S.G. Browne

Luck Poachers in Portland

So I’m sitting in a booth at the Cup & Saucer Café in Portland on Wednesday morning, having a late breakfast with my friend Shannon before leaving town to head up to Seattle, when a stocky gentleman with a shaved head and a pleasant face approaches our table on his way out, sticks out his hand, and says:

“I just wanted to say hi.”

Naturally, I reach out and shake his hand because that’s the polite thing to do in this culture. Plus, being a published author of three novels, I’m always under the delusion that people who recognize me are fans who have read one of my books. It doesn’t occur to me that I have one of those faces that looks like about 10% of the population.

So when I ask him for his name, because I have no idea who this person is who just walked up to me to shake my hand, he gets this slightly puzzled expression and says he thought I was someone else and apologizes for troubling me. He also says his name is John, or that he thought my name was John, I can’t recall. Either way, I’m not who he apparently thought I was.

I tell him no worries and say it’s nice to meet him, anyway, then he walks out with his female companion and doesn’t look back or smile, apparently embarrassed.

It’s not until he walks out of the Cup & Saucer that I realize he could have been a luck poacher who just stole my good luck.

Like Nick Monday says, most people will shake a stranger’s hand without giving it a second thought, so you don’t even have to think twice about what you’re doing and poof! Your good luck is gone. And you won’t notice a thing.

I’m just hoping this guy really did think I was someone he knew. Or else recognized me because he read one of my books and didn’t realize it. The delusion lives on.

Filed under: Lucky Bastard,Nick Monday,Travel — S.G. Browne @ 7:37 am

Southern California Dreamin’

I have a fondness for Los Angeles. I lived there for three years, from 1989-1992, within spitting distance of the La Brea Tar Pits and the L.A County Museum of Art. Back then, you could get just about anywhere in 20 minutes: Westwood, Manhattan Beach, Universal City.

Now, about the only thing you can do in 20 minutes is work your way to the front of the line at Pink’s or Tommy’s.

But I love coming back and visiting friends and enjoying the warm weather. That’s one of the most rewarding benefits of going on the road to promote my novels. Not the warm weather. But the friends. Old and new. People I wouldn’t get the opportunity to spend time with otherwise.

Plus, when you spend a lot of your time alone in front of a computer making up imaginary stories about imaginary people, it’s good to get out once in a while. Helps you to manage your sanity.

While I’m now down in San Diego, which has its own charms and appeal, the highlights of my three days in Los Angeles included:

Once LATFOB came to a close on Sunday, I made it from USC to San Diego in 1 1/2 hours, a personal best, and have had the good fortune to spend the past thirty-six hours with some old, dear friends who treat me well and make me laugh.

Tonight, I wrap up my southern California Lucky Bastard tour with a reading and signing at the original Mysterious Galaxy Books in San Diego. The fun starts at 7:00PM, so if you’re in the hood, stop on by. Maybe you’ll get lucky.

Filed under: Lucky Bastard,The Writing Life,Travel — Tags: , , , — S.G. Browne @ 11:07 pm

Fall Event Schedule – Conventions & Signings

It’s my favorite time of year, when the weather grows cool and the air turns brisk and the trees burn bright with reds and yellows and oranges. Oh yes. And it’s football season.

Of course, it’s perpetually autumn in San Francisco, with cool weather and a brisk breeze. Minus the leaves changing color because everything here either stays green or just turns brown and dies. And as for football season, there are some who would say that what the 49ers play isn’t technically football.

Where were we? Ah yes. Autumn.

With the bloom of summer fading, I have a handful of appearances I’ll be making at upcoming signings and conventions from Seattle to San Diego to Sarasota. And Roseville, but it didn’t fit with the whole sibilant thing going on there.

Below are the relevant dates and times and locations. If you happen to live in the neighborhood or plan to attend one of the conventions, find me and say “hey.” I always enjoy a good “hey.”

