Five Things I Learned Last Week

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Having just spent the weekend in a writing workshop with the wonderful Mary Robinette Kowal, I could have filled the next couple of months of Five Things posts with things I learned from her. But I won’t. That would be cheating. I will say you should check out her books and, if you’re a writer, her intensive short story workshop is well worth the price of admission. Author, Candace Mountain, is posting a picture of a cat every day this year. And she has to take them all herself. Tom Hanks has released an typewriter app – HanxWriter – I’m not convinced he wrote it himself. Montreal is using shipping containers to create ‘Parklets‘ – temporary parks that convert parking spots into public spaces during the summer months. Apparently, there’s also some in Vancouver somewhere. John Scalzi (and a bunch of other authors) has a very short story on the Popular Science website. The DoubleClicks have recorded a cover of The Cure’s Friday I’m in Love. And they’re currently on tour and have a new album you can buy here. [Five Things I Learned Last Week by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 1st September 2014]

Do You Wattpad?

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I don’t really need anything else to read. I have almost 450 books on my Goodreads To Be Read List, another 120 or so unread books on my Kindle that aren’t on Goodreads plus a large number of physical books, comics, graphic novels and magazines. Despite that, I’ve joined Wattpad and started having a look round there as well. Lots of good stuff and I’m already building up a new To Be Read pile to go with all the others. If you’re not familiar with Wattpad, it’s basically a huge online community where authors can post fiction and readers can…well…read. There’s a lot of fan fiction (particularly One Direction fanfic for some reason) but there’s a lot of other work there, including some big names like Cory Doctorow, Margaret Atwood and Hugh Howie. You can read the stories on PC but they also have some excellent mobile apps. Not to be left out, I’ve started posting my own stories, starting with on old favourite – Cag: An Almost True Story.   I’ll be posting a few more over the coming weeks, including some new pieces. Sorry, none of it is One Direction fan fiction. If you’re on Wattpad, and you feel like following my updates, I’d be very happy … Read More

Out Now – Artificial Wife

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I’m very pleased to announce I have a new story out. This one’s another science fiction flash piece called Artificial Wife and you can read it for free on the Story Shack Magazine website. Unbelievably, this is my twentieth publication so I’m especially happy that it also has a cool illustration by Michael Ilkiw. As usual, I won’t spoil the plot but here’s the opening. Most of the time I can almost believe she’s real. She’s not, she’s a Mark IV Remote Surrogate – a “mote”. My real wife, Annabel, is back on Earth but the mote’s a perfect copy, identical in every way; despite the fact that my wife encouraged me to mix things up a bit and “enhance” a couple of key attributes. If you do read it (it’s not long so it’s not a big investment), drop me a comment either here or on Story Shack to let me know what you thought. [Out Now – Artificial Wife by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 17th July 2014]

Free Michael J. Sullivan Audiobook

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How about I make up for the lack of real posts by pointing you at a free audiobook? Michael J. Sullivan has arranged for the audio version of The Viscount and the Witch to be released on Audible. Here’s the background on the story: For those that aren’t familiar, this was a short story that I wrote back in 2011 when my books were coming off the market and the Orbit books were not yet live. It’s always been free and released originally to give existing fans a little something to hold them over while waiting for the last book. Since then, it’ proved to be a good little introduction piece for those who have been considering the series, but have yet to take the leap. I enjoyed Michael’s Hollow World so I’ll be listening to this. Check out Michael’s site for the full details. [Free Michael J. Sullivan Audiobook by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 13th March 2014]

