A Book About Sharing!

No one has ever done this before. I am the first human to ever consider writing a book that is (at least partially) sharing propaganda. But all good books are partially propaganda (feel free to debate me on this; I won't respond.) 

In all seriousness, this is what most of my "free" time is devoted to while I sit around like a goon, waiting to hear back from agents on book queries. This has taken a lot longer than I expected it would, but since I didn't know (and still don't really know) how to "do art" I had a ton of catching up to do. 

That is mostly what this post is about, I suppose. I wanted to say thank you to a few folks on Youtube whose expertise I found extremely helpful during this process. But first, of course, I need to thank Eric Smallwood for talking to me about this stuff one on one and for doing such a killer cover for Battle Rattle and Other Stories and for being an all-around good guy all the way back when we were in The Dead Cardinals together up until now.

If you are at all interested in learning how to draw or paint or whatever, then you can go to Youtube and get hundreds of hours of tutorials for free. You don't have to go to school to learn. If you are motivated, then you can create your own curriculum, you can buy books (I bought a few), and you can ask people for help. I mean, they're out there, those helpful people. I am not claiming that I'm a professional artist on the same level as any of these folks who I am going to post links to, but what I am saying is that when I started out, I did stuff like this:

Troll from The Red Book which is a sketch based on a troll from the Monstrous Manual.

Troll from The Red Book which is a sketch based on a troll from the Monstrous Manual.

And now I can do stuff like this:

The image of the soldier there isn't done, and I used a reference, and on and on and on. But if you would've asked me a few months ago, I would've told you that it would've been impossible for me to learn how to do anything that looked anything remotely close to that good. All right. Anyway, if you or someone you know is interested in learning about art and you or they don't have the time or money for art school, then here are a few places that can help bridge that gap (or completely eliminate the gap depending on ability and motivation.)

Draw With Jazza! He's kind of my go-to guy.

Proko! This guy has some great free stuff too.

Robert Marzullo! Another site with great tutorials.

All of these guys helped me a ton. And there were some other random videos out there for when I was working on specific things (I have a lot more for animation, and I will talk about that soon enough, I'm sure.) 

The final image of the post is this one from the book in progress. Thanks a bunch to all those people out in the world taking the time to help others to make art. Maybe one of these days I'll get around to sharing some of the stuff I spent over 100k dollars learning in school before I graduated and was hired by my wife as a househusband. 

 

 

Battle Rattle and Other Stories Second 5 star Review

I haven't talked much about this in a while because it's been a year of me talking about this little book, and eventually the talking and talking about the same thing takes its toll. But, as you know, if no one knows you have a book, then no one will read it. So here I go again.

An early version of a character from the short animated movies I am working on.

An early version of a character from the short animated movies I am working on.

Battle Rattle and Other Stories was given a second 5-star review on Amazon near the end of last week, not long after Battle Rattle's free promotion ended. I can't say for certain that it's the last time I will do one of those, but it likely will be. The amount of energy that I have to expend in order to give away something I worked very hard on might not be worth it in the long run. I don't know for sure, but I am leaning away from "working for free" if I can help it. 

Tim Bazzett was the reviewer for Battle Rattle and Other Stories this time, and you can find him and his work here: Rathole Books 

It is always nice to get this kind of recognition from fellow veterans. I know some guys say they don't care what other veterans think about their work, but I do. I mean, of course I am not writing books for veterans specifically, but when other veterans read my work and it inspires them to take time out of their life to tell other people about what I wrote, it means a lot to me. It makes me still feel like I'm part of a unit even though those days are long behind me.

Anyway. Here's a tidbit from the review:

"I'm gonna use that "what he said" thing. Brian Castner calls Brandon Davis Jennings "an intense and masterful story-teller." And by god, he is. This is one of the best damn collections of stories to come out of the current wars yet, and I've read a bunch of them. Put it up there with Phil Klay's NBA-winning REDEPLOYMENT, or Katie Schultz's FLASHES OF WAR. Or the recent novels by Jesse Goolsby (I'D WALK WITH MY FRIENDS IF I COULD FIND THEM) and MATTHEW J. HEFTI (A HARD AND HEAVY THING). And that's just off the top of my head. Don't take my word for it. Read this book. It is an enormous achievement."

