S.G. Browne

Fated Book Tour in France

Cqunw2RVYAAssgVI’m excited to announce that Agullo Editions, the French publisher of Fated (La Destinée, la Mort et moi, comment j’ai conjuré le sort), is hosting me for a book tour in France from October 4 to October 8, beginning in Paris and wrapping up in Bordeaux.

While I realize most of you who are reading this probably don’t live in France, for those of you who do, or who know someone who might be interested in attending one of my signings, I’ve listed the cities, dates, and locations below. In the meantime, I’ll have to brush up on my French.

Espérons vous y voir!

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*UPDATE*
No signings in Lannion or La Rochelle. A second venue has been added in Bordeaux

Paris
Tuesday, October 4
Gibert Joseph
26 Boulevard Saint Michel
6:00PM (18h00)

Nantes
Wednesday, October 5
Librarie L’Atalante
15 Rue des Vieilles Douves
5:00PM (17h00)

Bordeaux
Friday, October 7
La Zone du Dehors
68 cours Victor Hugo
7:00PM (19h00)

Bordeaux
Saturday, October 8
La Mauvaise Réputation
19 Rue des Argentiers
4:00PM (16h00)

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Filed under: Fated,Foreign Editions,Signings — Tags: , — S.G. Browne @ 9:35 pm

Fated & Less Than Hero Role-Playing Game

I’d like to invite you to join me for a special online event in which you’ll have the opportunity to creatively interact with the characters from my novels Fated and Less Than Hero.

The event will take the form of a role-playing game, meaning that you’ll be able to decide the actions of your own character reacting to the story as it evolves. So if you ever wanted to role play as Destiny, Death, Karma, The Rash, or Captain Vomit, here’s your chance. And I’ll be there to play along, as well!

This opportunity was made possible by RPGlory.com, an online gameplay marketplace that offers role-playing experiences that explore the worlds of different novels directly with the authors of those novels. If you aren’t sure how role-playing games work, everything will be explained beforehand and the event will be friendly to newcomers. I’ve never done anything like this myself, so this will be a first time for me. But I’m looking forward to it.

The event, which is being funded via an Indiegogo campaign, is scheduled to be held on Sunday, November 8th from noon until 3pm PST. You can sign up for the event on the Indiegogo campaign page.

There is a $90 fee that will go towards helping the event organizer, RPGlory.com, host this and future events with both myself and other authors.

I hope to get to see you at the game!

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Filed under: Fated,Less Than Hero — S.G. Browne @ 7:58 am

Meet My Character Blog Tour

Welcome to Meet My Character! – the author blog tour where you get to learn something about a character in one of my latest or upcoming novels, as well as characters in books of other authors. It’s a veritable smorgasbord of characters.

Thanks to Loren Rhoads, co-author of As Above, So Below and multiple other books, for inviting me to play. If you don’t know Loren, you should head on over to her blog to find out what her character is up to HERE. Go ahead. I’ll wait…………You’re back? Okay, then let’s get on with the show!

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What is the name of your character?
Lloyd Prescott is his name and being a professional human guinea pig is his game. He’s the main character in my upcoming novel Less Than Hero.

Is he/she fictional or a historic person?
Lloyd is my fictional creation, though I was inspired to write about him after reading about actual professional guinea pigs who make their living participating in paid clinical research trials. And he’s named after Lloyd Dobler, the character played by John Cusack in Say Anything.

When and where is the story set?
Less Than Hero is set in modern day New York City, primarily Manhattan. However, it’s not 2014. Closer to 2010. It shares the same time frame as my second novel, Fated. Actually it shares more than just the same time frame. (Wink wink.)

What should we know about him/her?
Lloyd, like so many other thirty-year-old men and women, doesn’t’ know what he’s supposed to be doing with his life and lacks any real sense of himself. He’s a victim of his own inertia, having succumbed to the ennui of his existence. But he does live with his vegan girlfriend, Sophie—a living statue in Central Park when she isn’t working at a health food store. And Lloyd is friends with half a dozen other guinea pigs who meet for lunch and play poker and who make up the sum total of Lloyd’s social circle.

What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?
Lloyd discovers that all of the pharmaceutical drugs he’s taken over the past five years have created an unusual side effect: they’ve given him the ability to make other people fall asleep. And it turns out most of the other guinea pigs have also developed their own side effects that they’re able to project on to others: vomiting, seizures, rashes, and rapid weight gain. Lloyd keeps this secret from Sophie, which causes problems as he and the other guinea pigs learn to use their newly developed super powers for good. Or for evil.

What is the personal goal of the character?
Ultimately, Lloyd is trying to figure out what he’s supposed to be doing with his life. His reason for being. His destiny. Ultimately he has to decide if being a superhero is worth the personal sacrifices he has to make.

