Saturday, February 28, 2015

Maine Crime Wave 2015

Last year's inaugural Maine Crime Wave proved a huge success. I'm happy to report that it's back for a second year, and this year's program is even more ambitious than last!

The festivities kick off on Friday, April 10 at the Portland Public Library with Two Minutes in the Slammer. Attendees are invited to read a short passage of their own work (!), and the best readings will earn an award from the crack team of judges. (This is a truly one-of-a-kind event, and I would have killed to participate when I was starting out.) Then, anyone who wants can grab dinner/drinks out with one of Maine Crime Wave's featured writers (including yours truly.) Anyone who'd like to participate in the reading or one of the dinners can RSVP here.

Then, on Saturday, April 11, join me, Kate Flora, Paul Doiron, Gerry Boyle, Barbara Ross, and many more at the University of Southern Maine's Glickman Library in Portland for a day of panels, workshops, and critiques. I'll be participating in a panel on the business of writing, as well as leading one of the four hourlong workshops. The workshops are included in the registration fee, and the schedule is set up such that every registrant will have the opportunity to attend two of them. I went to Julia Spencer-Fleming's last year, and it was terrific. Here's the details for mine:
PLANTING EVIDENCE AND TURNING UP THE HEAT
How to Play Fair with Your Mystery and Still Ratchet Up the Suspense 
Thomas Hood once said, “The easiest reading is damned hard writing,” and never is that truer than in crime fiction. Whether you’re penning a cozy mystery or a race-against-time thriller, it’s your job to dole out clues, stage reveals, and manage the pace such that an audience steeped in the genre’s conventions is kept guessing—and frantically turning pages—right up until the very end. This workshop aims to stock your toolbox with tips, tricks, and techniques to craft an exciting, unpredictable tale that hangs together well and keeps even the savviest crime fic fan reading into the wee hours.
If you're interested in attending, click through for details and registration information. And if you're on the fence, perhaps you'll be swayed by Portland's unparalleled food scene, our wealth of tasty beer, or the offerings of our stellar craft distillers. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

More KIND Words!

Hot on the heels of last week's post, today brings more early word on THE KILLING KIND:
"I love Chris Holm. He can evoke a landslide of character in a single detail. THE KILLING KIND crackles with muscle and moxie and wit. I will read it again and again."
-Chelsea Cain, New York Times bestselling author of ONE KICK
"Chris Holm’s latest is exceptional in every way, with breakneck pacing, sensational storytelling, and razor-sharp prose. At its hardboiled core is an unforgettable antihero who inhabits a violent purgatory of his own making, but discovers there’s a piece of his soul he hasn’t lost yet. Dark, riveting, and instantly addictive, THE KILLING KIND is this year’s must-read thriller."
-Hilary Davidson, Anthony Award winning author of BLOOD ALWAYS TELLS
"With a great writer, a great premise, and a great protagonist, how can you lose? With his unique take on the hit man thriller, Chris Holm claims his place amongst the best suspense novelists working today. It takes real talent to make a hero of a cold-blooded killer, and Chris Holm pulls it off with style."
-Stuart Neville, Los Angeles Times Book Prize winning author of THOSE WE LEFT BEHIND
I can't tell you how psyched I am that Stuart, Hilary, and Chelsea enjoyed it. They're three of the finest thriller writers on the planet. Many, many thanks to each of them.

In other news, I got a glimpse of my UK cover this morning, and it's darn slick. I've been sitting on the US cover awhile now, which has been tough 'cause it's fantastic. Maybe someday soon I'll get to share them...

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

First word on THE KILLING KIND is in!

One of the most exciting and nerve-wracking stages in launching any book is seeking out blurbs. For me, this has never been more true than for THE KILLING KIND. I took a big swing when I wrote this book — aiming to make it the sort of smart, propulsive thriller I love to read — and I hoped like hell it'd connect.

We're still a ways from its September release date (heck, we don't even have proper ARCs yet), but my editor was kind enough to make a small batch of bound manuscripts to send out. All I had to do was reach out to some of my literary heroes — luminaries of the modern thriller all — and ask them if they'd be willing to take a peek.

To my great delight, most said yes. And this weekend, the first few blurbs came in. So what's the verdict?
"Lean, brutal and riveting, Chris Holm’s THE KILLING KIND is the kind of novel you can’t put down but also want to savor. With sharply etched characters, knifelike twists and hardboiled energy to burn, it’s an utter winner, beginning to end."
-Megan Abbott, Edgar Award winning author of THE FEVER 
"Chris Holm loads an ingenious premise — an assassin who kills only other assassins — into a high-powered story that goes off like a rocket. His protagonist, Mike Hendricks, is an all-American anti-hero with his own code of justice, living on stolen time. THE KILLING KIND is sleek and smart, and will stay with you long after you've finished reading."
-Joseph Finder, New York Times bestselling author of THE FIXER 
"A high-octane, cat-and-mouse thrill ride, written with style and a flair for the spectacular. Chris Holm is a master storyteller, and THE KILLING KIND is his best work to date. Don’t miss it."
-Owen Laukkanen, Anthony, Barry, and Thriller Award nominated author of THE STOLEN ONES
To say I'm honored would be an understatement. Many thanks to Megan, Joe, and Owen for their kindness and generosity. The fact that I'm a huge fan of theirs makes these blurbs all the sweeter. And stay tuned... fingers crossed this is only the beginning.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Other Portland, Here We Come!

