Sunday, July 1, 2012

June Chapter One Winner: William Simon

If you are a writer and would like to sign up for the Chapter One contest in July, click HERE.

Of the fifty entries received, I was pleasantly surprised at how many were really good.  I narrowed the list down to twelve, and then went back and forth from there until I made my final decision.  I'm a picky reader so I thought it would be easy to choose one winner--it wasn't.  

For June the winner is: Spider's Dance by William Simon (writing as Will Graham). 

These other submissions were also excellent:

And now back to our winner.  Here's a bit of the first chapter of Spider's Dance:

Rinnce Fada
Initial moves, the dance begins

Anglo Exploration Corporate HQ

Houston, Texas

December, 2004

Until the screaming started, it was just another Monday morning….

I’d come in early to review the weekend network traffic logs. I did that, sometimes, when the place was quiet and before the workweek began. I hung up my suit jacket, closed the door, and settled in with the stack of printouts. As I read the first page, I took out my cufflinks and put them in a trouser pocket, rolling up my sleeves until the air conditioner kicked in. In a silent protest against ‘business casual’, I kept my tie knotted, but unbuttoned my vest.

Besides, I wanted to see how long it would take someone to notice the abstract-looking pattern on my tie was really Wile E. Coyote chasing the Roadrunner.

An hour later, people came into the offices at Anglo Exploration, “AngEx” for short, one of those huge energy conglomerates that keeps the world moving.

Those of us who were there that early ran down the hallway toward the shrieks, wondering what in the world had happened. The intern in charge of delivering the morning mail was leaning against the wall next to a small private office, trembling.

I stopped.

“Nicholas,” a voice near me whispered. “What is it? What’s wrong?”

I turned my head just enough to see Natalie Wong had come up behind me. “I don’t know,” I said softly back. 

“Something bad, I’d guess.”

She craned her head forward, trying to peer in. The people behind pushed us forward. Natalie saw him first, gave a little cry like a tiny kitten, and hurried down the hallway, both hands clamped over her mouth.

I could see just enough of his face to recognize it was Roland Carlyle. Blood and brains were on the desk. The eye turned upward bulged with terror or agony. Both hands were stretched out, as if trying to pull himself across the desk and out of range of whatever hurt him.

It didn’t look like it worked.

To purchase Spider's Dance click HERE.


I loved the opening of this novel.  It thrusts the reader into the center of the action.  Death occurs right away, raising several questions as to what happened and why.  This is a great way to pull the reader in and pique their interest. 

The writer's usage of power verbs adds strength to the structure of his sentences, as does the usage of a simile when describing Natalie's reaction when she glances at the deceased.  The first chapter is easy to follow and understand and held my interest all the way through. 


Want to know more about William Simon?  Read his Q&A:

Tell me about yourself: Where are you from and how long have you been writing?

I’ve been living in Houston, Texas, for going on 30 years now.  I’ve been writing since I was a child; I taught myself to type at a very young age, and could make the words do what  wanted them to!

Tell me about the novel—what inspired it?

SPIDER’S DANCE was originally conceived of back in 2001, at a writers’ conference.  The idea kind of simmered in the back of my mind for a while, and came together finally!

What genre do you write in and why?

Mainly mystery and thrillers, because that’s what I like to read!

What’s the next project for you?  Tell the readers about it.

I’m currently working on a novel set in 1959 Las Vegas, just before the big explosion in the city in terms of tourism, entertainers, etc.  I grew up there, and consider Vegas home, but it was a little later on in the 1960’s.  This particular era is fascinating.

Let’s put the novel aside and talk about YOU for a minute—what are your hobbies and what can’t you live without that’s non-book related?  What do you do when you are not writing?  If you could live anywhere in the world, where would that be?

I have a slight obsession with drive-in/’grindhouse’ type movies, and old TV series from Britain in the 1960’s:  THE SAINT, THE PERSUADERS, DEPARTMENT S, etc.  I’ve got most of the old favorites on DVD and watch them far more than regular television.

If a reader asked you to recommend the three BEST books to read, aside from your own, what would they be?

Wow, tough question!  I’ll go with authors instead.  Anything by Ian Fleming.  Anything by William Shakespeare.  Anything by Agatha Christie.  The Fleming and Christie are kind of an obvious choice for me, but for the poetry of English, how beautiful it can really be, I have to go with Shakespeare.

If you could have dinner with one author, who would it be and why?

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  Anyone who knows me can answer that one….:)

Post where you can be found—website, blog, twitter, facebook, etc.

Website is:

Blog is: although I’ve not updated it in a while.

Facebook is:  wmsimon

Twitter is: wmsimon

Not very original, but easy to find me!  Thank you, Cheryl, for hosting me today!


  1. I've got chills to my toes! Highly recommend all of William Simon's books!!

  2. I'm a huge fan of William's books and can totally understand why he won the contest with Spider's Dance!! Congrat, William.

  3. Will always delivers great stories!

  4. Thanks for the mention! Well done, William.

  5. Great opening! Cheers, William!

  6. Thank you, Melissa and Tess and Suzan and Red and Amy! Special thanks to Cheryl for coordinating! In the coming weeks, there will be some terrific writers we'll all be meeting...:)

  7. Hi- I'm a little late to the party but the internet is a bit spotty out here in the desert. I loved this book and I concur that the opening is wonderful. How can you not be sucked into the story? Good going Will and I look forward to this new novel about Vegas!!(This is Stacey- it wants to post me as Anonymous)

  8. I loved this story. A wonderful read by a great author, William Simon!!

  9. Great interview, great book, great writer...William, you've got it all goin' on!

  10. Hi, Stacey and Marie and Teri! Thanks for stopping by...:)