Friday, December 27, 2013

Super Best

Another groggy holiday post, another set of best-of mentions! They're just the thing to shake me from my Christmas-cookie-induced stupor.

The first of them comes courtesy of Jen Forbus, who included the opening line of DEAD HARVEST among her Favorite First Lines of 2013!

Next up, Vanessa Delamare named THE BIG REAP one of her Top Five Books of 2013!

And finally, over at Snobbery, SJ and Heather teamed up to name THE BIG REAP one of two Super Best Books of 2013 (alongside Justin Robinson's CITY OF DEVILS)! What's more, they're giving away copies of THE BIG REAP and CITY OF DEVILS; all you have to do is leave a comment naming your best book(s) of 2013. So what are you waiting for?

Oh, I know what you're waiting for: me to remember my manners. Many thanks to Jen, Vanessa, SJ, and Heather for the kind words! Now go. Enter. Win.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Oh, Henry!

I'm honored and delighted to report that Anthony, Agatha, and Mary Higgins Clark Award winner Sara J. Henry listed THE BIG REAP among her Best Books of 2013 in the Sandusky Register. Many thanks, Sara!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Big Top

I thought I'd take a quick break from all the decking and nogging to report that, much to my delight, THE BIG REAP has landed on a couple more year's best lists.

First up is Rob W. Hart's extended list of 2013 faves. Rob's the associate publisher at Mysterious Press, class director at LitReactor, and all around debonair man-about-town. His list is an extension of the top five he posted at LitReactor, and it's a damn fine one. I'm honored to be included among friends and literary heroes both.

Next up is Every Read Thing's Top Five of 2013. It includes books read in 2013, even if they weren't released this year, which puts me in the rather astonishing position of appearing between F. Scott Fitzgerald and Darwyn Cooke's adaptation of Richard Stark's SLAYGROUND. I'll admit, I'm stunned, confused, and all kinds of humbled to be in such hallowed company.

Many thanks to Rob and Brandon. I owe you gents a beer.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Some Year End Love

Today, Untitled*United posted a great review of THE BIG REAP, which you can read here. And to my delight, the Collector books have also popped up on a few year's best lists. THE BIG REAP was on The Passionate Foodie's Favorite Fiction Books of 2013. It snuck just under the reviewing wire at Untitled*United, because it made the Top Ten there as well. And Jade Walker put it on her Top Ten Favs of 2013, and gave both DEAD HARVEST and WRONG GOODBYE honorable mentions, to boot!

Thanks, all, and a merry whatever to each of you.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

All Due Respect Issue #1 is Live!

As the title says, All Due Respect, Issue #1 is officially live for Kindle, with a print version soon to follow. I'm honored to be their featured author; I contributed a brand new short titled "A Dying Art," sat down with Steve Weddle to talk all things writing, and also have the great pleasure of having my Collector series written up by the ever-incisive Elizabeth A. White. Throw in some great fiction from the likes of Todd Robinson, Renee Asher Pickup, Paul D. Brazill, Travis Richardson, Mike Miner, and Walter Conley, and reviews from editors Mike Monson and Chris Rhatigan, and you've got one hell of a debut. Get yours now!

UPDATE: The physical copy is now available, too!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

"Reflect what you are, in case you don't know..."

Yesterday, Scott Montgomery posted a piece at the MysteryPeople blog about Lou Reed's influence on crime fiction. It's a topic near to my heart, because Reed and those who followed in his footsteps changed the trajectory of my life, not to mention my writing - which is why I was honored he asked me to share my thoughts on the topic. I'm in rare company; also featured are such stellar writers as Reed Farrel Coleman, Megan Abbott, Josh Stallings, Todd Robinson, and Lisa Lutz, just to name a few. You can read the piece here.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Today marks the release of BEAT TO A PULP: HARDBOILED 3, in both physical and e-book form. Once again, award-winning editor David Cranmer and company bring the goods, with stories from nine of the finest writers in crime fiction today. I'm delighted to share space with the lot of 'em. My addition to the collection is a brutal little tale called "The Follow-Through," which first appeared on Beat to a Pulp's site a few months back. To find out more about the collection, including purchase info, see what David has to say about it on his blog.

Friday, November 15, 2013

An Interview and a Sneak Peek

Today, I'm over at the lovely and charming Vanessa Delamare's bilingual blogstravaganza, talking all things Collector (in English, thank God.) And in other news, the also lovely and charming David Cranmer has a sneak peek at a new project of which I am a part.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

BookPeople Interview

Scott Montgomery of Austin's BookPeople was kind enough to shoot some questions about THE BIG REAP my way the other day. I did my best to answer them. If you'd like to check out our discussion, you can do so here.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Murder, Mayhem, and a Mighty Good Review

Tomorrow, I make my way inland to that mythical land of beer, cheese, and motorcycles: Wisconsin. Why, you ask? To which I reply, BEER, CHEESE, AND MOTORCYCLES. But also, the sheer bookworld joy that is Murder and Mayhem in Muskego. It's one of the best events going, and the talent it draws (with the possible exception of yours truly) is first-rate. If it isn't already on your calendar, it ought to be.

But before I go, allow me to share a few words on THE BIG REAP, courtesy of Scott Montgomery (click through to read the rest of the review):
Holm has amazing skill when it comes to emotion and theme. The book’s meaning creeps up on the reader, without one fully grasping it until the last sentence. The emotions build as Sam’s well earned cynicism gives way to a slight sense of hope, if not trust. To Holm, even Heaven and Hell aren’t black and white. 
I’d love to delve more into THE BIG REAP, but what is so good about it is tied to its impacting reveals that serve as more than just plot twists. Holm weaves the ideas he wants to explore with his story like a master craftsman. He uses the subtext of hard boiled novels, making the text through urban fantasy a starting point to venture in less charted territory.
Scott's review is the kind that reminds me why I started writing in the first place. Thanks a million, man.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Two New Reviews!

Today, THE BIG REAP joins DEAD HARVEST and THE WRONG GOODBYE in getting the review and alternate cover treatment over at Blurb Hack; click through to see what Lorenzo cooked up for this installment. And at Just A Guy Who Likes To Read, the titular guy Josh takes a peek at the close of the trilogy as well. Thanks, gents, for the kind words.

Friday, November 01, 2013


Today, DEAD HARVEST and I are the subjects of the inaugural installment of BOLO Books' new Inter(Re)view feature, in which review and book-specific interview are combined. It's a fun idea that offers potential readers insight into the book a review alone might not. You can check it out here.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Double Feature: Blurb Hack, and Blurb Hack Strikes Back

Today's a twofer in the review department, because somehow the first one -- now a few weeks old -- sadly escaped my blogtention.

In Blurb Hack, Lorenzo Princi has one of the stranger book review sites going. Not only does he review a book, he also designs a concept cover for it. Now, as you're well aware I'm quite fond of my covers, but I think the idea's a fun one regardless; Lorenzo's designs (not just for my books, but for all the books he reviews) are minimalist, whimsical, and charming.

A few weeks back, he reviewed (and covered) DEAD HARVEST.

Today, he reviewed (and covered) THE WRONG GOODBYE.

