S.G. Browne

The Writing Life: The Making of Big Egos

Big EgosWhen I started writing Big Egos more than two years ago, I envisioned something along the lines of American Psycho meets Slaughterhouse-Five. At least conceptually. I’m not going to make any claims of being Bret Easton Ellis or Kurt Vonnegut, but I knew I wanted the story to be told in a non-linear framework and narrated by an unreliable protagonist who gradually loses control of his ability to separate fantasy from reality.

My initial drafts began with the ending, or one chapter removed from the ending, and each subsequent chapter that followed was a memory triggered by the end of the previous memory, eventually taking the story back to the beginning. Or, in this case, to the ending.

Fun Fact: Big Egos is the first novel I sat down to write knowing exactly how the story would end. In my previous three novels (and novella), the ending evolved from the progression of the story. But this time I knew the ending and couldn’t wait to figure out how to get there.

But once I was finished, I discovered that the non-linear format I’d chosen to tell the story didn’t provide enough clarity for the actual story, so I had to reorganize the chapters in a way that provided a present through-line of the narrative while allowing the story to jump back and forth in time as a function of the main protagonist’s triggered memories.

This involved creating a color-coded list of chapters based upon their time-frame and reorganizing them on a spreadsheet before moving around the actual chapters in the novel, which led to additional editing as the beginnings and endings of numerous chapters required minor to significant rewrites.

I did this about half a dozen times before I finally found the right mix and order. Even then, I continued to futz around with several of the chapters during the final editing and copy editing stages. As an author, you know that invariably you’re going to miss something. I can go back through Breathers, Fated, and Lucky Bastard and find things I would like to fix. But eventually you have to stop fixing and trust that you’ve told the right story in the best way at the time you told it.

With Big Egos, I wanted to get it as close to perfect as possible.

Whether I succeeded or not, that’s a matter of opinion, but I felt a great deal of satisfaction with how the novel turned out. And while I would say the same of my previous novels, for me, this one was a bit more of a challenge while at the same time being an absolute blast to write.

Of all my novels, Big Egos is without a doubt the darkest of the four. It also contains its fair share of social commentary on our society’s infatuation with celebrity and what happens to your identity when you’re constantly pretending to be someone you’re not.

So if you’re expecting a romantic comedy with a happy ending or a playful romp through a field of daffodils with a family of fluffy bunnies, you’ve come to the wrong place.

Big Egos is on sale August 6 and available for pre-order at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, and wherever books and eBooks are sold.

Filed under: Big Egos,Summer of Bastards and Egos,The Writing Life — Tags: — S.G. Browne @ 6:19 am

Comic-Con Schedule and Big Egos Signings

San Diego Comic-Con is just around the corner, and not long after that, the release of Big Egos on August 6. So I’m here to give you the scoop on my Comic-Con schedule and a handful of signings for Big Egos.

First, prior to Comic-Con, I’ll be at the Barnes & Noble in Fullerton, CA, where I’ll be signing Lucky Bastard as well as my other earlier titles.

Tuesday, July 16
7:00pm – 9:00pm
Barnes & Noble
Amerige Heights Town Center
1923 West Malvern Avenue
Fullerton, CA

Next at Comic-Con, I’ll be appearing on a couple of panels with signings to follow on Thursday and Saturday. Details are below.

Thursday, July 18
PANEL: Geeks Gets Published – and Paid
4:30pm – 5:30pm
Room: 26AB

SIGNING: Mysterious Galaxy Books
6:00pm – 7:00pm
Booth: 1119-1123

Saturday, July 20
PANEL: Apocalyptic/Zombie: It’s the End of the World as We Know It
12:00pm – 1:00pm
Room: 23ABC

SIGNING: Autograph Area
1:30pm – 2:30pm
Autograph Area: AA09

NOTE: Although Big Egos doesn’t officially release until August 6, it will be on-sale at Comic-Con for early release, courtesy of Mysterious Galaxy Books (Booth 1119-1123).


As for my regular signing schedule for Big Egos, at the moment it’s limited to a handful of northern California venues. If that changes, I’ll be sure to update my Events Calendar and mention it on my blog, as well. But until then, these are my only scheduled appearances.

