Simon Wood

Posts Tagged: the fall guy

I am one of the contributing authors to 25 FOR ONE, which is an ebook consisting of twenty-five thriller and mystery novels by twenty-five authors, where all the money goes to the survivors of the hurricanes that struck Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. All the money goes to the One America Appeal. The collection includes my book THE FALL GUY. Details about the project and the writers involved can be found on the website.

The book has been out for a week and it’s been selling well but we’ve got a long way to go.  Please support us and by buying the book, but also by mentioning the book on your social media outlets. The book will only be available until Christmas. Thanks!

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I have a few Christmas book bargains to stuff your stockings with.  Several of my books are part of a promotional special so please take advantage of them while you can!

So I hope you’ll pick them up and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to one and all.

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FallGuy audio2I’m happy and pleased to announce the release of the audio edition of THE FALL GUY.  It’s available from the Audible and Apple stores worldwide.  The storyline is:

“Todd Collins has failed in every job he’s ever undertaken, but that all changes when he backs his jalopy in a shiny, new Porsche belonging to a drug dealer. When the police stop the drug dealer for a broken taillight that Todd has caused and discover a cocaine shipment, a West Coast kingpin holds Todd responsible. On the run from organized crime, Todd discovers his true calling when he fights back.”

The audio book is narrated by the wonderful Ed Hunter who read ROAD RASH and LOWLIFES.  Ed does a great job bringing hapless Todd to life.  I hope you’ll give it a listen.

Audible (US)
Audible (UK)
Audible (Australia)

iTunes (US)
iTunes (UK)
iTunes (Canada)
iTunes (Australia)

I hope you enjoy this second title from Dark Wood Books.

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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.  🙂

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The German edition of THE FALL GUY came out a couple of weeks ago, so I thought I’d share the story behind the book.

For every seventeen-year-old male in the UK, the number one purchase is a car. It’s a rite of passage–the first step towards adulthood and independence.

I was in engineering college when I turned seventeen. My birthday occurred late in the school year and several of my friends had already turned seventeen, passed their test and gotten cars–albeit jalopies for a couple of hundred quid.

John was the first of us to get his wheels, a ’72 Ford Cortina. Instead of running for the train to get to and from college, we rode with John. The convenience of car ownership was all too apparent to me, even by proxy. The responsibility of this convenience came a few weeks later. We’d returned back from lunch to the college parking lot. John found a stall behind the science block and went to park. He backed the car up, doing all the right things, but his skill deserted him and he reversed into the side of the Vauxhall Cavalier. There was no mistaking the buckling of sheet steel.

We all froze and waited for John’s reaction. Panic spread across his face. He had just kissed goodbye any possibility of a no claims insurance bonus.

“Do you think anyone saw?” he asked us.

The parking stalls were pretty secluded from the main parking lot. We looked around and saw no one.

“We’re going. Cool?”

We didn’t reply, just nodded. John burnt rubber and parked on the street a couple of blocks from the college. We walked back to our afternoon classes. John told us we weren’t to talk about this. He was stern, but I noticed his hands were shaking. He knew the crime he’d committed and the one we were accomplices to.

I was beginning to think we’d gotten away with it by mid-afternoon, until the cops interrupted second period. Two officers walked in with one of the college lecturers and some kid I didn’t know. One of the cops asked for John by name, but not the rest of us.

My heart was pounding, so I couldn’t imagine what John’s was doing. Unlike most college kids, we had more to lose than the rest. We were employed by an array of big name companies underwriting our college education and paying us a salary.

John came back thirty minutes later, looking sheepish. We were forced to wait until break to find out what had gone down with the police. We’d thought our crime had gone undetected but we were wrong. One of the other lecturers had witnessed the fender bender from the classroom. The lecturer not only knew us, but he knew the name of the second year student who owned the Cavalier. Giving the cops their due, they were pretty cool about it all, all things considered. They weren’t pressing any charges as long as John paid for the damage. They would be checking in with all parties to make sure amends were made.

John made good on his error and the event never made it back to our respective employers or parents. We all learnt our lesson. It was a stupid thing to do and we were damn lucky to have gotten away with it.

About a year later, a form of retribution came knocking. Kevin (who’d been in the car with us) came back from lunch to find a broken headlight and a note under his windshield wiper. The note said: People think I’m leaving you my name and address. I’m not.

No one had witnessed the incident and Kevin was left to carry the expenses.

These two incidents have always stuck with me. It’s one of those situations where I’d been on both sides of the equation, even if it was by proxy. So when it came to writing THE FALL GUY, my thoughts fell upon these two incidents and the storywas born. In the novel, the down on his luck protagonist, Todd Collins, backs into a Porsche and leaves a note not dissimilar to the one Kevin found under his windshield. This sets in motion a series of calamities, which winds up with Todd being indebted to organized crime and spending the rest of the story trying to get the monkey off his back.

I don’t know if I wrote the story as a penance or a warning to others, but it may have something to do with a theme that occurs in many of my stories. A crime, even a little one, can’t remain covered up for long. I learned that when I was seventeen.

Categories: book of the month shelf life

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Achtung Baby!  It’s the birth of a new book…kinda.  Today see the publication of Abwärtsfahrtaka the German language version of THE FALL GUY.  The jacket copy goes a little like this:
“Todd Collins ist bisher in jedem Job gescheitert. Das alles ändert sich, als er mit seiner Blechkiste rückwärts in den glänzenden neuen Porsche eines Drogendealers kracht. Als die Polizei den Dealer wegen eines kaputten Scheinwerfers anhält – dem Schaden, den Todd verursacht hat – und dabei eine Kokainlieferung findet, macht einer der Drogenbosse von der Westküste Todd dafür verantwortlich. Auf der Flucht vor dem organisierten Verbrechen entdeckt Todd seine wahre Berufung.”
Or for the non German speakers:
“When you’re down on your luck, life never wants to cut you a break. Todd Collins has failed in every job he’s ever undertaken, but that all changes when he backs his jalopy into a shiny, new Porsche belonging to a drug dealer. When the police stop the drug dealer for a broken taillight that Todd has caused and discover a cocaine shipment, a West Coast kingpin holds Todd responsible. On the run from organized crime, Todd discovers his true calling when he fights back.”
I’m intrigued to see what German speakers think of the book.  They seemed to have liked ABGEZOCKT when it came out a couple of years ago.
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:

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Keen followers of this blog will know that THE FALL GUY and PAYING THE PIPER were snapped up for German translation last year.  Over the last few months, I’ve been working with two editing teams on the books and I’m happy to say they are both in production and have publication dates. 
The content hasn’t changed for either book but the titles have.  Slang and colloquialisms rarely travel.  THE FALL GUY is now Abwärtsfahrt, which translates to Downward Drive or Downfall Drive.  It’s a hard one to describe but you get where it’s going.  PAYING THE PIPER is now Die Abrechnung Des Kinderfänger, which is a little more literal as it translates to Paying the Kidnapper.
Obviously, a new book means cover art.  I hope you like them.  I know I do.



Abwärtsfahrt will be out at the end of April in paperback and as an eBook.  Die Abrechnung Des Kinderfänger will be out at the end of June in paperback, audio and as an eBook.  Do tell your German speaking friends to grab a copy or three.

Naturally, with a translation in a language I don’t speak, I have to put my faith in my translators that  they’ll do a good job and I won’t suffer like NewsRadio’s Jimmy James at his book reading.  This is every writer’s translation nightmare.  🙂


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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 

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