Category Archives: Blog

Bolt Action Remedy Featured on West of Mars

Bolt Action Remedy is featured on West of Mars. I tell you what song reminds me of my upcoming novel and I promise it’s not ‘Blame it on the Rain’.

http://westofmars.com/blog/susans-book-talk/featured-new-book/featured-new-book-spotlight-bolt-action-remedy-jj-hensley/

J.J. Hensley is the author of RESOLVE, a Thriller Award finalist which is set against the backdrop of the Pittsburgh Marathon, Measure Twice, Chalk’s Outline, and other works. Hensley is a former police officer and former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service.

https://hensleybooks.wordpress.com
http://www.hensley-books.com
https://www.facebook.com/hensleybooks
https://www.goodreads.com/JJHensley
Twitter @JJHensleyauthor

Watch for my new book, BOLT ACTION REMEDY, in October 2017! Preorder now!

Buy it on Amazon!

Former Pittsburgh narcotics detective Trevor Galloway has been hired to look into the year-old homicide of a prominent businessman who was gunned down on his estate in Central Pennsylvania. When Galloway arrives, he determines the murder could have only been committed by someone extremely skilled in two areas: Skiing and shooting. He believes the assailant should not be too difficult to identify given the great amount of skill and athleticism needed to pull off the attack. When he discovers the victim’s property is next door to a biathlon training camp, the situation becomes significantly more complicated.

Galloway makes plenty of enemies as he sifts through stories about lucrative land deals, possible drug connections, and uncovers evidence suggesting the homicide may have been elaborate suicide. As he attempts to navigate through an unfamiliar rural landscape, he does his best not to succumb to an old drug addiction, or become confused by one of his occasional hallucinations. Oh, and a Pittsburgh drug gang enforcer known as The Lithuanian—if he’s even real—is tracking Galloway and wants to take his eyes. Galloway would rather keep those.

In Bolt Action Remedy, the typically quiet streets of Washaway Township, Pennsylvania become the epicenter of a mystery involving elite athletes and old grudges. For Galloway, the problems keep piling up and somebody out there believes problems should be dealt with by employing the most permanent of remedies.

AVAILABLE NOW!

Cyprus Keller wants a future.
Jackson Channing has a past.
Robert Chalk has a rifle and a mission.  Kill Cyprus Keller and anyone who gets in his way.image1 

An addict is killing Pittsburgh city officials, but Homicide Detective Jackson Channing has his own addiction.

cropped-measure-twice-750-x-1200-jpeg.jpg

Also:

In the Pittsburgh Marathon, more than 18,000 people will participate. 4,500 people will attempt to cover the full 26.2 miles. Over 200 of the participants will quit, realizing it just wasn’t their day. More than 100 will get injured and require medical treatment. One man is going to be murdered.  When Dr. Cyprus Keller lines up to start the race, he knows a man is going to die for one simple reason. He’s going to kill him.

resolve-cover art CL (1)

Finalist – 2014 International Thriller Writers Awards – Best First Novel
Named one of the BEST BOOKS of 2013 by Suspense Magazine!
Top Ten Books of the Year – Authors on the Air

 And look for my short story FOUR DAYS FOREVER in the LEGACY anthology

 

Money for Something and Clicks for Free

Recently, I was visiting my hometown of Huntington, WV and my brother who is in the music business told me a story. I’d heard similar stories over the past few years, but this was the first one I had been told from someone with direct, first-hand knowledge. My brother, who we will call Brian (because that’s his name) told me about the bassist of a up-and-coming hard rock band. It was a band I had heard of and they were played frequently on my favorite radio station, SiriusXM Octane. Not only had this band been busy touring, but they had been touring on ShipRocked which is an incredibly popular event.

The band was really doing well. They were gaining fans.

They were… usually sleeping in a van in various Walmart parking lots.

They were… usually broke.

They were… soon to be without a bassist. It turned out he recently quit the band and moved home with his mother.

Those in the music industry are experiencing the same issues as most of those in the writing business. Streaming music sites and the proliferation of self-publishing have taken a toll on these industries as the supply is larger than the demand and the available content has been diluted. This isn’t to disparage those who place their music on streaming services or self-publish. This ability to get one’s work out into the public is fantastic and should continue.

However, a side-effect of these changes are that it is harder than ever for writers to make a living and the same goes for musicians. If a novelist sells 10,000 copies of a book, she is lucky to make $20,000 and there is no guarantee that income will continue for any real duration of time. Musicians face similar struggles. This article from 2016 gives a detailed breakdown of what a Metal band makes and has to spend if they play to 500 people per night.  It’s not pretty.

http://www.metalinjection.net/its-just-business/detailed-breakdown-of-how-much-a-band-earns-spends-playing-to-500-people-a-night

While writers and musicians have it tough, musicians have an extra burden because most of the money they do make is from touring. For those with families or who don’t want to live out of vans, urinate into a jug, and shower at truck stops, the lifestyle is less than ideal.

