Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Pigeon River Blues by Wayne Zurl (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with Pump Up Your Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Pigeon River Blues by  Author Wayne Zurl!

Author Guest Post

Practical Advise For Novice Writers
By: Wayne Zurl

Okay, here’s where I get to play coach. I’ve been given the opportunity to be didactic, pedantic, and if I’m clever, facetious. If Knute Rockne was a writer, here’s what he’d say about getting published and sharpening your work.

When you begin the process of selling your finished work, follow the accepted sequence. Start looking for representation by an accredited literary agent. Not an easy chore, but worth the effort. Should that fail, don’t take it personally. Rejections are part of a writer’s life.

If the agent search poops out, engage in some healthy catharsis. Go to a soundproof room or the middle of a national wilderness area and curse them out. Scream at the top of your lungs and get the anger out of your system. Call them megalomaniacal, self-styled power brokers, ineffectual, rude, unfeeling, egocentric, sluggards. Photocopy their facial likeness from their website, tack it to an unfinished garage wall or a wide tree trunk, and throw darts at him/her until the steam escapes from your ears and your blood pressure returns to 70 over 120. Then, fix your favorite seasonal alcoholic beverage, retreat to a comfortable chair and say, “Time for plan B.”

What’s that, you ask? Take the same copy of WRITER’S DIGEST where you found those miserable agent’s names and look for all the traditional publishers who will accept submissions directly from a writer and query them.

Still no luck? Look for eBook publishers. It’s a lot less expensive for a company to produce a book electronically than make an initial run of 2,500 hard copies. Getting published this way is no free ride, but these people seem to be more amenable to take a chance with a new, unproven author. And most eBook publishers may provide POD (print on demand) options should you want to market your book in paperback. Lastly, or maybe it’s your first choice, self-publish. But be careful choosing a company. Ask for war stories from those who have been there before you. Don’t get caught with a 1,000 prepaid copies of your book getting damp and smelly in your basement and a company that does nothing to assist you in promoting and marketing your books. If you don’t speak legalese, obtain help to read a contract.

No matter where your publishing journey ends, here’s the key—NEVER GIVE UP. If you believe in yourself and objectively think your novel is good enough to be read by others, one way or another you can see your manuscript in print. So, get out there and win one for the Gipper.

Now, here’s a little less inspirational (but still sound) suggestion on how to produce a world-class piece of work. When you think your story, novelette, novella, novel, or epic is finished, when you truly believe you’ve found and corrected all the typos and nits and it’s ready to sell, go back and read it aloud to yourself. Pretend you’re the star of your own audio book. Read it slowly and professionally as an actor would. Then, ask yourself, does it sound good? Do all the paragraphs smoothly transcend to the next? Does each sentence contain the right number of syllables? Does each word flow into the next without conflict? Does it have a pleasing rhythm? Basically, does it sing to you? For a guy who doesn’t dance very well, I have a great need for rhythm in my writing. If you notice any “bumps,” go back and rewrite it. Smooth everything out. If something bothers you now, it will annoy the dickens out of you in the future and someone else will probably notice it, too.

With that accomplished, you’re finished, right? No. Now you’re ready to hand it off to an editor or proofreader—whomever you can afford. A second pair of eyes is essential for ANY writer.


Kathleen, Thanks for inviting me back to your blog and again spend time with your followers. To all those who take the time to read my guest posting, I wish you the best and hope you enjoy the rest of the autumn and have happy holidays and a healthy and prosperous new year.


It is always a pleasure to feature you and your novels on my blog, Wayne. Thank you for the opportunity to host the virtual book tour event for Pigeon River Blues! :)

About The Author

Wayne Zurl grew up on Long Island and retired after twenty years with the Suffolk County Police Department, one of the largest municipal law enforcement agencies in New York and the nation. For thirteen of those years he served as a section commander supervising investigators. He is a graduate of SUNY, Empire State College and served on active duty in the US Army during the Vietnam War and later in the reserves. Zurl left New York to live in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee with his wife, Barbara.

