Wednesday, 26 November 2014

UNDERCOVER Launch

Except it's not undercover. It's at No Alibis book store on Botanic Avenue, Belfast.

Details:

Gerard (that's me -- trying to be all official) invites you to the launch of his novel, UNDERCOVER (the first Cormac Kelly thriller) on Wednesday 3rd December at 7:30pm. The venue is No Alibis book store on Botanic Avenue, Belfast, and the book will be £8.99. So you'll have change from a tenner. Not bad, eh? I'll even make sure there's free wine, so you're getting a hell of a deal, especially if you're a dipso who isn't afraid to ask for a top-up.



Want to read a wee bit about the book?

Go on, then:

When undercover detective Cormac Kelly infiltrates a ruthless gang bent on kidnapping and extortion, he is forced to break cover and shoot his way out of a hostage situation gone bad.

Tearing through the dangerous streets of Belfast with a twelve-year-old boy and his seriously injured father in tow, Kelly desperately tries to evade the gang and reconnect the family with the boy’s mother, football agent Lydia Gallagher. But she is in London, unaware of their freedom and being forced by the gang to betray her top client.

As Kelly breaks every rule in the book and crosses the line from legit police officer to rogue cop on the run, the role of dapper but deadly ex-spook Stephen Black means the difference between life and death.

What They're Saying About Gerard Brennan

"A cheeky slice of urban noir, a drink-soaked, drug-addled journey into the violent underbelly of one of Europe's most notorious ghettos, Wee Rockets makes The Outsiders look like The Teletubbies" – Colin Bateman

"Gerard Brennan stands apart from the Irish crime fiction crowd with a novel rooted in the reality of today's Belfast. The author's prose speaks with a rare authenticity about the pain of growing up in a fractured society, shot through with a black humour that can only come from the streets. Wee Rockets is urban crime fiction for the 21st century, and Brennan is a unique voice among contemporary Irish writers." – Stuart Neville

"In Wee Rockets Gerard Brennan has written a fast-paced, exciting story of West Belfast gang culture; brimming with violence, authentic street dialogue and surprising black humour. This is a great debut novel. Brennan takes us into the heart of Belfast's chav underclass, in a story that lies somewhere in the intersection between The Warriors, Colin Bateman and Guy Ritchie. This is the first in what undoubtedly will be a stellar literary career. – Adrian McKinty

"the real deal — the writing is razor sharp, the characters engaging, the ending a blast. From start to finish it's true Northern Noir, crafted with style and wit." – Brian McGilloway

"…a Coen Brothers dream, via Belfast… Gerard Brennan grabs the mantle of the new mystery prince of Northern Ireland…" – Ken Bruen

"It needs to be said that Gerard Brennan's The Point is terrific. Scorchingly funny, black humour at its finest and the most inventive car theft ever!" – Arlene Hunt

"Noir from Norn Iron! A lean slice of grindhouse from Belfast's new crime hack." – Wayne Simmons

Friday, 7 November 2014

Valberg Enhanced Ebook



Get yourself over to the Foyle Film Fest website to find out about the new ebook edition of Valberg by Desmond J Doherty, hi. Looks like an innovative use of e-publishing to me. As it says in the programme, the new edition "features atmospheric sound and film inserts produced by Jim Curran and Vincent O’Callaghan. With Valberg author Des Doherty and filmmaker Andrew Eaton."

Intrigued?

I am.

UNDERCOVER Buzz



Following the wonderful discovery of a little attention thrown my way via Seana Graham's Not New For Long Blog, I figured I should share a few links to highlight the kindness from some early readers of my latest novel, UNDERCOVER.

So, first up, Seana makes me feel warm and fuzzy with her wonderful account of my writing history (from her own perspective) AND a review of UNDERCOVER.

And I was delighted with this review over at Crime Fiction Lover, from the wonderful Keith Nixon.

Tony Black was kind enough to invite me 'round to his place for a wee guest post. You can find that on Pulp Pusher.

And Anthony Neil Smith was kind enough to send me a bunch of one-word questions, and the resulting review ended up on his fine blog. Go there, read the review, tell him his hair looks marvellous.

And before all the above, there was Nigel Bird's excellent early review over at One Man's Opinion.

I've also been lucky enough to accumulate some nice reviews on Amazon. The novel is currently on a modest 5-star streak. See what they had to say on the UK site and the US site.

Thanks to all. It rocks my socks off that the novel is out there and seemingly doing what it's supposed to do; being read by wonderful people.

Friday, 31 October 2014

The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe (read by me)

Happy Halloween, folks.

Ever since the Homer Simpson version in one of the Treehouse of Horror episodes, I've wanted to have a bit of fun with this poem. I didn't do many takes (I think this one was take 2), because a bit of quiet space is hard to come by in our busy household. So, forgive the sound quality. With a little more time and peace, maybe I can do better. We'll see next year.

