S.G. Browne

Comic-Con Post Game Report

Rolling in a little late with the post Comic-Con update, so let’s just hit the high points and get out of here so I can go grab some dinner and watch Adaptation on DVD.

This being my inaugural trip to Comic-Con, it was definitely a unique experience.  The entire convention center looked like Disney vomited upLooney Tunes.

In addition to all of the Predators and Storm Troopers and medieval knight sword skirmishes, I had a great time being graciously hosted by the Random House / Crown Publishing booth, meeting marketing manager Jay Sones on Thursday, who helped to shamelessly plug Breathers with promotional buttons, stickers, bookmarks, and postcards.  He also happened to have an extra copy of Breathers that I signed and personalized to Max Brooks, who was in the house signing advanced preview copies of his upcoming graphic novel The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks.  It was the first chance I’d had to meet Max and it was a pleasure.  Even if he does think zombies are the bad guys.

I also had the good fortune of meeting Seth Grahame-Smith, author of the Jane Austen mash-up Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, at his Saturday signing and played fanboy.  We even had a photo taken together.  Unfortunately, it was with his camera, not mine, so I don’t have any proof it happened.  You’ll just have to take my word for it.  And look for Seth and I to double-team the zombie fans at the August 15th outdoor screening of Shaun of the Dead in Los Angeles, as well as at the October 4th West Hollywood Book Fair.  We’ll be on a zombie/vampire panel at 1:30pm, followed by a signing hosted by Dark Delicacies.

Okay, well, most of that had nothing to do with Comic-Con, so back to it.

On Saturday, I shared an enjoyable little panel on zombies, shapeshifters, and other assorted monsters called Monster Mash with Amber Benson, Alice Henderson, Walter Greatshell, Marlene Perez, and Rob Thurman.  The panel was hosted by the incomparable Maryelizabeth Hart of Mysterious Galaxy Books in San Diego.  It was my second official panel, so I guess I am now officially no longer a virgin.

Finally, Kyle with Suvudu, also affiliated with Random House, did four short video interviews that showcase just how much I need to cut down on my caffeine.  Either that or I need to tie my hands behind my back.

Overall, it was a great and exhausting experience.  Given the opportunity, I will definitely attend Comic-Con in San Diego in 2010.

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Filed under: Just Blogging — Tags: — S.G. Browne @ 8:23 pm

Of Kindles and Turntables

First of all, you have to understand that I’m a SportsCenter junkie. I love watching highlights on ESPN during every SportsCenter broadcast. And when the NFL season comes along, you might as well just hook up an IV to my television and leave me on the couch.

Which is why I don’t have a regular cable TV package.

I have what is called Basic Limited Cable at a cost of about $20 per month, which provides me with about 40 channels — including FOX, CBS, NBC, ABC, Discovery Channel, Travel Channel, Golf Channel, FX, and the Sci-Fi Channel (which is now the SyFy Channel – a separate blog if there ever was a need for one).  But no TNT, TBS, USA, CNN, MSNBC, Comedy Central, or ESPN.  That’s how I cured my addiction.  I took it away.  Made it impossible for me to get my fix.  Which is probably why I spend all of my time on Facebook and Twitter now.

So I don’t have On Demand movies.  I don’t have HBO or Showtime.  I’ve never seen an episode of Weeds.

I don’t have TiVo.  A DVR.  A Blue Ray.  Or a Wii.

I don’t own an iPhone or a Blackberry.  My cell phone is an LG ENV.  I have texting.  But I don’t have e-mail capabilities.

While I do own an iPod and a laptop and have my entire library of music on iTunes, I still enjoy buying CDs.  I even own a turntable and I love vinyl.  It sounds better than digital music.  Maybe not as convenient, but it’s much richer and warmer.  Go out and get Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon or the Beatles’ Abbey Road on 180 gram vinyl and you’ll understand what I’m talking about.

While not a complete Luddite, I’m definitely averse to getting sucked into becoming dependent upon all of the modern technological amenities.

Which brings me to Kindle and e-books.

While I understand the convenience and economy of using e-readers and realize, as someone who loves trees, that e-books reduce the need to chop trees down, I still enjoy the tactile feel of a book in my hands.  And, I have to admit, I enjoy seeing my novel sitting on my bookshelf amid all of my favorite authors and books.  It’s the narcissist in me.

My issue with the deletion of the Orwell novels in the recent fiasco involving Amazon and Kindle isn’t so much that the books were removed from the Kindle library.  I understand that.  They were bootlegged copies uploaded using the Kindle stores’ self-publishing system, so the publisher of 1984 and Animal Farm asked for them to be removed.  Fine.  But the customers who had already purchased the novels should have been able to keep them. Yes, I know Amazon admitted it made a mistake by deleting the customers’ copies, but apparently they did the same thing previously with books by Ayn Rand and J.K. Rowling.  So why didn’t they learn their lesson then?

Reaching into your Kindle electronically and replacing your book with a credit is not only unacceptable but it raises questions as to the ownership of electronic book and music collections.  Apparently, because of the Kindle terms of service, you don’t actually have full ownership of the books you purchase.  Amazon can delete anything it wants from your e-reader.  The justification on the basis of intellectual property is beside the point.  The power to be able to do this at all is, while not exactly Big Brother, definitely disconcerting. And another example of why I’d rather have to dog-ear a page to mark my place.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go listen to Van Halen’s first album on my turntable.

