Simon Wood

Posts Tagged: hot seat

Aidy Westlake is 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 comes out on Christmas Day but you can preorder it from Amazon and Amazon UK.  I hope you enjoy it.

Categories: Uncategorized

Read more

Hot-Seat-2nd-loThe second Aidy Westlake mystery, HOT SEAT, is the book of the week.  The eBook is 99cents at Amazon, 99p at Amazon UK and $1.99 at Audible.

The storyline goes like this:

“Things are looking good for Aidy Westlake. He’s Pit Lane magazine’s Young Driver of the Year, which has earned him a drive in the European Saloon Car Championship. But his good fortune ends at a race car show when he discovers Jason Gates, a mechanic from a rival team, with his throat cut. The murder sets off a disturbing chain reaction – someone is breaking the rules in the ranks of saloon car racing, on and off the track.”

Now you’ve got no excuse to climb into the HOT SEAT!

Categories: book of the month

Read more

It’s the end of the year, so I’m being a reflecty. I won’t say it’s been my best year ever but it’s been pretty good all things considered.
It’s been a pretty good writing year.  I didn’t have a new book out this year but I did have two re-issues in the form of DID NOT FINISH & HOT SEAT.  I also had two books translated into German and it was a lot of fun working with editors and translators tailoring a story to a foreign culture.  I was happy to see some new short fiction out in the form of THE FRAME MAKER & PATHFINDER and CRESTFALLEN.  I finished THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY and I think it’s turned out well.  And book sales have been pretty good.  A couple of titles are still waiting to be discovered though.  Readers really do need to get on that.
Bouchercon was a highlight although a scary one.  It was a great honor to be the toastmaster at this year’s World Mystery Convention.  Public speaking is something I do because I have to and not something I enjoy, so it’s hard to say I had fun, but I was more than happy to have done it.  I was touched by some of the remarks made by some of my favorite authors.  As scary, touching, exciting and tiring as it all was, I would do it again.    
This year has been a year where people have wanted me for my mind and not just my words.  I seem to be building a reputation for my industry knowledge.  I did put on several seminars for writers and a publisher hired me as a consultant to help with a book launch.  I want to keep building in this direction as it’s good to have an additional string to my bow.
Away from the keyboard there’ve been some good things too.  I’ve continued to improve cycling prowess.  My times were better across all events although I’ve yet to crack a 100k in 3hrs.  For me, cycling is where I do all my story thinking.
On the home front, things came together albeit with a little elbow grease.  After last year’s debacle with our mortgage lender who nearly financially ruined us with their incompetence, we’ve paid off the mortgage, replaced the windows, installed solar and gone with a tankless water system.  We’re now lean and green, but more importantly, we’re self supporting.  Being a writer means being an independent contractor, so by keeping overheads low, I can weather any writing storms that should come my way.  
There have been a couple of disappointments along the way.  A TV pilot deal fell by the wayside along with a few other things.  August proved particularly hard on the soul where three publishing deals fell through.  Naturally, these things happen and as a writer, you just roll with the punches and move on to the next opportunity.

Overall 2014 has been solid.  It’s been another good foundation year where I’ve continued to solidify my position as a full time writer.  I’m quite excited about next year.  There are some good things planned for THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY.  I’m hoping to seal the deal on some new things.  All in all, I hope it’s going to be a big year.

That’s me, but what about you?  How’s your year been?

Categories: shelf life

Read more

I have a special offer for readers of the Aidy Westlake series.  The new paperback editions of DID NOT FINISH & HOT SEAT are now filtering into bookstores.  I’m very pleased because HOT SEAT never came out in paperback first time around. 
For those who aren’t familiar with Aidy Westlake, let me introduce him.  He’s a young racecar driver from the UK who becomes embroiled with seedier side of motor racing.  Essentially, think Dick Francis with a lot more horsepower. 
For those looking for autographed copies, the special offer is—get both titles for $20.00 by hitting the “thriller two-pack” offer at my online bookstore here.
I hope you’ll pick them up.  I think you’d like them.   J

