September in October

Philip HarrisBooks, Chatter, Metrics, Movies0 Comments

Wow, it’s almost the middle of October and I haven’t posted an update. I’m going to blame the fact I was at a writing retreat in Colorado at the end of September. And my book release, yes, that too. The Colorado trip was excellent. Great company, some drinking, good food, good conversation and a big chunk of writing. And this guy: Apart from the writing retreat, it was a pretty light month – 12,412 words in total. Most of my time was spent revising the third zombie book. It’s now going through a second pass with my editor and should be wrapped up pretty quickly. Now I’m working on what was supposed to be a prequel novella for my next series. However, I’m already 17,000 words in which should be around the halfway point. It’s more like a quarter of the way through the story. I may have to rethink this plan. I’m really enjoying writing it though, it’s got the same sort of geeky humour I sprinkled throughout Unseen Planet which makes it a lot of fun to write (and hopefully read). My September reading was mostly dominated by one book – Clive Barker’s Coldheart Canyon and I still … Read More

“The odd uneven time”

Philip HarrisBooks, Chatter, Metrics, Movies, Writing0 Comments

August was vacation month for my wife and me. We spent three weeks back in the UK, visiting family, Cardiff, and London. We normally go back at Christmas so this was the first time we’d been back in the summer for something like seven years. Of course, the weather didn’t cooperate. It didn’t rain all the time, there were some very sunny days, but as the photos show, it was fairly grey for our trip to London. We had a good time though. I’ll probably post more photos from the trip (including a visit to The Doctor Who Experience) in future. There was writing, of course. Total word count for August was 17,038 which is the lowest word count since March. Most of that time was spent on random scenes for a possible urban fantasy series. They were a lot of fun and I may well try writing a novella to see how it goes. I did finish a new short story that I wrote specifically for a very cool anthology. I submitted it a couple of days ago so now I have my fingers and toes crossed that the editor likes it. Time will tell. Talking of short stories… my … Read More

Zombie Novel Three, Draft One, Complete

Philip HarrisBooks, Metrics, Movies, Writing0 Comments

July was a good writing month – 34,092 words in total, mostly on the third novel in the zombie series. That’s slightly less productive than June but it’s entirely down to the fact that I spent most of the month revising rather than writing new words. More important than the raw word count, I completed the first draft. I read through the entirety of the first, “zero”, draft and fixed the structural and continuity errors (and tweaked a lot of the sentence and word level stuff as well). Before After This is the part of the writing process  that I a) like the least and b) find the most difficult. It’s a relief to get that draft zero cleaned up. Even better, it seems like a good book. There’s still at least two more drafts to go before I send it off to my editor, but those are more about refining the book rather than ripping out chunks and replacing them. I did write the first draft of a new story, tentatively called The Last Soul Diver. My process for this one was a bit different – I dictated it using Dragon Dictate. It’s the first time I’ve used dictation … Read More

“I know well that the June rains just fall”

Philip HarrisBooks, Chatter, Metrics, Movies0 Comments

Not a lot of rain in Vancouver at the moment (bizarrely) but it’s time for my June update anyway. First up, writing. Most of the time was spent working on the latest zombie novel and I had a fantastic month. Total word count was 40,682 which is definitely the most successful month I’ve had so far this year and probably one of the best months since I started tracking (I need to go back and get my monthly data organised to check that). I finished draft zero of the novel a couple of days ago. Still plenty of work to do on it, but I’m very happy with how things are so far. I also outlined a new novella I’ll be writing in August. I’m really excited about this one so I’m keen to get the zombie novel out of the way so that I can start on it. The end of June also marks the fourth year of my writing streak. I’ve written fiction every single day for over 1,460 days. Now, writing every day certainly isn’t essential in order to be a successful writer, but it creating a writing habit can help a lot. My writing productivity has definitely … Read More

The Ides of May

Philip HarrisBooks, Chatter, Indie Publishing, Metrics, Movies, Writing0 Comments

No, that title doesn’t make sense. So, May wrapped up a few days ago, so it must be time for a quick progress update. First up, writing. The entire month was spent working on the fourth of my zombie books. I wrote 27,411 words and it felt good. I love writing first drafts. The editing process is slow and painful for me and I spent a lot of time editing the previous books in the series this year so it’s been good to just sit down and blast through the story. I haven’t got summaries to compare word count from previous years but May was definitely my most productive month of 2017. So far. June is already shaping up to be even better. It was an urban fantasy sort of month for reading. I read all three Eric Carter books by Stephen Blackmoore and continued my audio re-listen of Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden series with Grave Peril and Summer Knight. All five books were good, not the best I’ve ever read but still well worth checking out if you like a bit of fantasy in your urban. I’m behind on my Pinterest page on the movies I’ve watched this year (too … Read More