Tuesday, August 6
7:30pm – 8:30pm
The Booksmith
1644 Haight Street
San Francisco, CA

Friday, August 9
7:00pm – 8:00pm
Books Inc.
1344 Park St.
Alameda, CA

Thursday, August 15 (*Rescheduled from August 14*)
7:00pm – 8:00pm
Towne Center Books
555 Main Street
Pleasanton, CA

Saturday, August 24
1:00pm – 3:00pm
Barnes & Noble
Creekside Town Center
1256 Galleria Boulevard
Roseville, CA

I hope to see you in San Diego in a couple of weeks or at one of my signings in August!

Filed under: Big Egos,Comic-Con,Conventions,Summer of Bastards and Egos — Tags: , — S.G. Browne @ 11:17 am

Big Egos ARC Giveaway

Big EgosThe Summer of Bastards and Egos rolls on with a Big Egos ARC giveaway. For those who might not be up on the lingo, an ARC is an Advance Reader Copy. Also called an Uncorrected Proof. It looks like a book. It feels like a book. It even smells like a book. And it is a book. Just not the finished version that will be published on August 6.

So how can you get a hold of one of these ARCs, you ask? Well, let me tell you. But first, a little background.

The protagonist of Big Egos works for Engineering Genetics Organizations and Systems (aka EGOS), the company behind Big Egosa revolutionary role-playing game that allows you to become a dead celebrity or fictional character for 6-8 hours by injecting a DNA-laced cocktail into your brain stem. And our hero has been injecting so many Big Egos that he’s starting to lose the ability to separate fact from fiction. His every fantasy is the new reality. And the more roles he plays, the less of him remains.

Big Egos is a book about identity. It’s about the roles we all play. It’s about what happens when you’re constantly pretending to be someone you’re not.

Got it? Good. Now, on to the giveaway…

There are three ways you can enter:

1) Leave a reply to this post with your answer to the following question: What dead celebrity or fictional character would you want to be?

2) Go to my Twitter profile, find my tweet about the Big Egos ARC Giveaway, and re-tweet it.

3) Go to my Facebook author page, find my posting there about the Big Egos ARC Giveaway, and share the link on your own timeline. (And let me know that you shared it.)

Enter one way or enter all three ways to increase your chances of winning.

Contest open to United States residents only.

Contest ends at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, July 5.

Good luck! And may the Ego be with you.

Filed under: Big Egos,Summer of Bastards and Egos — Tags: — S.G. Browne @ 6:36 am

The Summer of Bastards and Egos

No, this isn’t a blog post about a summer reality series mash-up of Mad Men and Jersey Shore. Nor is it a short story about a woman who encounters all of her ex-boyfriends while on vacation in the Mediterranean.

BId0jezCcAAXrvIThe Summer of Bastards and Egos is the upcoming season of publication mirth that will see not one but two of my novels hitting the stores and Internets over the next few months.

First up is the trade paperback release of my third novel, Lucky Bastard, on June 18. For those who have been paying attention and playing along at home, Lucky Bastard came out in hardcover in April of last year. Now it’s coming out in trade paperback with a brand new fancy cover for your viewing pleasure.

Big EgosNext, and not to be outdone, Big Egosmy brand new novel about what happens to your identity when you’re constantly pretending to be someone you’re nothits the virtual and brick and mortar bookshelves August 6. It’s also being released as a trade paperback and comes with a spiffy retro cover.

I’ll be having my book launch for Big Egos in San Francisco at The Booksmith on August 6 and am in the process of setting up some additional signings, so stay tuned for more updates on The Summer of Bastards and Egos.

Filed under: Big Egos,Lucky Bastard — Tags: , — S.G. Browne @ 9:10 pm

The Next Big Thing: BIG EGOS

Welcome to The Next Big Thing, a meme or so-called blog-hop, where authors answer questions about their latest or upcoming work and then tag up to five more authors to do the same thing a week later. It’s kind of like a chain letter, only you don’t die if you forget to send it on.

So last week, Christopher Golden tagged me in desperation because he’d forgotten all about his Next Big Thing blog post that was due. Naturally, I’m a sucker for a desperate author. Plus, Chris had included my short story “Reality Bites” in his latest and greatest zombie anthology 21st Century Dead, so I didn’t want to leave him hanging.

