S.G. Browne

SDCC Less Than Hero Signings

CEfnAERUEAAwVU_You can catch me at the 2015 San Diego Comic-Con signing my new superhero novel, Less Than Hero, on the following days and at the following locations:

Thursday, July 9
Geekscape Booth #3919

Saturday, July 11
Mysterious Galaxy Booth #1119

Hope to see you in San Diego!

Filed under: Comic-Con,Conventions,Less Than Hero — Tags: , , , — S.G. Browne @ 6:43 am

San Diego Comic-Con 2015

comic-con_logoIt’s July again, which means it’s time to make my annual pilgrimage from San Francisco down to southern California for the one and only San Diego Comic-Con.

While I’m not scheduled for any panels this year, you can catch me at the Geekscape booth (#3919) on Thursday, July 9, from 11:00am to 11:50am. I’ll also be signing my new novel, Less Than Hero, at the Mysterious Galaxy booth (#1119) on Saturday, July 11, from 11:00am to 11:45am.

Every year at Comic-Con is different, with each year bringing its own unique experience. Some of my favorite memories of SDCC include: my first signing in 2009 for Breathers; the Vampires and Others panel in 2011 in front of a huge audience that turned out were all there for the Adventure Time panel that followed ours; and the Lucky Bastard signing before grabbing dinner with my editor in 2012.

But my most memorable year, hands-down, was for Big Egos in 2013. In addition to the signing at Mysterious Galaxy and a couple of fun panels (Apocalyptic Zombies, Geeks Get Published – And Paid), I was interviewed for the documentary film Doc of the Dead (now streaming on Netflix) and spent an afternoon out on the bay in a speedboat with a group of people that included close friends and people I’d just met—including one guy who did an uncanny impersonation of Christopher Walken and another who could contort his face to look like Robert De Niro.

That’s probably my favorite thing about Comic-Con: the people. Not only do I get to hang out with friends and colleagues who I haven’t seen in a year, but I get to meet new people and have the pleasure of enjoying their company.

As usual, I’m looking forward to seeing my fellow writers and friends, visiting the Simon & Schuster and Mysterious Galaxy booths, spending time on the convention floor people watching, and enjoying the energy of over 130,000 other pilgrims who will make the journey to downtown San Diego to revel in their favorite superheroes, celebrities, and TV and movie characters.

I’m even looking forward to the religious proselytizers who stand across the street from the Convention Center and tell us that we’re all going to hell for worshiping false gods. I’ve even scored a couple of Get Out of Hell Free cards from them.

Get Out of Hell

Hope to see you there!
(And by “there” I mean in San Diego, not in Hell.)

Filed under: Comic-Con,Conventions,Less Than Hero — S.G. Browne @ 3:56 pm

New York City is Superhero Central

Certain cities are synonymous with famous fictional characters.

London has Sherlock Holmes.
Philadelphia has Rocky Balboa.
Tokyo has Godzilla.

But when it comes to caped crusaders, New York City is superhero central.

NYC2The Fantastic Four live in New York City. So does Iron Man. Spider-Man grew up in Queens, Daredevil was raised in Hell’s Kitchen, and Captain America was born on the Lower East Side. Even Superman and Batman exist in fictional versions of The Big Apple.

So when I started writing Less Than Hero, my social satire about a group of clinical trial volunteers who test experimental pharmaceutical drugs and become C-level superheroes, there wasn’t any question about where the story would take place. In addition to its superhero pedigree, New York City has a definite energy to it that made it appealing as a setting for my novel.

While I live in San Francisco and have never called New York City home, I’ve had the pleasure of taking more than half a dozen trips there since 2008 and I would always take the time to sit down on a bench and take out my journal and try to capture specific New York moments.

Like the time I saw a living statue dressed up like a fairy in Central Park and wondered what it would be like to be her boyfriend. Or when I rode the Staten Island Ferry and listened to all of the foreign languages that sounded like a symphony of voices. Or when I sat on the steps of Union Square and watched people play chess at makeshift tables while a group of Hare Krishnas chanted nearby.

All of the above journal entries wound up as scenes in Less Than Hero.

