Simon Wood

Posts Tagged: short stories

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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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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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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