Tag Archives: reading

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

 

Reading, Writing, and Avoiding that First Thing

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

Amazon: 
B&N:
iTunes:
Kobo:

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

AVAILABLE NOW!

 

Cyprus Keller wants a future.

Jackson Channing has a past.

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

 

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

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

Also:

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

resolve-cover art CL (1)

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

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

 

 

I’m Not Running Races and That’s Okay

I love running.  When I first started running, I found I loved the push toward self-improvement, the camaraderie in the distance running community, and the spirit of competition.  I’ve loved all of it.  Part of me still does, but due to countless other obligations, and a few injuries, I haven’t run a race in over a year.  My disappearance from races has taught me something unexpected.  I’ve learned that I still love running, but for different reasons.

020

In 2008, I began training for my first half-marathon and became focused on improving my distance, my time, and my overall conditioning.  However, in 2010 I began thinking about writing a novel and found I was “writing” in my head during my long runs.  This kept up throughout the publication of Resolve and continued as I pieced together several more books and stories.  As this process became a habit, I realized I was running for different reasons than before.  My long runs had become quiet periods of introspection and isolation.  Those miles had become a haven from the stresses of life and allowed my mind to run free, rather than milestones toward any particular goal.  My race times suffered.  My conditioning deteriorated to some extent.  And that was okay with me.

Distance running is special and it means something different to every person who falls into the lifestyle.  We learn a lot about ourselves as we push ourselves down the road.  We learn how much we can endure.  We learn how to deal with setbacks.  We learn how to keep achievements in perspective.  And sometimes we learn our reasons for running have been redefined.  But no matter the reasoning, we churn out the miles and continue to learn more about ourselves with every mile.

 

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.

2014

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

Legacy cover

 

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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5 Reasons Runners Are Great Characters in Fiction

As many of you know, the protagonists in my stories are often distance runners.  This isn’t by accident, but rather because running is a great activity for a fictional character for a few reasons.  Allowing a character to go on a long run can afford him or her the opportunity to think, plan, improve physically, gain perspective, or even get involved in even more trouble.  But,  distance running characters are beneficial for other reasons.  Here are five reasons I like my main characters to be able to go the distance.

1.  THEY HAVE GOALS

Distance runners are notorious goal-setters.  They are constantly trying to get past a certain mile or better their time.  They will push themselves to the brink and then pour it on a little more.  We all like to relate to characters who are looking to improve, or at least achieve a particular goal.  A distance race can be a lot like a great book.  As with running, even if the protagonist in a story comes up short it’s guaranteed something is learned from the journey.

2.  THEY ARE A BIT CRAZY

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Let’s face it – some of the best protagonists in books and film are a bit… off.  When discussing distance runners, we are dealing with people who say things that demonstrate they are quite mad.  They say things like, “It’s only a five-mile run.”  Or, “Cool!  I finally lost a toenail!” (Yes, that can really happen).  And they utilize a strange brand of logic where a cure for fatigue is to go for a run.  They may also decide a monsoon is just a great chance to try out their new waterproof running jacket.

Not to mention, I’m pretty sure distance running is one of the few endeavors in which grown men will put Band-Aids on their nipples and consider this act to be perfectly normal behavior.

3.  DISTANCE RUNNERS FALL… AND RISE AGAIN

Talk to any experienced distance runner and you will hear a story about having to overcome adversity.  Some runners took up the sport in order to overcome a personal crisis and others have had to conquer mental or physical challenges that affected his or her running.  It could be a major knee injury, a stress fracture, a something deeply personal.  Running in itself is an internal struggle that is much more than physical.  There is a depth to the undertaking, and isn’t that what we want in the characters for which we cheer?

4.  RUNNERS UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF A BATHROOM BREAK

I mean how many books or movies have a main character who goes twelve hours straight without using the facilities???  Runners know better.  They plan things out, know where the possible pit stops are located, and fuel appropriately.  Remember the show 24?  In nine seasons, I think Jack Bauer went to the restroom one time.  In fairness, he rarely ate or drank either.  While I like the Jack Bauer character, the best characters plan out their refueling and relieving ahead of time.  Sure, you can argue Bauer didn’t have a lot of time to plan before the next crisis hit.  But, come on.  It was Jack Bauer.  He had to know trouble was around the corner.

5.  RUNNERS LIKE COFFEE AND BEER

This is obviously a generalization, but one that is fairly accurate.  Most runners love to wake up with a jolt of caffeine and they certainly don’t mind a cold brew after a long run.  This is great for writing fiction (especially crime fiction) because we can all visualize a detective grabbing a third cup of coffee after a long night, or downing a beer while contemplating a case.  You can argue that coffee and beer may not be the best for a runner’s health.  You can try, but they won’t listen.  They will simply run away and chances are they are faster than you.

And don’t worry about them going for a long run after drinking a few cups of coffee.  They know exactly where all the bathrooms are located.

WANT TO ADD YOUR OWN REASONS?  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