So, I haven’t written a blog post for a while. For once, I have valid reasons for my absence from the blogging world. First, I’ve been working hard on completing the final edits for my upcoming novel Forgiveness Dies, the third book in the Trevor Galloway series, and now it is set for release in October 2019. Second, I’m busy writing the next book in that series. Additionally, I have some short stories coming out in a couple anthologies, but those will be announced later. The third reason I haven’t posted lately is I didn’t have much else to post about and reading about a writer writing is about as fun as reading about a plumber… plumb (That doesn’t sound right). Anyway, I’m going to discuss something vitally important that I know you all have been wondering about for a while now. It’s the question you’ve all had on the tip of your tongue. What will be J.J.’s next tattoo?
So, yeah. If you didn’t know, I have a few tattoos. And I’ve been planning on getting another one, probably a turntable (because of my novel Record Scratch). However, something happened over the past year that changed my thinking. My young daughter became interested in owls. Actually, interested isn’t the right word. Obsessed is more like it. The kid absolutely loves owls. So, we ended up buying owl books, reading all sorts of online articles about owls, and visiting places where we could see owls. One such place was the Center for Wildlife Education in Statesboro, GA. I’d read there was an aerial show and, not wanting to drive an hour to have my daughter disappointed, I emailed a gentleman named Scott Courdin to make sure owls would be present. Scott assured me there would be and even made sure owls would play a prominent role in the show. (For his generosity, Scott’s name is now being used for a character in a story to be included in an anthology that will be published in 2020. He might even live. We’ll see.) We got more than we bargained for with the owls, as our encounters were… close (see video below).
Thanks to my daughter, I’ve now studied up on owls as well. Before studying up on the creatures, I knew owls were… birds. That’s pretty much it. Of course, I understood they also symbolized knowledge and probably mystery. However, they are so much more. First off, they are bad ass predators. And some types are huge. The Eurasian Eagle Owl (below) has a seven-foot wing span. Think about that. The lady ducking certainly noticed.
Owls seem to hear and see everything and are masters at camouflage. If you don’t believe me, just do an internet search of the terms “owl camouflage”. Of course, now I notice that I’m hearing owls every morning when I leave the house. However, I never see them because they don’t want to be seen. But they watch you. Oh, they watch you.
As my daughter and I learned more about the various types of owls, I became more interested in the history of the symbolism in various cultures. The owl has been tied to the Greek goddess Athena and appears on coins from ancient Greece.
Owl paintings have been found in ancient grottoes in France, dating back to over 20,000 years ago – indicating the creature was held in high regard or had religious meaning. The owl is found in Egyptian hieroglyphics, in African art, in artifacts found on various islands, and all from time periods spanning tens of thousands of years. For some cultures the owl has symbolized knowledge, wisdom, or watchfulness. For others, danger or death. Whether found on Alaskan carvings created by anonymous craftsmen, or in the works of Michelangelo and Picasso, the symbol of the owl has always had great historical, religious, and cultural significance.
And they can be super cute.
So, I’m guessing my next tattoo will include an owl. At the time of this writing, I’m a few hours away from a consultation with a tattoo artist in the Savannah area. If I do get an owl image of some type, I’ll be doing what thousands of people, speaking countless languages, living all over the world, have done. I’ll be paying tribute to one of the greatest raptors in the world by bearing a symbol with deep meaning. At a time when we seem divided as a people, I kind of like the idea of having a reminder that we all have much in common and that history is bigger than all of us.
Besides, I looked up those Greek coins on eBay and those suckers are expensive!
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, Bolt Action Remedy, Record Scratch, and other works. Hensley is a former police officer and former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service.
“There are two types of men you must fear in this world: Men who have everything to lose—and men like me.”
It’s a case Trevor Galloway doesn’t want. It’s certainly a case he doesn’t need. The client—the sister of a murdered musician—seems a bit off. She expects Galloway to not only solve her brother’s homicide, but recover a vinyl record she believes could ruin his reputation. Galloway knows he should walk away. He should simply reach over the desk, give back the envelope of cash that he admittedly needs, and walk away. However, when the client closes the meeting by putting a gun under her chin and pulling the trigger, his sense of obligation drags him down a path he may not be ready to travel.
A story divided into twelve songs from Jimmy Spartan’s final album.
Praise for RECORD SCRATCH:
“Record Scratch shocks you out of your ordinary groove. Sometimes witty, other times haunting, but when the needle jumps the track, the body count screams.” —Marc E. Fitch, author of Paradise Burns and Dirty Water
“In Record Scratch, Hensley, a former secret service agent, gifts us with a bounty of goods: a solid mystery, a damaged but relatable main character—one you root for, and swift plotting that weaves a compelling, compulsive tale of music and death and the demons carried by those in law enforcement. Bring me more Trevor!” —Shannon Kirk, international bestselling author of Method 15/33
“J.J. Hensley’s Record Scratch is a tersely written and tightly plotted gem, featuring one of the most unique protagonists around, Trevor Galloway, a man who has a way of getting himself into and out of trouble at an alarming rate. The book is action-packed with a dash of mordant wit, and I can’t wait to read more in this intense, engaging series.” —David Bell, USA Today bestselling author of Somebody’s Daughter
“J.J. Hensley’s tale of a stoic PI investigating the murder of a has-been rock star is equal parts classic whodunnit and gritty noir, peppered with high-octane action scenes that will leave you breathless. Record Scratch is like a throat punch: powerful, shocking, and unapologetic, but the surprising poignant ending will stay with you a long after you’ve finished the book. This is a thriller that crackles from the first page to the last.” —Jennifer Hillier, author of Jar of Hearts
BOLT ACTION REMEDY
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.
An addict is killing Pittsburgh city officials, but Homicide Detective Jackson Channing has his own addiction.
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.
And look for my short story FOUR DAYS FOREVER in the LEGACY anthology