Monday, December 31, 2012

Two of ten! (Okay, eleven, but still.)

I'm delighted to report that DEAD HARVEST and THE WRONG GOODBYE both made Elizabeth A. White's Top Ten Reads of 2012! (Okay, sure, she cheated and counted them as one spot so's she could still pick nine more, but whatevs. The woman reads 192 books this year; I think she earned the baker's ten.) Thanks, Elizabeth!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Auld Lang Syne

Some years, it seems, pass by quietly, without notice: no forward movement, nothing much of note, just a few more gray hairs to show for them, and some hopes and dreams pushed back to be tackled that next year.

Some years, life stacks up, all coming in a rush. When those years hit, all you can do is try your damndest to hold on.

1999 was like that for me. I graduated college. Got engaged. Lost my grandfather, whom I adored. Moved to Virginia to chase my dream of becoming one of those bug-hunters you see in movies like Outbreak and Contagion. Problem was, that dream wasn't me; it was an amalgam of what I thought I wanted, what I'd been good at in school, what other folks expected me to be.

Other folks who weren't my wife-to-be, that was. She saw how unhappy that path made me. Encouraged me to find another path. One mine and mine alone. And so I left grad school. Left Virginia. Left that path behind. And spent a lot of years chasing a new dream: one of becoming a published author.

Many of the years that followed were of the quiet type. Debt paid down and pages written, sure, but not the kind of progress that I hungered for. I wondered if I'd been wrong. If I'd made a bad decision. If I'd abandoned a perfectly fine path, a perfectly comfortable life, because it wasn't quite what I had hoped it would be. But I kept on down my new path anyway, because I didn't know what else to do but see it through.

Now I know better. Now I know that comfort is the enemy of happiness.

Looking back on 2012, I'm elated I was too butt-stubborn to give up. This year stacked up big-time, and with more good than bad by a damn sight. In February, I released my first novel, and people seemed to really like it. In September, my second, and most folks liked that one, too. I saw two of my oldest friends get married. I ate the best pork chop of my life in Cleveland, Ohio, at at table overflowing with my favorite folks. Had greasy, delicious poutine and fine Scotch with new friends and talented wordsmiths in Quebec. Spent one of the best weekends of my life in Milwaukee, Wisconsin of all places. I read in front of packed houses, and, but for store employees, one empty one as well. And I wrote my ass off, too, finishing three books in one year. HIT, I began writing in October of '11, and finished the end of June. PROOF, which started life as THE ANGELS' SHARE, went through many rewrites starting the day I'd finished HIT, and emerged quite different come September. And the third in my Collector series, THE BIG REAP, I broke ground on as soon as I sent off PROOF, finishing not ten seconds before I began this post, in draft, at least. Not bad for a fella with a day job.

I write this in part because I think it's important to reflect on where I've been and where I'm going. But mostly, I write it by way of thanks. The book community I've fallen in with as a result of all the ink I've spilled since I first set out down this path has enriched my life in ways I can scarcely find the words to describe. I'm truly honored to count those in it as my friends, my tribe, my home.

It's been a hell of a year for me, y'all, and it's been that way because of you. So thanks. And cheers. I hope your next year returns your kindness tenfold.

I think this makes me an honorary member of Sleater-Kinney...

Adam Christopher, ace author of the wildly ambitious and critically lauded EMPIRE STATE (and also all-around nice fellow and great geek-entertainment conversationalist on Twitter) put together a list of his Favourite Things of 2012 (the "u" is his, obviously), and DEAD HARVEST is on it! I'm honored to've made such a fine list, featuring fellow authors Stephen Blackmoore, Owen Laukkanen, Greg Rucka, and John Hornor Jacobs, and some great music and televisual picks as well! (Punk-geek side note: this is likely the first and last time I ever hit the same best-of list as Corin Tucker.)

And Abhinav Jain of Angels of Retribution, who recently named DEAD HARVEST one of his Best Debuts of 2012, has just released his Best of the Best list, on which THE WRONG GOODBYE earns an honorable mention nod for Best Novel.

Thanks, Adam and Abhinav, for the kind mentions.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Cover Me

The Qwillery is hosting a Best Debut Cover of 2012 competition, and DEAD HARVEST is among the covers up for vote! If you're reading this, you're eligible, so what're you waiting for? Get over there, and make with the democracy. (Also, you know, fingers crossed you vote for me.)

Fantastically Fantastical!

Today, A Fantastical Librarian announced her list of Favourite 2012 Debuts, and DEAD HARVEST was on it, alongside fellow Angry Roboters Anne Lyle, Cassandra Rose Clarke, and Madeline Ashby, as well as a host of other mightily talented folks.

And yes, that's "Favourite" with a "u." On account of I'm so international and stuff. In fact, since Mieneke, the keeper of the list, is from the Netherlands, I plan on using this as evidence that I am, as cheesy rock bands have dubiously declared for decades, big in Europe.

Thanks, Mieneke!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Book Chick Best-Of

Melanie, one of the titular book chicks over at Book Chick City, selected THE WRONG GOODBYE for the number three spot (!) of her Top Ten Reads of 2012! Thanks, Melanie, for the kind mention. 'Tis an honor.

UPDATE: Hot on the heels of her top ten list, Melanie posted her review of THE WRONG GOODBYE, in which she says, "THE WRONG GOODBYE is a fantastic read... Buy, borrow, but don’t steal it or you could end up like Sam!" Click through to read the rest.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Best Damn Books of 2012

Two posts in one day? It's a Christmas miracle!

Anyways, said historic second post'll be a short one. Author Ed Kurtz put together his list of The Best Damn Books of 2012, and it turns out, both of mine are on it. Also included are good friends Hilary Davidson, Peter Farris, and Elaine Ash, not to mention fantastic books from the likes of Megan Abbott and Gillian Flynn. 'Tis truly an honor to be in such fine company.

The Next Big Thing

Last week, Frank Wheeler, Jr., author of THE WOWZER (which just wound up on Barnes and Noble's Ransom Notes' year end Best-Of list so go buy it and stuff), tagged me in the Next Big Thing meme that's been making the rounds. Now, I ain't one to tag others (in part because I'm lazy, and in part because I have no friends), but it's been a while since I've written a proper blog post, so I thought I'd take a crack at answering the questions, at least. So without further ado, here goes:

1. What is the working title of you current/next project?

THE BIG REAP. And I think the title's gonna stick, since my publisher's released the cover already.

2. Where did the idea come from?

I've talked before about the fact that my series' protagonist, undead soul collector Sam Thornton, came to me as I was drifting off to sleep one night. As for this book specifically, I wanted to pay homage to the iconic horror I was raised on, from the classic Universal movie monsters (and the novels that inspired them), to Stephen King and Alien, Jaws and Poltergeist and the like. So I folded them all into the Collector universe as best I could.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Folks seem to like to call this sort of book urban fantasy, but it seems to me, that don't quite fit. A lot of the action in my Collector series takes place in the middle of nowhere, which puts the lie to the "urban" part of the equation. I tend to think of the series as fantastical noir. But honestly, so long as folks are buying 'em, they can call the books whatever genre they like.

4. Which actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

I'm always lousy about this game. My characters don't look like anybody but themselves to my mind's eye. That said, I've had this conversation with some folks online a time or two, and here's a couple bits of fantasy-casting I quite liked.

For Sam, I've heard Josh Jackson, whose world-weary charm on Fringe would fit the bill just fine. Clive Owen was also mentioned, and he's great with the sort of hard-bitten dialogue to which I aspire. Someone suggested Sam be played by Robert Downey, Jr., and I sure wouldn't say no to that, either.

