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Tom Harris

Writer of edgy Middle Grade & Young Adult Fiction

Brain Feeding: Stranger Things

There’s conspiracy theories, monsters and magic, geeks galore, teenage angst and Winona Ryder acting like her life depended on it! Genius Casting!

Tom Harris, November 2016

Netflix – I’ve heard strange things about it; some bad, mostly good – and so when someone told me that there was this epic new series called ‘Stranger Things’ excusive to the online giant, I of course budgeted £7 a month by cancelling all my charity donation direct debits [Sometimes it’s good to be selfish] and I’ve been rewarded with this superb piece of nostalgic, creative genius from the Duffer Brothers.

Is it A: The Goonies meets Close Encounters of the Third Kind? Is it B: ET meets Dark Angel? Or is it C: The Wonder Years meets Alien…? The answer is D: All of the above.

abcd

What it definitely is though is utterly brilliant! It has a great soundtrack, especially in the earlier episodes, featuring The Clash, Peter Gabriel’s atmospheric cover of ‘Heroes’ &  The Bangles’ hugely underrated version of ‘Hazy Shade of Winter,’ that plays out Episode 2 in a moment of exhilarating genius that makes you yearn for Episode 3.

bangles-lyrics

There’s conspiracy theories, monsters and magic, jump-scares (see end of episode 7, still recovering) geeks galore, teenage angst and Winona Ryder acting like her life depended on it! Genius Casting!

Ryder is incredible as the hapless and hopeless, Joyce Byers, whose son, Will, disappears into thin air. When Will’s friends, Mike, Dustin & Lucas, find a mysterious girl, Eleven – the brilliant Millie Bobby Brown – in the woods on their search for their missing buddy, things begin to get…stranger…

This series transported me right back to zooming along the mean streets of Birmingham on my Budgie, that’s the bike not a caged bird by the way.

Check it out for nostalgic, sci-fi conspiracy, monster fantasy. You will not regret it!

Season 1: Episodes 1-8 are available exclusively on Netflix

 

 

 

#RISE Ep 2: The Necromancer

My name. I didn’t tell you my name.

It’s Anderson. You don’t need anymore than that. Just Anderson.

After the Marigolds and the vote. The election results were announced.

Big Ben chimed and Mum returned as promised.

I never really knew Mum. Too young. Adults always say it, but I get it now. I mean, I still don’t know her, but at least she is here, back with us.

She walks past my door, but she doesn’t say hello. She grunts a lot and smells funny, but she is still my Mum.

We don’t seem to exist to her though or any of them. So we don’t talk to the dead…but the necromancer does.

It’s what necromancers do.

When he speaks they appear alive. It is because of this that we need Crowley.

Dad says if we ever vote against the Party of the Dead then things will change. The dead will turn on us. We could all get eaten!

The necromancer keeps us invisible. The necromancer keeps us alive.

So life is strange.

Everyone got what they wished for. They were not careful.

Everyone got their dead back. But not as they thought.

Sure, they walk around and moan, but not like before…nothing like before.

Crowley is on the telly…right now!

He says there are more dead coming.

The Prime Minister looks tired.

The Necromancer looms above her, arms raised, taking the acclaim of the public. Their banners of support are bland, none witty or worth sharing. Their messages devoid of emotion, in fact, the banners are there upon Crowley’s orders…

So are The Hackers.

They’re running another trace.

I’m compromised…but I will return.

When it’s safe.

When we can speak again…

END TRANSMISSION…

#RISE

#MARIGOLDS

30.10.16 – Day of the Dead IV – SHHHH!

Once every year around Halloween, a group of unruly reprobates gather at The Square Tower in Old Portsmouth to frighten, taunt and petrify an audience of unsuspecting Pomepy punters. This year is no different, so if you want to step out of your skin, bring along your bones and tap into your dark side, we’ll do our utmost to entertain the hell out of you!

This year, I’ll be introducing a new character of mine and reading a short story from the tales of – ‘Black’ MacTavish – Supernatural Crime Scene Cleaner.

See Press for details…or look at the poster above, the choice is yours…but make it whilst you still have time…before YOU DIE! Too much? Yeah, thought so…pop along if you fancy it…that’s a bit better isn’t it..

*This year Day of the Dead is part of Darkfest and with lots of tricks and treats crammed into a packed programme have yourself a quick peek and see which event tickles your bones…

darkfest16

 

Brain Feeding: Batman VOL 7: Endgame

Roll up, roll up, shake loose that frown, read this epic showdown ‘tween bat & clown

Tom Harris, October 2016

batmanendgame

BATMAN VOLUME 7: ENDGAME

As pulsating a graphic novel as I have encountered, as Synder and Capullo’s New52 series from the world of DC, reaches a brave, new tipping point in their brilliant evolutionary take on the darkest of all knights.

