Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Interview and Giveaway!

Today, I'm talking to the lovely and charming Kristin of My Bookish Ways about, amongst other things, my hypothetical soundtrack for DEAD HARVEST. And, as an added bonus, she's hosting a DEAD HARVEST giveaway; be sure to check it out! Oh, and thanks, Kristin, for having me!

Review and Guest Post

Wow. Launch Day was a whirlwind of Day Job craziness and Book Life wonderfulness, from which I've not yet recovered. Yet here we are, another day of both.

First up, The Eloquent Page lives up to their name with a marvelous review of DEAD HARVEST. Here's a taste:

"Fast paced dark fantasy that is likely to leave you wanting more. Be warned though, this is the literary equivalent of crack, and it is entirely possible that if you aren’t already, you are going to get hooked."

And second, Steve Weddle was kind enough to hand over the keys to Do Some Damage, so I'm over there today talking fantastical noir. Go check it out!

Now off to the poop mines...

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

DEAD HARVEST is Now Available!

I suspect my launch day's anything but typical. In fact, I expect I'll be quite scarce for much of it. No interviews or guest posts that I'm aware of (though God knows I've banked enough of them of late, I could be wrong). No scanning the internet for reviews. No biting my nails to the quick as I watch the stock-market rise-and-fall of my Amazon rank. In fact, I don't really have much in the way of plans; my official launch party is scheduled for a week from Thursday (y'all are welcome to come, by the by), and my wife and I aren't planning more than a pizza and a bottle of wine (the celebration dinner's gonna be next weekend). And the reason why's the Day Job.

I don't talk much about the Day Job, except in passing. But this week, the Day Job's full-on nuts. See, when I'm not writing, or reading, or annoying the neighbors with my spirited-if-artless renditions of cheesy '90s indie songs on my guitar, I'm a researcher at a biotech company that specializes in diagnostic testing for animal and human health. Our tests have helped diagnose cholera in Haiti, and treat rescue dogs at Ground Zero. I hear-tell our water-testing technology's used aboard the international space station. And when you take your pets in for their checkups, chances are, it's our tests your vet is running.

This week, we're working on a big project. Nothing earth-shattering or anything, just a potential tweak to one of our current products. The upshot, however, is that everyone in my group is buckling down to get it done, and yours truly is gonna be in the lab testing a whole bunch of canine fecal samples come release day.

Or, to put it another way, on the day I realize my lifelong dream of becoming a published novelist, I'll be elbow-deep in dog shit.

It's okay to laugh. It's pretty funny. I guess the universe wants to keep me humble. If so, it's working.

Anyways, I tell you this for a few reasons. One, if you don't hear much from me till after work-hours Eastern Standard, you'll know why. Two, Day Jobs ain't exactly oft-discussed amongst writers, but chances are, unless your favorite author's a bestseller, they have one. The fact that my silly stories pay some of my bills is astonishing to me, but I'm still a ways off from even considering writing them full-time. And three, I'm telling you because, for me, release day ain't about champagne, sales numbers, or celebrations. It ain't about a victory lap. What it is about is finally getting to say (and believe you me, it's something I've been dying to say for long before I had a title to slot in):

DEAD HARVEST is now available wherever books are sold.

Everything that happens after's simply gravy.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

DEAD HARVEST gets 5 of 5 Qwills at The Qwillery!

"Chris F. Holm's writing is assured and the world building is outstanding... The Collector series is on my must buy list."

Thanks, Sally!

Radio, Radio

If you've ever had the urge to hear me awkwardly exposit on the topic of writing, but couldn't make it to last year's Bouchercon, then have I got a deal for you. Tomorrow (Monday, 2/27, for those not lurking on my blog and feverishly hitting the refresh button in a desperate attempt to read just a tiny quantum more of my deathless prose) at noon, I'll be appearing on (professor, ace writer, fellow DMLAer, and possible conspiracy nut) Barna Donovan's Culture Wars radio show on St. Peter's College's WSPC Radio. If you'd like to listen in live, you can stream it here. And if you miss it, no worries: the show will appear in podcast form here. I imagine it'll be much like my own college radio show, except it's not on at four in the morning, I won't be pogoing around the audio booth like an idiot to Fugazi, and people will actually be listening.


The fine folks at Criminal Element were kind enough to let me sully up their blog today with my inane ramblings. The subject? James Renner's THE MAN FROM PRIMROSE LANE. Stop by and check it out!

My Bookish Ways reviews DEAD HARVEST!

Kristin at My Bookish Ways takes a peek at DEAD HARVEST today, and declares:

"4.5/5 ...DEAD HARVEST reads like a smooth shot of bourbon..."

