Whispers 4

Mirror X

The bathroom is steamy, the mirrors fogged. I’m drying off when I see it. A large X on the medicine cabinet mirror. A loose circle surrounds it. Hastily scrawled, like it was spray painted. It wasn’t there yesterday. Or the day before. Or a month ago. Or ever. No one else uses my bathroom. No one’s even been up to my floor. But there’s a giant X on the mirror.

Stranger Things, an Awesome Show from Netflix

Stranger Things Title Page

Ooooooooohhhhhhhhhhsquuuuuueeeeeeeeeee! I loves me some Stranger Things! That’s a Netflix Original series. It came out in July, and if you’re cooler than me you’ve already watched it. But this toy started and finished it a few days ago. Man, oh man, but is it good. Because I love you, dear reader, I won’t do any spoilers, but I do want to you tell you about it. But first, here’s one of the official trailers: Actors

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 →