The Beat Goes On: Year Two

I’ve just posted the lastest yarns in  “The Hard-Boiled Detective” series online. This new trio of tales kicks off the second year for this old-school, retro-detective, publishing effort. An effort and something of an experiment, too.

For the curiously uninformed, subscribers to the series get access to three new adventures every month. They download the stories in whichever electronic format floats their boat—ePub, mobi or PDF. The stories are what they sound like, a throwback to the days of the “Black Mask” boys, inspired by the likes of Chandler, Hammett and Spillane. As the website’s tagline goes, “Old-school detective fiction.” Sure.

I’ve always considered myself egotistical. Plenty arrogant. I admit I’m far and away my favorite subject. But maverick? I never gave that attribute much thought, but I’ve still never seen anyone trying out anything like this. Hard-boiled fiction short stories? By the month? On the installment plan? I simply figured it was the most natural thing in the world, as natural as Chandler dropping a simile, or Mike Hammer cracking open a skull. Sure.

Plenty of folks give me with the mouth dropped open when I tell them what I’ve got going. They act all impressed and bowled over and downright stupefied at my Herculean effort. I get a kick out of the reactions, even. Yeah, it’s somewhat humbling for my writing to make such an impression on people before they’ve even read one word.

The funny thing is, despite having cranked out 39 stories and more than 200,000 words, it feels to me like I write awful slow. There’s never enough time, never enough distance, and plenty of times the deadlines approach like a head-on collision. I always wish I could do more, do better. Maybe that’s the nature of writing. Maybe that means I’m still progressing. Or maybe that means I’m not good enough. Lucky for me I don’t have time to dwell on it.

Coming up with three yarns a month doesn’t leave for hardly any kind of dwelling time. I’ve got this terrific core of subscribers, but the series is by no means a rousing, commercial success. But there’s no time to worry about that. Right now I’m more concerned with the latest plot corner I’ve painted myself into. And then there’s the first collection I’m starting to edit and put into book form.

You can drive yourself over a cliff worrying about this and that and the other thing. Taking such a nose dive isn’t the kind of clear sailing that interests me. Besides, I haven’t enough time as it is. All I can do is what I have to do, what I need to do. All I can do is my best and let the rest take care of itself.


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