Otherwise, how will the reader know the end of the adventure? Buy the series to keep the flow going. It’s worth it.

Ms. Dionne Lister’s link:

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Interview of Dionne Lister

Interview of Dionne Lister
Author of Shadows of the Realm
(The Circle of Talia)

Questions: R. Murry

Can you tell me a little about yourself? I was born in Australia to immigrant parents. My mum’s Italian, and my dad’s Greek. I live in Sydney with my husband and two children and enjoy playing competitive team sports.

Do you remember the first story you wrote? The first one I remember writing was a small book when I was about ten — The Silver Waters of Brumby Land. Brumbies are the wild horses in Australia. I still have it, and I illustrated it too. It’s funny to look back on because I always thought I got my horror streak from reading too much Stephen King as a teenager but in my first book, one of the horse characters slipped and fell and smashed his head on a rock. He died. Seems like it’s just my brain and I have no one else to blame lol.

Were you inspired by someone or something? No. I just wanted to be a writer because I loved writing and I enjoy the process so much.

What do you like about writing a story? Many things. I love the process of creating the story — putting the words on the page is incredibly fulfilling, and then I love reading it back and thinking “Where did that come from?” And of course, there is the joy of a stranger (or friend) reading your work and loving it.

Can you tell us about your book? I’ve written three books. The first one is Shadows of the Realm and the sequel A Time of Darkness, both in The Circle of Talia series. They’re young adult high fantasy and center around a group of realists — they draw and use power from the Second Realm. The two main characters, Bronwyn and Blayke, are learning as they go, having been forced to leave home. They’re eighteen and untried. Their daunting task is to learn as much about their Second Realm powers. As they can without getting killed and then band with the dragons, so they have a chance of defeating the gormons who are invading from the Third Realm (akin to hell) where they were banished from Talia (their world) over a thousand years ago. The gormons are angry and want blood; lots of blood.

The other book I have out is Dark Spaces, a book of suspenseful short stories set in the modern-day world.

What genre best fits for the book? Young adult epic or high fantasy is The Circle of Talia series, and Dark Spaces is thriller/suspense.

Are you working on something new at the moment? I’m working on a lot of things. I’m working on the final book in The Circle of Talia series, a standalone epic fantasy which is tentatively called Little Dove, a crime thriller. One which is comedy/women’s fiction which will be released under a pen name as it deals with things I’d rather not have associated with my young adult image.

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers? Write as much as you can, and if you can study writing, you will learn a few things a lot quicker than if you try to do it yourself (unless you are a freaky genius). Learn to take criticism — it can hurt to start with, but you get used to it, and if you listen to the people who are giving you good feedback, you will improve. No one’s work is perfect so be open to the fact that you need to keep working to get better.

Where can people go to read your work? I have a few short stories and the opening to Shadows of the Realm on my website You can also buy my books from all the usual places (where you can also read samples).

Do you have anything to add? If of your Australian readers are interested, I’m talking about self-publishing at The Sutherland Shire Writers Festival and the NSW Writers Centre in November and the Hunter Writers Centre at the end of October. For the US readers, I’m appearing at a book signing morning on 12th October in Dallas (Texas). Twelve authors are getting together. We write in a wide range of genres, and we’ll be selling and signing paperbacks, so come down and see us at Half Price Books Dallas flagship store. And if you’re into speculative fiction, I co-host Club Fantasci — you can find us on Facebook and Goodreads or our website You can find me on Twitter @DionneLister if you’d like to say ‘Hi.'

Roy: Thanks so much for the interview! I’ve really enjoyed myself. Cheers, everyone J.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Review of Valentine's Surprise

Review of Valentine’s Surprise,
a short story, by Lawrence Wray

Reviewed by Roy Murry

As some of you may know, I subscribe to  and receive a short story a month, which I read religiously. I have been doing this for a couple of years. I’m telling you this to give you an idea of where I got my knowledge in reviewing short stories – I have read many, including most of Mark Twain’s and other popular authors.