For writers, books tours are nice but not essential. But even with sales, fame and fortune may be elusive. My friend Wendy Tyson recently wrote a column on a site I contribute to called The Thrill Begins. In the piece, she explains what it’s like for writers when expectations meet reality. 

Again, not a pretty picture. Or at least not the rock star life some think may think successful writers may lead. By many measures, I’m a successful novelist and like 95% of the writers I know, I have a full-time job not related to writing. Out of the other 5%, I’d say 4% are retired and 1% (or less) are famous.

For all but the absolute biggest rock stars, the days of private jets and huge mansions are over.

For all but the most popular writers, the days of huge publishing contracts filled with massive advances are gone.

It’s all a trade-off. Is the trade-off worth it? It’s up to the consumers to decide.

J.J. Hensley is the author of RESOLVE, a Thriller Award finalist which is set against the backdrop of the Pittsburgh Marathon, Measure Twice, Chalk’s Outline, and other works. Hensley is a former police officer and former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service.

https://hensleybooks.wordpress.com
http://www.hensley-books.com
https://www.facebook.com/hensleybooks
https://www.goodreads.com/JJHensley
Twitter @JJHensleyauthor

Watch for my new book, BOLT ACTION REMEDY, in October 2017! Preorder now!

Buy it on Amazon!

Former Pittsburgh narcotics detective Trevor Galloway has been hired to look into the year-old homicide of a prominent businessman who was gunned down on his estate in Central Pennsylvania. When Galloway arrives, he determines the murder could have only been committed by someone extremely skilled in two areas: Skiing and shooting. He believes the assailant should not be too difficult to identify given the great amount of skill and athleticism needed to pull off the attack. When he discovers the victim’s property is next door to a biathlon training camp, the situation becomes significantly more complicated.

Galloway makes plenty of enemies as he sifts through stories about lucrative land deals, possible drug connections, and uncovers evidence suggesting the homicide may have been elaborate suicide. As he attempts to navigate through an unfamiliar rural landscape, he does his best not to succumb to an old drug addiction, or become confused by one of his occasional hallucinations. Oh, and a Pittsburgh drug gang enforcer known as The Lithuanian—if he’s even real—is tracking Galloway and wants to take his eyes. Galloway would rather keep those.

In Bolt Action Remedy, the typically quiet streets of Washaway Township, Pennsylvania become the epicenter of a mystery involving elite athletes and old grudges. For Galloway, the problems keep piling up and somebody out there believes problems should be dealt with by employing the most permanent of remedies.

AVAILABLE NOW!

Cyprus Keller wants a future.
Jackson Channing has a past.
Robert Chalk has a rifle and a mission.  Kill Cyprus Keller and anyone who gets in his way.image1 

An addict is killing Pittsburgh city officials, but Homicide Detective Jackson Channing has his own addiction.

cropped-measure-twice-750-x-1200-jpeg.jpg

Also:

In the Pittsburgh Marathon, more than 18,000 people will participate. 4,500 people will attempt to cover the full 26.2 miles. Over 200 of the participants will quit, realizing it just wasn’t their day. More than 100 will get injured and require medical treatment. One man is going to be murdered.  When Dr. Cyprus Keller lines up to start the race, he knows a man is going to die for one simple reason. He’s going to kill him.

resolve-cover art CL (1)

Finalist – 2014 International Thriller Writers Awards – Best First Novel
Named one of the BEST BOOKS of 2013 by Suspense Magazine!
Top Ten Books of the Year – Authors on the Air

 And look for my short story FOUR DAYS FOREVER in the LEGACY anthology

 

Interview with Biathlon Blogger Louise Wood

Note:  This is part of an interview series dealing with the sport of biathlon which plays a central role in my novel Bolt Action Remedy.

Louise Wood is the creator of the biathlon blog, Biathlon23.  In addition to teaching English as a foreign language, she is a volunteer writer for the International Paralympic Committee and writes a monthly article for the British Biathlon Union newsletter.  If you want to know more about her… good luck.  I’m pretty sure she’s in a Witness Protection Program.

Please tell us how you first became interested in Biathlon.  In many places, it is anything but a mainstream sport.

That’s right it really isn’t a sport that is very popular outside of Norway, Russia and Germany. It is growing however around Europe and also in North America. I first became interested in biathlon when I saw it on TV. The channel Eurosport shows the World Cup and World Championships each winter. I am a huge sports fan anyway so I will pretty much give any sport a chance so when I stumbled across biathlon while flipping channels one day I thought I would watch it and see what it was like. That was maybe around 6 or 7 years ago. If you had asked me what biathlon was before then I wouldn’t have had a clue and now I write a blog about it so it’s fair to say that I liked what I saw!

You have a wonderful Biathlon blog called Biathlon23.  Why did you start it and is the biathlon blog community fairly small?

