Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon August 2, 2012 - 10:16am

'Broken Piano for President' by Patrick Wensink

Discussion has officially started!

The infamous international bestseller at the center of the Jack Daniel's "World's Nicest Cease and Desist" controversy.

Featured in the New Yorker, New York Times, Forbes, London Telegraph, Esquire, The Atlantic, NPR's Weekend Edition and more.

Synopsis: Ever drank too much and forgot what happened? Don't be embarrassed. Deshler Dean faces this problem every day of his life.

Dean is far more brilliant and productive when he's blackout drunk. In the last few months alone, he has invented a hamburger more addictive than crystal meth, scored a six-figure record contract for his terrible art rock band, and started dating a woman he doesn't even recognize. Worse yet, he has become entangled in the biggest war since the Allies took on Germany.

When rival fast food chains duke it out for control over Dean's burger-inventing genius, Dean and his band mates plunge into the absurd world of corporate paranoia and greed. As the violence of the burger wars spills out onto the streets, it's up to them to win over the hearts (and stomachs) of the American people and save the country from the equivalent of a deep-fried nuclear warhead.

With the humor of Christopher Moore and the madcap sprawl of Thomas Pynchon, Broken Piano for President is a comic masterpiece about the fast food industry, booze, and the necessity to choose happiness over work and security.

About the Author: Patrick Wensink was born in Deshler, OH in 1979. Since that time he has done a lot of things he is not proud of. But he's also done some pretty interesting stuff. Over the years he has bottled and sold his own line of Wentastic BBQ Sauce, got married in a doughnut shop and even found the time to author a few greeting cards.

Beginning his writing career as a rock critic, his work appears in several newspapers, magazines and web sites. Gradually shifting his attention to fiction, he published his first book, a collection of short stories, SEX DUNGEON FOR SALE!, in 2009. Followed by the novels BLACK HOLE BLUES (2010) and BROKEN PIANO FOR PRESIDENT (2012).

He lives in Louisville, KY.

Discussion has officially started!

By now everybody knows the hype with this one. The Cease & Disist letter from Jack Daniels. It's really a great story, mostly because it took a bizarro author and put them at #6 on amazon's best seller list for books. This just doesn't happen for small press authors - especially bizarro.

Learn more: http://brokenpianoforpresident.com/

Buy from Amazon here!

Get to reading!

PatrickWensink's picture
PatrickWensink from Portland, OR August 3, 2012 - 8:20am

Thanks for having me! Feel free to ask any questions, literary, astrological or otherwise. Looking forward to it. 

Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon August 3, 2012 - 8:35am

Thanks for joining us Patrick!

Discussion officially starts September 1st, but if people have questions, statements, or gripes now - feel free to post away.

Michael J. Riser's picture
Michael J. Riser from El Cerrito, CA (originally), now Fort Worth, TX is reading The San Veneficio Canon - Michael Cisco, The Croning - Laird Barron, By the Time We Leave Here, We'll Be Friends - J. David Osborne August 3, 2012 - 12:27pm

Welcome aboard, Patrick.

Has your perspective changed on Broken Piano at all since the big media blowup? I mean I imagine you're overjoyed about it in general, but did it alter the way you looked at your book? Any big-head moments of "I am a genius" or moments of "God how I wish it hadn't gone to print with that typo on page 37" horror?

PatrickWensink's picture
PatrickWensink from Portland, OR August 3, 2012 - 12:52pm

Michael, great question. I've been asked two million questions lately, but nobody's asked that. Solid!

Yes, I'm very excited that the book is finding so many people. It's an insanely lucky time for me. But, no, my opinion hasn't changed of the book. I spent six years writing it, so I beat out anything I didn't like. I'm very proud of it.

Also, I'm a stay-at-home-dad, so any moment of ego from this success is quickly killed because my son has a dirty diaper waiting for me or is trying to swallow a rubber band. He keeps my head on straight. 

