A New Book by Author Hugh Howey: The Shell Collector

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This isn’t a review. The book just came out Sunday and I definitely don’t read that fast. I’m essentially providing free advertising for Hugh for two reasons. One, because several years ago he started out like me; just a guy publishing his own books and hoping for the best. About three years ago one of his books, Wool, kind of caught fire by internet word of mouth. About two years ago he signed a seven figure contract with Simon & Schuster. About a year and a half ago The Phil Factor had just moved to WordPress and had a small number of followers. The second reason he gets free advertising is because, in spite of my small following at the time, Hugh Howey agreed to let me interview him for my blog.

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The Shell Collector synopsis: The ocean is dying. The sea is growing warmer and is gradually rising. Seashells have become so rare that collecting them is now a national obsession. Flawless specimens sell like priceless works of art. Families hunt the tideline in the dark of night with flashlights. Crowds gather on beaches at the lowest of tides, hoping to get lucky.

Supreme among these collectors is Ness Wilde, CEO of Ocean Oil. Ness owns many of the best beaches, and he keeps them to himself. It’s his fault the world turned out this way. And I aim to destroy him.

My name is Maya Walsh. You might be familiar with my shelling column in the Times. I was working on a series of pieces about Mr. Wilde, when out of the blue, he called. He says he wants to talk. But I don’t think he’s going to like what I have to say.

Despite only having come out on Sunday The Shell Collector already has 60 great reviews. Hugh has now built up an impressive catalog of sci-fi, dystopian and fantasy novels. You can find them all on Amazon and on his website.

Come back tomorrow for a very special guest interview about The Interview. Have a great Friday! ~Phil

Throwback Thursday! The Power of the Bieber: My Thank You to Justin

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(First posted 12/10/13) Oh, but Justin my friend, they did like it. They liked it very much. Justin Bieber has been good for my blog. There. I said it and I’m not ashamed. Justin Bieber has brought readers to my blog every day for 2 months now. It’s even possible that some of those readers looked at my books in the right sidebar and decided to buy and read one. I owe Justin Bieber a debt of gratitude for that I suppose.

On October 5th of this year I wrote a post, The Angry Biebers,  about Justin Bieber having his bodyguards carry him up the Great Wall of China. On WordPress we’re able to view statistics about where our readers come from, what links referred them to our blogs and what they read. Since Oct. 10th not a single day has passed without at least one person reading The Angry Biebers. That my friends is the power of the Bieber. For that #JustinBieber I must say thank you.

Through this incredible Justin Bieber experience I realized that powerful, famous guys like me and Justin have to look out for each other. He has my back, so I’m going to have his. For all the Justin Bieber fans who have accidentally found my site through some internet search for him, here is the link to his official website. There it is. Forever Justin Bieber and I are now linked. Hopefully he does me a solid and puts a link to The Phil Factor on his site.

As always, if you enjoy #ThePhilFactor please feel free to share by any social media button below. You know Justin would.

Wordless Wednesday: My Own Grumpy Cat

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This is my cat Brady. He did not appreciate the hat. Have a great Wednesday! ~Phil

Top Ten Tuesday! The Ten Best Holiday Movies Ever

Every holiday season I see all of these movies at least once. This is just one man’s opinion, so if you have favorites that didn’t make the list please add them in the comments section.

10. Love Actually: (2003) This warranted inclusion because Mrs. Phil and a certain Justice o’ The Peace who follows my Facebook page wanted it. Around the holidays the ladies get what the ladies want.

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9. Scrooged: (1988) A modern re-telling of the Charles Dickens classic starring Bill Murray. I think that even Dickens would agree that this is way better than the original.

8. The Family Man: (2000)  It’s a kind of It’s a Wonderful Life for a new generation. It takes a man down the road not taken. It’s the best acting both Nicholas Cage and Tea Leoni have ever done.

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7. The Santa Clause: This 2004 movie starring Tim Allen screamed instant classic the first time I saw it. Also, any movie that includes Judge Reinhold is a must watch.

6. The Nightmare Before Christmas: (1993) To be honest, which I always am of course, I’ve never seen this, but so many people talk about it, so I added it to the list. Is it good enough that I should make time to watch it this year?

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5. The Polar Express: (2004) Tom Hanks is a great actor even as a cartoon character.

4. Elf: (2003) Starring Will Farrell, this is the most quotable of all holiday movies. “I just like to smile. Smiling’s my favorite.” or “Buddy the Elf. What’s your favorite color?”

3. Miracle on 34th Street: (1947) I’ve never watched the crappy newer version and I don’t plan to. I’ve loved this one since I was a kid, especially the brilliant court scene when Santa’s lawyer wins the case by having the postmen bring in the letters to Santa. Officially, that was the last time the post office delivered anything on time for the holidays.