Thanks for saying that it’s wonderful! I would like to make it clear that no money exchanged hands for that opinion! I always had it in the back of my mind to write a blog based on sport. I love a lot of sports and follow football (soccer), tennis, cycling, motorbike racing (Moto GP) quite closely and I watch a lot of others sports too. When I decided to take the plunge and start blogging I did a little research first and quickly discovered that the sports I mentioned earlier are very popular things to blog about. Faced with lots of competition in those areas I looked into biathlon and found out that although there were some bloggers there was space for another. There are quite a lot of blogs that are specific to their countries like Germany and then the press in Norway and Russia are all over biathlon but in the English speaking world there were only a few blogs. Actually in the last two years there were two really popular blogs that have had to stop so hopefully I can corner the market! I cover all biathletes from all countries so I get readers from everywhere. I also try not to be super serious either and like to put some fun things alongside the interviews and race reports. My own awards have proved to be very popular and are usually the most read posts on my blog.

 

You are a volunteer writer for the International Paralympic Committee.  Tell us about that.

I had been considering volunteering in one way or another for some time when I saw an advert on a sports website asking for volunteer writers for the IPC.  I thought I would send them a few posts from my blog but I never really expected to hear anything back. One email and a phone call later and suddenly I was working for the IPC covering cross-country skiing and biathlon. I love doing it. I get to interview some amazing athletes. I mean imagine doing Nordic sports when you are missing a limb or have very limited or no vision. It’s remarkable. Recently I have interviewed US army veteran Andy Soule who is the most decorated American Nordic skier. He lost his legs when an IED exploded next to him when he was serving in Afghanistan. I also got to interview Oksana Masters who was affected by the Chernobyl disaster, abandoned by her birth mother and was adopted and moved to America when she was young. It just shows you that amid all the money involved in sport and all the scandals with doping it can still be a force for good.

 What is it about the sport of biathlon that drew you to it?

There are many things that drew me to biathlon. First, it is a really exciting sport. Things can change all the time so it’s really unpredictable. It’s the shooting that makes it that way. In other sports the fastest person usually wins most of the races like in cross-country skiing or athletics. With biathlon the fastest person might get to the first shoot quickest but they can also be the last person to leave the range. Sometimes you think a biathlete has the race in the bag and then they mess up a shoot and finish 10th!

The conditions also play a big part in the races. For example in the Sprint race the biathletes set off at intervals so there can be around an hour between the first person to start and the last one. In winter this can mean starting in a blizzard or strong winds and then your competitor starts with no snow and no wind. It’s the luck of the draw.

I love the head to head races too. The Pursuit and Mass Starts are amazing to watch. The lead can change so often in one race and people can fight back from way down the field and others can fall from the top to the bottom very quickly.

The fact that it is such a difficult sport makes the biathletes such impressive sportspeople. Cross-country skiing is one of the toughest, if not the toughest, sport. Add to that the difficulty of stopping to shoot up to four times at targets fifty meters away that are the size of a golf ball when you are completely exhausted then you see the challenge that it presents. Then you have to do up to three or four races in the space of as many days.

It’s not really like other sports as it involves two disciplines that are so different from each other in one race. The massive physical exertion of skiing and the mental skill to be able to shoot make it a fascinating thing to watch.

I would like to make it clear that attractive people in tight ski suits is NOT the reason I love biathlon so much.

You have interviewed plenty of biathletes.  What interviews have been your favorites?

Wow this is a really tough question. I am still in a state of disbelief that biathletes actually do interviews for me so I love them all for doing it! However there are some that stick in my memory. The first ever interview I did on the blog was with US biathlete Maddie Phaneuf and I was so excited that she did it so she has to get a mention. The Canadians have been amazing and have done quite a lot of interviews for me as have the Brits. In particular I have to say Scott Dixon from Great Britain has been fantastic. He has done two interviews for my blog and they are really detailed and interesting and give a proper insight into what it’s like being a biathlete from a smaller nation with little funding. I know he would do many more if I ask.

The funniest interview has to be the one I did with another American Clare Egan. She was hilarious and even added some questions of her own to the interview and answered them. If only they would all do that! The most emotional for me was one I did with a young Norwegian biathlete Martin Femsteinevik where he spoke about having leukemia as a child and how biathlon helped him through it and how he wanted to get well again so he could be the best biathlete in the world.

One question I always ask is if the biathletes give their rifle a name. Most of them don’t which is weird as it’s the first thing I would do even before learning to shoot it! Lena Haecki of Switzerland is one of the few who does so I have to list her and Giorgio (the rifle) as a favorite.

When I first started the interviews it was mainly with junior biathletes as I thought they would be more likely to do them (I was right!). Now some of them are starting their careers on the World Cup and it’s really good to see them doing so well. Let’s just hope they remember the little people when they are big stars!

Have you attended many live Biathlon events?  If so, what has that been like?

Not yet, unfortunately. I would love to go but money, work and logistics tend to get in the way. The very nature of the sport means it usually has to take place in remoter locations in the mountains somewhere to get the snow. That means quite a complicated journey in most cases which can be expensive and time consuming. I mean some biathletes struggle with the funding to travel to all the races never mind me.