Twenty (20) of his Sam Jenkins mysteries have been published as eBooks and many produced as audio books. Ten (10) of these novelettes are available in print under the titles: A Murder In Knoxville and Other Smoky Mountain Mountain Mysteries and Reenacting A Murder and Other Smoky Mountain Mysteries. Zurl has won Eric Hoffer and Indie Book Awards, and was named a finalist for a Montaigne Medal and First Horizon Book Award. His full length novels are available in print and as eBooks: A New Prospect, A Leprechaun's Lament, Heroes & Lovers, and Pigeon River Blues.

For more information on Wayne’s Sam Jenkins mystery series see You may read excerpts, reviews and endorsements, interviews, coming events, and see photos of the area where the stories take place.


Book Review

Pigeon River Blues by Wayne Zurl
Book Series: A Sam Jenkins Mystery Series
Publisher: Iconic Publishing
Publication Date: May 31, 2014
Format: Paperback - 258 pages
              Kindle - 1377 KB
              Nook - 3 MB
ISBN: 978-1938844027
BNID: 2940149660490
Genre: Mystery / Police Procedural

BUY THE BOOK: Pigeon River Blues

BUY THE SERIES: A Sam Jenkins Mystery Series

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Pump Up Your Book Tours.

Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Book Description:

Winter in the Smokies can be a tranquil time of year—unless Sam Jenkins sticks his thumb into the sweet potato pie.

The retired New York detective turned Tennessee police chief is minding his own business one quiet day in February when Mayor Ronnie Shields asks him to act as a bodyguard for a famous country and western star.

C.J. Profitt’s return to her hometown of Prospect receives lots of publicity . . . and threats from a rightwing group calling themselves The Coalition for American Family Values.

The beautiful, publicity seeking Ms. Proffit never fails to capitalize on her abrasive personality by flaunting her lifestyle—a way of living the Coalition hates.

Reluctantly, Jenkins accepts the assignment of keeping C.J. safe while she performs at a charity benefit. But Sam’s job becomes more difficult when the object of his protection refuses to cooperate. 

During this misadventure, Sam hires a down-on-his-luck ex-New York detective and finds himself thrown back in time, meeting old Army acquaintances who factor into how he foils a complicated plot of attempted murder, the destruction of a Dollywood music hall, and other general insurrection on the “peaceful side of the Smokies.”

Book Excerpt:


An oddball named Mack Collinson sat in his mother’s office discussing the upcoming auction of farmland straddling the border of Prospect and neighboring Seymour, Tennessee.

Jeremy Goins, part-time real estate salesman at the Collinson agency, defrocked federal park ranger, and now full-time maintenance man in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, walked into the room and tossed a newspaper on Mack’s lap.

Collinson, a short, dark man in his late-forties, had close-cropped, almost black hair, a single bushy eyebrow spanning his forehead, and a thick beard that covered his face from just below his eyes and disappeared into the collar of his sport shirt.

“You seen this article in the Blount County Voice?” Goins asked.

Mack shrugged. His mother neither commented nor gestured.

Goins sighed and continued, seemingly unimpressed with his male colleague. “’Bout how Dolly’s havin’ a benefit show and that lezzy bitch—‘cuse me, Ma—C.J. Profitt’s comin’ back home fer a week a’forehand.”

People showing deference to her age referred to Collinson’s mother as Miss Elnora. Those who knew her more intimately, called her Ma.

“Lemme see that,” Elnora snarled, screwing up her wide face, one surrounded by layers of gray, arranged in a style the locals called big hair.

“Yes, ma’am.” Anxious to please his employer, Jeremy snatched the newspaper from Mack and handed it to Mrs. Collinson.

The Collinson Realty and Auction Company occupied an old and not very well maintained building on McTeer’s Station Pike just below the center of Prospect. Sixty-five-year-old Elnora Collinson had been a realtor for more than forty years, first with her late husband and now with her son. In either case, Ma represented the brains of the operation.

After allowing the woman a few moments to read the article, Jeremy Goins continued the conversation.

