The Writing of Martin Brennan


Bluff

I wrote this as backstory to my protagonist, Sam, in The Thaw (see the works page for more details). I thought I would post it up here as a companion piece to the Only The Dead story I wrote for my antagonist, which can be found in the TL;DR Press Kindred Anthology. Enjoy!

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Now: June 2019

I can’t believe it’s been three months since I last did one of these. Where does the time go? Where I last left you I had some work published and I sent in some more submissions and was rejected. But! I did have my first published work in the TL;DR press Kindred anthology! In the last few months I have been reading a lot and steadily working on The Thaw. In this post I’m going to do a couple of mini-essays on the books I’ve read because I’ve enjoyed them all quite a lot. Let’s do it!

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Now: March 2019

First of all, this month I have a special announcement to make. I’ve had a piece accepted into the TL;DR Press Family anthology, called Kindred! This is my first ever published work and I’m extremely excited about it. The piece serves as backstory for the primary antagonist of my current manuscript, The Thaw, though it can be read without any knowledge of the novel. You can read more about the anthology at the TL;DR press Kindred lineup announcement. I’ve added a fancy new Published Works section on my works page to celebrate as well!

TL;DR Kindred Anthology

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Yellowjacket

I submitted this story to Third Flatiron Publishing’s Hidden Histories anthology at the beginning of February. Unfortunately this time I was not accepted. So, I thought I would post up the story as I cannot think of another place where it would be accepted, with the theme being so specific. I enjoyed writing this story and researching some history, though I struggled somewhat with coming up with a hidden history for the overall theme. What drew me to write about the Dresden bombings was the controversy around whether the city was a valid target, coupled with Kurt Vonnegut’s vivid descriptions of the bombing and the fire in Slaughterhouse Five. So, without further ado, here is YELLOWJACKET.

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Now: January 2019 and Year in Review

Another year has come to a close and I have come short of my writing and querying goals. This may sound bleak, and I certainly am not exactly happy that I haven’t finished what I set out to do in some regards, but I still did enough writing throughout the year that I didn’t feel as though it was a total waste. More often than not I get in my own way when it comes to writing as much as life, work, and procrastination get in the way, which means that I don’t write as much as I would like to in a year. This is a retrospective post on the last year, what I am going to try and do differently this year, and what I’m currently working on in January 2019.

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Now: November 2018

I’d like to provide more frequent updates from a “writerly” point of view I guess you could say, where I post about what projects I’m working on on a more regular basis. This is inspired in part by the Now page on Derek Sivers’ website, and also because I don’t usually post stories here if I think there may be some chance of having them published at a later date. For example, short story competitions that I enter may have a specific theme, like Horror, that may allow stories to be re-purposed, and I don’t want to get disqualified because of the common “previously published” clause. It’s kind of a moot point at this time because I’m not yet published, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. These posts will be loosely structured around three things; manuscripts, competitions, and what I’m currently reading. So here’s where I’m at for November 2018.

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Unrepentant

I wrote this piece as an entry for the 2018 Literary Taxidermy short story competition https://literarytaxidermy.com/. The premise of the competition was to take an opening and closing line from one of three short stories and provide your own unique filling. The story I chose was “A Telephone Call” by Dorothy Parker. Without further ado here is my entry, UNREPENTANT.

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Hyperion

Prison always has been a good place for writers, killing, as it does, the twin demons of mobility and diversion

— Martin Silenus, Hyperion

Hyperion is like nothing I have ever read before. A sprawling sci-fi epic that is at the same time deeply personal and poetic, Dan Simmons has achieved a monumental feat of storytelling with the first novel in the Hyperion Cantos. My partner picked this up for me as a birthday present after she had read glowing recommendations for it online. I don’t often read sci-fi novels, mostly staying in the realm of literature, fantasy, and “Stephen King” (who I consider a genre onto himself), and it was initially difficult for me to get into, but about fifty pages in I was hooked.

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East of Eden

And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good.

— Lee, East of Eden

THERE are a few books you may read in your life that change you in some profound way, or stun you with their beauty in a way that makes the book stick in your mind for a long time after you finish reading it. East of Eden was such a book for me. From the first few pages of reading Steinbeck’s introduction where he paints a portrait of the Salinas Valley I was hooked. Steinbeck is an author that held me in awe of the mastery of his craft, much in the same way that Cormac McCarthy did when I read Blood Meridian. It made me hope that if I could write something even a tenth as beautiful in my life, I would die happy.

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Slouching Towards Bethlehem

We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget

— Joan Didion, Slouching Towards Bethlehem

A COLLECTION of well-crafted essays by Joan Didion, Slouching Towards Bethlehem is like going through the looking glass and landing in 1960’s California. It is a time capsule, a love letter, and a history lesson rolled into one. Joan’s writing style is engaging, and it is obvious that she is an expert in her craft.

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Martin Brennan, the Author

I’m Martin Brennan. I'm a software developer by day, and I like to think I know how to write. Like how a hobo thinks he knows the recipe to Coca-Cola.

You can read about my major projects on my works page.

The authors that inspire me are Cormac McCarthy (my God), Stephen King (my Prophet), J. R. R. Tolkien, George R. R. Martin, Hunter S. Thompson, George Orwell, John Steinbeck, and Kurt Vonnegut.

Find me on twitter @mjrbrennan or email me.