For now, have a listen:


The image is my own tattoo. This was done by the fabulous Gigi McQueen of Timepiece Tattoo.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

The Bouchercon Post


I'M GOING TO LA FOR BOUCHERCON 2014, MOTHERFECKERS!

Ahem.

Yes, affectionately subtitled "Murder at the Beach" this year around, Bouchercon is a MAJOR crime fiction convention that tours America. This year it hits California, baby. I'll be in Long Beach, California(!), in just a couple of weeks. And I need to thank the Arts Council of Northern Ireland for making this less financially irresponsible on my part. They're paying for my flights, thank feck. And yes, I know I'm lucky to live in a country that supports their artists so solidly. I also work my arse off.

Anyway, I'm lucky enough to be on the Noir at the Bar bill (check out the names on the poster below) and to have a spot on the Belfast Noir panel, moderated by the wonderful detective without borders who goes by the name of Peter Rozovsky.

Click the pic for a closer look

Details of the Belfast Noir panel can be found on Peter's blog. The man's been around the Bouchercon block a few times, and I've met him in person more than once, so I know he'll be cool. Plus I've read plenty of work from, and met in real life, my fellow panel members (all through No Alibis, funny enough); this panel is going to be a blast.

I'm not sure about the Noir at the Bar etiquette, but considering that this is my first trip to America, nevermind LA, and that I'll be a jet-lagged, wide-eyed eejit, straight off the proverbial potato boat, I think it might get a little messy.

Oh, Janey Mac, I can't feckin' wait.


PODCE for FREE


EDIT (30/10/14) Free again until Tuesday 4th November.

EDIT (05/08/14)! It's probably not free right now, but it'll not cost you much, like.

This wee collection hasn't gotten a whole lot of consumer love in the last few months. Sales have been in single figures, in fact. It's a decent enough collection, so I thought I'd try and boost its profile a little. So, it'll be a Kindle freebie for three days starting some time tomorrow.

Get some.

Go on.

It's got some nice reviews over on the Amazons. Got to be worth the time it takes to click that 'buy it now' button.

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Incidentally, the collection includes the tale An Irish Possession, which was performed as a one-man show at The Black Box in 2010. That was fun.

Ken Bruen on FIREPROOF


“…Also, I'm in a monogamous relationship, so I don't really agree with orgies."
"Sacrifices and orgies have nothing to do with the religion. All that shit was developed by people who wanted to kill things and shag a lot. That's not what it's all about."
"That right?"
"Yeah. I've been working hard to try and shake that kind of misconception."
"Working as what?"
"A representative of Lucifer. I was s
ent here to build a Satanic Religion."
"Okay. Why did Lucifer think a tattoo parlour was the best place to start?"

“This is just one of the various scintillating hilarious surreal chats in Fireproof, the new novel from the excellent Gerard Brennan.
Phew-oh, GB's début was terrific but this is a huge leap forward, an assured fully-formed artist in total control of his art.
Equally hilarious and jaw-droppingly violent at once.
Reading this novel was a total blast.
Catapults GB to the very first league.
And… you'll never… ever see Cadbury's n' Nestle in quite the same or indeed sane fashion again.
Superb.
Thanks, Gerard, for a wondrous read.”

From Ken Bruen, Shamus award winning author of Headstone



Saturday, 25 October 2014

Welcome to the Octagon Kindle Freebie



For the first time ever, Welcome to the Octagon, a Fight Card MMA novella, is free to download on Kindle. And it's a UFC weekend! I mean, come on! Just because our hero, Conor McGregor, doesn't have a spot on UFC 179 doesn't mean you can't get your fill of Irish fighters. This Belfast set tale of underground MMA and predatory gangsters will rattle your dome worse than a well-placed roundhouse.

Don't believe me? Here's a little love from the great Peter Rozovsky of Detectives Beyond Borders:

"Brennan knows how to keep a story moving, planting narrative hooks toward the ends of his chapters and throwing in at least one character wrinkle unlikely to have shown up in an old-time boxing story. But what may have impressed me most is his engagement with MMA, a sport until now shoved somewhere back in my consciousness next to street luge, half-pipe, and bicycle motocross. MMA is compounded of styles and techniques taken from many fighting sports, and Welcome to the Octagon is full of observations about the resulting complexity and the demands it places on the fighters.

"Welcome to the Octagon has heart, humor, and respectful engagement with its subject. What's not to like?"

Read the entire blog post (and the fun debate in the comments section) right here.

And get your copy of Welcome to the Octagon at the relevant Amazon territory:

UK
US
CA
DE

If you want me to add your territory, just leave a comment and I'll edit the post.

Freebie offer ends 29th October 2014.

