Simon Wood

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Colorful lanaguage has inspired my new book TROUBLE & STRIFE.  I love colorful language. The sheer creativity of subverting our day to day speech is something I enjoy. That’s the essence of slang. Every culture uses slang where people throw away the formality of language to convey an emotion or a situation in a succinct phrase. In my opinion, no other slang form is more enjoyable than Cockney rhyming slang where rhyme is incorporated.

So what is Cockney rhyming slang? It’s essentially a code. You take a word, replace that word with a word that rhymes with it, then turn it into a phrase.

Example: the word ‘Look.’ Look rhymes ‘hook.’ Turn ‘hook’ into a phrase and you get ‘butcher’s hook.’ Butcher’s hook is a classic cockney rhyming slang for look.

Other classic rhyming slang phrases include:

Dog and bone…meaning phone.
Holy water…meaning daughter.
Plates of meat…meaning feet.
Sky rocket…meaning pocket.

If you’re really clever with your rhyming slang, it can be an ironic phrase for the original word, like with ‘Trouble and strife’ which is rhyming slang for ‘wife.’

Now the fun doesn’t stop there. Oh no! Invariably, to incorporate your rhyming slang into a sentence, you would drop the rhyming word and just say Butcher’s instead of Butcher’s Hook. So if someone said to you, “Give me a Butcher’s?” The person would be asking to have a look at something in your possession.

So what are the origins of Cockney rhyming slang? It originated out of London’s East End in the mid-1900’s and was supposedly used by criminals to prevent undercover cops from listening in on their conversations. Like many things in British culture, that explanation has been disputed. While there are several other similar explanations, none seem definitive. The only concrete information is when, where and by whom.

Cockney rhyming slang still flourishes over a hundred and fifty years later. It’s no longer restricted to a particular enclave of London. It’s part of the national lexicon with regional differences and the incorporation of modern references have superseded many traditional phrases, such as ‘Chevy Chase’ overtaking ‘Boat race’ for meaning ‘face.’

The thing I love about Cockney rhyming slang is that the phrases paint colorful pictures. My favorite rhyming slang is the ‘Gypsy’s Kiss.” That creates such an imaginative visual of the story behind those two evocative words…although we should ignore that it’s actually slang for ‘piss.’ It was the evocativeness of Cockney rhyming slang that I wanted to use for this anthology. I wanted these colorful phrases to inspire the contributors to come up with a story. I chose writers from both the North America and the UK to exploit their familiarity and unfamiliarity with the rhyming slang.

To see what they came up with, turn the page and have a butcher’s.  There’s more about the book and purchase it here.

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Hooray!! My new book, the anthology called TROUBLE & STRIFE, is now available.  It’s a Cockney Rhyming Slang themed collection of stories. What is Cockney Rhyming Slang you ask?

Well, I’ll tell you.

It’s a coded language where you create/use an expression that rhymes with the word you want to use then use the expression instead of the word. For example “butcher’s hook” is used to mean “look” and “plates of meat” is used to mean “feet” and “skyrocket” is used to mean “pocket” and so on… Invariably, the rhyming portion of the expression is dropped and the non rhyming element will take over. So someone will say, “Give us a butcher’s at that?” and “My plates ain’t half hurt today” and “Here’s a tenner to put in your sky” and so on. I hope that all makes sense.

Rhyming slang is rumored to have been created by criminals to deceive undercover police officers during the Victorian era.

What I love about rhyming slang is the phrases and expressions paint such colorful images…usually unrelated to their meanings. Such as a Gypsy’s Kiss, Smash & Grab, Lamb to the Slaughter, Kick & Prance, to name a few. These phrases have the spark to ignite stories. So I invited writers from the US, Canada as well as the UK to come up with a story inspired by a particular phrase. What can you expect from the book, well this…

Babbling Brook is a talkative inmate at the state penitentiary.
Mr. Kipper is fishier than he sounds.
Half Inch is a small distance that can lead to a much longer stretch.
A hairdresser has to pay his dues for a crime that took place at Barnet Fair.
Pleasure and Pain takes on a brand new meaning in the German countryside.
And you never want to meet a Lady from Bristol.

