Simon Wood

Posts Tagged: paying the piper

4-title-bay-area

DECEPTIVE PRACTICES comes out November 15. Not only is it a new book but it’s also the fourth and final installment of the Bay Area Quartet. The series wasn’t linked by character but by location. I wanted to explore my environment so I broke the Bay Area into four sections and put a book there. DECEPTIVE PRACTICES explores the East Bay (my neck of the woods). The other books in the series being PAYING THE PIPER (San Francisco), WE ALL FALL DOWN (Marin County) and TERMINATED (Alameda).

I hope you’ll check out DECEPTIVE PRACTICES and the other books in the series.

Categories: book of the month new book

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100k piperIn August, the Thomas & Mercer edition of PAYING THE PIPER hit a milestone by crossing 100,000 copies sold.   Thomas & Mercer commemorated the landmark with a framed copy of the book, which is a sweet gesture.  Publishing is one of those industry that doesn’t commemorate its achievements.

Thanks to everyone who bought a copy.  I’ll be forever in your debt.  And if you have picked up the book, don’t let this good news stop you.  😆

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gary oldmanI saw my author-friend, Tony Broadbent, not too long ago. We hail from the same hometown back in the old country. We got to chatting and he gave me a pat on the head and told me I was an anarchist.

“You’re like the Gary Oldman of the mystery world,” he said.

I love Gary, but I asked, “Is that a good thing?”

“Yes,” he exclaimed. “There’s a lot of anarchy in your writing.”

How subversive, I thought. I’m a rebel without an agenda. Mum will be delighted.

Well, the little exchange got me thinking about my writing. I don’t think people hit the keyboards with an agenda or a theme tucked under their arm—or if they do, it sort of sticks out. Agendas and themes develop on a subconscious level. Well, they do for me. I don’t go out of my way to put a slant on my stories. I just try to entertain, but inadvertently, I show a little leg now and again. So, I looked for the anarchy. And I think I saw it in the shape of conflict.

Conflict. Stories require conflict. It’s a driving force. Characters and stories thrive on it. More so in mysteries and thrillers than other genres. The nature of the genre means there are going to be casualties and collateral damage. So I like to inject my stories with a lot of conflict. The problem is that I’m quite a literal person and I think about things in very pure terms. Blame my engineering background. When I think conflict, I think about total annihilation. Everything my lead character holds dear is under attack. I create this person so that I can destroy them. I place them and their world in an ivory tower, then go about stacking as much C4 explosive around the foundation as possible to blast it all apart. It only seems fair, doesn’t it? Conflict by its nature is salt to a wound. Character assassination is key. Only by putting everything in a protagonist’s world at extreme risk can the character grow and thrive. There can’t be a comfort zone for this person. Wouldn’t you want to read about a character in a situation like that?

I flicked through some of my stories to see what I did to my characters and the annihilation is there. Characters have their reputations destroyed, home life obliterated, are framed for things for crimes they didn’t commit, have personal property confiscated or stolen or destroyed. These characters’ lives will never be the same. There will have to be a lot of rebuilding by the end.

So I guess I do have anarchistic bent. Sorry. It wasn’t intentional. It’s just the way I tell ‘em.

Yours destructively,

Simon

Categories: shelf life

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WeAllFallDown400September seems to be promo month for several of my titles.  So please take advantage of several of these month long discounts.  You have no excuse not to pick me up cheap.  😉

PAYING THE PIPER

The ebook edition of my kidnap thriller filled secrets, lies, mistakes and redemption is £1.00 at AmazonUK.

TERMINATED

The ebook edition of my workplace violence themed thriller is £1.25 at AmazonUK.  This book was inspired by an incident at my wife’s old.

WE ALL FALL DOWN

The ebook edition of my chase themed thriller is $1.99 at Amazon.  Think THE FIRM but with engineers instead of lawyers.  Seriously though the book was inspired by a series of suicides in the UK in the 80’s.

THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY

The trade paperback edition of my bestselling cat and mouse thriller is only $6.99 at the moment at Amazon.  It’s the story of two damaged people who deal with their trauma in completely different ways.

Categories: book of the month

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“Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.” ~Sherlock Holmes

strangerI’m totally with Sherlock on this one…especially when it comes to the improbable.  I’m drawn to the weird, odd and bizarre.  I’m fascinated by the oddities in life that shouldn’t happen.  It appeals to my imaginative sensibilities.  Blame Roald Dahl and Rod Serling for making me believe in the crazy.  It’s the reason why I’m a rabid fan of the show BANSHEE but not LAW AND ORDERBANSHEE is crazy, intense and over the top and only works when the universe’s cosmic tumblers are off, whereas LAW AND ORDER is rooted in the now and the real, which makes it totally mundane to me (sorry Dick Wolf).  If I want mundane, I can pick up a newspaper or watch the evening news.  I want it weird.  I’m an escapist!  What can I say?

