S.G. Browne

The Voices In My Head

I see a therapist twice a week.

His name is Ted.

Ted hates me.

I know this because he told me so.  At least I think he told me.  It’s hard to tell with all of these other voices in my head.

These people.

These characters I created with pen and paper or with any number of keystrokes across my computer keyboard.

One of them is telling me to write a story about an old man who goes fishing for marlin by himself in a one man boat.

“That’s Hemingway,” I tell him.

“What’s Hemingway?” asks Ted.

I explain to Ted that I’m being badgered by one of my characters who has plagiaristic tendencies.

“Tell me about him,” says Ted.

“He’s one of my earliest characters,” I say.  “He lacks originality.”

Filed under: Random Fiction — S.G. Browne @ 10:14 pm

Last Memory

I’ll never forget her face.

Arched eyebrows.  Pouty lips parted in the beginnings of a gasp.  Her upturned chin.  Delicate nose.  Eyes as blue as the ocean, opening wide.  All of it framed by her platinum blond hair.

I suppose it could have been worse.

I suppose my last memory could have been of a dumpster filled with broken bottles.  Or the yellow roof of a taxi cab.  Or a parking meter.

Asphalt.  Concrete.

Oil stains and gum stuck to the sidewalk.

But when your parachute doesn’t open during an illegal base jump and you’re plummeting down the face of the Empire State Building, you never expect to end your life landing on top of Paris Hilton.

Filed under: Random Fiction — S.G. Browne @ 11:42 am

Praise iPods and Laptops

So there’s a new garage going in across the street from my apartment.  Which is apparently going to take from now until sometime next April to complete.  I’m not sure how long this phase of the construction is going to last, but they’re using jackhammers.


Typically, the jackhammering starts at about 8:00am.  I write from 7:00am-10:00am before heading off to my day job.  Now, while most writers I know seem to be able to take their laptops to cafes to drink coffee and pump out a few pages, I don’t go to cafes.  One, I find them distracting.  I prefer to write in the space I’ve created at home.  Plus until two months ago, I didn’t own a laptop.  Wrote longhand in a journal.  I was old school that way.

The other reason I don’t hang out in cafes is that I don’t drink coffee.  Just was never my thing.  And since there aren’t any bars open around me at 8:00am, I’m stuck in my apartment listening to the jackhammering and wondering how much trouble I could get in if I took an axe to the pneumatic hose or took a bat to the compressor.

So instead of going to jail or getting hit with a hefty fine or lawsuit, I grab my iPod, put on some Mozart, and crank up the volume until I drown out the jackhammering.  I write best to Mozart.  No lyrics.  And there’s something about his compositions that inspire me more so than Bach or Beethoven or Tchaikovsky.  And with my laptop, although I can’t get away from the noise, I can find a space in my apartment a little further removed from the noise.

So hallelujah for technology.  Praise Apple and praise Dell.  And if it could start raining soon so the jackhammering could stop, that would be cool, too.

Filed under: The Writing Life — S.G. Browne @ 10:28 pm

I Am Jack’s Alter Ego

“All the ways you wish you could be, that’s me.  I look like you want to look, I fuck like you want to fuck.  I am smart, capable, and most importantly, I am free in all the ways that you are not.”

– Tyler Durden, Fight Club

As writers, we’re always pretending to be someone else, especially when you write in the first person narrative like I do.  For some writers, that line of reality between author and character is blurred a little bit more.  For others, the voice that comes across on the page is the same voice of the author in real life.  And for those like me, our characters are the alter egos that come to life in our writing.

In much the same way that Fight Club‘s Tyler Durden is a representation of who Edward Norton’s unnamed narrator wants to be, the main characters in my novels are a reflection of me, of who I imagine I am.  My characters talk the way I want to talk and always seem to know exactly what to say at the perfect moment.  In real life, I seldom have the words I want to say at my disposal.  Most of the time I come up with the perfect response about five minutes later, which doesn’t really help when you’ve already conceded the argument or missed the opportunity to say something unforgettable.

Of course when I’m writing, I have the luxury of editing, of creating and controlling the entire situation in which my characters find themselves, so the dialogue and the reactions are re-written and crafted until they’re just the way I want them.  So yeah, it’s a little like cheating.  But sometimes, the line or the comment or the response will come out of me with no effort, with no hesitation, and I know it’s perfect.  And that’s when I get this rush, this connection with my character, that makes me realize why I do this in the first place.

Filed under: The Writing Life — S.G. Browne @ 11:34 pm

The Zombies Are Coming

Little did I know that when I wrote a dark comedy about a newly minted zombie dealing with life after undeath that I’d run across four other authors who were also penning zombie novels.  And that all five of our novels would be coming out in early 2009.  Can I have an uhhhhhhnnnn?

First up is You Are So Undead to Me (Razorbill) by Stacey Jay, a YA novel about a teenage zombie hunter and her fight to save her prom date from getting eaten.  Release date January 22, 2009.

Next up is Mark Henry’s Road Trip of the Living Dead (Kensington), which is the second in the Amanda Feral series about zombie, vampires, werewolves, and other cuddly, lovable creatures who haunt the Pacific Northwest.  Road Trip hits the road February 24, 2009.

Another YA title, Zombie Queen of Newbury High (Puffin) by Amanda Ashby, follows the exploits of Mia Everett who accidentally turns the entire senior class into brain-dead, flesh-munching zombies just in time for prom and finds herself up first up on the menu.  Due out March 5, 2009.

Then there is Carrie Ryan’s debut novel, The Forest of Hands and Teeth (Delacorte), about a young girl living in a post-zombie-Apocalypse world who begins to discover the truth about the world in which she lives.  At your local bookstore March 10, 2009.

Finally, rounding out the quints of zombie prose, the thumb to join the other four, decaying fingers, is my own Breathers: A Zombie’s Lament (Broadway), a dark comedy about undeath through the eyes of an ordinary zombie.  It’s a classic story of suffering and redemption, like The Color Purple or the New Testament.  Only with cannibalism.  Breathers is scheduled to hit the shelves March 17, 2009.

2009 may be the Year of the Ox, but as far as I can tell, it looks like it’s shaping up to be the year of the Zombie.

Filed under: Breathers,Zombies — S.G. Browne @ 9:24 pm