Simon Wood

Posts Tagged: short stories

I had a nice blast from the past last week in the mail from THE FIRST LINE.  It’s a magazine that published several of my first stories.  The editor and publisher published my short story collection, WORKING STIFFS.  I will always be in their debt because they are one of the people that got me to where I am today.

The package I received in the mail is their latest issue, which is a “Best Of” issue because they’re celebrating their 20yr of publication.  The magazine has a unique theme. Each issue has a set “first line” and every story has to begin with that line.  After that, wherever the story goes is free game.  I forgot that I came up with one of their first lines for a past issue & one of the stories that used my line made their best of issue.  David, the editor, wrote a great introduction to the story which I’ve posted below.

I really encourage you to support the magazine.  They did me a great turn on multiple occasions and I know they’ve done it for others.  So please up a copy.

 

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I’m very happy to announce a brand new anthology that I am a contributor to. DIE BEHIND THE WHEEL is an anthology of crime stories inspired by the music of Steely Dan.  The book features stories by David Corbett, Nick Feldman, Bill Fitzhugh, RT Lawton, Cornelia Read, Stacy Robinson, David B. Schlosser, Sam Wiebe & James Ziskin.  My contribution is based on the song “Haitian Divorce” and features a criminal couple looking to end their relationship…permanently.  A big thanks to Brian Thornton & Eric Campbell of Down & Out Books for including me in the book.

The book is available from all usual places, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, etc. For all the bookstore links, pls go here!

I had a lot of fun turning this song into a story and I hope you enjoy it too.  If you need a reminder of the song and some insight into my story, you can give it a listen here.

 

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It’s my birthday today…but I have a gift for you with the release of my short story collection, FAST CRIMES.

I made my professional bones writing short fiction, and fairly short crime fiction at that. When I started out, there were plenty of markets looking for stories only a few pages long. The stories featured in this collection saw publication in Woman’s World, the side of a coffee can and in a Vegas soft porn magazine, just to name a few.

The jacket copy goes like this:

“Crime happens in a moment and so do the stories in the Fast Crimes collection. These short mysteries start in the moment and build to a climax in a snap. Murders are plotted and carried out. Heists are planned and foiled. Investigators hunt and apprehend criminals. And it all happens in a handful of pages. It’s a smash and grab experience…so strap in.”

The book is available on Amazon, Kobo, iTunes, Barnes & Noble. Links are here.

So if you’re looking to get me a birthday gift, then I’d love it if you picked up a copy. I hope you enjoy the stories. They’re something you can fit in with a cup of coffee.

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I’ve got something fast and dirty for you in the guise of a short story collection, FAST CRIMES.

I made my professional bones writing short fiction, and fairly short fiction at that. When I started out, there were plenty of markets looking for stories only a few pages long. The stories featured in this collection saw publication in Woman’s World, the side of a coffee can and in a Vegas soft porn magazine, just to name a few.

The jacket copy goes like this:

“Crime happens in a moment and so do the stories in the Fast Crimes collection. These short mysteries start in the moment and build to a climax in a snap. Murders are plotted and carried out. Heists are planned and foiled. Investigators hunt and apprehend criminals. And it all happens in a handful of pages.

It’s a smash and grab experience…so strap in.”

The book comes out on April 14th…my birthday. You can preorder it here.

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Hello, neighbors. You’re all invited to the Golden Elm Lane Block Party!

Welcome to Golden Elm Lane. It’s just like any other small-town street…or is it?

Horrible things happen on Golden Elm Lane…vile, monstrous, evil things. Serial killers, ghosts, and monsters of all kinds hide behind the walls lining Golden Elm Lane. Each house tells a story…a horrifying story.

And now, for the first time ever, fourteen masters of horror will give you a bloody tour of Golden Elm Lane and bring it to full, terrifying life.

The collection features my story UNTIL IT HURTS, which is about a homeless man who comes to Golden Elm Lane for a job. With an introduction by the legendary creator of Jason Voorhees and the Friday the 13th franchise, Victor Miller, you’ll find it difficult to turn down an invitation to attend our…CHOPPING BLOCK PARTY.  You can pick it up here: The Publisher & Amazon.

Categories: new book shelf life

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June has quite a few bargain books for you to enjoy.  Here they all are!!

THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY: Zoë and Holli’s Vegas road trip goes wrong when they’re abducted. Zoë escapes leaving Holli behind. A year later and still tortured with guilt, Zoë latches on to a murder that eerily resembles her abduction. Her attempts to find justice for Holli brings her to the attention of the “Tally Man.” For him, she is not a survivor but simply the one that got away.

Just $2.00 at Amazon

NO SHOW: Englishman Terry Sheffield has just arrived in San Francisco to start his new life with Sarah, a journalist he married after a transatlantic love affair. When she never shows up at the airport, Terry discovers she’s on the run from a killer with a grudge. To find her before the killer does, Terry realizes she’s very different from the woman he thought he married.  FUN FACT: The day I arrived in the US inspired this book.

Just $1.49 at Amazon

ASKING FOR TROUBLE: The road to crime begins with a single decision—the wrong one.  Not every decision belongs to the criminally minded.  Some belong to the ill-informed, the weak and the plain unlucky.  In these tales, trouble isn’t an indiscriminate force of nature.  It’s a manmade occurrence that comes when called upon.

Just $1.49 at Amazon

I sincerely hope you’re tempted to pick these up.  I don’t think you’ll be sorry. Enjoy!!

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hooker 2016 4aI’m happy to announce the release of the crime novelette, THE HOOKER.  It’s the first in the Reprehensible Acts series of stories.

