S.G. Browne

Austin and Los Angeles Schedule

I’ll be attending the World Horror Convention in Austin, TX, at the Doubletree Hotel this weekend, though my stay in Austin will be abbreviated, as I’ll be flying out to Los Angeles on Saturday to attend the L.A. Times Festival of Books at the USC campus.

My schedule for both events is listed below. Unfortunately, since I’ll be leaving Austin on Saturday, I won’t be in attendance for the mass autograph signing on Saturday night. So my apologies if anyone was expecting me to be there.

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World Horror Convention – Doubletree Hotel, Austin, TX
Friday, April 29
Reading (with Gary McMahon)
1:00pm – 2:00pm
Robertson Room

Friday, April 29
Panel: Why Horror Movies Are Terrible
(with Brad Keene, Thomas Sipos, Joe Hill, Gemma Files, and Mark Wheaton)
7:00pm – 8:00pm
Dezavela Room

L.A. Times Festival of Books – USC Campus, Los Angeles, CA
Sunday, May 1
Signing (with Steve Hockensmith, Debra Ginsberg, and Christopher Farnsworth)
11:00am – 11:50am
Booth #372 – Mysterious Galaxy Books
(In the Founders Park area, near the Poetry Stage)

Check out the entire weekend signing schedule for Mysterious Galaxy Books at their booth.

There’s also map of the Festival of Books you can download here. And if you have an iPhone or an Android, you can download the Festival of Books app to your phone.

I hope to see you in either Austin or Los Angeles!

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Filed under: Breathers,Conventions,Fated,Signings — Tags: , — S.G. Browne @ 8:55 am

Friday Round-Up: New Stuff

Just a quick round-up of a few new things going on that I wanted to share:

New Interview
First off, I have a new interview up on ShadowCast Audio (though it’s a text interview, not audio) where I discuss laughing at inappropriate moments, the hardest thing about writing, the possibility of sequels to Breathers and Fated, and why afternoon naps should be mandatory.

New Conventions
Next up, I’ll be at the World Horror Convention at the Doubletree Hotel in Austin, TX, from April 27 – May 1. While the convention itself isn’t new, I’ve never been to Austin, so there you go. And although the convention does run through the weekend, I’ll be leaving Saturday to attend the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at USC, which is new for me. On Sunday, May 1, I have a scheduled signing at the Mysterious Galaxy Books booth, #372 with Christopher Farnsworth, Debra Ginsberg, and Steve Hockensmith. I’ll post more details about Austin and Los Angeles on Monday.

New Book
And last, but certainly not least, my third novel, Lucky Bastard, has been sold to Simon & Schuster with a tentative publication date of Spring 2012. Lucky Bastard is a dark comedy and a bit of a mystery/noir about a private detective who lives in San Francisco, has an addiction to corporate coffeehouse baristas, and who was born with the ability to steal luck.

That’s all I’ve got time for today. Thanks for listening. And Happy Easter!

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Zombie Haiku: An Interview with Ryan Mecum

Today I have a special guest who has stopped by for an interview.  You could say he’s a supernatural poet, of sorts.  Kind of like the Lorax, only instead of speaking for the trees, he speaks for zombies, vampires, and werewolves. And he does so through the use of haiku.

Please welcome Ryan Mecum, the author of Zombie Haiku, Vampire Haiku, andWerewolf Haiku.

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SGB: In Zombie Haiku, you have the narrator writing about the zombie apocalypse and, inevitably, his conversion into a zombie through the use of haiku. What gave you the idea for the book?

RM: I once wrote a haiku as if I were a zombie wanting some brains. It made me smile so I wrote a few more. Soon I had about thirty gross haiku from the zombie perspective which I enjoyed sharing with friends. It wasn’t until I had a publisher interested that I realized I might be able to organize the little poems in such a way that they could all be part of a larger story.

SGB: So what came first? Your love of zombies or your love of haiku?

RM: Zombies came first. 7th Grade, Return of the Living Dead Part II. I learned haiku in 4th Grade, but didn’t fall in love with them until I had a roomful of fellow college classmates laughing at a few I wrote during a creative writing course.

SGB: Can you share one of your favorite entries from your book?

RM: It’s hard to beat the one in Breathers where you compare the sound of maggots eating flesh to Rice Krispies, but here goes…

Blood is really warm,
like drinking hot chocolate
but with more screaming

(Editor’s note: I love that one!)

SGB: You followed up Zombie Haiku with similar takes on the vampire and werewolf mythos. Did you find that one of these three lent itself to the haiku form more easily than the others? Are vampires more poetic than zombies? Do werewolves know how to count syllables?

RM: The haiku is such a stoic poetry form that, when reading them aloud, they often flow out as gracelessly as a lurching zombie. I have loved writing poems from the voice of a werewolf and a vampire as well, but there is something about a zombie writing a poem that resonates with me. Vampires probably think they’re more poetic than zombies, but there is an innocence to a poem written by a zombie versus a pretentiousness when written by a vampire. Werewolves don’t care, which make them a bit more poetic, but they are so rushed they might miss the moment. There’s a full moon above you, werewolf. Stop, enjoy it, and let out a howl.

SGB: In all three books, the narrative is from the point-of-view of someone who starts out human but who eventually becomes the “monster.” Are you sympathetic to the challenges of being a zombie, vampire, and werewolf? Or are you just channeling your inner monster?

RM: Totally sympathetic to the challenges of the monster. That is probably the main reason why I loved your book Breathers so much. I enjoy wondering about daily life from their perspective.

SGB: Do you have a favorite poet? Are there any other writers who have inspired you?

RM: Andrew Hudgins has a book called After The Lost War, which had a strong impact on my desire to be a poet. Billy Collins is another favorite. Both of these writers helped me realize that poems didn’t have to be riddles the reader had to solve. However, Stephen King is easily the one writer that left the largest impression on me. Not only did he feed my love for things that go bump in the night, but he also helped me want to be a writer because so many of his characters were writers. King gave me glimpses into the life of a writer, which has had a lasting effect on me.

SGB: On Twitter, you write haiku on subjects ranging from breakfast cereals to mixed tapes to Pac-Man. Can you write a haiku for us about public bathrooms?

RM: Would you believe I wrote one on that topic a few months ago? Here it is…

Gas station bathrooms
I cover in graffiti
with your phone number

SGB: How many haiku have you written over the past three years? Do you constantly find yourself counting syllables?

RM: I’m counting syllables all the time. I dream in 5/7/5. I’ve written four books of monster themed haiku, each with about 350 poems. So that’s 1,400. I tweet about 3 haiku a day, and have been doing that for almost two years. That puts me to about 3,500 haiku. That’s a lot of haiku. Hopefully one of them is a keeper.

SGB: Film tri-fecta question: What’s your favorite zombie film? Vampire film? Werewolf film?

RM: I usually say Romero’s Dawn Of The Dead for my favorite zombie film, but I’ve been leaning a bit more toward his Night Of The Living Dead lately. My favorite Vampire film is Kathryn Bigelow’s Near Dark. My favorite werewolf film is Neil Marshall’s Dog Soldiers.

SGB: What’s next? More haiku? Or are we going to see zombie verse in iambic pentameter? (To rot or not to rot, that is the question.)

RM: I’m trying to stay away from mixing monsters and other poetry forms. Something about wicked witch limericks sounds like a tougher sell than haiku. My next book, Dawn Of Zombie Haiku, comes out this summer and I am really excited for people to read it. It’s written from the perspective of a young girl keeping a haiku journal during a zombie outbreak. Ever since the first book, I have wanted to write another zombie story in haiku. It took me a while to find a story that I both loved and felt would stand out as original in the growing cannon of zombie fiction. It was fun to write.

SGB: Where can people find you on the Internet to learn more about you and your books?

RM: People can find more info about me at www.ryanmecum.com and they can be fed a few daily haiku via my Twitter feed at www.twitter.com/mecumhaiku.

SGB: Thanks for taking the time to visit with us, Ryan. Good luck with the new book and with all of your future endeavors!

RM: Thanks S.G.! And thanks for creating Andy Warner. He’s a friend of mine.

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Fiction Friday: The Book Thief

It’s not often I read a book that gets five stars out of me, but such is the case with this fantastic novel about the importance of words by Markus Zusak.

Although technically a YA novel, written for children ages 12 and up, The Book Thief resonates on so many levels that it should be enjoyed by adults of all ages.

The Book Thief tells the story of Liesel Meminger, a young girl living with her foster parents in a small town in 1939 Nazi Germany. More accurately, the story is told by Death, who has a rather empathetic view of the human race and who is understandably overworked during this period in history. Yet he finds himself inevitably drawn into the lives of those who inhabit Liesel’s world.

As are we.

I’m not going to tell you the synopsis of the novel. You can read the synopsis on Wikipedia or Amazon.  What I will tell you is that the novel is dark and touching, filled with both dread and hope. It’s filled with characters who remain long after the last page has been turned. And it’s filled with prose that is lyrical and eloquent, with fabulous imagery that you want to breath in and savor.

Breath collapses. Words lean. Sentences fumble.

It’s the type of book that reminds you of the beauty of words. The power of words. And that, in essence, is what The Book Thief is about. The power of words to transform the world, both for good and for bad.

Someone once asked me what book would I recommend to everyone. I used to have an answer. That answer has changed. That book is now The Book Thief.

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Filed under: Fiction,Fiction Fridays,Movies and Books — Tags: , — S.G. Browne @ 1:20 pm

Movie Review Monday: Slither

I’m not sure how I missed this movie when it came out five years ago, but someone recently recommended it to me so I ordered it from Netflix and sat down last night with a pint of Chubby Hubby from Ben & Jerry’s to give it a go.

Written and directed by James Gunn (who also wrote the remake of Dawn of the Dead), Slither is a B-comedy horror film in the tradition of Tremors that does a great job of balancing both the horror and the comedy, with a solid job on the latter.

Nathan Fillion (Firefly, Castle) stars as the sheriff of Wheelsy, a quiet town in South Carolina that gets overrun by an alien plague of slithering, slug-like creatures that infect the brains of humans and turn them into flesh-eating zombies with a hive mind. And Michael Rooker stars as the tycoon turned into a mutant, octopus-like creature that can split you in half with a flick of his tentacle.

You had me at mutant, octopus-like creature.

With Elizabeth Banks, Gregg Henry, and supporting roles from a handful of familiar faces (including Jenna Fischer from The Office), Slither has a solid cast to go along with a well-written script and a lot of fun, disgusting special effects. Plus a soundtrack that includes a song from Air Supply. What more could you ask for?

Part comedy, part horror film, part zombie flick, and part alien invasion, Slither is all fun. Just don’t eat any sushi while watching it.

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Filed under: Movie Review Mondays,Movies and Books — Tags: — S.G. Browne @ 8:13 am