Sure, she said other nice stuff (thanks, Kristin!) but c'mon, anyone who knows me knows I can't not choose the bourbon line for my pull-quote.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Word From The Front

A certain Mr. Bagley tells me he just bought a copy of DEAD HARVEST at a bookstore in Skowhegan, Maine. Yes, we're still four days from the official drop-date, and no, it's not terribly surprising that some folks have stocked it early. Still, this is the first known sighting of DEAD HARVEST in the wild, which, for me, is kind of momentous. If I'm being honest with myself (which I rarely ever am), telling stories is the only thing I've ever really wanted to do with my life. The fact that those stories will actually be read is just the icing on the cake.

Murder and Mayhem in Muskego 2012

Today, Crimespree announced the lineup for Murder and Mayhem in Muskego 2012. The upshot? I'm included, alongside a holy-shit list of writers that virtually guarantees I'll be geeking out the whole damn time. Click through to marvel at my luck. And hey, while you're at it, consider registering! It's gonna be one hell of an event...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Read the first three chapters of DEAD HARVEST!

When it rains, it pours. Criminal Element just went live with their exclusive three-chapter excerpt of DEAD HARVEST. Check it out!

Like Jimmy Dean, I Bring Thee Morning Links

I'll make this short and sweet, since I've got me a Day Job to rush off to:

First off, I'm talking about my writing rulebook over at The ITW's The Thrill Begins. Stop by and join the discussion!

Second, Chuck Wendig was kind enough to let me crash on his blog-couch, provided I answer a few questions. (And while you're there, be sure to check out his interviews with Hilary Davidson and Dan O'Shea!)

Third, DEAD HARVEST received 5 out of 5 Tentacles (!) from Amanda Guzman at She Never Slept. Here's a taste:

"Chris F. Holm has crafted a nicely dark urban fantasy with a truly unique protagonist, whose personality engages you no matter whose face he’s wearing."

Click through to read the rest, and thanks to Amanda for the kind review!

UPDATE: Now with Bonus Fourth Thing, and it's a doozy! DEAD HARVEST just won February's Cover Wars competition over at The Qwillery. Thanks so much to all who voted, and to Sally, for hosting such a fun competiton. Congratulations to my editor, Marc Gascoigne, who helmed the project, as well as Amazing 15, who executed it to perfection.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Guest Post and Glowing Review! (Now With BONUS THIRD THING!)

The news is coming fast and furious these days, so this morning's post is a twofer. (UPDATE: Make that a threefer! Like I said, fast and furious.)

First off, I awoke to a lovely review from Stephen West, who won an ARC of DEAD HARVEST in a Twitter contest not too far back. Here's a taste of what he had to say (click through to read the rest):

"Events come thick and fast, nothing is predictable, and the ride takes your breath away. In short, I loved it and I can’t wait to read the next one!"

Today also finds me over at Elizabeth A. White's blog, where I'm talking about Dante, DEAD HARVEST, and my conception of hell. Many thanks to Elizabeth for having me.

And (he hastily adds to the post, scant minutes after it went live) thirdly, Eric Beetner's talking DEAD HARVEST over at Criminal Element today! Pop on by and check it out!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Guest Blogger: Hilary Davidson

Y'all have heard me sing the praises of Hilary Davidson a time or twenty (most recently, a whopping two days ago, in celebration of the release of her sure-to-be-fantastic second novel THE NEXT ONE TO FALL.

Well, today, the woman herself was gracious enough to stop by and drop some knowledge. Y'all'd do well to take heed. (Heck, I'd do well to take heed!) And for God's sake, go buy a copy of THE NEXT ONE TO FALL! (And don't forget her marvelous debut THE DAMAGE DONE, now out in paperback!) Now, without further ado...

By Hilary Davidson

Photo: Trish Snyder
When my friend Chris F. Holm graciously asked me to stop by and guest-post on his blog, I thought I’d write a list of all the things I’ve learned since publishing my first novel. I was aiming for a “Top Ten” list, but it turns out that I haven’t actually learned ten things about publishing. It’s not that I haven’t picked up anything along the way, but it’s hard to proclaim that there are hard-and-fast rules when some things work so well for some writers, and not at all for others. The publishing business is both a little crazy and rather crazy-making. No one ever really knows what’s going on, except for the doomsayers — and while they make confident pronouncements, they’re often wrong, wrong, wrong.

Still, there are a few things I’m certain about. Here are all four of them!

The Writing Is the Main Act — Always

Writers are under constant pressure to market and promote their work. It’s easy to forget that your real job is writing; everything else is an afterthought compared to that. I don’t say this lightly, and I’m not demeaning marketing in any way. I know how I felt when I was promoting my first book, while still working on the manuscript of the second. My deadline for the new book was looming, and I knew I had to choose between promoting the first and writing the second. I chose the latter, which led to situations like me “attending” NoirCon but actually locking myself in my room all day to write and basically missing the conference. It wasn’t ideal, but it was the right call. Think of it like this: all of the time you spend promoting your work is going to be wasted if people don’t fall in love with your writing.

