Proofreading in the Pudding

Philip HarrisChatter, RunningLeave a Comment

It’s been a busy couple of weeks. It’s performance review time at my day job but I’ve also been proofreading Travis Heermann‘s new self-published book – Sword of the Ronin. I backed the original Kickstarter project and when Travis emailed out to backers asking for help proofreading the manuscript I stuck my virtual hand up. Sword of the Ronin is the second book of the Ronin trilogy (the first being Heart of the Ronin) and I’d originally planned to read the first and second novels back to back. Obviously, that wasn’t practical – Travis needed the proofreading done by the beginning of May and I don’t read quite that quickly so I jumped right in with the second book. I wasn’t sure whether that would be an issue but Travis drip feeds information from the first book so I never felt lost. Sword of the Ronin mixes historical elements with fantasy into a fast paced adventure and I really enjoyed reading it. There’s plenty of action and some really effective writing – particular the part where our hero, Ken’ishi, ends up in…okay, no I won’t spoil it. Things get quite graphic in places so bear that in mind, but those scenes … Read More


Philip HarrisRunningLeave a Comment

For most people in Canada, Thanksgiving Weekend means family, friends and lots of food. For my wife and I, it meant the Victoria Marathon weekend and the culmination of our latest marathon training regime. We arrived on Friday, a day earlier than in the past and spent the afternoon checking in, picking up our race numbers, trying out a few free samples and spending far too much money on new running shirts. That left Saturday free for us to see some of the speakers at the expo and take a bus tour of the marathon route. The first speaker we saw, Lucy Smith, gave a very enjoyable talk that spanned a broad range of topics – from training in Madeira to what motivates the children she teaches to the changing face of running technology. Lucy was followed by Dr Trent Stellingwerff who managed to make a science filled talk on nutrition very accessible, not to mention useful. Next up was renowned race announcer Steve King (no, he doesn’t write horror novels) interviewing three Olympians –  1500-metre runner Hilary Stellingwerff (wife of Dr Trent Stellingwerff), two-time Olympic medalist, triathlete Simon Whitfield and 2012 Bronze medalist, track cyclist Tara Whitten. This was the highlight of … Read More

Two Sleeps to Go

Philip HarrisChatter, RunningLeave a Comment

Two sleeps to go until my wife and I run the Victoria Marathon. This is will be the second marathon we’ve run and I’m feeling a lot better about this one. I injured my foot while training for the first race and missed about 6 weeks of preparation, including all the longest training runs – the furthest I’d run before the race was about 25km, well short of the 42.2km distance of the race itself. That made the race very tough. The first half of the race was good (2hr 20 ish) but with my lack of training we were going too quick and I started feeling ill about 28km in. I had to take an extensive walk break to avoid throwing up and everything went downhill from then on. My calves felt like rock and it was a struggle to run for more than a few minutes. There was a lot of walking in the last 10km – let’s leave it at that. We finished the course in 5 hours 29 minutes which was at least an hour slower than we’d trained for. I did pick up a lot of free gels though. This time, I made it through all sixteen weeks of … Read More

Six Sleeps to Go

Philip HarrisChatter, The Ghost SmugglerLeave a Comment

There’s only six sleeps to go until my wife and I run the Victoria Marathon. Or to put it another way, there’s only six sleeps to go until I no longer have an excuse not to be working on The Ghost Smuggler. I have been thinking about the book though and I did manage to find a way to plug a very minor plot hole that’s been kicking around since the first draft. It was never really clear how my protagonist earned a living. It’s pretty clear how he spends his money – drinking and gambling – and he’s bad enough at it that he’s run up a not insignificant amount of debt but he still needs a way to pay rent etc. There was also the slightly incongruous fact that he lived above a bakery – for no particular reason. I’ve now decided to solve two problems with one stone (or something). He’ll now be living about a junk shop and spend what little time he isn’t drinking, gambling or wallowing in self pity scavenging for junk to trade for a little bit of money and a place to live. It’s a small point, doesn’t really factor into the story (at … Read More

Whatever Happened To…

Philip HarrisChatter, Photos, The Ghost Smuggler, WritingLeave a Comment

Apparently this is my one hundredth post – in just under eleven months. Well I never. You may be wondering what happened to my rewrite of The Ghost Smuggler. Well…it kind of <cough> stalled. It turns out that training for a marathon takes up a lot of time and what free time remains is spent wondering how much longer before it’s okay to go to bed. You’d have thought I’d learned my lesson the first time but apparently not. We also had my parents over for a couple of weeks at the beginning of September which was fun but not conducive to the crafting of fiction. So, The Ghost Smuggler has been languishing on my hard drive. I have been thinking about it, so it’s not all bad. I did submit a story (Only Friends) last night and was rewarded with what has to be the fastest response I’ve ever had – six hours according to GMail. It was a rejection unfortunately, but still, that’s pretty impressive. Now I have to resist the urge to bombard the editor with every other story I’ve got in a desperate attempt to find one they like. That would be rude. I have a day off today … Read More