Sam's handler Lilith is another fan-favorite when it comes to casting. Frontrunners include Christina Hendricks and Melinda Clarke. Author Dan O'Shea thinks a young Sophia Loren would fit the bill. I even got a vote online for Sofia Vergara, which is kinda left-field, but what the heck.

And for this book, I don't know who should play the monstrous antagonists, but I'd love Rick Baker to be the guy designing them.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Sam Thornton's gig as a Collector means he's charged with dispatching the damned to hell, but when he's tasked with hunting down and killing the mythical Brethren – a group of former Collectors who've cast off their ties to hell – he's forced to ask himself, is he still working on the side of right?

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

THE BIG REAP was sold by proposal to Angry Robot Books by Jennifer Jackson of the Donald Maass Literary Agency. Jennifer also brokered the initial deal for books one and two in the series.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft?

I don't want to jinx myself, since the book's not finished yet; as I write this, I'm at about 92,000 words, and I expect my first draft will come in just shy of 100,000. But I started it in August, and I'm getting close, so I'll ballpark the first draft at five months.

8. Which other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I think Stephen Blackmoore's CITY OF THE LOST and DEAD THINGS play in the same pulp-crime-meets-dark-fantasy sandbox as my stuff. Ditto Charlie Huston's Joe Pitt books. As to whether I can hang with the likes of them is up the audience to decide.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Uh, see my answer to #2. For me, idea and inspiration go hand-in-hand. The Collector series is very much an assemblage of all the types of stories I love best: crime, horror, fantasy, action-comedy. I guess at root, I'm trying to write the sort of story I like to read. It just so happens all those sorts rarely wind up in one story.

10. What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest? 

It's got my own weird-ass take on vampires, lycanthropes, patchwork Frankenstein-monsters, and brain-munching zombies. Plus a healthy dose of secret history and religious conspiracy, and more action than you can jab a stake at. It also features maybe the weirdest, grossest scene I've ever written. (I don't know if that's a positive or a negative.) And while it's not intended to be the last of my Collector books, I will say this: it is chock full of BIG, IMPORTANT HAPS. So, you know, read it. Or don't. But please do.

So there you have it. Like I said, I ain't gonna tag anybody, but if y'all feel like joining in, feel free, and I'll be sure to link to you.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Visions of Angels

Just a brief post amidst the final writing sprint on the first draft of THE BIG REAP to say that KellyVision and Angels of Retribution have both posted year-end best-ofs, and, uh, I'm on 'em!

On Kelly's list, I just squeaked in at #10, but on the plus side, DEAD HARVEST and THE WRONG GOODBYE tied for the honor! Not too shabby, that.

Abhinav's list at AoR was debut-specific, and action-packed with fellow Angry Roboters. I'm delighted DEAD HARVEST made the cut.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Three New Best-Ofs!

Wow. What a morning. I awoke to a veritable apocalypse of good book cheer.

First off, Grift Magazine went live with their Favorite Reads of 2012, and DEAD HARVEST is on it! And my oh my, what a list it is. Here's a taste of what editor John Kenyon had to say about me (click through to see the whole list, which you should totally do, because it's amazing):

"Holm is a pure storyteller, and his story of Sam Thornton, a soul collector for the dark side, is a compelling tale that puts an otherworldly twist on crime fiction. The follow-up, THE WRONG GOODBYE, is another gem."

Also, Barnes and Noble's Ransom Notes blog selected DEAD HARVEST as one of their Favorite Debuts of 2012! Check it (click through to see the rest of the list, and then buy them all, because dude):

"Holm is a master of pacing and balancing of horror, humor and heart, and The Collector is one of the most engaging series protagonists to come around in a while."

And last but not least, ace author Stephen Blackmoore, whose CITY OF THE LOST is one of my favorite releases of this year (and whose DEAD THINGS, which na-na-na-na-na-naahhh I've already read, is set to be one of my faves of next), also put up a Best of 2012 list on which DEAD HARVEST is included! Here's what he had to say (once again, click through or else):

"This book mixes a hard-boiled detective story with the machinations between Heaven and Hell with this poor schmuck caught in the middle. Extraordinary book. You should buy it and everything Holm has written."

So there you have it. Three lists in one day, placing me alongside the likes of Megan Abbott, Peter Farris, Frank Wheeler, Johnny Shaw, Craig McDonald, Stephen Blackmoore, Joe Landsdale, and Dennis Lehane, just to name a few. I am both honored and humbled. If this is the end of the world as we know it, I'll tell you: I feel fine.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

THE WRONG GOODBYE a Best of 2012!

Kristen at My Bookish Ways has selected THE WRONG GOODBYE as one of her Best Books of 2012! I'm delighted by the honor, particularly since her stellar lineup includes such killer scribes as Sophie Littlefield, Chuck Wendig, Stephen Blackmoore, John Hornor Jacobs, James Renner, and Myke Cole, just to name a few. Click through to read her entire list and enter to win a book from it while you're there!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

CM: Redemption Song

The question of the week at Criminal Minds is whether we've ever tried to redeem a bad guy in our fiction, and if so, why? You can read my answer here. (Spoiler alert: nearly every character in my novels is in hell or headed there. So, um, YES.)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Snobbery's Best of 2012

Wootzah! The Collector series made The Snobbery's Best of 2012 list! And I'm double-psyched to share list-space with Jasper Fforde of all people. If you ain't reading him, you oughta be. Thanks, SJ, for the inclusion!

Friday, December 07, 2012

THE BIG REAP Cover Reveal


As first reported at The Founding Fields (complete with interview of yours truly) and now posted on Angry Robot's site, book three of my Collector novels, THE BIG REAP, now has a cover! And man, what a cover it has. Once more art-designed by Marc Gascoigne, and rendered stunningly by the top-notch design firm Amazing15, this cover fits in beautifully alongside books one and two, while carving out a niche of its very own. If you want my detailed thoughts on the topic of covers, or would like a hint or two as to what THE BIG REAP's all about, pop over to The Founding Fields and check out my Q&A. Me, I'm just gonna sit and stare at my new cover for a little while...

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Erin Mitchell's Best Of 2012

Yesterday, the lovely and charming Erin Mitchell posted a list of her choices for Best Books of 2012. It's a damn fine list, peppered with names such as Pelecanos and Lehane, Burkes both James Lee and Alafair, John Connolly and Michael Connelly, Val McDermid and Mark Billingham, and a host of other stunning writers to boot.

It also features both DEAD HARVEST and THE WRONG GOODBYE.

To be included on the list is, of course, an honor. To have both books make the cut? That's got me grinning from ear to ear.

Thanks, Erin, for spreading a little early holiday cheer...


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Guesting at Nocturnal Book Reviews

Karina at Nocturnal Book Reviews was kind enough to have me by today to talk five books that influenced my Collector series. You can read the guest post here.

Friday, November 23, 2012

A Black Friday Ebook Deal and a Nomination!

Today I rose, sluggish, from my turkey-and-pie-induced coma to discover a) the Robot Trading Company is selling DRM-free ePub versions of my Collector novels for half off through this coming Sunday in honor of my recent birthday, and b) Benoit Lelievre has nominated DEAD HARVEST for a Dead End Follies Award for Best New Book 2012! Sure beats getting maced and/or trampled at Walmart by a bunch of shoppers wrestling over cheap flatscreens.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

CM: Giving Thanks

Today at Criminal Minds, I dodge the question o' the week (what would Sam bring to the Criminal Minds Thanksgiving table; if I had to guess, I'd say whiskey and regret) and get all sappy and thankful instead.