There are times when writing feels a lot like climbing a mountain you can never summit. Some of that comes from the fact that you have no idea what people are thinking about your work and some of that comes from waiting for months on end to hear if an agent wants to rep you or a press wants your book or a journal your essay and so on. When I get to read something like this review, it does help to refuel the fire, to remind me that there is a reason that I work on some of this intensely depressing stuff. Because, it is fiction, but it is also true. I'm kind of off the essay wagon at the moment, so I don't want to spend too much time on that topic. I'll just recommend The Things They Carried, and let Tim O'Brien speak for me on that subject. What I will say is that I am grateful for the internet for so many reasons that I can't count them. The internet made this review of my work possible, and the internet makes the sale of my book possible. It also makes this random blog post that I am firing into the abyss possible (and permanent, existing and still going unread for millenia after I'm gone.)

Thanks so much for your kind words, Tim. Here is his full review of my collection: Battle Rattle and Other Stories.

You can order the book directly from amazon, or you can contact me and I can send you a signed copy after a paypal payment. Your choice. Contact me in the comments below if you'd like a signed one. Or, if you know me, you can just email me or call.

Battle Rattle free till Sunday and BT5K!

Hey all,

Welcome to the weekend! Unless you work the weekend, in which case I guess it means less. And, of course, if you have no job, then it's also kind of meaningless (except you get to hang out with your working friends...thank you, Les Claypool.)

So Battle Rattle is still free for the next two days. Please spread the word using whatever method you like.

 

 And, please also, spread the word about the BT5K that my family is running next month in Chicago to help fund brain cancer research.

 

All right. It's Saturday. Here's some more of my concept art for the short films and comics I am working on. That's it. That's all. Family time.

BT5K and Battle Rattle #3 on Free War Book Charts

Okay. Spent 45 minutes writing a post that I lost. Here is the short and better version. Battle Rattle  was downloaded 224 times yesterday, and it stil hasn't made it to the number 1 spot on the free war book chart. It's just now into the top 850 free books overall (there are a lot of free books it turns out).

Please spread the word about the BT5K.

 

And please download a free copy of my best-selling Kindle Single Battle Rattle

Want to make a graphic novel? Start by drawing. Want to learn how to draw, go here: Draw With Jazza!

Want to make a graphic novel? Start by drawing. Want to learn how to draw, go here: Draw With Jazza!

 

I appreciate your help and support. 

And if you want to check out my comic "Dr. Househusband", you can do that here:

 

 

Battle Rattle Free for four days and BT5K!

As I head into all this new work, I wanted to take this chance to give anyone who is thinking about reading my kindle singles a chance to do so...for free. Battle Rattle is free from today (March 30th) until this Sunday.

The book has moved out of prime reading where it was free for Amazon Prime members (and I got paid a little bit to make it happen, thankfully), but now it is free to anyone who has the kindle app for a short time. All you have to do is download the book, and then read it or don't. No one will ask you to write a report. 

The last time I ran a free promo, Waiting for the Enemy made it to number 1 on the free war book chart for amazon, and I'd like to see Battle Rattle (it is #16 as of writing this post) do the same thing. I can't do it on my own, though. So hopefully I can get a little help from people spreading the word on social media and elsewhere. (Thanks to all who already have.)

The other thing that giving my book away is promoting is the BT5K run for brain cancer awareness that my family and I do each year. We started this back when Sharon, my wife's mother (and a great friend of mine) was diagnosed with a glioblastoma while Tina and I were at the Macha Mission Hospital in Zambia. Sharon wasn't given long to live, but she did everything she could, recovered from multiple brain surgeries, and spent a lot hours with friends and family laughing around the dining room table, and she never stopped having the sense of humor and love of life that made friendship with her instantaneous.

Here is the shirt that Nelle (one of my biggest fans and my sister-in-law) and I designed for this year's run:

 

I know that most of the people I'm friends with don't have money falling out their ears, so it isn't necessarily you I'm asking for donations from. I am, however, hoping that some of you might know a few people out there in the world who have a little more than they need and who might be interested in helping an organization that is making real progress in the fight against cancer. There are always people holding their hands out, and I know not everyone can help fight for every cause. But we can choose to fight for some or one, and when we do that, our example inspires others to do the same for causes that we may not even know about.

So, in short, have my best-selling book for free, tell people to get it for free, and, while you're doing it, see if they might be interested in tossing a few coins into the bucket to beat cancer so that some folks in the future may not have to lose someone they love to a disease that we can likely cure. You can donate or copy this link and share it wherever you like: Brandon's BT5K Page

Also, if you'd prefer to donate to someone else on my team (or a complete stranger), please do so. I'm not trying to win a donation prize. I just want to do all I can to try and help. It's not much, but sometimes all we can do is hold out our hand and hope that someone grabs it.