Published Stories 2013 Edition

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2013 was a very successful year as far as published stories goes. All told, eight of my stories were unleashed on an unsuspecting world… JANUARY Piece Number 7 – Garbled Transmissions My name is Max Gambino and I know the real story behind Gustav Lang. Not the sensationalist crap that gets printed in the rags but the actual, honest to goodness, sweat, blood and tears story of Gustav Lang and the music he created; the story that’s been buried under the controversy and the arrests and the trial and the Lang Act. Most of what people know about him is a lie, created by publicists trying to bolster sales and lawyers trying to protect their clients. Lang deserves better than that. Music can be wondrous. Lang is proof of that. MARCH The Many Deaths of Albert G Elderberry – Fast-Forward Festival Albert G Elderberry barely noticed the first time he died. He was hit by the black SUV that had accelerated towards him as he crossed the street on his way to the store. He was 68 and the impact shattered bones and tore open internal organs, leaving him dead in the road before the SUV reached the corner of the street. Night Man … Read More

Out Now – Origami Man

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My new fantasy story , Origami Man, is up at Hogglepot. This one started with the image of a man made out of newspaper talking to a newspaper boy. Initially it was going to be fairly lighthearted but it didn’t really turn out that way in the end. Despite the fact that I’m not running at the moment (that starts back up tomorrow morning), this week has been surprisingly busy – mostly with work. I did manage to scrape together a couple of writing sessions to finish off a new story – CAvE – and add just under two thousand words to The Ghost Smuggler. I’m now reaching the point where I’m doing more and more actual writing rather than just reworking content from the earlier drafts. I’ll still be bringing some stuff over but from here on it’s mostly new content hanging on the bones of the early draft. That means I need to be a lot more disciplined about sitting down and writing. My goal is to get the first draft of the rewrite complete by the end of August so that I can be ready to pitch it at the Surrey International Writers’ Conference in October. That’s the goal anyway. It’s a … Read More

Out Now – Aftermath

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I’m somewhat late (long story) but my drabble, Aftermath, is up at The Were-Traveler. A drabble, for those who haven’t come across them before, is a story that is exactly 100 words long – not 101, not 99…100. From Wikipedia: The concept is said to have originated in UK science fiction fandom in the 1980s; the 100-word format was established by the Birmingham University SF Society, taking a term from Monty Python‘s 1971 Big Red Book. In the book, “Drabble” was described as a word game where the first participant to write a novel was the winner. In order to make the game possible in the real world, it was agreed that 100 words would suffice. The Were-Traveler has a whole issue of drabbles, well worth a look. [The article Out Now – Aftermath by Philip Harris originally appeared on Solitary Mindset on May 3rd, 2013]

Cag: An Almost True Story

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I was wandering around the Internet on Sunday, looking for inspiration, when I came across Chuck Wendig’s latest flash fiction challenge. The idea was to write an event from your life but add a fictional twist to it. I decided to take something involving one of our cats as a starting point and this story – Cag: An Almost True Story – is the end result. Jacob first realised his ghoul was missing when he went outside to give him his favourite meal – Roast Prime Rib with a Red Wine Jus and a side of Rosemary Encrusted Lamb’s Brain. It was early evening, the air was beginning to cool and normally Cag would already be hanging out by the patio door, waiting for Jacob to arrive, but tonight there was no sign of him. The garden was empty. Red wine jus splashed the front of Jacob’s jacket as he ran round the corner of the bungalow to the main gate. He was convinced someone must have opened it and let Cag out but the gate was still closed and the bolts were still drawn. There were a handful of new gouges in the wood where Cag had tried to … Read More

Out Now – Piece Number 7

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I’m very pleased to announce that my latest story, Piece Number 7, is now up on Garbled Transmissions. Piece Number 7 is difficult to classify (at least for me). The best I can come up with is magical realism but I’m hopeless with labels. It’s a pretty old story, I completed it on February 19th, 2006, but because of its length (close to 14,000 words) it was really hard to find markets to submit it to. I’ve always had a soft spot for this particular story so a big thank you to James Payne at Garbled Transmissions for publishing it. I did my first writing of 2013 yesterday, my first writing in a couple of months actually. I started a new story, currently untitled, set on Mars. I got 686 words in before I decided I wasn’t happy with the direction it was going and stopped. This morning I lay in bed mulling over the plot and found a new direction that feels much better. Now I need to find some time this evening to continue writing and get some momentum going.