I will get there eventually even if it’s just to meet all my new internet biathlon friends. I have to make sure they are real! When you watch the races on TV the fans always look like they are having a great time.  On the other hand I think you get to see more of the action on the TV and if I want to write about the races I really should know what has happened!

Any big plans for your blog since the Winter Olympics are coming up in 2018?

No! I didn’t know that I needed any until you asked me that question! Now the panic is setting in! I might do something but I have no ideas at the moment. If anyone has any suggestions I would love to hear them. Obviously next year’s interviews will be focused more on the Olympics and the preparations for those. Generally things just pop into my head randomly so hopefully I will come up with something.

The name of your blog, Biathlon23, is interesting.  Tell us why you picked that name.

I chose the name because all the other ideas I had were already being used like biathlonworld, biathlon news etc. So I decided to use my favorite number. In a rare moment of inspiration I thought it would be fun to follow the biathlete in each race who wears bib23 and support them. As I try not to have any favorite biathletes and treat them all the same as a blogger it means I can support different biathletes in every race and not feel guilty! I tally up all the points from biathlete23 at the end of the season to see how my fictional biathlete compares to the real ones. Last season Martin Fourcade won the Individual race in the World Championships wearing bib23 so I am claiming a bit of that gold medal as my own. Some of the biathletes have also picked up on it and Brendan Green from Canada was kind enough to send me a photo of his bib when he was number 23 in the Sochi Olympics which literally made my month. I used it as my profile picture for about a year!

Thanks to Louise for taking the time to speak with me.

J.J. Hensley is the author of RESOLVE, a Thriller Award finalist which is set against the backdrop of the Pittsburgh Marathon, Measure Twice, Chalk’s Outline, and other works. Hensley is a former police officer and former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service.

Former Pittsburgh narcotics detective Trevor Galloway has been hired to look into the year-old homicide of a prominent businessman who was gunned down on his estate in Central Pennsylvania. When Galloway arrives, he determines the murder could have only been committed by someone extremely skilled in two areas: Skiing and shooting. He believes the assailant should not be too difficult to identify given the great amount of skill and athleticism needed to pull off the attack. When he discovers the victim’s property is next door to a biathlon training camp, the situation becomes significantly more complicated.

Galloway makes plenty of enemies as he sifts through stories about lucrative land deals, possible drug connections, and uncovers evidence suggesting the homicide may have been elaborate suicide. As he attempts to navigate through an unfamiliar rural landscape, he does his best not to succumb to an old drug addiction, or become confused by one of his occasional hallucinations. Oh, and a Pittsburgh drug gang enforcer known as The Lithuanian—if he’s even real—is tracking Galloway and wants to take his eyes. Galloway would rather keep those.

In Bolt Action Remedy, the typically quiet streets of Washaway Township, Pennsylvania become the epicenter of a mystery involving elite athletes and old grudges. For Galloway, the problems keep piling up and somebody out there believes problems should be dealt with by employing the most permanent of remedies.

AVAILABLE NOW!

image1Cyprus Keller wants a future.
Jackson Channing has a past.
Robert Chalk has a rifle and a mission.  Kill Cyprus Keller and anyone who gets in his way.

 

An addict is killing Pittsburgh city officials, but Homicide Detective Jackson Channing has his own addiction.

cropped-measure-twice-750-x-1200-jpeg.jpg

Also:

In the Pittsburgh Marathon, more than 18,000 people will participate. 4,500 people will attempt to cover the full 26.2 miles. Over 200 of the participants will quit, realizing it just wasn’t their day. More than 100 will get injured and require medical treatment. One man is going to be murdered.  When Dr. Cyprus Keller lines up to start the race, he knows a man is going to die for one simple reason. He’s going to kill him.

resolve-cover art CL (1)

Finalist – 2014 International Thriller Writers Awards – Best First Novel
Named one of the BEST BOOKS of 2013 by Suspense Magazine!
Top Ten Books of the Year – Authors on the Air

 And look for my short story FOUR DAYS FOREVER in the LEGACY anthology

Reading, Writing, and Avoiding that First Thing

One of the fun things about the publishing process is when one’s book becomes available for preorder. The paperback version of my next novel, Bolt Action Remedy, has been available for preorder for a while, but the ebooks just became available here:

Amazon: 
B&N:
iTunes:
Kobo:

Promoting one’s own works is not a lot of fun. Actually, it’s awful. I don’t know many authors who are comfortable with posting, tweeting, and speaking about what he or she has created. For whatever reason, one of the things that bothers me most is reading my own work aloud. I get invited to speak at a lot of events and while I do everything in my power to avoid reading my own work, inevitably someone asks me to read a portion. A couple of weeks ago, I took part in an event hosted by the Pittsburgh chapter of Sisters in Crime (I’m the ugliest “sister” by far, and I was asked to read in front of a crowd. Naturally, I chose a short excerpt – this one from what will be the follow-up to Bolt Action Remedy. It’s called Record Scratch and will be published in the Spring of 2018.