While writing the novel, sometimes I would find myself wanting to set a scene in a certain park or location or restaurant that I may not have had a chance to visit when I was in New York. So I would search the Internet for photos and descriptions to help flesh out my scene and make sure the setting worked for what I had in mind.

deluxe food market2For instance, in Less Than Hero I have a scene that takes place in the Deluxe Food Market in Chinatown, just on the edge of Little Italy. I wanted a small, neighborhood grocery store somewhere in the Lower East Side / Chinatown area and did a search on Yelp! until I found the Deluxe Food Market.

I’d never set food inside the place, but the photographs and customer descriptions helped me to get a general sense of the smells and sounds and chaos of the place, which seemed perfect for what I wanted. So I used those details, along with my own imagination, to come up with the scene.

I also have a lunch scene in Chapter 11 that takes place in the East Village at an unnamed vegetarian restaurant.

Originally I’d written the scene as taking place at B&H Dairy, until I discovered that the interior layout of B&H was too small  for the scene as I’d imagined it. I went on Yelp! and found the Lan Cafe (now apparently closed), which had the right interior layout and location but the menu didn’t work with the dialogue I’d already written and wanted to keep. So I blended the two restaurants, using the interior and location of the Lan Cafe and the menu of B&H Dairy.

CEfnAERUEAAwVU_In addition to the Deluxe Food Market and the B&H Dairy/Lan Cafe, I have scenes that take place at Cafe Reggio, Curry in a Hurry, Dunkin’ Donuts, the Carnegie Deli, Stromboli’s Pizza, Starbucks, Westerly Natural Market, the Mahayana Buddhist Temple, the Staten Island Ferry, the Waldorf-Astoria, Union Square, Sara D. Roosevelt Park, Tompkins Square Park, Madison Square Park, Washington Square Park, Battery Park, various locations in Central Park, several different subway lines, and the steps of the New York Public Library.

While I’ve been to the majority of these places at one time or another during my visits to New York, I still conducted additional research using different websites, Yelp!, and Google Maps to help construct my scenes. Sometimes I took liberties with the details in order to make the scenes work the way I wanted, but novelists are allowed to to that. We are, after all, in the business of writing fiction. So every now and then, we have to tailor reality to fit our imagination.


Filed under: Less Than Hero,The Writing Life — Tags: , , — S.G. Browne @ 6:57 am

Independent Bookstore Day

indiebookstoredayI’ll be celebrating Independent Bookstore Day (formerly CA Bookstore Day) this Saturday, May 2, at not one but TWO bookstores in San Francisco.

My first appearance will be at The Booksmith, where I’ll be participating in their Indie Bookstore Mad Tea Party from 12pm – 2pm with a slew of other guests. There will be tea leaf readings, art, and loads of activities. And books! Did I mention books?

After that, I’ll make my way across town to BookShop West Portal, where I’ll be doing a reading at 3pm sharp for about half an hour, then I’ll stick around until 5pm to help sell some of my favorite books by other authors. And hopefully a few of my own.

Relevant details are below. If you’re in the hood, stop on by for some laughs and maybe a book or two. Or three.

Independent Bookstore Day
Saturday, May 2

12pm – 2pm
The Booksmith
1644 Haight Street
San Francisco

3pm – 5pm
BookShop West Portal
80 West Portal Avenue
San Francisco

Filed under: Less Than Hero,Signings — S.G. Browne @ 6:55 am

San Diego and WonderCon Signings

San Diego and Southern California peeps, I’m heading down to San Diego for a signing of my new novel Less Than Hero at Mysterious Galaxy and to Anaheim for a panel and signing at WonderCon on Sunday. Hope to see you at one or the other.

April 3 – San Diego, CA
Book Signing and Reading
Mysterious Galaxy
5943 Balboa Ave., Suite #100
San Diego, CA

April 5 – Anaheim, CA
11:30am – 12:30pm (Panel – Room 210)
1:00pm – 2:00pm (Signing – Booth 908)
Anaheim Convention Center
Anaheim, CA

Filed under: Less Than Hero,Signings,WonderCon — S.G. Browne @ 7:08 am