Monday 31 December 2012

Happy New Year!

I don't have time to write a long sentimental post about my year because I'm meant to be playing with my kids (they're just taking a quick TV break right now). So, here's a list of stuff that happened this year that tickled me pink. It's in no particular order. I'm just typing as I remember.

The play I wrote with my da got major funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Brassneck Theatre Company are producing it and it'll hit the stage (including a two-week stint at the Grand Opera House) in 2013.

I got a couple of new tattoos.

I earned an MA in creative writing at Queen's University Belfast.

I met a lot of new and groovy people, many of them fellow writers.

I started going to a local boxing club, got fit and lost a lot of weight (some of it came back over Xmas but I'll fix that soon).

Two of my novels were published through Blasted Heath, WEE ROCKETS and FIREPROOF, as well as a collection of shorts, OTHER STORIES AND NOTHING BUT TIME.

I spent lots of time with my family.

The day-job became less of a ball-ache because I took a demotion in 2011.

I FINALLY finished the book that I'd been working on for over two years and sent it to an agent who got interested in me after one of my favourite writers recommended me.

Lots of people on Amazon reviewed my work, most of them giving me 5-stars.

I got invited to contribute a novella to the Fight Card series (and I've written the first half of it).

I got my fourth SIAP award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

I had many a glass of very good whisky and whiskey.

There are other positive things that happened that haven't immediately sprung to mind and a lot of negative crap happened too but I've decided to ignore all that.

Thanks to everybody who sent positive energy my way. Y'all are a classy bunch of feckers.

Happy New Year.

Monday 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas from CSNI

(Click the image for a closer look.)

Tuesday 11 December 2012

A Wee Wayne Simmons Review -- THE SKIN GODS by Richard Montanari

The blurb:

The streets of Philadelphia are blistering in the summer heat, the homicide rate is soaring and the nights belong to the mad. Detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano are prowling the streets with a growing sense of unease. Where next will evil rear its ugly head?

When a series of seemingly unrelated crimes shatter the restless silence of the city, their worst fears are confirmed. A beautiful secretary is slashed to death in a grimy motel shower. A street hustler brutally murdered with a chainsaw. Piece by piece, a strange and sickening puzzle presents itself: someone is meticulously recreating Hollywood's most well-known and horrifying murder scenes, capturing them on film and inserting the clips into videos - for an unsuspecting public to find.

While Kevin Byrne begins furtive investigations of his own, Jessica Balzano goes undercover to work the steaming back alleys of Philadelphia, entering a violent world of underground film, pornography and seedy nightclubs, hidden to all but the initiated. Discovering that none of The Actor's victims are as innocent as they appear to be, the two detectives arrive at a terrifying reality: They are not just chasing a homicide suspect. They are stalking evil itself ...

The review:

He had me at Psycho. 

Any self-respecting horror fan would say the same. 

And that’s the thing about Richard Montanari’s writing: although aiming for the crime section of the book store, there have been times when he’s felt more like a horror writer, or frustrated horror writer, at the very least. His clipped and colloquial prose, the sharp yet subtle character development; it’s all reminiscent of early Stephen King. And that’s a good thing in my book. 

With THE SKIN GODS, Byrne and Balzano’s second outing, Montanari sticks pretty much to the formula established within THE ROSARY GIRLS: maverick cop Kevin Byrne is as dodgy as ever, much of the plot dealing with yet another fine mess he’s got himself into, and a subsequent vigilante outing. Meanwhile his partner Jessica Balzano, still fresh to the job and mostly toeing the line, is balancing her role as a mother and struggling to deal with a recent separation. The humanising of his protagonists makes Montanari’s storytelling all the more effective, this series as character driven as it is plot driven. 

But the plot doesn’t suffer, the mystery at its key every bit as engaging as that of THE ROSARY GIRLS. Montanari’s the master of the red herring, sending Philadelphia’s finest on many a wild goose chase, our killer as resourceful and cunning as they come. The payoff is brilliant, mind, weaving together various subplots into the main thrust of the story with ease. 

Richard Montanari is quickly becoming my favourite crime writer working today. With Byrne and Balzano, he’s got the perfect duo, their own personal stories being a major hook to this series. A frustrated horror hack he may be, but that in no way takes away from how awesome a crime writer he is. This is genre fiction at its very best.

Wayne Simmons
Genre Fiction Writer

Sunday 9 December 2012

Publicity Fail!

So, two weeks since I got my FIREPROOF themed tattoo and there's been absolutely no perceptible spike in sales for the ebook (I'm judging this by casual checks of the Amazon ranking -- haven't bothered checking with Blasted Heath). Two local papers reported on the publicity stunt and published pics of my tattoo. The bigger papers weren't interested in the end. I almost got a radio interview and some TV coverage but that didn't pan out. A few people saw pics of the tattoo on Facebook and Twitter but to the best of my knowledge, those are the folks that already have copies of the book.

PR guru I am not. I think I'll leave the marketing to the publisher from now on.

But am I pissed off by this epic fail?

Nah, I got a badass tattoo at the end of the day. See me smilin'?