Hedonism Is a Virtue

I’ve confessed before to being a shameless hedonist. It’s pretty much impossible to get me to do something I don’t want to do. Life is short and there’s barely enough time to fit in all the things that I love, so why would I? Ironically, being so hedonistic has helped my work. It makes me focus on the things I’m passionate about and forget about the things I’m not. I love writing. Strange as it sounds, I love re-writing, too; it’s incredibly exciting to take the confused jumble of words and ideas that make up my early drafts and shape them into books and stories. My do-what-you love ethos affects promotion, too. I also love talking to people about writing, so I consider it a huge privilege to get to go out and talk to people about my books. When things feel like a chore, it’s hard to get motivated, but you’ll always find a way to fit in the tasks you love.

Keep Reading Fiction

While I was writing THE DAMAGE DONE, I didn’t read other fiction. I was so worried that I’d unconsciously transfer the voice of another narrator into my own, or that I’d make some other giant blunder. I know I’m not alone on this, because I’ve talked to other writers who’ve mentioned the same concern. Worse, I’ve been at conferences with writers who’ve said that they’ve stopped reading fiction, or that they find less joy in reading because of focusing on the mechanics of the writing. That thought depressed the hell out of me. What was the point of living out my lifelong dream of writing if it was going to destroy my lifelong love of reading?

The timing felt ironic, given that I was meeting so many talented writers at conferences and events and my TBR pile was threatening to crush me. When I started writing THE NEXT ONE TO FALL, I gave in to my craving to read short fiction, and… nothing disastrous happened. I still had a fear of novels, but at least I had a short-fiction fix. Then, as I started writing my third novel, I decided to read a novel, and it was a very pleasant surprise to discover that I’d reached a point where I could balance the story and characters in my head with those of another author. In a way, I think what started out as a practical problem had become a superstition, and I’m glad to be rid of it. If you’re having the same problem with reading fiction, don’t give up hope.

Your Friends Will Keep You Sane

Well, mostly. Or else they’ll go crazy along with you. Either way, it’s a win!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Cover Wars!

The Qwillery is hosting a month-by-month Cover Wars challenge, whereby readers get to vote on their favorite debut author covers each month. This month, DEAD HARVEST is on the docket. Each month's winner gets a pony a multimillion-dollar book deal a private moonbase the right to decide who lives and who dies bragging rights. And, dear readers, I could use a pony a multimillion-dollar book deal a private moonbase the right to decide who lives and who dies some bragging rights. So go! Vote! (Even if you don't vote for me. Which I still think you should.)

UPDATE: The lovely Sally Janin (master o' The Qwillery) tells me there is, in fact, a prize. I'm now fully prepared to go all Highlander on my competitors. THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

DEAD HARVEST Launch Party: Thursday, March 8 at Longfellow Books!

Dear Everybody Ever:

On Thursday, March 8, at 7:00 PM, the awesometastical Longfellow Books in Portland, Maine will be hosting an official release party for DEAD HARVEST. All are welcome. There will be food and drink and, you know, me. I'll be reading and taking questions and generally dancing for y'all's amusement. So if you're in the area, or if you're not but you're damn determined, feel free to stop on by. I'll be the one looking elated and uneasy all at once...

Happy Release Day, Hilary!

Today ain't just the smoochiest holiday of the year (apart from Arbor Day, that is; those treehuggers are an amorous lot), it's also the release date for Hilary Davidson's THE NEXT ONE TO FALL!

Hilary's already done a better job than would I pointing y'all in the right direction for guest blog posts, reviews, and the like, so I'll leave that to her. What I will do is tell you her debut, THE DAMAGE DONE, was an utterly fantastic read, and that I ordered this one the very second it came available. It shipped yesterday, and to my mind, it can't get here fast enough.

So yeah. Happy release day, Hilary! And folks, check out THE NEXT ONE TO FALL. If it' s half as good as THE DAMAGE DONE, it'll knock you flat. (Between you and me, my spies say it's even better. And since "my spies" in this case means my lovely wife, I'm inclined to believe 'em. Er, her.)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Grift Interview

Over at Grift Magazine, John Kenyon sits me down under a bare light bulb and gives me a grilling. And you know me: I ain't bright enough to lawyer up. Feel free to peep through the two-way glass and give our interview a gander...

Thursday, February 09, 2012

DEAD HARVEST receives four stars from SFX Magazine!

The newest issue of the venerable SFX Magazine hit newsstands in the UK today, and they saw fit to weigh in on DEAD HARVEST... to the tune of four stars! Alas, I cannot link to the review, as it only exists in the for-serious actual world, but here's a taste (with a hat tip to the fine blokes at Angry Robot for passing it along):

"The breakneck pace of the narrative, and the world Holm creates, make for a thrillingly brutal ride."

Not too shabby, that.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

I'm interviewed at BookFetish!

If ever you've found yourself musing about my latent poetry skills (or lack thereof), my writing process (or lack thereof), or whether there exists a book whose ending I would gleefully scratch out (hint: there is), pop on over to BookFetish to read my conversation with the hilarious and ever-charming Renee Fountain.