Where can we read more about your novel?
You can read more about Less Than Hero on my Simon & Schuster author page, as well as on the following websites:

When can we expect the book to be published?
Less Than Hero is scheduled for publication on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 2015.

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LINKS AND BIOS OF AUTHORS WHO WILL INTRODUCE YOU TO THEIR OWN CHARACTERS ON MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2014:

Stacey Graham is the author of four books and a rag-tag collection of short stories. You can currently find her scaring the pants off of readers with her latest book, Haunted Stuff: Demonic Dolls, Screaming Skulls, and Other Creepy Collectibles. She intends on returning the pants at a later date.

Shannon Giglio writes horror, magic realism, and transgressive fiction. She has worked for CBS, dick clark productions, and Ridley Scott. She currently resides on the Georgia coast with her husband, author Peter Giglio. Her third novel, Short Bus Hero, is scheduled to be released December 16th, 2014.

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Filed under: Fated,Less Than Hero,Novels — S.G. Browne @ 7:14 am

Beyond the Keyboard: Fated

media-upload-2This is Round #2 in my Beyond the Keyboard series of blog posts in which I’ll share some insights into the background and creation of my novels. I’ll even include pictures of the original journal entries that eventually spawned Andy Warner, Nick Monday, and Fabio.

Last week we kicked things off with my debut novel Breathers. This week, we’re talking about my second novel, Fated.

A Tale of Two Journal Entries

At 10:00pm on the night of September 10, 2003, I came up with what seemed like a brilliant idea and started to write it down in my journal. I’d turned on ESPN just before getting this brilliant idea and got distracted by my desire to check the baseball scores.

After nearly a page it became clear that the “brilliant” idea I’d come up with had sounded better in my head before I wrote it down. I even commented on this fact in my journal.

So I spun that lost and less-than-brilliant idea into another idea. The failed idea would be the story. And it would be about this character who lives in New York City and is involved in some supernatural events and who writes about them. Or tries to write about them because he has first-hand knowledge of them because this character is Fate. That’s a picture of the journal entry below.

Fated1

That was it. Or mostly it. I continued for another couple of pages but that was the first idea I had to write a story about Fate. I didn’t do anything more with the idea at the time. It was just an entry in my journal but it remained in the back of my head, lurking in the shadows.

Nearly a year later, in July 2004, I was sitting on a bench at an art festival watching people walk past and I wrote down a scene that starts out with the line:

“I look at people and see what they’re going to be like in twenty years.”

From there I went on to more or less describe the people Fate/Fabio would eventually see in the shopping mall in Paramus, NJ, in the opening chapter of Fated. While I still wasn’t sure what to do with the idea, I thought this could tie in somehow with my journal entry from the previous September.

Fabio Gets His Name

Fast-forward to December 2006. I’d finished Breathers six months earlier and decided it was time to get started on another novel. So I dug through my notes and journals and came across my scene from nearly 2004 with Fate sitting on the bench watching people.

At the time I had no idea where that scene would go, but as soon as Destiny showed up at the bottom of Page 2 I felt something click into place and I knew it was worth pursuing. And when Destiny called the narrator Fabio, drawing out the last syllable in a playful yet sarcastic tone, my main character had his moniker. And his foil.

Gluttony, Karma, and Death Walk Into a Bar…

Those of you familiar with my writing process know that I don’t tend to plot or outline my novels but rather I channel my inner Indiana Jones and make it up as I go. So originally I had no intention to fill Fated with Deadly Sins or characters who were attributes or intangible concepts, such as Lady Luck or Love. And I definitely didn’t plan to have God as a main character.

But as the story developed and Fabio took me along for a ride, I discovered that he was friends with Karma, hung out with Sloth and Gluttony, and had a five-hundred-year-old feud with Death.

Fated Outline 2As more characters showed up and their mythology and history developed, I realized I needed to clarify their roles. While some of them were already categorized for me (The Seven Deadly Sins), I grouped the others into their cosmic job responsibilities:

The Attributes (Honesty, Truth, Wisdom); The Emotives (Love); The Intangibles (Lady Luck); The Lesser Sins (Failure); and The Eventuals (Fate, Destiny, Death, Karma, and God). That’s a partial list there on the left.

I also had The Seven Heavenly Virtues, The Seven Contrary Virtues, and The Subversives (War, Hysteria, Paranoia), but none of them ever had a speaking part.

The Thing About Fated is…

If you’ve read Fated you know I use a recurring line throughout the novel to describe each of the characters. This wasn’t something I planned on but it just showed up at some point in the book and when it did, I realized I wanted to use it when introducing each immortal character.

But I didn’t want to just lazily tag each immortal character for the fun of it. I wanted their identifying features to be meaningful. I wanted to give each one of them a specific human flaw. I wanted to make theses immortal beings fallible, like the Greek Gods. Only instead of living on Mount Olympus, they live in Manhattan.