Pop by and see what he thought!

Monday, October 14, 2013


Good friend/force of nature/fellow expat upstate New Yorker turned latter-day Mainer Julia Spencer-Fleming hasn't put a book out since 2011's ONE WAS A SOLDIER, but thankfully for all of us, that's soon about to change. The eighth book in Julia's bestselling, award-winning, and critically acclaimed Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne series, THROUGH THE EVIL DAYS, comes out November 5. Want to preorder? Miss the boat on Julia's books and want to start from the beginning? Lucky for you, all the links you'll ever need are just a click away.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Word Nerds Interview

Today, I'm over at The Word Nerds, talking to Stacie Penney about all things writerly. Stacie's a regular at Murder and Mayhem in Muskego, an annual event I'm delighted to be attending for the second year in a row. We touch on my favorite moment from last year in the interview. If you live within reasonable travel distance of the greater Milwaukee area, I'd highly recommend checking it out; it's one of the best book events going. Check the site for more details.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

The Story of Earl

I'll admit: I've been lax in the blogging of late. But today, thanks to a question in an interview I'm working on, I found myself thinking back on the tall tales my Papa used to tell. It turns out one I thought I'd written about here was actually included in an interview I did with Chuck Wendig way back in February of last year. The story seemed appropriate to the season with Halloween fast approaching, so I decided it to rescue it from archived obscurity. Chuck opened the interview by asking me to tell him a story, as true or false as I saw fit. I decided to tell him one that was true and false in equal measure...

My Papa Burns was a consummate storyteller with a wicked sense of humor, and there was nothing he loved more than winding up his grandkids, much to my grandmother’s consternation. Their house was on Earl Avenue in Mattydale, New York, and one of Papa’s favorite topics for grandkid-winding was Earl. Earl — according to Papa, and all my aunts and uncles who gleefully corroborated his story — was a gaunt loner of a man who once lived in an apartment above my grandparents’ garage. Earl was apparently quite the amateur photographer, but a horrible accident with his developing chemicals left his face irreparably scarred. Papa always intimated Earl was guilty of perpetrating great and terrible crimes against the children of the neighborhood, though of course he never told us what, precisely, those crimes were. Or, for that matter, how being a gaunt, disfigured loner who does unspeakable things to children leads to having a street named after you. But plot holes matter not to children. Not when presented with so juicy a story as Earl’s.

For you see, as the story goes, no one knows what became of Earl. Some say he died. Some say he was run out of town by the parents of his young victims. But not Papa. Papa was convinced that Earl was still up there, living like an animal in the ruins of his old apartment.

Did it occur to us to ask why Papa, a cop with a loaded sidearm and a litter of grandchildren forever underfoot, would let some creepy feral child killer/molester/photographer/whatever live in the attic of his garage? No, it did not. But it did occur to us to try to find out for ourselves whether Earl was still up there.

There were no stairs up to the garage’s second floor. There was no ladder. Just an empty square of darkness, framed by rotten four-by-fours and cut into the ceiling. The plan was simple: Me and my cousin Joey were going to lace our fingers together and hoist up our cousin Steph — the oldest of us at maybe ten, and therefore the tallest — so she could stick her head through the trap door and take a peek. Steph’s younger sister Sarah was in charge of steadying her so Steph didn’t tip over. And we’d find out once and for all whether Earl was still up there.

We found out, all right. We found out good.

When Steph’s head cleared the trap-door’s frame, she let out a shriek the likes of which I’d never heard. The three of us at ground level panicked, and we dropped her. She didn’t give us so much as a moment to worry if she was okay before sprinting, ghost-white, out of the garage. Instinct kicked in, and we three followed. When we finally regrouped, Steph breathlessly related what she’d seen: the scarred, pitted, anger-twisted face of a madman, just inches from her own. As if he’d known we were coming. As if he’d been waiting for us.

Once our initial fright had passed, me and Joey mocked her something fierce. In the protective light of day, far removed from the gloom of the garage, we were sure she was full of shit. Sarah, the youngest of us, seemed less sure.

But you know what? We never ventured into that garage again. And looking back, even knowing Papa’s stories were so much bunk, I’m half-convinced she saw Earl all the same.


Today, the lovely and charming Jen Forbus steps outside her comfort zone to take a peek at DEAD HARVEST, and declares it "...a stunning story of good versus evil... daring and thought-provoking." Thanks, Jen!

Monday, October 07, 2013

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Bouchercon 2013 Schedule

With Bouchercon fast approaching, I thought I'd make it easy on any stalker-types making the trek to Albany by letting you know where you can find me. The way I see it, it saves you a whole lot of aimless lurking. Besides, I wound up on some kickass panels (mad props to Jon Jordan and Judy Bobalik for putting them together), so I say let's fill some seats. Hope to see y'all there! (Remember, stalkers: pie good, weapons bad.)

First up, my panels:

Stop In Nevada
If the IRS asks, it's research: places we've visited, people we've met, and boneheaded things we've tried all in the name of a story
Friday, 9/20 
Room 3
3:10-4:05 PM

Jen Forbus (Moderator)
Lou Berney
Alafair Burke
Dana Cameron
Sean Chercover
Chris F. Holm


Careless Talk
What you say can be used against you: interacting with fans on social media and otherwise
Saturday, 9/21
Room 2
3:10-4:05 PM

Chris F. Holm (Moderator)
Marcia Clark
Joseph Finder
Lee Goldberg
Matt Hilton
Lisa Lutz

Next up, the lovely wife's panels (because anyone who's been to one of these things knows we're, like, dangerously codependent, so I'll likely be in the front row, possibly with pom poms.*)

How much romance is too much?
Thursday, 9/19
Room 4
2:40-3:35 PM

Katrina Niidas Holm (Moderator)
Laura Curtis
Linda Hall
Melinda Lee
Monette Michaels
Deborah Reardon


Don't Ask Me Why
My characters have a life of their own
Sunday, 9/22
Room 1
9:00-9:55 AM

Katrina Niidas Holm (Moderator)
Jessie Chandler
Jane Cleland
Sheila Connolly
Stephanie Jaye Evans
Julia Spencer-Fleming

*Pom poms depend upon Chris' level of intoxication.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Chinwagging With The Fox

A while back, Gef Fox and I sat down for a virtual chat about all things Collector-y. That interview is now live for your reading pleasure. Thanks for letting me crash on your blog-couch, Gef!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

An Unsquare Rave

I confess, I've been a little internet averse of late while I prep for my upcoming moderator-gig at Bouchercon next week (more on my schedule later.) So this review for THE BIG REAP at Unsquare Dance darn near snuck by me, which would have been a shame. Stephen, a champion of my books from the outset, declares THE BIG REAP "...the creepiest, pulse-poundingest installment of The Collector series yet." That, Stephen, is music to my ears...