Now to the present and Mr. Wray’s Valentine’s Surprise. I was thankfully surprised and read it twice. It was well constructed prose that kept me interested and made me laugh even though I had to think twice about some of the English converted into American English, which pleasantly slowed down my reading – rethinking what just happened.

The story line was believable and timely. A man buying his wife a present for Valentine’s Day should be an easy thing to do. But when friends get involved a la Lucy and Desi Arnaz of TV comic fame, the results can be hilarious. The laugh meter needle went past the middle on this one.

Lawrence brings the story’s predicament across smoothly. There were no frills, just right to the point story telling. It’s worth the buck or pound for the laugh.
And, we should all laugh each day.

My Lawrence Wray’s links: 

Amazon Author Page
Valentine’s Surprise
Twitter                           @lawrence_wray

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Interview of Lawrence Wray

Interview with Lawrence Wray,
author of Valentine's Surprise

Questions: R. Murry

Can you tell me a little about yourself?
Hi Roy. Thanks for the invitation.

I was born about 12 miles outside Belfast in 1960 and grew up throughout the Northern Ireland ‘troubles’, and yes, I’ve seen a couple of bombs go off, but I was never injured.

My dad owned a garage and a taxi/bus company and from a very early age I worked on the cars in the garage and served petrol at nights. Some of the taxi drivers had their own illegal guns for protection and fights were a regular occurrence with drunken customers who thought that they were entitled to free trips as they were ‘connected’.

Secondary school was at the height of the bombings and the school was constantly out with ‘bomb scares.’ I started reading at a very early age and never stopped. School wasn’t my thing and I left without any qualifications to be a truck mechanic. I was very good at the theory but didn't like the actual work. When a job was finished the journey man had to write-up what was actually done and one day I was given the task of writing the job sheet and he got so much extra time that he called me ‘the author’.

I had an idea one day to publish a bridal magazine, and to this day I've no clue where that came from. I published it for 3 years before selling it and then went on to run a yearly national bridal exhibition, which was eventually sold as well.
I’ve been self-employed since 1980 running a video shop, garages, car sales, various mail order companies and currently a wedding business. Good times and bad times. Been very rich and been bankrupt.

Do you remember the first story you wrote?
No. I’ve no idea. I always knew that I would write something, but never knew what. When I started the bridal magazine I wrote the contents between 11pm and 5am. That just seemed to be what worked for me at the time.

Were you inspired by someone or something?
Reading really bad writing, where the author tries to impress with unusually large words that involve the dictionary a lot, turned me off. What’s the point of trying to read a story that intentionally tries to impress/confuse you? It ruins everything. So, I started writing simple short stories.

What do you like about writing a story?
Finding out just what the characters intend to do. I start with an idea, write ‘once upon a time’, and go from there. Once it’s started, ideas come from all directions and I just try to sort them out. It’s a bit mental.

Can you tell us about your book?
I wrote ‘Valentine’s Surprise’ three days before that big day last year. It was based on a simple joke that I expanded on. One of the characters was based on a real friend, so I had to invent the others. It was great fun to write and I could put them in whatever embarrassing situations I wanted. 

What genre best fits for the book?
Surprisingly, I think that comedy would probably be the best genre. I don’t think that comedy is my strong point, but other readers have found it funny. Although it’s based on a joke, that’s really only one line in the book, but I seem to have added other humorous sections for my own amusement.

Are you working on something new at the moment?
I’m on the final edit of ‘Money Man.’ It was supposed to be printed earlier in the year but because of the content (counterfeiting money,) I couldn’t get it published anywhere. It outlines the fine details of counterfeiting and the publishers were afraid of potential litigation. Finally, after agreeing to take a lot of the detail out and having parts of it authorised by the PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland), it’s finally been accepted, so I’m looking at uploading it in October.

