Category Archives: Blog

The Coolest Sport You Aren’t Watching

I knew after setting my first novel (Resolve) against the backdrop of a marathon that I would someday try to write another novel that in some way involved an endurance sport.  I tinkered around with creating a plot that revolved around a triathlon.  I considered developing a story that revolved around a cycling event.  But, none of these ideas felt right in my mind and were all abandoned with prejudice.  Then, one day it hit me.  If I was going to write a murder mystery involving a strenuous athletic event then why not choose one in which the athletes were highly trained with weapons?  No, not fencing (although that’s not a bad idea).  I’m talking about a sport that is wildly popular in some parts of the word, but not in the United States – which is kind of odd considering our love of guns.  I’m talking about the sport of biathlon.

Now, if you don’t know about biathlon then allow me to explain in the simplest terms.   The competitors, each with a rifle on his/her back, ski cross-country at ridiculous paces before stopping to fire at incredibly small targets.  Generally, missing a target means having to circle a penalty loop (one lap for each target missed).  Of course I’m oversimplifying this amazingly complex sport, but you can learn some of the basics here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biathlon

http://www.dummies.com/sports/olympic-sports/biathlon-in-the-winter-olympics/

The sport is absolutely fascinating and if you have ever tried to fire a weapon when your heart is racing and lungs are burning, then you can certainly appreciate the talent of the competitors.  The specialize rifles used in the competitions are lightweight and crazy-accurate.  And they look cool.

biathlon-photo

Now, I realized the challenges of writing a novel that dealt with biathlon.  First of all, I’m not a biathlete.  In fact, I can’t even ski.  So, I read up on the sport and then sought out some help from Olympic biathlete Curt Shreiner.  Then, I developed a story that wouldn’t require the reader to have any prerequisite knowledge of the sport.  Fortunately, the book was picked up by Down & Out Books and scheduled for publication in the Fall of 2017.

In the coming months, I’ll be posting interviews with several people from the biathlon world including Louise Wood who blogs about biathlon at https://biathlon23.wordpress.com/, Eric Chandler who has competed in biathlon and is a writer, and Clare Egan who is a biathlete currently working toward gaining a spot on the U.S. Olympic team for the 2018 Olympic Games.  Additionally, I’m going to be participating in the Five Shots Blog Tour (because of the five targets biathletes shoot – see what I did there?) which will involve several popular blogs to include The Book Wheel, The Suspense is Killing Me, Biathlon23, Running ‘N’ Reading, and Novelgossip.  All of this will lead up to the release of my book Bolt Action Remedy, which is a real thing… I promise.

So, please be sure to follow this blog and my other social media sites to learn more about this great sport and my upcoming book.  With the Winter Olympics less than a year away, it’s time to start studying!

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 2017!

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

 

Interviewed by S.W. Lauden

I was interviewed (or, as he says “Interrogated”) by author S.W. Lauden on his site.  He asked things.  I said things.  I discuss why I set many of my stories in Pittsburgh and preview what’s to come in 2017 and 2018.

Interrogation—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.

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 2017!

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

“INK” (short story) by J.J. Hensley is on Shotgun Honey

Writing “flash fiction” is a challenge, but I managed to put together a story in 700 words.  It’s called INK and it’s published at Shotgun Honey.  Here is the link:

http://shotgunhoney.com/fiction/ink-by-j-j-hensley/#more-6123

printing-press

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 2017!

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

 

RECORD SCRATCH – Coming in 2018

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ANNOUNCEMENT!

In addition to my novel BOLT ACTION REMEDY (Fall 2017), Down & Out Books has picked up my novel RECORD SCRATCH for 2018. Both books feature former Pittsburgh narcotics detective Trevor Galloway, who has special insights into the criminal mind and scores of enemies. Some of them real. Some… not so much.

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 2017!

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

Should Authors, Artists, and Musicians Be Political?

Like many of you, I’ve been struggling to process the results of the recent election.  The nation is divided, the political opinions polarized, and there is a contentious tone coming from all sides.  Throughout what seemed like an endless 2016 campaign, I took note of several high-profile writers and musicians who boldly conveyed their political views.  I say boldly simply because an author, artist, or musician risks alienating a portion of his or her fan base (and future fans) by opining on political matters.  This risk is tenfold for those of us who are significantly less popular than Stephen King or Beyoncé.  It has been my observation that this risk deterred many creative types from speaking out politically, and I think that is a shame.

I remember going to rock concerts in the late 80s and early 90s and hearing bands rail against various political happenings.  It was done without thought to alienating any fans, but rather to express whatever message the performers thought to be important.  Similarly, it seems writers were more willing to be political and less concerned with the possible blowback from the opinions expressed.  I went to several concerts this year and, for the most part, the bands were silent regarding politics.  As part of the writing community, there were certainly many who were vocal, but I got the sense that many authors were hesitant to discuss political views.  So, what changed?

Social media has changed everything.  Whereas a musician or writer in the 80s or 90s might express a strong political opinion, the reach of that individual’s opinion might be limited to the audience on hand and the viewpoint would have a somewhat limited echo.  Today, if a small press author tells a tiny book club that they believe Candidate X is a bigot, then word of this believe may spread to the Internet and even find its way into online book reviews.

For example, a book called Unloaded was published this year.  The anthology consists of a collection of stories that support gun control and the proceeds of the sales go towards a nonprofit that combats gun violence.  When first released, the book was immediately met with several one star reviews on Amazon although it was clear the reviewers had not read the book.  Rather, the negative responses were simply due to the anti-gun viewpoints in the stories and to the association with the nonprofit.  Occurrences like these can persuade those whose works are in the public eye to hold back politically and remain silent on social issues.  Are those who remain silent correct?  Do writers, artists, and musicians have a responsibility to speak up?

img_1595

I don’ t know.