That’s why one criticism of my stories is that they push the limits of believability—and that’s true.  They do.  But for all that limit pushing, they don’t go outside the realm of the possible.  I go out of my way to pay attention to for the strange happening in the real world.   I think I have a fascination with the strange because I possess a small talent for calamity myself.  I have many firsthand accounts of how my life went off the rails.  One example was when I had a near fender bender on a roundabout which then developed into someone filing a fraudulent insurance claim against me.  That led to me being charged with half a dozen driving offenses and was topped off by the police handing me a confession they’d written for me to sign.  Seems a little unlikely but it happened to me…which you can read the complete account here.

So if it can happen to me, it must happen to others.

stranger2I’ve discovered some tragic and cruel twists of fate such as a Sacramento motorcycle cop who responded to a fender bender caused by  an elderly man who pulled out of a turn and tee-boned a car.  The cop felt bad for the elderly man and let him off with a warning instead of citing him.  The following week, the same elderly man did the exact same thing at the same intersection.  This time he struck and killed the motorcycle cop who’d let him off.  The weird what-if game that plays out in your head after that is what inspires my stories.

Things like this have been the inspiration for several of my books.  The trade of life insurance on the living which is the backbone for ACCIDENTS WAITING TO HAPPEN is a real thing.  Private security firms being involved with workplace violence claims which is the foundation for TERMINATED came from something that was happening with one of my wife’s employers.  The disturbing series of suicides in WE ALL FALL DOWN were inspired by similar ones that happened between coworkers in the UK in the 80’s.

And while THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY, PAYING THE PIPER, NO SHOW, etc. don’t have any direct link to an actual event, they are inspired by a way of thinking.  Namely, how can a seemingly mundane event get its strange on?

Now I know this outlook might not be to everyone’s liking but if you’re willing to go off-piste and embrace the improbable, then I think you’ll enjoy the ride.

Categories: shelf life

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This is last call for readers in the UK to pick up a couple of my books at a low price.  Two of my titles have been part of a December promotion.  For a couple of quid you can get a couple of my books and still have change.  Not a bad Christmas gift.  
December Specials: 

PAYING THE PIPER is only 99p (in eBook form) this month over at Amazon UK.

“For years, the serial kidnapper known as the Piper got rich by abducting children from San Francisco’s wealthiest families. When crime reporter Scott Fleetwood gets a call from a man identifying himself as the Piper and offers an exclusive interview, Fleetwood jumps at the chance. But the caller turns out to be a fake, and the rash decision costs the life of the real Piper’s latest victim.For eight long years, Fleetwood has lived with unbearable guilt—and the enduring disdain of the entire Bay area. Now he hears from the real Piper—and it’s not for an interview. The kidnapper has the reporter’s son. But he doesn’t want money…he wants blood. And he’s going to use Fleetwood to get it.”
And for a penny more, you can pick up the first of the Terry Sheffield mysteries, NO SHOW, for only 100 new pence at Amazon UK.
“Englishman Terry Sheffield has just arrived in San Francisco to start his new life with Sarah, the investigative journalist he married after a transatlantic love affair. But Sarah never shows up at the airport… The police chalk it up to a new bride with cold feet. Then one murdered woman after another turns up, all with something in common: they had exposed scandals just before their deaths…and their names appear on a list that Sarah composed. As a journalist, Sarah’s exposed her share of scandals, and Terry realizes that she’s not missing—she’s on the run. To find her, Terry realizes she’s very different from the woman he thought he married.”

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I had another brush with Hollywood with a possible screen adaptation of my work.  A small production company wanted to adapt one of my short stories into a TV pilot.  After a few months of back and forth, the deal is effectively dead.  I came really close.  There were scripts, contracts and everything, but my screen horse fell down at the final fence on that highest of fences—contracts.  No IMDB credit for me.  A bummer, yes, but it’s one of those things.  Disappointing but I’m OK with it. 

Seriously, I am OK with this deal not coming off.  If this were a book deal, I would be pissed off, but when it comes to TV or film, I know I can’t allow myself to get too carried away.  Years ago, a Hollywood friend warned me how difficult it was to get a project to screen.  It was a warning borne out by author friends who’ve had books wrapped in option and development purgatory for years.  Not surprising when you consider how few movies and TV shows are made each year.  So like I say, when it comes to TV and movies, I don’t let myself get too wrapped up in it because I’m only setting myself up for heartbreaking disappointment.
That isn’t to say I wouldn’t love to see something of mine on screen at some point.  Tomorrow would be nice, but it’s a fickle business and I know it may never happen.
I may be a little case hardened.  This is about the fourth interaction with movie or TV people without success.  The most interesting offer came from a Korean film company that wanted to make PAYING THE PIPER in Seoul, which would have been very cool.  Sadly, that one never got much traction.  ACCIDENTS WAITING TO HAPPEN and THE FALL GUYhave also been tapped for movie adaptation too with similar results.  C’est la vie.
However probability says after four failed attempts to convert means I’m probably due a win with the next one.  Here’s hoping anyway.  I’ll be honest, it would be a dream come true to see one of my stories on the silver screen.  It would do wonders for book sales.  And I would finally be able to hire a butler I’ve always craved.  Wow, I’m so grounded, it’s scary.  So if there are any Hollywood types reading this, give me a call, let’s do lunch.  🙂

Categories: shelf life

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Are you British? Do you read ebooks?  Then this the place for you!