Elsewhere in the things-I'm-thankful-for department, I got name-dropped by Jason Heller, author of TAFT 2012, over at the A.V. Club, and KellyVision takes a whack at both DEAD HARVEST and THE WRONG GOODBYE (spoiler: she likes 'em.) Thanks to Jason and Kelly both!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

An Open Book

Angie at Open Book Society was kind enough to sling some fantastic questions my way a while back, which I, in turn, did my level best to answer. You can read the results here. Thanks for taking the time, Angie!

Friday, November 09, 2012

Murder and Mayhem in Muskego

As I write this, it's o'dark thirty, and I'm out the door to head to Murder and Mayhem in Muskego. If you're out Wisconsin way, I hope to see you there!

Thursday, November 08, 2012

LitReactor Interview

Rob W. Hart was kind enough to invite me by LitReactor to talk writing-shop. Y'all can read the results here. Thanks, Rob, for having me!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Sunday, November 04, 2012

MURDER AND MAYHEM Anthology Now Available!

Want a killer collection of crime fiction that also supports a kickass con? Then check out MURDER AND MAYHEM IN MUSKEGO, featuring the likes of Hilary Davidson, Marcus Sakey, Dana Cameron, Brad Parks, Megan Abbott, Reed Farrel Coleman, and many more!

Oh, and I'm in there, too. Specifically, my short story "The Great Plains." But don't let that stop you from picking up a copy.

Available for Kindle and in paperback today!

Got You Covered

Looking for a holiday gift for the urban fantasy fan in your life? The Indianapolis Public Library has got you covered, and I, for one, am delighted by their choice of recommendations.

And Benoit Lelievre has announced his nominees for his Best Book Cover of 2012 award. I'm pleased to see DEAD HARVEST made the list. I know I'm biased, but it is a darn pretty cover, is it not?

Friday, November 02, 2012

Raging Biblioholism Interview

A little while back, I sat down (virtually) with Drew from Raging Biblioholism for a little chat. Said chat is now (after a brief, Sandy-related delay) live for those who'd care to check it out. Thanks, Drew, for taking the time (and glad you made it through the storm okay)!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Functional Nerds, v2.0

Seems a little silly in the wake of Sandy's mass destruction, but if y'all are looking for a distraction (such as making fun of an author's speaking voice), pop on over to the Functional Nerds podcast, where I sat down with John and Patrick for a chat last week. This was my second time hanging with said Functional Nerds, and as ever, it was a delight. I'll happily crash their party anytime. Thanks for having me, gents.

Monday, October 29, 2012

New Review and Interview!

Whew! I just got back from a fantastic time at QuebeCrime, where I was fortunate enough to hang out in a beautiful city with some tremendous writers and some passionate, thoughtful genre fans (and also eat poutine.) And while I was gone, a new review and interview hit the interwebs.

The review (of THE WRONG GOODBYE) comes courtesy of Stephen at Unsquare Dance. Here's a taste:

"With the second Collector novel, Holm both expands and enriches the world he so vividly created in DEAD HARVEST... highly recommended."

Thanks, Stephen!

And the interview was conducted by Scott Montgomery of BookPeople. Scott's one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet, and damn knowledgeable about the crime genre to boot, so I'd never miss a chance to sit down and chat with him. You can read the results here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Criminal Minds and QuebeCrime

The topic this week at Criminal Minds is, "How do you know your series has jumped the shark?" In my post, I get all glib and attempt to do just that. Just as well; the first in my series features the threat of Apocalypse, a helicopter hijacking, a magical ceramic cat, and more explosion-y goodness than you could shake a stick of dynamite at. I'm fairly certain all I do is jump the shark. (Editor's note: Please do not shake dynamite.)

I confess, when it comes to my Criminal Minds post, my head wasn't entirely in the game. See, tomorrow, I leave for QuebeCrime: three days (Oct. 25-27) of hanging out in a beautiful city with some of the coolest writers in the crime community - not to mention play amateur CSI with some enthusiastic fans! (No, really: the schedule of events is awesome.) I'll be reading and signing Friday evening, and talking reading and writing on a panel that features John Connolly, Chelsea Cain, and Owen Laukkanen on Saturday morning. Mark Billingham, Linwood Barclay, John McFetridge, and Laura Lippman will also be in attendance, so, you know, beat that! If you're in the area, I'd love to see you there.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Ancient Logic on THE WRONG GOODBYE

Today's review of THE WRONG GOODBYE comes courtesy of Morgan Crooks at Ancient Logic. Morgan and I go back a ways, so he may well be biased, though lord knows in which direction. Click through to find out what he had to say!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Some kind words from Kate and Joe...

This afternoon, I'm coming at you with two brand spankin' reviews of THE WRONG GOODBYE. The first comes courtesy of Kate Sherrod at Kate of Mind, who says, in part:

"...very good, page-turning fiction. One might think she knows where all of this is heading, but one might be wrong. Or not. Either way, very enjoyable."

And review number two comes courtesy of Joe Myers, who I was lucky enough to hang out with this weekend past:

"...THE WRONG GOODBYE is tight, well-paced, and did a great job of building on the events of the first book..."

Thanks, you two!

Top Five

Today, I'm over at My Bookish Ways, laying out my top five Halloween traditions. Go check it out!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

We Can Be Heroes

The lovely folks at SF Signal were delusional kind enough to ask me to participate in their Mind Meld feature on heroes today. My take on the relevance (or lack thereof) of heroes in modern fiction appears alongside those of such asskicking authors as Matt Forbeck, Jo Anderton, and Maurice Broaddus, which should feed the slavering beast that is my ego nicely. You can read the results of my dubious ruminations here. Thanks to the whole SF Signal crew for having me by!

CM: Jain Says (and Bonus Book Review!)

Today, at Criminal Minds, I'm talking about character names. Pop by and check it out!

Also, Kristin at My Bookish Ways has posted a lovely review of THE WRONG GOODBYE. Here's a snippet (click through to read the rest):

"...in THE WRONG GOODBYE, Chris F. Holm really brings the awesome... The action is pretty much nonstop, yet somehow the author managed to balance that with laugh out loud and terrifying moments in equal measure... If the author keeps this up, he’ll be giving some of the big UF names a run for their money, very, very soon. If you haven’t discovered this series yet, you’re in for a wonderful ride!"

Thanks, Kristin!

Monday, October 08, 2012

Me and Sayles in the Gutter

File this under "The World Doesn't Press Pause for Bouchercon": last week, me and Ryan Sayles sat down for a little chat for Ryan's kickass Out of the Gutter interview series. You can read the results here. Many thanks, Ryan - and sorry about the blood spatter...

Bouchercon 2012

What can I say? It was a blast. A joy. A wild book- and booze-soaked pinball game in which I bounced off countless smart and talented folks (only occasionally literally), only to find myself back home later exhausted, delighted, and a tad melancholy at the thought I won't see most of them again for quite some time.

This is the part where most folks would throw out a list of names, but I'm not gonna take the liner-notes approach today. For one, they're all so much cooler than I, it'd no doubt look like name-dropping. For two, I'd doubtless forget someone, and feel like a heel. And for three, even if I blanked on half the awesome people I encountered in my B'con travels, that list would make for the longest post I've ever written, and prove boring as sin for anyone who wasn't there to read.