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Easy, I read a lot and just write - brilliant prose, appalling crap - just get it down. The idea of getting 1 paragraph or 1 page perfect just stifles the creativity. You have to get it out of your head as quickly as possible. The more you write the more you learn, and then you start again with what you’ve learnt and do a re-write, then another, then another... With every re-write new ideas come into play that enhance the story, but it means that once you’ve finished the first draft, you’re really only starting.

Where can people go to read your work?
Amazon Author Page
Valentine’s Surprise
Twitter                           @lawrence_wray

Do you have anything to add?

Thanks for the opportunity Roy.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Review of A Week In Hell

Review of A Week In Hell
(Champion City)
by J. Walt Layne

Reviewed by Author Roy Murry

Since the passing of Ray Bradbury, June 6, 2012, the Dime Detective pulp fiction novelist, I hadn’t thought about that genre. He and others brought that 1940/50s genre to light. With the Oscar winning popularity of the 1994’s movie Pulp Fiction, many non-reads got a taste of that genre’s black comedy to their pleasure.

Genre readers can now find some relief in Layne’s A Week In Hell. His brooding melancholy rookie police officer Thurman Edward Dicke’s punchy dialogue keeps you waiting for the next swing of events. When Dicke says to Candi Apple Pink, a woman of interest, “I shoulda rousted ya,” you get the point.   

Not a hardboiled detective yet, Thurman finds himself in some action packed graphic violence all tied to his Apple Pink. He can’t get to the root of the matter, since she isn’t being square with him. He doesn’t confront her aggressively because of her brown doe-eyes, which he is a sucker for, amongst other parts of her frame.

I guess you get the scoop. Thurman goes through a few fires with Candi that lead to the truth. And, you won’t believe it when you read it. What this little beauty has gotten over on the wrong people.
Thurman will come to her aid - Maybe?

This tale moves along at a good pace and the reader won’t get lost in the dialog. What will happen? The reader will enjoy a read that will have them feeling for these two main characters, wishing they’ll connect on a non-professional level. But it’s A Week In Hell.  

J. Walt Layne's links:

I have a website at A WEEK IN HELL is available in print for $9.00 from Amazon at and via Pro Se's createspace store at This crime thriller is also available as an Ebook for $2.99 for the Kindle at and on the nook from Barnes & Noble at and in most digital formats at

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Interview with J Walt Layne

Interview with J Walt Layne      

Author of A Week In Hell

Questions by Roy Murry

Can you tell me a little about yourself?
I live in Springfield, Ohio. The city is rather unique, one of yesteryear’s industrial giants that has been languishing since the late 1950s. I’m a veteran of the US Army, a married father of three, and a voracious reader. I guess I’m a prolific writer. I’ve turned in about a dozen projects so far this year. My first novel was Frank Testimony, a legal thriller set in Bedford, Mississippi in the 1950s. I’m also the author and creator of The Champion City Series of pulp detective stories to be published exclusively by Pro Se Press (August 2013) I’ve written a laundry list of articles for Backwoodsman Magazine and I am the former Op-Ed columnist for The Albany Journal (Albany, Georgia). You can catch up with me on Facebook as Author J Walt Layne.
Do you remember the first story you wrote?
Yes. The first REAL story was a teleplay. I scripted an episode of the 1980s television series The A Team for a writing project at school. I was in 6th grade. It was everything a growing boy needed- violence, language, action, and girls…  I got a very stern talking-to and was advised nothing good would come of it…     
Were you inspired by someone or something?
Yes certainly so. I had a grandparent who loved garage sales. On many of these trips around her bargain hunting grounds I found a lot of great classic era pulp novels and magazines and pre-code comics. Howard, Spillane, Hammett, to name a few. The first book made me think of being a writer and really grabbed me on storytelling and the necessary imagery of location as a character was the novel Body Count by Lt. William Turner Huggett, based on his time in the USMC in the Vietnam War. Of course one war novel leads to another and I discovered Robin Cook, Dale Dye, and Leonard B. Scott.

