S.G. Browne

San Diego Comic-Con 2016

comic-con_logoIt’s that time of year again when tens of thousands of worshipers converge upon the mecca of downtown San Diego for the annual pilgrimage to Comic-Con.

I’ll be joining my brethren in the Cathedral of Pop Culture, but my attendance will be limited and I will have only a single appearance where I’ll be signing books. That will take place as follows:

Thursday, July 21
Geekscape booth (#3919)
2:00pm – 3:00pm

I’ll also have a limited number of copies of Big Egos, Less Than Hero, and Lucky Bastard for sale, along with I Saw Zombies Eating Santa Claus. But whether you’re looking to score a copy, an autograph, or just say “hey,” stop on by if you’re on the convention floor this Thursday.


Flawed Heroes and the Quest for Purpose

CJZma5oUEAIDqQWIn my Author’s Note for Less Than Hero, I mention how the story, at its heart, is about figuring out what you’re supposed to be doing with your life.

That’s a common theme in my novels. Finding your role. Your purpose. Your reason for existence. While my stories deal with issues such as discrimination, the consumer culture, celebrity worship, and the over-medication of our society, they’re really quests by the main protagonists to find meaning in their lives.

With Breathers, Andy Warner is trying to find his purpose in a society in which he has no purpose. In Fated, Fabio is looking for meaning in his monotonous and unfulfilling immortality. In Big Egos, my identity-challenged hero is searching for the role he’s supposed to play. And in Less Than Hero, my main protagonist, Lloyd Prescott, is searching for something more than the life he’s fallen into. Call it happiness. Call it ambition. Call it passion. Whatever it is, Lloyd can’t seem to find it. He’s not exactly broken, but he’s most definitely lost.

I’m a fan of flawed heroes: protagonists who don’t have it all together or who don’t know what the hell they’re doing. As Lloyd says:

“Not everyone has their shit figured out. Sure some people do. They’re the ones who actually stick to a plan and make all the right choices and end up with the life they imagined. For others, we discover that trying to win the lottery isn’t a viable plan for living happily ever after.”

When it comes to writing fiction, I think it’s important to create characters who  struggle with their choices and their failures because we can relate to them. They’re like us: victims of inertia, lacking direction, filled with self-doubt.

Main protagonists who are perfect and who always say and do the right things are unrealistic and boring. If you want a knight in shining armor, go read a romance novel. Prince Charming isn’t wanted here.

I think part of the reason my characters are constantly looking for meaning and answers is because that’s what humans do: we search for meaning and answers in our lives. But more than that, the existential angst and motivations for my characters come from the realization that, as blossoming humans, we were sold a false bill of goods about what it would be like when we were adults.

When you’re in your teens, you look at adults and think you know more than they do about life and how to succeed at it because hey, it doesn’t look that difficult. In your early twenties you discover that you didn’t know as much as you thought you did but now that you’re an adult you’ll figure it out soon enough.

In your thirties you discover that the expectations you had of what your life would be like haven’t lived up to all of the beer commercials and romantic comedies you’ve been fed over the years.

When you get to your forties, it finally dawns on you that no one knows what the hell they’re doing. Not even your parents. Everyone’s just doing their best impersonation of Indiana Jones and making it up as they go.

So I guess in a way, my characters are trying to figure out what the hell they’re supposed to be doing because so am I. Maybe one day I’ll come up with an answer. Until then, I’ll just have to let my characters keep doing the work for me.


Filed under: Less Than Hero,The Writing Life — Tags: , , , — S.G. Browne @ 8:21 pm

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

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

Less Than Hero Giveaway

B82pUXECAAAKNl3To celebrate the upcoming release of my new novel, Less Than Hero ( my dark comedy and social satire about superheroes and pharmaceutical drugs), I’m holding a giveaway.

Several lucky winners will walk away with a signed copy of Less Than Hero. Well, I guess technically you won’t walk away with it because I’ll mail it to you, and even personalize or inscribe the novel if you’d like. The point is, you get something free. And who doesn’t like free?

How do you enter for your chance to win? You have several options.

  1. Share the link to this giveaway on your Facebook page or on your Twitter stream by using the links at the bottom of this post. (You can also do Google+ or Pinterest, whatever floats your boat.)
  2. OR you can copy and paste the Less Than Hero blurb below and share it with your Facebook friends and Twitter followers:

LESS THAN HERO: Defending your right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of antidepressants. http://tinyurl.com/mzygcp8

(If you choose either one of the options above, please make sure to leave a comment on this post to let me know where you’ve shared; otherwise I won’t be able to enter your name in the contest.)

You can also enter the giveaway by doing one of the following:

  1. Share my Facebook posts about the giveaway, which you can find on my Facebook Author Page
  2. RT my tweets about the giveaway that I post on my Twitter Profile

Any questions? Good. Further details on the contest are below:

  • Multiple entries are allowed
  • Contest runs until Monday, March 16, 2015, at 11:59pm PST
  • Winners will be drawn randomly from the pool of entrants
  • Contest open only to residents of the United States (Sorry)

Thanks and good luck!

And the winners of the Less Than Hero giveaway, chosen by the mysterious Random Number Generator, are:

J. Kramin
C. Rickman
J. Roberts

Thank you to everyone who participated in the giveaway and who Tweeted and shared on Facebook. You guys are all awesome.

Filed under: Contests,Less Than Hero,Novels — Tags: — S.G. Browne @ 6:45 am