But, I do know this.  This country has just entered into uncharted territory.  For the first time, the U.S. political and social landscape has been completely reshaped by social media, fake news stories, and policy proposals that defy simple tests of logic – yet have gained traction.  While I certainly understand the discontent that has led us to this point, I do not – and will not – accept racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia.  If that refusal costs me a few readers, then so be it.  History has provided us with a blueprint for times like these.

If those of us with a voice do not speak out now, we may not be able to do so later.

Note:  The next election is not in 2020.  It’s in 2018.  Vote!

 

Feel free to comment below! 

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 2017!

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 Jon McGowan: The Challenges of Media Tie-In Books and Stories

On The Thrill Begins:

Media Tie-In Books & Stories: Knowing is Half the Battle

 

Worst Presidential Election Ever? Well, Maybe Not

The 2016 Presidential election has defied logic.  Throughout the campaign we’ve had stories regarding lost or deleted emails of a sensitive or classified nature.  A fake university.  Questions regarding speaking fees paid by financial companies.  Non-disclosed tax returns.  Scandalous recordings.  The labeling of opposition followers as “deplorable”.  Accusations of sexual assault.  The discovery of shocking audio recordings.  And a blizzard of information (some of it false) spread around regarding positions on the 2nd Amendment, immigration, race, policing, and ties to the Russian government.  So, obviously 2016 has been the worst election ever.  And I almost forgot to mention the accusation of pimping out an American girl to a Russian Czar.

George Washington had it easy by comparison.

George Washington had it easy by comparison.

Wait… what?

Oh, that’s right.  The pimping scandal was in 1828.  The truth of the matter is that Presidential elections in the U.S. have nearly always been sprinkled with deceit, flat-out lies, disparagement, and dirty tricks.  With twenty-four hour news cycles, the rise of biased media outlets, and the proliferation of social media, it may seem like elections are worse than ever.  But, here are some examples that suggest the run for the big office has never been rosy.

1800 – Thomas Jefferson vs. Aaron Burr

It was a tie.  Of all things, it was a tie.  At the time, states could pretty much hold their elections anytime between April and October and then, to drag this one out even more, the resulting tie stretched the campaign out another seven weeks.  A conclusion was finally achieved when Jefferson won through a vote in the House.  The best part was that the 12th Amendment did not yet exist, so Jefferson then had to work with Burr who had automatically become the Vice-President.  That must have been awkward.  Of course, Burr went on to shoot and kill Alexander Hamilton and planned on raising his own army in order to invade Mexico, so if Burr gave Jefferson an occasional cold looks then Thomas still got off fairly easy.  Jefferson did try to get Burr convicted of treason, but Burr was a slippery sucker.

1828 – Andrew Jackson vs. John Quincy Adams

These two were NOT cozy.  Jackson had suffered a controversial defeat to Adams in 1824 and the old soldier had not taken it well.  By the time the rematch occurred four years later, Adams was being accused of pimping out a girl and Jackson’s wife had been publicly labeled as a bigamist since she had married Jackson before her divorce was final.  Rachel Jackson died right after Jackson’s victory in the election and Jackson blamed Adams and the negative publicity for her demise.

1860 – Abraham Lincoln vs. John Breckinridge

For over a decade, the issue of slavery had been polarizing the nation.   Breckinridge’s Southern Democratic party couldn’t even get out of their own convention before 51 Southern Dems walked out.  Lincoln wasn’t even the front-runner at the Republican Convention, but the other candidates managed to piss-off various factions within the party and Lincoln was viewed as a highly articulate moderate (largely due to the debates against Stephen Douglas in 1858).

Not likely said: "Check out her sex tape!"

Not likely said: “Check out her sex tape!”

Of course, Lincoln went on to win the nomination and ultimately the election.  You might say the result was continuous since seven states declared their succession from the Union before Lincoln was even inaugurated.

1876 – Rutherford B. Hayes vs. Samuel J. Tilden

This one came down to 20 contested electoral votes in four different states, including Florida.  Why is it always Florida?  Anyway, a compromise was reached in which the Democratic candidate Tilden (who had polled better than Hayes leading up to the voting) would acquiesce if the Republicans agreed to withdraw Federal troops from the South, ending Reconstruction.  Although this election is rarely discussed these days, consider this:  It was the first time a candidate won more than half the popular vote but lost due to electoral votes.  Also, it resulted in military forces being withdrawn from a huge portion of the U.S.  And this part should make us feel ashamed.  The voter turnout was over 81% of eligible voters.  81%.

 

So, is the Presidential election of 2016 really the worst?  I’m not so sure.  Andrew Jackson didn’t have access to CNN reporters.  Breckinridge had no access to a private jet he could use to zip around the nation and badmouth Lincoln.  And THANK GOODNESS Aaron Burr didn’t have a Twitter account.  Seriously… that dude was crazy.

Has this election been pleasant?  No.  Has it been scary?  You betcha (apologies to Sarah Palin).  Have we hit rock bottom?  It may be a matter of historical perspective.

Remember "hanging chads"? I miss hanging chads. It was a simpler time.

Remember “hanging chads”? I miss hanging chads. It was a simpler time.

Feel free to comment below!  (but bashing of either of the current candidates will probably be deleted)

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 2017!

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