“I hated that bitch back in hi-skoo,” he said. “And I hate her even more now that I know what she is and what her kind means ta the rest o’ us.”

Goins was a stocky, rugged-looking man, approaching fifty, with a liberal mix of gray in his dark brown hair. The gray hair was the only liberal thing about Jeremy Goins.

“I s’pose she’s fixin’ to stay around here and mebbe bring some o’ her pur-verted women friends with her,” Mack said. “This world’s goin’ ta hell when ya got ta be subjectedsta the likes o’ her on the same streets good Christian folk walk on.”

“Amen ta that,” Jeremy said.

When Ma finished reading she snorted something unintelligible, rolled up the paper, and threw it at a wastepaper basket, missing by a foot.

“Boys, this is shameful.” She took a long moment to shake her head in disgust. “Downright shameful.”

Both men nodded in agreement.

“When that girl went ta Nashville an’ become a singer, I thought Prospect was rid o’ her and her kind once’t and fer all. Lord have mercy, but we’re doomed ta see her painted face on our streets ag’in.” 

“Momma,” Mack said, “we ain’t gotta take this.”

He spent a moment shaking his head, too. Then he decided to speak for the rest of the population. 

“Don’t nobody here want her back. Mebbe we should send’er a message if the elected leaders o’ this city won’t. We kin let her know.”

“You’re rot, son. Ain’t no reason why that foul-mouthed, lesbian should feel welcome here.” Ma Collinson, who resembled a grumpy female gnome, sat forward in her swivel chair and with some difficulty, pulled herself closer to the desk. “Jeremy, git me that li’l typewriter from the closet. I’ll write her a note sayin’ as much.”

Goins nodded and moved quickly.

“And Jeremy, afore yew git ta work at park headquarters, mail this in Gatlinburg so as ta not have a Prospect postmark on it.”

Goins stepped to a spot where he could read over her shoulder and said, “Yes, ma’am, I’ll do it.” 

After inserting a sheet of white bond paper under the roller, Elnora Collinson began to type:

Colleen Profitt we know you. We know what you are. All the money you made don’t make no difference about what you have became. You are a shame to your family and the city of Prospect. Do not come back here. We do not want you. God does not want you. 


 The Coalition for American Family Values

That was the first of six messages sent to country and western star C.J. Profitt. The last letter, typed almost two weeks later, said:

CJ Profitt you have not called off your visit to our city. We repeat. You and your lesbian friends are violating God’s Law. You must not come here. If you do you will regret it. The people of this city will not suffer because of you. Your ways are the ways of Sin. Your life is a life of SIN. If you come here YOU WILL suffer and then burn in Hell. Do not show your painted face here again. If you do you better make your peace with GOD. You will face HIM soon enough. Sooner than you think. 

The Coalition for American Family Values


On Friday morning, February 2nd, Mack Collinson slammed the front door to the real estate agency, shrugged off his brown canvas Carhartt jacket, and tossed it on an old swivel chair. He spent a moment blowing his nose in a week-old handkerchief and stormed into his mother’s office.

“Well she’s here,” he said, putting his hands on his hips. “She never done took your warnin’s serious-like.”

Ma Collinson looked at her son over the tops of reading glasses she recently purchased at the Wal-Mart Vision Center.

“This mornin’ Luretta and the kids was watchin’ that Knoxville mornin’ show,” he said. “And there she was—film o’ her at the airport ‘long with some others goin’ ta perform at Dolly’s benefit thing. She never listened ta ya, Ma. Now she’s here.”

At five after nine, a coo coo clock in Elnora’s office struck eight.

Mrs. Collinson pulled off her glasses and tossed them onto the desk. She wrinkled her brow and puckered her mouth in disgust. Elnora did not look happy.

“She’ll be talkin’ ‘bout her ideas and her ways like she always does,” Mack said. “It’s un-natural is what it is. Against God’s way. Why does God let people like her live, Ma? Makes me jest so gat-dag mad. Makes me think we ought ta kill her. Kill her our own selves.”

