As 2011 comes to a close I find myself not in the middle of a writing project. This is only worth mentioning because in 2011 I wrote 3 novels, a novella, about a dozen short stories and decent amount of blog posts. Not having some sort of deadline, even the self-imposed ones, is a bit of a change for me. I’m trying to take the rest of December off, but I have a few pages of handwritten notes for something I’m very excited about that keep staring at me. We’ll see if I make it to New Year’s.
Now, I say I wrote all that stuff, but the sad truth is you can’t read most of it. The blog posts are out there and the novella is out, along with another one I wrote in 2010 so I’m not including that here. The three novels – about 200,000 words worth – won’t be coming your way for a while. And when or if they will at all isn’t up to me. Someone needs to agree to publish them first. But, hey, fingers crossed and all that.
And on one of those I cheated. It would be the third of my collaborations with JB Kohl. We left the 1940s world of our first two books, One Too Many Blows To The Head and Borrowed Trouble, and went modern and topical. We love the book and hope it is around for you to love someday. But the cheating part is that when I write with Jen I only have to write half a book. So, there you go. I’m a slacker.
But let’s talk about what you can read right now. Dig Two Graves is a novella I wrote in 2010 and had no idea what to do with. Then an outfit called Snubnose Press was born. I think I got in the old inbox before the real flood of submissions and they picked up my little bastard of a tale. We went through edits and I even relented and changed the ending. Stop what you’re thinking though, we didn’t make it softer. If anything, the end got darker. Yikes. This book it pitch black already. A sordid revenge tale that features more talk about prison blowjobs than I ever thought I’d write in a lifetime.
Perhaps my favorite thing about the book is the trailer I made just because I could. Didn’t cost me a dime. Cast of one (me), shot on my iPad, edited at home. Watch it, won’t you? And pass it along. These things don’t go viral on their own you know.
Dig Two Graves also marks my third time out as my own cover designer. It turned out quite well, I think. I ran through a few different ideas and we ended up with the ol’ shovel of dirt and a gun. Y’know, that old chestnut.
The other novella is Split Decision, book 3 in the Fight Card series. This one came about rather serendipitously. The Fight Card series was started by Paul Bishop and Mel Odom to get boxing themed novellas out there reminiscent of the old fight pulps of the 30s and 40s. I worked with Paul on a TV show where we didn’t realize we both wrote until the last day of the shoot. He knew my work had been set in the past and with a boxing theme so I must have seemed a natural fit. And with Paul’s more than a dozen books I knew he was the real deal, so when he called to ask me if I would like in on Fight Card I leaped at the chance. My book is the third in the series all written under the pen name Jack Tunney, with the print versions under our own names with alternate covers.
I knew I was in good hands when Paul sent me an advance of his book Felony Fists and I freakin’ loved it. Right up my alley. Then came Mel’s The Cutman and I was hooked. They are standalones with only loose threads connecting them so you don’t need to read them in any order, but you’ll want to read them all once you get one.
I have been very fortunate to be included in some incredible anthologies this year too. How lucky am I that the people who put these things together actually ask me to contribute a story? And when the overall quality is as high as it is in D*cked, Pulp Ink and Off The Record I am truly thankful. You would do well to gather all of those collections for yourself and skip over my stories to get to the really great stuff inside.
So, yeah, been a busy year. At least now I have a benchmark to measure my 2012 by. I have a few things laying around waiting for me to choose them as the next big thing. My short story output has declined in favor of the novels and I’m okay with that. Any time anyone invites me in though, I’m all over it. Can’t be more honored than when someone thinks of me.
As for the novels, that’s all up to the powers that be. Not like heavenly powers, more like agents and publishers and other earthly forces like that. I think there is easily my best work in the pile of pages I churned out in 2011 and it bodes well for more improvement in 2012. I guess all this to say, you can’t stop me. I’m going to keep typing. One way or another it will be out there before too long. Resistance is futile. Wouldn’t it be better if you could say in a snooty voice, “Beetner? Oh yeah, I used to read his stuff before he sold out and became a best seller. His stuff is crap now. You should read Dig Two Graves. That is some serous noir. And did you read his story in D*cked? That shit was twisted. But yeah, he’s all popular now. Screw that guy.”