Tag Archives: JJ Hensley

Featured New Book Spotlight: Bolt Action Remedy by JJ Hensley


Let’s welcome my dear friend JJ Hensley to the Featured New Book Spotlight today!

JJ’s cool. If you don’t follow him on Facebook or Twitter, you should. He’s got a very dry, acerbic sense of humor that slays me, time after time.

And… he’s got a new book out. It’s called Bolt Action Remedy, and let’s sit back and see what JJ’s got to say about it. I bet it’s funny.

First off, what song makes you think of Bolt Action Remedy, JJ?

My first novel, RESOLVE, was set against that backdrop of a marathon. Ever since writing that book, I’d been looking for a way to integrate another endurance sport into a story but with more intensity. I incorporated biathlon (skiing and shooting) into the setting because if you are going to write a murder mystery then why not give EVERYONE a gun. As I researched biathlon, I came to truly appreciate the intensity and speed of the sport. So whenever I hear the song Joyride (Omen) by Chevelle, I feel the intensity I tried to capture on the pages.

The song itself captures some of the internal struggles of the protagonist, Trevor Galloway. Joyride is about the difficulty of letting go of the past (or, in Galloway’s case, the past refusing to let him go) and the fast tempo gives the song the feel of a race.

The music I listen to is so important to my writing process. I visualize my stories as movies and each of them has a soundtrack. The songs I hear in my mind (shut up, I’m not crazy) really assist me in developing the tone I’m looking for in particular scenes. Sometimes I’ll be listening to a song and think, That’s the mood I want the readers to feel when they read chapter two! It’s not surprising that most of the music I listen to is fast-paced rock, since I do everything I can to keep my stories moving along at a good clip. Fortunately, I’ve been able to construct my books in a way that readers don’t have to particularly care about marathons or biathlon, or like rock music, and they can still get caught up in the mystery. I THINK Bolt Action Remedy and my next book, Record Scratch (Spring 2018) are my best work thus far. If not, I guess I better shake up my playlist!

JJ and I often have similiar tastes in music, but I’m just not there with the Chevelle. Are you? Not familiar with them? Check it out and see if JJ’s right, that it works with his book!

Here’s the official description:

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.

Mmmmm. I love people who write about Western Pennsylvania. And, like I said, JJ is great people.

Join me in the love. While the book won’t be released until October, you can (and should!) preorder it now. Here are the links:
Smashwords *Affiliate link
Barnes and Noble

Connect with JJ and enjoy the wit! (Seriously. You’ll be glad you did.)
Blog- Steel City Intrigue


More Best of the Burghosphere: My Turn for some Love


So, yeah. Not only did I get to meet a cool new blogger for the Best of the Burghosphere fun, I got to meet another one.

Bold Pittsburgh, who takes a BOLD look at life here in Da Burgh.

He/She/They — they have a big staff — gave me a pretty serious award. “The blog with the Behind the Scenes look at an Author and Editor” — that’s pretty cool. Yeah, I’d been hoping for something more fun, especially since my friend Hana, the Green Grandma herself, got the award for “Blogger Most Likely to Keep You From Poisoning Yourself While She Simultaneously Gives You Birthing Tips” — but it was my buddy JJ came up with that.

You mystery lovers, go check out JJ’s books.

Okay, shameless plug for a buddy aside, I’m super glad to be on the radar of the cool folk over at Bold Pittsburgh. I’d love to be a contributor, even, in my copious spare time (yeah, like 30 of my favorite clients just groaned and sent their inboxes death glares ’cause they’d really like to continue our conversation than see I’m continuing to lollygag when it comes to e-mail). So we’ll see what’s going to happen. Probably nothing, but a girl can hope.

Speaking of hoping, I’ve committed to going to the Best of the Burghosphere Friday night (adults only) party. Hana and JJ have been tasked with making sure I don’t weasel out, and my kids are ready to throw me out the door even though the party’s not for a few weeks yet. I don’t suppose anyone’s got some hot male eye candy who’d be glad to adorn my arm for the evening? And those of you who know of my preferences in that department*, I’ll let you raid my chocolate freezer if you make it happen.

Like I said, a girl can hope.