Left Coast Crime is soon upon us! I, for one, can't wait. I'll admit, a goodly part of that is thanks to the brutal winter we New Englanders are suffering through, but hanging out in a cool city full of book-folk still rates.

If you're attending and would like to meet/stalk me and/or catch up, here's where I'll be:

Make Up Your Mind: Writing in More Than One Genre
Friday, 3/13 at 10:15AM in the Holladay Room

Chris Holm (Moderator)
D.J. Adamson
Heather Ames
S.G. Redling
Sheila Simonson

Pants on Fire: A Liars Panel
Saturday, 3/14 at 10:15AM in the Multnomah Room

Simon Wood (Moderator)
Chris Holm
Jess Lourey
Catriona McPherson
Johnny Shaw

And while I'm not participating in this panel, my lovely and talented wife is moderating, so you'll surely find me front-and-center:

Sweet & Lowdown: A Cozy/Noir Summit
Saturday, 3/14 at 11:30AM in the Oregon Room

Katrina Niidas Holm (Moderator)
Hannah Dennison
Bill Loehfelm
Josh Stallings
Marty Wingate

You can see the full panel schedule here. And as ever, if you see me at the con and want to say hello, please feel free.

Monday, December 29, 2014

A Word Nerds Best-of

The Word Nerds kicked off their Best of 2014 today with their Best First Book in a Series, and I'm delighted to report DEAD HARVEST tied Lyndsay Faye's THE GODS OF GOTHAM for the honor! Thanks to the titular Word Nerds, Bethany and Stacie, for the nod.

Monday, December 08, 2014

CRIMINAL WORDS, A Free Short Story Audiobook, Now Available!

A month or so ago, you may recall, my short story "Pretty Little Things" was featured on Erik Arneson's Word Crimes podcast. Today, a free (yes, free!) audiobook version of the Word Crimes podcast, CRIMINAL WORDS, is now available! CRIMINAL WORDS features my aforementioned short as well as stories from such talented writers as Erik Arneson, Joe Clifford, Jen Conley, David Cranmer, Chris Irvin, Tom Pitts, and Steve Weddle. All stories are narrated by public radio veteran Scott Detrow. Download a copy today!

Monday, December 01, 2014

TROUBLE IN THE HEARTLAND Out Today!

Every once and a while a project comes along that's too cool to turn down, no matter how swamped I am with other stuff. So it was with TROUBLE IN THE HEARTLAND, which is out today.

TROUBLE IN THE HEARTLAND is an anthology of crime fiction inspired by the songs of Bruce Springsteen. It features such talented writers as Dennis Lehane, Hilary Davidson, Todd Robinson, and Steve Weddle, to name but a few (click through to take a gander at the full list of contributors). And a portion of the proceeds benefit the Bob Woodruff Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping veterans.

I was lucky enough to get my pick of songs to use as inspiration. The song I chose was "Mansion on the Hill." It's an achingly beautiful track off one of the most haunting records of all time, and I hope I did it justice. You can check out the tune below.
Thanks to Joe Clifford, Zelmer Pulp, and Gutter Books for their hard work on this project. If you'd like a copy, or you've got a Springsteen fan on your Christmas shopping list, TROUBLE IN THE HEARTLAND is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Or, if you'd prefer, ask your local independent bookstore to order you a copy.

Friday, November 07, 2014

A Would-Be Stalker's Guide to Chris' Bouchercon 2014

Bouchercon 2014 is almost upon us, and my schedule's rounded out a bit since last I posted, so I thought a new post telling y'all where to find me might be in order. (Remember, stalkers: I like pie.*)

On Thursday, 11/13 at 4 PM, I'll be appearing on the "Noir Comes in Many Flavors" panel in Regency C alongside Jon Bassoff, Steph Cha, Robert Lewis, Fuminori Nakamura, and Chantelle Aimee Osman (m). It promises to be a terrific conversation.

Then, at 5:30PM Thursday, also in Regency C, I'll be reading as part of Noir at the Bar. More than twenty authors will be participating, and each of us is bringing a book to give away, so be sure to swing by. My contribution will be a signed copy of THE BIG REAP, which is up for an Anthony this year in the category of Best Paperback Original (hint hint please vote for me).

I expect I'll spend some portion of Saturday (11/15) morning loitering around the Little, Brown/Mulholland table, if only to score some of the advertised books, coffee, and pastries (but not, it should be noted, any of the authors; publishers get tetchy when you abscond with those). It runs from 7AM to 12:30PM, but if I were a betting man, I'd say 7AM is a tad early to expect me.

Finally, on Saturday night from 6:30PM to 8PM, you can catch me looking vaguely queasy at the Anthony Awards Reception. Did I mention THE BIG REAP was up for an award? I did? Well, did I mention my insanely talented fellow nominees are Catriona McPherson, Alex Marwood, Stephen King, and Darrell James? Lists like that are why folks always (quite rightly) say it's an honor to be nominated. But if you're attending B'con and you're inclined to vote for me, I sure won't try to dissuade you.

That's it for my official schedule. But, as ever, if you see me and want to say hello, please feel free.**

*Please don't actually stalk me.
**Restrooms excluded. Lurking in my hotel room strongly discouraged, unless you bring pie.