Like the promise of a darker dawn in Gotham, Endgame delivers, and leaves you feeling like you’ve just been hit by a batarang right between the eyes…and as you turn that final page and it feels like you’re somehow part of one big joke, well all I can say to that is – Ha!

If you want to follow this modern masterpiece from its nocturnal beginnings, then Batman Volume 1: The Court of Owls is where this epic journey takes flight.

*Batman Volume 7: Endgame -(collecting issues 35-40) is available to buy from Amazon

#RISE: Ep 1: The Marigold Proclamation

#RISE

EPISODE 1: THE MARIGOLD PROCLAMATION

marigolds-a

Friday on the 14th day of October in the year 2016…

I don’t have long. Don’t have time to tell it all now.

You see, they’re watching. Always watching.

It started with Marigolds in the window.

It started a year ago when #Marigolds went viral.

‘The flowers will connect you with the dead.’

Those were the first words of the government necromancer, Crowley.

Unlike other political parties, The Party of the Dead did not knock on doors.

Can we count on your vote? was simply a question they did not need to ask.

‘Put Marigold’s in your window.’

That was it.

It was new. It was a gimmick and it worked. It was a landslide.

I suppose it’s our fault…Well, not mine exactly.

I’m too young to vote, but the adults got it wrong – again!

They thought it was fun. Like voting for Jedi’s.

But they didn’t think everyone else would do it.

The Marigold Proclamation changed everything.

The promise of being reunited with loved ones that had passed on beyond the veil of life.

Crowley showed us: Live on the BBC.

Celebrities in the graveyard looked on as their dead returned from the earth.

Some fainted. Some cried. Some got a new TV series out of it…but everyone was watching.

I was watching. Dad was watching.

We looked at each other and then at the empty armchair between us.

We both said it. At the same time. ‘Mum!’

We wanted her back.

The Marigold’s went in the window. The vote cast…

Stop.

Need to stop now.

No time.

They are watching. Always watching.

But I have more to tell.

More to say.

But not now…not now.

Though I will tell you this much, my friend…

The dead are coming.

END TRANSMISSION…

 

#RISE  

#MARIGOLDS

Brain Feeding: True Detective

I must be as mad as Reggie Ledoux for not watching this again sooner…

Tom Harris – October 2016

true-detective

TRUE DETECTIVE SEASON ONE:

Insanely brilliant writing by Nic Pizzolatto, with the two leads McConaughey & Harrelson acting their proverbial socks off against the eerie, scene-stealing Bayou backdrop.

With a setting as dark and brooding as its writing and cast, this crime anthology series spans 17 years as ‘True Detectives’ Hart & Cohle wade through the murk and the filth of their own lives and others to track down an elusive predator known only in intermittent whispers as ‘The Yellow King.’

From the moment the titles roll, and the gloriously atmospheric ‘Far From Any Road’ by The Handsome Family plays you in, you will be as hooked as a Mississippi Rusty Crayfish.

I must be as mad as Reggie Ledoux for not watching this again sooner…

When the last light warms the rocks

And the rattlesnakes unfold

Mountain cats will come to drag away your bones

 The Handsome Family – ‘Far From Any Road’ from the album – ‘Singing Bones’

You can catch HBO’s remarkable True Detective Season One on SkyGo or head over to Amazon Prime.

 

#RISE – My new Blog Series

AN INTRODUCTION TO THE NEW SERIES:

A couple of years ago I wrote a short piece for a Day of the Dead event which I performed at The Square Tower as part of the Portsmouth Bookfest programme. It was a fantasy-horror piece about a government necromancer and a band of teenage apostles who must save humanity from extinction. It was called #RISE.

It went down okay and I’ve always thought there was potential with the concept but it never really found a home or fitted in anywhere. A bit like a three-legged puppy doing twister, it was something that I knew wasn’t going anywhere fast, but I couldn’t stop going back to it, to check if it was alright.

Then, this happened…

I was out walking the streets late at night in Old Portsmouth, when I came across a mysterious woman wearing a cloak. She followed me for some time down dark alleys and through derelict building sites, her breathing ragged and heavy at my back.

alleyway-old-pompey

Finally, heart pounding and mouth drier than a shop bought Victoria sponge, I turned to face her. The old crone coughed and reached out to me. ‘You dropped this on the bus,’ she cackled. When she opened her hand I was surprised to see my dentures sitting in her palm. ‘Dank do,’ I replied, gummily and she went about her business.

