The Muse of Wallace Rose

Cover of THE MUSE OF WALLACE ROSE by Bill WoodsSilver Falchion Award for THE MUSE OF WALLACE ROSEAward-Winning Novella and Short Story Collection



By turns humorous, quirky, heartbreaking, and thought-provoking, this collection of shorter works by author Bill Woods takes the reader on a journey of darkness, light, and introspection, where the lines between reality and imagination blur and blend. Or do they?


Available in print and e-book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and local booksellers.


THE MUSE OF WALLACE ROSE was awarded Killer Nashville’s Silver Falchion Award for Best Short Story Collection or Anthology of 2020.  The competition was judged by a team comprising book publicists, professional reviewers, award-winning authors, literary agents, editors, and other industry professionals.

Review by Joy Gorence at 

Bill Woods is a talented author whose novella The Muse of Wallace Rose reads like a literary matryoshka. Instead of a series of nesting dolls, Woods gives the reader a series of events, one dependent on another. With the epigraph “We are what we pretend to be…” (Kurt Vonnegut, Mother Night), Woods weaves a muse’s tale through Wallace Rose’s writing. Wallace Rose, a writer and the opening narrator, presents us with the role a writer plays in telling a story: “Maybe […] a writer comes in-giving voice to restless dead people.” Little do we realize that Woods uses Wallace in this manner.

With a style that Vonnegut would have lauded, Woods “found a subject he cares about,” i.e., writing. He doesn’t ramble, he keeps it simple, and he seems to have only left sentences in the novella that “illuminate the subject”. In chapter one, we are told that “[Wallace] can make people do anything he wants.” It all begins with an imaginary story about two lovers who plan the murder of an unsuspecting husband. As we become enmeshed in the story, more murders occur in which Woods has removed the demarcation between imagination and reality. At the end, Detective Duffy tries to figure out how the murders are related. Woods, however, has given the reader the key to the nesting tales.

A Muse has inspired Woods in this narrative of passion and mystery. His talent as a master storyteller is evident in this and subsequent stories.

Review by Tom Wood

“You’ll go from amused and astounded to dazed and disabused by the rich writing and characters found in The Muse of Wallace Rose. This novella and short stories by Bill Woods will take you on a roller coaster ride of emotions that will have you laughing, crying and shrieking all at the same time.”
– Tom Wood, author of Vendetta Stone

Review by Vonn McKee

Bill Woods melds rich vernacular descriptions and the broken-glass realities of human nature in this diverse collection. You will feel the sticky strip club tables, smell the diner grease, and ache along with lovers, both star-crossed and reunited. — Vonn McKee, award-winning short story author

Review by Catherine Moore

In the last story of this collection, the narrator reveals he likes hanging with an oddball because “He’s going to be a character in this book I’m writing.” A bit of truth embedded in fiction? In a Bill Woods’ story, misfits wreak havoc on the ordinary. From dark deathbed confessions to desert drifters with secrets, nothing is exactly as it seems. If you like to read about paths less traveled, even if it takes you to the other side of the tracks or down an unknown alley, this collection is for you. — Catherine Moore, author of “Ulla! Ulla!”