Category Archives: Blog

The Writer’s Fitness Program

Writing can be a sedentary endeavor. Hours upon hours are spent at a keyboard, churning out tens of thousands of words you hope someone other than yourself may read in the future. You can get lost in the work as your mind descends deeper and deeper into a story and your body sinks deeper and deeper into a desk chair.

Oscar Wild did not follow this plan. Now he’s dead. Do the math.

The task of writing a book may take months or even years and if you aren’t careful, your physical conditioning will suffer and you will not be prepared for what’s to come. So, I present to you the Writer’s Fitness Program.

 

When in the early stages of piecing together a manuscript, it is easy to get tunnel vision. You cannot see much else other than what is directly in front of you and little attention is paid to what will come at you in the future. The following exercises will undoubtedly* keep you from getting injured and prepare you for the trials laid before you.

(*I actually have no idea. “Undoubtedly” just sounded good in my head.)

First off – Curls

Writers like to drink. Now before you jump to any conclusions, many authors don’t drink alcohol. I mean, I don’t actually know any of those people, but I’m sure they exist. Regardless, they don’t always drink alcohol when they write (probably). During the course of writing a book, authors will continuously sip away from their mug, glass, goblet, or chalice (possibly depending on the genre) and the sipping will be done mindlessly. Before you know it, your arms are tired from all the typing and sipping and do you know why? DO YOU?

You are suffering because you didn’t train, so don’t make this mistake. Go find yourself some dumbbells and crank out some curls. The amount of weight and number of repetitions will depend on both your current fitness level and the amount you anticipate drinking during the writing of your book.

For instance, if you are writing a nonfiction account of a WWII battle, then you can probably get by with doing two sets of 15 repetitions using 10 lb weights. If you are writing crime fiction ;and not setting the book in New York City or using the word “Girl” in the title, plan on buying really heavy weights and try not to break any toes when they slip out of your character-killing hands.

Make sure your beverage can make it to your mouth.

Next up – Rows

Writers are usually their own worst critics. I say “usually” because there’s always that one guy who leaves a 1-star Amazon review because on page 52 of your last novel you called a gun a “pistol” instead of a “sidearm” and the guy thought “sidearm” would have sounded much more official. Anyway… throughout both the writing and editing processes, you will certainly throw your arms up in disbelief more times than you can count. Imagine your embarrassment when you pull a muscle while propelling your arms to the sky when you realize you named one of the characters after your favorite cousin and now you realize you have to kill him off. The character, not the cousin. Don’t kill your cousin.

Knock out a few rows and firm up those shoulders and back. This exercise has the added benefit of toughening up your abs, which will come in handy when you see your cousin at the next family reunion and he punches you in the gut for having his namesake pushed in front of a locomotive.

Don’t injure yourself with shrugs of frustration.

Also – Deadlift

Some writers, don’t ask me why, like to print out and keep their rejection letters in a box. While I’ve never done this, I’m certainly accumulated my share of rejections from literary agents and publishers. I’m fairly sure if I were to print them out and place them in a storage container, I would need to borrow a forklift if I were to ever want to move them. However for those more fortunate, perhaps the box is lighter. My incorporating deadlifts into your workout, you can ensure you don’t add injury to the insults.

Rejection hurts. But, it doesn’t have to HURT.

Finally – Punching

Nothing eliminates frustration like the act of hitting something repeatedly. I know several writers who practice martial arts or box. However if you prefer to hit and not get hit (not an unwise practice), then go beat on a heavy bag. It’s good cardiovascular exercise, a stress reliever, and you almost always win the fight. If you don’t win, don’t tell anyone. The act of punching may also help you with your manuscript as it serves as a reminder that most people cannot knock out another person with one punch. It’s not that simple, yet it still shows up in novels and on television. It just doesn’t happen that often and I don’t know why people keep writing it into stories. KNOCKING A PERSON UNCONSCIOUS IS A HARD THING TO…

Great. Now I’m frustrated and I need to go punch something.

Or do some curls.

Where is my chalice?

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

 

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Going from Steel to Sand – Moving from Pittsburgh

A vast majority of writers have careers that do not involve writing. I’m no different. I’ve been employed by the Federal government for over seventeen years and I have several more years of service ahead of me. Recently, I was offered the opportunity to work for an agency located at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center which is located on the Georgia coast and, after discussing the matter with my family, decided to make the move.

So, the launch of my novel Bolt Action Remedy at Mystery Lovers Bookshop in Oakmont, PA on 10/7 will be my last Pittsburgh-area event for the foreseeable future. This area and its people have inspired my writing and given me more support than I could have ever anticipated. I will always treasure the friendships I’ve made here and the spirit of western Pennsylvania will go with me as I head south. Several people have asked if I will keep setting my books in Pittsburgh. I know my next couple will be set there and then we will have to see. I have a hunch Pittsburgh will find its way into most of my future works. I feel like I should write something else here, but I’m not good with goodbyes. So, we’ll just call this a Prologue to a new adventure. Check back to find out what is included in the future chapters.

Thank you all.

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

 

Blog Tour: Bolt Action Remedy by J. J. Hensley @Jjhensleyauthor

Shot 1 of the Five Shots Blog Tour. Thanks to Amy at Novelgossip for taking the time to discuss Bolt Action Remedy.

Novelgossip


Goodreads|Amazon|Author Website
Release date: October 2, 2017

Publisher: Down & Out Books

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

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…

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Interview with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

My novel Resolve was chosen as one of the Pittsburgh Summer Reads and the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh interviewed me as part of the event. They asked me five questions and hopefully I gave them at least one decent answer. The Summer Reading program is a fantastic initiative geared toward generating interest in reading, regardless of a person’s age. As part of the program, I’m appearing at the Mt. Washington branch of the Carnegie Library system on 8/24 at 6:30. I’ll say stuff. Again… hopefully at least one thing I say will be decent.

https://www.carnegielibrary.org/5-questions-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 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

 

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.

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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