You don’t have to understand rhyming slang to enjoy this book. You just have to enjoy a damn good story. To see what the authors have come up with you’ll have to turn the page and take a butcher’s.

All new stories featured are by Robert Dugoni, Catriona McPherson, Johnny Shaw, Steve Brewer, Paul Finch, Susanna Calkins, Sam Wiebe, Jay Stringer, Angel Luis Colón, Travis Richardson & Colin Campbell.

The book can be ordered from:

Amazon ebook
Amazon paperback
Amazon UK ebook
Amazon UK paperback
Kobo
Barnes & Noble ebook
Barnes & Noble paperback
iTunes
Google

And the Publisher

The book splashes down on today (just in time for Christmas) so I hope you’ll snap up a copy!!

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My new book is the anthology TROUBLE & STRIFE, a collection of crime stories inspired cockney rhyming slang.  The book’s release is next month so I thought I’d clue you in on what to expect.

If you don’t know what cockney rhyming slang is, here’s a little bit of background. It’s a coded language where you create/use an expression that rhymes with the word you want to use then use the expression instead of the word. For example “butcher’s hook” is used to mean “look” and “plates of meat” is used to mean “feet” and “skyrocket” is used to mean “pocket” and so on… Invariably, the rhyming portion of the expression is dropped and the non rhyming element will take over. So someone will say, “Give us a butcher’s at that?” and “My plates ain’t half hurt today” and “Here’s a tenner to put in your sky” and so on. I hope that all makes sense.  Rhyming slang is rumored to have been created by criminals to deceive undercover police officers during the Victorian era.  What I love about rhyming slang is the phrases and expressions paint such colorful images…usually unrelated to their meanings. Such as a Gypsy’s Kiss, Smash & Grab, Lamb to the Slaughter, Kick & Prance, to name a few. These phrases have the spark to ignite stories and that was the challenge I gave my writers.  What phrases spoke to them.  Here’s what I got from them.

Steve Brewer’s story is BABBLING BROOK which is slang for crook.
Angel Luis Colón’s story is BUNSEN BURNER which is slang for earner, as in making money.
Johnny Shaw’s story is DICKY DIRT which is slang for shirt.
Paul Finch’s story is MR. KIPPER which is slang for Jack the Ripper.
Jay Stringer’s story is HALF INCH which is slang for pinch as in to steal.
Catriona McPherson’s story is BARNET FAIR which is slang for hair.
Susanna Calkins’ story is TEA LEAF which is slang for thief.
Travis Richardson’s story is LEE MARVIN which is slang for starving.
Colin Campbell’s story is TROUBLE & STRIFE which is slang for wife.
Sam Wiebe’s story is A LADY FROM BRISTOL which is slang for pistol.
Robert Dugoni’s story is PLEASURE & PAIN which is slang for rain.

I hope the stories’ titles and their rhyming slang meanings give you an inklings of what to expect in the book.  🙂

The book will be out in paperback and ebook and is available on preorder.  For links to stores go here.

 

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It’s Halloween and a couple of my Halloween scares written under my pen name, Simon Janus, are on sale this week at Amazon.

In THE SCRUBS, James Jeter, the notorious serial killer with a sixth sense, holds court inside London’s Wormwood Scrubs Prison. He’s the focus of the “North Wing Project.” Under the influence of a hallucinogen, Jeter can create an alternative world known as “The Rift” containing the souls of his victims.

Pardons are on offer to inmates who’ll enter The Rift. Michael Keeler has nothing to lose and little to live for. He’s sent into The Rift to learn the identity of Jeter’s last victim.

It’s a mission where the guilty can be redeemed, but at a price…

For US readers, get it here for 99c here.
For UK readers, get it here for 99p here.

