S.G. Browne

Ask Andy – Momloaf

(This is a feature from Undead Anonymous where Andy, the main protagonist of Breathers, answers your questions.)

Chris, from the wide wide world of AOL, asks:

I particularly loved the references to eating your parents. Thanks for the recipe tips, but you left out one of my favorites, Momloaf. What goes in it besides Mom? Thanks!

Well, your basic Momloaf recipes are all pretty much all the same: a pound of ground Breather, 2/3 cup milk, 1/2 cup cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup ketchup, 1/2 cup finely chopped onion, 1 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp black pepper, and one egg, beaten.  Mix it all together, form into a loaf, bake in a baking dish or loaf pan at 350 degrees for an hour, then slice and serve with mashed potatoes, green beans, and a nice central coast Pinot Noir.

Some recipes call for Worcestershire sauce, sage, garlic, or dry mustard, but that’s just showing off. If you want basic Momloaf the way, well, Mom used to make, then follow the recipe above.

Just remember that when selecting what portion of Breather to use, the shoulder cut, or chuck, makes the best all around ground Breather. It has just enough fat to make it juicy and provide an excellent natural flavor. Though if you want to go for the leaner option, meat taken from the thighs, or round, is a good choice for calorie counters.

Thanks for the question!

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Filed under: Ask Andy — Tags: , — S.G. Browne @ 10:32 am

If I Only Had Some Brains

Andy Warner here, main protagonist of Breathers, bringing you my updated version of The Wizard of Oz ditty, “If I Only Had a Brain,” originally sung by Ray Bolger and Judy Garland.  In this instance, however, there’s just the one singer who is, obviously, a zombie.

If I Only Had Some Brains
(lyrics by Andy Warner)

I could gnaw away the hours, delightfully devour
Digesting Johns and Janes.
And my mouth I’d be fillin’
While my hands were busy killin’
If I only had some brains.

I’d faddle and I’d fiddle, fat fry you on the griddle,
Sautéing your remains.
On your flesh I’d be snackin’
And your skull I would be crackin’
If I only had some brains.

Oh, ever since I’ve died
I’ve longed for blood and gore
Just to sit and eat the brains that I adore.
And then I’d sit and eat some more.

I would bake you up in muffins, complete you with some stuffin’,
Or maybe some whole grains.
In a shake made with dairy
I would top you with a cherry,
If I only had some brains.

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Filed under: Breathers,Zombies — Tags: , — S.G. Browne @ 11:55 am

V is for Vanity

vanity >noun (pl. vanities)  1) excessive pride in or admiration of one’s own appearance or achievements.  2) the quality of being worthless or futile.

It’s interesting that the two definitions of vanity should seem to have such extreme opposites, but it’s actually a pretty good description of what it’s like to be a writer.  Not that all writers take excessive pride in their achievements, but there’s definitely ego involved for anyone who sits down to write with the goal of publication in mind.  After all, if you think something you’ve written is good enough to be read by a bunch of strangers who would actually pay to read it, then there’s a pretty good chance you’ve got a healthy ego.  Hopefully not on steroids, but an ego, nonetheless.

Let’s not confuse ego with arrogance, either.  While arrogance and conceit have negative connotations, an ego is a good thing to have.  Losing your ego can have significant consequences.

John Lennon once admitted that he’d done so much acid in an attempt to destroy his ego that he didn’t believe he could do anything.  By the time The Beatles were creating Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, he’d given up all control of the band to Paul.  I’d like to think The Beatles would have been even better had Lennon chosen to put more of his mark on their last few albums.  But then, I think Abbey Road is a masterpiece.

Once again, I’m off on a tangent.  Which is why I’m my in-person interviews are always all over the map.

Back to vanity.

Okay, so there’s ego and then there’s pride in one’s achievements.  For the sake of argument here, let’s take the word “excessive” out of the definition and just stick with pride.  Of course writers are proud of their achievements.  You spend six months or two years of your life creating something and when you’re finished, you have a sense of accomplishment.  A sense of pride.  And when that first manuscript actually appears in your mailbox in the form of a published book, with your name on the cover and a blurb from Kirkus on the back, the feeling is even greater.  Almost surrealistic.

But along the way, through the writing and publishing process, the second definition of vanity comes into play, as well.  The feeling that what you’re writing is worthless.  That the hours you’re spending sitting at your computer writing about imaginary places populated by imaginary people is futile.  What the hell did you think you were doing?  Who in their right mind would want to publish this?  Or pay money to read it?

But when that first e-mail arrives from some stranger who read your book and they tell you they loved it and couldn’t put it down and didn’t want it to end, those concerns vanish like John Lennon’s ego.

A friend of mine, who is also a writer, once said that having a book published is like jumping off a cliff.  You have no control over what’s going to happen and you just have to hope that you land in something soft rather than in a dumpster filled with broken bottles.  Or something like that.  I’m paraphrasing, but the point is you’re at the mercy of the world, so you might as well enjoy the fall.

(Next entry: W is for World War Z)

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Filed under: Breathers,The Writing Life — Tags: — S.G. Browne @ 10:09 am

Interviews, Interviews, Interviews

It seems like I’ve had a lot of interview requests lately, which is a good thing.  Hopefully I’m not just regurgitating the same story every time.  Like Jude Law in I Heart Huckabees, who tells the same Shania Twain joke over and over as a way of defining himself before being called on it by Lily Tomlin and Dustin Hoffman who wonder if he is himself without the story.

“How am I not myself?”

Where was I?  Oh yes, repetitive responses to interview questions.  It seems like whenever anyone asks me to describe Breathers during a “live” interview, I end up either rambling about social satire and zombie angst or paraphrasing the back cover copy.  Usually at the end of this, I’ll say, “It’s Fight Club meets Shaun of the Dead, only with the zombies as the good guys,” and then wonder why I just didn’t say that in the first place.  Short.  Simple.  And it conveys the basic idea in less than 20 words.

My favorite interviews are the ones in which I get asked odd or playful questions, such as:

What scares you?  (Children. And paraplegic mannequins.)
How do you escape these days? (By hot air balloon.)
Can you describe Breathers using haiku? (It’s like Fight Club meets / Shaun of the Dead only with / Cannibalism)

I actually prefer doing the written interviews by e-mail, which give me a chance to edit my responses and maybe wax a little philosophical or throw in some amusing comments. While I appreciate that people find Breathers as amusing as I do, I’m not nearly as funny in person. I need to be able to edit my thoughts or do research before I come up with a good, snappy response. I would make a poor stand-up comic.

So if you’re interested, you can read my most recent interviews, which include a phone interview for the Santa Cruz Sentinel, a written e-mail interview about the marketing of Breathers with Buzz, Balls, and Hype, and an in-person lunch interview with Gothic Angst Magazine.  You can even check out my video interview with Suvudu.com from Comic-Con.
As always, thanks for listening…

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Filed under: Breathers,The Writing Life — Tags: — S.G. Browne @ 4:03 pm