Monday, September 11, 2017
Murder in Rock and Roll Heaven by Robin Ray - Virtual Tour and Giveaway
Murder In Rock & Roll Heaven
by Robin Ray
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.
INTERVIEW: ROBIN RAY TELLS US HOW HE DOES WORLD BUILDING
I will choose a specific example for this question, that is, my novella “Stranded In Paradise.” The year is 1960. The main location is “somewhere in the Atlantic.” A cruise ship, on a voyage to the mid-Atlantic from Florida, runs into a hurricane so devastating that the vessel is torn asunder. Seven people, including the ship’s captain, survive. They wash up on an uncharted island populated, incidentally, by two people thought killed back in 1945, Eva Braun and Adolf Hitler. The ship’s captain, a former Hitler youth in his younger days, facing a court martial back in Florida that can land him in prison for years, opts to ally with the German dictator in an attempt to help build the Fourth Reich in South America.
Because the story was international in its scope, I had to draw a map of where the actions took place. Since the bulk of the story was set in the mid-Atlantic, I sketched the ship’s journey from the Port of Miami through the Bermuda Triangle towards the Caribbean Sea north of Venezuela. Since the captain was being interrogated at the naval base in Miami, I researched what it looked like, its proximity to cruise lines, the ranks of officers conducting naval investigations, their insignias, and so on. Because some of the action took place on the streets of Miami, sketched out one character’s route through the streets from his workplace to the docks. Since the ship’s captain was being investigated about an ocean liner that went aground near Helsinki, mapped out that non-fateful route, too. Speaking of ocean liners, the design of the cruise ship in question, the Queen Victoria II, was a hybrid of different sailing vessels from that time. This also had to be sketched out because various parts of the ship figured in the story, from the bridge to the sun deck, from the Capri Room to the sleeping quarters, and a few other sites.
“Stranded” is essentially a story where people are first together then split up into three groups. I used that particular device to complement another story I’d written, “Diamondback,” where three disparate groups of people eventually get together. My detailed sketch, then, of the uncharted Atlantic island was a must as people navigated mountains and rivers as well as holed up in different parts of the island as they planned their escape.
As a side note, a few other worlds were explored in “Stranded.” The first one referenced the Israeli secret police, the Mossad, and the search they conducted for Nazi war criminals in Argentina and Peru. The second world came from Hitler himself as he explained the incredible journey of the “Siegel Ring,” an emerald-encrusted treasure in his possession that saw its journey from the Mayan empire into the hands of rulers from Spain, France, Norway and finally Germany. “Stranded” was an interesting challenge because, of the different worlds explored, and the different languages represented. I had my German, Chinese and Spanish characters speak in their own language which they themselves sometimes translated for English listeners.
Plants of varying shapes and sizes sprouted everywhere, some just knee high, some as tall as mango trees. Rows of narrow pipes across the ceiling misted the foliage every minute. A few customers were sampling some of the edible flowers while others were reading manuals or informational tags about the unusual plants. Towards the back, the good PI spotted an employee who was busy pulling off the dead leaves from several botanical specimens. The clerk, he noticed, was very colorful with her psychedelic bamboo slippers, purplish pants, flowery blue and white tunic, rows of bangles on each wrist, several beaded chains around her neck, and a pink strip of cloth enmeshed in her long brown hair. As Gregory neared her, he could hear her humming along to the music playing over the virtual speakers high up in the corners of the center.
“Excuse me,” he introduced himself, “I was told Janis Joplin works back here.”
The employee turned and glanced at him. “You found her, babe.”
“Hi, Janis,” the PI introduced himself. “I’m Gregory Angelicus. And…”
“Oh, Lord,” she moaned, flinging the twigs in her hand down. “Another angel. What’d I do now?”
“Oh, no,” he stated quickly, “I’m not an angel. I just wanted to ask you a few questions.”
“About what?” she asked, eyeing the intruder with suspicion through her circular yellow sunglasses.
Gregory looked around momentarily. “Is there some place we can talk?”
“Sure,” she answered, crossing her arms. “You’re standing in it.”
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.