 

As you can tell, I’m reading fast. I do this because I want to get it over with as quickly as possible. Moments like these are when I marvel at those who narrate audiobooks. Lately, I’ve been working with a narrator who has been creating audiobooks for a couple of my back list titles, Measure Twice and Chalk’s Outline. He’s done a fantastic job and as I review his work I’m in awe of his ability to bring the written work to life through pacing, tone, and voice changes. It’s a skill I wish I had, but it’s best left to the professionals.

Next week, I’ll be posting an interview with a biathlon blogger named Louise Wood. In the weeks after that, you’ll have the change to read several other segments including my Five Shots Blog Tour hosted by some of the best book bloggers out there. The best part of events like those is I won’ t be expected to read aloud!

 

J.J. Hensley is the author of RESOLVE, a Thriller Award finalist which is set against the backdrop of the Pittsburgh Marathon, Measure Twice, Chalk’s Outline, and other works. Hensley is a former police officer and former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service.

Former Pittsburgh narcotics detective Trevor Galloway has been hired to look into the year-old homicide of a prominent businessman who was gunned down on his estate in Central Pennsylvania. When Galloway arrives, he determines the murder could have only been committed by someone extremely skilled in two areas: Skiing and shooting. He believes the assailant should not be too difficult to identify given the great amount of skill and athleticism needed to pull off the attack. When he discovers the victim’s property is next door to a biathlon training camp, the situation becomes significantly more complicated.

Galloway makes plenty of enemies as he sifts through stories about lucrative land deals, possible drug connections, and uncovers evidence suggesting the homicide may have been elaborate suicide. As he attempts to navigate through an unfamiliar rural landscape, he does his best not to succumb to an old drug addiction, or become confused by one of his occasional hallucinations. Oh, and a Pittsburgh drug gang enforcer known as The Lithuanian—if he’s even real—is tracking Galloway and wants to take his eyes. Galloway would rather keep those.

In Bolt Action Remedy, the typically quiet streets of Washaway Township, Pennsylvania become the epicenter of a mystery involving elite athletes and old grudges. For Galloway, the problems keep piling up and somebody out there believes problems should be dealt with by employing the most permanent of remedies.

AVAILABLE NOW!

 

Cyprus Keller wants a future.

Jackson Channing has a past.

Robert Chalk has a rifle and a mission.  Kill Cyprus Keller and anyone who gets in his way.image1

 

An addict is killing Pittsburgh city officials, but Homicide Detective Jackson Channing has his own addiction.

cropped-measure-twice-750-x-1200-jpeg.jpg

Also:

In the Pittsburgh Marathon, more than 18,000 people will participate. 4,500 people will attempt to cover the full 26.2 miles. Over 200 of the participants will quit, realizing it just wasn’t their day. More than 100 will get injured and require medical treatment. One man is going to be murdered.  When Dr. Cyprus Keller lines up to start the race, he knows a man is going to die for one simple reason. He’s going to kill him.

resolve-cover art CL (1)

Finalist – 2014 International Thriller Writers Awards – Best First Novel
Named one of the BEST BOOKS of 2013 by Suspense Magazine!
Top Ten Books of the Year – Authors on the Air

 And look for my short story FOUR DAYS FOREVER in the LEGACY anthology

 

 

Excerpt of Bolt Action Remedy

One of the great things about being a writer in the Pittsburgh area is having the support of a fantastic literary community. A site called Littsburgh brings that community together in a special way. Right now they have the first couple pages of my upcoming release – Bolt Action Remedy. Check it out!

http://www.littsburgh.com/bolt-action-remedy-j-j-hensley/

 

J.J. Hensley is the author of RESOLVE, a Thriller Award finalist which is set against the backdrop of the Pittsburgh Marathon, Measure Twice, Chalk’s Outline, and other works. Hensley is a former police officer and former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service.

Former Pittsburgh narcotics detective Trevor Galloway has been hired to look into the year-old homicide of a prominent businessman who was gunned down on his estate in Central Pennsylvania. When Galloway arrives, he determines the murder could have only been committed by someone extremely skilled in two areas: Skiing and shooting. He believes the assailant should not be too difficult to identify given the great amount of skill and athleticism needed to pull off the attack. When he discovers the victim’s property is next door to a biathlon training camp, the situation becomes significantly more complicated.

Galloway makes plenty of enemies as he sifts through stories about lucrative land deals, possible drug connections, and uncovers evidence suggesting the homicide may have been elaborate suicide. As he attempts to navigate through an unfamiliar rural landscape, he does his best not to succumb to an old drug addiction, or become confused by one of his occasional hallucinations. Oh, and a Pittsburgh drug gang enforcer known as The Lithuanian—if he’s even real—is tracking Galloway and wants to take his eyes. Galloway would rather keep those.

