The Ides of May

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No, that title doesn’t make sense. So, May wrapped up a few days ago, so it must be time for a quick progress update. First up, writing. The entire month was spent working on the fourth of my zombie books. I wrote 27,411 words and it felt good. I love writing first drafts. The editing process is slow and painful for me and I spent a lot of time editing the previous books in the series this year so it’s been good to just sit down and blast through the story. I haven’t got summaries to compare word count from previous years but May was definitely my most productive month of 2017. So far. June is already shaping up to be even better. It was an urban fantasy sort of month for reading. I read all three Eric Carter books by Stephen Blackmoore and continued my audio re-listen of Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden series with Grave Peril and Summer Knight. All five books were good, not the best I’ve ever read but still well worth checking out if you like a bit of fantasy in your urban. I’m behind on my Pinterest page on the movies I’ve watched this year (too … Read More

Normal Service is Resumed

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That’s more like it – my monthly update is back to being a couple of weeks late. In my defence, I had a race last weekend and a cold has been interfering with my ability to string coherent thoughts together this week. Yes, that leaves a week or so unaccounted for but hey, I’m here and that’s all that matters. April was the month when I finally got back to writing new words – just about. The first twenty eight days were spent revising the second book in my zombie series and the short story collection I’m putting together. It’s an odd feeling, going back over old short stories but I’m happy with how they’ve turned out. The book is now with my editor and I’ve commissioned the cover so it should be good to go out to my newsletter subscribers in a couple of months and on to Amazon shortly after that. But, on April 29th, I kicked off the fourth book in the zombie series. I have a good outline and the joy of getting back to writing new words unleashed a torrent of productivity and I wrote 4,244 words that day. That was the most words I’d written since 27th October … Read More

Not An April Fool

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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

The Martian – A Review

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Go and see this film.   You can find out more about my upcoming releases, and get four FREE books by signing up for my newsletter here. [The Martian – A Review by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 4th October 2015]

My 5 Favourite Films So Far This Year

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My wife and I haven’t been watching as many films as we used to. My Pinterest board shows only 28 so far. That’s a similar pace to 2014 but way below 2013 when we watched 92 films across the whole year. As we’re close to the middle of the year, I figured I’d post my top five films so far. The top four were easy, but I struggled with the fifth. Bear in mind, these are films I’ve personally watched this year, whenever they were actually released. Oh, and I reserve the right to change the order and contents of my top five at will. Mad Max Mad Max is one of my favourite film franchises so I approached this with some trepidation but I loved it. And it gave me an excuse to watch the first three films again. Only Lovers Left Alive I talked about this one here on the blog – stylish, dark and subtle. Ex Machina I’ve got a soft spot for “quiet” science fiction (Moon, Melancholia, Sunshine) and Ex Machina hit all the right notes for me. Advantageous Another (very) quiet science fiction film, Advantageous is only available on Netflix and iTunes at the moment. Reviews have been mixed but … Read More

Only Lovers Left Alive

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My wife and I almost went to see Only Lovers Left Alive during a trip to Calgary last year but the showtimes didn’t quite work out, and we didn’t know anything about the movie beyond the fact it had a cool poster and starred Tilda Swinton. She can usually be relied on to put in a memorable performance and her films often hit the style and substance sweet spot, at least for us. We Need To Talk About Kevin was one of my favourite films from the 92 we watched in 2013. We finally got around to watching Only Lovers Left Alive last night and it didn’t disappoint. In fact, I kind of wish we’d made time to watch it on the big screen. Although it’s ostensibly a vampire film, it’s really a fantastically stylish and subtle romance that positively drips cool. Everything from the characters to the music to the set design and wardrobe is perfectly pitched. Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston are superb in their roles but the whole cast is excellent. The soundtrack is great as well, I’m just about to head over to iTunes and check out the album. It’s a slow burn of a movie that really reminded me of The Hunger with David Bowie, Catherine Deneuve and … Read More

