Monday, November 30, 2009

Walmart flash fiction challenge

I am happy to present my contribution to Patti Abbott's latest flash fiction challenge – to write an 800 word story inspired by the site People of Walmart. She has the full list of all the contributors this week on her site.
This will be my last update before I head off to China for 3 weeks and as a parting gift I also offer you this entry, Thankful (an honorable mention winner) in Michael J. Solender's flash fiction challenge. Take the time to read all the entries he has posted. Good stuff based on the inspiration of 'giving thanks'.
I love a challenge like both of these where you start with an inspiration. It narrows the field from just that of my imagination which can be either a dense and dangerous crowd like a Tokyo subway or a wasteland so barren and lifeless you'd expect Viggo Mortenson to walk through at any moment.
Enjoy and if you're a first time visitor to my blog, such as it is, take a look around. I've got videos to let you know about my new novel, co written with JB Kohl and links to many more stories if these two appeal to you.


by Eric Beetner

Let me give you a tip: Don’t trust my brother to be the inside man. 

This is, of course, advice I should have followed but I’ve never been considered the smart one; and after what J.T. did, that is not a bright reflection on me.

I waited in the car for a good half hour. How long does it take to empty a cash register at a Walmart? They got, like, fifty of ‘em.

So I go in. Let me just say this: Oh the humanity!

I knew it was bad but we’d never been that far down south before. There was a fat guy in head-to-toe camouflage, a fat lady in some sort of mesh top with her gut-and-a-half making a dive south for the border. I saw an old guy wearing what I can only assume was his wife’s jean shorts with lace trim and black knee socks pulled all the way up. A dude in a t-shirt that read ‘I eat pussy like a fat kid eats cake’, and a gal in garter belts, a tube top, two-inch fingernails and five-inch heels – and she was carrying a kid!

After my head got spun around by the scenery I remembered to look for J.T. I found him hanging out in the sporting goods aisle. He was poking around, not looking at stuff but pretending, y’know? All nervous and shit. Cold feet.

I walked right up to him, “What the fuck you doin’?”

“I’m biding my time.” Bet you dollars to donuts he don’t even know what that means.

“Well, what the fuck for?”

“The right moment.”

A geriatric rolled by on a rascal (fatter than shit, do I need to say it?) so I waited until he passed before smacking J.T. upside the head.

“The right moment is now.”

He got the message. He scratched at his crotch, put everything back in place, and slapped his own cheek – hard. Steeling himself for battle.

We’d done a dozen or so little jobs – mini marts, gas stations – on the way down south but this was big time. The store was big anyway. I told him the trick was to go to the ten items or less aisle. They get a lot more transactions and more in cash. Damn near everyone uses their damn debit card these days.

I should have followed him. I turned to go back to the car and by the time I got near the front, almost out the door – the old greeter dude was already telling me to have a nice day – I turned and he wasn’t there. I quick stepped it back to sporting goods and saw him. He left my little pep talk and went to nearest register which happened to be a little counter called, you guess it, the gun department.


He asked to see a gun and then when he had it in his hand turned it on the clerk and demanded all the money. Well, see, there are several problems with this plan. “Plan” is being generous. I had a damn plan, he just didn’t follow it.

First off, no gun they give you is gonna be loaded. We’d been working on a purely suggestive basis so far. No guns at all. No armed robbery charges for us. It’s all implied. Make them think you got a gun and you don’t need one.

Second, the dudes you’re robbing are surrounded by GUNS dickweed!

I swear I’ve never seen so many hillbillies pop up and move like someone called “Hike!”

All in all there were five guys behind the counter and they all went into defense mode like Osama Bin Laden just walked into their Walmart. Shotguns came off the walls, rifle bolts were cocked and loaded, a .357 magnum came out from the case. Those good ‘ol boys knew exactly where the ammo was too. This was a well oiled machine. Either J.T.’s level of dipshittery happens a lot or these Gomers had been waiting on this for a long time.

J.T. panics. I knew he would. Clicks the useless trigger a few times then turns to run. Every last one of those dumb crackers lets her rip. J.T.’s back becomes a collector’s case for every caliber of shell manufactured in the United States today. 

Once they got one shot off it was hard to stop I guess. They looked like the cast of Hee Haw and they aimed like it too.

A (fat) woman fell, a rifle bullet spoiling her denim on denim over fishnet stocking combo. Some guy wearing what looked to me like a Halloween pimp costume got dropped. I should mention this happened in July.

I couldn’t even feel that bad for J.T., the dumb fuck.

