Sunday Snippet – 4th April 2021

Philip HarrisWritingLeave a Comment

A quick unedited (and context free) snippet from the currently untitled first book in my new series. Tessa sat in an absurdly comfortable armchair. The hard edge of her phone dug into her ribs but she didn’t dare shift position in case she drew attention to its existence. The mayor didn’t seem to know she’d been recording them and so far he hadn’t called the cops. Tessa didn’t want either of those things to change. The mayor and Jody were on the couch opposite Tessa. Lambert still looked comfortable and relaxed, leaning confidently back against the plush cushions. Jody was less at ease. She sat straight-backed with her knees pressed together and her hands clasped in her lap. Her eyes pinned Tessa to the armchair. Darien was leaning nonchalantly against the wall off to Tessa’s right. The noir outfit was gone, replaced by a sharp black suit, black shirt and even blacker tie. They gave her a pained look. Tessa couldn’t sense anything from either the mayor or Jody. It didn’t guarantee they weren’t involved with the demonrealms but it was seeming less and less likely. “First, I must apologize,” Lambert said. “For my overenthusiastic behavior outside.” Tessa could sense … Read More

March Writing Update

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A quarter of the way through the year already. Ouch. March was all about focus for me (at least when it came to the writing). I spent an hour or so revising an old story for submission to an anthology but other than that I spent all my writing time on the first book of the new series. Total word count for the month was 28,535. As usual that was a mix of new words, outlining, and revisions. It’s also less than 1,000 words a day which is my goal for the year. Total wordcount for the first quarter was 88,604 words and according to the spreadsheet I use to obsess over my writing wordcounts I’m about 2,229 words behind where I want to be. Not disastrous but it’s a long weekend here in Canada so I’ll be trying to claw some of that back over the next three days. As for the book itself, it’s sitting at 88,171 words which I’m guessing is roughly 2/3 complete. Overall, I’m pretty happy with it and I’ve resisted the urge to make any more major changes so far. If I can get to the end without pulling this thing apart again I’ll … Read More

February Writing Update

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Yes, we’re nine days into March. Don’t judge me. After a bit of floundering, I managed to lock down my writing plans at the end of January. I immediately dived off in a different direction for a few days to write a very special Glitch Mitchell short story (more on that another day) but other than that the plan held. Overall word count for the month was 27,213. My daily wordcount varies but I’m on track for my goal of averaging 1,000 words a day for the year. It also puts me roughly 15,000 words ahead of my most productive year. In theory that should have put me pretty close to the end of this new book but through all the replanning and reoutlining I threw away big chunks of the story so there is a lot more writing to do. It’s a much better book and I’m determined to do it justice but I suspect I’m going to have to revise my 2021 goals to 1-2 books rather than 3-4 and the sci-fi idea I want to pursue is going to need to be pushed out. On the plus side, I probably have a title. I hate having to … Read More

Dämoren by Seth Skorkowsky

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I first discovered Seth Skorkowsky through the Call of Cthulhu RPG videos on his YouTube channel. I’ve been toying with the idea of running some RPG games and Call of Cthulhu is my system of choice so I was hunting around looking for good overviews of the new system, new scenarios etc. Seth’s channel stood out as one of the better ones out there. He’s got a natural presentation style and manages to be entertaining and informative without ending up with the wacky “trying too hard” feel that so many channels suffer from. Basically, he seems like a guy who enjoys playing and talking about role-playing games. He’s also an author and although he doesn’t seem to mention his writing often he did give a shout out to his Valducan urban fantasy series. As soon as I spotted that the audiobook was narrated by the legendary R.C. Bray I picked it up and I was not disappointed. The description for Damoren name checks Supernatural, Hell Boy, and Blade, and if you’re familiar with those then you’re familiar with what the Valducan series is about – a group of knights using holy weapons to hunt down vampires, werewolves, and other demonic … Read More

A Superb Owl Snippet

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A quick unedited snippet from the currently untitled first book in my new series. Despite claims to the contrary, demons couldn’t be expelled by family recipes, essential oils, visualization, or really strong curry. And a “friend” telling someone their kid is possessed doesn’t guarantee they actually are. If this friend’s daughter got better after a bowl of soup then either she wasn’t possessed in the first place or the demon left of its own accord. Probably because it didn’t want to be associated with idiots like her. [A Superb Owl Snippet by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 3rd February 2021]

