Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Xmas Noir

The folks over at the Do Some Damage blog, a great collection of writers who maintain an excellent blog about writing, have been hosting a Christmas Noir week of stories. They have been excellent across the boards. Some wonderful stories crafted around the holiday which seems so ripe for crime. My addition is up now. Give it a look and then page back through the riches.
At first I was bummed I didn't make it up by the actual Christmas day but now I think showing up in the post-holiday slump is perfect. More bitterness going around out there about now than good cheer. I like it that way.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Grim Fairy Tale

This summary is not available. Please click here to view the post.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Borrowed Trouble

Any day now we should get our print proofs of Borrowed Trouble and then it's off to the printer (providing there are no errors). I can finally release the cover art into the wild so here you go. I also did a book trailer, the effectiveness of which is still debatable among the book world but I think they are fun to make and it didn't cost me a dime so why not?
So to recap: cover art I designed and made myself, a homemade promo trailer for a book I co-wrote. I'm feeling quite accomplished today.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Immortalized in print

He kind of slipped it by me but I'm happy to report that Stephen Jay Schwartz' new, original Hayden Glass short story Crossing The Line is available for free download. Why should you read this story? Well, for starters Schwartz is a great writer and Glass is a great character and if you haven't discovered him already this is a great intro to the hero (well . . .) of Boulevard and Beat. Second, it's free. Duh. And third, there happens to be a little character named Sergeant Beetner. Yep, I've been fictionalized. Well, not me exactly but my name anyway. In the story Beetner is an oversized black man. Not even close. I happen to know also that the character of Christa's name was lifted from Christa Faust.
The story is a prequel, an origin story of Hayden's major vice - his sex addiction. Not for the easily blushed. It's positively NC-17. Safe to say I won't be telling my Mother about the story, my name in it or not.  Not that I fear she wouldn't like it, more than I'm afraid she would and the images that conjures. For all the action you can handle check out Boulevard and Beat. Darker, tougher detective stories you won't likely find.

In other news that fine chap Nigel Bird has named my story, My Asshole Brother, one of his favorites of the year. Coming from a fine writer like Bird it is a quite a compliment and I'm honored. You can read about all his picks over at the Death By Killing blog.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

We made the top ten...well, six.

I love it when I randomly trip over someone talking about the book. Well, I guess having a Google alert for the title of our book isn't exactly tripping over, but still.
Graham Bowlin, up and coming writer and newest employee of The Mystery Bookstore, came out with a list of his top six reads of 2010 over on his blog. Somehow One Too Many Blows To The Head made it on there right next to The Cold Kiss, Pike and a few other great books. We'll take it.

Monday, November 15, 2010

La Ronde

Several weeks ago Patti Abbott threw out a 1000-word challenge, as she likes to do. This time it was to have several authors pass a baton between us using the theme of jealousy and the little trick that the person who was the object of envy in one story became the envious one in the next story. The results of the first six rounds are here. A daunting task to be sure. My story is a bit of a reboot on what came before but I couldn't help run with the story once it came to me. I feel like I write about brothers an awful lot without having one (3 sisters. They don't get treated much better in my fiction)
Please enjoy and let's all look forward to what Nigel Bird comes up with next in the rotation. Without further ado - La Ronde, part 7:

by Eric Beetner
Gregory Rubinstein liked to tease his brother Adam. Greg reveled in pointing out that he was the true first born son. Greg beat Adam out by sixteen minutes but it seemed to be enough of a margin to give Greg the ammunition for years of torture. 
By ten years old the dynamic had been established. Greg – the golden boy. Destined to follow in father’s footsteps through law school to district attorney, state office, maybe senate. Adam – the also ran. Forever chasing his brother’s tail. He’d make a damn fine prosecutor. Maybe even run Greg’s campaigns. Respectable, anonymous work.
Despite the house being a five bedroom gothic-style manor, Greg and Adam still shared a room. Even the bunk beds gave away the hierarchy in their way. Greg, one would assume, would be perched high in the top bunk but instead Greg chose the lower bed. In addition to his dislike of heights it let him come and go as he pleased at night, which he did quite often, being a fitful sleeper prone to minor bouts of sleepwalking. To keep Greg from banging his shins on the ladder to the top, once Adam assumed his perch, Greg kicked the ladder away, trapping his younger twin in the Siberia of the top bunk. If Adam forgot to pee at night he risked a broken ankle on the jump down and a pitch-black mountain climb on the way back up. Bladder-busting discomfort was often the best option, until he learned ways to dismount silently using body contortions Spiderman would have been envious of. 
At their riding lessons Greg was the first to canter, the first to make his horse jump, the first to bring home a trophy. When Adam brought one home the very next weekend it sat next to Greg’s like a shrunken, sickly twin. Shorter, the gold more dull, the name etched in a smaller font. Adam stared at the two on the shelf, the symbolism not lost on him. Two of essentially the same thing, only one a little lesser than.
At first Adam played out subtle games of revenge. He put a scratch in Greg’s Spin Doctors CD. He fed Greg’s horse, Blade Runner, a box of ExLax before a meet. At the first water jump the team left behind a trail and fouled the water so badly they were forced to delay the competition for an hour while they drained the pool, lest someone fall into it. 
Adam wished they’d been identical, not fraternal, twins so he could impersonate his brother and get him expelled from school. He compromised by writing notes to girls in Greg’s exact handwriting using words he’d lifted from the stash of Penthouse Forum columns they routinely looked at in Dad’s closet.
Despite Adam’s minor insurgency Greg seemed secure in his place. He called Adam nicknames like Dickface and Assmunch. He routinely told on Adam any time he did anything remotely against the rules and Adam seemed to suffer punishments more harsh and long lasting than Greg ever did. At the dinner table Greg sat at the right hand of Father, Adam a seat down, as forgotten and unnecessary as that extra fork that never got used. 
At night was the only time Adam felt in charge. The nightmares, the whimpering and bed-thrashing contortions Greg would go through, let Adam feel that the cruelty Greg regularly dished out was eating him away inside. When Greg would walk around the room in his sleep Adam enjoyed spooking him awake and then pretending to be asleep, eyes shut and stifling laughter as he heard Greg’s heavy breathing and confused panic when he awoke – out of bed in a dark, foreign-feeling room.
Adam started plotting ways to put to the test the old myth that if you wake a sleepwalker they might die. When Adam would be roused by Greg’s kicking over of a toy or stack of books, he would rise and shimmy down the side of the bed, place something hard and solid at shin level in Greg’s way and climb back to watch from his crow’s nest as Greg jolted himself awake with a cry of pain.
It was report card day that Adam forged his most brilliant plan.
Adam’s GPA: 3.4 Greg’s: 3.8
Ten years old and Mr. Rubinstein had given Adam up for a life of mediocrity. Back-slapping praise was lavished on Greg while a series of questions about Adam’s B-minus dominated the dinner conversation.
Alone in their room at night, Greg said out loud what Adam assumed everyone had been thinking.
“Just give it up, man. You might as well drop out and learn how to wash cars or something.”
The words weren’t irrational to Adam’s ten-year-old ego. 
That night he decided if Greg was so in love with himself, wouldn’t it be great if he scared himself shitless?
After Greg became locked in battle with his sleep demons, Adam descended the bunks. He took the full length mirror off the back of the door with the screwdriver he’d placed in his desk drawer after dinner. He leaned the narrow strip of glass against the lower bunk, right next to Greg’s face as he slept. Adam dismissed the consequences of his stunt. Seeing Greg frightened by his own reflection would be worth the punishment to come.
Adam climbed back to his perch. When he was settled and had stopped himself laughing he waited for Greg to begin a particularly fitful episode. He didn’t wait long.
When Greg let out a stifled cry Adam rocked the bunk and coughed loudly. Greg, on the verge of awake anyway, bolted up, saw his own reflection but had no idea who or what it was. Still half asleep, he screamed and lurched forward, pushing his face through the pane of glass and slicing a diagonal line from his scalp to his chin down over the bridge of his nose and across his wide-open left eye. 
Blood rushed to the wound, nearly obscuring Greg’s face by the time Adam peered over the edge of the top bunk. A flap of skin hung down across his forehead like an open envelope. The wide stare of Greg’s right eye struck a stark contrast with the blood-filled cavity of his left. The bottoms of his feet sliced open as he stumbled around the room, still thinking he was trapped in a dream.
The ensuing chaos let Adam do a quick re-staging of events. The story was Greg, in the throes of another of his sleepwalking incidents, ran headlong into the door, shattering the mirror, slicing his face and blinding his eye.
The next day, Adam got his own room. His father began to talk about plans for attending his alma matter. He filled Adam’s ears with stories he’d heard before, but always with Greg’s name in the starring role, not his own. Bold predictions of the future and Adam’s destiny to be a great man.
Greg began home schooling. His face took months to heal, even then it appeared always at risk of sliding apart into two distinct halves. His glass eye, at eight thousand dollars, never sat quite right so Greg preferred the eyepatch. 
Adam never played a joke on Greg again. He never felt the need. 
The lessons of that night stayed with him. His aggressive technique as a lawyer made the old man proud. At a cocktail reception for his first victory in court, Adam heard his father telling a colleague, “Yep, I knew as soon as he came out first, Adam would be a real go-getter. Came out a good fifteen minutes before his brother. We knew he was something special right then and there.”

