S.G. Browne

A Thankful Post

At this time three years ago, I’d just landed an agent for Breathers after nearly eighteen years of writing.  Fast forward to now and I’ve had two novels published, the film rights sold for one, and I’ve been able to live as a full-time writer for most of the past two years.

So yeah, I’m thankful that I’ve been able to do what I’ve always dreamed of doing.  To paraphrase Henry David Thoreau: “To go confidently in the direction of my dreams and live the life I’ve imagined.”

But more than that, I’m thankful for all of the people who’ve been a part of these past three years…

My friends who have always been there for me.
My family whose support has never wavered.
My agents and editors who helped me to get my books published.

And there are so many others, so many new friends I’ve met and made along the way that no matter how much I followed Thoreau’s advice, I couldn’t have possibly imagined how much my life would be enriched by meeting them.

So thank you to everyone who has come into my life and shared your encouragement, support, love, friendship, talent, conversation, company, sense of humor, and guidance. I couldn’t possibly have made it this far without you.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Filed under: Just Blogging,The Writing Life — S.G. Browne @ 9:42 am

Fate, Destiny, and Greek Mythology

One of the questions I’ve been asked several times at my readings and signings since the launch of Fated has been a variation of:

Did I model my characters after the gods in Greek mythology?

I didn’t start writing Fated with the intention of channeling Zeus and Aphrodite and Dionysus. And I hadn’t thought about the possible influence before. But when I sit and think about it, I realize that even though I may not have consciously infused the characters in Fated with the attributes of the Greek gods, it’s possible that my familiarity with the mythology played a role.

A quick recap for the uninitiated:

Fated is a social satire about fate and destiny told from the point of view of Fate, who deals with the majority of the human race fated to live normal, mediocre lives. Or, more often than not, worse than mediocre.

Drug addicts. Criminals. CEOs of oil companies.

He doesn’t get the Winston Churchills or the Michael Jordans or the Thomas Edisons of the world. Destiny gets those. And she loves her job while Fate hates his. He’s like a government worker who can’t quit and who doesn’t have any opportunities for promotion. Meanwhile, Destiny enjoys shepherding her humans to fame and fortune and award-winning careers. This makes for a sullen and discouraged Fate, who also has a five-hundred-year-old grudge with Death and has regular lunch dates with Sloth and Gluttony.

In addition to Fate, Destiny, Death, and the Seven Deadly Sins, Fated is populated with numerous other personified concepts, including Karma, Lady Luck, Secrecy, Failure, Temptation, Honesty, Wisdom, and Love. Any emotion or attribute, any deadly sin or heavenly virtue, is an immortal creature with a specific job to do in relation to the human race.

The idea behind all of the different characters is that Fate and Destiny are not allowed to get involved in directing the lives of their humans but instead are charged with assigning the futures of their humans at birth and adjusting them accordingly along the way. Those adjustments are made in response to how their humans deal with the challenges thrown at them by the other characters in the book. After all, it’s the way in which humans deal with their luck or anger or temptation that ultimately determines their fate or destiny.

Which brings me back to the question about Greek gods. Much the way Zeus and Hera and Apollo and the rest of the Mount Olympus HOA often cavorted and connived and behaved inappropriately, the immortal characters in Fated exhibit rather human attributes. And they don’t perform their jobs with the wisdom and integrity and good judgment you’d expect from gods.

Of course, the characters in Fated aren’t gods, but they’re definitely flawed like their Greek cousins, with hang-ups and addictions and emotional baggage, not unlike the humans they’re in charge of overseeing. And to that extent, I think that’s what makes them, and the Greek gods, so appealing to me. They’re like us. They’re not some perfect example of enlightenment.

They’re narcissistic and paranoid and lazy.
They’re manic-depressive and passive-aggressive and lactose-intolerant.
They suffer from ADD and bulimia and alcoholism.

Although Fate and Destiny and the rest of the characters in Fated are immortal beings and have been around since before the first Neanderthal set himself on fire, they aren’t immune to human behavior. It’s kind of like what happens when someone moves to a new region with a different dialect or accent or way of living and they start talking and acting like the locals. After dealing with humans for tens of thousands of years, my immortals have taken on a lot of our less-than-desirable qualities. Which I think makes them even more appealing.

So yes, the gods of Greek mythology definitely had an influence on the immortal characters who populate the pages of Fated. And personally, I think that’s a good thing.

(NOTE: This blog post originally appeared on the website Fantasy & SciFi Lovin’ News & Reviews)

Filed under: Fated,The Writing Life — Tags: , — S.G. Browne @ 11:05 am

You Go To ZomBcon…

You go to ZomBcon

You fly out on Thursday from SFO and get picked up in Sea-Tac and chauffeured to The Maxwell Hotel, where a ZomBcon concierge checks you in and registers you for the convention and sends you on your way to your hotel room. This is nice. This has never happened to you before. You wonder if they have you confused with someone else. But you don’t say anything. You just smile and enjoy the ride.

