“The Only Indication of Time”

Philip HarrisBooks, Chatter, Movies, Running, WritingLeave a Comment

Wow. It’s been almost two months since my last real post. Doesn’t time fly. What have I done during that time? Well, let’s see. Besides neglecting my blog, I have (in no particular order)… Spent a very enjoyable evening with fellow eHorror author Rob Boffard and his girlfriend Watched a bunch of films including Star Trek Into Darkness (good), World War Z (good) and Resident Evil: Retribution (the less said the better) Watched Hannibal (excellent), Under the Dome (meh) and the first two seasons of Game of Thrones (excellent – yes, I know, I’ve been slacking) Watched a production of Avenue Q (fantastic) Watched the B-52s play live (excellent) Read Joe Hill’s NOS4A2 (excellent) Read In the Broken Birdcage of Kathleen Fair by Cate Gardner (also excellent) Read Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane (excellent) Read The Blue Blazes by Chuck Wendig (very good) Started rereading one of my favourite horror novels – Cabal by Clive Barker (still excellent) Bought far too many books (excellent) Including the Humble eBook Bundle II Read some very excellent blog posts Listened to Tom Dickins’ and the Punintentionals new album about two hundred times (excellent) Snagged tickets to Neil Gaiman, Peter Murphy and John Cleese … Read More

The Emperor’s New Toy

Philip HarrisChatter, TechnologyLeave a Comment

I’m writing this post on my new toy – a Samsung E5250 Chromebook. If you’re not aware of the Chromebook concept, it’s a class of laptop that runs Google’s Chrome operating system instead of Windows or iOS. There are some expensive models but the main draw is that the base models are very cheap – the Samsung costs about $270. The downside is that they only run Google apps so you’ll be using Google’s web based word processor and spreadsheet app rather than Word or Excel. That said, there are plenty of apps out there, including games, so you should be able to find most of what you need. The Samsung Chromebook is one of two available in Canada (the other being the Acer C7). As laptops go its fairly low spec but it does come with an SSD drive. Essentially SSD drives work just like a memory card that you’d put in a digital camera which means that they’re small, fast and completely silent. As a result, the Chromebook boots up very quickly and although there’s only 16Gb of onboard storage you get 100GB of Google Drive space (free for the first two years) which lives “in the cloud” … Read More

Attack of the Snot Monkey

Philip HarrisChatter, WritingLeave a Comment

I’ve spent the last four days with a snot monkey living in my head. That’s the only explanation I can think of. I did manage to get a bit of writing done yesterday and added just over 3,500 words to The Ghost Smuggler –  breaking the 10,000 word mark. So far, our hero has woken up drunk in an alley, suffered from several nightmares, rejected and then accepted a job, met a water daemon and paid a visit to a local gangster. Now he’s heading underground. What else? What else? Oh yes, the aforementioned snot monkey has put paid to my Marathon training which is making me nervous. I missed the first of our 32km runs this weekend and given that there’s only six weeks to the race, I really need to be tightening up my training, not slacking off. It would have been hopeless though I was interviewing a job candidate today and I thought I was going to drown in the snot monkey’s handiwork. Tonight, I’m going to be submitting a couple of stories to the excellent Fireside Magazine and then I think I’ll retreat to bed with my Kindle in an attempt to shake off the monkey (and avoid … Read More

Outlining – Simpsons Style

Philip HarrisChatter, WritingLeave a Comment

A long time ago, I forget where, I saw Matt Groening talking about the script writing process for The Simpsons – specifically how they make sure each episode is funny. Given that everyone appreciates different types of humour and the same gag can have one person rolling around on the floor while the person next to them yawns and suggests they switch over to Two and a Half Men they need to pack as many jokes into each episode as possible. They do that by iterating over the script multiple times. Each time they add another layer of jokes, one liners and visual gags until the episode is full of funny (or they run out of time). We apply the same idea in video game development and call it polish. It’s an essential part of the creative process, in my opinion. It’s the only way to get to that secret something, that special sauce, that separates a great game or show or movie or book from the merely good. That’s what I’m doing with my Ghost Smuggler outline this week. I’ve built my outline based on a mixture of the first draft and my latest ideas and now I’m running through the … Read More

Aaaaaaaannnd…I’m Back

Philip HarrisChatterLeave a Comment

It’s been a very busy couple of months to start the year – not least because of my day job. The twin demands of finishing off a game the size and complexity of SSX and training for my first marathon has meant that writing has had to take a back seat. That’s about to change though. I’ve got five stories to revise, nineteen more I can submit (although some of those have ‘retired’) and a novel to rewrite. But first, I need to work out why WordPress is behaving strangely. Maybe it’s upset I’ve been neglecting it. Oh, and Happy Leap Day.

Still Alive

Philip HarrisChatterLeave a Comment

Yes, I am still alive. It’s been a hectic three weeks of travel, reading, gaming, movies, running, theater and day job and I’m only just coming back up for air. Now it’s time to slice out some time for writing…

Winter Wonderland

Philip HarrisChatter, Stories, WritingLeave a Comment

Thankfully, the Arctic inspired storms that have engulfed Canada over the last week didn’t really hit Vancouver. It did get cold – down to -11c and not that much higher in the day. There were a couple of days of snow, just enough to cause chaos on the roads but it’s pretty much gone now. Plenty off snow on the mountains though, which makes the skiers and snow boarders happy As demonstrated by my lack of blogging, this week has been dedicated to day job work – we’re just wrapping up our latest project which means lots of planning for the next project. There was also two trips to the dentist (one aborted, one actual) and lots of running. I did manage to scrape together a spectacular 292 words on Monday though. Not an auspicious start to the writing year but still…better than nothing. That was my meager attempt at the story Ethel the Muse dropped into my lap a few days ago. I’m happy with those words though and the story is pretty short so I’m hoping to get the first draft wrapped up this weekend. No title yet though. Oh, and I fixed our bathroom tap.

Blurgh

Philip HarrisChatterLeave a Comment

I’ve been battling a cold for the last couple of days which has sidetracked any writing I was planning on doing. On the plus side, working from home did allow me to clear off a huge amount of day job related tasks. I’ve not been living in a total creative wasteland though, I submitted a story to Garbled Transmissions and Ethel the Muse visited last night (well, 2am this morning actually) and I now have a new idea for a short story which I’m going to try to kick off tonight. More on that tomorrow.  

Some Kind of Stranger Come Inside

Philip HarrisChatterLeave a Comment

Another day, another new blog. Why? I hear you ask. The answer is very simple, for fun. I’ve been writing on and off for over twenty years now and it turns out I enjoy it. I’ve written non-fiction, mostly technical articles, reviews and comment pieces, including a monthly column on “online topics” that ran before everyone else joined the Internet party. I also have a blog dedicated to my day job – developing video games. My main literary love is fiction though, speculative fiction to be exact. I grew up surrounded by books and despite numerous attempts to kick my addiction, I’m still surrounded by more books than my shelves can hold. Given my love of books, it was inevitable that I would also try my hand at writing my own stories and I’ve been crafting strange tales for as long as I can remember. Over the years, I’ve written and had published horror, science fiction, fantasy and stories that sit somewhere between all three. I finished my first novel The Ghost Smuggler last year. It blends fantasy and science fiction into a fast moving tale set in the desert city of Karabar and a dreamlike world inhabited by the spirits of the … Read More