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Caught reading

I'm very glad to be a part of amazing blogger Jen Forbus' Crime Writers Caught Reading project to recommend books for holiday gift giving. I cheated a bit and picked two books. Oops. My two suggestions: The Cold Kiss by John Rector and The Deputy by Victor Gischler.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

So much, sort of

I feel like I'm not writing at all lately. Probably because I'm not putting down many words on the page but so much of writing is that intangible phase more commonly known as "thinking". I do a lot of thinking before I start something. I've done it for years, since I first started screenwriting. If I ventured into something only half-baked I never felt right about it and usually abandoned a project midway through. So I'm a thinker. I run a story over and over in my mind until I really know it.
I use it as a bit of a litmus test too. If I think of an idea and I don't write it down but the core of the plot is still with me several days later I know I'm on to something. Similarly, if a character sits inert in my notes or my brain I know not to keep chasing a blind lead. But when characters start to speak, to suggest themselves in my subconscious, I know I'm on to something that can sustain.
I'm in that phase right now. Doing yet another final read-through on Borrowed Trouble (I've said final before haven't I?) and plotting out what comes next. I have 5 books roughly outlined. Which one will insinuate itself into my brain the strongest and insist I write it? Remains to be seen but one trio of morally questionable men are in the lead right now.
I'm anxious to share the great blurbs we've gotten for Borrowed Trouble as well as the cover art I'm really excited about but I want to wait until there is a reason to shout. No point in blowing it now when we're still 3 months away from release. Killing me not to share though.
Oh, I'm on Twitter now @ericbeetner. So far I have not found it very addictive the way people do or the way I enjoy the community on Facebook but it has its merits. Come follow me if you like.
One thing I hope to initiate before the release of Borrowed Trouble is a push to get One Too Many Blows To The Head into the conversation again. I get antsy at the thought of people reading a sequel without reading the original. I need to get over it and we purposely wrote Borrowed Trouble so you wouldn't have to read One Too Many, but it would absolutely help. I feel that about any series, which remains the main reason I don't read many series. If I miss the beginning I don't want to be late to the party. Hell, I don't watch Mad Men because I missed season 1. I'll catch it someday on DVD but until then I can't jump on board late.
One series I did start at the top with is Steve Hockensmith's Holmes on the Range series. I loved the concept of old west cowpunchers making like Sherlock and solving crimes in the 1800's but it just didn't sound like my kind of book. Too light. Too funny. After Hockensmith killed it on a panel at B-Con I couldn't resist getting a signed copy (even after I'd passed on the $4.98 deal Amazon ran a few months back) and I LOVED it. That is a series I look forward to continuing. Y'know, after I beat down my TBR pile a bit. But really Hockensmith's voice for Old Red and Big Red was so unique and so rich with language I couldn't resist.
Up next for me is my entry in Patti Abbott's La Ronde challenge. I just got my assignment story and I'm at work on my contribution to this whirlwind of a challenge.
Also, mine and Jennifer's chapter is up for the Rubicon Ranch project. We're chapter 3 so there's plenty of time to climb on and read along as 7 of us Second Wind authors post a chapter a week in this collective mystery. None of us know who the killer is yet. I am praying it is our pair. Check it out and see if you think they could have done it. A new chapter is up every Monday.
Discount Noir is still going strong in every ebook format out there, even some I didn't know about.
So, soon the new novel will begin. The other orphans are out seeking a home right now. Borrowed Trouble in the new year. La Ronde next week. It's a lot, sort of. I'll feel really good when a full-fledged novel is out in the world again.

