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Barthelme, or Something

Let me begin by observing that, while I have read—and on occasion even enjoyed—some of Barthelme’s work, indeed have scrutinized it with what I can only describe as painstaking assiduousness (emphasis on the pain part), I confess here, for the record, that I understand neither the writing itself nor the ethos or personal angst or whatever it is that would drive an otherwise intelligent person to construct such obtuse stories (stories here being a term I employ in only its very loosest connotation, what with me being a rather traditional sort of guy, at least in the sense that I like my stories to have clearly perceptible beginnings, middles, and endings, which I totally get is regarded these days as rather quaint and possibly even ...

Portrait of the Author as Publ ...

The cold, bitter truth is that most writers are awful marketers. I’ve yet to meet an author who enjoyed or was any good at self-promotion and publicity. Not only are we terrible at selling to begin with, but we also tend to resent the time that we’re obliged to spend doing it because it cuts into time that we could be writing. And yet, if we subscribe to the belief that authors strive primarily—either publicly or at least in secret—for readers, then we’re forced to accept the uncomfortable fact that we’re all obliged to expend at least some measure of effort to promote and sell our work. There were something like 900,000 new books published in the U.S. last year, about two thirds of which were self published, and about 99% ...

What Do Writers Want?

The late, absurdly talented essayist David Foster Wallace, in an interview with Charlie Rose, once noted the painful dichotomy of being a writer; how on the one hand you’re this recluse who sits in an office or garret for days at a time, eschewing all human contact, striving to complete a piece of work; but on the other hand you repeatedly put your writing out there into the public sphere for human consumption and evaluation. It’s a poignant observation, and one that gets to the heart of what writers want. In fairness, I can, of course, only comment on what this particular writer wants, though in so doing, I am prepared to also make a bold leap and assert that it’s what every writer wants; put quite simply—readers. I cannot believe ...

Sistina Audio

Click play below to listen to the Sistina Audio book sample, narrated by Ryan Metzger. http://www.briankennethswain.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Sistina-Prologue.mp3 Click below to listen to the January 6th, 2015 interview on the Artist First Worldwide Radio Network, hosted by Tony Kay. http://www.briankennethswain.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Authors-First_2015-01-06_Brian_Swain_128k.mp3 Click below to listen to the January 26th, 2015 MyNDTALK interview, hosted by Dr. Pamela Brewer. http://www.briankennethswain.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/wpfw_150126_150000myndalkfri.mp3 Click below to listen to the February 3rd, 2015 interview on Nuestra Palabra, KPFT/90/1 FM, hosted by Tony Diaz and Liana ...

Excerpts From Sistina

Prologue And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulcher. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.Luke 24:2-3 April 3 – 33 CE Nicodemus looks away as Joseph grunts and puts all his weight into the bar, drawing the heavy iron nail from out of the black oak, freeing Jesus’ limp left hand from the cross. The task is excruciating, physically and emotionally, and there is no respite from the unforgiving afternoon heat. They are two men, observed only by a pair of centurions, but working alone, and with the crudest of tools: a heavy winch to lift the massive cross from its support hole and lower it gently to the ground, and a stout iron bar to grip the heads of the six-inch-long spikes and draw them ...

Sistina Reviews

“Sistina is a terrific book. If you like well-crafted mysteries with unanticipated twists and turns, you will love this deft, imaginative novel. Disquieting events immediately following the crucifixion trigger a plot that toggles mostly between Michelangelo’s Rome and modern Italy. Other than saying people die, things are stolen, and philosophies are shaken, I’ll add nothing—I hate spoilers—except that as a bonus you will learn a lot of fascinating church history and may be able to paint a fresco when you are finished. Don’t miss this book.” — Michael Lieberman, author of Never Surrender—Never Retreat and The Lobsterman’s Daughter “Brian Kenneth Swain sets forth a tantalizing conspiracy plot that has preserved a ...

Excerpt from The Curious Habit ...

Excerpt from The Curious Habits of Man There can be no greater marketing triumph than the creation and promoting of bottled water … Never mind that something like seventy percent of all bottled water comes directly and unapologetically, without being changed in any way, from municipal systems (i.e., tap water), or that bottled water is almost certainly less healthy than tap water by virtue of residing for months in plastic bottles, potentially absorbing all manner of petrochemicals that leach fro them plastic, or that while the safety and quality of municipal water is closely regulated, there are no analogous regulations at all for bottled water. All these realities notwithstanding, people the world over have, in less than a decade, ...

Hungry in the South Conference ...

Very much looking forward to this weekend’s SOFAB “Hunger in the South” conference in New Orleans, during which I’ll not only participate in a panel discussion on Saturday about genetic research and food technology, but I’ll also be introdu cing the world premier of the new movie by Jeffrey Smith, GENETIC ROULETTE. Then, to cap it all off, I’ll be doing a book signing on Sunday for my novel WORLD HUNGER. All that combined with a weekend of New Orleans food — What’s NOT to ...

Days End – Introduction ...

If you doubt that the Jewish people would ever attempt something so audacious as replacing the Dome with the Temple, you need to know that some Jewish people are already planning for it. John Hagee – Gorenberg, pg. 177 The purpose of an introductory essay is, primarily, to establish context for the work that follows. To a lesser degree, it is, if candidly written, a means of obtaining insight into the mind of the writer, specifically why he undertook the story in the first place, and what personal characteristics inform his research and writing. That said, let’s dispatch the latter objective first, as it is the easier of the two. My gut reaction is to state here, for the record, that I am atheist. It’s what the Sam Harris’s and ...

Days End Update – 10/22/ ...

Just finished drafting Chapter Eight, in which we meet the Imam Bachir Tarraf, brother of Hanan Tarraf, the father of Khalid, the young man who killed himself and seventeen others in a suicide bombing in Chapter One. Bachir will play a pivotal, but as yet undetermined, role in the conspiracy that is starting to shape up in the story. In this introduction, we learn that he is haunted by his memories of the 1982 massacres at the East Beirut camps at Sabra and Shatila, during which time he served as Imam of the mosque in the camps. Hundreds (some say thousands) of refugees were massacred on the night of September 16th, and he was spared only because of his position. He will be a fun character to play around with, particularly as regards his ...