So instead, let me say this. Thanks to friends both old and new. Thanks to everyone who attended my panel (or my lovely wife's), and double-thanks if you asked questions, or took the time to comment afterward. Thanks also to my fans, which I'm shocked and delighted to discover I have. And to the many, many folks who were kind enough to pick up copies of my novels in the book room (I hear tell they sold out!), happy reading; I hope you like them.

Finally, to those who've never had the pleasure of attending a crime-fic con but are considering it, let me say this: BY GOD GO. The mystery community is, quite simply, the finest group of people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. They are my tribe. My family. And if you think you might be one of us, guess what? You already are.

See you all in Albany. (And some of you in Quebec. And in Muskego.)

Thursday, October 04, 2012

THE WRONG GOODBYE now available in the UK!

Today, as I wake bleary-eyed and groggy at this ungodly hour to put myself on a plane bound for B'con, is the official UK release date for THE WRONG GOODBYE! I hope y'all enjoy it. I had a blast writing it.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a plane to catch. And if you're headed to Cleveland too, drop me a line...

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Shotgun Honey Presents: BOTH BARRELS now available!

Man, oh, man. Just look at that list of contributors. Ron, Kent, Sabrina, and Chad really outdid themselves putting this collection together. These folks are so damned talented, any one of 'em would make an anthology worth picking up. In fact, I'm not sure how I managed to sneak a story into this one. The fact I'm lucky enough to count many of them as friends is just the icing on the cake.

And you know what the delicious crunchy sugar-flower atop the icing on the cake is? BOTH BARRELS is now officially available. I'm talking print, ebook, the whole shebang. The only question is, what're you still doing here? Click through, and pick yourself up a copy today.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Bouchercon 2012 Schedule

Well, fellow crime-types, Bouchercon is nearly upon us. I, for one, am crazy psyched. For those of you who might like to stalk me in the course of cavorting about the land of Cleve, my panel information is as follows:

Morally Challenged Heroes
Friday, October 5, 2012
2:45-3:35 PM
Whitehall Room

Panelists:
Lou Berney
Elizabeth Hand
Seth Harwood
Chris F. Holm
Wallace Stroby
Ali Karim (Moderator)

A fantastic group, to be sure, and a topic that's close to my withered, blackened heart. You can read the inimitable Mr. Karim's thoughts on our impending panel here. Oh, and I expect I'll be signing copies of DEAD HARVEST and THE WRONG GOODBYE afterward in the book room.

You'll also find me at the sure-to-be-fantastic panel on crime-solving writers, which is moderated by my lovely, talented wife. (I'll be the one trying in vain to start a wave whilst said lovely, talented wife glares adorably at me.)

Murder He/She Solved
Friday, October 5, 2012
9:00-9:50 AM
Ambassador Room

Panelists:
Robert Olen Butler
Joy Castro
Hilary Davidson
Hannah Dennison
Bruce DeSilva
Cathy Wiley
Katrina Niidas Holm (Moderator)

For those playing along at home, that's an Edgar, an Anthony, and a Pulitzer Award-winner, all on one panel! I may be biased, but I think it's gonna be a barn-burner. Hope to see y'all there.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Crimespree on THE WRONG GOODBYE!

Dan Malmon of Crimespree was kind enough to take a peek at THE WRONG GOODBYE. Click through to see what he had to say:

"An undead agent of Hell? Relatable to the reader? As written by Chris F. Holm? You bet."

Thanks, Dan!

Names: A New Perspective

Today, I'm over at Abhinav Jain's blog, participating in his Names: A New Perspective series by talking about the inspiration behind character names in my Collector series. Swing by and give it a read!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

CM: Paging Mr. Schmatterson

Today at Criminal Minds, I'm talking collaborations of the Clancy and Patterson variety. You know, a big name on the cover, followed by a very little one, literally and figuratively, only the little one's the guy who wrote it. Kosher? Exploitative? Pop by and see what I think. Then yell at me in the comments if you disagree. (You can yell agreement, too, I guess, but what would be the point?)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

My Favorite Bit

The lovely and talented Mary Robinette Kowal was kind enough to let me sully up her blog today, talking about my favorite bit of THE WRONG GOODBYE. Pop on by and take a gander. And thanks, Mary!

THE WRONG GOODBYE is now available!

I confess, as I write this, I'm a little dazed. It's been a whirlwind of a day. Book two of my Collector cycle, THE WRONG GOODBYE, is now available in print, ebook, and audio format - in the US and Canada, at least. Look for it (nay, pound on the counter and demand it) wherever books are sold. Or, you know, don't. But I'd prefer it if you did.

For what it's worth, I think this one's really, really good. But since there's a teeny, tiny chance I'm biased, here's a peep at what the ever-wonderful Elizabeth A. White had to say about it:

"Holm set the world on fire with DEAD HARVEST, and now he absolutely burns it to the ground with THE WRONG GOODBYE."

And lest DEAD HARVEST feel like the forgotten older sibling, supplanted by the new baby in the family, Angie over at Open Book Society was kind enough to give it a peek just yesterday:

"This book is everything I would want in the first of a series. It had action, romance, mystery, sci-fi, fantasy, and most importantly an awesome plot! I loved this book from the moment I read the synopsis to the moment I finished the last paragraph."

Thanks to Angie and Elizabeth both. Thanks also to all of you who took the time to hype my books today, or dropped a line to wish me well. You made this release one to remember.

Now, I do believe it's time to pour a drink. Tonight, I celebrate. Tomorrow, I get back to work.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Let the Authorial Freakout Begin

One day.

Just one day until the US release of THE WRONG GOODBYE.

If you want to pick up a copy, my website's got links: US and UK, big-box and indie, you name it.

If you want to learn more about it, you can read a nice, long excerpt here. Or check out my guest post over at the ever-lovely Elizabeth A. White's blog. (Thanks, Elizabeth!) And keep stopping in here; there'll be reviews and guest posts aplenty in the coming days, and I'll do my best to post them as they become available.

Hope y'all dig it. If you need me, I'll be hiding under my desk...

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Value of Free Redux

A while back, you may recall I wrote a post on the value of (cautiously, judiciously, and occasionally) giving work away. Today, a version of that post is up at Writer's Digest's Guide to Literary Agents blog, courtesy of Chuck Sambuchino. Thanks for having me, Chuck!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

CM Post and Twofer Review!

Today, at Criminal Minds, I'm talking about my sordid past (not really) hustling pool (really), and how that relates to my writing quirks or deliberate lack thereof.

Also, DEAD HARVEST and THE WRONG GOODBYE got a two-for-one review over at Untitled*United! Here's a taste of what they had to say:

"Two books in, and so far the Collector series hits plenty of high notes. These books are a lot of fun, very well plotted and expertly paced. They’re a great addition to the Angry Robot family of books, and they’ll make a great addition to your library."

Thanks kindly!

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Crimespree Interview

Dan and Kate Malmon, Crimespree Magazine's other dynamic duo (side-note: whaddup, Jon and Ruth!) were kind enough to invite me by for an interview the other day. And much to my surprise, my cat, Binkley, makes a cameo; you can check out my dubious mind-fruits and the accompanying cat-pics here. Thanks, you two! You're both aces.

Friday, September 07, 2012

When it rains...

Two posts in one day? Madness, I say! But it seems the day is flush with news 'o me. In addition to the Friday Reads/Crimespree contest I mentioned this morning, allow me to point thee toward these sundry other Collector-centric pleasures:

First off, Erin Mitchell was kind enough to review DEAD HARVEST, and had this to say:

"Because I knew author Chris Holm’s short stories, I knew already that he is a talented storyteller. If I’m honest, though, I underestimated his power to create characters and worlds that are as compelling as the one we find in DEAD HARVEST."