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

The Library Police

A couple weeks back, at Killer Nashville, I had the pleasure of sitting down with The Library Police to record a podcast. (Old people: that's like a radio play without the radio. Or the play. On second thought, you know what? Bad analogy.) Said podcast is now live, and in addition to yours truly, features the likes of Clay Snellgrove and Logan Masterson. My segment's up third, about 24 minutes in, but the whole thing's worth a listen. Except maybe that weirdo up third, about 24 minutes in.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Out of Order

Today at Book Chick City, Collector-series newbie Jane takes a look at THE BIG REAP. Was she lost? Confused? Betrayed? Bewildered? Click here to find out!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Post-Con Catchup

This past weekend at Killer Nashville was a whirlwind tour of food, fun, and friends both old and new, with a little book-work thrown in for good measure. I managed to cram in three panels, a podcast, and more writer-nerd hallway conversations than you could shake a red pen at. To all I met/talked/broke bread/shared panels with, it was truly my pleasure.

And as an added bonus, THE WRONG GOODBYE was a finalist for Killer Nashville's Silver Falchion Award, alongside works by such talented authors as Hilary Davidson, Molly McCrae, and Sara Henry! In the end, Sara took home the prize, but we'll try not to hold that against her.

As I make my way, dazed and confused, back to the real world, I've got a couple links to catch up on from the Land of Me. First up is Gef Fox's review of THE BIG REAP. Here's a taste:

And Brandon Sears has posted reviews of both my short collections, 8 POUNDS and DEAD LETTERS, at Shelf Inflicted. See what he thought about 'em here.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Qwillery Interview

Today, I have the great pleasure of returning to The Qwillery for a chat with Sally Janin. You can read it here. Thanks for having me by, Sally!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Killer Nashville

Thursday, August 22 to Sunday, August 25, anybody who feels like stalking me and maybe hanging out a bit will find me at Killer Nashville. If you see me there, feel free to say hey whenever, and be sure to swing by my panels, too! The details of each are below. Bear in mind, times are subject to change slightly, so be sure to check the official schedule when you arrive.

My first panel is 10AM Friday, and centers on writing short fiction. Attendees will get loads of practical advice from the likes of Phil Bowie, Suzanne Berube Rorhus, Kaye George, Robert Mangeot, and myself. Between us, we've been published darn near everyplace that accepts short fiction, so we must be doing something right.

My second panel at 3PM Friday is focused on bringing settings to life. In addition to me, it features Philip Cioffari, Debra Gaskill, Sara J. Henry, and Molly MacRae. Our settings are as far flung as the Bronx and the Blue Ridge mountains, so I think it'll be a lively discussion.

And my third (!) panel, which is scheduled for 8:30AM Sunday, is on cross-genre fiction. I'll be joined by Karen McCullough, Kourtney Heintz, and Alex Hughes. It'll be fun to geek out with folks who, like me, play in more than one sandbox. So if boundry-smashing is your cuppa, drag your butt outta bed, mainline some espresso, and be there.

Oh, and while you're at it, be sure to seek out Hilary Davidson's panel Friday at 1PM about writing on the dark side, and Linda Rodriguez's panel on fiction from the fringes, Sunday at 11:20AM. They're both terrific writers, and the discussions are bound to be fantastic.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Three Thumbs Up!

Today, at Snobbery, Amy Durant looks at all three books in the Collector series, and gives them an unqualified rave! Thanks, Amy!

The Functional Nerds, Part Deux

Recently, I sat down with The Functional Nerds to tape two podcasts (Editor's note: podcasts are not, in fact, "taped"; Chris is simply an old man with a limited understanding of modern technology). The first of them, on horror movies, went up last week. The second (and no doubt more contentious) one, on art versus commerce, is up today. On it, John Anealio and I gnash teeth and rend fabric over balancing artistic fulfillment against careerism, and the dangers of creeping jealousy to creative endeavors, while Patrick Hester rolls his eyes and calls us babies. (Editor's note: Chris is exaggerating for dramatic effect. A little. In truth it was a great, and frank, conversation, so you should go listen to it and stuff.)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Crime Fiction with a Twist

Today, I've got a guest post up at MysteryPeople's blog, in which I explain how a guy known for crime fiction shorts winds up writing a fantasy series. (Disclaimer: I'm not bagging on fantasy. I love fantasy. I read fantasy. I just never thought I'd write fantasy. Shows what I know.)

Friday, August 09, 2013

Feeling the Love

One of my favorite sites for all things pop culture is The A.V. Club. They're a daily read for me, on account of their killer coverage of books, movies, music, and TV. So imagine my surprise when I woke up today to discover I got name-dropped in the latest installment of their weekly AVQ&A feature.

The question posed to their staff today was this: "What book or series of books should be made into a TV show?" And here's what Jason Heller (a kickass fantasy writer and Hugo-nominated editor in his own right) had to say:

"Chris F. Holm’s series The Collector—comprising Dead Harvest, The Wrong Goodbye, and The Big Reap—is something I’d love to see come to the small screen. [...] Technically it’s urban fantasy, but Holm has a great ear for crime-fiction grit and rich yet dialed-in prose. And Thornton is one of the most quietly gripping characters I’ve run across in a long time."

In other news of interwebby kindness, Scott Montgomery of Austin's BookPeople featured me on their MysteryPeople blog today, saying "Chris is a stand out among the new crop of rising crime fiction writers. His mix of hard boiled, humor, and poignant heart that you wouldn’t think would come out of the stories he’s telling set him apart."

Thanks to Jason and Scott both!

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Five Foxy Things

Forgive the brevity of this post, y'all, but I'm either in the throes of an epic allergy-induced sinus headache, or one of you is trying to pop my melon Scanners-style (in which case STOP IT)(ow I should not have shouted that).

Today, I'm talking five movies that inspired THE BIG REAP over at Crimespree. And a couple days back, Gef Fox took a peek at THE WRONG GOODBYE. Here's a glimpse of what he had to say:

"The blend of hard-boiled mystery and high-octane fantasy make THE WRONG GOODBYE a tremendous novel that surpasses DEAD HARVEST and sets a pretty high bar for the third book in the series, THE BIG REAP. If you like urban fantasy with touches of noir and pugnacity, you really need to check this series out."

Pugnacity. I like that. Thanks, Gef!

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Thursday, August 01, 2013

A brief transmission from the whiskeybunker...

So THE BIG REAP is out, and people are reading it. Which means I've retreated to the steel-reinforced fallout shelter buried deep beneath my backyard, where I will subsist entirely on ramen, whiskey, and the occasional nerve-induced crying jag until such time as the world decides I'm either brilliant, or a fraud, or possibly a brilliant fraud.

I am, however, dimly aware the world outside my whiskeybunker continues to spin on its axis. One bit of evidence for this fact is that the inimitable Scott Montgomery has gone live with his New Authors on Old Favorites feature on the MysteryPeople blog, in which I took part. The idea is, we writer-types pick a contemporary we'd like to see tackle a classic series character. To see my pick, click the link above. And while you're there, be sure to read Hilary Davidson's choice, as well!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

New Review and Mind Meld, Too!

This morning, Paul Simpson of Sci-Fi Bulletin tucks in to the literary delicacy that is THE BIG REAP, and declares it "A powerful piece of urban fantasy." Thanks, Paul!