Michael J. Riser's picture
Michael J. Riser from El Cerrito, CA (originally), now Fort Worth, TX is reading The San Veneficio Canon - Michael Cisco, The Croning - Laird Barron, By the Time We Leave Here, We'll Be Friends - J. David Osborne August 6, 2012 - 10:00am

Haha, well that's awesome, man. I'm greatly looking forward to the read, and congrats again on your windfall. Hopefully this leads you to bigger and better things.

 

EDIT - Well, my copy just showed up, and it's a really nice-feeling paperback. The cover feels great in your hand, that sort of velvety-but-flat texture, and I'm glad I snagged this before the cover had to be changed, as it's a great cover and I love the look of it. First chapter is gold.

PatrickWensink's picture
PatrickWensink from Portland, OR August 6, 2012 - 10:12am

Yeah! I really love the texture of the cover. I'm told the next one will have that same feel, which I'm told will be out in a couple weeks. 

 

 

Michael J. Riser's picture
Michael J. Riser from El Cerrito, CA (originally), now Fort Worth, TX is reading The San Veneficio Canon - Michael Cisco, The Croning - Laird Barron, By the Time We Leave Here, We'll Be Friends - J. David Osborne August 6, 2012 - 6:19pm

Awesome. Have they shown you the new cover?

PatrickWensink's picture
PatrickWensink from Portland, OR August 6, 2012 - 6:42pm

Yep. It violates no trademarks that I know. 

.'s picture
. August 6, 2012 - 8:35pm

Loving the book so far! I'm about 100 or so pages in.

Scary to think, we probably aren't far from freeze-dried hamburgers. I always enjoy a good satirical commentary on fast-food. 

PatrickWensink's picture
PatrickWensink from Portland, OR August 7, 2012 - 11:33am

Glad you're liking it. Thanks!

What are some of your favorite food satires? I can only think of a couple.

 

 

Jay.SJ's picture
Jay.SJ from London is reading Warmed and Bound August 7, 2012 - 6:28pm

Did the ideas of different burgers grow tiresome Patrick? I coud imagine after progressing charactersd getting hung up on creating a new burger type could grow quite tiresome. Love the book by the way.

PatrickWensink's picture
PatrickWensink from Portland, OR August 7, 2012 - 8:08pm

Hey Jay, 

Glad you like the book. Thanks for checking it out! 

Interesting question. No, I never grew tired of coming up with new burgers. It was lots of fun, but I stressed out a lot, too, because I was trying to come up with sandwiches that were ridiculous, but not impossible. So far, to my knowledge, nobody has batter dipped and deep fried a burger. Thankfully.

I was actually really jealous when I first heard about that hamburger that uses doughnuts for buns. I wish I'd thought of that first!

OtisTheBulldog's picture
OtisTheBulldog from Somerville, MA is reading The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz August 7, 2012 - 8:46pm

As a fellow burger enthusiast, someone who has done a lot of things he's not proud of, and occasional rock critic - I owe it to myself to purchase & read your book.

Welcome to LitReactor. I look forward to getting this in the mail and joining back up with book club.

PatrickWensink's picture
PatrickWensink from Portland, OR August 8, 2012 - 6:44am

Thanks, Otis. You sound like a fun dude! 

 

 

Jeremy Robert Johnson's picture
Jeremy Robert J... from Portland, OR is reading an unreasonable number of books. August 8, 2012 - 3:02pm

Rare photo of the BROKEN PIANO MEDIA JUGGERNAUT in action (sort of)! Who knew that threatening bloggers with this thing would have yielded such spectacular results?

I recently watched Patrick perform an ever-more-slurred drinking game/reading of BROKEN PIANO, and it was smart, funny stuff. I have also seen him breakdance, but will politely refuse to comment on that matter. Stay trill, Patrick!

PatrickWensink's picture
PatrickWensink from Portland, OR August 8, 2012 - 3:19pm

God, I wish he were joking about the breakdancing. 

PatrickWensink's picture
PatrickWensink from Portland, OR August 8, 2012 - 3:32pm

Oh, also, exciting news from my editor at Lazy Fascist Press, Cameron Pierce. 

He says everyone who participates in this discussion will receive a free PDF of my soon-to-be-released essay collection, Everything was Great Until it Sucked.

