Tag Archives: shooting

Read the First Chapter of Record Scratch Now!!!!

Thanks to my friends at Littsburgh, you can read the first chapter of my upcoming mystery, Record Scratch, right here:

https://www.littsburgh.com/start-reading-record-scratch-by-former-special-agent-j-j-hensley/

Record Scratch is out on October 22nd, but you can preorder it now!!

 

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 Scratchand other works. Hensley is a former police officer and former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service.

October 22, 2018

RECORD SCRATCH

Preorder

“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

Available Now!

BOLT ACTION REMEDY

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!

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Things That Will Cause a Novelist to Kill You

I’m on Facebook and Twitter as much as the next writer and I’ll occasionally send out a tweet or post about something somebody has done to annoy me and how I’m tempted to create a thinly veiled version of that individual and have them…well, die.

In a book.

Yes, definitely in a book.

Which got me to thinking about what my latest Top Ten list would be for these annoying activities. I say “latest” because a list like this needs to remain fluid. We are all human and our levels of annoyances regarding certain activities can differ from one day to another. For instance, there was a time when simply having neon lights outlining the bottom of your Honda Accord that you loaded down with a $3000 stereo might have me considering getting you hit by a locomotive in Chapter 4 of a future thriller. However, I’ve mellowed.

So, for the moment here is my Top Ten ways to get yourself killed in one of my books.

10. General idiocy – This broad category may include racism, xenophobia, sexism, homophobia, or the belief my home state of West Virginia is near the ocean. It’s not. That’s why the word WEST is in there. Any of these may get you shot, stabbed, dismembered, or electrocuted. Understandably, the multiple avenues of ignorance here necessitate the multiple possibilities for your demise.

9. Singing in the gym – You wore headphones. Nice work. You realized not everyone wanted to hear your favorite music. Awesome. However, now you’re singing and everyone can hear your karaoke version of Enter Sandman. It’s not pretty. You’ve chosen poorly and it’s likely you get crushed by dumbbells in a particularly gruesome chapter.

8. Referring to your vacation as a “vaca” – Your “vaca” is not okay. I admit this seems minor, so perhaps I haven’t mellowed. But, when I hear anyone say they are going on a vaca it makes me crazy. Or as some people like to say, it makes me “cra-cra”. Which, not coincidentally, will also get you killed.

7. Shooting off fireworks after the legal cut-off time – Get off my lawn! Yes, this is my grumpy ol’ man item, but I have a young child, two dogs who are terrified of fireworks, and everyone in Georgia seems to like shooting them off in the neighborhoods. I have to tolerate it up until the cut-off time, but then I’m done. You’ll die in some sort of explosion in a future book. Or perhaps I’ll only give you a painful disfigurement. Hey! I have mellowed!

6. Watching and believing Fox News – I’m not even going into this other than to say a television is going to fall on you and you’re going to stop breathing.

5. Using the word “we” when discussing your favorite sports team – Look – you’re exempt if you’re actually part of the aforementioned sports team. However, the odds are you aren’t. You didn’t throw the pass, score the goal, or hit the home run. You watched from the stands or from your couch just like millions of others. Oh, you were wearing a jersey???! Guess what? Still doesn’t count. You die in one of the later chapters of a novella in which a sports mascot dressed as a snapping turtle ironically, and tragically, snaps.

4. Being late – I’m super punctual. In fact, I’m usually early. Did you hear the one about the writer who actually beats his deadlines? Yeah, that’s me. So, I don’t deal well with anyone being late. If you keep me waiting for something there’s a better than average chance a character resembling you will be a step too slow getting out of the way of something moving really, really fast.

3. Telling me I should’t drink coffee – Are you suicidal? I mean…this could get you hurt in real life! So, if you do this then you better expect to get scolded to death in a short story somewhere along the way. Psycho!

2. Keeping your dog tied up outside all the time – I’m probably going to do the same to a character with a name like yours and nobody is coming for you. Ever.

1. Being unable to drive in a roundabout – Yes, it’s a road. Yes, it’s a circle. It’s both! Look, I get that Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. is busy and confusing. I’ll grant forgiveness for messing that one up. However, that tiny, single lane roundabout that popped up outside your suburban neighborhood is not some sort of giant codex that you need to solve before you can pass through. Whoever is in the circle has the right of way. Don’t stop in the roundabout. Doing so is real bad. Failure to adhere to basic traffic laws may cause and accident and will certainly get you whacked in an early chapter of a mystery. It might be a hit and run and the killer may never be caught. Because let’s face it – you don’t deserve closure.

Do you have a Top Ten? Comment below! Now remember – we’re talking about fiction here!

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 Scratchand other works. Hensley is a former police officer and former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service.

October 2018

RECORD SCRATCH

Preorder

“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

Available Now!

BOLT ACTION REMEDY

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!

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arming Teachers: The Perspective of a Former Secret Service Agent

I was asked to give my perspective on the subject of arming teachers. My thoughts are up on Do Some Damage.

http://www.dosomedamage.com/2018/03/arming-teachers-perspective-of-former.html

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

Meet My New Protagonist

Hi everyone,

I’ve got something a little different going on over at the Mystery Scene Magazine blog. The main character from my novel Bolt Action Remedy is explaining how he’s found himself in a difficult situation and how he’s absolutely, positively mellowed over time.

Yeah. Sure he has.

https://www.mysteryscenemag.com/blog

 

 

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

Interview for Mystery Playground

I was interviewed for Mystery Playground. In this piece, I discuss how equipped I am for winter sports (I’m not) and how I treat some of my characters (not very well).

http://www.mysteryplayground.net/2018/01/q-with-jj-hensley.html

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

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

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