 

Dr. Househusband

Hey all.

So this blog has become what I figured it would have to be one day. I am going to be writing about what I am working on, and I'll write about what I'm reading, and as things progress with books (in whatever form I am making them), this will be where that news shows up.

Right now, as my queries float in cyber space, waiting to hear back about my newest work of fiction The Bombmaker's Wife, I am building my comic series about Dr. Househusband. You can see all the comics so far on my patreon page here: Dr. Househusband. 

I'll be sending out an official launch email soon (sorry if you hate email blasts). But for now I am still trying to get the videos and stuff shot so that people who visit the page can see that I am an actual person and not just a Russian robot. 

To everyone who has supported the comic so far (in any way at all) thank you so much. It means a lot to me. There will be much more to come with this character and his family. So anybody who is looking for something from me that is not about PTSD or war or anxiety and depression, this will be the way to get it. As much as I like sitting around and thinking about all the horrible things going on in the world all the time, it does wear on me (I wrote three books about it already this year, so I need a break). Hopefully this comic strip, the animations, and all the silliness that goes along with those things will help bring some people a little joy when they need a break from what seems like nothing but bad news all the time.

Here's a single panel from the comic that I hope you'll enjoy. If you like it, please head over to my patreon page and subscribe. You don't have to spend any money. Just a follow is a huge deal. Thanks for your time. 

 

Brandon

Dr. Househusband has arrived on Patreon

Hello everyone. 

This has been a crazy couple of years, (books with amazon and audible and an anthology I did with my buddy Eric Smallwood), and I don't think things will get any less hectic because of the real awesome achievements that Tina and I have made: keeping two little girls alive and healthy. But knowing that things are going to stay hectic hasn't stopped me from working; the world doesn't stop spinning just because you're a parent, even if it does seem like it's spinning away from you on the hardest nights.

So the update here is that I am still hard at work trying to sell my most recently finished novel The Bombmaker's Wife and I am working on another novel about Derrick Vezchek and Rake and all the characters in Waiting for the Enemy and Battle Rattleand High Desert Rats.

But like humans are supposed to do, I am adapting to the stimuli around me. In order to keep on making art (assuming you consider comics and cartoons art) while I also try to sell art (literature and children's books alike) to publishers, I have decided to make a comic strip about a househusband with a wife and two daughters. I have no idea where the idea for this comic came from....

The comic is Dr. Househusband, and you can find out more about the comic on Patreon. You do not have to give me anything to read the comic. If you want to shell out a buck or two, I will gladly take it. But I don't want anyone to think that I expect them to give me money for this. 

There are goals and patron tiers and all kinds of stuff that you can read more about on the page, and the comics are going up already. I wish I could say that there'd be a new one every Sunday, but I have two little girls under two and a lot of other stuff going on that will likely make that kind of a schedule impossible to keep up. Maybe, though. 

If you have any interest at all in reading short, goofy comics about a dopey dad or if you have any interest at all in helping me out, then please share this with your friends and family. I appreciate any and all help in whatever form that help takes. 

Click the button below to see the Patreon Page and the rewards and goals and, of course, the comic.

One goal on the Patreon page that you can see is to reach an amount of $450. This amount is not something I believe I'll hit for a long time. But the money would go to me paying the fee to list my first book, Battle Rattle and Other Stories on Netgalley. That's not a small amount of cash, but supposedly getting your book up at Netgalley helps you get more reviews and get more readers and exposure and, ultimately, hopefully it'll get more people to read some stories about characters who represent a piece of America that I care deeply about. 

Okay, okay. I know. I was gone for a long time. I may go back underwater for a while again. But I wanted to let everyone know that I am so thankful for all the help, the reviews, the kind words in texts and emails, the pictures, the requests for signed copies and so on. There would be no reason to do any of this if it wasn't for you all. Thanks a million times. 

Brandon

 

High Desert Rats is free today and tomorrow.

Hello everyone. We're already into the second month of 2017, which means the world still hasn't ended. I am giving away free Kindle copies of my book, High Desert Rats today and tomorrow. All you have to do is follow the link and download it. Then you can read it or not read it at your leisure. Maybe it'll give you something to do while you're standing in line somewhere?

Here is a picture of mediocre magician. He's not very good at being a magician.

Here is a picture of mediocre magician. He's not very good at being a magician.

Have a great weekend and go out and do something good in the world.

High Desert Rats for free!

 

High Desert Rats Free Today and Tomorrow.