Normal Service is Resumed

Philip HarrisBooks, Chatter, Metrics, Movies, Stories0 Comments

That’s more like it – my monthly update is back to being a couple of weeks late. In my defence, I had a race last weekend and a cold has been interfering with my ability to string coherent thoughts together this week. Yes, that leaves a week or so unaccounted for but hey, I’m here and that’s all that matters. April was the month when I finally got back to writing new words – just about. The first twenty eight days were spent revising the second book in my zombie series and the short story collection I’m putting together. It’s an odd feeling, going back over old short stories but I’m happy with how they’ve turned out. The book is now with my editor and I’ve commissioned the cover so it should be good to go out to my newsletter subscribers in a couple of months and on to Amazon shortly after that. But, on April 29th, I kicked off the fourth book in the zombie series. I have a good outline and the joy of getting back to writing new words unleashed a torrent of productivity and I wrote 4,244 words that day. That was the most words I’d written since 27th October … Read More

Not An April Fool

Philip HarrisBooks, Chatter, Metrics, Movies, Stories0 Comments

No, this isn’t a trick. I really am posting my monthly update on the first of the month. It wasn’t a particularly thrilling month as far as writing goes. I spent the whole month revising novels and short stories so my total count was a feeble 5,312 words. I haven’t checked but I suspect this is the least productive month I’ve had since I began my writing streak 1,372 days ago. I did squeeze in some outlining of the next zombie novel in there, plus a few paragraphs for an Urban Fantasy series I’m planning that I would love to be working on instead of all this revision. Most of the revisions were on the first two books in the zombie series, but I’ve also started compiling a collection of my short fiction. Which I guess is a sort of announcement (although if you’re on my mailing list you’ll already know about that). At the moment it looks like there’ll be about 22 stories and 85,000-ish words. There’s one more story I’m considering that would bump it closer to 100,000 but I’m undecided on that one. No title for the collection yet, but there’s three possibilities in the running at the moment. … Read More

The Martian – A Review

Philip HarrisMovies1 Comment

Go and see this film.   You can find out more about my upcoming releases, and get four FREE books by signing up for my newsletter here. [The Martian – A Review by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 4th October 2015]

My 5 Favourite Films So Far This Year

Philip HarrisMovies0 Comments

My wife and I haven’t been watching as many films as we used to. My Pinterest board shows only 28 so far. That’s a similar pace to 2014 but way below 2013 when we watched 92 films across the whole year. As we’re close to the middle of the year, I figured I’d post my top five films so far. The top four were easy, but I struggled with the fifth. Bear in mind, these are films I’ve personally watched this year, whenever they were actually released. Oh, and I reserve the right to change the order and contents of my top five at will. Mad Max Mad Max is one of my favourite film franchises so I approached this with some trepidation but I loved it. And it gave me an excuse to watch the first three films again. Only Lovers Left Alive I talked about this one here on the blog – stylish, dark and subtle. Ex Machina I’ve got a soft spot for “quiet” science fiction (Moon, Melancholia, Sunshine) and Ex Machina hit all the right notes for me. Advantageous Another (very) quiet science fiction film, Advantageous is only available on Netflix and iTunes at the moment. Reviews have been mixed but … Read More

Only Lovers Left Alive

Philip HarrisMovies, Reviews0 Comments

My wife and I almost went to see Only Lovers Left Alive during a trip to Calgary last year but the showtimes didn’t quite work out, and we didn’t know anything about the movie beyond the fact it had a cool poster and starred Tilda Swinton. She can usually be relied on to put in a memorable performance and her films often hit the style and substance sweet spot, at least for us. We Need To Talk About Kevin was one of my favourite films from the 92 we watched in 2013. We finally got around to watching Only Lovers Left Alive last night and it didn’t disappoint. In fact, I kind of wish we’d made time to watch it on the big screen. Although it’s ostensibly a vampire film, it’s really a fantastically stylish and subtle romance that positively drips cool. Everything from the characters to the music to the set design and wardrobe is perfectly pitched. Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston are superb in their roles but the whole cast is excellent. The soundtrack is great as well, I’m just about to head over to iTunes and check out the album. It’s a slow burn of a movie that really reminded me of The Hunger with David Bowie, Catherine Deneuve and … Read More