Looking Forward, 2017

Philip HarrisChatter, Indie Publishing, RunningLeave a Comment

After posting my belated end of year wrap up, I figured I’d better also look forward to what’s ahead in 2017… I talked about setting goals on New Year’s Day and mentioned my big personal goal – running a marathon in under four hours. That goal has actually been in the back of my mind for a few years but 2017 is the year I’m really going to focus on my speed and fitness (and weight) and try to hit that. My wife and I recently worked out which races we’re going to take part in this year and it’s a fairly long list, but a lot of them will be used as training runs for my main goal of that sub-four hour marathon. Time will tell whether it will pan out but I’m looking forward to trying. I’ll probably make the odd post here about my progress for those who are interested in how a moderately unfit, middle aged guy prepares for a marathon. I also mentioned my eight book publishing schedule. That’s pretty aggressive, even though I have a couple of the books complete and two more in draft form. I’ve laid out the schedule for the first half of the year and this is what it … Read More

Farewell, 2016

Philip HarrisChatter2 Comments

Continuing my tradition of posting end of year wrap ups late… 2016 was a mixed year for me, personally. We lost a lot of great people including some of my idols (I’m listening to David Bowie’s new EP right now) and people close to me. The internet seems to be getting more and more toxic by the day, and the less said about Brexit and the US election the better. But there was plenty of ups to offset the downs. I moved into a new apartment that doesn’t turn into an oven in the summer, and a new role on a very exciting project in my day job. It means I’ll be busier than I’ve been recently, but the work will be much more fulfilling. My writing went very well, too. I hit 282,441 words over the whole year which is a new record (I wrote 275,872 words in 2014 and 255,470 in 2015). There was plenty of editing in there as well so I’m happy with that. I’ve got ambitious plans for this year, so I’m hoping to break 300,000 words. We’ll see. I worked on several new projects during that time including the second and third Leah King books, The … Read More

On Goals

Philip HarrisChatterLeave a Comment

Happy New Year! So, it’s New Year’s Resolution time again. I’m not really a New Year’s Resolution kind of guy. I do set “resolutions” but I do it when the mood takes me not just at the beginning of the year. That’s why my writing streak starts on 30th June 2013 rather than something more numerically pleasing. I am setting a few goals this year, though. Running a marathon in less than four hours for example. That’s a good goal to me because a) it’s tough but achievable and b) the outcome is pretty much under my control. Assuming I train properly, don’t eat all the chocolate we have in our fridge and sort out my race nutrition, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be able to achieve that. I’ve even got at least two shots – one at the Vancouver Marathon in May and then another either in September (The Blerch) or October (Victoria).  There are some external factors – I might get injured or the weather might not cooperate but beyond that, my success in the marathon is really down to me. Even injuries are partially under my control – over training and ignoring warning signs are a good way to end up … Read More

An Unmitigated Disaster

Philip HarrisChatter, WritingLeave a Comment

I’m now about 66,000 words into the final book in the Leah King trilogy, The Girl in the Machine, and I’ve reached the point where I’m convinced it’s an unmitigated disaster. My outline is in shreds. There’s dozens of plot holes in every chapter. The character arcs aren’t arcs, they’re circles. I’ve forgotten to tie up at least three loose ends and there’s two more that I opened in chapter three that go nowhere. The critical scene involving the aardvark and the pug is physically impossible, and I’m pretty sure several of my character’s names change halfway through the story. Twice. Basically, I want to delete everything relating to this book and take up something sane like juggling scorpions. I’m not going to. Partly because scorpions are mean and that would be dangerous, but mostly because I’ve been here before. ON EVERY SINGLE BOOK I’VE WRITTEN. The Girl in the City, Unseen Planet, The Girl in Wilderness, The Ghost Smuggler, Siren’s Call and both my (currently unpublished) zombie books all went through this same phase. Experience has taught me that my mind is lying to me. I’m not writing in stone. Sure, I’ll have to go back and rewrite big chunks, fill in the holes, check names and facts, and generally … Read More

One Year with Glitch Mitchell

Philip HarrisChatter, Glitch, Indie PublishingLeave a Comment

On August 22nd 2015 I clicked published on my first full length indie title – Glitch Mitchell and the Unseen Planet. Three days later, I officially launched the book. The Unseen Planet is a science fiction novel inspired by the old Flash Gordon serials that I used to watch on TV when I was young. It’s fast paced, over the top, and doesn’t take itself too seriously. I originally planned the idea as side project that would be posted here on the blog. The goal was to produce ten 1,000 word chapters and post one every Saturday morning. That idea grew into twenty-six 1,000 word chapters, but when I started writing they ended up coming in at 2-3,000 words. The end result was a full length novel that I didn’t quite know what to do with. The book sat on my hard drive for quite a while until I read a post by some guy called Hugh Howey. He was talking about his new cover designer-M.S. Corley. I was very impressed with Mike’s portfolio, one thing led to another, and I ended up commissioning a cover for The Unseen Planet. Now I had a cover, I had to publish the book. It took a while, plus the tender ministrations of two editors and three … Read More

