Tag Archives: author

Interview with Biathlete and Olympic Hopeful Clare Egan

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.

Clare Egan in on the U.S. Biathlon team and is striving to compete in the 2018 Winter Games.  She can ski, shoot, and is undoubtedly tougher than 99% of us.  Her website is https://clareegan.wordpress.com/

 

Tell us a little bit about where you are in your career.  You have the 2018 Winter Olympics in your sights, correct?  You were a great athlete coming out of high school and seemed to develop a focus on cross-country skiing in 2011.  At what point did a rifle get added to the mix and why the change to biathlon?
I am relatively young in biathlon years, having learned to shoot for the first time in 2013 and started training in earnest for biathlon in 2014. But I already had a decade of cross-country experience behind me, including 3 years of post-collegiate, full-time, professional racing. I knew I could ski fast enough to be a successful biathlete, so when US Biathlon Coach Algis Shalna offered to teach me to shoot, I said yes right away. He’s a Lithuanian-born Olympic Gold medalist (USSR Biathlon Relay) who was the US National team head coach for many years before “retiring” to a smaller role as a regional development coach and recruiter. Now, at 29 years old, I’m in my peak physical shape and the 2018 Olympics are likely to be my only shot.
In preparation for this interview, I was reading your blog in hopes of finding some common ground to discuss.  I found… well, nearly nothing.  I’d almost given up on that approach until I saw some photos on your page.  So…  HOW COOL IS BLED, SLOVENIA???!!!  I had the pleasure of going there when I was working for the Secret Service and I think it may be the most beautiful place I’ve ever visited.
Bled is one of my favorite stops on the World Cup circuit. We are currently in Antholz, Italy, which is also right up there. The entire region of South Tyrol is really special.
I’m a runner.  During a distance race, I’m lucky if I can grab a cup of water and actually hit my mouth.  Biathletes are skiing and pausing to shoot with incredible accuracy.  How much of this ability is mental and how much is physical?
I was a runner before I was a skier and I continued to run competitively throughout college. Cross-country ski racing and distance running are very similar sports both mentally and physically. Shooting, on the other hand, is unlike anything I had ever done before. It is much more akin to kicking a field goal. You must develop the skill and then repeat it over and over again thousands of times so that under pressure you can repeat the same process, no matter what.
There are physical abilities that take time to master. For me, the prone position came rather easily, though not naturally– it is counter-intuitive so I owe it to my excellent coach. Why counter-intuitive? Lesson number one: Do not try to hit the target. You can’t rely on your muscles to hold perfectly still, especially in the middle of a race. So you have to align your body in such a way that when everything is relaxed you are on the target. This is called your natural point of aim. If your natural point of aim is on the bulls-eye and you do a proper trigger squeeze, then you will hit every time. The same concept applies to the standing position. For me, standing has always been a greater challenge. My “hold” simply is not that stable. Algis said, “How do you think you get better at standing with a rifle? By standing with a rifle!” I do a lot of standing with my rifle pointing at the wall.
Other than those physical abilities, there is an enormous mental aspect. Just consider one the body’s most common natural reactions to nervousness – shaking. You can’t shake and hit! Nor can you get distracted and hit. The target is too small for that. So staying calm and focused is paramount. I am in awe any time I see the race leader arrive on point 1 for his/her final stage, with “everything to lose”, and somehow they maintain their cool and hit 5 for 5. Having the right attitude makes all the difference. “I have everything to lose” does not work, because it puts you on the defensive, and can give rise to distraction and nervousness (shaking!). You have to see each shot as an opportunity rather than a penalty. The only way to hit is 100% focus on the process. There’s nothing like this in running, that’s for sure! We have an excellent sports psychologist from the US Olympic Committee.
 
As most biathlons are outside the U.S., your travel schedule must be challenging.  Any travel nightmares you’ve encountered on the way to or from competition?
Yes. Too many to name. Most recently, trying to return to Europe after Christmas break, my teammate and I were not allowed to fly because we had our firearms. OF COURSE we travel with our firearms all the time (they are checked in locked cases), and we had done all the necessary paper work. But the airline employees had no idea what they were doing and simply would not allow us to check in. We had to fly a different day on a different airline.
Another challenge which often goes overlooked is our racing schedule. Our season requires us to live in hotels, mostly in Europe, from November through the end of March. Imagine you and a handful of your coworkers sleeping, eating, and working together every day for 5 months………..
 
Also related to travel:  How do you kill time while sitting on planes or waiting around airports?  Are you a big reader?  If so, what kinds of books do you typically read?
I am not a big reader. Though I do read a lot of news every day. I enjoy staying up on worldwide current events. I am a big language-learner and I am currently working on Korean. I speak Spanish, Italian, French, German, and a little Bulgarian and Korean. I also enjoy playing music and singing duets.
 