Several of my books are being promoted this month and having promotional pricing to go with it.

PAYING THE PIPER is only 99p (in eBook form) this month over at Amazon UK with 40% off the paperback.
“For years, the serial kidnapper known as the Piper got rich by abducting children from San Francisco’s wealthiest families. When crime reporter Scott Fleetwood gets a call from a man identifying himself as the Piper and offers an exclusive interview, Fleetwood jumps at the chance. But the caller turns out to be a fake, and the rash decision costs the life of the real Piper’s latest victim.For eight long years, Fleetwood has lived with unbearable guilt—and the enduring disdain of the entire Bay area. Now he hears from the real Piper—and it’s not for an interview. The kidnapper has the reporter’s son. But he doesn’t want money…he wants blood. And he’s going to use Fleetwood to get it.”
WE ALL FALL DOWN is only £1.49 at Amazon UK
“Hayden Duke just landed a coveted contract gig with Marin Design Engineering, largely thanks to his old friend, Shane Fallon. The dream job becomes a nightmare when Shane takes his own life in a seemingly drug induced stupor. The only clue to Shane’s death is an e-mail with an encrypted file he sends to Hayden. It’s a file people would kill to possess. Now Hayden’s got to risk losing everything…before he loses his life.”
My workplace violence thriller , TERMINATED, is only £1. at Amazon UK.

Stephen Tarbell needed that promotion. But they had to go and give the job to his supervisor, Gwen Farris. Now Tarbell has had enough—and he’s about to put Gwen on notice. She has two choices: give him a glowing review on his performance evaluation or suffer the consequences.  Gwen has already survived one violent attack, fifteen years ago. But even that experience couldn’t prepare her for Tarbell’s relentless fury. Pulling a knife on her was just the beginning. Like a sadist peeling the wings off a helpless fly, Tarbell is determined to pick apart her life using every means of physical and psychological torment. The company’s security firm says they’ll handle the situation, but whose side are they really on? And how do you stop a psychopath so consumed by hate he thinks he’s the one being persecuted?
 ACCIDENTS WAITING TO HAPPEN is on 99p over at Amazon UK.  This was my first novel and after a decade it continues to keep riding the charts from time to time.  I think it’s because of the provocative storyline.
“Josh Michaels isn’t wanted dead or alive—just dead. That fact becomes shockingly clear when a stranger runs his car off the road. Instead of a helping hand, the man gives Josh a “thumbs down” and abandons him to what is almost certainly a watery grave. Luckily, Josh cheats death…this time. But when more harrowing “accidents” threaten his life, it’s clear he’s a marked man.  As his time and luck rapidly run out, he must unmask an insidious conspiracy bent on making a killing—in more ways than one.”
I hope these have whetted your whistle to give them a read…
 

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My expansion into the German book market grew by one today with the publication of Die Abrechnung des Kinderfängers aka the German language version of PAYING THE PIPER.  The jacket copy goes a little like this:
 
“Über Jahre hinweg wurde der Entführer mit dem Spitznamen »der Kinderfänger« reich, indem er serienweise die Kinder der wohlhabendsten Familien San Franciscos entführte.  Als der Kriminalreporter Scott Fleetwood einen Anruf von einem Mann erhält, der sich als der Kinderfänger ausgibt und ein exklusives Interview anbietet, packt Fleetwood die Gelegenheit beim Schopf. Aber der Anrufer erweist sich als Schwindler, und die überhastete Entscheidung kostet das aktuelle Opfer des echten Kinderfängers das Leben.  Acht lange Jahre lebt Fleetwood mit der unerträglichen Schuld und der beständigen Verachtung der gesamten San Francisco Bay Area. Nun hört er vom echten Kinderfänger – und diesmal geht es nicht um ein Interview. Der Kidnapper hat den Sohn des Reporters. Aber er will kein Geld … er will Blut. Und er wird Fleetwood dazu benutzen, es zu bekommen.”

 Or for the non German speakers: 
“For years, the serial kidnapper known as the Piper got rich by abducting children from San Francisco’s wealthiest families.  When crime reporter Scott Fleetwood gets a call from a man identifying himself as the Piper and offers an exclusive interview, Fleetwood jumps at the chance. But the caller turns out to be a fake, and the rash decision costs the life of the real Piper’s latest victim.  For eight long years, Fleetwood has lived with unbearable guilt—and the enduring disdain of the entire Bay area. Now he hears from the real Piper—and it’s not for an interview. The kidnapper has the reporter’s son. But he doesn’t want money…he wants blood. And he’s going to use Fleetwood to get it.”
 
I’m looking forward to the reaction to this book.  This is my best reviewed book in both the UK and US and I don’t think it’ll be any different in Germany.
 
Anyway, I hope German speakers will give it a whirl and English speakers will recommend it to their friends.  Here’s where you can pick it up:
 

Categories: Uncategorized

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