One Week Down

Philip HarrisChatter, Running, The Ghost Smuggler1 Comment

So, one week into 2012 already. We started Marathon training this week with a 6km tempo run on Tuesday, a 10km tempo on Wednesday and a 10km slow run this morning – which was a shock to the system. Our instructor seemed like a nice guy, but we discovered this morning that he quit and it’s not clear who is going to lead the group now. They didn’t say why, so perhaps he has a good reason but it was very sudden and it’s left the shop scrambling to find a replacement. I spent yesterday taking the next step in an ongoing attempt at making space on our bookshelves by moving our DVD collection into binders. Over Christmas I did the same with my videogame collection and it’s tedious but does free up a lot of space. Yesterday, I covered all the TV DVDs, mostly Buffy, Farscape, The X-Files, Millenium and The Simpsons plus a selection of newer stuff like Dexter and The Big Bang Theory. That little lot came in at three binders (350+ discs). Not the most inspiring way to spend the afternoon but still, it’s good to have a bit of empty space on the bookshelves. Of course, a friend at … Read More

Happy New Year 2012

Philip HarrisChatter, Writing2 Comments

So, here it is…2012. I’m a pretty goal oriented person so I don’t really focus on New Year as a specific time for resolutions (apart from a standing “eat better” directive) – I tend to set myself goals throughout the year. Of course, that doesn’t stop me taking a step back and thinking about what I want to achieve over the next twelve months. From a writing perspective, 2010 was the year when I finally focused on writing my first novel and the result was The Ghost Smuggler. Last year I neglected writing for the first six months but finished strongly with a bunch of new short stories and lots of submissions. For 2012, it’s back to long fiction. More specifically, I’m going to do a rewrite of The Ghost Smuggler and write the first draft of my second novel. I’d also like to beat last year’s submission count (36) although that will depend a lot on the response times from magazines. When I wrote The Ghost Smuggler I set myself a goal of writing at least five hundred words a day and that’s exactly what I did for 197 days until the first draft was finished. This year, my wife and I have signed … Read More

So That Was Christmas

Philip HarrisChatterLeave a Comment

Okay, so I guess technically we’re still in the afterglow of Christmas and the twelve days have only just started but I’m already back in the office, working at the day job so, for me, Christmas is done. It was an odd Christmas this year, my wife is back in England so I spent Christmas Day on my own. For a lot of people that’s a big deal but I actually enjoyed it. I did some writing, read The Lake and then watched a traditional Christmas movie – The Evil Dead. An odd choice maybe, but I’ve been sorting through my movies and realised I hadn’t watched it in a long time. Obviously the low budget effects are very dated now and in today’s world of Saw and Hostel, it’s strange to think that for a while The Evil Dead was banned in England but I enjoyed seeing it again – it’s violent and bloody but the gruesome humour that became a trademark of the series is still there. On the writing side of things, I finished the first draft of Origami Man and Paperboy although it’s now just called Origami Man which was actually the story’s name when I first started it. It ended up surprising me with an unexpected … Read More

Ugh

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Not a good day today – hence the late post. I decided to go running this morning but picked a route that was longer and tougher than I should have so the rest of the day has been a bit of a disaster. The only good point so far has been re-reading three stories from Cate Gardner‘s Strange Men in Pinstripe Suits. I was planning on posting a review, but that will have to wait until later in the week. Luckily, yesterday was a productive day. I finished editing Backwards Boy and submitted it to a website. It came in at 1117 words and I’m pretty happy with it. Unfortunately, the speculative fiction element is very subtle so I think it will be a hard sell. I have another story with the same problem – Hidden and it’s difficult to find anywhere to submit it to. I also wrote the first of a series of longer blogs I’m calling Meaty Mondays. It’s about my attitude towards self-publishing and will go live tomorrow morning. And because that wasn’t enough writing, I also wrote the first 643 words of a new story. Its working title is Origami Man and Paperboy but that may well change.

Monday Monday

Philip HarrisChatter, The Ghost SmugglerLeave a Comment

I’ve had a somewhat cultural few days. Friday evening saw another gig – this time Feist. She brought with her the holder of the world record for longest piano concert and a self-proclaimed musical genius – Chilly Gonzales. This is the third time we’ve seen Feist, and the second time we’ve seen Chilly and they didn’t disappoint. Great fun. On Saturday we went to see a production of the British musical – Blood Brothers. Not a happy go lucky tale but very enjoyable nonetheless. I spent Sunday revising The Ghost Smuggler getting to page 119 of 173 (that’s manuscript pages, not finished book pages). I’m making changes on pretty much every page and I think it’s definitely improving the book. The goal is to finish the entire manuscript by end of day Wednesday so that I can get it sent off for a critique. I also picked up a parcel from the post office – my copies of Two Worlds and in Between, the new Caitlin R Kiernan short story collection from Subterranean Press. More on that later.    

Blurgh

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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.  

It Means Nothing to Me

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Our new Kobo Vox arrived yesterday. I resisted the eBook revolution for a long time but Ann persuaded me to buy her one for her birthday last year. I borrowed it to read William Gibson’s Zero History and was immediately hooked. She has her first generation Kobo, I have a 3rd generation Kindle. I see the Kindle as the Rolls Royce of ereaders, high quality and until recently, a bit expensive. The Kobo is nice, very light, although the first generation is a bit slow to start up, particularly compared to my Kindle. Maybe the newer ones have improved, I don’t know. Even though I have an ereader, I still buy physical books. I love the look and feel and smell of real printed books and I’ve spent over $400 on them over the last 3-4 weeks* but the ereaders have rekindled (do you see what I did there?) my love of reading. I’m reading a lot more books since I got my Kindle and I’m reading more broadly. In particular I’m picking up random self-published books by authors I’ve never heard of. Some of them I enjoy, some of them I don’t but either way I’m discovering authors that I … Read More

Introducing Ethel

Philip HarrisChatterLeave a Comment

I have a muse. Her name is Ethel. I’ve never met her (she prefers to stay out of sight and just fiddle with the synapses in my brain) but I’m pretty sure she’s a very cool goth from the 80s. As if to prove my point about stories changing as I write them, Ethel has stepped in and made a suggestion for a new title for Rainshine, added a new scene and embellished the final scene of the story with what, according to her, will be some very effective imagery. The problem with Ethel is that she has such grand plans and I rarely manage to do justice to the pictures she puts in my head. This time I’ll try to do better. But, I’m sticking with Rainshine as the title for the time being, we’ll see how insistent Ethel gets. Anyway, 517 words on Rainshine yesterday. Finished off the second and third scenes and an opening line for the fourth. All signs point to me being able to wrap up the first draft at the weekend. I always let my stories sit for a week or two before I do the second draft to gain some perspective so this one should … Read More