Not An April Fool

Philip HarrisBooks, Chatter, Metrics, Movies, StoriesLeave a Comment

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

“No, they’re all behind the trees”

Philip HarrisVideosLeave a Comment

I generally try to post a music video on a Wednesday but this week I’m going with something different. This is an animation by Avi Ofer that uses a voice memo from Amanda Palmer’s phone of a conversation she had with a sleeping Neil Gaiman. It’s very cool – apparently Neil has so many imaginative ideas trapped inside him they seep out at night.   I’m reading Neil Gaiman’s short story collection Trigger Warning at the moment and it’s great. I guess it’s not surprising his night time ramblings are equally creative. I talk in my sleep as well, mostly about monsters. For a limited time, I’m giving everyone who signs up to my mailing list 5 free books, including a copy of my science fiction novel, Glitch Mitchell and the Unseen Planet when it’s released later this year. Click here to sign up and get your free books. [“No, they’re all behind the trees” by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 5th August 2015]

How to Write Every Day

Philip HarrisIndie Publishing, Writing, Writing AdviceLeave a Comment

On 30th June 2013, I sat down and decided I would start writing every single day. I haven’t missed a day since – which means a couple of weeks ago I hit the two year mark in my writing streak. I’ve already posted a by-the-numbers breakdown of my streak so far, but I thought I’d also post a few tips on how I’ve kept that streak running. I’m talking specifically about writing here, but the same principles apply to forming other habits – like running or push ups or monkey juggling. So, here are my tips for anyone trying to get the writing habit to stick. CHOOSE YOUR GOAL WISELY The first thing you need to do is decide what habit you’re trying to form. I kept mine very simple – write or edit some fiction every day (blogging doesn’t count). No word count goals, no time goals. As long as I write at least one word, I’m done. In reality, I try to get down at least 100 words, otherwise I feel like I cheated. The key here is to not overstretch yourself. Pick something that you are confident you can achieve. It’s very easy to get overexcited and commit to something that’s too hard. Goals like “write 10,000 words a day” or “write a novel … Read More

Eleanor Preorders

Philip HarrisBooksLeave a Comment

I’ve shared my enthusiasm for Jason Gurley’s work here a couple of times and at the risk of sounding like a complete fanboy, I’m going to do so again. Jason’s new novel Eleanor is coming out on June 27th but he has been giving everyone who subscribes to his newsletter a free copy and I started reading mine a couple of days ago. I’m about 15% through (thanks, Kindle) and I’m really enjoying it. It’s been favourably compared to everything from Neil Gaiman to Ghost and already has over 50 Amazon reviews, all of them very positive. I’ll be posting some thoughts on the book when I finish it but in the meantime, I encourage you to check it out. You can probably get a free copy if you subscribe to Jason’s newsletter before he changes his mind about giving his magnum opus away for free but if you do what I did and subscribe, get a free copy and still preorder the book, Jason will send you a collection of Eleanor related short stories called The Eleanor Sketches. That book is only available direct from Jason and only for people who preorder Eleanor which means there’s only a couple of weeks left to get hold of it so you should just go and preorder it now. [Eleanor … Read More

Five Things I Learned Last Week

Philip HarrisChatter, Five ThingsLeave a Comment

Five more things I’ve learned in my ongoing attempt to level up in life. Dogs can be majestic Gallimaufry means a confused jumble or medley of things – thanks to Neil Gaiman for that one. I want one of these. (Un)fortunately, they don’t ship to Canada. Jack White has a new album coming out and pre-ordering on iTunes gets you early access to one of the tracks. Peter Murphy has a new album coming out and pre-ordering on iTunes gets you early access to one of the tracks. [Five Things I Learned Last Week by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 20th April 2014]

#ninjaTED

Philip HarrisChatter, Events, MusicLeave a Comment

My enthusiasm for Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman is well documented on this site so it should come as no surprise that Wednesday’s #ninjaTED event was the highlight of the week for me. It all started innocently enough. Amanda tweeted a call for a venue for one of her ninja gigs – spontaneous shows like the one she and Neil played at Fluevog. By Wednesday, in another demonstration of the power of both Amanda’s following and the internet at large, the ninja gig had turned into well over three hours of interviews, poetry, songs and stories featuring a mix of TED speakers, local and international musicians and of course Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman – all with the goal of gathering donations for the Vancouver Food Bank and creating some “realtime cross-over with the people here in TED-land and the population of Vancouver”. After standing in the unseasonably cold (but thankfully dry) Vancouver streets for over three hours my wife and I were relieved to get into the warm and inviting Vogue Theatre (who’d donated their space for the evening). The room was already full of energy. Vancouver’s Orkestar Slivovica brass band were playing some lively Balkan tunes, the belly dancers were in fine form and … Read More

A Year in Books – 2013

Philip HarrisBooksLeave a Comment

According to Goodreads, I read 38 books last year (some of which are short stories): That could easily be the largest number of books I’ve read in a year since I was a kid sitting in bed on a Saturday morning devouring Dr Who novelizations. Most of them (all but five I think) were ebooks and I’ve got a suspicion that’s part of the reason I’ve increased the amount of reading I do. I’ve always been addicted to buying books but the added convenience of having literally hundreds of books at my fingertips has reignited my passion for actually reading them as well. My increased focus on writing and a desire to read more to support that also helped. There were a lot of good books in there, only a couple I didn’t enjoy, but my top five reads are (in roughly the order I read them): The Dervish House by Ian McDonald NOS4A2 by Joe Hill The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu by Mercedes M Yardley Rotten Row by Chaz Brenchley Favourite of the bunch would have to be The Dervish House by Ian McDonald – earlier in the … Read More

Thank You, Captain Insomnia

Philip HarrisChatter, WritingLeave a Comment

I have a nasty tendency to wake up early in the morning. It seems to coincide with our evening training runs. Whether it’s the late night endorphin rush or the increased fluid intake, three or four times a week I wake up somewhere close to 3am; a slow drift into consciousness immediately followed by the sickening realisation that I’m not supposed to be awake for at least another three hours. It’s at that point that Captain Insomnia kicks in and I start thinking about work or stories or the keynote speech I have to give next month. Sometimes I manage to get back to sleep, usually about twenty minutes before I’m supposed to get up. Sometimes, like today, I just stay awake until I give in and get up This morning, Captain Insomnia had clearly teamed up with Ethel the Muse because my mind was flicking rapidly between: The game concept I’m putting together at work. The story for the above concept. A new game concept that fits nicely with the first. The story for the above concept. The science fiction story I’m hoping to start this weekend. The closing scenes of The Bone Boy. The monster story I outlined yesterday but … Read More

Following Neil

Philip HarrisAuthors, Events4 Comments

When I posted on Facebook that I had tickets to see Neil Gaiman, one of my friends commented “Isn’t Neil Gaiman an author?” to which I replied “Yes, but he’s a rock star author.” I was wrong, he’s bigger than a rock star. When we reached the Vogue theatre, about 45 minutes before the doors opened, the queue was already at the block and a half stage, far longer than any band we’ve seen since moving to Vancouver. Twenty minutes later it had stretched another block and was in danger of reaching Ouroboros status before the doors were opened. The Vogue is a good venue for this type of event. Large enough to accommodate a reasonable number of people but small enough that everyone gets a decent view and there’s plenty of atmosphere. An Evening with Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer was held in the Vogue and it’s where we first saw Evil Dead: The Musical so it’s given us some good memories. Steadfastly refusing to look at the table selling copies of Neil’s books, we got into the theatre just before six. The room was filled with hundreds of politely excited people talking about Neil or books or how they can’t grow a … Read More