What are your short and long-term biathlon goals?
To go to the Olympics and win the US’ first biathlon medal (we have a good shot in the mixed relay!)

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

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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

Why Does the Secret Service Use Code Names?

Most people are aware that individuals being protected by the U.S. Secret Service are given code names.  This fact is not secret and all it takes is a quick search of the Internet to read a list of code names used by those the agency has protected (protectees).  Recently, a friend asked me why the code names are used if everybody seems to know about them.  The reasons are simple.  Code names were first used before radio communications could be encrypted and during an era when members of the media were less likely to have access to, and subsequently report, such information.  Today, journalists have a great amount of access to political events and will often be standing within earshot of agents who out of necessity are communicating via radio or cell phone.  It does not take a genius to figure out a protectee’s code name when an agent keys up a radio microphones and says the words, “Evergreen is moving to the motorcade” and then Hillary Clinton jumps into a limo.  So, why continue with the use of code names?

Secret Service code names are more than just a tradition

Secret Service code names are more than just a tradition

Tradition is one reason, although not a compelling one by itself.  The more logical reasons involve the need to keep communications clear and concise.  While we tend to think of our own leaders as the focal point of any political event, the fact is the world has many Presidents, Vice Presidents, First Ladies, Secretaries, etc.  There are often events in which world leaders gather and each has his or her own security detail, staff, and motorcade.  Therefore, if a U.S. Secret Service agent working one of these events were to say, “The President is moving to the dining hall” it may not be clear which nation’s President, or perhaps which former President, is in motion.

Now one may think it would be simpler to just say the last name of the protectee, but that’s not the case.  If one says, President Bush, this could be one of two individuals and they both could be attending the same event.  It is also possible a similar situation could occur if Hillary Clinton were to win the general election and become President.  Additionally, the U.S. Secret Service protects visiting Heads-of-State and some last names may be lengthy or difficult to pronounce.  Thus a simple word representing a protectee makes communications simpler for everyone involved.

The White House Communications Agency assigns the code names, but the major protectees get some say in the matter.  Generally, the protectee is asked to choose a code name from a list of unambiguous words that start with a particular letter.  In the case of the President and Vice President, each family member will get a code name that begins with the same letter.  For instance, Ronald Reagan was Rawhide.  Nancy Reagan used the code name Rainbow.  Ron Reagan was Reliant.

Sometimes protectees will choose a code name they feel represents a certain persona.  Rawhide matched up with the image Ronald Reagan wished to convey.  Deacon is certainly appropriate for Jimmy Carter.  While the ultimate purpose of the code name is not affected by the name itself, I have always thought some code names were better than others.  So, it made me think we should have a poll that ranks some of my favorites.  Here you will find a few code names that I always liked.  Put aside any political feelings you may have and let’s see which code name you think is the best!

J.J. Hensley is the author of RESOLVE, 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

When a Joke is No Laughing Matter to the Secret Service

The story popped up in my news feed sometime last week:  Secret Service shows up at Columbus man’s door after social media comment

It was the type of headline I had read too many times.  As a former Secret Service agent, and one who has worked a lot of threat cases, I recognized it as the type of investigation I had dealt with repeatedly.  In this particular instance, a man had read a social media post regarding a political event involving Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton and posted the comment, “Where do we send the bomb.”  Predictably, somebody notified the Secret Service and Special Agents paid him a visit.  Just as predictably, the man claimed the comment was meant to be a joke.

Against my better judgment, I weeded through the readers’ comments attached to the post regarding the incident.  Some of the comments on the Facebook link I pulled up were:

“He was joking.  This country needs to lighten up a little.”

“Wow… this is getting out of control. Our government would just love to control social media.”

“Quite the overreaction.  But then again, it is the PC world.”

And on and on and on…

image

Of course there are always comments addressing an individual’s rights regarding freedom of speech, but that is another topic altogether and too complex to address in this post.

I am going to try to explain why “joking” threats are no joke at all.  I say “try”, because I cannot and will not reveal exactly how the Secret Service investigates threat cases.  Not only did I sign a nondisclosure agreement a long time ago, but it would be irresponsible to reveal more than what can be found through online open source resources (publicly available).  So, I am going to make an attempt at explaining why threats that are meant to be facetious are dangerous and damaging.

Using the recent Columbus, Ohio incident as an example, the man who made the “joke” stated that the agents who appeared at his home already knew a great deal about him.  Of course until the Secret Service interviews someone who makes a threatening comment there is no way to know if the threat has the potential to be real.