Benoit Lelievre takes a peek at DEAD HARVEST, too, and said:

"Chris F. Holm's pen reminds me of Stephen King's. Take note, fans of the legendary writer, you may have found a new champion in Holm... If you're shopping for a hot new series, look no further."

Finally, my main character himself, undead soul collector Sam Thornton, sat down with Erin for an interview, and thankfully she lived to tell the tale. You can read the result here.

Crimespree/Friday Reads Contest!

Wanna win cool stuff from the likes of Sean Chercover, George Pelecanos, Greg Rucka, Bill Willingham, and, um, me - not to mention free registration to Murder and Mayhem in Muskego, where you'll get a chance to meet many of those folks in person? Of course you do. So click here and get entering! And many thanks to Crimespree and Friday Reads both for including me.

Note: Crimespree knows not everyone lives near enough to Muskego to take advantage of that last prize, so you have to enter that one separately. No worries on winning anything you won't love.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

THE WRONG GOODBYE Excerpt and Review!

Thing the First: wanna read the first chapter of THE WRONG GOODBYE? Civilian Reader's got you covered. Click through to check it out.

Thing the Second: Sean Cummings, author of the forthcoming POLTERGEEKS, took a peek at THE WRONG GOODBYE, and had this to say:

"THE WRONG GOODBYE is everything that’s right about urban fantasy and one of the best books of the year."

You know, so there's that. Click through to read the rest.

Thanks to Sean and Stefan both!

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Civilian Reader Interview

Just a quick post to point y'all toward my interview at The Civilian Reader. Stefan, the titular civilian reader, was kind enough to invite me by, and asked some damn thoughtful questions. Swing by and see if I did 'em justice.

Monday, September 03, 2012

On Common Decency

Recently, the writing community has been rocked by a series of revelations surrounding the abuse of user-reviews by authors and other industry professionals, both to champion their own work (or, in the case of paid "reviewers," the works of their clients) and to denigrate the work of their perceived rivals. And a number of writers have responded with what I believe is a very thoughtful and right-minded open letter condemning such behavior, one whose contents I wholeheartedly support.

Now, I suppose I could, as some have done, copy said letter to my blog and sign my name to it as well to show my support for it, but a) I was not consulted in the writing of it, and would not like to foster any misapprehension that I was, and b) I occasionally fancy myself something of a writer; since this scandal is one that's close to my heart, I thought I'd spill some ink of my own on the matter.

First, a couple clarifications. This is not the publishing equivalent of inside baseball, of interest only to those who make their living writing, editing, or marketing books. This issue affects every single reader who's ever bought a book based on customer reviews or sales rank. Because what we're talking about isn't simply a couple petty pot-shots or fake-raves to soothe an author's tattered ego. The folks who're buying or penning fake reviews aren't faking one or two. They're faking dozens, if not hundreds. The more good reviews, the higher up the results list a book hits on a given customer search. The more bad ones, and the farther down the list it falls. And if there's one thing I've discovered in my two years of obsessively monitoring my Amazon sales-ranks (first for my self-released short story collection, 8 POUNDS, and now for DEAD HARVEST and THE WRONG GOODBYE), it's that the best way to sell books is to've already sold a bunch of books - or to've garnered a bunch of good reviews.

You drop your price, your sales go up. Your sales go up, you start hitting top ten lists. Top ten horror anthologies. Top ten hard-boiled crime novels. Top-ten cat-based mysteries. And reviews work the same way. Pick your favorite genre. Sort by best-rated. You find some fantastic stuff that way. And no doubt a couple hucksters as well.

My point is, these ratings are life-and-death for an author. And the people who take the time to leave honest reviews do the authors they support a great service. The people who slag authors, on the other hand - be they sock-puppeteers or simply folks who hate-read for sport (they're out there, believe me, and their naked vitriol sets them apart from those who legitimately write tough-but-fair reviews) - are no-shit taking money out of authors' pockets, and food off of their tables. But big-shot authors can afford it, many of the latter no doubt think. To which I say this: how many of your favorite authors are also reporters/doctors/lawyers/TV writers/whatever? Do you think it's because they don't find writing fulfilling? No. It's because as a whole, writers don't get paid nearly as much as most folks think. And that's part of what infuriates me about this whole scandal. Hate-readers assume authors are all rich. Fellow authors ought to damn well know better.

When I decided to make a go at writing professionally, I made a pact with myself. If I was to chase my lifelong dream, I was going to do it right. No schmoozing just to get ahead. No backstabbing or shit-talking. No public airing of dirty laundry. No lying, misleading, or double-dealing, no matter how minor. And sticking with it hasn't always been as easy as you'd think. As an example, early on in querying, I was fool enough to grant an agent an open-ended exclusive on my manuscript. They sat on it for months. In that time, other agents whom I'd queried expressed interest in reading it - one of whom, as it happens, now represents me. But I'd made a promise, so I kept it, gritting my teeth and asking if the others wouldn't mind waiting until I heard back on the exclusive. Damn if I wasn't tempted, though.

I confess, that pact has left me reluctant to solicit reviews from folks I know liked my books, because I felt like I'd be stuffing the ballot box; the closest I've come as far as I recall is generically encouraging folks to review authors whose books they've enjoyed. It's led me to insist my wife not review my books online, despite the fact that I believe her when she says she quite liked them. (In the interest of full disclosure, I suspect she's rated me favorably on GoodReads regardless, but, God bless her, she's never been one for taking orders from me or anybody.) And I have never, ever reviewed my own books at any venue anywhere. Not under my own name, nor any other name, nor anonymously, and I never will.

But here's the thing: my position is a personal one, and has no ties whatsoever to this scandal. Nor do I suggest the hard line I've taken is the right path; Lord knows I've been tempted to tweet, "Like my book? Kindly say so on Amazon/GoodReads/B&N/your nearest street corner!" And frankly, I don't think any less of folks who do. I've also never written a scathing review of another writer's work, even when I really, really hated it (yeah, it happens from time to time), but that's simply because I don't get anything out of tearing others down. I like to like things. And when I do review something, I put my name on it (or, on Amazon, my initials; my reviews appear under the name "CFH"). As for the stuff I read that ain't my thing, I tend not to bother, since it a) mostly fades with time, and b) informs my taste and hones my writing near as much as the stuff I love. On the rare occasion it's so bad as to offend, I set it down and never (publicly) speak of it again. If other folks that hate it do the same, stuff like it'll disappear without anyone having to be a dick about it. (Okay, I confess I've taken a couple joking Twitter pot-shots at latter-day George Lucas and Thomas Harris, but they come from a place of love. Jilted, tainted, squandered love. But I digress.)

If you ask me, the sockpuppetry and assorted skullduggery that's recently come to light is but a symptom of a greater problem: namely, the breakdown of civility that arises when people are free to conduct themselves anonymously, without fear of reprisal. Many comport themselves with class and decency whether speaking anonymously or not. But those who don't wreak havoc, and lead to rambling posts like these.

Please note that none of the above applies to serious, professional reviewers (be they big or small, print or online, paid or merely passionate). They are tastemakers and gatekeepers, and the vast majority of them have earned their post as such. In fact, I find it funny that the very user-reviews many thought of as their death-knell have only served to underscore their import. In an era of "FUKYEAHTHISROXXX" and "OMGsukk!" I'm grateful there are still proper critics out there who can contextualize a novel in complete sentences, much less convey their passion or lack thereof for a given work without unfair bias or hidden agenda.

