Monday, September 4, 2017

Murder In Rock & Roll Heaven by Robin Ray @goddessfish


Welcome! Thanks for agreeing to this short Q&A.  How did you start your writing career?
By nature, I'm an introvert. When other kids were out in the warm sun kicking balls around in a field, I busied myself coming up with word games. One of my favorites was called "Boy, Girl, Animal, Fruit, Thing, Total." Played with my siblings, the idea was to draw a letter out of a cup and write down the longest word in each category. Because I always won, the game was played for a total of three times. In any case, my interest in words didn't end there. I was always fascinated by stories, especially those which carried me off into some foreign land. The Brothers Grimm are a good example of that, and even to this day, I still write fairy tales because of them. For years I'd been interested in writing, but you know what they say, "Life gets in the way." I had to be practical and make money to pay the rent, so I  became a nurse as well as got into other professions, like flipping burgers and driving a taxi. Since I was also a musician, I delved into live performance as well as recording albums. After the music career fizzled out, I dived headfirst back into my writing. I began with short stories, then screenplays, then novellas, and eventually, full length novels. I'd studied English composition in Iowa State University. That, alone, was encouragement enough for me to take writing seriously. So far, my short stories and poems have been published in several magazines such as Ketch, Darkest Before the Dawn, Enchanted Conversation and Red Fez. My first collection of stories, Wetland & Other Stories, came out a few years ago from All Things That Matter Press. All in all, I've written about 40 short stories, 10 novellas, 6 screenplays and 2 novels, the second of which is "Murder In Rock & Roll Heaven." I like that my books are available everywhere in ebook format and paperback, and that my first novel, "Commoner the Vagabond," is also available as an audiobook.

Where do you dream of traveling to, and why?
I dream of traveling to Asia; specifically, Vietnam. Being part Asian, I've always had an interest in that part of the world - the food, the movies, the people. I deeply sympathize with the unbelievable hardships Asians have endured over the years, and admire their bounce back spirit. Also, from my personal experience, the Vietnamese people I've met over the years have been very friendly with me.

When in the day/night do you  write? And for how long?
I'm a nightbird. My world, you can say, is topsy turvy to the way most people live. I usually go to bed around 5 or 6 AM and wake up around noon or 1 PM. After completing my chores, I get to the task of writing. This activity can last for hours. I'm glad, in this modern era, the tap-tapping of keys on a laptop is relatively quiet. Compared to the noisy typewriters I've used in the past, this quiet writing late at night in this transitional shelter I live in makes no one angry.

Do you use a pen name?
Why, yes, I do. My full legal name is Robin Ray Lum Cheong. I dropped the Lum Cheong parts for simplicity's sake. Even if I did use my real name, finding my works online might be difficult because, no doubt, many sites would list my last name as Cheong, which it isn't. It's Lum Cheong, and there's no hyphen.

Do you listen to music while writing?
Occasionally. Because songs with lyrics can distract me, I prefer instrumentals like classical or jazz. Sometimes I put on the orchestral scores of movies to get me in a theatrical writing mood. That comes in handy when I'm writing screenplays or action-driven stories.

What is your favorite meal?
I like Asian cuisine. It's been my go-to food for years. My favorite dishes in the genre are curried squid with vegetable fried rice or Thai-style beef with broccoli. Unfortunately, now that I'm a Jain, I try not to eat meat as much as possible, so these days, it's vegetable this and vegetable that for me. My latest interest? Vegetable egg rolls.

What is the hardest part about writing your books?
Finding the time. For years, I've been homeless. As a matter of fact, it's fair to say that my writing career took off in earnest because, being homeless, i just had to do something to pass the time of day. Enter: public libraries. The libraries in Seattle have been a saving grace for me; unfortunately, they can be noisy and rowdy at times. Very distracting for a writer. I've also tried writing in the mall with my laptop, but that's next to impossible, what with people walking to and fro constantly. I did live in my car, but writing in there was awkward, to say the least. Anyway, I live in transitional housing now. It's temporary but it beats sleeping in my car which I did for about three years. Another thing that impedes my writing is my frequent lack of internet access. A lot of stories I write are detailed to the point that I need to look things up on the internet for accuracy purposes. "Murder In Rock & Roll Heaven" is a prime example of that. The detective in the book asks a lot of technical questions to the angels, which they answer, but those answers meant hours, days and weeks or research, research, research. Also, because some of the characters in the book did exist (Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, Hendrix, Jim Morrison, etc) I had to look at videos to see how they spoke, as well as read their biographies and interviews with people who were closest to them, all in an effort to make sure I got the language right.