 

In ROAD RASH, Straley might think his life is cursed, but it doesn’t compare to what lies ahead of him on life’s highway. He’s on the run with the proceeds of a botched bank robbery. It’s all he has. His crew is dead and his getaway car just died on him. He’s on foot with the cash when he comes across a two-car pileup. There’s no saving the drivers, but he can save himself and steals one of the wrecked cars. But he boosts the wrong set of wheels. Within an hour of driving off, he develops a rash that eats away at his flesh. No doctor can help him–only the car’s original owner. If Straley wants his skin back, he must journey on the road to redemption, which ends in the heart of Central America.

For US readers, get it here for 99c here.
For UK readers, get it here for 99p here.

The books are available from other usual retail outlets and available on audio in the case of ROAD RASH.  Just click the book titles for details.

I hope I’ve given you something to keep you busy this Halloween.  🙂

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Hooray!!  I have a new book, but it’s a little different.  I’ve crossed the aisle from writer to editor.  I’ve curated a group of stories for an anthology called TROUBLE & STRIFE.  It’s a Cockney Rhyming Slang themed collection of stories.  What is Cockney Rhyming Slang you ask?

Well, I’ll tell you.

It’s a coded language where you create/use an expression that rhymes with the word you want to use then use the expression instead of the word. For example “butcher’s hook” is used to mean “look” and “plates of meat” is used to mean “feet” and “skyrocket” is used to mean “pocket” and so on…  Invariably, the rhyming portion of the expression is dropped and the non rhyming element will take over.  So someone will say, “Give us a butcher’s at that?” and “My plates ain’t half hurt today” and “Here’s a tenner to put in your sky” and so on.  I hope that all makes sense.

Rhyming slang is rumored to have been created by criminals to deceive undercover police officers during the Victorian era.

What I love about rhyming slang is the phrases and expressions paint such colorful images…usually unrelated to their meanings.  Such as a Gypsy’s Kiss, Smash & Grab, Lamb to the Slaughter, Kick & Prance, to name a few.  These phrases have the spark to ignite stories.  So I invited writers from the US, Canada as well as the UK to come up with a story inspired by a particular phrase.  What can you expect from the book, well this…

Babbling Brook is a talkative inmate at the state penitentiary.
Mr. Kipper is fishier than he sounds.
Half Inch is a small distance that can lead to a much longer stretch.
A hairdresser has to pay his dues for a crime that took place at Barnet Fair.
Pleasure and Pain takes on a brand new meaning in the German countryside.
And you never want to meet a Lady from Bristol.

You don’t have to understand rhyming slang to enjoy this book. You just have to enjoy a damn good story. To see what the authors have come up with you’ll have to turn the page and take a butcher’s.

Stories featured are by Robert Dugoni, Catriona McPherson, Johnny Shaw, Steve Brewer, Paul Finch, Susanna Calkins, Sam Wiebe, Jay Stringer, Angel Luis Colón, Travis Richardson & Colin Campbell.

The book splashes down on December 9th (just in time for Christmas) so I hope you’ll snap up a copy!!

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The first Aidy Westlake mystery DID NOT FINISH is my Book of the Week. It’s 99c/99p on Amazon.  DNF is very personal to me because it’s based on my experiences as a racecar driver. It’s a period of my life I am very proud of…and that’s includes the good, the bad and the ugly. Motor racing shaped me as a person and I’ve infused that into the character of Aidy. The storyline is inspired by an actual incident and a secret I kept for twenty years.

Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk

The books are available elsewhere in all e-formats, print and audio. You can find all the links here. I hope you’ll pick up this story because this series is very special to me.

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My book of the week is my supernatural thriller ROAD RASH. It’s 99c/99p at Amazon in the US and the UK for this week only!!