More details soon. 

Michael J. Riser's picture
Michael J. Riser from El Cerrito, CA (originally), now Fort Worth, TX is reading The San Veneficio Canon - Michael Cisco, The Croning - Laird Barron, By the Time We Leave Here, We'll Be Friends - J. David Osborne August 8, 2012 - 3:43pm

Well that's awesome. I love me some free stuff.

Also, I'd just like to lament that I've never been able to either put on or take part in a drinking game/reading of anything. And that kind of sucks.

Mess_Jess's picture
Mess_Jess from Sydney, Australia, living in Toronto, Canada is reading Perfect by Rachael Joyce August 8, 2012 - 7:23pm

If every cease and desist letter that landed on my desk when I was corporate counsel was this nice... hell, I'd probably still be a lawyer.

I think I'll add Broken Piano for President to my 'To Read' list. I like hearing stories about people choosing happiness over work and security - something I've only just done recently!

PatrickWensink's picture
PatrickWensink from Portland, OR August 8, 2012 - 8:15pm

Michael, 

My wife's been telling me I need to post some sort of play-at-home version of the drinking game on my website. Maybe this will get me to stop being lazy about it!

Michael J. Riser's picture
Michael J. Riser from El Cerrito, CA (originally), now Fort Worth, TX is reading The San Veneficio Canon - Michael Cisco, The Croning - Laird Barron, By the Time We Leave Here, We'll Be Friends - J. David Osborne August 8, 2012 - 8:18pm

Awesome! Except I can do you one better: go on our local podcast, Books and Booze, and debut it to we unwashed masses there while doing a recorded reading.

PatrickWensink's picture
PatrickWensink from Portland, OR August 8, 2012 - 8:20pm

Jess, 

What did you leave the corporate world to do? I used to work at a corporate job, too. I had to proofread life insurance documents. Yikes. 

 

 

Jay.SJ's picture
Jay.SJ from London is reading Warmed and Bound August 8, 2012 - 9:56pm

Also Patrick I was wondering for future book covers are you going to be careful of copyright infrindgement? Do you feel like this accident was a good accident and to do it again purposefully would be tacky or a great way to get more attention?

Since I asked a publicity question I'll ask a question about the book too:

 

Did you find it difficult having the Cliff Drinker having so many events that happened when he was black out drunk, thus the reader being unaware, or did the somewhat dim burger corporates make it easier for the reader to follow?

PatrickWensink's picture
PatrickWensink from Portland, OR August 9, 2012 - 4:40am

Hi Jay,

There is no way we would violate a trademark again. My publisher and I are grateful for all the attention, but don't kid ourselves into thinking we aren't very lucky we didn't get our asses handed to us. JD was exceptionally kind and we wouldn't get that fortunate twice.

With the book, the blackouts were hard to do, but fun to write. I purposefully painted myself into those corners every couple chapters with Dean waking up somewhere totally unfamiliar. Like Dean, I didn't know how he got there, usually. I just had an idea and then tried to write him out of the situation and toward more clarity. I never use outlines, that way the story is always a surprise while I'm writing it, much like reading a book.

That's interesting RE: the burger execs. I never thought of them as dim, but I can see now where you're coming from. Bust-A-Gut and Winters Burgers are extremely powerful and focused on a single goal. So, like a lot of real-world corporations or people, for that matter, that combination can be very dangerous.It's not a coincidence that I wrote the first draft during the heat of the Bush administration.

 

 

Jack Campbell Jr.'s picture
Jack Campbell Jr. from Lawrence, KS is reading American Rust by Phillipp Meyer August 9, 2012 - 1:53pm

I just bought it for Kindle. Honestly, I bought it entirely based on the impression I have gotten about Patrick in these posts. You seem like a cool guy and I appreciate your answering everyone's questions. That is worth the nine bucks in itself.

Michael J. Riser's picture
Michael J. Riser from El Cerrito, CA (originally), now Fort Worth, TX is reading The San Veneficio Canon - Michael Cisco, The Croning - Laird Barron, By the Time We Leave Here, We'll Be Friends - J. David Osborne August 9, 2012 - 3:11pm

Hear, hear.

