Five Things I Learned Last Week

Five more things I’ve learned in my ongoing attempt to level up in life.

  • Dogs can be majestic
  • Gallimaufry means a confused jumble or medley of things – thanks to Neil Gaiman for that one.
  • I want one of these. (Un)fortunately, they don’t ship to Canada.
  • Jack White has a new album coming out and pre-ordering on iTunes gets you early access to one of the tracks.

  • Peter Murphy has a new album coming out and pre-ordering on iTunes gets you early access to one of the tracks.

[Five Things I Learned Last Week by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 20th April 2014]

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New Anthology – Altered Perspectives

Dan Wells (author of I am Not a Serial Killer and other splendid books) has announced a new anthology to raise funds to help his brother, Robison Wells (also an accomplished author) with his battle against mental illness. The anthology – Altered Perspectives – will contain a collection of stories, deleted chapters, alternate endings and other “bonus” material from a whole bunch of great authors, plus essays and comments from each of them about mental illness.

The list of authors involved in this is pretty impressive:

Ally Condie, the foreword
Dan Wells, the introduction
Annette Lyon, An unpublished chapter from her retelling of the Finnish fairy tale, THE KALEVALA
Aprilynne Pike, TBA
Brandon Mull, Deleted scenes from BEYONDERS 2
Brandon Sanderson, five completely rewritten chapters from THE WAY OF KINGS, where Kaladin makes the opposite choice of what he makes in the published novel
Bree Despain, an alternate ending to THE LOST SAINT, and an alternate beginning to THE SHADOW PRINCE
Brodi Ashton, the first chapter from her YA novel about an unwilling alien fighter who has to rescue the boy she loves
Claudia Gray, a deleted scene from A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU
Dan Wells, the original John Cleaver free-write that inspired I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER
Erin Bowman, a deleted scene from TAKEN
Howard Tayler, a creative non-fiction story about life with mental illness
J Scott Savage, three original chapters that led to writing FARWORLD
Jennifer Moore, a deleted scene from BECOMING LADY LOCKWOOD
Jessica Day George, a deleted scene from PRINCESS OF GLASS, where the main character plays poker with a witch
Josi Kilpack, the original opening scene to TRES LECHES CUPCAKE
Kiersten White, an original short story, set in a dystopian, sci-fi world
Larry Correia, a deleted fight scene from SWORDS OF EXODUS
Lauren Oliver, two deleted scenes from PANDEMONIUM, plus a hilarious scene about the plotting process
Luisa Perkins, a short story, “Seeing Red”–a modern-day retelling of Little Red Riding Hood.
Mary Robinette Kowal, deleted scene from VALOUR AND VANITY (the scene was cut because readers thought the scene was trying to depict depression)
Nancy Allen, bonus scene from BEAUTY AND THE CLOCKWORK BEAST
Robison Wells, an epilogue to FEEDBACK and the VARIANT duology
Sandra Tayler, a creative non-fiction piece called “Married To Depression”
Sara Zarr, a story featuring characters from one of Sara’s previously published novels
Sarah Eden, “Farewells” for LONGING FOR HOPE and HOPE SPRINGS
Seanan McGuire, The original opening for DISCOUNT ARMAGEDDON
Shannon Hale, ”Ravenous,” a previously unpublished scifi short story
SJ Kincaid, the original first chapter of VORTEX, before it was entirely rewritten

It’s going to be funded through an IndieGoGo campaign (which is a lot like a Kickstarter campaign but with more flexibility).

This is what Dan had to say about it:

This anthology goes up on IndieGoGo on Monday, April 21, where you’ll be able to buy it in hardcover or ebook, along with a ton of extra perks like manuscript critiques, dinners with your favorite authors, and the ever-popular “die horribly in one of Dan’s books.”

The project sounds very interesting and I’m a sucker for crowd funding so I’ll definitely be checking it out on Monday.

[New Anthology - Altered Perspectives by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 19 April 2014]

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Fifty First Lines

Today is a holiday in Canada so I’m hoping to get a lot of writing and writerish stuff done. As a bit of an experiment, I decided to start the day off with a writing exercise and throw down fifty possible first lines for stories.

Some of them I may use but I thought I’d post them here for anyone who wants them. In the unlikely event that one of them tickles your creative fancy and you use it as the starting point for a story, just post a comment here so that I don’t do the same thing – we wouldn’t want either of us to be accused of being dirty rotten plagiarisers.

So, without further ado, here’s my unedited fifty first lines. No warranty is expressed or implied.