The next day you wake up in your hotel room for a leisurely day that includes talking and schmoozing and meeting great people like Roger Ma (The Zombie Combat Manual), Don Roff (Zombies: A Record of the Year of Infection), Steve Hockensmith (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls), Timothy Long (The Zombie-Wilson Diaries), and Steven Schlozman (The Zombie Autopsies).

You listen to an entertaining and irreverent zombie comics panel with Stephen Lindsay (Jesus Hates Zombies), Steven L. Frank (Zombies vs Cheerleaders), and Mark Rahner (Rotten Comics).  You also listen to a conversation between Chuck Palahniuk and Max Brooks.  You try not to be a fan boy, but you hang around and talk to some other guests until Chuck is done signing so you can talk to him like a normal person.  You find out he’s writing an article for Rolling Stone.  This becomes relevant later.

Saturday you have an intimate coffee chat reading at Barnes & Noble with Jessie Portlock and Roger Ma and a few other lovely people.  Then you meet up with Stacey Graham, a zombie author you met on Twitter and Facebook and who is more delightful in person than is humanly possible.  You also meet Melanie Hooyenga, a zombie newbie, and the same goes for her.  Melanie was also kind enough to interview you before ZomBcon for her blog.

You sit on a panel with Stacey Graham, Jesse Petersen (Married with Zombies), and Scott Kenemore (Zen of Zombie), where you discuss why Zombies Are People, Too – though Jesse is the dissenting opinion since she kills zombies in her books.  We try to convert her without success.  Then we all go out to dinner at Bamboo Garden, a vegetarian Chinese restaurant where all of the meat is TVP (textured vegetable protein) and the dishes have names like Vegetables Treasure in Pearly Pond and Buddha’s Basket with Precious Nuts.

On Sunday (leaving out the two bars you went to on Saturday night), you have one final panel with Stacey Graham and Jesse Petersen, the last panel of the weekend, titled Why We Love Zombies, where you spend an hour bantering with the audience about reanimated corpses.  This panel is also attended by Chuck Palahniuk, who sits in the audience and scribbles down notes for his Rolling Stone article.  You aren’t nervous at all.

Because you have so much fun at the convention, you don’t have time to sit down and blog about it.  Then you drive down to Portland and then back up to Seattle for three signings in four days and have too much fun with friends and signings and fighting off a cold to get this blog post written any sooner than now.

And for the record, fighting off the cold wasn’t really all that much fun.

Filed under: Conventions,Zombies — Tags: , — S.G. Browne @ 8:57 am

The Blog Tour Continues

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll have reviews and guest posts and Q&As appearing on a handful of blogs across the Internet about Fated, so I wanted to share links to a few of them below.

Stuff and Nonsense
Guest post where I talk about where the idea for Fated came from and explain why Fate and Destiny aren’t the same thing

A Q&A with answers about my inspirations, my favorite films, and what five people I’d like to invite to dinner

Dirty Sexy Books
An interview where I talk about paranormal comedies, social themes, and my mission to get people to snort milk.

I hope you enjoy them.

Filed under: Fated,Interviews — S.G. Browne @ 9:20 am

Launch Day!

Well, it’s launch day for Fated and of course the wireless network at the house of the friend I’m staying with in Portland has decided to quit functioning, leaving me with the Limited or No Connectivity warning for the last 90 minutes. This is me grumbling and swearing silently. So I’m typing this up at my friend’s in the hopes I can get to a Barnes & Noble or someplace with wireless and post it. And since you’re reading this, apparently I was successful.

First of all, yes, I’m excited. And anxious. While I personally feel that Fated is my favorite book I’ve written to date, and while it’s received some solid reviews, releasing a book into the wild can be a bit frightening. Especially when you’re first book happened to be about zombies at the time when zombie fiction blew up and your next novel has nary a zombie to be found.

A friend of mine once wrote that writing a book and having it published is like jumping off a cliff. You have to just surrender yourself to the fall because you have no control about what’s going to happen. You can only hope the landing is a soft one – a velvet-lined canopy filled with down pillows and not a dumpster filled with broken glass.

But as I said, I’m excited and looking forward to sharing my new novel with everyone who read Breathers and with new readers who haven’t yet had the pleasure of meeting Andy and Rita. So for everyone old and new, meet Fabio, the protagonist of Fated. Fabio, this is everyone.

I’ll be kicking off my book launch tonight at Powell’s in Beaverton before heading up to Seattle for a couple of signings.  For details, you can check out my full list of events.

I hope to see all of you somewhere along my path.

Filed under: Fated,The Writing Life — S.G. Browne @ 9:34 am