“The Only Indication of Time”

Philip HarrisBooks, Chatter, Movies, Running, WritingLeave a Comment

Wow. It’s been almost two months since my last real post. Doesn’t time fly. What have I done during that time? Well, let’s see. Besides neglecting my blog, I have (in no particular order)… Spent a very enjoyable evening with fellow eHorror author Rob Boffard and his girlfriend Watched a bunch of films including Star Trek Into Darkness (good), World War Z (good) and Resident Evil: Retribution (the less said the better) Watched Hannibal (excellent), Under the Dome (meh) and the first two seasons of Game of Thrones (excellent – yes, I know, I’ve been slacking) Watched a production of Avenue Q (fantastic) Watched the B-52s play live (excellent) Read Joe Hill’s NOS4A2 (excellent) Read In the Broken Birdcage of Kathleen Fair by Cate Gardner (also excellent) Read Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane (excellent) Read The Blue Blazes by Chuck Wendig (very good) Started rereading one of my favourite horror novels – Cabal by Clive Barker (still excellent) Bought far too many books (excellent) Including the Humble eBook Bundle II Read some very excellent blog posts Listened to Tom Dickins’ and the Punintentionals new album about two hundred times (excellent) Snagged tickets to Neil Gaiman, Peter Murphy and John Cleese … Read More


Philip HarrisRunningLeave a Comment

The first goal for marathon runners is finishing the race in one piece. The second is to get a new personal best time. Most people will also have a goal time (the one they talk about) and their dream time that they don’t mention but secretly hope they’ll hit. In the case of last weekend’s Vancouver Marathon we hit the first two but didn’t make our goal time of sub 4:30 or our targeted pace of 4:15. I wasn’t too disappointed though, it was the hottest Vancouver Marathon in the 42 years it’s been held. I was woefully under trained for last year’s race (our time was just under 5:30) and I knew I’d done a better job this year but I still wasn’t convinced I’d been as disciplined as I should have (which reminds me I need to put together some graphs of my overall training distance so that I can get a feel for that). On paper, given our 10km and half marathon race pace and the various aerobic and lactate threshold tests I’ve done, I should be capable of a sub four hour marathon. In reality, that seems like a pretty tall order but I was confident … Read More

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

It Hurts How Much?

Philip HarrisChatter, Running, WritingLeave a Comment

The snot monkey has packed its bags and is saying its last farewell’s and today is a holiday here in Canada so I decided to try a short 6km run. Ouch. The run itself was fine and we kept a reasonable pace but as soon as we stopped I felt a bit light headed and even now, a couple of hours later, my body is still complaining. There’s less than six weeks to our next Marathon so this is “not a good thing”(tm). Progress on The Ghost Smuggler continues apace (I’ve always wanted to be able to say apace)  – mostly because I’m most of the current chapters are brought over from previous drafts. That said, Ethel the Muse was on fine form at 4am this morning and she’s insisting that I need to weave two characters from early chapters into the final act (actually four characters, but three of them are a related group) and add a sprinkling of technology. No idea how I’m going to do that but it shows that the outline isn’t stopping me from continuing to write like the Simpsons. Oh, and I’ve come to the conclusion that one of the key characters needs to change … Read More

Only Three Days?

Philip HarrisChatter, Movies, Running, The Ghost Smuggler, WritingLeave a Comment

My wife and I went out for our first long run in a couple of weeks yesterday – a “short” 18km route to ease us back into things. It was a fantastic day, cool with clear blue skies. We ran along the English Bay seawall, round Lost Lagoon, through Stanley Park along Pipeline to the east seawall, then right along the seawall to “Mile Zero” before cutting back to Lost Lagoon and English Bay seawall to run home. It’s a route we use a lot – it’s flat, there’s a decent amount of variety, a few places to get water and you can double up the middle 6km to get some extra distance. I felt good during the run but an hour or so afterwards I was feeling pretty beaten up. My calves were very tight and there was a little ball of pain half way down my back. It was at this point that Ann mentioned that it only takes 3 days for running fitness to start dropping off. And I’d missed over two weeks. Thinking about it today, I think it had more to do with the fact that I wore my “race shoes” – a pair of … Read More

Seven Point Story Structure

Philip HarrisRunning, Stories, Writing, Writing AdviceLeave a Comment

Fantastic run yesterday. Our route took us from False Creek, along English Bay, up through a fog shrouded Stanley Park, across the Lions Gate Bridge, back down to the seawall to the little pier at Dundarave and back again. The weather was perfect for running and I wish I’d had a camera with me. If I had I would have got some fantastic shots of the mountains rising up out of a layer of very low cloud. That’s a long way though, either 28 or 29km depending on which gadget you believe so I spent the afternoon alternately reading Justin Cronin’s vampire apocalypse novel, The Passage, and lying on the bed thinking about the plot of The Ghost Smuggler. I’ve been gearing up to restart my rewrite and last week I decided to try the Seven Point Story Structure that’s often talked about by Dan Wells. The results I got by going through that exercise have made a huge difference and reignited my enthusiasm for the rewrite. I heard about this system on an episode of Writing Excuses and followed that up by watching the YouTube videos of a presentation Dan gave about the system at Life, the Universe, and Everything (you can find the first video here). … 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

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

Write-a-Thon Day One

Philip HarrisChatter, The Ghost Smuggler, WritingLeave a Comment

It’s day one of the Clarion Write-a-Thon today and the day of our latest half-marathon – the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon. I got a new personal best of 2:00:18 which is good but not as good as breaking the 2 hour mark (which my wife did do with a time of 1:59:45). After the race, we spent the afternoon watching England lose to Italy in the European Cup and a very interesting Formula One race. Then it was out to Max’s Burgers for some very delicious food. After all that, it took a great deal of effort to drag myself to the keyboard but drag myself I did and I managed to write another 819 words of The Ghost Smuggler which brings the total word count to 10,731; not a bad start to the week. Incidentally, last week’s total was 3,111 words which was pretty good for five days of writing – at least for me. I’m heading down to Florida for some business meetings tomorrow which is going to make writing a little bit tricky but we’ll see. It will definitely mean no blog posts for a few days.