I only hope they all dig mine. Because in case you haven't heard, good reviews sell books...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

CM: In which the science nerd drops some data...

The question of the week at Criminal Minds is, "Is social media a worthwhile tool for authors, or a huge waste of time?" Today, I throw in my two cents, complete with data. (Why yes, I am a huge nerd. Heck, y'all are lucky I didn't generate a graph. Next time, perhaps...)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Raging Biblioholism on THE WRONG GOODBYE!

So, listen. Raging Biblioholism liked my last book fine. But they had a quibble here and there, so one could hardly claim they were in the tank for me. Which is what makes their five-star rave for THE WRONG GOODBYE feel all the more earned.

Many thanks to said raging biblioholic for the kind review. And fingers crossed I've more to come...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

CM: Enough is Enough

Today at Criminal Minds, I'm talking sex, violence, and crossing the line in fiction. Pop by and check it out!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

THE WRONG GOODBYE Reviewed!

Paul Simpson over at Sci-Fi Bulletin got a sneak peek at book two of my Collector series, THE WRONG GOODBYE (coming September 25!) and scoops the world by publishing its first-ever review. Click through to see what he thought of it.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

My All-Time Favorite Musical Artists OF ALL TIME!

Today, I'm over at super-cool-music-nerd-extraordinaire John Anealio's blog because he was kind/foolhardy/evil enough to ask yours truly the question every music geek wishes/dreads to hear: who're your all-time top-five musical artists? You can read my answer here.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

CM: Sympathy for the Devil

This week at Criminal Minds, the topic up for discussion is a UK ebook publishers' defacement of classic literary works by adding in so-called "missing" explicit sex scenes. It's a cheap, tacky, classless cash-in, and I'm all for it. Stop by and yell at me!

Monday, July 30, 2012

"A Simple Kindness" at Crime City Central!

My short story "A Simple Kindness" (originally published in Spinetingler Magazine, and now available in my Kindle short story collection, 8 POUNDS) is up today in podcast form at Crime City Central, the new crime-fic venture from the fine folks behind the Hugo Award-winning Starship Sofa podcast series. Click through to give it a listen. Many thanks to Jack, Cher, Jim, Tony and of course my reader, Fred, for making me sound good!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

CM: Summertime Rolls

Over at Criminal Minds, I'm talking summer indulgences. Though after a still, sticky night that barely dipped out of the eighties, I'm kinda wondering what all the summer fuss is about...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Luddites Beware

Today's brief but tech-savvy update (which should be hilarious to anyone who knows me, since I'm suspicious of - and incapable of operating - any electronimajigs built after the year of my birth) is twofold:

Fold One
Those so inclined can find me (as well as such charming personages as Myke Cole and Anne Lyle) expounding authorily on the topic of ereader data-mining (which I'm assured is a thing) over at Mieneke Van Der Salm's blog. In all seriousness, the post highlights a fascinating topic, and is well worth checking out.

Fold Two: Electric Foldaloo (Er, The Foldening? 2 Fold 2 Furious? Yeah, I got nothing.)
The folks behind the Hugo-Award-winning podcast Starship Sofa have launched a brand-spanking crime podcast with a corker of a tale from one of my all-time favorite writers, Lawrence Block. You can check it out here. And be sure to pop in for later installments, one of which I'm delighted to announce will feature my short story "A Simple Kindness."

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Readercon 2012

Any of y'all out there headed to Readercon? (7/12-7/15 in Burlington, Massachusetts, in case this is the first you've heard of it. Reasonable rates for folks who're interested.) If so, and you'd like to meet, drop me a line. Alas, day job duties prevent me from attending for the full duration, but I'll be there Saturday/Sunday. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

CM: And they say it rots your brain...

This week at Criminal Minds, the topic is how to tackle the dreaded opening chapter. I weigh in with my thoughts today.

In other news, DEAD HARVEST got two 4 (of 5) star reviews these past few days, from Attack the Stacks and Raging Biblioholism. Click through to check 'em out.

Friday, June 29, 2012

"What's Your Deal?" Contest Winners!

Today's the day. 'Tis time to announce the winners of my "What's your deal?" contest, in which folks tell me what they'd bargain away their mortal soul for, and get entered for a chance to win one of three DEAD HARVEST prize packs! Details and the full list of entrants here.

Here's how the drawing worked, for those who care about such things. Each comment got a number. Numbers went into a hat. My lovely assistant, Katrina Niidas Holm, plucked three numbers from said hat all random-like and also didn't punch me for calling her my lovely assistant (yet), for which I'm grateful. And, without further ado, the winners are...

Becky LeJeune, who said: "Ooh, fortune for sure. Or better yet, a superpower that I can turn on and off at will, like invisibility or esp. Something I could put to use to make my own fortune thereby allowing me to do whatever I want whenever I want without worrying about bills :)"

Cindy Kershner, who wanted "the ability to go back in time (my lifetime in particular) and relive the good stuff. Most people would want to change the bad stuff (me too) but who wouldn't want to relive something?"

And Nick Korpon, who had this to say: "Without a doubt, I'd trade it for unlimited Fractured Prune doughnuts (made-to-order doughnuts in Ocean City, MD.) Ask Kieran about them. I think it'd be more than a fair trade." (Kieran, for the record, is genre-flouting mad genius Kieran Shea, who, if his prose is any indication, knows a thing or two 'bout deals with devils.

Congrats to our winners, and thanks so much to all who participated! Winners, drop me a line at chris[at]chrisfholm[dot]com with your mailing address, and I'll get your prize packs on their way.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

California Dreaming

In all the hubbub about my new book deal with Angry Robot, I nearly missed this gem of a 5-star review, from the Sacramento/San Francisco Book Review! Here's a snippet (click through for the rest):

"While written in a classic smoking gun, hard-boiled film noir style, DEAD HARVEST... is completely fresh and absolutely distracting. You won’t be able to put it down... a solid debut for a thrilling new novelist."

Thanks to Axie Barclay for the kind review.

Oh, and while I have you here, don't forget to enter my "What's your deal?"contest! Follow the link for details. In the time it takes to leave a blog comment, you could be entered to win one of three DEAD HARVEST prize packs!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Announcement and Contest

The Announcement
It's official: my robot overlords have picked up book three in my Collector series! THE BIG REAP is set to see the light of day sometime in 2013, following this February's DEAD HARVEST and September 2012's THE WRONG GOODBYE.

How psyched am I? Freakin' very. For one, THE BIG REAP takes a turn both epic and unexpected, and I'm pretty sure it's gonna rock. For two, you just know the cover will be mind-blowing. (Yeah, that's right: I mostly made this deal so's I could get me yet another kick-ass pulp cover. If I've got to keep cranking out crazy fantasy-noir adventure novels to get 'em, then so be it.)

The Contest
To celebrate today's announcement, I think I'll give away free stuff. What free stuff, you ask? How about three DEAD HARVEST prize packs, featuring a signed copy of DEAD HARVEST (The Collector Book One), as well as bookmarks, fridge magnets, custom DEAD HARVEST M&Ms, and whatever other crazy-ass DEAD HARVEST swag I happen to have lying around my house.

Who's eligible? If you're reading this, then you are. Period. End of story.

What do you have to do? Here's where things get fun.

See, my main character, Sam Thornton, is undead, damned to hell for all eternity on account of a deal he made with a demon to... well, you'll just have to read the book to find out what his deal was for.

