When Justified ended it left a hole in my world. I loved the Harlan County full of redneck outlaws and lawmen presented on there. Graham Yost, the showrunner, showed that he gets how to bring crime fiction to the small screen in a way that a lot of folks just don’t.

Well, I have discovered his next project.

RUMRUNNERS by Eric Beetner.

I’m an Eric Beetner fanboy and I have no problem admitting it. I love his writing and have yet to be disappointed in any of his work.  RUMRUNNERS is a great addition to his body of work.  This is a book about outlaw family doing outlaw things for family reasons. It’s got great characters and a plot as fast as a 1969 Roadrunner. It’s a crackerjack of a book.

It’s out through 280 Steps, a crime fiction publisher that’s burning up the roads with some great packaging on their books. Look at this cover.

cover - Rumrunners

And now read what some of the best crime writers are saying about it:

Smokey and the Bandit meets Justified and Fargo in this violent crime-family saga with a sense of humor.

“Buckle up…RUMRUNNERS is a fast and furious read.” -Samuel W. Gailey, author of Deep Winter Meet the McGraws.

They’re not criminals. They’re outlaws. They have made a living by driving anything and everything for the Stanleys, the criminal family who has been employing them for decades. It’s ended with Tucker. He’s gone straight, much to the disappointment of his father, Webb. When Webb vanishes after a job, and with him a truck load of drugs, the Stanleys want their drugs back or their money. With the help from his grandfather, Calvin-the original lead foot-Tucker is about to learn a whole lot about the family business in a crash course that might just get him killed.

“Rumrunners just never lets up. It’s a fuel-injected, mile-a-minute thrill ride. I had a blast.” -Grant Jerkins, author of A Very Simple Crime and Done In One

“Few contemporary writers do justice to the noir tradition the way Eric Beetner does. Others try to emulate and mimic; Beetner just takes the form and cuts his own jagged, raw and utterly readable path. RUMRUNNERS is the latest example of his great storytelling skills, and his uncompromising commitment to the dark, often violent truth at the center of the human heart.” -Gar Anthony Haywood, author of Assume Nothing, Cemetery Road and the Aaron Gunner series

“Beetner is an old school talent, a crime writer’s crime writer like Gil Brewer (although, in my humble opinion, he’s better than Brewer), who writes stuff that is fast and funny and dark all at once.” -Jake Hinkson, author of Hell On Church St. and The Big Ugly



STRAP ON THEM IRONS BOYS (or the announcement of a new project)

If you been paying attention to my social media (and if you haven’t then why not?) then you know I am a part of the Outlaws Of Fiction. We’re like the Four Horsemen of WCW. Four authors who write edgy stuff and buck the system making our own way. If you like my stuff, you will probably like theirs and vice a versa. We see eye to eye and all.

The Outlaws are: Yours Truly, D. A. Adams, Brady Allen, and Steven Shrewsbury. (click their names to go to their respective sites)

See what I mean? If you are familiar with any of them I can see you nodding your head and going: “Yep, them and James are cut from the same cloth.”  We got a BLOG, a FACEBOOK PAGE, and lot of fire in our bellies (but that might be the bourbon….or Brady’s chili.)

Well, this is the post where I tell you we ain’t all talk. We have decided, as writers are won’t to do, to collaborate on a new project. So allow me to introduce to the world formally:

LOWDOWN, DESPERATE, AND DAMNED Four Tales Set In The Weird West.


There was a time in America’s past that never happened. Where mythic heroes strapped iron on their hips and strode across the frontier and far reaches of the American West to make a name for themselves. A time of gunslingers and bounty hunters, outlaws and lawmen; a bloody age where you lived by the gun and survived by your willingness to use it. In this fictional past, the West was weird: heavy laden with bloodsuckers, skinwalkers, monsters not yet named, and dead men walking. Discover a West of old gods and dark magick, of demons and witches, where the razor-thin difference between life and death hung on being a ruthless bastard, a cunning cowboy, or having just one more bullet.


This is just a mock up to give you a taste. Not the final cover.


So the skinny is this: We each are writing a weird western novella. these novellas will be gathered into a 4-pack and published. We haven’t looked for a publisher yet, but we have a few in our sights. We’ll finish our part while it’s still winter, but it will be in 2013.

I’ll keep you posted with updates, snippets, and the like but my story will probably either be a Caleb Donner story (survivor of the Donner Party and now a bounty hunter with a dark secret living inside him), possibly a novella set in my WASTELAND world (more on THAT later), or a story about Robert McGee which is this guy.

This is a real picture of a real guy who survived being scalped AS A CHILD. Imagine the tough sunnuvabitch you have to be to live your life with your skull open to the world like that.