Just listened to the Booked Podcast review today... I'm ever more eager to get started. I really can't dive in just yet due to other stuff, but soon. Very soon.

OtisTheBulldog's picture
OtisTheBulldog from Somerville, MA is reading The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz August 9, 2012 - 4:15pm

I'm ordering my copy tomorrow (payday). And looking forward to the conversation. Just another reason LitReactor is the best on the web.

PatrickWensink's picture
PatrickWensink from Portland, OR August 10, 2012 - 7:01am

Hey Jack, thanks! Hope you enjoy the book. If not, keep your mouth shut! :)

Michael, thanks, too!

Otis, I agree. LitReactor rules.

Tom1960's picture
Tom1960 from Athens, Georgia is reading Blindness by Jose Saramago August 10, 2012 - 10:23am

Hi Patrick,

  I read the coverage of the logo issue here on the Lit and then saw another article about it from a Law review at work.  Wow!  Can't wait to get a copy and dig in, everything I hear indicates your book is a killer!

PatrickWensink's picture
PatrickWensink from Portland, OR August 10, 2012 - 10:57am

Hey Tom,

Thank you! Hope you enjoy the book.

The legal coverage the book's had is crazy. I've actually been asked to speak to law students at the University of Dayton. I have no business talking to anyone in law school, but I'm told there is a free lunch. So, I'm going!

 

Jack Campbell Jr.'s picture
Jack Campbell Jr. from Lawrence, KS is reading American Rust by Phillipp Meyer August 10, 2012 - 12:04pm

I would speak on about any subject for free lunch.

Michael J. Riser's picture
Michael J. Riser from El Cerrito, CA (originally), now Fort Worth, TX is reading The San Veneficio Canon - Michael Cisco, The Croning - Laird Barron, By the Time We Leave Here, We'll Be Friends - J. David Osborne August 10, 2012 - 1:55pm

Please tell me they're serving hamburgers.

Courtney's picture
Courtney from the Midwest is reading Monkey: A Journey to the West and a thousand college textbooks August 10, 2012 - 2:06pm

Patrick -- there is a deep-fried burger in Indianapolis. My AP English teacher got drunk and wrote a rap about the best burgers in Indianapolis and he performed it for us. His favorite was the deep-fried buffalo burger at the Front Page bar here.

I haven't gotten to start the book yet, but it's in my Nook library waiting for me.

PatrickWensink's picture
PatrickWensink from Portland, OR August 10, 2012 - 2:25pm

Jack: I'll ask UD if they have any other speaker needs!

Michael: My fingers are crossed for burgers.

Courtney: Where were you a week ago? I just drove through Indy to do a reading in Chicago on the 1st. Front Page is on my list next time I go to Indy. That sounds crazy. Thanks!

Courtney's picture
Courtney from the Midwest is reading Monkey: A Journey to the West and a thousand college textbooks August 10, 2012 - 4:10pm

You'll love it. I think it's deep fried twice in batter that includes buffalo sauce powder mix, like the ranch chicken rings at White Castle. Plus, Front Page used to be the dive bar for Indy Star writers back in the day; it's one of those hometown classics that don't get much press but have a loyal fan base in the city for both their kitsch and their offerings.

PatrickWensink's picture
PatrickWensink from Portland, OR August 11, 2012 - 1:20pm

That sounds awesome. Thank you!

.'s picture
. August 11, 2012 - 9:20pm

Funny that you came up with the invention of the cough syrup burger. I remember watching a show where they were interviewing the guys that run Voodoodoughnuts and they had a limited release Nyquill doughnut. 

 

Mess_Jess's picture
Mess_Jess from Sydney, Australia, living in Toronto, Canada is reading Perfect by Rachael Joyce August 12, 2012 - 3:15pm

Patrick, I hated being a lawyer. It's on the same level of suckiness as reviewing insurance documents all day. I always wanted to be a writer, so that's what I started doing a couple of months ago. I saved up a bit of money, and I have a very supportive partner, so I can study and write full time.