January Writing Update

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After my less than productive 2020 I’ve decided to focus on getting the first three books in a new series out by the end of the year. Regular readers (or anyone who clicked that link) will know that I said I had early drafts of the first two books in my supernatural crime series done. It turns out I was wrong. The first book was a bit of a strange length and the second book had a lot of holes that needed fixing up. After a couple of weeks of teeth gnashing I came to the conclusion that I could solve both problems by combining the two books into one. The plan quickly turned into cannibalizing the first book to create a new opening for the second and filling in the remaining holes with something new. Which means I’m back to having an unfinished first draft of the first book. But it’s a much better first book so I’m happy. Overall word count for the month was 33,082 which is a good start towards my goal of 365,000 words for the year and the most productive January I’ve had since I started tracking my writing in 2012. Which means it’s … Read More

New Year, New Series

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2020 was not a productive year. I released a grand total of zero new books which as an indie author is not a good way to build a career. Amazon’s algorithms are ruthless and although I did sell some books the lack of new releases really hurt me. My writing productivity took a hit as well. I did crank out 175, 204 words but that’s a long way from my original goal of 366,000. I managed to finish the first drafts of a couple of new books and some short stories. Not spectacular but better than nothing. The chaos of 2020 was no doubt part of the problem but I’m very fortunate that I work for a company that is handling the pandemic very well and I can work from home pretty comfortably. On that note, I also changed jobs – moving from a technical role at a company I’d worked at for 15 years to a Narrative Designer role at a smaller but very well known and well respected developer whose games I’ve admired for a long time. My new role is a combination of narrative and game design. It’s a perfect fit for me and I’m really enjoying … Read More

NaNoWriMoLax 2017

Philip HarrisNaNoWriMo, WritingLeave a Comment

All around the world, writers are taking part in National Novel Writing Month and battling to write a 50,000 word novel in one month.  NaNoWriMo as it’s known is an annual tradition that’s been running since 1999. It started with 21 people but now hundreds of thousands of people take part. Writing a novel in 30 days isn’t an easy task – the success rate in 2015 was roughly 10%. I’ve yet to seriously attempt NaNoWriMo. The timing never quite works out. This year was close – I was supposed to have finished the novella I’m working on and could have started my next book, but the novella turned into a novel. I guess in theory I could count the words on that novella as a NaNoWriMo project but that seems like cheating. Next year I’m definitely going to try to get organized, though. For a lot of people who are taking part, now is about the time where things get tricky. Thanksgiving is coming up, the original idea is starting to seem stale, and the words get harder and harder to come by. Which is where NaNoWriMoLax comes in. Here are 50 plot twists to get you going again. … Read More

Dead Eyes – A Serial Killer Z Excerpt

Philip HarrisSerial Killer Z, Stories, WritingLeave a Comment

It’s almost Halloween so I thought I’d post an excerpt from my latest book, Serial Killer Z. It has zombies, knives, lots of blood, and a serial killer. Dead Eyes The dead man lunged across the road toward me, too-white teeth clacking as they chewed at imaginary flesh. Its eyes were sharklike black orbs, and they tracked me as I moved. Its right foot had been crushed and was dragging behind the zombie, slowing it down. Rancid breath laced with the smell of carrion and blood washed over my face and caught in my throat. Backing away, I swung my knife at the creature’s face. The blade swept across its forehead and sliced through the gray flesh. Thick black blood ran from the wound and spattered the ground at my feet. With its eyes locked on mine, the zombie took another lumbering step. My knife’s handle was slick with sweat. It felt like I was trying to hold on to a fish. One wrong move, and it might break free, leaving me defenseless. The zombie shuffled forward, clawed fingers grasping at my face. The air was thick with the smell of decay. I attacked with the knife again, an upward sweep … Read More

“The odd uneven time”

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

August was vacation month for my wife and me. We spent three weeks back in the UK, visiting family, Cardiff, and London. We normally go back at Christmas so this was the first time we’d been back in the summer for something like seven years. Of course, the weather didn’t cooperate. It didn’t rain all the time, there were some very sunny days, but as the photos show, it was fairly grey for our trip to London. We had a good time though. I’ll probably post more photos from the trip (including a visit to The Doctor Who Experience) in future. There was writing, of course. Total word count for August was 17,038 which is the lowest word count since March. Most of that time was spent on random scenes for a possible urban fantasy series. They were a lot of fun and I may well try writing a novella to see how it goes. I did finish a new short story that I wrote specifically for a very cool anthology. I submitted it a couple of days ago so now I have my fingers and toes crossed that the editor likes it. Time will tell. Talking of short stories… my … Read More