My Book Review:

After twenty years on the NYPD, Sam Jenkins and his wife Kate leave New York behind to retire in the Great Smoky Mountain small town of Prospect, Tennessee. But his retirement doesn't last long when he accepts the position of the town's new Chief of Police. One would think that this is a cushy position in a sleepy little Appalachian town, and normally it would be ... except for the occasional murders, criminal activities, and mischievious small town antics. And if that isn't enough, the mayor asks Sam to babysit C.J. Profitt, a hometown girl turned famous country music star, who returns home for a charity benefit, only to stoke the fiery ire of a radical rightwing group called The Coalition for American Family Values. The Coalition is against C.J.'s flamboyant flaunting of her "corrupt" lifestyle, it goes against their way of living. A sassy country music star, dangerous threats, numerous murder attempts, and protecting the Dollywood music hall from destruction keeps Sam on his toes, determined to restore peace, law, and order to his Great Smoky Mountain small town.

In the latest installment of the Sam Jenkins Mystery seriesPigeon River Blues, author Wayne Zurl weaves another intriguing tale of mystery and suspense that keeps the reader guessing as they follow Sam on his latest madcap adventure.

Author Wayne Zurl engages the reader with a story that has a mixture of humor, intrigue, drama and suspense. His use of the local southern dialect stays true to the setting in the story, the reader feels like they are transported to the town of Prospect. I loved the fun banter that makes up the dialogue in the story, you can't help but get drawn into the story as the characters come to life.

Sam is a sarcastic guy who has no problem saying exactly what he's thinking: his quick wit, sense of humor, friendly banter and sweet flirty side keeps the reader laughing out loud as the story unfolds. And when you add in the sassy and vibrant personality of country music star C.J. Profitt, mixed with the radical rightwing group's threats and crazy antics, the reader is in for a real treat with a storyline that is full of dramatic fireworks!

With a quirky cast of characters; a rich description of the setting and the local dialect; and a suspenseful storyline full of intriguing twists and turns, Pigeon River Blues is an exciting continuation of the thrilling adventures found in the Sam Jenkins Mystery series!

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that author Wayne Zurl utilizes his prior extensive knowledge and experience of police procedure to create a realistic story and series that diehard of mystery / detective fans will crave to read.

Pigeon River Blues and the Sam Jenkins Mystery series is simply an addicting whodunit mystery series that will turn mystery fans into Sam Jenkins fans!


Virtual Book Tour

Tour Schedule:

Monday, September 15
My Life, Loves and Passion – Author Guest Post / Book Review

Tuesday, September 16
Books, Reviews, Etc. – Book Review

Thursday, September 18
Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – Book Spotlight / Book Excerpt

Friday, September 19
Black Heart Magazine – Author Interview / Book Excerpt

Monday, September 22
Deal Sharing Aunt – Author Interview / Book Spotlight / Book Excerpt

Tuesday, September 23
Lilac Reviews – Author Guest Post / Book Review

Wednesday, September 24
Bless Their Hearts Mom – Book Excerpt / Book Review

Thursday, September 25
Readalot – Book Review

Monday, September 29
Bound 2 Escape – Book Spotlight

Wednesday, October 1
Gabina49′s Blog / Just Reviews – Book Review
Deal Sharing Aunt – Book Review

Thursday, October 2
FictionZeal – Author Guest Post / Book Spotlight / Book Excerpt

Friday, October 3
Melanie’s Muse – Book Review

Monday, October 6
The Writer’s Life – Author Interview / Book Spotlight

Wednesday, October 8
Book Readers: Mum’s Writings Mystery and More – Author Guest Post / Book Spotlight / Book Excerpt

Monday, October 13
The Story Behind The Book – Author Guest Post / Book Spotlight

Friday, October 17
As The Page Turns – Author Interview / Book Spotlight

Monday, October 20
Jane Reads – Book Spotlight / Book Excerpt

Friday, October 24
Read My First Chapter – Featured Book Excerpt

Wednesday, October 29
Brooke Blogs – Book Review

Friday, October 31
Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Author Guest Post / Book Spotlight / Book Review

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