Normal Service is Resumed

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

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

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

Farewell, 2015

Philip HarrisChatter2 Comments

So, that was 2015. My wife and I continued our New Year’s Eve tradition of spending the evening at home watching horror movies. This year we went with The Babadook and Hellraiser: Revelations. The Babadook was excellent, very creepy. On paper it’s the usual horror film trope of a family (in this case a mother and her son)  haunted by a supernatural being but it’s very well done and stands out from the crowd. On the other hand, Hellraiser: Revelations is the most recent of the straight to video “sequels” to my favourite horror film and was predictably dire. At least this one had the decency to make it about Lemarchand’s box and the cenobites rather than just bolting Pinhead on either end of a low budget horror movie like the last couple of “installments”. Still terrible though, but then we knew that going in. Rent The Babadook, skip Hellraiser: Revelations. Overall, I’m happy with how 2015 turned out writing wise. I didn’t get as many titles released as I’d planned but both The Girl in the City and Glitch Mitchell and the Unseen Planet did much better than I expected and the other projects I worked on, particularly Siren’s Call, are some of the best writing I’ve done. The demise of the Apocalypse Weird project put a bit of a … Read More

The Martian – A Review

Philip HarrisMovies1 Comment

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

Philip HarrisMoviesLeave a Comment

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

Flash Gordon Rewatch

Philip HarrisFlash Gordon Rewatch, Glitch, Videos1 Comment

When I was growing up, one of the highlights of the summer and Christmas school holidays was the BBC’s children’s programming. Every morning they’d air a Tarzan movie and episodes of serials including a French series that I can’t remember the name of and the old black and white fiction serials from the 1930s – Zorro, The Lone Ranger and Buck Rogers. I enjoyed them all, but my favourite was Flash Gordon starring Larry “Buster” Crabbe. I’d eagerly sit down each morning to see how Flash, Dale and the Doc managed to get out of whatever pickle they’d got themselves into the day before. I don’t know how many times I watched each series (I remember them being shown every year for most of my childhood, although I doubt that’s actually true), but they stuck with me, and I’ve always had a soft spot in my nerdy heart for those serials (helped by the 1980 movie of course). A couple of years ago, before I started indie publishing, I was trying to think of a way to add more interesting content to my blog and post more regularly. I was also trying to think of a new writing project that I could use to fill the time … Read More

5 Things I’ve Done Since I Last Posted on My Blog

Philip HarrisChatter, WritingLeave a Comment

It’s been a while since I last posted here, over a month in fact. I’ve been very busy during that time, but here’s a few highlights to get me back on the blogging horse… 1 – Wrapped up Siren’s Call At least, I’ve wrapped up the fourth draft which is the last draft before I send it off to Ellen Campbell, the editor who’ll be whipping it into shape. I’m really happy with how the book turned out. It was great fun to write and feedback from the people who’ve read it so far has been excellent. I can’t confirm the release date just yet but you shouldn’t have too long to wait. 2 – Saw Kieran Strange and The Doubleclicks Perform Live Neither of us were familiar with Kieran Strange but we enjoyed her show. Anyone with a song called Merry Undead Christmas must be good. This was the first time we’d seen The Doubleclicks live and they were predictably awesome. Their brief rendition of the Doctor Who theme was worth the price of admission on its own. 3 – Watched Mad Max: Fury Road If I get some time, I’ll post my thoughts on the film but suffice to say, I loved it. So much that I’m tempted … Read More

Only Lovers Left Alive

Philip HarrisMovies, ReviewsLeave a Comment

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

Philip HarrisBooks, Chatter, Movies, WritingLeave a Comment

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

Philip HarrisMovies, ReviewsLeave a Comment

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