Oh, and yours truly is featured in today's SF Signal Mind Meld, alongside such talented authors as Richard Kadrey, Lou Morgan, and Stephen Blackmoore. The question du jour is "What authors are on your auto-read list?" Click through to see what we all had to say.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

THE BIG REAP is Now Available!

As I type this, THE BIG REAP has been out in the world for going on twenty hours. I can't tell you how thrilled I am folks will finally get a chance to read it, or how bowled over I am by the support of my friends and fans on social media, who've made this book release one to remember. Thanks, all. It means a ton.

In honor of today's book launch, I embarked upon a BIG REAP Release Day Blogstravaganza (trademark pending). For those who missed the links flying fast and furious on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, flip the table and duck behind it, 'cause here come the bullets:
And honorary inclusion in my BIG REAP Release Day Blogstravaganza on account of its irrefutable awesomnity goes to Sean Cummings' video review of THE BIG REAP. Sean is the author of the wildly entertaining POLTERGEEKS, and a great guy as well, so his kind words carry a lot of weight around these parts.

Huge thanks to Steve, Mary, Stephen, Sean, and everybody who took the time to share a link or post a review. And, of course, to everyone who's bought the book. Without y'all, I'm just some weirdo with a head full of crazy stories. Actually, that's true either way, but make-believe's more fun with company.

Friday, July 26, 2013

A Frightfully Good Review

Today, at Jenn's Bookshelves, the eponymous Jenn Lawrence reviews THE BIG REAP as part of her Frightful Friday series. The verdict?

"Honestly, I don’t think there is a reader out there who wouldn’t appreciate the sheer brilliance contained within this series. Highly, highly recommended."

You can't ask for a nicer blurb than that. And the fact that it comes at the end of so thoughtful of a review is just the icing on the cake. Thanks, Jenn!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


The third novel in my Collector series, THE BIG REAP, drops one week from today. But for those who simply cannot wait, my publisher has excerpted the first 50 pages for your reading pleasure. So what're you waiting for? Go see what all the cool kids (and, um, me) are talking about.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Views, Both Re- and Inter-

Today has been a bountiful one indeed in the Land of Me, what with a new review and an interview hitting the innertubes within minutes of one another.

First, the review, which comes courtesy of CheffoJeffo, who scores THE BIG REAP a perfect 5/5, and bravely declares: "My name is Cheffo and I’m a Holm-a-holic."

And second, I once more got the chance to chat with the ever-charming Kristin Centorcelli of My Bookish Ways about all things Collector-y.

Stop by and give 'em both a read!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Books in Boothbay

Hey, Mainers (and/or people visiting From Away): Want to meet a ton of Maine authors, and pick up copies of signed books? Well, you're in luck. This Saturday, from 12:30 to 3:30, me and 41 (!) other Maine authors will be participating in Books in Boothbay, a free event where you can stock up on signed books until your heart's content. Everything from memoir to mystery to poetry to children's books will be available, so it's a great way to take care of all the bibliophiles on your gift-giving list in one fell swoop. Details and directions can be found here. I hope to see you there!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Grand Slam

Larry Killian of The Founding Fields reviewed THE BIG REAP today. Here's a taste of what he had to say:

"The end of a series is such a bittersweet moment with a series as great as this one... Holm has went 3 for 3 with a grandslam right over center field... an easy 5/5."

Thanks, Larry! Here's hoping there'll be more Collector tales to come.

Monday, July 08, 2013

A Tasty New Review

Scott at the delightfully named Being a Big Sandwich took an early peek at THE BIG REAP today, and he seemed to really dig it. Click through to see what he had to say, but be warned: beyond here be spoilers.

Every Read Thing Interview and Contest

Today, I'm over at Every Read Thing, chatting about all things Collector-y and then some. Pop by and give it a read!

And while you're at it, follow this link to the Giveaway tab on Every Read Thing's Facebook page and click like for a chance to win a copy of THE BIG REAP!

Thursday, July 04, 2013

A Bilingual BIG REAP Rave!

Today's review comes courtesy of Vanessa Delamare, who I had the pleasure of meeting at QuebeCrime last fall. You can read what she has to say, in English and in French, here. (Note: I'm taking it on faith they say the same thing. For all I know, she loved it in English, and then panned it in her native tongue.) Merci, Vanessa!

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

CM: Then We Came to the End

An announcement: today marks my last day as a regular blogger for Criminal Minds. I've had a blast this past year and change, and my fellow 'Minders have to a one been lovely and charming, but alas, it's time to move on. Today, for my final post, I'm talking titles.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Follow-Through

The first short story I ever wrote was a creepy little horror tale called "The Toll Collectors," way back in '05. It took a long and circuitous route to publication, thanks to a sleazy editor who accepted it and then vanished from the internet without a trace, leaving me unsure as to my rights. But eventually, in '09, it saw the light of day, appearing in a then-new webzine called Beat to a Pulp.

I didn't realize it at the time, but that credit would lead to a great friendship and rewarding creative collaboration with Beat to a Pulp's crack editor, David Cranmer. David's one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet, and his keen eye for talent has developed Beat to a Pulp into a force to be reckoned with. He's also helped to launch no shortage of careers, including mine.

Today marks my sixth story to be published by Beat to a Pulp. "The Follow-Through" is a nasty little slug of Maine noir. It wrote fast, and surprised me just a little come the end. With luck, it'll read the same.

And David, as ever, it's a pleasure to stop by. If you'll keep running 'em, I'll keep writing 'em.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

What It's Like

Every writer who puts fingers to keyboard or pen to paper fantasizes about what their life will be like when their novel's out there in the world. Heck, plenty of folks who can't lay claim to being a writer daydream about it, too. I should know; I've been both. As I've mentioned here before, I'm not one of those people who realized in second grade they were destined to be a writer. I came to it a little later, when my Big, Important Plans for life fell short of my expectations.

It's been sixteen months since my first novel was released. Nine months since my second. One month until the release of my third. Enough time, enough work, and enough words between me and HOLY CAPSLOCK I'M A REAL LIVE AUTHOR for the first flush of pie-eyed writerly romance to fade, and my life to settle into some semblance of a new normal.

So what's it like?

Honestly, vast stretches of my life aren't all that different. I still have a day job. It still pays most of the bills. I park the same car at the same house as I did before my books were published. Said house is a little messier than it used to be, because my writing output's increased considerably these past sixteen months. Some of that was by necessity; I had a tight deadline for book three, and I was determined to deliver it on time. But mostly, I attribute the increased output to the fact that I feel like I've been given my shot, and I'm determined not to waste it.

I will say I worry a damn sight more. Once your stuff is out there for all to read, it's put-up-or-shut-up time. So I spend my days thinking, am I promoting myself enough? Am I driving people crazy with promotion? Are my books selling? Are people liking them? Will I ever land another book deal? Should I have deleted that iffy comma in chapter seventeen? That political tweet I wrote last week?

