KnockOut

Eric Beetner is a creative machine — Music: check. Book design: check. Directing: check. Writing some damn good fiction: check.

Wait, I had that wrong; he has a TON of good fiction. A couple of the many standouts for me include Fingerprints, which placed in the Watery Grave contest last year, and Bleeding Out which appeared in Thrillers, Killers, N Chillers. What separates Eric from a lot of writers is his sense of dark humor. If you liked Heathers, you know what I mean. If you didn’t (or never saw the film), there is no hope for you.

Revenge stories can easily become trite, overdone Mel Gibson knockoffs. Rarely do they rise to the level and character of, say, The Professional but Eric gets extremely close with his novella “Dig Two Graves”. Yes, I am referencing a lot of kick ass films, because that is how the novella plays out: a picture show (though not the last one — yeah, Larry McMurtry also rocks). The characters are well-drawn and the story a “fun” ride. I asked him if he wouldn’t mind stopping in and sharing some insight about the book with us like — where the hell did that come from?

WHY I’M STEPPING OUT OF THE RING

By Eric Beetner

This July sees the publication of my latest Fightcard novella, A Mouth Full Of Blood – sequel to Split Decision. It will be my fifth published work (not counting anthologies) and the fourth writing about a boxer or ex-boxer. Time to hang up the gloves.
I’m enormously proud of the Fightcard books and especially the two novels I co-wrote with JB Kohl, One Too Many Blows To The Head and Borrowed Trouble. I believe in the stories and while the Fightcard novellas rely a little more on boxing as a backdrop, in the co-authored novels there is very little actual fighting at all. They are solid mystery/noir novels which happen to feature and ex-boxer. But it’s so easy to get pigeonholed in this racket. I don’t want to become, “Oh, he’s the guy that writes those boxing books.” I do, and can do, so much more.

I was very excited when the new Pulp Ink anthology announced they were looking for stories with a crime and a horror element. I ran with that and my very dark horror-influenced story was accepted, and even inspired the cover art. Of the five completed novels of mine that remain unpublished (so far) all are contemporary set and there isn’t a pugilist in sight.

Such is the case with my novella Dig Two Graves. The dark revenge story was written after a small publisher put out the call for gritty vengeance tales told in about 25k words and using plenty of blood and action. Hell yes, I said to myself. When that publisher never even acknowledged my submission it ended up in the hands of Snubnose Press and found a home.

I think everything I write is somewhat inspired by pulpy action-driven tales, but Dig Two Graves would never have been allowed to be published in the golden era of pulps. Way too much talk about prison blowjobs. The story is dark, moves fast and I’ve been told has a healthy dose of gallows humor. I never want to admit my stuff is any kind of funny for fear of people urging me to seek help. But if someone finds it funny, that’s on them.

I’ve loved my time writing about boxers, and maybe someday I’ll go back to it. JB Kohl and I are into our second novel together in a contemporary set series. I have outlines for a few more novels staring at my on my desk and asking when I will ask them to dance. Really, I want to show readers I have more sides to my writing. You’ll never see me write a cozy, but there is more to me than just the sweet science. My ultimate goal all along has been to build a body of work, preferably a wide variety. I could never be the type of writer who does twenty novels all about the same character. I’d get bored. I already found myself repeating little riffs in the boxing books, so time to ring the bell and walk away.

Knock on wood, I’ve so far not run out of ideas. If anything, there are too damn many. When they start to get backed up in my brain the shouting makes it hard to sleep. Guess that’s why I’m a night writer. Who can rest when all these degenerates in my brain keep fighting to be let out?

You don’t get much more degenerate than Dig Two Graves, and I’m excited to know that the most twisted thing I ever wrote is still waiting to be published (maybe by myself, and maybe soon). I relish the days when I surprise myself and can’t wait to be able to surprise readers. Y’know, like a well-placed uppercut.

BIO: Eric Beetner is the author of Dig Two Grave, Split Decision and A Mouth Full Of Blood, as well as co-author (with JB Kohl) of One Too Many Blows To The Head and Borrowed Trouble. His award-winning short stories have appeared in Pulp Ink, Grimm Tales, Discount Noir, Off The Record, Murder In The Wind, Needle Magazine, Crimefactory and more. For more info visit ericbeetner.blogspot.com

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