I made for the door. The old geezer must not have had his hearing aid turned on because he hadn’t even turned around at the gunshots that sounded like a leftover fireworks finale from last week.

“Have a nice day. Thanks for shopping at Walmart,” he said like a robot.

Thanks fuckface. Enjoy the cleanup on aisle ten.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

New Interview

We just did another interview at this great Noir inspired blog run by the exotic and wonderful DeeDee, a big time supporter of the Film Noir Foundation.
It is a really meaty interview with some great questions, just scroll down a bit to get to the start. Check it out and leave a comment.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

That personal touch

Hand delivering signed copies of One Too Many Blows To The Head from Eric Beetner on Vimeo.

Pass this on! For people losing faith in the corporateness of publishing this is evidence of the little guy still making that extra effort.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Win free books!

Second Wind publishing is celebrating the release of three new thrillers - our book as well as Daughter Am I  by Pat Bertram and False World by JJ Dare - with a slew of new contests where you can win free books, both ebooks and real books.
Go check it out HERE .

Sunday, November 22, 2009

New short

I swear I've been writing more shorts. Not a ton but a few. Two will debut on Nov 30th and one is set to run on Powder Burn Flash soon and two others are out to publishers but no response yet.
But a brand new flash piece is up now at the Flash Fiction Offensive. It is called Liar, Liar. Give it a gander and let me know what you think.

Friday, November 20, 2009

A little tease

We've posted the first two chapters of One Too Many Blows To The Head over at the Second Wind publishing blog . Check 'em out!

Monday, November 16, 2009

"I'm your number one fan..."

This is either a) hilarious, b) completely inappropriate or c) both.
I vote C but I still love it. Now that's a kid who is going to enjoy some great bedtime reading. Starting them young on a series is key to readership. Right here she is riveted by the account of that fateful bout between Rex and Delancey. Her eyes are wide at the vivid description of blood pouring to the canvas as the punches keep on coming. Her little face seems to say, "Why aren't they stopping the fight?!?"

And Linda from the Mystery Bookstore sent a photo of me signing the only copy of the book last Saturday, the proof copy I gave to the store staff. It will have to do because, for now, that's all there is.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Making lemonade

So my first ever book signing was on Saturday. I was looking forward to this for a while. The good, no GREAT, folks at the Mystery Bookstore hosted me and I thank them deeply for inviting a newbie in to their hallowed stacks of books where I have seen so many giants of crime fiction read and sign.
Small hitch...we had no books. There was a shipping snafu. Hard to get angry at Veterans Day but that one day of no mail deliveries apparently screwed us. So there I was with no books to sign and no books to sell. What to do? Solider on and do the event anyway!
I read a section from my proof copy and people placed orders for books which I will then sign when books come in on Monday, only one shipping day late.
Was I disappointed? Sure. These things happen. No sense looking back. Aside from being a little embarrassed it all went fine. People were very kind and very forgiving.
Now to make lemons into lemonade! When the books come in and I get the chance to sign them I will take as many as I can for those who are local and hand deliver the signed copies. You just don't get that kind of attention from the big time authors. If that's what it takes I am happy to do it. How cool would it be to deliver every single copy of the book myself and say thanks for giving it a try? I'd love it.

I hope to capture a little bit of video of the deliveries and maybe post it on here soon.
In the meantime here are a few shots from the event which was still a dream come true and hopefully only the first of many.
It is not too late to order an autographed copy from the Mystery Bookstore . If you place an order with them and specify you'd like it signed I will go by and sign it up for you any time, not just this week. Any time at all. I live close and any chance to go  in there and browse around I will take. I can't ever leave empty handed.

Bobby, Mystery Bookstore manager,  introduces me.

What to read? I went back and forth but picked a section that people seemed to like.

More people even showed up later. Marie baked cookies!

Reading my own book. Weird.

A lively Q&A followed.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Something to say

An interview Jennifer and I did is up at Pulp Serenade, a great site for all things pulp fiction. We discuss many topics, not just blind shilling for the book which is what we're trying to do at all the stops on our blog tour. Check it out and leave a comment with your 2 cents.