What I wanna know is, what's your deal? If you were to bargain away your immortal soul, what would you want in return? Fame? Fortune? Supercool dance moves? (Right, like wishing for supercool dance moves wouldn't also bring you fame and fortune.)

So to enter to win one of three DEAD HARVEST prize packs, leave a comment on this post, telling me what your deal would be. If your comment isn't linked back to your blog/website/whatever, be sure to post your full name as well. The contest will be open from the second this post goes live to midnight on 6/28 (a week from now for those playing along at home.) Winners will be selected at random, so no pressure to be poignant/funny/smart/whatever, but if you post a particularly good one, I may well give you Twitter props. Feel free to enter as many times as you'd like, although when it comes time for the random drawing, I'll enter each person playing just the once. Check back 6/29 for the results.

So have at it, peeps, and try to keep it semi-respectable; this may not exactly be a family blog, but you'll get no bonus points for filth, and I reserve the right to delete comments deemed inappropriate.

Let the soul-bargaining begin!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

CM: Prose and Cons

The topic of the week at Criminal Minds is "Conferences: the good, the bad, and the ugly." See what I had to say on the matter here.

And while you're at it, pop on over to Book Snobbery and read their hilariously specific 4.1/5-star review of DEAD HARVEST! Here's a taste:

"Holm has obviously taken his inspiration from Hammett and Chandler, but put his own inventive twist to bring it forward into the 21st century... 4.1 stars, which may not be all the stars but is still pretty damn good."

Saturday, June 16, 2012

For the Birds

Crack author (and all-around good guy) Nigel Bird spilled some ink on DEAD HARVEST last night, declaring it "...a damned good read." Thanks, Nigel!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Of Earlobes and Corrals

Look: I'm gonna give it to you straight. I've been super-busy with the actual writing part of this whole writing gig lately, so time for blogging and tweeting is pretty scarce. (Also TV viewing, reading, and sleeping. Thankfully, regular bathing has yet to fall by the wayside.) And I just blew all the blogging time I have today trying to make a cheeky Raiders of the Lost Ark reference in the title of this post, to no avail, so I'm just going to leap right into the meat of the post with no cleverness to speak of. (Yeah, yeah: Whats' new about that? Shut up, peanut gallery in my head.)

First off, Bob at The Guilded Earlobe listened to the DEAD HARVEST audiobook, and had a good deal of praise for me and my reader, Brian Vander Ark, both. ('Reader of the ___ Ark'? Seriously, what rhymes with Lost and works there? I'm so close, it's freaking killing me.) Here's a taste (click through to read the rest):

"Dead Harvest is a wonderful blending of the supernatural with urban crime fiction and an exciting start to a new series...  Vander Ark gives Sam Thornton a gravelly voice that is an excellent fit for this character. Vander Ark manages to give the book the hard boiled feel of a [Dashiell Hammett] novel, while keeping up with Holm’s rapid fire pacing and elaborate action sequences."

 And second, Benito Corral took a gander at 8 POUNDS and declared "I cannot recommend this collection highly enough." I'd quote more, but damn if that ain't plenty to make me smile. Feel free to click through to check out the rest.

Many thanks to Bob and Benito. Now back to the word mines for me...


Wednesday, June 06, 2012

CM: We'll make great pets...

Over at Criminal Minds today, I invoke a long-forgotten post-Jane's-Addiction one-hit-wonder while pondering the week's question: namely, does my protagonist have a pet, and if not, why not?

I also shill shamelessly, carnival-barker-style for my appearance 2PM this Sunday at Flights of Fantasy in Albany, New York! Come one, come all, and be sure to swing by their site ahead of time for a chance to enter a copy of DEAD HARVEST!

Friday, June 01, 2012

In which the author is over the moon...

Locus Magazine, who've won like eleventy bagillion Hugo Awards.

Locus Magazine, in whose pages a K.W. Jeter coined the term "steampunk," way back in April of '87.

Locus Magazine, which no less a luminary than Arthur C. Clarke declared "the only periodical I read from cover to cover."

Locus Magazine knows that I exist. What's more, they actually liked my book.

There's no online edition, so I can't provide an evidentiary link, but here's a snippet of what they (or, rather, Carolyn Cushman) had to say:

"The Collector series gets off to a strong start with this noir urban fantasy, a very promising first novel."

You hear that? I'm "very promising." (Or, okay, my novel is. Shut up and let me have this.)

And as if that weren't enough to keep me grinning from ear to ear, I also got a very kind review from Ryan Lawler at Fantasy Book Review, in which he said this:

"Holm has created a fantastic world and I can't wait to see what happens next."

Thanks kindly, Ryan and Carolyn. 'Tis much appreciated.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Rave in Two Languages!

Karina at Nocturnal Book Reviews had this to say today about DEAD HARVEST (in two languages, no less!):

"I freaking loved this book! 9.5/10"

Click through to read the rest (and the Russian translation thereof.) Thanks, Karina!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

CM: Overbooked

This week's quetsion at Criminal Minds is, "What's on your bookshelf?" I offer up a pic that suggests the answer is, "Uh, pretty much everything." Then I take a peek at three new releases I'm dying to dig into, from the likes of Chad Rohrbacher, Peter Farris, and Owen Laukkanen. Click through and check it out!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Contest and Appearance

Upstate New Yorkers: On Sunday, June 10 at 2PM, I'll be appearing at Flights of Fantasy in Albany, New York. I'll be reading (quite possibly a never-before-heard sneak-auditory-peek of THE WRONG GOODBYE), signing books, answering questions, and giving away all kinds of random swag.

In addition, the good folks of Flights of Fantasy (with a book-assist from my overlords at Angry Robot) have conspired to give away two copies of DEAD HARVEST! All you have to do is shoot them an email sometime before the event and you'll be entered in the drawing, which will take place at the event itself. What've you got to lose?

Details for the contest and appearance can be found here. Hope to see y'all there.

Monday, May 14, 2012

BEAT TO A PULP: ROUND TWO Now Available!

You read that right, folks. The long-awaited BEAT TO A PULP: ROUND TWO is now available on CreateSpace, with an Amazon listing (and Kindle ebook edition) soon to follow.

BEAT TO A PULP: ROUND TWO features a stellar lineup of talent, including Charles Ardai, Bill Pronzini, James Reasoner, Glenn Gray, Patti Abbott, and many more. It also includes my ghost story "An Open Door," which is an homage to the wildly entertaining paranormal investigation series Ghost Adventures, as well as a kinda-sorta sequel to my award-winning short story "Seven Days of Rain."

So what're you waiting for? Order your copy today!

Dark Wolf Interview

Today, at Dark Wolf's Fantasy Reviews, said Dark Wolf Mihai and I sit down to chat about religion, DEAD HARVEST, and how my first ever short story got me sent to the principal's office. You can read the interview here. Thanks, Mihai, for taking the time!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

CM: When Slayer Meets Collector

Today's question at Criminal Minds is, "Who is the lovechild of your protagonist and favorite heroine?" My post, a birth announcement of sorts, is here.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Functional Nerdery

Last week, I sat down (virtually) with the lovely, talented, and dulcet-toned Stina Leicht, John Anealio, and Patrick Hester and had a little chat for the latter two's Functional Nerds podcast. We intended to talk writing fantasy-tinged crime. Click through and see how long that lasted before we went off the rails and dove headlong into religion (with a brief digression into the pernicious threat of Communism in barbecue.) Sorry, fellas (and lady.) Also, thanks. It was a blast.

