A paean to unsung heroes: girls who read | Welcome to a new friend: Kevin Brennan

What The Hell

Kevin Brennan Is Self-Publishing His New Novel

[Terry:  Who Isn’t?]

partsunknownI’m a novelist. Can’t help it. And when my first novel, Parts Unknown, was published by William Morrow in 2003, followed by the HarperCollins paperback in ‘04, I thought I could call myself that with no sense of irony or wannabe about it. Unfortunately, traditional trade publishing is a cutthroat business, and I haven’t been able to break through with a second contract in the intervening years — an all-too typical tale for mid-list, literary authors. Since 2004 I’ve had three different agents, four different books, and no takers.

Reluctantly, I’ve decided to experiment with self-publishing a new novel, Yesterday Road. There aren’t many avenues available to us indie writers who don’t intend to stop writing just because the desk jockeys in New York aren’t big on second chances, but the new possibilities of self-publishing (or “direct-to-reader” if you prefer), especially with the growing success of ebooks, offer us a way to find an audience, even if we’re forced into activities we’re not completely comfortable with to sell our work. Marketing, platform-building, social media, “putting ourselves out there.” It is daunting, fraught with obstacles, and probably next to impossible, but it’s the only route we have if we want our stuff read by others. If writing isn’t just a pleasant hobby, you need those eyeballs.

Here, with What The Hell: Kevin Brennan Is Self-Publishing His New Novel, I’ll be describing my preparations and research, laying down my impressions of the business of self-publishing, and offering whatever I can in the way of advice for other writers considering this option. If all goes well, I plan to publish the book in the fall of ‘13.

I must confess that I’m going in with low expectations but plenty of last-chance determination. There’s no reason not to do the last possible thing you can do. And if this doesn’t work out, at least I can look my fifty-something mug in the mirror and say I tooks my shot.

As they used to say in old Rome, Disce pati. Learn to endure.

Horace Silver

This is a long clip, but treat yourself at least to a sampling. Silver is such a unique-looking guy — a fin-de-siècle vampire who happens to be slick as hell on the keys. In some shots you can see his perspiration dropping onto his hands as he plays. And check out the superb drumming, by Billy Cobham, and the harmonies created by those two horns. Just about as sweet as it gets in music.

Love and Peace: A Tribute to Horace Silver

To me, this performance embodies all that jazz is. Silver is both there and not there, existing on the plane of his improvisation. The playing is freewheeling but highly structured, and the whole quintet is like a perpetual motion machine composed of completely independent elements connected by nothing but thought.

Horace Silver (Horace Ward Martin Tavares Silva to his mom) is a real master. And any guy who writes a song called “Filthy McNasty” is okay in my book.

Buy Parts Unknown

I’ve also located a terrific reading group guide for the book. You can get it here.

Our Children Are Not Our Children

Our Children new 3
Poet Kahlil Gibran has said, Your children are not your children. In this collection of short-shorts, Kevin Brennan (Parts Unknown) turns that simple idea on its head with five case studies in bad parenting. From a father who won’t pull over to let his boy pee on the roadside to a couple who unwisely lock their twin toddlers in a closet all day while they’re at work, these parents embody the adage that it takes a village — to save innocent kids from idiots like them!

Available for 99 cents from:


Barnes & Noble




One response

  1. Thanks for the comprehensive endorsement, Terry! What a great surprise on this Dec. 1.

    I like the eclectic fare at your place too…


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