Here's a little more info on the wee book:

FIGHT CARD MMA: WELCOME TO THE OCTAGON

Belfast 2013

Mickey The Rage Rafferty has gone through some tough times, but he's not ready to tap-out just yet. The Belfast widower has to take care of his eight-year-old daughter, Lily. However, his main talent is fighting and the only way he can make enough money off it to support his girl is to take dodgy underground matches paying off in bloodstained cash. Mickey’s trainer, Eddie Smith, doesn't approve. He wants his most promising student to step into the cage as a real martial artist, not as a fool for thugs and gangsters.

With Eddie on the verge of cutting him loose, Mickey is up against the cage – crushed between fast cash and a legitimate career. Mickey has some big decisions to make and some even bigger opponents to face.

The MMA life can be harsh, and it’s never easy ... Welcome To The Octagon.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Go! Get Your POV On



Have you seen the movie Go (1999)? It's on Netflix (as is Swingers which has a directorial connection with Go), so if you haven't and you have access to it, I highly recommend that you check it out.

You see, I've been asked a few times about my influences. I usually tell people that life is my influence. This sounds a bit wanky and artsy (those aren't always the same thing) but to my mind it's true. Also, it's really hard to choose a writer who influences your writing when there is so much talent out there, especially since I cast my reading net quite widely. So if I didn't say, "Oh, I'm influenced by everyday life, really," my answer would be more like the question, "Have you read this guy, this girl or these people?" The response to that would be a blank stare. I'd ask you, "Have you seen this bunch of movies, then?" and list off a load of flicks that were based on books I've read and enjoyed. More blank stares. Then I'd move on to original screenplays, TV series, cartoons that my kids force me to watch... yadda, yadda, yadda.

Everyday life it is, then.

Except I re-watched Go for the first time in years. Possibly a decade. Apart from the fact that the movie has aged incredibly well, it's also a hell of a lot of fun. And behind that fun is a shitload of technical prowess in terms of writing (I'm a writer blogging about this from the perspective of a writer BTW so I'll not go into the great job the cast and crew did as well), from which a writer in any form could learn a trick or two.

For instance; I watched it over three days as a lunchtime treat to get away from the current manuscript once in a while. The structure of the movie lends itself to this style of viewing beautifully. The same timeline is basically retold three times from three different perspectives with the last ten minutes of the flick devoted to tying the movie up. Shot from Ronna, Simon and Adam & Zack's POVs respectively, it's basically a tale about having a little too much craic and the trouble that can bring.

As I watched, laughed and shook my head at some of the characters' exploits, I got to thinking that this was the style I'd been going for in the Point series of novellas (of which only two have been released so far -- there will be more, count on that) and the hapless characters that inhabit that universe. They're not particularly bad people (the protagonists, I mean, not the scumbags they get mixed up with), but they are pretty loser-ish.

In a few interviews and conversations I've asked about the direct influences on Breaking Point, the most recent Point novella. I answered with reference to the movie Pineapple Express. I would have preferred a prose example, but I couldn't think of one. And if I'm honest, I wasn't altogether comfortable with that comparison anyway. Pineapple Express is far funnier than anything I've written. The darkness is there, as it is in most of my work, but I can't compete with those chuckles a line delivered by Danny McBride or Seth Rogen can get. Go, though... it has a lot of laughs in it, as well as the hectic storyline and somewhat more realistic idea of consequence. Go is the movie that I should really compare most of my writing to. And if I did that more often, I think I'd write better books.*

Trailer:



*Disclaimer: By no means am I damning my work as substandard, by the way. I'll leave that to the critics who, for the most part, have been very kind to me. And I'll keep the artistic anguish, if and when it occurs, to myself.