Hey all, 

Nothing going on here other than me giving folks a chance to grab my newest book for free on Kindle today and tomorrow.  

Follow this link:  https://www.amazon.com/High-Desert-Brandon-Davis-Jennings-ebook/dp/B01MRUGCBO

Get the book, and that's all there is to it. You could, of course, review it. But I won't ever know if you don't. And I'll like you just as much regardless. 

Have a great weekend.  

Brandon

Goodreads Giveaway Copies in the Mail

After a hectic holiday season (and the birth of my second daughter), things have finally settled down a little. Although my days now start at 4 a.m. instead of five,  I am excited to keep moving forward. The ten winners of the Goodreads giveaway will be getting their signed copies delivered very soon. Thanks again to everyone who wished me a happy birthday. It was a great one, spent with my parents and the most important women in my life. Two beers was enough for this guy.

Happy New Year.

BDJ

 

Waiting for the Enemy Teaser

If it hasn't been obvious, I've been working on animations recently because there is a lot of lag time between writing a story, revising a story, and then waiting to hear if someone out there in the publishing world is interested in publishing your story (or if an agent is interested in representing you and your story...which is really just the beginning of another period of waiting around.) I used to let this get me down and drive me a little bit crazy, using booze and video games to distract myself. That, I must say, was not very effective. 

So I'm posting this little ditty to start making it clear that my youtube channel is up, and that it will, eventually, have more on it. Right now there isn't much, but perhaps any of you who are looking for an easy way to show someone what Waiting for the Enemy  is about, then this little teaser with a link to the page on my website might be easier. 

Here is the teaser: Waiting for the Enemy

I want to thank everyone this year who has taken the time out of their schedules to review any of my books or to tell people about them (Good and bad reviews: seriously). This has been the most productive and successful year for me so far as an author, and that is all due to the help and support of friends and family. 

I hope everyone has a great end to the year and that you enter 2017 energized and ready to tackle whatever challenges that present themselves. 

Waiting for the Enemy #1 Free War Book on Amazon!

I nearly forgot that I'd planned a free promotion for Waiting for the Enemy until yesterday morning (when it started). So I was shocked to find that over four hundred people grabbed a copy yesterday helping to get Waiting for the Enemy to the #1 spot on the free amazon war books charts. 

And, incidentally, Battle Rattle has crept back into the top 100 Kindle Singles fiction chart. This is all great news, and I am so grateful to everyone who has bought a book, grabbed a free copy, or mentioned the work to any of their friends. 

For all those of you who've written reviews, thank you so much. It really does a lot to help people take a chance on a writer who's not backed by a giant press, and although Amazon did work with me on these books, they aren't spending any money to help me promote them. (Aside from their algorithms and their website and all the other things that are awesome: for instance, I can run a free promotion for my book and it costs me nothing and gets my book into the hands of new potential fans and so on.) So they are doing a lot, but they aren't sending the books to the New York Times book review. 

And I know some people are skeptical of amazon reviews or goodreads reviews, so for anyone who doesn't trust those, I am linking to the most recent reviews of Battle Rattle here:

War, Literature and the Arts This review starts on page 5 of the link. And here is a quote from Frank Fucile's review:

"In his novella Battle Rattle, Brandon Davis Jennings inevitably positions himself as the descendant of postmodernists such as Joseph Heller and Tim O’Brien while standing alongside other twenty-first-century veteran fiction writers such as Kevin Powers and Phil Klay. What separates Jennings from these better-known authors is his unwillingness to entertain the notion that his writing might actually illuminate something about the experience of war. In comparison to the gleefully dark meaninglessness of Battle Rattle, the horror and absurdity of Heller’s gags or the compulsive amorality of O’Brien’s reiterations of events seem nearly as quaint as the moral formulations those writers sought to overturn."

The Literary Review. Here is a quote from Amelia Fisher's review:

"Battle Rattle provides a visceral window into the nail-biting boredom Vez faces, suburban claustrophobia mixing nauseously with the lingering tension of conflict. The only people truly capable of understanding what Vez is going through are his fellow soldiers. In combat, they had each other’s backs by shooting the guys that might have shot them first. Off the battlefield, protecting each other is not so simple." 

Waiting for the Enemy is still free today, and, of course, Battle RattleHigh Desert Rats, or my collection that includes all three of those book Battle Rattle and Other Stories are all available on amazon right now. Thanks for your support.

All the books (except the physical copy) are available on Kindle Unlimited. So, you know, you can still read them without buying them if you have Kindle Unlimited. 