Monday, October 25, 2010

October Harvest

Lots to talk about in this busy month. My first story in A Twist of Noir's 600 - 700 challenge is up. I drew numbers 610 and 698 so I had only 610 words to tell a story. You tell me if I did the job.

Discount Noir is out on all ebook platforms, even the Kindle. Of course, better for you to buy it directly from Untreed reads.

The Men of Mystery conference is this weekend. That promises to be a fun event.

Rubicon Ranch is up and running with chapter one. A new chapter will follow every week until the mystery is solved. At this point I don't even know who the killer is. Get in early and take the ride with us.

I've joined Twitter so, um, follow me I guess.

Very soon I'll be unveiling the cover for Borrowed Trouble and letting out some of the great blurbs we've gotten in. Oh, and speaking of blurbs, I gave out my first one. I'm happy to report the book was quite good. It's called The Science of Paul and will be published by New Pulp Press in January.

I'm sure there's more but I'll have to report later. Full details of Men of Mystery next week.

p.s. I knew I forgot something. My interview with Czar of Noir Eddie Muller runs in this month's Crimefactory. Check it out.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Day After

All over the internet people are posting their thoughts on the recently completed Bouchercon before the memories slip away (most as soon as the alcohol leaves their body) so I figured I'd do my part.

So, my first B-Con and I had a great time. I didn't sell any books. Nope, not a one. Do I care? Did it lessen my experience? Not a whit. It's so not about that. For me it was meeting with people I'm getting to know better like - Rebecca Cantrell, Sophie Littlefield, Kelli Stanley, Reed Farell Coleman, Duane Sweirczynski, Deborah Ledford (and watching Rebecca and Sophie win awards to boot) - and meeting new authors I had mild fanboy moments with like Jason Starr and Marcus Sakey.
My biggest book nerd moment had to be when I ran blocker for Linda Brown as we powered our way through the crowd at the Mulholland Books party to catch Sara Gran before she left. Linda and Pam talked with her about the Mystery Bookstore and she was gracious and thankful for their support. I waited until the love died down and then awkwardly shook her hand proclaiming, "I'm just a fan and wanted to say hi."  Dope was the only book I brought from home to have signed. Could she be any cuter?

I finally got to meet my agent face to face and that was great. We had a brief meeting about the new book and I got some final notes on it and then had the pleasure of hearing multiple times, "Oh, you're David's new client. I've heard good things about you." from people out and about. Score one for the word-of-mouth campaign.

I had a good time getting to hang with Eddie Muller for a while, meet his wife and sit to chat Film Noir Foundation stuff and felt glad for him that the Giants won.