Rule #1: Don’t Get Involved

I also realized (with the help of my writing group) that in addition to creating defined roles for the different characters, I needed to create some rules for them and what they were in charge of doing. What could Fabio do as Fate? What were his limitations? Were they different than those of Gluttony or Secrecy or Lady Luck?

In my initial drafts of the novel I didn’t list specific rules and the novel didn’t start out with what would eventually become it’s opening line. It wasn’t until I defined these roles that I came up with some of the thematic meat of the story about humans and how we deal with what life throws at us, about how we choose to react to our failure or our lust or our greed that ultimately affects our fates and destinies.

A good potion of this happened in the rewrite phase, before the manuscript ever made it to my agent.

How Sara Got Her Groove

It took me three months to write the first 45,000 words of Fated (a little more than half the novel), then I spent the next nine months spinning my wheels, trying to figure out where it was going and what it wanted to be. During this time, I wrote another 15,000 words.

The biggest problem facing me was that, while I knew there was something special about Sara, I had no idea what that something was. I had some ideas but none of them excited me.

Then one day in late December of 2007, the last line of the novel popped into my head. It wasn’t something I’d thought about. It just showed up. And when it did, I thought: “I like this. But if this is the last line, then that means Sara is…” (I’m avoiding specifics and spoilers just in case someone hasn’t read the novel.)

After that, once I had that last line and Sara’s purpose, everything fell into place. I wrote 20,000 words in a month, finishing the last 5,000 words of the novel on the Friday and Saturday before the Super Bowl while fighting off a bad cold.

Fate and the Consumer Culture

When I started writing Fated in December 2006, I had no intention of writing a book about the consumer culture and how it affects our choices as humans and how we live our lives. But the more I wrote, the more it became apparent that this would be a recurring theme.

So perhaps it was destiny that I started my novel out with Fate sitting in a shopping mall. (Most of the social commentary about consumerism in the first chapter was added in later once I realized what the book was going to be about.)

But more than a social commentary on the consumer cultured, Fated is about finding something you enjoy doing, something that matters to you and fills you with a sense of purpose, rather than just living to work and working to live.

Fated Fun Facts

  • Originally all of the immortal characters had pseudonyms that started with the same letter as their identity (Destiny/Desiree, Sloth/Seth, Gluttony/Gus), but I decided to scale back the pseudonyms because I thought it worked better to just have a few of them named, instead
  • Chapter 6, where Fabio is assigning fates on the computer at Starbucks and gets the message from Jerry about a big event coming, was added in rewrites
  • Some of my favorite chapters include: when Fabio goes to Jerry’s office for the first time; Fabio and Karma eating at Curry in a Hurry; the scene at the Westfield Mall in San Francisco; when Sara discovers Fabio’s identity; and pretty much every scene with Destiny
  • There really is a law on the books in the state of Minnesota that prohibits sex between humans and birds
  • In my fourth novel, Big Egos, Truth and Wisdom are sitting at the bar in Chapter 56 (page 306) during the scene at the Formosa Cafe
  • Death (aka Dennis) also makes a cameo in Big Egos at the Mythical Creatures party in Chapter 44
  • While I love all of my novels, Fated remains my favorite
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Filed under: Beyond the Keyboard,Fated,The Writing Life — Tags: , , , — S.G. Browne @ 10:50 pm

When Bad Reviews Are Good

FATEDIt’s no secret that authors enjoy receiving positive reviews of their novels. We like four and five star assessments complete with gushing, flattery, and an abundance of comments that make us sound a lot smarter than we are.

We also enjoy receiving e-mails from readers who have read one of our novels and had it affect them exactly the way we’d intended. Or who, after reading said novel, were compelled to write a novel themselves. Or who looked at their world in a different manner than they did before reading your novel.

Sometimes, however, we don’t connect with a reader. It’s part of the job description. Writing, like any art, is subjective and not everyone is going to enjoy your perspective or point of view or sense of humor. So we have to understand that and let the bad or negative reviews slide off us like the proverbial water off a duck.

After several novels, I’ve more or less managed to do this and I don’t give any energy to a review from someone who didn’t connect in a positive way with one of my novels. But every now and then, I come across a less-than-flattering review that I find just as enjoyable as a five-star ego massage.

Case in point: the following two-star review for my novel Fated:

“It’s sick and twisted and quite frankly, if I had known it contained these types of scenes and concepts against Christianity, I would never have read it. If you’re a Christian, you will probably be offended by this book.”

While I don’t agree with the blanket statement about how all Christians will react to Fated, this person obviously found the material objectionable. This makes me happy. As an author of social satire, if I’m not offending someone, then as far as I’m concerned, I’m not doing my job.

And if anyone was offended by the irreverent tone and content of Fated, wait until they get a load of the sequel.

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Filed under: Fated — S.G. Browne @ 7:14 am