I went twenty years or so without reading much pulp, during that time when you’re supposed to have outgrown stuff you liked as a kid.  Somewhere in there I found Black Lizard’s Big Book of Pulps and read a short story titled One, Two, Three by Paul Cain and it was on… I wrote my first and worst pulp tale ever and I was in love with it.
What do you like about writing a story?
Loaded question… It gives me, an average guy from the Old Northwest region of the US a chance to go to interesting and exotic places, meet intriguing people, and kill them. No, really this is a serious question? Writing stories is…Aside from my family…Everything. Frank Testimony brought Bedford Mississippi to life from the magnolia tree in the lane near the cotton field, to the music in the jukes, and the smell of catfish and cornbread or pulled pork and gator backs.

My (unpublished) spy trilogy gave me a chance to bring my own super spy to life and get a look at what everyone suspects about the layers of intelligence and espionage. Then this pulp racket happened… Welcome to Champion City… Home of mobsters, murderers, transients, thugs, rapists, murderers, a butt high pile of victims, and Thurman Dicke, old fashioned two fist crime fighter. When a writer writes and shares, they give you a piece of their soul, in my case it isn’t the warm fuzzy part.
Can you tell us about your book? 
Writing A WEEK IN HELL, was a chance for me as a writer to try and give something back to the pulp novels and magazines of yesteryear that I enjoyed reading as a kid when no one was looking. There’s something about the honest, yet ornery sound of the language - the not so innocent victims, and uncompromising men. The story bigger than the hero can handle, yet coming out on top against all odds - forty Miles of bad road for the big payoff or the big sleep."
It all starts with a girl and a bag of cash. Candi was the kind of gal who could give a guy indigestion. She was poison, with looks to kill, a reluctant moll looking for a way out. Thurman was a young flatfoot, not necessarily the knight in shining armor. He went to shake out a brawl and nearly fed her his gun, was it any wonder he got a date? They spend an evening on the run, but where does it lead? Just when it looks like it’s over, BOOM! Is it a dead girl, a bag of somebody else’s dough, or both?
What genre best fits for the book?
This is pulp fiction… It’s a thriller, it’s a noir crime story, it’s a mystery but not cozy at all… There’s action that doesn’t quit…
Are you working on something new at the moment?
There are a lot of projects in the works right now… As I mentioned, I’ve turned in about a dozen projects so far this year- novels, short stories, articles and a couple of columns… Fiction wise I’ve been writing out short stories and a historical novel based on Major General Anthony Wayne and the Northwest Indian Wars.
I’m also getting ready to start the next Champion City book. I have an opportunity to write a pulp character from the golden age and I have a number of things in the skunkworks that I want to keep under wraps for a while…  
Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Good advice I gleaned from a book said, “IF you aspire to write professionally, you have to read and write a lot. Which means a book a week at least, I try to keep both a fiction and nonfiction going… If you have a problem with criticism, this may not be your game.
Publishing is a number of things- do your best, let it cool. Reread, rewrite and polish. Be the best version of you that you can be, remember that 90% of business is relationships, some with people who you wouldn’t invite to a greasy spoon. Write every day. When people who don’t get it discourage you, write more. There is always time to write, if you’re meant to be a writer, you’re thinking about it now…
Where can people go to read your work?
I have a website at A WEEK IN HELL is available in print for $9.00 from Amazon at and via Pro Se's createspace store at This crime thriller is also available as an Ebook for $2.99 for the Kindle at and on the nook from Barnes & Noble at and in most digital formats at
Do you have anything to add?
          Be yourself. Write what you know. It is in my opinion, very important that your story feel like it is being honest with itself. This doesn’t mean it is a true story, but that it is true to itself in the rules of the road you as writer have established from page one. You’ll find inspiration everywhere, be careful what you do with it.

Beware the water cooler, be friendly, social media is a necessary evil, anyone who has a story idea you just have to hear should be avoided. Remember its high school, people will expect you to take their side and share their opinion, tell you things that are none of your business and repeat things you say out of context. They fit nicely into future stories as victims.