My one panel was a lively affair. Seth Harwood was the only other person I knew going in but we were joined by one other author and three people from the publishing world, big and small. Seth, as you surely know, is perhaps the foremost practitioner of new media promotion for his work. He pioneered podcasting his novels for free, he is a master of beating his own drum. Plus, he has experience working with a bigger publishing house and now with a smaller one so he knows the world from both sides. He and I were touting the new model of giving away work, letting an audience find you and we found swift and adamant rebuttal from the oldest of the old school panelists who insisted on retaining an outdated publishing model that is currently broken and dying. I compared it to turning around a ship whereas guys like us on our own or indie presses can be swift and nimble. The old guard wasn't having it. I think the room was on our side though. The discussion could have gone on all day. The best was when I took the microphone Seth and I shared to give a rebuttal but Seth stopped me and said, rather darkly, "I want this one." The man has opinions on the subject.
I kind of felt bad for our moderator, J. Kingston Pierce of The Rap Sheet - a daily stop for me - that we all took over in the verbal sparring and left him with not much to do.

The panels were good, sometimes uneven and the little challenge they ran asking people to guess the theme of the panel's titles would have been fun if the titles they chose (all names of episodes from The Streets of San Francisco) had something - anything - to do with the topic at hand. It made it hard to find and/or choose what I wanted to attend. But there was some great stuff. Too much, really. I had to miss out on many panels since there were 7-8 to choose from at any given time.

Of course Bouchercon is a social gathering above all else. A big party. The highlight for me was getting to meet several of my cronies from the online world in the flesh. I knew them immediately when I saw Jason Duke, Jimmy Callaway, Matt Funk and Cameron Ashley all clumped together. Add in Kieran Shea, Greg Bardsley, Dan O'Shea, Aldo Calcagno breezing in for the last day and my Film Noir Foundation brother-in-arms Vince Keenan and my weekend was made. It felt a little like a reunion with people I hadn't actually gone to school with but who are better than most people I did. I had some great talks about books, some playful joking around (a very funny batch of cats) including my favorite inscription I've ever been able to write in one of my books (to Cam), and these friends I'd never met gave a sense of comfort and belonging I don't normally experience at this type of event. I'm too quick to retreat to my room or be a wallflower and these guys helped tremendously to keep me out and social and meeting people.

Man, what else? Some little thoughts that come to mind are that Hilary Davidson is truly as kind and generous in person as she appears and seeing her navigate the crowd soaking in praise for her work seemed justifiably deserved. Stacia Decker is awesome. Glad to be even a little bit in her glow as she goes out and hocks those anthologies. At the risk of objectifying anyone I was privy to confessions of book-crushes on Megan Abbott (I won't say who) and the stunning-in-person Alafair Burke (who became the 100th person to tell me I look like Will Arnett). If there is any sort of vote after the fact I pick Christa Faust's green silk dress as my favorite.
My sister continues to make an impression on writers as Laura Caldwell, Jamie Freveletti and Marcus Sakey all remembered her fondly from their recent meetings. How long before she attends a B-Con? Come on Gretchen! Come to St. Louis. She'd be a great asset to me since she could do all the drinking I don't do - she might even be able to give Callaway a run for his money.

I had a few self-gratifying moments when people actually knew who I was. One woman even blurted out, "You wrote my favorite short story in crimefactory!" Now, of course, I don't remember her name and that makes me look like a dick but I met about 500 people over the past 72 hours so sue me.

So, like everyone else, I had a great time. As usual I didn't take any photos because I'm too busy trying to be in the moment and I'm too timid to ask. Some do exist (wait for the next issue of Plots With Guns to see the best one) If anyone has me in a picture let me know. I need to get better at that stuff.
So congrats to all the winners of awards, fair travels to Cameron on the rest of his US tour, wish I could go to NoirCon but I'm looking forward to St. Louis.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Heading North

I leave for my first Bouchercon on Thursday. I'm expecting a fun, fast and busy as hell time. I have a "continuous conversation" panel on Saturday from 3-4 with a book signing at 5:30. We'll see if anyone shows up.
I'm most excited to see friends, authors I admire and to meet so many of the writers and bloggers I know only in the cyber world.
If I know you, but don't know you, look for me.
Once I'm back it's only two short weeks until the Men of Mystery conference. That should be fun too.

