Adventures in Sci Fi Publishing

Philip HarrisAuthors, Links, Podcasts, Writing, Writing AdviceLeave a Comment

I’ve been listening to the Adventures in Sci Fi Publishing podcast for quite a while now and it’s usually good but the latest episode (168) is one of their best and really struck a chord with me. The podcast covers a mix of publishing chatter and author interviews – they’ve had people like Michael Moorcock, Patrick Rothfuss and Elizabeth Bear on in the past and I’ve discovered a lot of good writers by listening to the show. Each episode is around an hour or so and will usually get me through a visit to the gym quite nicely. Episode 168 features an interview with Jennifer Brozek, Mark Teppo and Mary Robinette Kowal recorded by Sandra Wickham at the Rainforest Writer’s Retreat. There’s lots of talk about the process of writing and some excellent no nonsense advice and I found it very inspiring. Highly recommended.  

On Caitlin R Kiernan

Philip HarrisAuthors, BooksLeave a Comment

Caitlin R Kiernan is one of a handful of authors whose books I always buy but never give away (Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, Clive Barker, China Mieville, Haruki Murakami and Banana Yoshimoto being some of the others). She’s one of an even smaller number of authors whose books immediately jump to the top of my reading pile whenever they’re published. She’s also an author who makes me want to give up writing – I know I’ll never get close to her imagination or the sheer beauty of her writing so why bother? I’ve been reading Caitlin’s books for a long time. I can’t remember when I discovered her first novel, Silk (published in 1998), but I think it was through her association with Poppy Z Brite – another author whose work I love – and I’ve been hooked ever since. She’s written some fantastic books, Murder of Angels (the sequel to Silk) and Daughter of Hounds are probably my favourites, and so far I’ve not been able to find many other weird fiction authors that are so consistently good. Her novels and stories tend to be dark, particularly her short fiction, so if you’re the type of person who likes nice, neat Hollywood endings tied up with a … Read More

A @GreatDismal Evening

Philip HarrisAuthors, Chatter, EventsLeave a Comment

Last week was pretty much overwhelmed by my day job – lots of late evenings trying to keep all the plates spinning. As a result running and writing both fell by the wayside and that’s going to continue to be the case for the next couple of weeks while we finish off our latest title and get a couple of new projects fired up. Wednesday was the exception though; we braved the Vancouver rain to see William Gibson at the latest Incite event at the Vancouver Public Library. Okay, so it’s only about four blocks from home so it wasn’t much of a sacrifice, but still…rain. Incite is a series of literary events organised by the Vancouver International Writers Festival and they’re free, which meant getting there early to make sure we got a decent seat – in this case a prime position in the second row. Mr Gibson was there to promote his latest book – Distrust That Particular Flavor – a collection of non-fiction essays culled from magazines, websites and speeches. He read a short chapter from the book in between questions from the VIWF Artistic Director, Hal Wake, and the audience. Topics ranged from his reluctance to publish non-fiction to the appeal … Read More

Chuck Palahniuk’s Balls

Philip HarrisAuthors, EventsLeave a Comment

Chuck Palahniuk’s advance for Fight Club was just $7000 dollars and both the film and the book were failures. At least initially. That’s two of the things I learned at the Chuck Palahniuk reading on Wednesday. I also learned that he likes to throw candy at his audience and I mean at, not to. The event was part of the Vancouver International Writers Festival and if you live in or near Vancouver, it’s well worth keeping an eye on their website – they bring some great authors to their annual festival in October and other events throughout the year. Chuck’s visit kicked off with a limited signing for people who had bought one of the one hundred book-and-event tickets that were available. I was lucky enough to be able to get one so I arrived early, got my copy of Damned inscribed and a couple of photos and then sat down and waited for the reading to start. I’m Damned It was obvious the evening was going to be special when Chuck came on stage, explained how important it was to pay attention and then proceeded to throw candy around the packed theatre. And this wasn’t small candy either, it was … Read More

Anne McCaffrey (1926-2011)

Philip HarrisAuthors, Writing Advice1 Comment

I was very sad to hear that Anne McCaffrey died on Monday. As you would expect, there are lots of great tributes across the web. Random House Locus Obituary Geek Out! Girl Meets Lightsaber io9 Author Chris F. Holm For my part, I grew up reading the Dragon stories. Inspired perhaps by my brother’s suggestion that I was a bit too young to read them, I devoured them all as quickly as I could. Even now, many years later, they still hold a special place in my memories and I’ll never forget the world of Pern. My wife was equally entranced by Anne’s books and I think she’s read them all, including the spin offs, the non Dragon stories and those written with her son Todd and other collaborators. I remember reading some writing advice from Anne McCaffrey that really stuck with me. I’m not able to find the full quote anymore because the original website is no longer available but I’ll paraphrase here. She suggested that if you were writing a scene with a chest of drawers in it, you should know what was inside it. Not that you had to tell the reader, just that you, as the … Read More