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Filed under: Just Blogging — Tags: , , , — S.G. Browne @ 8:55 am

Comic-Con

I will be attending Comic-Con this year at the San Diego Convention Center July 23-26 as part of the Random House / Crown Publishing booth.  It will be my first time ever at Comic-Con.I’ve listed the Random House booth location and my schedule of signings, as well as the location of Mysterious Galaxy Books where you can get a copy of Breathers at the convention.  The Random House booth will not have copies of Breathers for sale but they will have some free buttons, stickers, and bookmarks.  I’ve also included information for the panel I’ll be on Saturday afternoon.

Hope to see you there!

Random House / Crown Publishing: Booth #1128
Mysterious Galaxy Books: Booth #1119

Signing Location and Schedule
(Note: Saturday’s signing is in a different location and follows the Monster Mash Panel)

Thursday  AA29     11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Friday       AA29     11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Saturday   AA1         4:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Sunday     AA29      11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Panel Location and Schedule
Saturday   Room 2    3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Monster Mash Panel
Panelists: Amber Benson (Death’s Daughter); Alice Henderson (Voracious);Walter Greatshell (Xombies: Apocalypse Blues); S.G. Browne (Breathers: A Zombie’s Lament); Marlene Perez (Dead Is So Last Year); Rob Thurman (The Cal Leandros Novels); and Samantha Sommersby (Forbidden: The Temptation)

Moderator:  Maryelizabeth Hart, Mysterious Galaxy Books

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Filed under: Breathers,The Writing Life — Tags: , — S.G. Browne @ 7:58 am

U is for Ulysses

Yes, originally I said this post was going to be U is for Undead.  But Z is for Zombies, like that’s a big surprise, and it seemed kind of silly to preempt zombies with the undead, so I tried to come up with something else and, well, this was it.

Why Ulysses?  Because I have a confession to make.  I’ve never read it.  I don’t even know what it’s about.  And I have never understood any of the obscure references Dennis Miller has made about James Joyce in his stand-up routines.

And it’s not just James Joyce.  I’ve never read any Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, W. Somerset Maugham, Joseph Conrad, Jane Austen, Henry James, John Milton, H.G. Wells, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, or William Faulkner.  And I hated Crime and Punishment.  Read it in my Western Lit class in high school.  The crime was that the book was ever written and the punishment was that I had to read it.

Oh, and I think Hemingway sucks.  Yes, he sucks.  His writing blows.  I don’t know how the man got published.  Yeah, I know.  His writing style had a significant impact on the development of 20th century fiction and his works are considered classic American literature, blah blah blah.

But A Farewell to Arms?  Absolute crap. It’s filled with run-on sentences, repetitive use of qualifiers (like VERY lame), and frequent stretches of dialogue involving multiple characters with no indication as to who’s speaking. Plus, the death scene at the end, where Catherine is in the hospital and the main character, Frederic, is trying to comfort her.  I don’t have the book in front of me, but I seem to recall the dialogue going something like this:

“I love you,” he said.  “I love you.  I love you.  I love you.”
She smiled weakly. “And I love you.”
“I love you so much.”
“I love you.”
“I love you. I love you. I love you.”
“I love you.”

And don’t tell me that’s how they wrote back in the 1920s.  Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, published four years prior to A Farewell to Arms, had beautiful language and believable dialogue.  Hemingway is an overrated hack.

So what is this blog entry actually about and what the hell does it have to do with Breathers or zombies?  Nothing.  Except for the fact that I am obviously not a student of literature and have drawn on none of the famous literary giants in my own writing.  Well, except maybe for Fitzgerald.  Though someone wrote a review of Breathers and mentioned something about channeling Faulkner, which is funny since I’ve never read him, so I have no idea how I channeled the man.
Oh, and I also don’t know what a gerund is.  Though I’m pretty sure I know how to use it.

(Next entry: V is for van Gogh…or maybe Vampires)

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Filed under: Breathers,The Writing Life — Tags: , , , — S.G. Browne @ 5:05 am

Zombie Protest Report (by Andy Warner)

On Friday, July 10, San Francisco’s undead rose up to make their groans and voices heard as they protested for equal rights, love, and brains.

Tired of getting shot in the head, randomly dismembered, and tossed into fires, zombies of all races and states of decay shuffled and dragged themselves to the steps of San Francisco’s City Hall to let the living know that they are fed up with the name calling, the discrimination, and the getting pelted with expired food products.

Just because we feel no physical pain doesn’t mean we can’t get our feelings hurt.

While two zombies were chased away from a wedding photo shoot, causing the police to drive by to make sure things didn’t get out of control, there were a number of Breathers present acting as advocates for zombie rights, including S.G. Browne, who was interviewed by an independent film crew on hand to document the protest.

For the most part the protest was peaceful, with more than two dozen zombies on hand to try to push across the point that zombies are people, too. A photographer with SF Weekly showed up and took a number of photos of the event.

This is Andy the Zombie, reporting the truth as it’s portrayed by the corporate media.

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Filed under: Breathers — Tags: , — S.G. Browne @ 3:55 pm