The individual making the threat will have to be interviewed and it is always helpful to know the background of the person you are interviewing.  So one may conclude that these agents, who could be spending their time pursuing legitimate threat cases or working various criminal investigations, have already had to spend time preparing to interview the suspect by gathering background information to include any criminal history, previous threats made, affiliations with terrorist groups, etc.  After all, you would not want to be interviewing a suspect without knowing he has a history of reacting violently to law enforcement or is wanted for murder in three states.  Information can be helpful!  With the prep time, drive time, and interviewing time, and report writing time, we are already talking about HOURS spent on this “joke” which is now a Protective Intelligence case.

But, we are not done.

According to this guide for handling threat cases, threat cases involve:

  • Identification
  • Assessment
  • Classification

Simple right?

Not quite.

Just A Few Hours?

Although hours have already been spent on the person who has been identified as having made a threatening comment, this is just the beginning of a threat case.  Now, the individual will have to be assessed.  This could include more electronic checks, calls to other agencies, visits to psychiatrists, interviews with neighbors, family members, and coworkers, and much more.  Some of these checks may be out of the state, or even out of the country, and many will have to be conducted in person.  Suddenly, multiple agents in various locations are being dedicated to this “joke”.   Real funny.

But, we are not done.

A Few Weeks?

The results of all of these checks and interviews will have to be collected by an agency’s central Intelligence entity or Threat Assessment center.  At which point, MORE agents are going to have to pick through the findings, weigh all of the factors, determine the legitimacy of the threat, and classify the case in a manner that will determine what future level of scrutiny it may receive.  Yes.  I said FUTURE.

Because… we are not done.

Months?  Years?

If at any point it is determined that an individual who made a threat will be prosecuted, then an entire chain of events occurs involving the judicial system.  That chain of events will have to be tracked and monitored.

If at any point it is determined that an individual who made a threat needs to be committed for psychiatric evaluation, then an entire of events occurs involving the mental health system.  That chain of events will have to be tracked and monitored.

If it is determined that an individual COULD be a threat, a significant amount of follow-up and monitoring will be conducted.

Even if it is determined that an individual is likely NOT a threat, the follow-up work may be minimal, but look at what has been done already.

Every single threat needs to be investigated.  Every single one.  Aside from the possibility that every threat communicated makes a violent act seem more feasible to those with disturbed minds or evil intent, a simple social media comment intended to be interpreted as a joke can cause an investigative agency to dedicate an incredible amount of resources throughout the world.  This is why making a threat toward an individual protected by the Secret Service is ALWAYS a big deal.  It is not about having a sense of humor (I have one.  I swear!).  It is about respecting the fact that our protectors have enough rough waters to navigate without any more people making waves.

J.J. Hensley is the author of RESOLVE, 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.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Five Reasons Books Make the Best Gifts

It’s the holiday season and you are completely out of gift ideas for your friends, family, and coworkers.  You’ve run the gamut when it comes to purchasing clever presents and how you are staring down at a list of possibilities that includes a Shake Weight and PajamaJeans.  Then, it strikes you.  What about books??  But, are books really the answer to your infomercial infected prayers?  Yes.  Yes they are.  And here is why.

Books are versatile.  Both hardcover and paperback versions of this ancient form of storytelling can serve as paperweights, coasters, doorstops, and leveling devices you can stick under table legs to balance things out.  Not to mention, if you aren’t hypnotized by what’s going on with The Walking Dead, you can even read these spectacular inventions.

Devour the works of your favorite authors

Devour the works of your favorite authors

Books can be signed by the author.  Let’s face it – the odds of you getting Suzanne Somers to sign the Thighmaster you got from Aunt Helen in 1987 were never that good.  But, the chances of being able to get a signed copy of a book are significantly better.  Most authors are willing to make arrangements to sign copies of their works and may even have instructions on how to go about it on their websites.  Or better yet, look to see if the writer is having a live event near your home and go get your book signed.  But, don’t show up a the author’s house to make that request.  It’s creepy and your next gift will likely contain a bit of text limiting you to 500 yards of various locations.

Books can be shared.  While you may be hesitant to share your new sweater, iPad, or Special Edition DVD collection of Airwolf episodes, books are meant to be shared and discussed.  Of course this depends on the book.  You may not feel entirely comfortable lending your copy of Fifty Shades of Grey to your teenage sister.