Categories: Uncategorized

Read more

I have a quick bargain book alert for my UK readers.  Several of my ebook titles—ACCIDENTS WAITING TO HAPPEN, PAYING THE PIPER, WE ALL FALL DOWN, TERMINATED, ASKING FOR TROUBLE, DRAGGED INTO DARKNESS, DID NOT FINISH & HOT SEAT—are only £1.99.  I don’t know how long the special pricing will last but take advantage of me while you can…book-wise that is.  J
You can find all the titles here: 

Categories: Uncategorized

Read more

Wives are great things, especially when it comes to pointing out your mistakes.  Last year, my little Julie came to me and pointed to my books and said, “Notice the similarity?”

I stared at my titles and saw the obvious straight away—their sheer awesomeness.  Apparently, that wasn’t what she meant.  She told me to describe them.  I did, then I groaned, then I went to mope in a corner.

Hand on heart, I do my best to be original, to think ahead, to see the big picture, but sometimes I’ll drop the ball.  In this particular case, I managed to drop the ball several times.

So what’s my big mistake—car chases.

My first novel, ACCIDENTS WAITING TO HAPPEN, opens with the hero being run off the road.  My second novel, PAYING THE PIPER, opens with the hero racing across San Francisco after hearing his son has been kidnapped.  My third book, WE ALL FALL DOWN, novel opens with joy riders chasing after a man only to watch him commit suicide.  TERMINATED broke the cycle with a job evaluation interview.  Then I do fall off the wagon again with THE FALL GUY and ROAD RASH which do feature cars at the beginning but don’t have chases though.

Yes, I am a car nut and we live in a car centric world, but it wasn’t my intention to open all my books with some sort of car motif.  It kind of just happened.  Blame it on my subconscious.

In my defense, my first three books may have come out in that order but they weren’t written in that order.  ACCIDENTS WAITING TO HAPPEN might have been my first book, but WE ALL FALL DOWN was my second book, while PAYING THE PIPER was my fifth.  NO SHOW and a couple of other unpublished books were in between these three and none of them featured car chases, so don’t go thinking I’m a one trick pony.  Really…don’t.  I am good at this writing thing.  Just give me a chance.

The irony of ironies (in an Alanis Morrissette, ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife kind of a way) is that both of the Aidy Westlake motor racing books which would be totally legitimate in beginning with a car chase don’t!  Looking at the subsequent story lines I have planned, none of those begin with a car chase either.  That isn’t by design.  It just is.  :-/

When it comes to the opening of one of my books, I have one rule—start with a bang.  Throw the readers into the action with little or no preamble and make the opening dramatic—physically or emotionally or both.  That means cutting to the chase.  Maybe I took this chase point a little too much to heart.  I hope you’ll forgive me.  J 

Categories: shelf life

Read more

Something wicked awesome this way comes.
I am very happy to announce the re-launch of my Aidy Westlake mysteries (complete with fantastic new cover art).  The first two books in the series went out of print last year and I’m bringing them back in digital and paperback.  I’m very pleased because HOT SEAT never came out in paperback.  The eBooks came out last week and paperbacks will be available next month.
For those who aren’t familiar with Aidy Westlake, let me introduce him.  He’s a young racecar driver from the UK who becomes embroiled with seedier side of motor racing.  Luckily he’s ably assisted by his ex-Formula One mechanic grandfather and his best friend.  Aidy lives in the shadow of his father, Rob Westlake.  Believed to be the next big thing in Grand Prix racing, Rob died in a car crash along with Aidy’s mother before he ever raced in F1.  He’s determined to go the extra mile that his father never did, but he’s keeps being dragged into crimes associated with the sport.  Essentially, think Dick Francis with a lot more horsepower. 
The books in the series so far are:

DID NOT FINISH:

When Derek Deacon threatens to kill Alex Fanning, his championship rival, rookie driver Aidy Westlake doesn’t put much stock in it – it’s typical of the intense competitiveness and aggression in their world. But when Fanning dies after making contact with Deacon’s car during a race, a conspiracy ensues: the TV coverage is edited and the police wind up the investigation without interviewing witnesses. Compelled to prove Deacon is the murderer, Aidy pushes for the truth and is drawn into a world of fraud, organized crime and murder.