Monday, November 9, 2009

First steps

A fun but addictive game is tracking your Amazon sales ranking. We have fluctuated from 537,000 to as high as 47,000. Not exactly Stephen King numbers but anything other than dead last is encouraging. We have done two interviews now that will be up soon on their respective blogs. Someone else offered to do a giveaway for us so that will be fun.
It's exciting to see our little creation make its way in the world. A lot of work, but exciting. Volunteers accepted now.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Just finished up draft #1 of the new novel. A brief deep breath and then back to the top to read it all and see what the hell I did and how much it sucks. I am NOT a fan of revisions. Very necessary process though, I know this. 
49,387 words so those NaNoWriMo people can suck it. I'll do it at my own pace, thanks anyway. (okay, too harsh. I actually respond very well to deadlines. If that's what you need to get it all out then great for you. A novel in a month - very doable. A good, finished novel in a month? NO way.)
The line I like today: "Blood burst out of the gaping slash like kids through the doors on the last day of school."
It's one of those lines that is so bad its good. To me anyway. May not make the final draft. We'll see if better judgement prevails.
I know this one won't: "Trying to staunch the flow of blood now was putting a wine cork on Old Faithful." 
That was one I left for later trimming/improving. If I put it here it will force me to come up with something better.

We've gotten a great and very appreciated response from our request for blog tour stops. One interview has already been conducted, another is being compiled. We are the "spotlight of the month" HERE . Very cool. A signed copy giveaway is coming soon associated with that one but I've been sworn to secrecy for the moment. I've already said too much.
Still looking for places to stop in and say hi, let people know about the book and how it will change your life, never leave your possession and you'll probably be buried with it in your pocket. How you'll tell people it is the best thing you've read since Cacher in the Rye. Make speculations that this would be what it was like if To Kill a Mockingbird had sex with Lolita while reading LA Confidential and gave birth to One Too Many Blows To The Head. Stuff like that.
(hey, if gross hyperbole is the way to get noticed in America then why not?)
So if you run a blog, know of a good one, know anyone who reviews crime/mystery books, know any agents who want a new client, know anyone looking to fund quirky indie films, know anyone who wants to sponsor a team of idiots who want desperately to enter a 24 hour road race in a $500 car or if you want to tell me all the ways you're going to contribute money you would have spent on buying a book to charity just drop me a line!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Order direct, save a few bucks

If you order the book directly from the publisher you can get 2 bucks off. How's that? So you can go get a coffee and enjoy it while you read. Just be sure when the person next to you says, "Hey, whatcha reading?" you say "This amazing new book. You really should get one. Or two."
Then when you spill coffee on your own copy, come on back and get a new one. (pushing too hard? Okay, I'll stop)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

It's alive!

Now I can officially say the book is RELEASED ! Order your copy directly from Second Wind  publishing or better yet, there is still time to call up the Mystery Bookstore and have them reserve a copy for me to sign on Nov 14th. Or, just order one through your local indie book retailer. Of course you could go the new fangled way that has already become old news and order it from Amazon .
Of course if you order from there or not a nice Amazon review is always a good thing. (hint, hint)
So happy to have it finally out in the world.  I hope everyone enjoys it.
On to the next one!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Buzz buzz buzz

So I think I can almost officially maybe say the book is kind of sort of released I think. I do know this: you can pre-order your very own copy through the Mystery Bookstore in advance of my signing on the 14th of November and I will sign it for you. from their website: You may email or telephone us on our toll-free number, (800) 821-9017
Sadly it will only be me and not Jennifer but it gives you something to look forward to, namely hunting her down and getting her to make it a complete signed first edition. Does it count as a first if there is only one? Of course if part of your request is for me to forge her signature I'm not above that.
We put in the order for our author copies today and that means they will ship out to us, we will sign them, trade copies and then sign again so both Jennifer and my signatures are on them and then FINALLY we can send out our contest winners their books. Thanks for your patience Jimmy, Joyce and Robert.
I am setting up a blog tour right now so hopefully we will be popping up all over the web either in interviews, guest blogs or just endless postings of the cover art and book trailer. If you get sick of seeing and hearing about the book then I am doing my job.
Help spread the word! Know of any bloggers who would like to have us stop by? Know any reviewers? Know anyone in the books department of Entertainment Weekly? Oprah's book club?
Sure, you can get it on Amazon but wouldn't you rather request it from your local independent book store? They need your help just like us struggling authors. And when they get a request for a small book like ours it makes them think maybe it is worth stocking a few extra copies.
The new novel is in the home stretch and then it is back to shorts to blitz the web and spread the word more. This book is going to be like the swine flu of crime novels.

It's official

I've made the upcoming author events at the Mystery Bookstore website . I guess this thing is really happening. I also believe I will be posting news of an official release this very week! The super secret pre release is on now but you have to find it yourself. It's not official. Kind of like the Stones playing at a little bar down the street. You have to be in the know. (please note the qualifier "kind of")