In Bolt Action Remedy, the typically quiet streets of Washaway Township, Pennsylvania become the epicenter of a mystery involving elite athletes and old grudges. For Galloway, the problems keep piling up and somebody out there believes problems should be dealt with by employing the most permanent of remedies.

AVAILABLE NOW!

 

Cyprus Keller wants a future.
Jackson Channing has a past.
Robert Chalk has a rifle and a mission.  Kill Cyprus Keller and anyone who gets in his way.image1

 

An addict is killing Pittsburgh city officials, but Homicide Detective Jackson Channing has his own addiction.

cropped-measure-twice-750-x-1200-jpeg.jpg

Also:

In the Pittsburgh Marathon, more than 18,000 people will participate. 4,500 people will attempt to cover the full 26.2 miles. Over 200 of the participants will quit, realizing it just wasn’t their day. More than 100 will get injured and require medical treatment. One man is going to be murdered.  When Dr. Cyprus Keller lines up to start the race, he knows a man is going to die for one simple reason. He’s going to kill him.

resolve-cover art CL (1)

Finalist – 2014 International Thriller Writers Awards – Best First Novel
Named one of the BEST BOOKS of 2013 by Suspense Magazine!
Top Ten Books of the Year – Authors on the Air

 And look for my short story FOUR DAYS FOREVER in the LEGACY anthology

 

 

On The Thrill Begins – Shutting Places Down Like Eliot Ness

Many of you may not know this, but my road to publication came with some major potholes. As part of the Tough Times series on The Thrill Begins, I explain how I started to feel Untouchable – in a very bad way.

http://thrillbegins.com/2017/05/11/shutting-down-places-like-eliot-ness/

J.J. Hensley is the author of RESOLVE, a Thriller Award finalist which is set against the backdrop of the Pittsburgh Marathon, Measure Twice, Chalk’s Outline, and other works. Hensley is a former police officer and former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service.

Former Pittsburgh narcotics detective Trevor Galloway has been hired to look into the year-old homicide of a prominent businessman who was gunned down on his estate in Central Pennsylvania. When Galloway arrives, he determines the murder could have only been committed by someone extremely skilled in two areas: Skiing and shooting. He believes the assailant should not be too difficult to identify given the great amount of skill and athleticism needed to pull off the attack. When he discovers the victim’s property is next door to a biathlon training camp, the situation becomes significantly more complicated.

Galloway makes plenty of enemies as he sifts through stories about lucrative land deals, possible drug connections, and uncovers evidence suggesting the homicide may have been elaborate suicide. As he attempts to navigate through an unfamiliar rural landscape, he does his best not to succumb to an old drug addiction, or become confused by one of his occasional hallucinations. Oh, and a Pittsburgh drug gang enforcer known as The Lithuanian—if he’s even real—is tracking Galloway and wants to take his eyes. Galloway would rather keep those.

In Bolt Action Remedy, the typically quiet streets of Washaway Township, Pennsylvania become the epicenter of a mystery involving elite athletes and old grudges. For Galloway, the problems keep piling up and somebody out there believes problems should be dealt with by employing the most permanent of remedies.

AVAILABLE NOW!

image1Cyprus Keller wants a future.
Jackson Channing has a past.
Robert Chalk has a rifle and a mission.  Kill Cyprus Keller and anyone who gets in his way.

 

An addict is killing Pittsburgh city officials, but Homicide Detective Jackson Channing has his own addiction.

cropped-measure-twice-750-x-1200-jpeg.jpg

Also:

In the Pittsburgh Marathon, more than 18,000 people will participate. 4,500 people will attempt to cover the full 26.2 miles. Over 200 of the participants will quit, realizing it just wasn’t their day. More than 100 will get injured and require medical treatment. One man is going to be murdered.  When Dr. Cyprus Keller lines up to start the race, he knows a man is going to die for one simple reason. He’s going to kill him.

resolve-cover art CL (1)

Finalist – 2014 International Thriller Writers Awards – Best First Novel
Named one of the BEST BOOKS of 2013 by Suspense Magazine!
Top Ten Books of the Year – Authors on the Air

 And look for my short story FOUR DAYS FOREVER in the LEGACY anthology

 

Interview with Writer, Runner, Skier, and Former Biathlete, Eric Chandler

Note:  This is part of an interview series dealing with the sport of biathlon which plays a central role in my upcoming novel Bolt Action Remedy.

Today, I welcome Eric Chandler to Steel City Intrigue.

Eric Chandler has written for Flying Magazine, Silent Sports Magazine, Northern Wilds, Minnesota Flyer, and Lake Country Journal, to name a few. Literary journals like Grey Sparrow Journal, The Talking Stick and Sleetmagazine.com have published his fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. He’s a member of Lake Superior Writers, an Active Member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America, and an Associate Member of the Military Writers Guild.

He’s also an Air Force veteran with twenty years of experience flying the F-16. He served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He enjoys cross-country ski racing and marathon running. He lives with his wife and two children in Duluth, Minnesota.  His website is https://ericchandler.wordpress.com/.