Anyway, here are the questions along with my answers. Afterwards, you’ll get to hear what Chris had to say about the other lovely authors tagged along with me, followed by the authors I suckered into this.

The Next Big Thing: BIG EGOS

Where did the idea come from for the book?
Back in 1997 I wrote a short story about a designer drug that allowed you to become a dead celebrity or fictional character. I have no idea where the idea for the short story came from.

What genre does your book fall under?
Dark comedy and social satire. It’s not technically a genre. It’s really just commercial fiction. My novels don’t really fall into any single genre.

Which actors would play your characters in a movie version?
I think Ryan Gosling could probably nail the role of my unnamed narrator. Others actors who would be a good fit for characters in BIG EGOS include Aaron Paul, Emily Blunt, and Jennifer Lawrence.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
An unnamed, unreliable narrator discovers that Big Egos, the latest thing in role-playing, is affecting his concept of reality, causing him to question his own identity and the role he is meant to play.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
BIG EGOS will be published by Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, and is represented by Michelle Brower of Folio Literary Management.

How long did it take you to write the first draft ?
I started writing BIG EGOS in November 2009 but stopped to write Lucky Bastard. I picked it back up in January 2011 and finished a rough first draft four months later. But certain things weren’t working the way I wanted them to, so it took me more than a year to get it right.

What other books would you compare this story to?
The story was originally told completely out of order and bounced around the memories of an unreliable narrator, so while I wouldn’t compare it to them, I always imagined it as a mutant child of Slaughterhouse-Five and American Psycho.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
The original inspiration came from the short story I wrote in 1997, but I wanted to expand on that and explore the idea of what happens to your identity when you’re constantly pretending to be someone you’re not.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
You can read the short story the novel is based upon, “My Ego is Bigger Than Yours,” in my collection  Shooting Monkeys in a Barrel. Oh, and BIG EGOS is scheduled for publication August 2013.


There you go. Or, as Porky Pig would say, that’s all folks. As I mentioned, the incomparable Christopher  Golden tagged me, along with the following three fantastic writers whom you should have on your radar. Here’s what Chris had to say about them:

Cherie Priest is the author of the hugely successful Clockwork Century novels, including Boneshaker and the latest, The Inexplicables. She’s also written creepy-as-all-get-out Southern Gothic supernatural tales and urban fantasy, has dynamite fashion sense, and different hair every time I see her.

Caitlin Kittredge is the author of the ass-kicking urban fantasy Black London novels and the YA series The Iron Codex, which has the best titles. I mean, book two is The Nightmare Garden, that’s pretty damn cool. She once told me that she’s not ready for the zombie apocalypse but she is prepared for the kitten apocalypse. Make of that what you will.

Yes, Amber Benson is the author of the Death’s Daughter series of urban fantasy novels, among other things, and yes, she’s an actress-writer-director who has been elevated to the status of cult icon in recent years. She’s also my little sister, gave me the best nickname ever, and commandeers my daughter’s “princess bed” at every opportunity.


And in keeping with the spirit of The Next Big Thing meme, behold the authors I suckered into doing this, who are all terrific in their own right. Check out their posts next Tuesday, December 18th.

Mario Acevedo is the author of Werewolf Smackdown, Jailbait Zombie, and The Undead Kama Sutra, among others. He is a man of much funny. Read him, but only if you want to laugh.

Steve Hockensmith wrote the New York Times bestselling Dawn of the Dreadfuls and Dreadfully Ever After (the prequel and sequel to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies), as well as the mystery/western series, Holmes on the Range. He is also a man of much funny.

Scott Kenemore followed up his humorous Zen of Zombie humor/satire series with the novels Zombie, Ohio and Zombie, Illinois. Hey, what happened to Indiana? Scott is also a man. Also funny.

John Hornor Jacobs is the author of the novels Southern Gods and This Dark Earth. While not likely to hit your funny bone, they should be on your TBR list. I’m not joking. (NOTE: John has already posted his entry on his blog.)

Filed under: Big Egos,Fiction,The Writing Life — Tags: , — S.G. Browne @ 6:55 am