How do you describe your writing style?
Among the psychological and neurological afflictions I live with (Asperger's Syndrome, bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety) is PTSD. What that means is I like to get things done right away because there may be no tomorrow for me. This speediness, or impatience, has infused my writing. When I have two characters speak, or some action going on, I like to write in "real time," that is, not too much narrative in that particular scene. This is why I sometimes have a hard time with literary writing where you might encounter two characters speaking to each other, but because of the extensive narrative and background infused among the action, you could read pages about an action that, in real life, took just a few seconds. I'm learning to slow down in this regard, though. Stephen King is a prime example of this, so I'm learning from his works.


Murder In Rock & Roll Heaven
by Robin Ray

GENRE:   Mystery/Sci-Fi


No one ever "re-dies" in Heaven; unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened to singer Amy Winehouse. Her death, an unprecedented event in Heaven's history, has thrown a once docile world into unfortunate chaos. Because of the new uneasy alliance between angels and citizens, a freshly-arrived detective in the rock & roll town has been tasked with investigating the prime suspects, the members of the 27 Club - Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison. To make matters worse, a powerful angel from one of the upper levels of Heaven will soon arrive to make her ten-year inspection, a task that fills the other angels with dread since she has the power to banish anyone of them to the underworld. So, with time running out, the PI and his newly acquired sidekick, both aided by rock legends such as Eddie Cochran, Mama Cass, Kurt Cobain, Karen Carpenter and others, must quickly uncover the mystery that threatens not only to close Heaven’s doors forever, but promises to send a ripple effect through the entire universe that can rip it apart.


5:15 PM and still no Jim Douglas Morrison. The bearded singer of ‘Five to One’ was keeping his company of three waiting: Gregory pacing back and forth in front of the window, Tony spinning around on a padded, reclining office chair pretending to understand what he was reading from the law book opened in his hands, and the polygraph monitor, Eric Witherspoon, himself a past bassist in a bar band from Nebraska and former student of the angel D’Ariel. Eric, the recent consumer of four slices of 6-cheese pizzas, three stuffed cheesy breads, one piece of chocolate cake and a giant-sized cup of organic, craft brewed root beer, was comfortably sleeping with folded arms in his reclined chair. Completely forgetting he was with company, he twisted to one side, eased off his butt, and made a fart sound so loud and wet he’d better check his drawers, like, immediately. Gregory opened the window to spare himself the pleasure of the cheese-inspired wind. Just then, Jim came staggering into the office, his pants wet from who knows what, his shirt disheveled, and a road sign in his hand. Instinctively, the PI and Tony helped him sit in a chair before he collapsed on the floor.

“Before you fellas start lecturing me,” Jim managed to spit out, albeit slurred, “just know I have a history of being fashionably late.”

“What is this?” Gregory asked, pointing to the road sign as the examiner woke up.

“What?” the confused singer asked then look down and noticed the wooden item.

“Who gave this to me?” he asked, stunned. Nevertheless, he read the sign:

Jupiter Barbers – Luxury Styles

“Anybody want a haircut?” he laughed. Not amused, Gregory wrestled the sign from the singer and placed in on the desk. “Come here and give me some love,” Jim beckoned the small gathering, outstretching his arms for an embrace; when no one accepted his offer, crestfallen, he folded them across his chest. “You guys are chumps,” he groaned. “I want my money back.”

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Robin Ray emigrated to the U.S. from Trinidad & Tobago at the ripe old age of 12. Already steeped in the rich culture and mysteries of his native land, it would only be a matter of time before he, too, became a musician and storyteller. After a short stint at Iowa State University, he became a nurse for practical purposes but never abandoned his musical and literary aspirations. Eventually, he did play guitar in several bands, committing himself to localized tours and album releases. Leaving the music world behind, he delved headfirst back into his second love - writing. To date, he has authored six screenplays, two novels, seven novellas, around fifty short stories and many poems. Thus far, he’s published six books - five fiction and one non-fiction, all available in paperback and e-book formats. His latest novel, Murder In Rock & Roll Heaven, can be purchased from the following Amazon link.

The book is on sale for only $0.99.


Robin Ray will be awarding a $30 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Lisa Brown said...

congrats on the tour and thanks for the chance to win :)

Robin Ray said...

I'm looking forward to this tour. I can't wait.

Marcy Meyer said...

As a music lover, it sounds like an interesting read. Thanks for the giveaway chance.

Cali W. said...

Thanks for the giveaway; I like the excerpt. :)

Rita Wray said...

Thank you for the excerpt.

Victoria Alexander said...

Great post - I enjoyed reading it!

Robin Ray said...

Thanks to everyone who stopped by.


I enjoyed the excerpt thank you.

Nikolina said...

I really enjoyed reading your interview, thank you!

Ally Swanson said...

Congrats on the new book and good luck on the book tour!

Danielle Merkle said...

Thank you for the great giveaway!