The meaning of a book changes over time.  Have you ever re-read a book after not having read it for twenty years?  I’ll bet the book had a different impact on you when you were twenty then it did when you turned forty.  Maybe you thought Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was profound the first time you read it, but a jumble of thoughts the next.  Or perhaps you struggled with Crime and Punishment in college, but marveled at it later in life. That’s the beauty of the written word.  The individual letters in the words may not change, but the context alters the readers interpretation of the text.  Therefore, books become gifts that adapt to your life.

Books endure.  Do you still have that sweater, Thighmaster, blanket, or Betamax player (look that one up if you don’t remember)?

It's hard to get autographs on sweaters. True story.

It’s hard to get autographs on sweaters. True story.

No, you probably don’t.  That’s because people don’t make Thighmaster shelves or devote entire buildings to storing old video cassette players.  But, we have bookshelves and libraries because we have always needed books.  When you give someone a book, you aren’t giving them sheets of paper wedged inside a book jacket.  When you give someone a book, you give them a piece of the collection of all human knowledge.  You are giving that person a small piece of eternity.  That is the gift that keeps on giving.

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.

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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.

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

 

 

COVER REVEAL – Chalk’s Outline by J.J. Hensley

My third novel, Chalk’s Outline is scheduled for release in February 2016 through Bad Day Books, an imprint of Assent Publishing.  I’ve teamed up with the awesome book bloggers The Book Wheel and Running ‘N’ Reading for this cover reveal/interview/giveaway event.  Check this out!

Sincerely,
J.J. Hensley

Cover reveal: http://www.thebookwheelblog.com/j-j-hensley-new-book-and-interview/

Win a copy of Measure Twice:  http://www.runningnreading.com/?p=6221

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Preschool Steroids, Gymnastics Tailgating, and Novel Writing

I don’t want my daughter to take gymnastics lessons.

You see, if she takes lessons then she may want to participate in competitions.

If she participates in competitions, then she will be judged by people who cannot help but allow some measure of subjectivity to influence the score she receives.  Therefore, the end result will always seem somewhat ambiguous and possibly biased.

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So, I also don’t want my daughter to compete in diving, ski jumping, and figure skating.  Of course this also means certain kinds of snowboarding, bike riding, and dancing are off the table.  Pretty much anything that involves “style points” just has to go.

I want my little girl to grow up in a world where if your team scores more points than the other, you win.  If your time is faster than the competition, you win.  If your opponent lifts more weight than you do, she wins and she did it honestly.  Unless she’s on steroids or HGH, which has yet to have been a problem identified in her preschool class.  Or so we think.

After all, isn’t the world supposed to function in a manner where quantitative measures define winning vs. losing and improvement vs. set backs?  We evaluate companies based on stock prices, employee performance based on statistics, and organizations based on memberships levels.

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Except when we don’t.

How can I not let my daughter to partake in activities based on subjective judgments while I navigate the realm of writing fiction?  What could possibly be less objective than the process of getting books published, having readers assign values to your words, and then watching helplessly as your work is discussed – and yes, judged – by those you have never met?

The hard truth about writing is that there are some very well-known bestsellers that aren’t really any better than some manuscripts that never get published.  The only difference is that at some point a judge in a publishing company decided one book “stuck the landing” while another had a technical flaw.  If you ask another judge about the same two books, the answer will often be the opposite.

The big secrets to success in the writing industry are:  1. Having some ability to write.  2.  Possessing a knowledge of the business.  3.  Getting lucky.  4.  Remembering that #3, trumps all other aspects.  The entire enterprise is extremely odd.  There is a ton of subjectivity involved and, while hard work helps, it does not guarantee an author will achieve any predetermined level of success.

Of course, now that I think about it, in the business world our performance could be evaluated unfairly by a supervisor.  Even if one uses statistics to assess your performance, who is to say the right stats are used?  And in our personal lives, we are constantly judged by some subjective measure.  The chances are you didn’t marry your husband simply because he rated high on a battery of tests and his Myers-Briggs personality type was found to be compatible with your own.  Not to mention, we often remind our kids that life isn’t fair and there is a reason that adage has been passed down for generations.  It’s because… life isn’t fair.

Someday, my child will get passed over for a promotion she earned.

Someday, my child will get screamed at and heckled for simply doing her job.

Someday, my child will own a broken heart because some guy made a subjective judgment.
(May I use this moment to remind any future potential suitors of her daddy’s training and background)

She will be judged, just as all of us get judged.  I suppose she may as well get used to the feeling.

Damn.  Do people tailgate for gymnastics?

I’d love to read your opinion on the topic.  Comment below!

J.J. Hensley is the author of RESOLVE, which is set against the backdrop of the Pittsburgh Marathon, Measure Twice, 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

AVAILABLE NOW!

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

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

Legacy cover