Friday, May 04, 2012

A Short Update (because, you know, it involves short stories... oh, forget it; titles aren't my milieu today)

I know, I know, it seems this blog's no more than a news feed of late, but Day Job and Night Job leave room for little else.

So, excuses made, howsabout we just leap into the brief news-o'-me?

First off, I'm pleased to announce my short story "Pretty Little Things" will appear in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. When? I've no idea. That'll be fodder for yet another newsy update. But they sent me a contract and everything, so if it's a prank, it's a darn good one.

I couldn't be happier to be returning to the pages of Ellery Queen. It's a bit of a homecoming for me, since they gave me my first ever professional credit, way back in the Dark Ages of '07. Plus, any excuse to interact with EQMM's editor, Janet Hutchings, is a welcome one, indeed. Meeting her this B'con past was a highlight among highlights. And I'm quite fond of this story (which I wrote about a while back here); I think it may contain the best twist I've ever written.

In other news, Rob at The View From the Blue House has posted a four-star review for DEAD HARVEST, in which he says:

"Holm writes in an assured style with engaging prose... an enjoyable read that excels on premise and contextual construction."

Thanks, Rob!

Now back to the word-mines...

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

DEAD HARVEST Audiobook Now Available!

So it's official: as of today, the DEAD HARVEST audiobook is now available! You can grab a copy at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound, or Audible.com. Or just harass your nearest audiobook purveyor until they stock it. I won't complain.

The DEAD HARVEST audiobook is read by Brian Vander Ark, whom a good deal of you may know from his time fronting The Verve Pipe. (C'mon, y'all can admit to singing drunkenly along to "The Freshman" after your buzz soured senior year and you got all maudlin and nostalgic about that lousy breakup three years back. And while we're on the subject, no, her making out with your roommate and failing to return your dubbed copy of Throwing Copper is not almost as traumatic as the song's suicide, so stop whining.) Many thanks to Brian for taking the time, and lending voice to people who, until now, existed only in my head.

5/2 UPDATE: There's a clip up of Brian as Sam Thornton at the Angry Robot mothership. Check it out!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

CM: Sometimes, they come back...

The question this week at Criminal Minds is, "Which television character would you mourn the most?" Despite nods to Sydney Bristow, Ted Crisp, Joel Robinson, and Isaac Jaffe, I settled on Twin Peaks' Special Agent Dale Cooper, and Firefly's Hoban Washburne.

But wait, the nerdier among you might object: weren't they the lucky ones? Didn't they both come back post-cancellation?

Yup. Only you know what? Maybe they shouldn't have... (Click through to read.)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Quick Picks and Sneaky Tricks

A couple links before I'm off to toil away (happily, and thanks so much for the steady paycheck) at the Day Job.

First off, DEAD HARVEST is a quick pick at Naomi Johnson's The Drowning Machine. See what Naomi had to say here. Thanks, Naomi!

Second, Kirkus thinks my pretty, pretty cover is tricking people into buying my novel, and that's just fine by them. So there's that.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Fantasy Literature on DEAD HARVEST

Terry Weyna at Fantasy Literature took a long, hard look at DEAD HARVEST, and had this to say in her four-star review:

"Chris F. Holm’s first novel, DEAD HARVEST, is supernatural noir at its best." 

She probably said some other stuff, too, but I didn't much notice: I was too busy reading that aloud to anyone in earshot. You, however, are welcome to click through and check out the rest.

Thanks, Terry!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

30 Days of the 5-2: In which your fearless blogger confesses he's an idiot...

When it comes to kneejerk pop-culture responses, I’m wrong more often than I’m right.

That’s a tough truth to swallow, but the spoonful of sugar that makes the medicine go down is, finding out I’m wrong usually leads to the discovery of some vast, untapped resource of awesome for me to explore.

Allow me to explain.

When I was but a metal-minded kid, I thought the speed and volume with which a guitarist played was indicative of said guitarist’s talent. Then I happened across the intricate jangle-pop of Peter Buck and Johnny Marr, and suddenly, my music world got a whole lot bigger. (And yeah, my eardrums are still thanking me.)

A decade or so ago, when buzz started building about the writing going on at this hokey-looking teeny-bopper show with some seriously iffy special effects about a cheerleading vampire-slayer, I rolled my eyes. I mean, some disposable Young-Hercules-style schlockfest based on a largely forgotten flick that aimed for midnight-movie and missed? No thanks. But then late one night, when flipping through the channels (remember when folks still did that?), my wife and I caught the back half of an episode of Buffy without realizing what it was, and we were hooked. Now I’m convinced it’s one of the best series in the history of the medium.

My opinions on poetry, though, were made of tougher stuff than that – or so I thought. I mean sure, I dug The Odyssey, but who didn’t? And yeah, T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land was one of the prettiest things I’d ever read. And let’s not forget Dante – his Divine Comedy remains one of my all-time favorite reads, and in fact played a major role in the genesis of DEAD HARVEST.  But modern poetry? Modern poetry, I felt certain, was Simply Not My Thing.

Then Gerald So and cohorts started publishing beautiful, hard-hitting poems in print via The Lineup, and online at The 5-2. So, plate full of crow and humble pie, I once more happily changed my mind. That’s why when Gerald asked me to participate in his 30 Days of the 5-2 blog tour – in honor of National Poetry Month (which you totally knew it was, right?) – I of course said yes. It’s a great chance to showcase some fantastic writing – the kind of writing that might change some hearts and minds (provided those hearts and minds are as malleable and wrongly prejudiced as were mine). Writing like Stephen D. Rogers’ Reminder, which appeared on The 5-2 in November of last year:
While sweeping the porch
My broom handle hits
The outdoor chimes
Ding, dong, cling, clang
Dropping me into the rocker
Sadly in need of repair
Letting the broom
Thunk against the rail
She always slapped the chimes
When she came home
If her assailant did the same
It must have been
The last happy sound she heard
Tell me that didn’t hit you square in the chest. It did me. What strikes me about Stephen’s piece is how, in a span of fifty-seven words, he manages to conjure great depth of emotion – not to mention tell a complete story. I’m lucky if I can pull that off in five thousand.

Some writing I admire because it looks like mine, only nicer. Some I admire because it accomplishes something I cannot do.

I’m no poet. But it turns out, I’m glad they’re out there.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Hey Joe

Today, B'con 2011 gate-crasher extraordinaire Joe Myers takes a look at DEAD HARVEST, as well as Stephen Blackmoore's fantastic CITY OF THE LOST, and gives 'em both 5/5. You can check out his reviews here.

Thanks, Joe! Hope to see you this year in Cleveland...


Sabrina Odgen on DEAD HARVEST

Over at My Friends Call Me Kate, Sabrina Ogden is talking ex-beaus, unhealthy melon fixations (get your head out of the gutter, dear reader - we're talking watermelon here), and DEAD HARVEST. (No, really.) Here's a snippet:

"...damned or not, I’d let Sam Thornton snatch the soul from mychest any day of the week."

Thanks, Sabrina! Click through to read the rest.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Death and Taxes

Look, I know y'all are probably busy trying to find a way to justify writing off the contents of your liquor cabinet as a business expense (hint: if you're a published writer, no one's gonna question that), but howsabout you take a break and pop on over to Criminal Minds, where I'm talking about that other great certainty in life: death. Only, you know, all funny-like and stuff. C'mon, it's at least more interesting than a 1099 form, isn't it? ISN'T IT?! (Please say yes: I'm very fragile.)