It’s the story of James Straley, a bank robber on the run with the proceeds of a botched bank robbery. It’s all he has. His crew is dead and his getaway car just died on him. He’s on foot with the cash when he comes across a two-car pileup. There’s no saving the drivers, but he can save himself by taking one of the wrecked cars. But he boosts the wrong set of wheels. Within an hour of driving off, he develops a rash that eats away at his flesh. No doctor can help him–only the car’s original owner. If Straley wants his skin back, he must journey on the road to redemption.

I have a real soft spot for this book.  It was inspired by a trip to Guatemala and a run-in I had with Santeria.  You can read all about my adventure here.

There’s also a great audio edition read by Ed Hunter.  I love Ed’s voice and it’s probably my favorite reading that anyone has done of my books.

It’s available from iTunes, Kobo, B&N, Audible as well as Amazon.  You can find all the links here.

Anyway, I hope you’ll snap up a copy.  I think you’ll enjoy it.

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My frustrated DJ self emerges yet again for a playlist for my the latest Aidy Westlake book, HALF-INCHED. The playlist reflects the various themes and plotlines from the book series. If you’ve read the books, these songs will make a lot of sense and if you haven’t, it should give you an inkling as to what to expect. Either way, the songs should result in a shake of the head…or a groan.

So here’s what’s on the playlist:

“The Distance.” – Cake

“Fast Car.” – Tracy Chapman

“Jerry Was Racecar Driver” – Primus

“The Road To Hell” – Chris Rea

“Shut Up And Drive” – Rhianna

“Cars” – Gary Newman

“Road To Nowhere” – Talking Heads

“Keep The Car Running” – Arcade Fire

“Everyday Is A Winding Road” – Sheryl Crow

“One Headlight” – The Wallflowers

“Passenger Seat” – Death Cab For Cutie

“Drive” – The Cars

“Passenger Side” – Wilco

“Granddad” – Clive Dunn

If you have any musical suggestions, leave them in the comments and I’ll add them to the playlist.  Now just hit play to listen. Enjoy!!

Categories: new book shelf life

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Merry Christmas, everyone!!  Aidy Westlake is your Xmas gift!! Aidy and the boys are back.  The full-time racecar driver and part-time investigator returns in HALF-INCHED. Again, Aidy and his crew are up to their necks in trouble. The storyline is as follows.

“Christmas has gone sideways for racecar driver, Aidy Westlake. Aidy’s grandfather, Steve, was just putting the finishing touches on a classic Ford GT40 he was restoring for a British millionaire when it was stolen from his workshop. They quickly establish that the supercar was stolen to order and is in now in Moldova in the hands of the notorious gangster, Lupul. There’s a wrinkle. The police in Moldova don’t care. The theft of a rich man’s toy doesn’t rank high on their priorities. The client’s ultimatum is simple—cover his one million pound loss or recover the car by Christmas Day. With the threat of financial ruin hanging over his grandfather’s head, Aidy’s crew has only one option—steal the car back.”

This story takes place between the novels DID NOT FINISH and HOT SEAT.

The book is here.  You can order it from Amazon and Amazon UK. I hope you enjoy it.

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My frustrated DJ self emerges yet again for a playlist for my new thriller SAVING GRACE.  The playlist reflects the various themes and plotlines from the book.  If you’ve read the book, these songs will make a lot of sense and if you haven’t, it should give you an inkling as to what to expect.  Either way, the songs should result in a shake of the head…or a groan.   🙂

So here’s what’s on the playlist:

“Let her go.” – Passenger

“I’m the man.” –  Joe Jackson

“Desperado”  –  Rhianna

“Sunday Papers” –  Joe Jackson

“Protection” –  Massive Attack

“Money” –  Pink Floyd

“Regret” –  New Order

“Running up that hill” –  Kate Bush

“There’s a guy works down the chip shop swears he’s Elvis” –  Kirsty MacColl

The Jaffa Cake Munchkin song

Now just hit play to listen.  Enjoy!!

Categories: new book

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