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2. A Christmas Story: (1983) It is right and just that TBS plays this movie for 24 hours straight every year.

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1. It’s a Wonderful Life: (1946) Yes, I’m an old sentimental fool. I still love it everytime when Mary is hidden in the bush and has lost her robe and George says, “Now this is a very interesting situation.” Who doesn’t wonder where the movie might have gone had his friends not pulled up in the car at that moment. Bow bow chicka chicka… Also it’s pretty cool to me that the town of Bedford Falls is based on a small town in upstate New York that I drive through all the time.

Ok, that’s my list. What do you agree with or better yet, disagree with? What movies would you put on the list?  Have a great Tuesday and Happy Hanukkah! ~Phil

I’m a Proud Dad

I don’t usually talk about my personal life here, but sometimes I’m just amazed by my youngest son. This is his solo rendition of Paramore’s “Still Into You”   If anyone knows a record company executive feel free to pass this along to them.

Have a great Monday! ~Phil

Interview with D-List Author Jim Bernheimer!

No, that “D-List” in the title isn’t a dig at Jim, it’s a reference to his hugely popular 2011 self-published novel Confessions of a D-List Supervillain, which chronicles the adventures and misadventures of Calvin Stringel, who goes from climbing the tech corporate ladder to outcast to… I don’t want to give too much away. My story is that Jim’s D-List was the first “indie author” novel  I ever read and after asking Jim some questions by e-mail, I was encouraged enough to start my own self-publishing journey. Jim however hasn’t stopped after D-List. He has a whole catalog of interesting novels. Jim’s newest novel is the prequel to D-List, titled appropriately enough Origins of a D-List Supervillain. Jim was one of my first author interviews in 2013 and was kind enough to come back.

TPF: Jim, thanks for agreeing to a return visit on The Phil Factor. Jim, now that I’ve done more writing, I find that I put a little bit of me into the protagonist of each of my books. Is that the case with you, and if so, which of your characters has the most similarities to you?

Jim: Most of my main characters are rather cynical. I’m probably closer to Mike Ross of the Dead Eye series than Cal Stringel from the D-List Supervillain in my level of cynicism.

TPF: Jim, I know that your wife grew up in western New York. How did she feel about the cheap shot you took at the Buffalo Bills in Origins? Aside from this question, have you gotten flack from others about that?

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Jim: Nah. I’m a Bills fan too. We all suffer together. Sometimes at conventions, I’ll wear a Buffalo Bills polo shirt I have and occasionally people will actually stop because of it and talk football. I’ll joke that it is part of my cosplay as a disgruntled Bills fan. Even though we’re 7-6 right now, that remaining schedule doesn’t look promising to get into the postseason.

TPF: Rather than make the main character in your D-List books either a hero or a villain you give him a bit of both. Was that the plan when you started or did it evolve as you created the story?

Jim: I always wanted to write a well done anti-hero. Cal Stringel is that guy. Back in the 80’s (now I feel old), I used to love watching Starblazers. My favorite character – Desslok because he was my first real introduction to an anti-hero. A quality anti-hero will live by his own code and stay true to himself while still being able to evolve as a character.

TPF: Will there be another chapter in the D-List series? Because it’s been so successful for you do you feel obligated to keep it alive?

Jim: Well, I’ve just sent Secrets of a D-List Supervillain off to the editor, if that answers the question. It replaced the Dead Eye novel I had planned to write in this slot. To be perfectly honest, if it sells as well as Origins has, Trials of a D-List Supervillain will probably be written next. The series has all the momentum going for it right now. Audible.com bought the rights to the Confessions audio book for the next 5 years, so it’s in their interest to “move” it. At the end of November of this year (2014), they made it the Daily Deal and sure enough I was the number one bestselling audio book on all of audible.com for that day. It’s the third day of December as I’m responding to this and I’m still in the top 5 of all science fiction. That kind of exposure is the kind of thing that has to be taken advantage of.

TPF: I’m sure Audible.com is nice, but c’mon, is it Phil Factor type exposure? On your website, jimberheimer.com, you mention that the next chapter in the Dead Eye series may be out this Fall/Winter. Could you tell my readers a little about that storyline and when we, and when I say we I mean me, can look forward to the third book?

Jim: Dead Eye 3 is probably more of a summer 2015 release now, especially if D-List 4 bumps it. My plan for Dead Eye 3 is to heavily involve Mike in the supernatural “turf war” taking place from New York City down through New Jersey that was briefly mentioned in the first Dead Eye novel. Mike thinks he’s in a good spot now, but the story mirrors the real world and the Recession of 2008 is about to hammer the spirit who’d planned to employ him. Even ghosts have real world problems in that series.