In book news: Borrowed Trouble, the sequel to One Too Many Blows To The Head, is slated for a Feb 1 2011 release. We've alreayd gotten some great blurbs and the cover art is pretty damn cool if I do say so (did it myself) I'm trying to hold back and wait until all our ducks are in a row to really push it but I can't keep it in any longer. Hopefully B-Con will be a good place to spread the word and talk up the next book after that.
2011 look like an exciting year.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Hitting the streets

The street date is set for Discount Noir , the anthology I am proud to have a piece in. October 19. Some amazing authors contributed flash fiction works all centered around big box discount stores in the tradition of Wal Mart. 
It will be an ebook and it is listed super cheap - only $4.49. I really dig the cover. Wish it was going to be a real book but oh well. Better get used to it.

The full list of authors is still mind blowing to me:
Patricia Abbott, Sophie Littlefield, Kieran Shea, Chad Eagleton, Ed Gorman, Cormac Brown, Fleur Bradley, Alan Griffiths, Laura Benedict, Garnett Elliot, Eric Beetner, Jack Bates,
Bill Crider, Loren Eaton, John DuMond, John McFetridge, Toni McGee Causey, Jeff Vande Zande, James Reasoner, Kyle Minor, Randy Rohn, Todd Mason, Byron Quertermous, Sandra Scoppettone, Stephen D. Rogers, Steve Weddle, Evan Lewis, Daniel B. O’Shea, Sandra Seamans, Albert Tucher, Donna Moore, John Weagly, Keith Rawson, Gerald So, Dave Zeltserman, Dorte Hummelshoj Jakobsen, Jay Stringer, Anne Frasier, Kathleen A. Ryan,
Eric Peterson, Chris Grabenstein and J.T. Ellison

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Keep watching the horizon

News is a-comin'. Ducks are being aligned in rows. People are responding to requests. Deliveries are being made.
Start warming up the presses . . .

Friday, September 17, 2010

October events

Bouchercon is fast approaching and I am so excited to attend my first. I'll be making the drive up to San Francisco and looking forward to meeting people, seeing friends and attending panels all weekend long. No word yet on whether I will be speaking on any panels but it's fine if I don't. Next year in St. Louis, though, I OWN that convention!

Also coming up on October 30th is the Men of Mystery one-day conference in Irvine. I'm really looking forward to this one too. It was an honor to be asked to join and I am really looking forward to meeting some authors and hearing what they have to say. I've been meaning to pick up Savages by Don Winslow and Strip by Thomas Perry but I was waiting for paperback until I saw they will be there. I might have to suck it up and get signed copies.

Monday, September 13, 2010


I was thrilled this past week to get the news that I have joined the client ranks of agent David Hale Smith. I could not be more excited about this because I know David shares my same taste judging by his client list. Victor Gischler, Duane Swierczynski, Reed Farrel Coleman, Michael Koryta, Derek Nikitas, Sean Doolittle, Teresa Schwegel, Vicki Hendricks, Gary Phillips, Stefanie Pintoff, Tom Piccirilli. I mean, holy crap, right?

Time to bunker down and earn this. Do the work. Put in the hours. Write like hell. Of course I'm still grinning every time I think about it. Dare I say the best part were the congratulations cookies my wife made? That woman can bake!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Good Week

It's been a good week, writing-wise. I am a mere two chapters away from final edits on Borrowed Trouble. I should have finished last night but I was procrastinating and filled the time finishing my two stories for A Twist of Noir's 600-700 assignments . I even did audio recordings of both. (Told you I was procrastinating)

Once again Deborah J. Ledford's edits have made me appear much more competent than I am and have helped (hopefully) to break more bad habits.