And then there are those short bursts of utter insanity that underscore just how much has changed. A conversation in a limo with a literary idol. Knocking back drinks with a table full of old friends you just met. Reading to a packed house. Reading to an empty room. Fan mail from total strangers. Hate mail from total strangers. Signing books, which at first feels completely weird and wrong and oh by the way there's no do-overs if you fuck up the inscription. Getting your first bad review, and feeling like someone ripped your heart out of your chest. Getting your tenth, and finding it hilarious. Freaking someone out just by tweeting at them. Realizing that writer whose books you hate is the nicest person on the planet. Realizing that writer whose books you love is kind of a jackass. Realizing people feel the same in both directions about you.

Reading those last two paragraphs, you may be thinking, Christ, listen to the published author whine. Such is your right; one thing I've learned these past sixteen months is that by putting myself out there I invite folks to form opinions about me, well-reasoned or otherwise. But here's the thing: I'm loving every second of this. The highs are far beyond anything I ever dared hope for in my life. And the lows are the sorts of lows real, live published authors feel. Sure they suck. But in a way, they're better than the vast beige middle of doing nothing.

It's a hoary old saw that college is the best time of your life, but there's a kernel of truth in that statement. Thing is, it's no more than half-right at best. For many people, college is the wildest, most challenging, most emotional time of their lives, before they settle into the long, hard slog of adulthood. It's the best and worst life has to offer all rolled into one deliciously melodramatic package.

That's what the writing life is like. Thrilling. Gutwrenching. Wonderful. Horrible.

But damn, if it ain't living.

Another BIG REAP Rave!

The fellas at The Founding Fields have been champions of my Collector series from the get-go, for which I'm quite grateful. Many of their staff reviewers have taken a crack at reviewing my prior books, and I have reason to believe they'll do so again for THE BIG REAP.

The first such review comes courtesy of Bane of Kings, who I'm delighted to report gave THE BIG REAP a perfect 5/5! You can read his review here. I can't tell you how happy I am folks who've stuck with me from the get-go are digging this book, because believe you me, I didn't exactly play it safe.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

THE BIG REAP at Every Read Thing

Brandon at Every Read Thing went live with his review of THE BIG REAP today, and he declares it "...a real blast to read... Holm's finest work yet." Thanks, Brandon! Far be it from me to quibble.

Monday, June 24, 2013

In which I am discovered...

There's a fantastic blog post up at Insatiable Booksluts today about how readers discover authors, and I'm delighted to report that I'm one of the authors discussed. In part because it's simply nice to be discovered, and in part because I sometimes worry my aversion to the hard sell means I'll get drowned out by the carnival barkers who dominate so much of social media. It's cool to realize I can hang out and shoot the shit with cool folks about stuff we like, and wind up selling some books along the way.

The fact I get mentioned in the same breath as NFL-kicker/gay-rights-advocate/winner-of-the-internet Chris Kluwe is just the icing on the cake.

Raging Biblioholism on THE BIG REAP

This morning, I woke to a brand spankin' review of THE BIG REAP, courtesy of Andrew at Raging Biblioholism. He, um, loved it:

Thanks, Andrew, for the kind review!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

CM: Shelf Help

The question of the week at Criminal Minds is, "Whose work can you not read while writing your own?" My answer's up today.

Friday, June 14, 2013

In which the author finally exhales...

If you're reading this, chances are you know the third book in my Collector series, THE BIG REAP, comes out soon. July 30, to be precise. It's the longest in the series by a damn sight, and the most ambitious as well. Of course, ambitious ain't the same as good, so when advance copies were made available this week, I started sweating its reception something fierce.

Its first review went live today over at Snobbery, and I'm delighted to say it's the kind of review authors would gladly give a pinkie for. Here's a taste (click through to read the rest):

"You know those books that you want to tell everyone to read, but when asked to describe what they’re about, you kind of draw a blank because even tiny details venture into spoiler territory? Chris F. Holm’s third book in The Collector series, THE BIG REAP, is one of those books."

Thanks, SJ, for the kind words. You made my day.

First the argument, then the booze...

My last post, if you cast an eye toward the comment section, proved quite the pot-stirrer (in a good way, I think), so it's only fitting this one is as frivolous and hedonistic as can be. Today, I'm partaking in oenophile/author/foodie blogger Richard Auffrey's Authors, Alcohol, and Accolades feature, in which Wesley Chu, Zachary Jernigan, and I discuss our favorite libations. Stalkers take note, if you ever feel like delighting me with a bottle at a signing.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Only One Rule That I Know Of

Recently, the science fiction and fantasy community has been embroiled in a heated debate over the treatment of women both on and off the page. It was triggered, in part, by the cover pictured above, which appeared on the official Bulletin of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Many members of the SFWA objected to the image on the grounds that its regressive depiction of an outmoded female archetype does both our genres and our organization a great disservice.

I'm one of them. And if you read my contribution to this week's SF Signal Mind Meld, you'll know why.

I don't want to spill a lot of ink on this issue or the tumult it has caused within the community, because at root, there's nothing to debate. Not that that's stopped either side from lobbing their respective intellectual clunkers at one another. To wit:

  • Your First Amendment rights do not, in fact, preclude you from criticism for slinging sexist bullshit, and if you think they do, you might consider shutting up for however long it takes you to reread said amendment.
  • When you tell people to buy more books by women authors, you're making books by women authors sound like fungible commodities, which in turn reduces those authors to human vessels for their naughty bits just as surely as the side you're trying to rail against. What I think you mean is "Endeavor to read widely," which is, in itself, problematic, because who are you to tell people what to read?

It seems to me the only position out there worth a damn is to try your best to treat people equitably off the page, and to create fully-fleshed characters on it. Or to distill the point down further, I defer to the inimitable Kurt Vonnegut, who seems to've already said anything I've ever tried to say worth saying, only better:
Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you've got about a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- God damn it, you've got to be kind.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

The Big 500

Hmm. It would seem this is my 500th blog post. Kinda wish I'd hung some streamers or something. Alas, it's naught but a quick link update. Maybe 501 will be chock full of big haps.

Today's my day to post at Criminal Minds; I'm talking about the realities of writing while holding down a day job.

And Brandon Sears at Every Read Thing takes a look at my first short collection, 8 POUNDS. Thanks for giving it a read, Brandon!

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to blow out these candles and dish up some 500th-post cake. Then it's into the rented Moon Bounce for me.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

"Pretty Little Things" Now Available!

The July 2013 issue of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, featuring my short story "Pretty Little Things," is on shelves now!

Most of my short stories are long-gestating affairs of nebulous origin; they kick around inside my head until I get sick of 'em rattling around, and put them down on paper to get them out. Not so "Pretty Little Things." The tale was inspired by an odd phone call, and my ensuing attempt to figure out from whence it came. Turnaround from precipitating event to finished story was 48 hours. And I daresay it's one of the best shorts I've ever written. I'm delighted Janet Hutchings thought it worthy of EQMM's pages, and pleased to see it running alongside the likes of Twist Phelan and Bill Pronzini. I hope you folks dig it, too.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

CM: Lost in a Good Book

Which fictional sleuth's world would you most like to inhabit? That's the topic at Criminal Minds this week, and today I offer up my (slightly left-field) selection.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

"The Well" Revisited

Today, I'm over at the ever-charming Sabrina Ogden's blog, talking about my short story "The Well" as part of her blog series dedicated to the stories included in the FEEDING KATE charity anthology. Thanks for having me, Sabrina!