TPF: To be honest Jim, I’ve only read five of your ten books. Could you tell me and The Phil Factor readers a little bit about both your Prime Suspects and Sorceress novels?

Jim: Prime Suspects: A Clone Detective Mystery is the story of a clone of a homicide detective created to solve the murder of his prime (original). Complicating matters is the fact that most of the suspects are also clones of the same homicide detective and they know all his tricks! He’s the murder victim, several of the murder suspects and the guy trying to solve the murder all at the same time. It is my attempt to write a noir sci-fi in the vein of Blade Runner (or the source material for that – Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep). A friend of mine is helping me adapt the novel into a screenplay and I’m eager to see what might come of that!

The Spirals of Destiny Series (Book One – Rider and Book Two – Sorceress) are my epic fantasy novels about a young woman (Kayleigh) who bonds with a unicorn (Majherri). It is anything but your normal unicorn and maiden story. When a woman bonds with a unicorn, she’s drafted into the High-King’s Battle Maidens, who are his peacekeepers, his ambassadors, and his enforcers if need be. The odd numbered chapters are written from the unicorn’s point of view and the even numbered ones are from Kayleigh’s. The unicorns are fully functioning characters in the story. They have their own culture, motivations, and emotions. Majherri is the only unicorn to have survived the death of a rider. Normally when a bond is made, the unicorn is the source of the magic and the rider is the control mechanism. If a rider dies, the unicorns magic eventually becomes toxic to the unicorn and they die of a disease called the wasting.

Because of Majherri’s survival, he’s a pariah and an outcast, a true broken hero searching for answers and redemption. Kayleigh is his second rider off to The Academy to learn how to become a Battle Maiden. She’s your fish-out-of-water / coming of age story. Their unlikely partnership will have to survive the stirring evil that is stalking the Blessed Continent.

I hope to also release Spirals of Destiny Book Three – Champion in 2015. Sounds like a busy year for me, so I’d better get writing. J

Jim, thank you again for taking the time to visit and tell my readers about your phenomenal books. I’m looking forward to reading more from you in the very near future and to having you back on #ThePhilFactor as well. If you’re interested in Jim’s books you can find out more on Amazon and his website. Thanks for stopping by everybody. Have a great Sunday and go root for those Buffalo Bills! ~Phil

Google Me This Batman!

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If this movie had been made a few years later I’m sure Jim Carrey’s character would have been The Googler. One of the biggest riddles is why does anyone sign into their Google account before searching for something?  I’m sure that’s a tremendous help to the NSA. (I’m also sure the NSA loves when I link my blog to their site) This is my quarterly “fun with search terms” post where I highlight some of the most entertaining search terms that have brought people to my blog. After perusing the long list of terms that people typed into an internet search engine I always come away with one thought: People are idiots.

11. Top ten most painful things in the world: Apparently Google thinks that reading my blog is one of them. This or something close was one of the most popular searches that brought people to my blog lately.

10. Kim Kardashian boobs: Yup, I’ve got them right here. Just don’t tell Kanye.

9. Kim Jong Un Kardashian: Has she married him now? I can’t keep up with her husbands anymore.

8. Animals smoking weed: It’s not yet legal to sell marijuana in my state, to humans, so I opened up a side business to keep me afloat until my books really take off.

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7. Alaska women looking love: Well of course they would look here. I can’t blame them. Sorry ladies, I’m taken.  Hmmm….I’m getting another business idea though.

6.  Links to punch people through the screen: I wonder, are they looking to punch me specifically or just searching for information on the topic?

5. Top ten things you need in a zombie: I’m pretty sure that I don’t need anything in a zombie. Is there a really stringent list of qualifications for that job?

4. Should I work out my glutes? Yes. Yes you should.

3. Meerkats have swag: Yeah they do!

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2. horniestintheland.com: If you just put the web address into your browser just a list of related links comes up because no one apparently owns that domain name. If however you put “horniestintheland.com” into a Google search you get a list of posts from my blog. Click that Google link above. I did it for you.

1. Sexiest bloggers alive: I’m not sure which is more embarrassing; that somebody searched this term, or that I was the answer to it. Click on this to see what happens when you put that into Google. See who’s #1? How awesome is that?

I hope you noticed that in the spirit of giving and the holidays I did include not ten, but 11 funny search terms. You’re welcome. As always, if you enjoyed #ThePhilFactor please feel free to share by hitting the Facebook, Twitter, or re-blog buttons below. If you came here from the NSA, thanks for all you do keeping us safe and please share this at the office too. Have a great Saturday everybody! ~Phil