The news broke that Discount Noir  has sold as an ebook. It is a fantastic lineup that I am so very proud to be a part of. Then I was invited to participate in another anthology. It is so great to be invited to the party rather than stick a foot in the door and ask to be let in.

I like having this many little things going at once. Gives the feeling of forward momentum, which I seem to seek in my life. My wife wishes I were more of a sit still on the beach kind of guy but that is just not me.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

80 stories/80 authors all in one

Michael J. Solender runs the blog Not From here, are you? which is always a great stop for flash fiction and other things. He put out a challenge to come up with a story about summer in only 100 words, no more and no less. It's tough to tell an entire story in that few words but more than 100 writers took up the challenge and now Michael has complied the top 80 into an e-chapbook available for download (free, of course).
Download it HERE and read on as the summer wraps up. My story, Don't Think Too Hard About It, appears on page 22. I'm proud to say it was chosen for a Special Jury Award among the entries.

Monday, August 30, 2010

New blurb

It's never too late for a blurb on a book, even if it's been out for 9 months. Author Stephen Jay Schwartz was impressed enough to write up this little ditty:

"A powerful tale of vengeance, rife with pounding action and colorful, complex characters. One Too Many Blows to the Head is a first-round knock-out!”
Stephen Jay Schwartz, LA Times best-selling author of 

Not too bad considering Boulevard is a heck of a read. The sequel, Beat, is out at the end of September and it sounds like the action surrounding Detective Hayden Glass is being ratcheted up even more so look out for that. Stephen will be signing at the Myster Bookstore on Sept. 30th and holding a launch party the Thursday night that Bouchercon starts up in San Francisco.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

New story up

I entered the Title Fights last round. It's an interesting concept. They throw out a theme of titles, this time around it was Jimi Hendrix song titles, you enter, they assign you one and that's all the inspiration you get. The title I drew was Dolly Dagger. Needless to say I was psyched. I had never heard the song (not a big 60s music fan) so I ran with it totally uninfluenced by anything but the title.
I was pleased with the outcome but reading it back on the site I noticed a typo and it makes me crazy that I can't proof my own crap better than that. It's amateur hour and I should be better. I get too caught up with too many projects and I don't focus enough and it makes me angry at myself. Not a big deal in the long run but if I want to be taken seriously I need to present myself seriously. Any excuse to beat myself up, I guess. I got plenty of 'em.

Speaking of being too busy, I just finished a short-ish work. Novella length. No idea why. I have one outlet to submit it to but it may have been only an exercise and the only way to get the idea out of my head.
I'm also joining a group of writers from my publishing company who will be doing a mystery novel in blog form over the next year featuring seven different writers all contributing to the story. It's at the very start but it should prove to be an interesting experiment indeed.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A winner! (and other junk)

I can't even seem to post when it's good news but I am very excited and honored to have my story, My Asshole Brother chosen as the top seed in Jason Duke's Red Hot writing contest. Duke is a hell of writer and can be heard doing an amped up SFX-laden reading of his own Phoenix Nightlife over at He pulls no punches.
It was quite a crop of stories so I am really proud to have made the cut. The good news is that it got my writing out in front of some influential people which is always a good thing. It is TBD what comes of it but at least getting the name out there is a plus.
The story, while already available online, will be published in issue #5 of Crimefactory. Another honor, indeed.

We have sent off Borrowed Trouble, the sequel to One Too Many Blows To The Head, off to the editor so we'll see just what an alarming number of errors can slip through even four editing passes by Jennifer and I.  News of publication is still a question mark. You'll know when we know.

I'm almost done with a project of mine I've wanted to do for a while. I'm sure nothing will come of it but it's been fun to write. At the very least if no one wants it I'll post it here or it may make my first foray into Kindle-only publishing which, according to some, I am an idiot if I don't do it and I'll be raking in the cash hand over fist. Doubtful.