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

CM: If you wanna find hell with me...

At Criminal Minds this week, the topic involves our protagonists' mothers. I think the idea was to write something sweet for Mother's Day. If so, I missed the mark, because the closest thing Sam's got is Lilith. Hints about THE BIG REAP abound. There may also be some gratuitous Glenn Danzig, on account of he's the source of my post's title.

Monday, May 06, 2013


Over at Every Read Thing, Brandon Sears (an avowed short story skeptic) dives into my new short story collection, DEAD LETTERS, and declares:
"At the risk of sounding like a fanboy, I can’t get enough of Mr. Holm’s work. Between his Collector series and now this short story collection, he’s an author that everyone should be looking out for..."
Thanks, Brandon, for the kind words! DEAD LETTERS is available here for your Kindle or Kindle app.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Happy Book Release, Dan O'Shea!

Today, Dan O'Shea's much-anticipated debut novel, PENANCE, is available in stores the US over, and on ereaders worldwide. I was lucky enough to get an early peek at it, and here's what I had to say:
“PENANCE is a rare novel, at once staggering in scope and achingly human. A brutal, white-knuckled tale of betrayal and redemption in which the sins of the fathers are laid upon their children tenfold, O’Shea’s astonishing debut delivers pulse-pounding thrills and the beating heart to match. Fans of Le CarrĂ© and Lehane had best take note.”
You want a copy? (Let me field that one for you: you want a copy.) Click here to find out where. Or march into your local indie and demand they order a copy or ten. That way, when Dan blows up huge, they can say they saw it coming.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Every Read Thing Guest Post

A while back, Brandon at Every Read Thing asked me by to talk about short stories that've stuck with me over the years. Poor guy had no idea the can of worms he was opening. But I managed to get my list down to eight (okay, maybe nine, depending on how you count), featuring the likes of Chandler, Poe, Lovecraft, and Powers, as well as newer stories by Hilary Davidson, Stuart Neville, and Steve Weddle. And in the comments section, I've posted links to (legally) read a bunch of my picks!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Collector Double-Whammy!

Jeff at CheffoJeffo posted a great double-review of DEAD HARVEST and THE WRONG GOODBYE for your reading pleasure. You can read it here. (Spoiler alert: he liked 'em.)

Thanks, Jeff, for the kind words! Oh, and fear not: you'll find out about that cat soon enough...

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

CM: Best Laid Plans

Today at Criminal Minds, I channel my inner Dexter to ponder the question, "When you come up with a brilliant fictitious murder, are you just a little bit frustrated that you can't actually off some jerk?" Click through if you dare. (Editor's note: Dare away. Chris' inner Dexter is apparently a mamby-pamby peace-loving wuss.)

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Monday, April 01, 2013

My Spine, It Tingles

Well, ladies and gentleman, it's that time of year again: voting for the Spinetingler Awards is now open! I'm delighted to say that not only did DEAD HARVEST garner a Best Cover nomination (more the doing of Marc Gascoigne and Martin Stiff than I, but still, I'll take it), but two anthologies in which I appear (BEAT TO A PULP: ROUND TWO and SHOTGUN HONEY PRESENTS: BOTH BARRELS) are nominated as well!

Congrats to all the nominees. Now go get voting!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

CM: Cut It Out

The question of the week at Criminal Minds reads as follows:
"How often do your personal interests (hobbies, sports, restaurant preferences) find their way into your books as your characters’ interests?"
My answer? As little as possible. Click through to find out why.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

CM: [Untitled]

This week at Criminal Minds, we're talking writing superstitions. Well, the others are, at least. Me? I'm using my post to break free of my only one. Check it out here.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Eh. Who needs cred?

Today, at Crimespree's blog, I talk about the real star of my fiction-writing show (in her own mind, at least): my cat Binkley. The piece is my contribution to the twin traditions of cats in crime fic and on the interwebs. Also, awww. (What? Raymond Chandler freakin' adored his cat. Look it up.)

Friday, March 08, 2013

Short Post, Long Tail

Looking at my calendar, I realize today marks one year exactly since my launch party for DEAD HARVEST. And my, what a year it's been. These past twelve months have been so action-packed, in fact, it seems like a lifetime's passed, which is why I'm psyched (and a teeny tiny bit surprised) to see folks are still finding their way to my humble little series debut.

The latest review for DEAD HARVEST comes courtesy of writer/reviewer/bookseller Josh Cook, who, at his blog In Order of Importance, declares the book "Like the good Die Hard. With demons." (Welcome to the party, pal!)

And in other DEAD HARVEST news, author Erik Arneson declares it one of his Favorite Five Books of 2012. High praise, indeed, when one considers the caliber of the other four.

So thanks to Josh and Erik both, and thanks to all of y'all for making this past year one to remember. Fingers crossed there's plenty more kickassery ahead.

Saturday, March 02, 2013


For a limited time, my Kindle collection DEAD LETTERS (which features my Anthony-eligible short "The Putdown") is available for just $0.99!

To hell with secret ballots...

Well, fellow B'con attendees, the time is upon us to make our nominations for this year's Anthony ballot. And while I can't speak to whether anything I've penned is deserving, I can at least tell you what I've written that's eligible, and for what category.

Best First Novel
DEAD HARVEST (Angry Robot Books, February 2012)

Best Paperback Original
THE WRONG GOODBYE (Angry Robot Books, September 2012)

Best Short Story
"The Putdown" (Grift Magazine, March 2012)
"Not Forgotten" (SHOTGUN HONEY PRESENTS: BOTH BARRELS, October 2012)
"The Great Plains" (MURDER AND MAYHEM IN MUSKEGO, November 2012)

 But it's a whole big world out there, folks, and I'm far from the only game in town. Those of you with ballots are allowed to nominate up to five works each in a variety of categories, provided those works came out in 2012. And since it's tough to keep track of what books/stories/whatever are eligible for a given category, I'm throwing open the comments section for fans and writers to put their recommendations (and/or their own stuff) out there. Just be sure to include the category for which the work is eligible. The complete list of categories is as follows:

Best Novel (hardcover book)
Best First Novel (debut book, either hardcover or paperback original)
Best Paperback Original (first published as trade or mass market paperback)
Best Short Story
Best Critical Nonfiction Work

So have at it! Toss out some suggestions!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

On Agents, or the Lack Thereof

Sunday, September 11, 2005.

That's the day this blog went live. At the time, I had no web presence, no writing credits. Though I didn't know it yet, I was still a year out from the completion of my first novel (nearly seven years before a book of mine would see the light of day), and thirteen months from my first short story acceptance. I thought back then the novel would take a few more weeks at most to finish. And, having that very weekend finished writing my first short story ("The Toll Collectors," which didn't see the light of day until '09), I assumed my first publishing credit was imminent.

In short, I was an idiot.