Anyway, it was when I got back later that night that I decided to try out #Rise, as a Blog Series. Was the strange meeting with the old crone the reason behind this decision to blog again or was it just guilt, boredom or being constantly nagged by friends that if I don’t blog then literary agents and publishers will think I’m a lazy tosser?

I guess we’ll never really know…

#RISE – Coming Soon

October 2016

Who will you vote for?

#Rise #Marigolds

   

I’m not being funny, but you have to…

The world is full of criticism.

The world is full of euphoria.

To find a balanced view in a world now ruled by the 5-star-review, is tough, so all we can ever expect, at best, is honesty. And it’s all you hope for when you receive reviews of your own work from critique partners & readers.

So, in 2016, I really want to share my honest recommendations in terms of books, movies, TV, theatre, sport, places to visit & all of the creative stuff that have a huge bearing and influence on my work. The stuff that gets into your bones and inspires…Those rare times when heart, not head, is compelled to shout it from the rooftops. The stuff that makes you say…

I’m not being funny, but you have to…

So, watch this space for honesty…coming soon

Tom

 

Writing Tips for Christmas Day

Christmas R2Many writers have to work two if not more jobs and are used to working on their W.I.P’s (work-in-progress) in mornings, evenings and weekends around their ‘day-job’ schedule, grabbing any spare time they can in the few quiet moments that exist in a modern life.

Despite the hectic work schedule of any household running a faultless Christmas Day of family entertainment, the day itself can throw up some rare opportunities to steal a few moments to plough on with that next writing project. So if you like a challenge, here’s my 5 top tips on stealing time to write this Christmas Day.

Christmas Red Leaf

1/The Early Turkey Escapes the Cleaver: Without doubt your best chance to find that window of serenity will be in the early hours. So set that alarm, sneak downstairs and use subtle lamplight and a slightly parted curtain to get you off to a 2 hour belter of a start to the day. The solitude won’t last, so get yourself a brew and get to work, before breakfast, present opening and tales of drunken family antics from Christmas Eve dull your inspiration. Depending on your family, this may have to be as early as 5am, but it’ll put you in an amazing mood to tackle the day ahead.

2/The Toilet Break: Don’t be ashamed, many people do their best thinking on the bog, and it gives you a locked door to hide behind. Better suited to print out edits rather than laptop work, but who cares, really? As long as the laptop isn’t over heating on your ass – literally! Over the course of the day anyone can get away with a good hour in the crapper – 6 x 10 minute breaks should suffice without your family posting you as M.I.A. That’s an hour of time on your new novel, in exchange for a few funny looks from people who will be so drunk at the end of the day, they’ll think they’ve imagined it in a very boring dream. The kids will just think you’ve got the shits, no biggie! Wear gloves, make up a tummy bug, but you’ll be glad you did it.

Christmas Bronze Glitter Balls

3/ The quantum mechanics of solace: Whilst the family snooze in the afternoon, after copious amounts of food and too much wine, put on a Bond film. Doesn’t matter which one, but make sure it’s one you know well. This plan will entail you having kept your alcohol intake in check, but grab a shower if you’ve let it slip with the Bucks Fizz. Grab a coffee, bottle of water, and you can even work in the living room in full view if you can withstand the odd interjection from a snoring relative or clingy child, but this period could prove fruitful with a possible hour of work up for grabs.

4/ When Hell Freezes over: It’s going to happen, so don’t fight it. They can’t hold you back anymore. Make it work for you. Turn your back and slam the door if you have to, but Disney’s ‘Frozen’ will find its way onto your TV at some stage during the day. Allow your mind to wander into your fantasy world at the back of the room and don’t let them in, don’t let them see. As the rest of the family murder a succession of catchy little ditties that have driven some to drink, some to X Factor auditions and others into asylums be the good person you always have to be and write. Put on the sing-a-long version and let everything fade away and take 1:42:00’s worth of time for yourself, for a bit of light editing. And don’t be too hard on yourself if your concentration is not absolute and you make the odd mistake, just let it go; the misplaced colon never bothered me anyway…

Christmas Flower Ball

5/The Nakatomi Principle: Christmas night is a time for festive family fun, but we’re a predictable lot aren’t we, so when the Crimbo movie arguments begin, vote for Die Hard, and reluctantly withdraw to the back of the room. The familiar plot and explosions will not eat into a valuable 2:12:00 of writing time and let your weary fingers guide you through the final hours of a productive Christmas of writing. Employ the Nakatomi principle and reap the dividends – Yippee-Ki-Yay Mother…sorry Mr McClane, none of that language here please…this is a family show.

Merry Christmas

Tom

 

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