There's a new collaborative book project I just signed on for that sounds like a real hoot. More on that as it comes along but it is going to be an ongoing novel written online with a new chapter each week until it concludes at which point it will be published as a book. Jen and I are writing together again so we'll have one chapter ever 6 or 7 weeks. It's still in the infancy stages but it's going to be a blast.

Finally, on another note, something I wanted to post about but wasn't sure how. The other day I made a life goal happen for someone. It was something that has been discussed for a long time, joked about, but I finally made it happen. That individual was very happy as was I. Is it bad that the main reason I did it was that I don't know how much longer this individual will be with us? It made me wish I'd done it years earlier but then it wouldn't have been such an event. It was a really small gesture, it's a silly thing in the end but it made me think and reflect. It seems like the kind of thing a better writer would be able to turn into a story. Maybe I'm too close to it. Maybe it would just be one of those stories where the plot is in between the lines. Maybe it's just a private moment that wouldn't mean anything to anyone but me. Either way, I'm glad I did. I know she was happy. I hope we have much more time with her and I can do it again. If not, it is just one of hundreds of memories I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Round up

I know I seem to start every post with, "It's been a while..." but my excuse is I've been writing, so there.
Here's the round up. Just finished The Cold Kiss by John Rector and it blew me away. This book was so up my alley! A simple story simply told. It unfolds in almost real time with completely relatable characters in a completely messed up situation. I tore through it on my lunch hours and, faced with the prospect of waiting until Monday to finish, I brought it home and polished it off after I put the girls to bed. Highly recommended! And just in time. I came off three duds in a row then this breath of cold air hit me.

Next, I seem to have made my way to the finals in Jason Duke's Red Hot writing contest with my story My Asshole Brother (see link in the list to the right) I am very honored to make the cut to the final two seeing as the judging panel was a prestigious list of writers and agents whom I respect. Fingers crossed for the win. The other story selected, by Michael J. Solender is a cracker too. Tough choice Duke has on his hands.  Oh and Duke's version of Phoenix Nightlife is up to pt 3. Good stuff.

I finished my final draft of the sequel to One Too Many Blows To The Head, titled Borrowed Trouble. Now it is in Jennifer's hands and she'll let me know what she thinks of my half. Her half is brilliant so I hope I can keep up. She dropped a few brilliant lines in her stuff. The book rocks (I think) and next step is figuring out what to do with it. Stay tuned.

I have to mention (honesty I keep thinking, "oh that would make a good blog post" then I get caught up at work or two kids and never get to it) but I have to say thanks to the many authors who donated books for my little sister's charity auction. All I did was put it out on Facebook and in no time I had over a dozen signed editions for the auction from Brett Battles, Kelli Stanley, Gary Phillips, Sophie Littlefield, Rebecca Cantrell, Gar Anthony Haywood, Stephen Jay Schwartz and Marcus Sakey (and me and Jennifer of course). At every stage I have been blown away by how kind and generous and giving the crime writing community has been.
Just this week I've been asking a lot of advice of some of my writer friends with much more experience than I and everyone has been so kind about giving up free advice. It does not go unnoticed, even if all I can do is buy your books but then the real winner is me again.

I am vowing to make a stronger push to get myself (and the books) out there in preparation for the sequel to come out. I've got Bouchercon coming up in October as well as the day-long Men of Mystery on Oct 30th but I am going to try harder to get in to book stores I haven't made any headway with. I need to stop being so shy because no one is going to do it for me.

I do have other things that are almost like real blog posts which I will save and try not to wait another month and a half between posts.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


I write like Ian Fleming. According to this website anyway. Kind of a cool little time waster.
Having never read a word of his stuff, but having seen all the movies, I'll just take it on faith that millions of book sales are in my future.

I write like
Ian Fleming
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!