Saturday, May 30, 2015

Book Launch and Trailer for SUMMER AND THE STEEL BLUE SEA

The Kellogg- Hubbard Library in Montpelier, Vermont is one of my favorite places. As a writer and reader  I go there to explore, dig, discover, and enjoy. It's an honor to be presenting my latest book to my community and the world beyond, beginning right here in this wonderful library.

SUMMER AND THE STEEL BLUE SEA by Kevin Macneil Brown- Book trailer from Kevin Macneil Brown on Vimeo.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

On Writing a Summer Book

   I wanted to write a summer book. My favorite summer fiction unfolds with atmosphere, sense of place, mystery, adventure, and plenty of the great outdoors. And outdoors is where I like to read in the summer: beach, backyard chair in the sun, maybe with a cup of coffee on the porch if it’s a cool, rainy day. With all this in mind, last spring I decided that my eighth novel would be a summer book-- thus I would write the complete first draft over the course of one summer.
I had been pleasantly surprised by by the number of readers who suggested that I write a sequel to HIGHWAY IN THE BLOOD and bring back Buck Hawkins, the steel guitar- playing accidental sleuth who narrates that 1970s-set novel. I was out on a trail run in May of 2014 when a full idea for story-line, setting, and most of the characters arrived all at once-- just as the ferns were unfurling and the maples leafing out to full green. I got the first draft written between May and August, writing in the mornings, letting the story resonate and deepen further during warm- weather runs in the woods and along Vermont back roads. As with HIGHWAY, I had a great time opening up my own memories of Vermont and New Hampshire in the 1970s. And of course, with Buck being a  working musician-- as was I during that era-- there was another  aspect of memory that was especially fun to delve into.
SUMMER AND THE STEEL BLUE SEA took 5 drafts, written between May of 2014 and April of 2015, making it the first of my books to be completed within a year’s time. (This feels like some sort of milestone to me--though of what, I’m not exactly sure.)

 I hope readers will  pick up on the beach-read vibe I intended, and that--in any season--they will enjoy the unfolding mystery, adventure, and sense of time and place that went into the pages.


You can find a preview and link for purchase here:

Saturday, April 25, 2015

When It's Sunset on the Sugarbush (A new song for spring)

Spring has been especially late in arriving here in Vermont. While the ground has softened and the ice has left the lakes and ponds, snow showers keep on coming just about every day. The grass still has some greening to do, and the maple buds are still closed up and tight.
While waiting,  I've been immersing myself in old western swing, enjoying gigs with my cowboy band, Big Hat, No Cattle. One result of all this is a new song I've just finished writing and recording-- a new old-school western tune with a New England  maple sugaring theme.
Here's a relaxed living room video of the song, along with a link to the recorded version, which features some western-style steel guitar. I hope you enjoy!


All of which might be a good segue into what's coming up soon: SUMMER AND THE STEEL BLUE SEA, the second novel in my Buck Hawkins mystery series, will be out in early June. Buck is a steel guitar player, a Vermonter who plays western music.  Final edits on the book are in the works right now. Please stay tuned !


Saturday, April 04, 2015

Cantos 1-3 (watercolor paintings)

                                          Canto 1- Teresa of Avila
                                            Canto 2- Julian of Norwich

Canto 3- Hildegard of Bingen

Paintings by Kevin Macneil Brown, watercolor on paper, 2015.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

pilgrim river path

   I grew up in the watershed of the great Merrimack River, which flows from the confluence of the Winnipesaukee and Pemigewasset Rivers in New Hampshire, 117 miles to the sea at Newburyport, Massachusetts.  When I saw Damian Mark Ryan’s series of photographs taken during walks along the railroad tracks and river paths of the Merrimack River mill city Haverhill, Massachusetts, I felt an instant resonance with my own journey; a powerful evocation of the layers of past, present, and possibility that vibrated with memories of the power of place. I knew within moments that I wanted to compose music to accompany these images.
   Damian Mark Ryan was a good friend during my high school years. We spent much time in conversation-- often walking alongside the Pemigewassett, just a few miles from where it became part of the Merrimack at Franklin Falls. We talked about literature, art, film, music, and, sometimes, our feelings about the New England landscape.  Before long, our conversations led to collaborations on student film projects.  Damian and I “met" again recently via social media, and it has been a nice surprise to renew a creative collaboration 40 years later.

  The texture of the music-- performed on electric baritone guitar with delays-- was suggested by the idea--and images-- of a lone pilgrimage through an urban New England landscape full of memories that are strong yet perhaps just out of reach. The intervallic, rhythmic, and harmonic structures are based on factors and addends of the number 12, again rooted in the the idea of pilgrimage and deep contemplation. Indeed, one possible translation of the Abenaki place name Merrimack  is “ at the deep place .” -KMB

Saturday, February 14, 2015

winter light on sleeping mountains

 Sub-zero temperatures, strong winds, icy roadways, and the constant accrual of snow have made this a rugged winter here in central Vermont.  Despite some hard slogging, I have been doing my best to hold in my heart and mind the beauty and mystery of winter, and somehow the contemplation of mountains-- along with the making of art and music inspired by this-- has helped.

The other day, following up on some research, I stopped at the library to look for a copy of Francis Parkman's THE OREGON TRAIL. I found a well-worn 1925 edition and took it from the shelf. Opening to a random page, I came across these words:

 There is a spirit and energy in the mountains, and they impart it to all who approach them.

With those words resonating, I offer a sampling of recent watercolors, along with a new soundscape composition for steel guitar and wordless vocals.  -KMB


       Park range, winter- paintings by Kevin Macneil Brown, watercolor and graphite on paper, 2015.

Monday, December 29, 2014

mountains waters homeward sky

To wrap up this year, I'm presenting a video exhibit here-- a selection of watercolors from 2014, along with a new piece of music composed especially for the images.

I remain grateful for the chance to share my music, art, and words, and I thank all of you who support  my work with your listening, looking, and reading; with your purchases of books and prints and downloads.

Of course, there are some new things coming in 2015. The second Buck Hawkins novel will soon be in the hands of first readers and editors, and is still on schedule for release in the summer. Also in the works is a line of note cards with KMB images. I've had many requests for this, and now the time is at hand.
 Happy New Year to all, and best wishes for peace and fulfillment.  -KMB