S.G. Browne

The Ten Commandments for Writers

So as we come to the end of another year, which always ends with me turning a year older and wondering what the hell happened to all that time I said I was going to use to get things done.  To spend more time doing the things that matter.

Like writing.  And reading.  And cleaning my bathroom.

Writers excel at procrastinating.  At postponing.  At finding distractions and excuses that keep them from being more productive.

We answer e-mails.  Update websites.  Read reviews.

We surf the Internet.  Play Scrabble on Facebook.  Tweet.

We discover Zombies vs Plants.  Spend an afternoon playing Madden NFL.  Watch an entire season of Entourage.

Or maybe that’s just me.

So as 2010 comes to an end and 2011 is just around the proverbial corner, I offer up the following New Year’s Resolutions.  Think of them as the Ten Commandments for writers, only without Moses and the Burning Bush:

1. You shall have no Facebook before writing
2. You s
hall not make any false promises of word counts
3. You will not take your editor’s name in vain
4. You sha
ll remember the writing process and keep it holy
5. Hono
r your protagonist and plot
6. You shall not kill the narrative with unnecessary exposition
7. You shall not commit Twittery
8. You shall not steal another writer’s ideas
9. You shall not bear false witness against your dénouement
10. You shall not covet other writers’ successes

I hope these commandments serve you well in 2011.

Happy New Year!

Filed under: The Writing Life — Tags: , , , — S.G. Browne @ 11:01 am

The Undead That Saved Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the mall
All the zombies were munching
On some guy named Paul

For all of you zombie fans out there, and for those who would like to grab a copy of a holiday zombie anthology with an introduction by yours truly, run, don’t shamble, to one of the following two web sites to purchase your copy of The Undead That Saved Christmas:



Proceeds from the sales of The Undead That Saved Christmas benefit the Hugs Foster Family Agency (www.hugsffa.org) and will help them give their foster children gifts this holiday season.

It’s not too late to help put a smile on a kid’s face this holiday season.

Happy Holidays!

Filed under: Zombies — S.G. Browne @ 12:01 pm

Fiction for the Holidays

I know that gift cards have become the easy thing to, well, gift to friends and loved ones for the holidays. And I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve received some clunker gifts without the option of exchanging for something I’d rather have. But everyone likes to read. And if they don’t, they should get in the habit. There’s nothing like a good story to take you someplace new.

So with that in mind, I’ve listed a handful of options (minus the thumb) for better gift giving through fiction. Feel free to include some of your own suggestions. But just remember to include a gift receipt.

Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen
The tale of a ninety-three-year-old nursing home resident who reminisces about his time spent working in the circus to the point that he almost begins to lose track of what’s real and what’s not. The characters are delightful, the story intoxicating, and the prose inspired.

Lamb, Christopher Moore
The lost years of Jesus through the eyes of “Levi bar Alphaeus who is called Biff,” Christ’s childhood pal. I found myself laughing, enthralled, educated, appalled, and thoroughly entertained all at the same time. You’ll never look at Christianity the same way again.

Life of Pi, Yann Martel
Pi, son of a zookeeper whose family is emigrating to North America, finds himself the lone human survivor of a shipwreck in a lifeboat with a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and a 450-pound Bengal tiger. A funny and thoughtful adventure of a read.

In the Woods, Tana French
A cold-case double murder in the suburban woods of Dublin is revived twenty years later by another murder in the same woods. Narrated by a detective with a shadowy past connected to the double murder, this debut novel is part mystery, part psychological thriller, and nearly perfect.

Filed under: Movies and Books — Tags: , , , — S.G. Browne @ 11:23 am

Road Trip Blues and Oranges

So my recent book tour for Fated had some minor disappointments, but those were more than offset by the highlights of the trip.  And since the opposite of blue on the color wheel is orange, I thought that would make for a clever title.

Yes, it’s a stretch, but it’s the best I could come up with on short notice.

“That’s very clever.”
“Thank you.”
“How’s that working out for you?”
“Being clever?”

(Bonus points if you can name the film that dialogue is from).

All right, where the hell was I? Oh yeah…

My road trip down through southern California included signings in Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego.  It also included the revelation that many brick and mortar bookstores are an endangered lot, as I ran across no less than a dozen Borders and Barnes & Nobles along the way that were either closing or had already closed.

Not that I had signings scheduled at all of these stores but whenever I’m traveling, I make a point to hit as many local bookstores as possible to sign stock copy and pimp myself out.  Hey, someone’s gotta do it.

While the bookstore closings were a rather distressing reality to witness first hand, I still enjoyed my signings at Barnes & Noble (Santa Barbara), Dark Delicacies (Burbank), Borders (Costa Mesa), and Mysterious Galaxy (San Diego).  Unfortunately the Barnes & Noble in downtown Santa Barbara is closing because their landlord jacked up the rates, so it’s going to be replaced by a clothing store.  Like we need more of those.

And while being on the road can often be a bit of a grind, especially when you’re driving from San Francisco to Los Angele to San Diego and logging 1500 miles over 10 days, the grind is offset by the people you get to spend time with while you’re traveling.

One of the benefits of being a writer that I hadn’t included in my initial list of reasons to embark on this path (long hours spent alone, frequent rejections and criticisms, people telling you how they always wanted to be a writer) was the opportunity to see friends that I otherwise wouldn’t get to see.

Much like my trip through the Pacific Northwest in November, my trip through southern California afforded me the chance to visit with numerous friends I’ve known since college and new friends I’ve made over the past few years at conventions and conferences.  There’s nothing like a home cooked meal with good conversation to make the road a less lonely place.

More than anything, it’s the company of friends that makes traveling and road trips so worthwhile.  So I’m looking forward to the next one.

Filed under: The Writing Life — Tags: — S.G. Browne @ 9:40 am

Fated Foreign Editions

I thought I’d share the covers for a couple of foreign editions of Fated.

The first one is from Leya in Brazil, who published the title as Desastre (Disaster in English), since there’s no Portuguese translation for Fated:

The second cover is from Piatkus (Little, Brown) in the United Kingdom. Although this edition won’t be available until September 2011, I thought you might enjoy a sneak preview:

Filed under: Fated,Foreign Editions — Tags: — S.G. Browne @ 2:10 pm