Broken Piano purchased on my kindle. Looking forward to reading this! 

Courtney's picture
Courtney from the Midwest is reading Monkey: A Journey to the West and a thousand college textbooks August 12, 2012 - 7:18pm

All this lawyer hate makes me sad. I'm currently working towards bachelor's degrees in Labor Studies and Sociology with the intention of going to law school. I should probably reconsider that.

.'s picture
. August 12, 2012 - 10:27pm

I've only heard horror stories about law school. As if the 200k tuition wasn't enough. blah.

Jack Campbell Jr.'s picture
Jack Campbell Jr. from Lawrence, KS is reading American Rust by Phillipp Meyer August 13, 2012 - 8:45am

"I've only heard horror stories about law school."

John Grisham/Stephen King collaboration?

Mess_Jess's picture
Mess_Jess from Sydney, Australia, living in Toronto, Canada is reading Perfect by Rachael Joyce August 13, 2012 - 8:54am

@Courtney - Sorry to sound so negative about it! I have at least 10 friends I went to law school with who really love being lawyers, it's not all bad. 

PatrickWensink's picture
PatrickWensink from Portland, OR August 13, 2012 - 9:59am

Jack's_username: That is EXACTLY where I got the inspiration for the cough medicine burger! That happened when I was living in Portland. THey, apparently, also sold a doughnut filled with Pepto Bismol!

PatrickWensink's picture
PatrickWensink from Portland, OR August 13, 2012 - 10:01am

Jess: That's a great plan! That's exactly what we did. I saved a bunch of money, planning to get an MFA, but wasn't accepted anywhere. So, thankfully, I have a wife with a legit job who let me stay home and freelance and work on fiction. I feel like I learned more with that time than I maybe would have in a school setting.

PatrickWensink's picture
PatrickWensink from Portland, OR August 13, 2012 - 10:02am

Courtney, lawyers are good people. I know many and they are all smart, kind folks. I didn't mean anything negative towards lawyers. Negativity toward corporate culture, YES. :)

Michael J. Riser's picture
Michael J. Riser from El Cerrito, CA (originally), now Fort Worth, TX is reading The San Veneficio Canon - Michael Cisco, The Croning - Laird Barron, By the Time We Leave Here, We'll Be Friends - J. David Osborne August 13, 2012 - 11:38am

I worked with lawyers for years at a government job. They were some of the dumbest, most selfish, egotistical jerks it has ever been my misfortune to work with. That said, there were a couple of them who were very cool people. There isn't anything wrong with being a lawyer, and being a lawyer doesn't make you a lousy person. But I think it does have a tendency to attract a certain kind of less savory individual.

Courtney's picture
Courtney from the Midwest is reading Monkey: A Journey to the West and a thousand college textbooks August 13, 2012 - 1:57pm

@Patrick Negativity towards corporate culture is wonderful, since I'm getting a bachelor's degree specifically tailored for union leaders in the hopes of bringing unions back with the help of a law school degree. So yeah... I'm studying literally so I can say "fuck corporations" and do something about it.

@Mike Lawyers are disgusting people and the most seedy, underhanded individuals imaginable. I'm going to learn all their tactics so I can use them against them.

Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon August 15, 2012 - 5:12am

Dakota said: Funny that you came up with the invention of the cough syrup burger. I remember watching a show where they were interviewing the guys that run Voodoodoughnuts and they had a limited release Nyquill doughnut.

Voodoo Doughnuts is a minor part of A Very Minor Prophet. In fact the Nyquill doughnut and the Pepto doughnut are mentioned a few times.

PatrickWensink's picture
PatrickWensink from Portland, OR August 15, 2012 - 6:08am

Ha! That's terrific. I'm glad that a punk rock doughnut shop is the muse for so many writers!!

Jack Campbell Jr.'s picture
Jack Campbell Jr. from Lawrence, KS is reading American Rust by Phillipp Meyer August 15, 2012 - 7:13am

Although the final doughnut scene in A Very Minor Prophet cured me of any doughnut cravings for awhile.