Yeah. That's it. Happy Monday.

High Desert Rats and Mailing List

Okay. Since Facebook buries this stuff and people who I talk to regularly on and off Facebook have been surprised that this book High Desert Rats exists (or if they could get it in hard copy), it is obvious that I am going to have to start being more proactive about this mailing list situation. I would prefer to just use social media, but I'm not paying them just to spread the word to my friends and family.

I have a mailing list that I use only to let people know when I have a new book out. That's it and that's all. So if you are at all interested in knowing when I have a book coming out, then you should sign up for the list here on my website or on my Facebook page or anywhere else you see a link to it. I will not spam you or ask you for money (although I guess technically the book's cost money so I am, in a way, asking you for money). Anyway. If you are reading this post, scroll to the bottom of the page and you will see a little box for email list sign up. Sign up there, and you're done. And, of course, you can unsubscribe anytime at all. For instance, if you signed up because you knew I had one child and then discovered I know have two children, you could unsubscribe if you have some kind of stupid prejudice against people with more than one child.

Anyway. Please feel free to contact me if you have trouble signing up for the list. I am more aware every day that not all the people who read my work are the most savvy tech people. So I will do everything in my power to make it easier on anyone who has trouble with this stuff. Really all you need to do is enter your email into the form for the email list, but maybe you're worried that you are on the wrong list or who knows what.

In short: I got you. Just send me a message or email or call me. 

And here is the more important news. High Desert Rats is now available on its own as an Ebook from amazon right here: High Desert Rats.

This is the new book that is included in Battle Rattle and Other Stories. (which just got its first review, a five star review, on amazon btw). So if you want to just have the ebook because you already read the other two and don't want to buy the whole thing and don't want another book in your house (even though the cover is awesome thanks to Eric Smallwood), then here you go. I'm an old school dude when it comes to books, so I have a lot of them. But I won't pretend that the thought of moving them isn't making my back hurt.

 

 

High Desert Rats Available Now!

For folks who only read e-books: High Desert Rats is now available as an ebook on amazon. Of course you can own all three of the books in the collection Battle Rattle and Other Stories if you want a physical book. But for people who already read the other two and don't want to add another book to their bookshelves (or whatever it is that makes you prefer digital over physical books), now you've got the option.

What is High Desert Rats about?

In the summer of 2000, Sean doesn’t want Derrick to join the USAF and leave him in the Mojave Desert. But it seems there’s nothing Sean can do to change Derrick’s mind, and what’s worse, is that the one thing Sean desperately wants to tell Derrick is exactly the thing that Sean fears will end their friendship forever.

That's the description from the amazon sales page, and it is as straight forward as it gets. Thanks to all who've been so supportive in the past. I hope that this book helps to shine a little more light on who Derrick Vezchek (the narrator of Battle Rattle and three of the stories in Waiting for the Enemy) as well as helps anyone interested in Sean (the narrator of two stories in Waiting for the Enemy) to see him in a much more complete way.

Here's the cover, in case you want to look at a picture.

Thanks to Eric Smallwood for helping me to avoid a lawsuit from Ford.

Thanks to Eric Smallwood for helping me to avoid a lawsuit from Ford.

 

 

 

 

 

The Literary Review and Goodreads Giveaway!

Amelia Fisher reviewed Battle Rattle at The Literary Review, and she had a ton of nice things to say about the book. This came on the same day that Amazon offered to keep Battle Rattle in their prime reading program, and also on a day that Kindle Singles has agreed to take a look at the new book I've been working on.  

So if you haven't read Battle Rattle yet, or if you are trying to convince someone else that they should read it, then maybe this review will help convince them to give it a shot. Here is Amelia Fisher's review: A Review of Battle Rattle.

Thank you, Amelia :)

And for anyone who doesn't like to read books on a device, my collection of stories, Battle Rattle and Other Stories, is available right now on amazon or, if you want a signed copy, we can set that up through paypal. All you have to do is contact me, and we can get it working. 

Thanks so much tor everyone for your support. More news as it comes. And I don't want to guilt anyone into buying the new book, but I have another daughter on the way (December 10th), and she's gonna be smart like her mother and her sister and that means I am gonna need a lot of money to pay for their schooling. (Cough* Cough*)

Click the link below to enter the giveaway.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Battle Rattle and Other Stories by Brandon Davis Jennings

Battle Rattle and Other Stories

by Brandon Davis Jennings

Giveaway ends December 11, 2016.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway