S.G. Browne

Andy’s Favorite Things: An Ode to Breathers

In honor of the upcoming holidays, and the recent publication of my heartwarming Christmas zombie story I Saw Zombies Eating Santa Claus, I thought I’d resurrect Andy’s holiday wish list from Breathers.

But rather than simply providing a list, I wanted to share Andy’s desires in song to the Rodgers and Hammerstein tune, “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music.

And a one and a two…

Blood drops on noses and flesh that’s been bitten,
Pale female corpses who with me are smitten,
Fraternity pledges all tied up with strings,
These are a few of my favorite things.

Cream colored femurs and crisp Breather strudels,
Eyeballs and earlobes and tonsils with noodles,
Undead Anonymous pot luck meetings,
These are a few of my favorite things.

Dead guys in coffins with red gaping gashes,
Corpses that wake up from fatal car crashes,
Embalming treatments and Pine-Sol soakings,
These are a few of my favorite things.

When the flesh rots,
When the skin slips,
When I lose a limb,
I simply remember my favorite things,
And then I don’t feel so grim.

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Zombie Christmas Haiku Contest Winners

Thanks to everyone who participated in the I Saw Zombies Eating Santa Claus Holiday Haiku Giveaway. The haiku ranged from dark to funny to oddly arousing and made it difficult for me, I mean for Andy, to pick a winner.

It took him a while to narrow the entries from twenty down to six, then four, then three. At that point, Andy couldn’t narrow it down any more, so instead of two winners receiving a signed copy of I Saw Zombies Eating Santa Claus, he decided there should be three winners.

Congratulations to Kim Miner, Buck Swindle, and Russell Rheingrover for their winning zombie holiday haiku!

Under mistletoe
He leans in, I blow his mind
with a shotgun blast

—Kim Miner

Stocking hung with care
Christmas sweater, photo time
Check my teeth for flesh

—Buck Swindle

Santa meets undead
Look out don’t get bit OH NO!
Now he’s Zombie Claus

—Russell Rheingrover

Thank you to everyone who took the time to compose a haiku and share your zombie holiday poetry. It’s only fun if others play along, so I appreciate your participation and support. You. Are. Awesome.

Have yourself a zombie little Christmas.

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Filed under: Contests,Haikus,Holiday,I Saw Zombies Eating Santa Claus,Zombies — S.G. Browne @ 8:35 am

Goodbye Twinkies: Another Mayan Calendar Omen?

Photo by Larry D. Moore

For most of my adult life I’ve believed that when human civilization ended via nuclear weapons, biological warfare, or reality television,  intelligent alien life would arrive thousands of years later to view the aftermath of our hubris and discover boxes and boxes of Twinkies, still fresh and filled with radioactive resistant preservatives.

More often than not this scenario included cockroaches, kind of a post-apocalyptic Hostess orgy, but the Twinkies were definitely going to be in the money shot. And you’re welcome for that image that is now embedded in your brain.

But with Hostess filing for bankruptcy and ceasing operations, I have to wonder if this isn’t another omen that the Mayans were right and the world as we know it will end on December 21, 2012. After all, the tell-tale signs of the end of the world have been coming fast and furious.

First, everyone started wearing Crocs. Then Snooki got pregnant and Dick Clark died. Dick Clark has been overseeing the New Year since the McKinley administration, for crying out loud. Natural disasters hit everywhere: tsunamis and tornadoes and superstorms. Finally, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo debuted on TLC. If that’s not enough to convince you that a giant pile of you-know-what is about to hit the proverbial fan, I don’t know what is.

And now this. The end of Twinkies. The Twinkpocalypse. Twinkiegeddon. Call it whatever you want. But if even Twinkies are doomed to extinction, then what hope does that leave for humanity?

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m buying up all the Twinkies I can and building a bunker out of them. Or maybe I’ll just eat as many as I can and pack myself so full of preservatives that I’ll be impervious to whatever is coming. But I know one thing for sure: my birthday is on December 20, so I’ll be throwing a big party. Just don’t expect me to share my Twinkies.

It’s a BYOT event.

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Filed under: Just Blogging — S.G. Browne @ 2:43 pm

Five Misconceptions About Writers

A lot of my friends who have “normal” jobs tend to have misconceptions about the life of a writer. Yes, they understand that I write, but they have these unrealistic ideas about free time and income and alcohol consumption. Okay, maybe they’re right about the alcohol.

I have to admit that I don’t understand what most of my friends do for a living, either. Teachers, dentists, firemen, artists, event planners…Yes, I understand what these jobs entail. But if you’re a retail training communications manager or a senior systems analyst or a director of advertising, I have no idea what you do.  And if you try to explain it to me, you’re just going to sound like the adults in the Peanuts cartoons: “Wah wah wah wah wah.”

I realize that many of my non-writer friends might have the same reaction to an explanation of what I do. So in the name of shedding some light on the life of a writer or, more precisely, debunking notions about the lifestyle, I’ve written up my Five Misconceptions About Writers:

1) All Writers Do Is Write
Most writers today spend a minimum of four hours a day promoting themselves on social networking sites, writing blogs, doing interviews, keeping track of paperwork, responding to e-mails, setting up signings, and updating web sites. So we’re not only writers but marketers, publicists, travel agents, administrative assistants, and web techs.

2) Writers Have Lots of Free Time
On top of the four hours a day of non-writing that many of us do, eventually we have to find time to write. When you add in another four to six hours of actual writing, that often adds up to ten hour days, not including meals. And a lot of writers don’t take weekends off. If you’re a writer with a family, the idea of having free time to just do nothing becomes a work of fiction all its own.

3) Writers Lead Exciting Lives
Writers spend most of their time alone, sitting at a computer, making up imaginary stories about imaginary people. So while our fictional worlds might be exciting, we often need to get out and interact with human beings so that we remember what it’s like to have a real conversation. And conversations on Facebook or Twitter don’t count.

4) Publishing Contract = National Publicity
Even if you’re published by one of the Big Six New York publishing houses, that’s no guarantee you’re going to get any national attention. With hundreds of thousands of titles released by publishers each year (not including self-published books), chances are your book is going to end up struggling to find an audience. After all, there are only so many books that can get reviewed by TIME or USA Today. Sure, you could pay for ads or hire an outside publicist if if wasn’t for Misconception #5.

5) We’re Rolling in Royalties
Unless your name is Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, or one of the other multiple NY Times bestselling authors, chances are you’re not making a lot of money writing. On average, authors make anywhere from $0.50 to $2.50 for every book sold. If you have representation, 15% of that goes to your agent. Since most books don’t sell hundreds of thousands of copies per year, your average published author makes just enough to get by. Or else holds down a day job to help make ends meet.

While there are numerous other misconceptions on which I could elaborate, I’ll stop at five and let you share your own. Or else feel free to share your thoughts on the ones I’ve mentioned.

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Filed under: The Writing Life — S.G. Browne @ 2:02 pm

I Saw Zombies Eating Santa Claus Haiku Giveaway

I know, I know. Halloween is barely a husk of a corpse yet and here we are, talking about Santa Claus and Christmas already. But at least we’ve got a zombie crossover theme to keep us honest. And what better way to celebrate the blending of Halloween and Christmas than with some free signed copies of I Saw Zombies Eating Santa Claus?

That’s right. I’ve got two copies of my new Christmas zombie novella and sequel to Breathers to give away—signed, sealed, delivered, and they’re yours. So what do you have to do to enter for your chance to win a copy? I’m glad you asked.

For those who are familiar with Andy Warner, the hero of Breathers, you’re aware that he was fond of penning an occasional haiku to deal with his less than glamorous existence. Well, in I Saw Zombies Eating Santa Claus, he’s at it again.

So following the 5-7-5 syllable format (I know, I know…in traditional Japanese haiku it’s not really syllables, but we’re not in Japan), write a haiku about zombies. Or about Santa Claus. Or about zombies and Santa Claus. Whatever strikes your fancy. Here’s an example of what Andy came up with:

pine-sol bubble baths
mask the stench of rotting flesh
i smell like christmas

But don’t feel a need to emulate Andy. It’s a broad canvas, so grab your palette of words and have at it. Once you’ve created your masterpiece, share your haiku in the comments below and voila! You’re entered. See, wasn’t that easy?

I’ll pick two winners from the entries. If you choose to include more than one haiku, that still counts as a single entry. Sorry, no stuffing the ballot box.

Contest is open wherever Santa visits good little boys and girls. In other words, everywhere. But the contest ends Thursday, November 15, at 11:59pm PST. So no dawdling.

Ready? Set? Haiku!

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