But there was one thing I was right about that fateful day in 2005. Here's how I ended my first post:
"What, you might ask, does it take to be a working writer? Stick around -- maybe we'll both find out."
Since then, this space has served as record for every triumph, every milestone, and even the occasional speedbump on my winding path to publication. (The speedbumps, for the record, have been far more frequent than this blog may suggest, but I'm not one to revel in my misfortunes. I've been lucky enough in life that doing so might well piss people off.) Short story credits. Query woes. Landing an agent. Winning awards. Losing awards. Shelving that first novel after three years' worth of shopping. Writing a new novel. Shopping it. Selling it, and then two more. Reviews. Releases. A book tour. The whole nine.

My writing life, writ large for all to see.

Well, most of it, at least. See, the difficulty with blogging about one's writing life is, the farther one progresses, the more complicated it becomes to decide what can, or should, be shared. Back in '05, the only person affected by my blogging was me. Now what I say can affect contracts, publishers, editors, booksellers, agents, and what have you. That can, and should, and does, give a blogger pause. Which is to say, I've gone back and forth as to whether I should write this post. But ultimately, it proved too big a milestone for me to let pass unremarked upon.

A few weeks back, my longtime agent and I parted ways.

The specific details as to why are unimportant. Suffice to say that it was my decision, and that said decision was borne of differences in goals and strategy -- and of the direction my muse is taking me -- rather than any animosity or ill-will. The split was amicable, and I continue to hold both she and the agency in the highest of regard. The fact that I'm not including names here is simply a function of the search-engine world in which we live; a good agent ought not have her internet presence gunked up by what might be perceived by someone unacquainted with the business as a knock against her, particularly when it's not intended as such.

So what comes next? I'm not sure. I just sent one novel to an editor-friend of mine, and I've got another I'm putting a final polish on before I once more begin the query process. As for where it, or I, will end up...

Stick around -- maybe we'll both find out.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

CM: To the Extreme

Today at Criminal Minds, I tackle the question, "Is there anything off-limits to you in your own writing?"

Also, Marion at Fantasy Literature takes a look at THE WRONG GOODBYE, and declares it "Another fine example of supernatural-noir." Thanks, Marion!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

CM: Shortchanged

This week at Criminal Minds, the question we're tasked with is, "How do you know if an idea is a novel or a short story? How do you know if it has 'legs' as a long work?" You can read my take on the topic here. (Hint: it involves dinosaurs.)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

DEAD LETTERS gets its first review!

SJ over at Snobbery was kind enough to take a look at my new short story collection, DEAD LETTERS. Here's a taste (click through to read the rest):

"As with the rest of his work, this author is quite adept at blending the humorous with the horrific, and nearly everything in between... I’ve had a hard time picking a favorite, or even one that I’d tell you all you HAD TO READ RIGHT NOW, ZOMG! because really… I just want to recommend them all."

Thanks, SJ, for the kind words! For those who'd like to check out DEAD LETTERS, it's currently available for Kindle (and Kindle UK, not to mention everywhere else Amazon peddles their wares.) I hope to have it up in other formats in the weeks to come.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Hangin' with Jen Forbus

Today, I'm over at the inimitable Jen Forbus' blog, partaking in her Five on Friday interview series. You can read it here. And if you haven't already, bookmark the site while you're at it; Jen's good people, and her coverage of the mystery world is nothing short of stellar.

Thursday, February 07, 2013


As I type this, my new short story collection, DEAD LETTERS, is now officially available Kindle (and Kindle app) users worldwide. I hope y'all dig it.

DEAD LETTERS features my Anthony-nominated novella "The Hitter," which first appeared in Needle and was selected for THE BEST AMERICAN MYSTERY STORIES 2011; my homage to the comedic capers of Donald Westlake, "Action," which ran in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine; a creepy little horror-meets-adventure-pulp tale about infectious cannibalism along the Amazon called "A Native Problem," originally from BEAT TO A PULP: ROUND ONE; and (cue echo effect) A BRAND NEW, NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN story called "One Man's Muse," which answers the question of what happened to the modest little double-wide in Hermon, Maine Stephen King lived in when he wrote CARRIE and 'SALEM'S LOT. Oh, and there's five more tales in there to boot. (I was gonna throw in a set of steak knives and a Garden Weasel, too, but something went buggy on the upload, so nine stories'll have to do.) You can get 'em here:

For those of y'all who'd like a copy, but don't feel like cowing to our evil Bezos overlord, have patience. I hope to convert it to other (i.e. non-Amazon) e-formats in the near future. If it goes well, I may even try my hand at uploading 8 POUNDS in other formats, too. (If it goes poorly, you'll probably know on account of all the cursing and rending of fabric drifting through your open window from the general direction of Maine. E-formatting is a bitch.)

Enjoy. Be kind. And if you like it, feel free to say so: in a review, to a friend, with pie (I'm partial to pumpkin, but in matters of baked deliciousness, I am not picky), however you wish. And as ever, thanks for reading; y'all are aces. I  couldn't (and wouldn't, and probably shouldn't) do it without you.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

A Review, and Some Release-Day Pimpage

Brandon at Every Read Thing posted his review of THE WRONG GOODBYE today. You can read it here.

And in other news, today is Stephen Blackmoore's release day for his fantastic DEAD THINGS. If you dig my stuff, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Every Read Thing Interview

I recently sat down (virtually) with Brandon of Every Read Thing to talk all things Collector-y, and today, that interview is live. You can check it out here. Thanks, Brandon, for having me!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Breakfast Links

This morning brought more choice links than Jimmy Dean. (Okay, one of 'em went up this weekend, and anyway, I'm pretty sure I recycled this joke from a prior post, but whatever; just go with me on this.) Here's what's new in the land of me:

DEAD HARVEST gets a rave from SF Book Reviews! Here's a taste: "It is a very fast paced novel, with plenty of action, superb characters, deception and mystery all the way through. I highly recommend Dead Harvest, and I’m looking forward to the next in what should be a superb series."

Book Chick City selects THE WRONG GOODBYE as one of their Top Five Books You Should Be Reading Right Now!

And last, but certainly not least, FEEDING KATE, a stellar anthology benefiting the Lupus Foundation that features a reprint of my short "The Well," is now available on Amazon! Check it out and help a good cause in the process.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

SF Signal Mind Meld

For those who haven't seen it, SF Signal has a great recurring feature called Mind Meld in which they pose the same question to a host of fantasy and science fiction authors. Today, I participated in my second of them (alongside Mary Robinette Kowal, Lee Battersby, Paul Kemp, and many more), this one on the topic of how SFF has influenced my life. You can read it here. And if you missed my first a few months back on the topic of heroes, feel free to check that out as well.

Monday, January 21, 2013


Today wasn't supposed to be a good day.

See, as I write this, I'm home sick from the day job. That flu that's been going around? HOLY HELL I HAZ IT. Been laid up for going on a week. But once the morning's NyQuil-haze abated, and I fired up the ol' computer over my morning cup of cough-medicine, my whole day changed.

DEAD HARVEST made the preliminary ballot for a Best First Novel Stoker.