*before you go cluttering up my comments here or on FB, please remember that I do have a stalker issue and the less we say publicly, the safer I am and the safer my kids are and the safer the eye candy is. You wanna talk about my hot man? Use e-mail ’cause if the stalker’s in my mail and I find proof of that, I’m pressing charges this time. Period. End of discussion.


Featured New Book: Measure Twice by JJ Hensley


Ahh, the beauty of writers’ groups. If you’re a writer, find yourself one. Find a good group of folk who don’t merely lift you up when you need it, but who always always always lift your writing up.

Author JJ Hensley is in one of my writer’s groups. He’s also one of the few people who knows what I look like, so be extra nice to him and maybe he’ll spill the goods. Of course, we’ve only seen each other face to face once, and that was at a table in a restaurant, so who knows how much of me he actually saw.

Measure Twice 750 x 1200 jpeg

Anyway, JJ’s got a new book out, Measure Twice. He’s garnering some good reviews, so be sure to check them out, as well as the book.

Let’s get down to business. JJ, what song makes you think of your book?

Man of Constant Sorrow


This is a traditional folk song that has been covered by multiple artists since 1913.  Many people are familiar with the tune from the George Clooney movie Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?  However, I’m not really into folk music, so the version I like is by a hard rock band called Charm City Devils. 


My new novel, Measure Twice, is a story about addiction, recovery, and the search for redemption. An addict, Lester Mayton, is methodically killing Pittsburgh city officials and Homicide Detective Jackson Channing is on the case. However, Channing has his own addiction and a dark secret that is tearing him apart.


Like true men of constant sorrow, both of these characters struggle to be free of their addictions in very different ways. Mayton’s addiction to religion has to be broken if he is to complete his terrifying plan, while Channing’s alcoholism is threatening his career and his sanity.


The novel is divided into 12 chapters, or “steps”, mirroring the 12 steps of recovery as defined by Narcotics Anonymous. This literary 12 step program propels the reader through a plot unlike any other.


While the lyrics of Man of Constant Sorrow do not exactly reflect the content of Measure Twice, the underlying theme of the song makes me think of the novel.  In fact, this song pops into my head whenever I think about the climax of the story and envision the scene. 


And I certainly do not see George Clooney.


Charm City Devils. Good choice, JJ! And killing Pittsburgh officials… why do I think this was written near the end of the Ravenstahl administration?

Ready for what the book is about? I sure am.

Lester Mayton is struggling to break free from his addiction. In his particular case, the drug of choice is religion. Now with his wife dead and city officials to blame, Mayton is out for revenge. In order to commit the atrocities necessary to spread his message of justice, he must change his ways and become the evil he has always abhorred.

Pittsburgh Homicide Detective Jackson Channing is struggling to break free from his own addiction. His alcoholism may have already cost him his marriage and now threatens to sweep away his sanity. Ever since he and his partner were brutally tortured by a sadistic murderer, his life has spun out of control. Following a failed suicide attempt, Channing decides his life must have some meaning and the only way he can put the pieces back together is to break free of his addiction and commit acts of redemption.
When the body of a city official is discovered in a public location, the entire city of Pittsburgh bears witness to a form of evil that is difficult to comprehend. Channing learns the killer is patient, methodical, and precise. In order to stop the killing, Channing will have to pull his life together and come to terms with a secret that is tearing him apart.

With each chapter of this thriller representing one of the 12 steps of addiction recovery, Measure Twice is a story of personal struggle, revenge, and the search for redemption. Pay attention throughout this heart-pounding pursuit. The details are important because every cut is lethal.


Now, I don’t usually delve into author bios, but here, I feel like I need to. That’s ’cause, you see, JJ? He’s the real deal. Former cop and Special Agent with the US Secret Service. Cool, huh?

I know neat people. Love it.

So. Ready to pick up your copy?

Smashwords (affiliate link, so be sure to use it. Those three cents add up!)


And before I’m out of here for the day, let me make one more comment about why you should pick this up: a portion of the sales for Measure Twice go toward breast cancer research through the non-profit group Par for The Cure. Anyone who’s read my Trevor’s Song knows this is an issue near and dear to my heart.