Unlike most Americans, you were introduced to biathlon in high school.  What drew you to that sport?

I was on the high school cross-country ski team in Plymouth, NH. I came in third in the state my junior year. That was the same season as the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo. I watched biathlon on TV and it interested me because I knew how to shoot. I thought if I took above average marksmanship and above average skiing together, maybe I could really be somebody.

There was a biathlon clinic at Bretton Woods in New Hampshire in October 1984. Lyle Nelson was one of the main instructors. He had just competed in Sarajevo in the 1984 Olympic for the US Biathlon Team. He was a West Point graduate who held the obstacle course speed record there. Later, he carried the US flag in the opening ceremonies in 1988 in Calgary, his 4th Olympic games. So, when a guy like that told me I had some potential at that clinic, I got really excited that I could make something of myself.

I went out and blew my entire life savings (around $1800, if memory serves) on an Anschutz biathlon rifle. We got it from the dealer the night before my first race and assembled it with my dad. I came in 5th out of 30 guys in my first race in January 1985, beating the whole NH National Guard team. I was hooked. I raced the rest of the winter and did pretty well.

The following year, I was getting screamed at during my freshman year at the US Air Force Academy. My budding biathlon career was “overcome by events.”

You’ve gone on to compete in biathlon during your time with the U.S. Air Force and the Minnesota National Guard.  For those not familiar with how biathlon competitions are organized, can you tell us who you were competing against and about some of the venues?

I raced on my own time when I was in the active duty Air Force. I’m not sure Uncle Sam would want to claim my race results. My first assignment after pilot training was at Eielson AFB in Alaska. When I wasn’t learning how to be a wingman in the F-16, I was out skiing. There was a biathlon range at the Birch Hill ski trails in Fairbanks. I raced there a few times in 1994. I came in third in the Alaska State Biathlon Championships that year. Because there were only three guys in my category. I let the Biathlon Club in Fairbanks have my rifle for a couple of years when I got sent to Korea. They loaned the rifle to novice biathletes so they could get into the sport.

Fast forward to 2009. I was in the Air National Guard in Duluth, Minnesota. One of my buddies, Eric Nordgren, suggested that I join the state team and go to the Guard Championships at Camp Ethan Allen in Jericho, Vermont. (Eric’s brother Leif is currently on the US Biathlon Team.) I was the 42-year old commander of the 179th Fighter Squadron in Duluth. I wasn’t busy at all (snort). Sure, why not? Unlike, the Alaska races where I was racing with civilians, these were purely National Guard events. The Army National Guard is pretty much the torch-bearer for the sport. The military and biathlon are closely intertwined. The teams were made up of National Guard members from all around the country. Everybody from brand new biathletes to Olympic team members and people who were part of the military’s World Class Athlete Program. A pretty wide spectrum, but all members of the National Guard. I always wanted to ski at Camp Ethan Allen, so for me, to ski on those trails was pretty awesome. It’s a world-class venue, built all around biathlon.

The following year, in 2010, I competed in the Central Regional Guard races. They were held at Camp Ripley, near Brainerd, Minnesota. Another world-class facility designed just for biathlon. Due to conflicts with my pesky Guard job, I didn’t get to go to the national championships that year.

I did some open citizen races that year at our local ski trails called Snowflake. There’s a biathlon range there and a man named John Gould recruited me to help coach some of the biathlon club kids. After a couple of winters of barely seeing my own skiing kids, I finally put the rifle back in the attic.

The good news is that Olympic biathlete Kara Salmela helps coach my daughter here in Duluth in a local cross-country ski program called Nordic North Stars. Biathlon’s a pretty small world. I was only barely involved, but I loved the challenge. I still follow the sport. I’ve taken both my kids out to shoot at the range, but they didn’t catch the fever. They both race straight cross-country skiing, so I’m still overjoyed.

Apparently, I dip my toe in the biathlon waters about every ten years or so, so maybe I’ll break out the rifle again here in a few years.

As a writer you have an impressive resume that includes both fiction and nonfiction pieces.  In addition to what you’ve published on your own, your works have been featured in literary journals, magazines, anthologies.  Do you prefer one style or platform over the others? 

I started out writing non-fiction pieces for magazines. Almost always about family adventures in the outdoors. Stories about XC skiing, running, hiking, and paddling. Stuff like that. About ten years ago, I wrote a few pieces about the military for the local newspaper. My first money for an article came from Silent Sports magazine, based in Wisconsin. For the last ten years or so, I’ve been writing regularly for a publication called Northern Wilds in Grand Marais, Minnesota. I compiled several of my articles into an e-book called Outside Duluth.

About five years ago, I took a workshop from a local writer named Felicia Schneiderhan on how to develop as a fiction writer. I’ve written several short stories. I even self-published an e-book called Down In It. It’s a stretch to call it a book. It’s either a novella or a really long short story. Anyway, it was difficult. I have a new respect for people who write whole novels. I can only seem to find enough energy for short stories in the fiction world.