This isn’t a typical story from me.  The Reprehensible Acts series features stories without heroes or happy endings in most cases.  These stories feature characters that lose their way and may never find their way back.  You can’t condone their actions, but perhaps you can have sympathy for their damaged souls.  You might find these stories unpalatable, but then again, you’re not meant to.  Don’t judge.  No one is immune to committing a reprehensible act.  The storyline is as follows:

“Mark was content to see out his single days with a bachelor party, but his best man, Lance, wasn’t.  He insists in sending Mark off in style…in the company of a hooker.  It’s supposed to be the last hoorah of a single man before being condemned to a life of marriage, but that all changes when the hooker scams them.  Mark’s world unravels and a dark side he never knew he possessed spills out…”

The idea for the Reprehensible Acts series came from a situation I’ve run into with editors from time to time when they think the tone or subject matter of a piece will tweak the reader’s sensitivities in the wrong way.  I’ve had an editor call me up and say, “That’s a bit bleak.  Do you want to tone it down?”  I can in some cases, but not in all.  I was asked to drop a couple of stories from my collection ASKING FOR TROUBLE because of tone.  THE HOOKER was one of those stories.  Sometimes, you just have to go where the story takes you, in all its ugly glory.  A story should make us feel something—even if it’s revulsion or disapproval.  Over the coming months and years, I’m planning to bring you some novellas and stories that press your buttons.  I know these stories won’t be for everyone, but I hope some of you will join me on these voyages to rack and ruin

I hope you’ll give THE HOOKER a tryIt’s available on pre-order from Amazon and Amazon UK.

Categories: new book

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I’m pleased to present two new and improved releases—FATHER FIGURE & TENTHS OF A SECOND.  These short stories are available in audio and ebook format.  The stories are quite different. FATHER FIGURE is a Hitchcock Presents style crime piece while TENTHS OF A SECOND is very much rooted in the Twilight Zone.  Which is a good thing as shows formed my storytelling sensibilities.  🙂

father figureFATHER FIGURE: Childs is a son of a bitch and a bastard—literally as well as figuratively—but what he really is, is a small time con man. He’s about to upgrade to the big time and go after the score of his life by bilking the software mogul, Charles Reston, out of every penny he can get. He’s going to do it by convincing Reston that he’s his illegitimate son, which shouldn’t be too hard as the billionaire is his father. However, the problem with the long con is that you get a little too close to your mark…especially when you’re looking for a father figure.

Available from:
Amazon
AmazonUK
Audible
iTunes

Tenths of a Second audibleTENTHS OF A SECOND: Martin Warwick is a down on his luck racecar driver. His only accolade is to make the other drivers look good with his mediocre performances.  It’s not that Martin is a bad driver. He’s just not had the breaks.  He needs a better sponsor which would get him a better car and a little luck to put him ahead of the pack.  The break comes in the form of the mysterious Mallory.  He doesn’t have money or connections.  He has a device to make Martin and any car he drives better.

When your hopes and dreams are just outside of your grasp, you’re willing to do anything, regardless of the consequences.  Martin is about to find out what the price of fame really costs—and he’s willing to pay it gladly.

Available from:
Amazon
AmazonUK
Audible
iTunes

If you’re looking for a story for the commute or to fill a lunch hour then these stories are just the ticket.  I hope you’ll give them a read or listen.

 

 

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marathon-manI was thinking about the perception of safety the other day. Julie doesn’t like it when I leave the front door unlocked when we’re in the house. She doesn’t want anyone storming the castle gates while we’re at home, so she puts her faith in a deadbolt. A two inch slug of steel not even an inch in diameter will keep her from harm. She doesn’t worry (but probably will after this blog) that there’s nothing stopping evil doers from chucking a rock through any of our floor to ceiling windows and entering the house that way.

I started thinking about other safe things in our lives.

When the little red man tells me not to walk, I don’t. The little red man knows all about danger. That’s why he’s red. When I ignore his advice, my heart rate is up a few beats.

Down on the BART system, a row of yellow bricks tells me I’m safe from the speeding trains if I stand behind the yellow bricks, I’m safe. And I do feel safe. The moment I stand on those yellow bricks, I feel queasy. I’ve put myself in danger. A train could hit me. Someone could bump me and send me sprawling onto the electrified rails. Those yellow bricks have some power behind them. It’s really silly. The bricks have no power. My safety can’t be measured by the width of a row of yellow bricks. There’s so much other contributing factors that can take their toll on me.

How many of us fear earthquakes, tornadoes, being struck by lightning or an in-law coming to stay? While these things exist, there’s little chance of them affecting us?

I look around me without my safety goggles on and reexamine my environment. There are so many things I perceive as safe. Harm won’t come to me because I am not putting myself in harm’s way. Theoretically, that is. But boy, isn’t it a tenuous belief system? I am safe on the sidewalk because sidewalks are safe. There’s nothing to say a car won’t plow into me or I won’t trip and fall into road, but I don’t think about these things because the sidewalk is my talisman.

It all comes down to perception. If I perceive danger everywhere I go, then I will see danger everywhere. Perception is reality. If I think safe, then I am safe. I guess there’s a little bit of the Pavlov’s dog syndrome at work inside us all.

I quite like it when my thinking goes off the rails like this. I cross my eyes and I see the emperor without his clothes on. This is useful when it comes to the stories I tell. I like to unpick a character’s world until it unravels by attacking all the things that these people hold dear. Basically, I break down their perceptions and belief system. Life is a tightrope and I like to twang the cable while there are people on it—fictionally speaking that is. WORKING STIFFS serves as a good illustration for this thinking. Several of the stories take this theme to heart. We catch these characters on their worst days on their life, professionally and privately.

I hope I haven’t given of you worriers out there something worry over. If I have, don’t. Now, sleep tight and I’ll see you in your dreams.

Categories: book of the month

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