When I was a kid, I read a ton of Stephen King. But once I burned through his whole back catalog, I needed fresh blood to quench my thirst. King, you may recall, won the first ever Stoker for Best Novel back in '87 (in a tie, says Wikipedia, with Robert R. McCammon), which is what sparked me to mine their nominations to stock my to-be-read pile. And with past nominees like Koontz, Powers, Straub, Gaiman, Rice, Harris, Bradbury, Carr, Ketchum, and Oates (just to name a few), they've never steered me wrong.

The fact that I might one day be in the running for a Stoker never crossed my mind.

To be clear, I'm not nominated yet. "Nominee" is only bestowed among those who make the final ballot. Fingers crossed I do.

Thanks to all who got me this far. It means a ton. And to any friends out there who happen to belong to the Horror Writers Association, I'd very much appreciate your support.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Look, Ma, I'm a Bestseller!

Yesterday, Longfellow Books released their list of Top 100 Bestsellers of 2012, and I'm delighted to report DEAD HARVEST was on it, slotting in at #69. The stalkeriest amongst you might recall I had my DEAD HARVEST release party at Longfellow. They're a fantastic indie bookstore, well worth checking out, and I look forward to getting back there for another in the future... THE BIG REAP, perhaps?

And in other news, Owlcat Mountain published a lovely review of THE WRONG GOODBYE. Here's a taste (click through to read the rest):

"What I love about Holm’s Collector novels is that they avoid the most commonly used tropes in fantasy fiction... THE WRONG GOODBYE is a great novel, filled with adventure and a straightforward storytelling style that makes this book a real treat."

Many thanks to Longfellow and Owlcat Mountain both.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Sunday, January 13, 2013


Shockingly, with over 1,000 votes cast over two weeks for The Qwillery's Cover of the Year edition of Cover Wars, at close of voting DEAD HARVEST was tied for first with Chuck Wendig's also-stunning BLACKBIRDS cover!

You read that right. Cover Wars ended in an Angry Robot sweep. Which, for the record, sounds like the greatest dance-floor move in history.

Thanks so much to all those who voted (with an extra-special shout-out to the 492 who voted for me). And to my army of volunteers who manned the phone banks, organized rallies, or went door-to-door marshaling people to the polls... um, never mind that didn't happen. MAYBE IF IT HAD I WOULD'VE WON OUTRIGHT.

(He kids, kiddingly.)

And, of course, huge thanks to Sally Janin for putting on such a cool contest; designers rarely get the props they deserve for making our books look so fantastic, and the dozens she's highlighted throughout the year definitely deserve their props. To that end, congrats to my editor, Marc Gascoigne, and Martin Stiff at Amazing 15 for collaborating to create such a kickass cover for DEAD HARVEST (and for the two kickass covers that followed). And finally, reluctant grumbly congrats to Chuck Wendig and Joey HiFi, the latter of whose gorgeous cover design renders any accusations of widespread vote-tampering and election fraud preposterous. Fact is, it's so pretty, I'd hang it on my wall in a heartbeat.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

One Last Push!

Voting for The Qwillery's Cover Wars closes at 11:59 tonight, and the field is closer than ever. It's down to DEAD HARVEST, designed by Marc Gascoigne and Amazing 15, and Joey Hifi's cover of Chuck Wendig's BLACKBIRDS. And look: I love Chuck's cover. It's darn pretty. But man, would I like to bring home the win.

If you haven't voted, please take a sec and do. And may the best cover* win.

*As defined by this author, meaning DEAD HARVEST.

Friday, January 04, 2013

The House of Crime and Mystery

Wow. I just got word that DEAD HARVEST placed in the top five for its category in the House of Crime and Mystery 2012 Reader's Choice Awards, just behind the likes of Gillian Flynn, Dennis Lehane, Michael Connelly, and Craig McDonald, and ahead (I'm told) of Stephen King!

Thanks to Jacques for putting on the whole affair, and thanks also to everyone who voted for me. And a special shout-out to fellow honorees David, Elaine, Mons, Peggy, Robert, Owen, and Craig, all of whom (save Elaine, whom I've known forever now, it seems) I had the pleasure of meeting out on tour this year.

Spinetingler's Best Crime Fic of 2012

I'm delighted to report this morning that R. Thomas Brown named the Collector series to Spinetingler's list of Best Crime Fiction of 2012! Thanks, Ron, for the nod!

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Two New Best-Ofs

Today brings news of two new year-end best-of inclusions for the Collector series! First, Paperless Reading listed DEAD HARVEST among the Best Debut Novels of 2012. And second, reviewer Terry Weyna gave both DEAD HARVEST and THE WRONG GOODBYE honorable mention in her post of the Best Books of 2012. Thanks to Ken and Terry both!

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Memorable's good, right?

Jon Jordan, the evil genius behind Crimespree Magazine, just named THE WRONG GOODBYE one of his Most Memorable Reads of 2012! And given the astonishing talent that comprises the rest of the list, I'd say memorable is a good thing, indeed. Thanks, Jon!

Still Feeling the Love in 2013

It's cold. And early. And, much as I would like to continue with my forced-editing-march through THE BIG REAP*, the day job beckons. So I'll keep this short. But good news is good news, regardless of hour or temperature. With that in mind...

Bane of Kings released his list of the 25 Best Books of 2012, and THE WRONG GOODBYE came in at #10!

Also, aggregated the Top Fantasy Books of 2012 as determined by average review, and DEAD HARVEST clocks in at #14!

And finally, the folks at Black Gate were kind enough to feature DEAD HARVEST in their recurring New Treasures post, so a hat-tip to them as well.

Thanks, all. Now, off to work for me.

*Note: This was not sarcasm. Forced-editing-marches may not sound like fun to you, but right this sec, there is literally nothing I would rather be doing. Yes, I know it's weird.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Lucky '13

So. 2013. Pretty crazy, that. Some folks might not be too wild about a whole year of 13, but me? I don't mind a bit. Hell, my first fiction acceptance was on a Friday the 13th, so maybe 13's lucky for me. Guess we'll find out.

So far so good, says I, because I woke today to a fresh round of year-end book-love.

First, Jenn of Jenn's Bookshelves selected DEAD HARVEST as one of her Rather Lengthy List of Books I Adored This Year. I'm one of four in her horror subsection, alongside Robert Pobi's BLOODMAN, a book that's high on my to-be-read list after having the pleasure of hanging out with Robert in Quebec. I'm honored to share some virtual shelf-space with him here.

Second, OzNoir named THE WRONG GOODBYE one of his Best Reads of 2012, a mere fifteen of the staggering 181 books he read this year! I'm sharing list-space with such staggering talent as Megan Abbott, Donald Ray Pollock, George Pelecanos, James Cain, and Johnny Shaw, so you can be damn sure I'm happy to be on that list.

And last, but certainly not least, The Fiction Stroker called DEAD HARVEST his favorite book of the year in his look back at all things entertainment for 2012.

Thanks, all, for the kind words. It's mighty gratifying to have folks connect with the Collector series. Writing it's a labor of love, to be sure, but without an audience who really gets 'em, what would be the point?

Now, onward and upward. THE BIG REAP still needs finishing, and after that... who knows where the year will take us? Here's hoping it unleashes a baker's dozen of awesome for you and yours.