Barry Brennessel — Mystery, Romance, Suspense & Humo(u)r



Finalist, 2013 USA Book News Book of the Year Awards

Finalist, 2013 National Indie Excellence Book Awards

Finalist, 2012 Foreword Book of the Year Awards

Now available!

AmazonBarnes and NobleBooks-a-MillionPowell’s Books, and MLR Press

A small French city. A park near Tokyo. The Czech countryside. London at night. Lost loves and found loves. Fear and courage. Reflections. Rejections. Reconciliations. Romance.

These interconnected stories follow the adventures of Brian, Ondrej, Yuji, Jason, and others as they navigate the tumultuous path of life and love.


Shin-Kiba Park (Pushcart Prize nominee; from Gival Press’s ArLiJo)

Nagasaki (Dana Award finalist; from Polari Journal)

Unfinished (from SNReview)

Ficelle (from SNReview)

Reunion is set in Tokyo and this is important in that we do not get many gay stories set in Asia and with Asian characters. But even more than that, the novel changes locales and we go to France, to London and to the Czech Republic and we get a series of interconnected stories that all follow the themes of life and love. Something else that is special here is that no one or two stories stand out. Each and every story is a wonderful read and not just the plots make them so good but the gorgeous prose and the way the writer uses emotions to draw us in.”

–Reviews by Amos Lassen

“Brennessel shows his mastery in crafting a surface story that is delightful on its own, yet also resonates with each of the other stories in the collection.

Each story is so intricately entwined with the others that it is difficult to point to any one as being a favorite, although the third story, ‘Nagasaki,’ came closest to earning that superlative[…]

This complex story within a story within a story is a beautiful experiment that succeeds on every level.  ‘Shin-Kiba Park’ in this collection was nominated for the prestigious Pushcart Prize in 2008, and this completed collection deserves many more critical accolades.”

Lambda Literary, Book Lovers



    Sete     Firenze

Sete: Now available from MLR PressAmazon

Firenze: Now available from MLR Press, Amazon

Brandon Meier’s academic year in Europe takes him far beyond
museums, castles, and classrooms. When he embarks on a month-long rail journey,
his sightseeing includes an edgy French boy, a Carravagio-esque Italian, a rich
Swiss lad, a Croatian heartbreaker, and an Indonesian beauty in Amsterdam, to
name but a few. These are lessons no textbook can ever teach.

It’s not long before Brandon realizes that the best
sightseeing is almost always off the beaten path. From sultry nights in saunas,
to midnight strolls in seemingly endless parks, chance encounters in sleepy
seaside towns and nights of wining, dining, BMW convertibles and penthouse
apartments, Brian’s year in Europe is anything but “by the textbook.”

“It’s a petit-four of a story: tasty, with layers, and a mere mouthful. And sometimes a mouthful is all you want.”

–Cryselle’s review of Firenze for Reviews by Jessewave


Available from MLR PressAmazonBarnes and Noble

Brian Caleb made a lot of mistakes chasing his first love. A fleeting, confusing love that disappeared forever. He wishes it were a lifetime ago, but the pain is fresh and raw. Now he’s running away from love. And everything else in his life.

Then a chance encounter takes an unexpected turn: Brian finds himself falling for someone after something falls on someone!

They say true love comes when you’re not looking for it. That’s precisely what scares Brian. Can he find the courage to follow his heart again?

“The character of Brian, despite his many problems, stayed with me long after I finished the story which doesn’t happen all that often. This means that I’d happily recommend this story for those who are not necessarily looking for an easy read but would like something a little different with an anti-hero character.”

Jenre for Brief Encounters Reviews





Manifold Press

Modern GLBTQI fiction of the Great War

Ten authors – in thirteen stories – explore the experiences of GLBTQI
people during World War I. In what ways were their lives the same as or different from those of other people?

An anthology featuring authors:

  • Julie Bozza
  • Barry Brennessel
  • Charlie Cochrane
  • Sam Evans
  • Lou Faulkner
  • Adam Fitzroy
  • Wendy C. Fries
  • Z. McAspurren
  • Eleanor Musgrove
  • Jay Lewis Taylor

65,000 words/TBC pages

Publication 1 May 2015

Please note: All proceeds will be donated to The Royal British Legion.

A Pride of Poppies is a quality anthology. There isn’t one story I didn’t enjoy. The editing is superb and the writing exceedingly good to sublime. I had only previously read Barry Brennessel and Charlie Cochrane and I could not believe the depth and breadth of storytelling in each individual story. Only a couple have more length, the rest are quite short, but the word count meant absolutely nothing, other than a few of these stories would make even better novellas/books. Each story above is listed in order, and even if you aren’t interested in all of them the money spent on this anthology will be worth it,  such is the quality. 5 Stars!   

 Barry Brennessel was the only author who wrote a story that was set outside  Europe. It’s very fitting because many people from French Indochina were conscripted to fight in Europe. The author has a way of capturing innocence juxtaposed against something darker, and Minh and Thao definitely fit that scenario. The whole anthology shows innocence lost in a (modern) war. In Anh Sang it’s not only the War, but the sentiments of the people about that war and the French subjugation of their land and its people. While I would have loved a longer story of these two characters, this region, I’ll take what I can get, it’s beautiful storytelling from a wonderful author.

–On Top Down Under Reviews


For Jeremy Saura, a song by Kate Bush holds all the answers. Pushes him onward. Sends him running up that road. Up that hill. Up that building.

Jeremy gets chills as he listens to the lyrics. The song, a beautiful powerhouse of determination over despair, only gains in impact as he replays it. Seven times. “I adore you Kate Bush,” he whispers to her photograph. For Jeremy, “Running Up That Hill” gives him the momentum he needs to navigate the trials and tribulations of a new job, a complex friendship, and a budding workplace romance.

 Available from Amazon,  MLR Press.

This story is also available in Mixed Tape Series Volume #4 

Barry so eloquently captured the rhythms of the mid-80s – the big changes that were beginning in the role of technology and media in our lives in new ways, the tentative steps being taken by many towards living an authentic life and the horror and fear surrounding the AIDS epidemic.  Listening to Jeremy’s inner dialogue and slightly sarcastic nature literally felt like I was stepping back in time.  I loved his voice in this story.  Once again, I am in awe of Barry’s talent in bringing to life characters in what I can only describe as movie-like story.  Read this story. You won’t be disappointed.

The Armchair Reader

I have a fondness for this author’s books as they often manage to blend the serious with gentle humour. This book was no exception.

Overall, this was a bit of a trip down memory lane for me but was intertwined with a nicely written romance and I’d definitely recommend the story to those who remember the 1980s.

Jenre for Brief Encounters Reviews

“If you are looking for a quality short read that delivers humour, a bit of sexy, thoughtful moments, and a positive outlook, then I suggest you go no further than Barry Brennessel’s Running Up That Hill.”

–On Top Down Under Reviews


Love and lust through the annals of time, from ancient Israel and Greece and Rome, to the Vikings, the Wild West, Woodstock, and all points in between.

Available from Amazon,  MLR Press.

About “1909 A.D.”:

This is a sweet sexy story of friends to lovers and love lost and reunited. I loved it!  ♥♥♥♥♥5 Hearts

–MM Good Book Reviews

A really sweet coming-of-age short about eighteen year old Jesse Ostermann reconnecting with a best friend, Newton ‘Fig’ Brabinger. The story is sweet, charming, and warm. 

On Top Down Under Book Reviews

Also worth mentioning [is] Barry Brennessel’s turn-of-the-century “1909 A.D.,” which features two snowbound boys keeping themselves warm as best they can.

Out in Print