About three years ago, I started writing poetry. I’ve had a fair amount of success getting them published especially the military oriented ones. I view poetry as a type of nonfiction. When there’s a small scene or object or dialogue that’s interesting, I’ll write a poem about it. Some of these small topics are like mental photographs and poetry seems to be better for things like that. I don’t invent anything in poetry. I try to make sense of small pieces of the real world with poetry.

So, in short, I like nonfiction. Fiction is hard. You have to invent every last thing in fiction, and I’m pretty lazy.

You created something for yourself called the Wave One Project.  Tell us about this “mighty quest”.

There’s a race 90-miles from Duluth called the American Birkebeiner. It’s a 31-mile ski marathon from Cable to Hayward, Wisconsin. It’s inspired by the real Birkebeiner race in Norway that celebrates the origin story of the country of Norway. Two warriors called Birkebeiners (“birchleggers” for the birch bark protection on their legs) protected the infant crown prince from enemies determined to kill him. They skied and carried him across a mountain passage in a blizzard to save him.

Anyway, that’s more than you wanted to know. I’ve skied this race (North America’s biggest cross-country ski race) 13 times since 2001. Over 5000 skiers compete in the 50k ski marathon. They start in seven giant waves of around 800 skiers each. Your placement in the waves is based on your result in the previous year’s race. Last year, I skied a good one, so I moved up into Wave 2, based on the chart at the race website.

Since this is my 50th year on the planet (I turn 50 in June) I figured I’d crank things up a notch. I want to ski well enough to earn my way into Wave One. Hence, The Wave One Project. I’ll have delusions of grandeur and try to become more fit. It’s just a way to have fun with my ski training. You run out of ideas to motivate yourself after several decades of skiing and running. I hired a coach to build me a training plan. I’m blogging about my training experiences in the lead up to the race. I must be serious.

What advice do you have for anyone interested in learning biathlon?

Live near a biathlon range. That’s not a joke. Like a lot of winter sports, the facility/venue drives the event. You need a place where you can ski and shoot. Many clubs near biathlon ranges have events where they invite novices to try out the sport. Look up your local club and find an event for newbies on the calendar. A clinic for new biathletes was how I got the bug.

If you get into the sport seriously, you have to think of it as a single discipline. It’s much more than a skier who shoots. (Or even less likely, a shooter who learns to ski) You have to think of it as one discipline. An incredibly challenging discipline at that. Good luck!

J.J. Hensley is the author of RESOLVE, a Thriller Award finalist which is set against the backdrop of the Pittsburgh Marathon, Measure Twice, Chalk’s Outline, and other works. Hensley is a former police officer and former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service.

Former Pittsburgh narcotics detective Trevor Galloway has been hired to look into the year-old homicide of a prominent businessman who was gunned down on his estate in Central Pennsylvania. When Galloway arrives, he determines the murder could have only been committed by someone extremely skilled in two areas: Skiing and shooting. He believes the assailant should not be too difficult to identify given the great amount of skill and athleticism needed to pull off the attack. When he discovers the victim’s property is next door to a biathlon training camp, the situation becomes significantly more complicated.

Galloway makes plenty of enemies as he sifts through stories about lucrative land deals, possible drug connections, and uncovers evidence suggesting the homicide may have been elaborate suicide. As he attempts to navigate through an unfamiliar rural landscape, he does his best not to succumb to an old drug addiction, or become confused by one of his occasional hallucinations. Oh, and a Pittsburgh drug gang enforcer known as The Lithuanian—if he’s even real—is tracking Galloway and wants to take his eyes. Galloway would rather keep those.

In Bolt Action Remedy, the typically quiet streets of Washaway Township, Pennsylvania become the epicenter of a mystery involving elite athletes and old grudges. For Galloway, the problems keep piling up and somebody out there believes problems should be dealt with by employing the most permanent of remedies.

AVAILABLE NOW!

image1Cyprus Keller wants a future.
Jackson Channing has a past.
Robert Chalk has a rifle and a mission.  Kill Cyprus Keller and anyone who gets in his way.

 

An addict is killing Pittsburgh city officials, but Homicide Detective Jackson Channing has his own addiction.

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Also:

In the Pittsburgh Marathon, more than 18,000 people will participate. 4,500 people will attempt to cover the full 26.2 miles. Over 200 of the participants will quit, realizing it just wasn’t their day. More than 100 will get injured and require medical treatment. One man is going to be murdered.  When Dr. Cyprus Keller lines up to start the race, he knows a man is going to die for one simple reason. He’s going to kill him.

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Finalist – 2014 International Thriller Writers Awards – Best First Novel
Named one of the BEST BOOKS of 2013 by Suspense Magazine!
Top Ten Books of the Year – Authors on the Air

 And look for my short story FOUR DAYS FOREVER in the LEGACY anthology