S.G. Browne

G is for Graveyard

I had a number of fun responses to what G should be for: Gore, Gases, Guts, Gross, Ghoulish, Ghastly, Gangrene. But the one that resonated more than the others was Graveyard.

Who doesn’t like graveyards?

In Breathers, Andy and the other members of Undead Anonymous spend a lot of time in graveyards – visiting loved ones, paying respects to the recently buried, and digging on the vibe.  After all, they have more in common with the dead than with the living.  And graveyards are the only place where zombies can gather without having to worry about being carted off by Animal Control.

The graveyards, or cemeteries, in Breathers do exist and I hung out in several of them in order to add some realistic details to the scenes.  Particularly the Soquel Cemetery, where Andy’s wife is buried.  (She died in the car accident and didn’t reanimate).  Even the cypress tree that resembles Tom with his missing arm is there.

A number of the tombstones mentioned in the book also exist, including the one for Santa Claus.  However, the marker with the marble cat curled up beneath the solitary name Lilith is an homage to one of my cats – a black Alpha female named after the character on Cheers who was killed and eaten by another animal in July of 1995.

My cat, not Bebe Neuwirth.

(Next entry:  H is for Helen)

Filed under: Breathers,The Writing Life — Tags: , — S.G. Browne @ 8:37 am

Ask Andy…

On the Undead Anonymous site, visitors can ask Andy, the main character of Breathers, questions about what it’s like to be a zombie.

This week, Tom, from somewhere in GMail land, asks:

Andy, do you floss regularly?  What does a zombie do about halitosis?

Good question, Tom.  Most Breathers tend to think that once you become a member of the walking undead, all of your personal grooming habits get tossed out with the bathwater.  Which is actually not something I’ve ever done, but it’s the first metaphor that popped into my rotting brain, so I went with it.

To be honest, I wasn’t much into dental care when I was a Breather.  Kind of took the whole flossing thing a bit lightly.  But once your become a zombie and you realize that if your teeth fall out there isn’t a dental hygienist in the county who’s willing to go anywhere near your mouth, you tend to develop better habits.  So yeah, I floss every day.  Morning and evening.  I prefer the Johnson and Johnson mint waxed floss, though dental tape can be more effective for cleaning between teeth that are not tightly spaced – a common problem for the undead.

As for halitosis, there’s not a lot zombies can do other than use a lot of mouth wash and eat a lot of breath mints.  Jerry pops Altoids regularly, which seems to help, but honestly, when your internal organs are gradually liquefying, you just have to get used to the fact that you’re not going to go out on a lot of second dates.

Thanks for asking!

Filed under: Breathers,Zombies — Tags: , , — S.G. Browne @ 2:38 pm

First Reading and Book Signing Tour

So I’m on my way back from San Diego after 10 days of signings and readings and pimping Breathers out to about 50 different book stores and signing stock copies.  Ready for home but had an awesome time.  Here are some highlights:

March 15 – Caesar may have been told to beware the Ides of March, but my first official signing and reading at Borderlands Books in San Francisco was fortuitous.  Great crowd.  Lots of friends.  Several dozen books sold.  And Jude and Alan are the consummate hosts.

March 18 – Drove around Los Angeles signing stock copies of Breathers at local book stores.

March 19 – Met at the Coffee Bean on Sunset in L.A. with Mason Novick and Geoff LaTulippe, the co-producer and screenwriter for the film version of Breathers.  Great fun.  One of those “pinch me” moments.

March 20 – Met with my film agent, Sarah Self of the Gersh Agency, who wants me to write an original screenplay.  I now officially have homework.

March 21 – My second official signing at Dark Delicacies in Burbank, CA, with Amber Benson (previously of Buffy the Vampire) who was also signing her first solo effort,  Death’s Daughter. Admittedly, Amber’s line was just a little longer than mine, but I had a great time sharing the event and meeting her. Del and Sue were wonderful hosts and the store is fabulous.

March 22 – My third signing at Mysterious Galaxy Books in San Diego.  Shared the reading and signing with Michael Boatman (Spin City and Arli$$), who read from his new horror comedy novel The Revenant Road.  Mysterious Galaxy is a fabulous store and it was lots of fun to meet Michael.  Also received my first hug from a fan from L.A. who missed me in Burbank and drove down to San Diego to see me. Thanks Elizabeth!  You made my day.

March 24 – Hit up another dozen stores in the San Diego area to sign stock copies.  Met a lot of enthusiastic people and fans and had an all around great time.  I think I need to come back here…

Filed under: The Writing Life — Tags: , , — S.G. Browne @ 10:00 am

F is for Formaldehyde

flesh decomposing?
body cavities bursting?
eat formaldehyde

I think I speak for all embalmed zombies when I say that formaldehyde is the best thing since bacon.  Without it (formaldehyde not bacon), your body will go bad faster than cottage cheese.  And the consistency won’t be that much different.

If you consume enough formaldehyde, you can keep the decomposition of your body and internal organs at bay.  Even if you can’t get hold of the industrial strength stuff, formaldehyde can be found in lipstick, makeup, fingernail polish, toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorant, antiperspirant, bubble bath, bath oil, shampoo, and soft drinks.

Unfortunately, if you weren’t embalmed prior to reanimation, no amount of Suave Kiwi shampoo is going to keep your internal organs from turning into chicken noodle soup.  Unless you can somehow manage to get hold of the industrial strength stuff, your won’t have the shelf life of 2% pasteurized milk.

Of course, no one wants to reanimate while you have a cannula inserted in your carotid artery, but it beats watching your tissues slide off your bone like non-fat yogurt.

(Next entry: G is for…I haven’t made up my mind.  What do you think it should be for?)

Filed under: Breathers — Tags: , — S.G. Browne @ 8:54 am

E is for Editor

I didn’t have any expectations as to what it would be like to work with an editor.  Not to mention a real life New York publishing house editor.  As a writer, you hear horror stories about books being hijacked and turned into something other than what the author intended.  Or even how tedious and tiresome it is to go over copy edits and line edits and re-read your novel half a dozen times during the editing process.
My experience was nothing like that.

My editor at Broadway, Laura Swerdloff, helped to make Breathers a better book.  Period.

She offered up suggestions and recommendations, told me where she thought the story could be improved or fleshed out, and listened to me when I fought for something I believed was inherent or relevant to the story.  I even enjoyed having to read Breathers over and over and over.  Counting the reads I gave the manuscript before I sent it off to my agent and after making edits based on her feedback, I read my novel ten times before the final version went to press.
And no, I never got sick of reading it.  It still made me laugh.  But the thing about a novel is that as the author, you can always find something that needs to be fixed and there comes a point where you just have to stop and let it go.

I can’t imagine having a better experience with an editor as a first-time novelist.  Thanks Laura.

Next entry:  F is for Formaldehyde.

Filed under: Breathers,The Writing Life — Tags: — S.G. Browne @ 8:23 am