Available for:

HOT SEAT:

Things are looking good for Aidy Westlake. He’s Pit Lane magazine’s Young Driver of the Year, which has earned him a drive in the European Saloon Car Championship. But his good fortune ends at a race car show when he discovers Jason Gates, a mechanic from a rival team, with his throat cut. The murder sets off a disturbing chain reaction – someone is breaking the rules in the ranks of saloon car racing, on and off the track. 

Available for:


I sincerely hope you’ll check out the books as I’m very proud of them.  Obviously a lot of my own racing experiences provide the backbone for these books and future books in the series.  To answer the question—is Aidy Westlake me?  The answer is no.  He’s a far better driver and a lot more interesting.  J

These books are a prelude as to what is coming later in the year.  There’ll be a novella series starting with PILGRIM’S DROP followed by books three and four, OFF SEASON and THE BRAKING POINT.
I hope all this has your engines revving…

Categories: shelf life

Read more

I have a few pieces floating around at the moment that you might not have come across, but are worth your time.

CrimeSpree Magazine’s: 5 Books/Songs/Films that Changed My Life
The title says it all and CrimeSpree asked my what things changed my life. The tough part was finding just five books, songs and films that have influenced.

Kindle Daily Spot:
Amazon asked me for a piece that described me as a person and a writer. Chaos Theory was the simple answer. 🙂

Mysteries in Paradise reviewed ACCIDENTS WAITING TO HAPPEN and they liked it. Read the review here.

Audible.com brought out HOT SEAT, book 2 in the Aidy Westlake series, came out on Audio and it picked up a nice review over at Book ‘Em Mysteries.

And talking of all things, audio book, my supernatural crime thriller, ROAD RASH, is also available from Audible.com.

Still on the review front, Toxic Graveyard gave THE FALL GUY a great write up. Read it here.

Enjoy!

Categories: Uncategorized

Read more

Audible has bought the audio rights to the Aidy Westlake series. They picked up DID NOT FINISH and HOT SEAT with an option for a third title. You could see the audio books available very soon and I’m eager to know who will voice, Aidy and the gang.

…….

I hope you’re looking forward to this as much as me.

Categories: shelf life

Read more

This is my last piece on HOT SEAT, so I wanted to take today to discuss one of the characters in the book. For my wife, the stand out character in the book is Steve Westlake. Steve is Aidy’s grandfather. Julie likes the relationship between Aidy and his grandfather. I suppose it’s because they don’t have a traditional relationship in that Steve takes over as Aidy’s guardian after his loses his parents when Aidy was a kid. He teaches Aidy everything about motor racing and acts as a confidant and friend. So Steve is many things to Aidy.

I can understand why Steve had an effect on Julie because Steve is based on two very important people in my life—my uncle Steve and my dad. My uncle Steve is my mum’s youngest brother and he was the cool the uncle when I was growing up. He always seemed like a free spirit and always made me believe we were all capable of anything. My dad is the opposite of my uncle Steve. He’s grounded and dependable. He was part of my pit crew and a steadying influence on me when things got crazy in the pits. He had a good engineering mind and his thoughts always gave me confidence when it came to coming up with solutions for the race car. It helped me be a far more focused and relaxed driver. And for that I’ll always be grateful to my dad.

By way of a thank you to my dad, I gave Steve an interesting quirk in that he looks like Steve McQueen. Now my dad doesn’t look like Steve McQueen, but he does possess a passing resemblance to Paul Newman (according to some) although he has pale grey eyes opposed to Mr. Newman’s baby blues. I thought it would make for a nice tribute. 🙂

I do like how Steve Westlake turned out. He’s a far more rounded character than I’d hoped to create, but I have my uncle and dad to thank for that.

This concludes HOT SEAT‘s month in the sun. I hope my stories, my experiences and the book have piqued your interest and you’ll pick up a copy. I think you’ll like it.

Categories: Uncategorized

Read more