Breaking Point - Chapters 1 and 2



Can’t Get No Sleep
Brian Morgan stood by the side of the bed and looked down at his girlfriend. It wasn’t even midnight and she was dead to the world. Still breathing, but dead to the world.
He gripped the edges of his pillow tight.
Rachel O’Hare didn’t snore. Her breathing never seemed to catch a steady enough rhythm for it. At random intervals she made a noise, somewhere between a sigh and a moan. Brian wondered if that meant she was dreaming. And if so, did she suffer the same nightmares he did.
“I love you, Rachel,” Brian whispered, half-enamoured by the idea that she might be able to hear him. “But sometimes I don’t know whether to kiss you or kill you.”
And he meant every word of that shitty cliché.
Even if he didn’t have the guts to do the deed.
Brian gave his aching hands a rest and hugged the pillow to his chest. He studied Rachel in the faint strip of light cast by the bare bulb in the ensuite bathroom.
She still managed to look pretty, even with sleep-lines, a slack jaw and a string of drool running from the corner of her mouth to the pillowcase. Her face would convince the most cynical that she was one of the innocent ones. Brian knew different. So did his dead brother.
He rounded the bed and gently laid his pillow down on his side of the queen-size. On his way to the ensuite, the loose floorboard creaked. Rachel gasped and the mattress springs clicked and boinged.
“Brian?”
“Aye.”
“Coming to bed?”
“Going to the toilet.”
“Come to bed after.”
“Aye.”
He had no intention of trying to sleep. It didn’t matter. Rachel would have no recollection of asking him by the morning. They’d been through this more than once before.
Brian checked the mirror above the sink and ran his hand over the stubble on his head. He still wasn’t used to the look or the feel of his new haircut. The clownish curls were gone for good. He appeared older, harder and more serious than he felt. Maybe a little thinner too. He forced a smile and saw the ghost of his old self in the reflection. Then he let the well-worn frown take over again.
“More muscles to smile than frown? My hole.”
He threw some toilet roll into the bowl to soften the sound of his pissing. When he was done, he shook off and tucked in, but didn’t flush. He washed his hands, ignored the toothbrush and left the ensuite without pulling the cord to turn off the light. Rachel preferred to sleep with it on. It would suit him better if she didn’t feel the need to get up and turn it back on again.
Brian made it down the stairs with the balance and poise of an alley cat on a razor wire-topped wall. He knew by now which ones made the most noise and how much weight the handrail could take before the loosened spindles groaned.
In the kitchen, he closed the door gently, took a bottle of beer from the fridge and his tobacco tin from the medicine cupboard. He popped the beer open with his teeth and thumbed the lid off his tobacco tin. There was plenty of Golden Virginia, and a couple of packets of rolling papers. He didn’t realise he was so low on weed, though.



Stony Tony
Tony Barnes clicked pause on the instructional video. He backed away from his laptop to give himself enough space to perform the move. The Praying Mantis techniques seemed a little easier to pick up than the Crane styles he’d been studying the day before. The wide stance better suited his lower centre of gravity and there were fewer high kicks. He really needed to work on his flexibility. The ability to perform an impressive roundhouse kick was a must if he wanted to attract prospective students.
He held his hands up in a classic boxing guard then hooked his wrists so that his fully extended fingers pointed to the ground. Already he felt like the noble praying mantis. The technique looked dead flash without being too difficult. He’d download a few more of this particular kung fu master’s videos to emulate.
Tony unleashed a flurry of strikes. He wasn’t entirely sure, but he had a suspicion that he might break his own fingers if he hit somebody with his hands angled this way. That wouldn’t be good. He went back to the desk and took his spliff out of the ashtray. It needed to be relit. He sparked it, drew deep and thought about Praying Mantis kung fu. It looked the part, but he wasn’t totally sold that it would work for him. Still, it’d be a nice wee demo technique.Maybe try some Tiger style next.
Tony rattled the phrase into his search engine and clicked on the first result. It amused him that so many of these supposed kung fu masters were American. Where were all the little old wise Chinese men?
He bookmarked a video that featured a man with an impressive biker’s beard and a solid round gut that was just a little bigger than his own. The joint had burned down to the roach. He took a last pull that almost roasted his lips and held it in his lungs for half a minute. His vision darkened at the edges and he exhaled.
Time to roll a fresh one.
Tony pulled open the desk drawer to grab his bag of weed and his papers. He tutted when he saw that there was barely enough in there to fill a single-skinner. His stash was tapped out. He’d have to skim a little off the stock.
Don’t get high on your own supply? Bullshit. Spread the skim over enough baggies and he’d be sweet. A true stoner customer wouldn’t sweat it even if they did figure out their deal was a little light.
But he’d have to call Malachy about topping up his personal stock.
His mobile rang. He drew the knackered Nokia out of the pocket of his silk Chinese suit, checked the caller ID and smiled.
“Malachy. I was just thinking about you.”
“And did money feature in those thoughts?”
“Yeah, sort of. I need more stock.”
“You still owe me for the last three orders.”
Three? He hadn’t realised he’d gotten that deep into debt. He forced a confident and cheery tone.
“Yeah, yeah. No worries there at all, man. I’ll sort you out. Expecting the cash to flow in when I start this new thing I’ve gotten into. Soon as I get paid the money’s going straight to you.”
“You’re telling me to wait, then? Hold off a few days? Is that it?”
“I’d never tell you to do anything, Malachy.”
“Great. I’ll be there soon.”
Malachy cut the call and Tony slipped his mobile back into his pocket. He looked about his living room. The only thing of real value was his laptop. And it was a year old. Depreciating by the second. He needed it, too. It was his gateway to the world of kung fu. Without it, he couldn’t keep abreast of the techniques he would teach when he opened his club.

Tony hit play on the Tiger style video. He hoped to God it was effective and easy to pick up.


Want more? Visit the Blasted Heath website for ebook links.
But you might want to read The Point first.