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.
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.