August Writing Update

Philip HarrisChatter, WritingLeave a Comment

I’ve realised I haven’t posted any writing updates for a while so I thought I’d avoid working on my latest short story by giving an update instead. The last few months have been reasonably good from a fiction point of view. My writing-every-day streak continues and sits at 1,147 days. I’ve just broken the 150k mark for words written this year (158,173 to be exact) so I’m pretty much on track to break my personal annual word count record (275,872). At this point, I’m pretty confident I can do that. I have several first drafts I want to get written, and they should drive up that word count pretty quickly. It won’t be obvious to anyone looking at my Amazon author page, but this year I’ve been trying to focus on finishing projects and getting them out into the wide world. That said, the last few months have been spent working on several projects. The Girl in the Wilderness This is the sequel to The Girl in the City that I hadn’t planned on writing. And when I did decide to write it I was expecting it to be another novella but a bit bigger than The Girl in the City. It turned out to be a full length novel … Read More

“Whiskey and the devil and the witching hour”

Philip HarrisMusic, Videos2 Comments

I was introduced to The Mission (or The Mission UK if you’re in the US)  in college because I wore a lot of black. A friend of mine gave me a tape (yes, cassette tape) and said “you’ll like this”. The logic behind the gift was that as I wore black all the time, I must be a goth, therefore I must like goth music. I don’t think I’d really heard of any of the bands on that tape before then, but it opened my ears to the wonders of bands like The Sisters of Mercy, Siouxsie and the Banshees and The Mission. From then on I was hooked. Music wasn’t quite as easy to get hold of back then (CDs were just on the horizon) so I was basically stuck with vinyl and the odd bootleg recording on tape. I devoured it all though, and I spent hours listening to songs like this:  And watching videos like this. That one is intentionally tongue in cheek, apparently. The band referred to it as “Carry On Goth”. I may have also <cough> dressed like that occasionally. The Mission were at their best playing live, and I’ve lost count of the number of times I saw them … Read More

Farewell, 2015

Philip HarrisChatter2 Comments

So, that was 2015. My wife and I continued our New Year’s Eve tradition of spending the evening at home watching horror movies. This year we went with The Babadook and Hellraiser: Revelations. The Babadook was excellent, very creepy. On paper it’s the usual horror film trope of a family (in this case a mother and her son)  haunted by a supernatural being but it’s very well done and stands out from the crowd. On the other hand, Hellraiser: Revelations is the most recent of the straight to video “sequels” to my favourite horror film and was predictably dire. At least this one had the decency to make it about Lemarchand’s box and the cenobites rather than just bolting Pinhead on either end of a low budget horror movie like the last couple of “installments”. Still terrible though, but then we knew that going in. Rent The Babadook, skip Hellraiser: Revelations. Overall, I’m happy with how 2015 turned out writing wise. I didn’t get as many titles released as I’d planned but both The Girl in the City and Glitch Mitchell and the Unseen Planet did much better than I expected and the other projects I worked on, particularly Siren’s Call, are some of the best writing I’ve done. The demise of the Apocalypse Weird project put a bit of a … Read More

Amidst the Settling Dust

Philip HarrisChatter, StoriesLeave a Comment

It’s been a hectic few weeks since the launch of Glitch Mitchell and the Unseen Planet. My time’s been split between promoting the book, a busy period at my day job, renovations on our new apartment, a birthday (mine), and trying to get back to running after an extended period recovering from a niggling injury I’ve had for years. Time has been hurtling past at an alarming rate. I’m managing to write though – my streak is still going strong (839 days so far) and I’ve got several projects on the go at the moment. The bulk of my time has been spent on my zombie novel and it’s going extremely well. I’ve also been working with a very talented cover designer on a cover. I’m really pleased with how it’s turned out and it’s inspiring me to push even harder to make the book the best it can be. I’m aiming to release it early 2016, editors permitting. The edits on my Apocalypse Weird novel, Siren’s Call, came in this week and I’ll be working on those today. Not sure on the release date for that yet. And finally, I have a new short story coming out in a very cool anthology called UnCommon Bodies. My story … Read More

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Glitch Mitchell and the Unseen Planet

Philip HarrisGlitch, Indie PublishingLeave a Comment

It’s been four weeks since Glitch Mitchell and the Unseen Planet was released and it still continues to exceed my expectations. The Girl in the City has been getting a bit of a boost as well which is an unexpected bonus. I’m still in Glitch Mitchell mode at the moment so here’s five things you probably didn’t know about Glitch Mitchell and the Unseen Planet. The Title Glitch Mitchell and the Unseen Planet was originally Glitch Mitchell and the Planet Within and the planet Glitch, Anderson and Doctor Zheng ended up on was actually going to be inside Earth! I’m not sure what made me change it but at some point I decided the Unseen Planet was a more interesting idea. That said, I reserve the right to send Glitch to the Planet Within at some point in the future. Doctor Zheng Doctor Zheng, the scientist that Glitch ends up trapped on the Unseen Planet with, is named after Zheng Wenguang (1929 – 2003) – a Chinese science fiction writer who is known as the father of Chinese science fiction. Glitch’s T-Shirt The “Also, I can kill you with my mind” T-shirt Glitch wears in the book is almost real. I have one in my wardrobe with the correct Firefly quote – “Also, … Read More