Well, I have a few. I’m in several great anthologies I should mention: D*cked, Grimm Tales, Pulp Ink, and Off The Record. And there are two novellas that came out only a week and half apart at the end of last year so I’ll mention those. Dig Two Graves is an e-book from Snubnose Press that is a gritty revenge tale about a would-be bank robber who gets sold out by his prison lover. I hate talking about myself so I’ll let others do it:
‘Dig Two Graves is the product of a diseased mind, and I mean that in the very best way. If you like stories about revenge and criminals fucking up their own shit, this one's for you.’
Scott Phillips, author of The Ice Harvest and The Adjustment
‘Dig Two Graves is everything you want a blackly comic revenge tale to be: fierce, fast, funny, and deliciously foregone. You'll know on page one that this story isn't going to go well for anybody involved, but read that page and see if you can look away. I couldn't. It's all in the voice, and Eric Beetner's got a live one. I look forward to hearing more of it.’
Sean Doolittle, author of The Cleanup and Safer
‘It’s dark, funny, fast, and gleefully, wonderfully wrong entertainment. Beetner handles tension like a veteran and the action and suspense sequences are a fucking hoot, but what really sets this novella apart is Val’s voice. The Nerd advises you to pick this shit up toot-fucking-sweet.’
The Nerd of Noir, Spinetingler Mag
‘Beetner’s novella is so crisp and expertly put together, you can’t help but go along for the ride. Razor sharp writing.’ A best of 2011 selection.
Nick Quantrill, author of Broken Dreams
Then there is Split Decision, book #3 in the Fight Card series. Each book is written by a different author, all under the pseudonym of Jack Tunney for e-books, and our own names for the print version. They are set in the 1950s and real throwbacks to the sports pulps of the era. The whole series is great and there are some amazing entries coming later this year.
Again, I’ll leave it to others to comment on my own work:
‘Beetner's tale is darker than either of the preceding entries, but it's just as compelling and does a fine job of capturing the era. He has the knack of putting his protagonist in an impossible situation and then making the reader race along to find out how it's going to get even worse. Split Decision is a prime example of the sort of variety and adventurous storytelling we can expect from the Fight Card series, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Highly recommended.’
James Reasoner, author of Texas Wind and Dust Devils
‘There is nothing predictable about the third installment of the Fight Card series, Split Decision by Eric Beetner. Split Decision has a very different feel from the first two Fight Card stories, but still delivers the same hard punching thrills in a distinctly noirish tale. If had been made into a film in the Golden Days of Hollywood, John Garfield would have played Jimmy Wyler. It’s that kind of story. I finished it in one sitting. It’s that entertaining. Highly recommended.’
Permission To Kill
I write fairly quickly and novellas are easier, obviously. I think with each of these I spent maybe two months each. I spend about four on a full length novel, I guess, from starting to finishing a polished draft. That doesn’t count all the thinking time beforehand. I think a lot before I decide to start writing. I’m always juggling ideas and trying to decide what to write next so if I don’t think I know the whole story I’ll wait on it and finish something else first.
What's your favourite part of the creative process?
I love when I surprise myself with a line or a thought. I outline and know where it is all headed, but that frees me up to take detours and change course a bit. Sometimes it effects things greatly, sometimes it is a line I forget about until I’m doing rewrites and I feel like someone else wrote that part. I love when I don’t remember having written something. The bits I like, anyway. Some of it I’d like to disavow. Funny how those are the parts I remember clearly.
How much difference does an editor make?
I need a good editor to fix my silly mistakes and bad habits. I’ve gotten much better at self-editing so my first drafts are much cleaner than they used to be. I am always amazed, though, at how little things still slip by.
I don’t look to an editor for story. I try not to be too precious about things, but I won’t send anything out unless I feel the story is solid and doesn’t need big changes. That said, I have given in and changed an ending here and there, but nothing I felt uncomfortable with.
I think for self-published authors though, a good editor is key.
How important is a good title?
It’s a grabber so I think it is very important. I love a good title. It does draw you in and makes you interested in a story. Generic thriller titles make me pass over a book as do confusing, wordy titles. But take something like Frank Sinatra In A Blender by Matt McBride. How could you not want to read that book?
How important is a good cover?
I’ve been doing my own covers. Dig Two Graves is my design. My first two novels with JB Kohl, One Too Many Blows To The Head and Borrowed Trouble were mine as well. And I’ve been doing covers for Snubnose Press. So, yes, I think a good cover is really important. Nothing makes a small press book look cheaper and less professional than a boring cover with no style done with bad fonts and zero creativity.
I’m a big fan of old pulp covers (who isn’t?) and I take a lot of inspiration from that. Also masters of design like Saul Bass and Chip Kidd. I have very limited Photoshop skills but I like to play around. I wish I could do more to get the ideas in my head to come out on a page. But in my effort to be a jack-of-all-trades and master of none, I guess I can add book cover designer to my resume.
I like interviews because I like hearing what people will ask. Other than that, I hate most every aspect of it. I hate blowing my own horn. It feels as much like masturbation as that analogy sounded. My book sales have suffered surely because I don’t self-promote enough but I already feel like what I do is obnoxious enough.
But, yeah, the interviews give me a reason to talk about the books because someone is asking. Otherwise I feel like a loudmouth at a party.
How do you feel about reviews?
I like getting reviewed. Maybe because I’ve been very lucky and haven’t had anyone unload on me yet. I like hearing what others see in a book of mine. I know what I think about it, but you never know if what you intended will come across.
And yes, I do regard reviews when I choose books to buy. If I know and respect the opinion of the reviewer, it makes a difference.
What are you reading now?
I just started Stephen Blackmoore’s City of the Lost. It’s an urban fantasy crime novel that starts off like a rocket. Only fifty pages in I know I will love it. And here’s where I can again stump for Hell on Church Street by Jake Hinkson, a recent read. So damn good. Jake is getting amazing press all over and it is all true. Get this book!
What makes you keep reading a book?
If it goes to unexpected places. I like to be surprised. I’m not usually a procedural guy or a simple who-done-it guy. I like a plot that propels forward all the time. That’s why I know I can always rely on writers like Allan Guthrie, Victor Gischler, Duane Swierczynski, Steve Brewer.
What are you currently working on?
I just moved so I haven’t written squat in about a month, which is rare for me. I have two outlines loaded in the chamber ready to go. I’ll be able to start in about another week or so. Still not sure which of the two I’ll go with. Other than that, just waiting for the call from my agent that any of the five manuscripts I’ve fed him in the past year have sold.
How can we keep up to date with your news?
Another year, another vow to keep up my blog more consistently. (See the above reluctance to crow about myself constantly) but I keep all my info and updates and free stories at ericbeetner.blogspot.com.
Other than writing/being published, do you have a claim to fame?
I’m a TV editor so my name is on TV quite a lot. You have to look fast, but it’s there. I used to be a musician and my old albums are out there for real cheap on eBay. I’ve posed for a painting as an X-Men trading card once. The film I wrote and directed is out there in the world if you do some digging. (I need to work on getting it more easily available.) None of this, it should be said, has made me famous. Including publishing.
What would your epitaph be?