Good Writing and Bad

magic-book

It’s a funny thing about writing. It turns out it’s hard. In my efforts to become a published novelist, I’ve had many opportunities to learn some things about writing fiction. One of my first lessons, for instance, was that a Venn diagram of writing skills for journalists and writing skills for fiction has surprisingly little overlap. It probably looks something like this: Imagine my surprise in discovering this. In arrogance rooted somewhere between general competence and blissful ignorance, I started my novel with the assumption that my ability to properly string words together for an article would lend itself just Continue Reading →

Chaffin’s Razor

padded-room-selfie

I have this theory, something I’ve been working on for many years. One of our listeners (D. Scott Frey) on The Apple Context Machine came up with the name “Chaffin’s Razor,” and I quite fancy that name, so let’s go with it. In any event, here’s my thought: When someone does or says something that appears irrational, there is almost always a piece of missing information that would either explain the behavior or cause the observed to behave or speak differently. That’s the shortish version, but the long version starts with the fact that very few people are crazy. Sure, Continue Reading →

Whispers 3

ceiling

It’s Sunday. A day for sleeping late. A day for not worrying about getting up. Or meetings. A day for no alarms save the morning sun peeking past my shades. Sunday is the kind of day night owls with day jobs love. At least this night owl. It’s one of two days when I get enough sleep. I love Sundays. I lay there, scrunched into my covers. Spring is fighting with winter, but the old lady still has a grip on the outside. It was enough to make luxuriating alone in bed as long as possible that extra bit of Continue Reading →

Bryan’s Tips for Making a Tasty Iced Latte

Espresso pull

My Death Wish Coffee review was fairly popular, and I thought it would be nifty to follow it up with some tips on making coffee espresso lattes iced lattes. At its heart, all forms of coffee are chemistry-in-action, and while I won’t pretend to understand that chemistry, trial and error has helped me optimize my favorite beverage. Flavor Is Everything First things first: I like my lattes iced and flavored with syrups. I don’t like the flavor of espresso, I like the flavor of espresso when it has been combined with a sugar-based, flavored sweetener and drowned in ice and Continue Reading →

Death Wish Coffee Quick Look

Rancilio Heaven

I Instagrammed a photograph of the Death Wish Coffee Dave Hamilton sent to me, and several people asked me to review it. Accordingly, I pulled a couple of espresso shots with it this morning, and I’m delighted to report that Death Wish Coffee is good. What could go wrong? Thanks @davehamilton!

Whispers 2

Shower head

It’s been a while. Those whispers. More than a year. I’d kind of forgotten about them because the house has been…I don’t know. Not quiet, exactly. Acquiescent? There’s always a bit of a feeling around here. But then today I was taking a shower. It was the middle of the day, a perk of working from home. I was singing “You Can’t Do That,” a favorite Beatles tunes, and was leaning into the water. It was relaxing. That’s when I felt it. A tap. Two of them. On my shoulder. Not “like” a tap. It was a tap. A finger touching Continue Reading →

Prologue Is Past

Old typewriter with "Prologue" crossed out by a red pen.

I stripped the prologue from my novel recently. I had to do it, and that makes me tense. Let me explain. No, first, some catchup: I took time off from my novel last year (hence the lack of updates here). I needed to distance myself from it so I could see it with fresh(er) eyes. Once I came back to it, I realized the beginning wasn’t as tight as the ending, where I’ve spent far, far more time. I fixed that, and in the process I made myself nuke the prologue. Agents and editors are mixed on prologues these days, Continue Reading →

Mining For Pics

20141229buffaloyosemite

Been busy. Synopsis writing—have I mentioned how much I hate writing a fucking synopsis? And querying. I hate the query process. There was also a little thing called Christmas. Next is New Year’s, followed immediately by CES. I hate CES, too, but that’s another story. Anyhoo, I’ve been mining my photo library for good pics. Wait, let me rephrase that: I’ve been looking for images I’ve previously rejected that can be made cool because I know a lot more about editing photos than I did back when I took them*. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve already seen most of them, but Continue Reading →

Whispers

20141205stairs

I’m getting ready to leave. TV off, ceiling fans off. Windows, closed. It’s quiet on the third floor. I turn off the lamp in my office, the last light on the third floor that was on. I hear a door shut on the second floor. I thought I was alone in the house. Whispers. Close. On the stairway. Halfway up. I freeze. The whispers continue. I imagine they’re whispering that I’m coming. “Hello?” I say. It was instinctual. A bad line straight from of a horror movie. “Just me,” my roommate calls from the second floor. The whispers stop. “I’m headed Continue Reading →

Speaking of Clouds, How about Some Words?

What are words for?

I won’t bother telling you that I’ve finished Accidental Intelligence again. We’ve all been down that path together too many times. I will tell you, however, that I started querying once more. It’s a rough time of year to query because many agents stop taking submissions this quarter, but we’ll see what we see. I have what I think is a good query letter, and Q really helped me polish the holy heck out of my manuscript. Between her and D. A. Del Castillo, not to mention my great betas, I’ve had some remarkable help. Anyhoo, I ran my final manuscript through Wordle.net—which is just Continue Reading →