Still Alive, Still Writing

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It’s been a while since my last post. I guess time flies when you’re having fun. Or in my case – time flies when you’re having a root canal retreatment. My day job, a running injury, the aforementioned root canal and a whole load of editing of Leah may have curtailed my blogging but the writing streak continues. Although my daily word count numbers have dropped significantly because I’ve been revising and editing, I’m currently at 533 days with no plans to stop. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve made the last few revisions to Leah, wrapped up the first draft of Reg vs the Martians and started a couple of new chapters that will replace a chapter in Glitch that I’ve never been happy with. I’m not convinced this new stuff is much of an improvement but it’s definitely a step in the right direction. I’ll probably rewrite it again next year. I also outlined the sequel to The Zombie Book (working title). I’m heading off to England next week and I had originally planned to spend some time on the final revisions of Glitch. But I’ve come to the conclusion that editing on the road doesn’t really work … Read More

Tusk Equalizing

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Monday was a holiday here in Canada so my wife and I decided to spend the afternoon watching a couple of films. First up, Kevin Smith’s Tusk. This one is tricky to recommend. It’s a mix of comedy and cringe inducing horror and it’s a very odd film. For me, the early comedic elements fell a bit flat. Wallace Bryton, played by Justin Long, is co-host of an all too believable podcast called the Not See Party Show (say it out loud a couple of times). That’s about the level of humour you get in that part of the film. But as things progress the humour gets just a little bit smarter (or at least more subtle) and the creepiness ratchets up until the film transitions into some quite effective horror. Michael Parks is superb as the deliciously creepy Howard Howe and Guy Lapointe gives a suitably over the top performance. We enjoyed it but it’s not going to be everyone’s idea of a good time and I can certainly see why it’s not getting a good reception. I love the poster though. Next we headed up the road to see The Equalizer. I don’t remember much of the original TV series starring Edward Woodward (other than that it … Read More

Guardians of the Galaxy

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We really are living in a golden age of science fiction and fantasy movies and TV. The (relatively) low cost of computer generated imagery coupled with the suitability of genre blockbusters for 3D conversion (and the associated additional income) have created an evironment where it’s finally feasible to create pretty much any ridiculous scenario authors and screenwriters can come up with. And…It’s wearing me out. I can only take so many explosion laden blockbusters before I retreat to the subtle charm of an indie character piece. I pick and choose which of the big films I go to see (no Transformers or Turtles for a start) and this year I’ve seen three – Lucy (which I talked about here), Edge of Tomorrow (which I thought was surprisingly good but neglected to mention at the time) and now Guardians of the Galaxy which we watched in 2D. I have to say, I’m happy with my choices so far. Guardians is quite different to both Lucy and Edge of Tomorrow but I enjoyed it just as much. It’s fast paced and doesn’t take itself at all seriously. The 80s vibe worked really well for me and I was reminded of The Last Starfighter (although I … Read More

All Alone in the Night

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News hit recently of a possible Babylon 5 movie reboot. Despite it sometimes feeling like a poor man’s Star Trek, at least as far as fandom goes, My wife and I have been fans of the show since it originally aired in the UK and “It can be a dangerous place” is still part of our shared vocabulary. It’s safe to say we’re up for a reboot, particularly if J. Michael Straczynski is running things. Babylon 5 was the first TV show that I watched that had a true ongoing story. Most shows I paid attention to back then followed the standard sitcom approach where the world at the end of an episode was essentially the same as when that episode started. My science fiction viewing prior to Babylon 5 was generally limited to Star Trek (Original and Next Generation), Doctor Who and Blake’s 7, and you could watch the episodes in pretty much any order. You might wonder why Tasha Yar wasn’t on the Enterprise that week but other than that, you’d be able to follow what was going on. Even a series with an ongoing plot like The Invaders could really be watched out of order with very little problem and the early episodes of The … Read More