September 24
Signing – Roseville, CA
12:00pm – 2:00pm
Barnes & Noble
Creekside Town Center, 1256 Galleria Boulevard
Roseville, CA

October 21-23
SeaTac Hilton
17620 International Blvd
Seattle, WA

October 26
WFC Author Meet & Greet – San Diego, CA
6:30pm – 8:30pm
Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore
7051 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., Suite 302
San Diego, CA

October 27-30
World Fantasy Convention
Town and Country Resort & Convention Center
500 Hotel Circle North
San Diego, CA

November 30
Signing – Sarasota, FL
6:00pm – 7:00pm
1359 Main Street
Sarasota, FL

Filed under: Conventions,Signings,Travel — Tags: , — S.G. Browne @ 7:55 am

Sunshine State Signings

I’ll be in Orlando in mid-March for the 32nd International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts (ICFA for short) from March 16-20, along with a signing on St. Patrick’s Day, before heading west for two more signings (info below).

So if you live in or near Orlando, Sarasota, or St. Petersburg, stop by and say “hey.”

Come for the sunshine, stay for the social satire!

March 17 – Orlando
Barnes & Noble
7:00PM – 9:00PM
Colonial Plaza
2418 E. Colonial Drive
Orlando, FL

March 22 – Sarasota
Circle Books
1:00PM – 3:00PM
478 John Ringling Boulevard
St. Armands Circle
Sarasota, FL

March 23 – St. Petersburg
Books at Park Place
4:00PM – 6:00PM
3619 49th St. N.
Disston Plaza
St. Petersburg, FL

I hope to see you in Florida!

Filed under: Breathers,Fated,Signings,Travel — S.G. Browne @ 7:28 am

Five Days in Paris

After the World Horror Convention, since I was in Europe for the first time in eight years, I decided to take the train over to Paris and spend five days enjoying the City of Lights.

I didn’t have more than a rudimentary use of French. Bon jour, au revoir, merci, sil vous plait, etc. So I checked out some CDs from my library to try to learn a little more conversational French. In theory, I knew what I was doing, and felt confident I could handle basic conversations. But when faced with actually answering questions or trying to remember what I was supposed to say, well, let’s just say I did a top notch job of butchering the language.

Still, even when you can’t speak the language, it’s pretty easy to have a great time in Paris even when it’s cold and wet and the lines for the museums and Notre Dame are two hours deep with tourists on Spring Break.

Rather than waiting in line, you can can discover places that everyone else missed. Like the Jardin des Halles in Chatelet-Les Halles, by the St. Eustache Church. Or Les Viaduc des Arts in the Bastille, an old elevated railway viaduct turned into a garden promenade above exhibition spaces that are home to craftsmen’s workshops and galleries. Or the streets that wind behind the Basilique du Sacre-Coeur in Montmartre and through the Latin Quarter behind the Pantheon.

I did manage to see the Catacombs, the Cimetiere du Pere Lachaise (found Oscar Wilde, but Jim Morrison apparently wanted to be left alone), the Musee Rodin, The Louvre, and wandered past and under the Arch de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower, but avoided the lines that would suck up my afternoon.

All in all, a great way to end my trip to Europe.

Some random thoughts on Paris:

While there are dogs, you don’t see a lot of dangling tongues and excited faces. Most of the dogs wear serious expressions, like they’re all business. But then, so do their owners. None of the humans seemed particularly happy to be out walking their dogs. I only saw one owner who actually interacted with her dog, a Bull Terrier, with affection.

A friend suggested the Canal St. Martin was a good place to take a walk, touting the cute boutiques and numerous patisseries. Personally, the area was a little more crack whore than I expected. The boutiques were selling T-shirts that said My Parents Got High at Canal St. Martin and all I Got Was This Stupid T-shirt and you could buy dime bags from the crystal meth junkie twitching under his umbrella stand, with his serious dog at his feet.

I also ate at Chartier, an inexpensive restaurant at the edge of the Opera district. Chartier is touted as serving inexpensive quality food in a very Parisian experience that is well worth the visit. What the travel guides don’t tell you is that you sit elbow to elbow cafeteria style with everyone else and that if you don’t eat steak, you’re only non-meat option is some kind of unidentifiable fish croquette with a sauce that tastes better when you eat it with your rice pilaf.

Adieu, Paris!

Filed under: Travel — Tags: — S.G. Browne @ 4:46 pm