  1. Planets come and planets go but people never change.
  2. My wife was the first to die and I’ll always be grateful for that.
  3. It doesn’t really matter how hard I try I’ll never get used to the gnomes.
  4. The prophecy had never made sense, not even to the monks.
  5. The end of the world was his favourite point in time.
  6. Daniel needed the world to stop spinning.
  7. Time is not on my side.
  8. There are four things my father told me I needed to be a success – a cold calculating mind, a warm heart, a keen sense of style and a willingness to use all three.
  9. The knife still calls to me.
  10. Jackie wasn’t home when the devil called but her daughter was.
  11. You wouldn’t like me if you met me.
  12. I learned a valuable lesson this morning but I’m going to ignore it.
  13. I was victim number seven.
  14. The starship woke me three weeks earlier than I expected and I found myself alone with the ghosts.
  15. The ability to break someone’s heart is not to be admired.
  16. It took Edgar Milligan an hour to climb the tower with his rifle.
  17. High-orbit pilot Jenkins looked out over the planet, his hand poised above the launch control.
  18. There are more stars in the night sky than there are grains of sand on Earth but I’m only looking for one of them.
  19. “Spin the wheel,” said the clown.
  20. Night was coming and with it, the creatures.
  21. I’ve always asked myself if there is more to life, something bigger and better than the banal slice of reality I suffer through day after day.
  22. Nick stared at his wife, memorising the lines on her face, the colour of her hair, the sparkle in her eyes.
  23. My life would make an excellent movie.
  24. The blood red moon is a constant presence above South Talinia.
  25. Steve was six when the first of the fey arrived in his home.
  26. The real world is always worse than you imagine.
  27. My soul is lost.
  28. Of all the shops in the city, the clockmaker on Dawson Street is my favourite.
  29. My people worship a giant metal bird, a black steel raven that eats those it feels are unworthy and blocks out the sun with its giant wings when it is angry.
  30. Harry sat in the old oak tree and watched the shuttle take his parents away.
  31. I can hold everything I own in one hand and I’m still the happiest man on Earth.
  32. If there’s one thing I learned from my grandfather it’s that things can always get worse.
  33. I don’t like soup.
  34. Cell phones are the work of the devil.
  35. The world moved too fast for Larry, not matter how hard he tried to slow it down.
  36. I met my wife on Monday, married her on Tuesday and helped her kill a man on Wednesday.
  37. People always freak out on Mondays.
  38. Nobody really noticed when the village of Monkton disappeared.
  39. There aren’t really many good things I can say about David Winters but I’ll try to think of something.
  40. If I had a superpower it would be the ability to blend in to the world around me, to be completely anonymous.
  41. I expected living on another planet to be a lot more interesting.
  42. Mel sat on the beach and watched her world fall apart.
  43. I used to be a werewolf but I’m alright now.
  44. As soon as I saw The Abigail, I knew I was in trouble.
  45. What I left behind on Earth was more important than anything I took with me.
  46. I shouldn’t be here.
  47. If you don’t believe in ghosts, this story isn’t for you.
  48. I’ve never trusted demons.
  49. My name is Eric Hunter and my job is to stop the world from falling apart.
  50. The smog choked streets of Old Diel stretched out before me, a cancerous web of violence and despair.

[Fifty First Lines by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 18th April 2014]

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Photo – Junkanoo Dancer

Junkanoo Dancer – Nassau, The Bahamas, January 2014

I took this photo of one of the dancers in a Junkanoo band at The Bahamas Marathon in January of this year.

[Photo - Junkanoo Dancer by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 16th April 2014]

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Daily Science Fiction Redux

I was going to write a post about Daily Science Fiction today but I discovered I’ve already done that so I’m just going to post it again here.

I’ve recently signed up to the Daily Science Fiction mailing list. As the name suggests, they email a new science fiction story to subscribers every weekday. Most days the stories are short (less than 1000 words) but Friday’s story is longer. Stories are also posted and archived on the website a week after their email publication.

Obviously, with so many stories nobody is going to love all of them but the short length makes them very easy to read. I’ve made the daily email one of my daily rituals and I look forward to seeing a new tale in my inbox every morning. Highlights for me over the last couple of weeks have been Butterfly Shaped Objects by George Potter, A Stitch in Space-time by Nicky Drayden and Gifted and Talented by Sadie Mattox.

Overall the quality is consistently good and Daily Science Fiction is on my short fiction market bucket list. I haven’t cracked it yet, but I will. One day.

[Daily Science Fiction Redux by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 15th April 2014]

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