Category Archives: author

The Perfect Weekend Beach Read

With summer upon us many of you are going to the beach or just relaxing outside. In case you only access The Phil Factor from your phone, I know you’d hate to miss all the spectacular content in my sidebars. One piece of this incredible sidebar content is my books. Yes, some of you may not even be aware that I’ve written a few books. Nothing serious, just some fun, suspenseful weekend beach read type books that are available as e-books or in paperback.

A group of friends with a penchant for goofy nicknames return to their hometown for a funeral and what had been a pleasant, albeit melancholy, reunion quickly escalates into a fight for their lives with an enemy they didn’t know they had. Putting up with each others quirks with good humor they must unravel a mystery that may have started thirty years ago. They unwittingly stumble and fumble their way into a life or death showdown that could kill them all. The question is not whether they will survive the bad guys, but will they survive each other? One reader likened the characters to “the kids from Stephen King’s classic ‘Stand By Me’ but grown up and on crack.” (No one does drugs in the story. I think she was referring to the humor in the novel)

The e-book is only $2.99 and is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and all the other e-book outlets. It’s also available in paperback for $8.23 on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Have a great Friday! ~Phil

Wordless Wednesday! ‘Time To Lie’ cover

Cover design by Jason Parrott. Coming soon! Have a great Wednesday! ~Phil

A New Zombie Story From Marie Lanza!

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What? A zombie book on your blog on New Years Eve? Shouldn’t you be cracking jokes about the New Year or something? First of all, I love it when you talk to yourself about me, and second, of course there’s a zombie book on my blog if it’s written by Marie Lanza!

Some of you may remember my awesome interview with Marie in January 2014 and others will also remember her hilarious Top Ten list for #ThePhilFactor, The Top Ten Things YOU Need to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse. I’m not one to forget a friend of The Phil Factor who twice took some of her own time for me.

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Just two days ago Marie released book 5, Rising, of her short story e-series The Colony. To be fair, I haven’t read everything Marie has written, but I’ve read two of her books and thoroughly enjoyed them. If you’re a fan of the AMC’s The Walking Dead you’ll love Marie’s books. Here’s her Amazon page so you can see everything she’s written and follow the story line in order. Maybe order a couple to read on your Kindle while you wait for midnight tonight… What better way to ring in the New Year than thinking about desperately fighting for our lives?

Have a great New Years! ~Phil

Author Interview: Danielle Wilkinson Steiner!

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Now this is an interview I’m really excited about, although truth be told, I’m a little disappointed that I can’t interview the main character of the book. Nina Puppalina is real and has the best dog name ever, which is perfect because she is a dog. Her owner and the author of the story of Nina Puppalina and her erstwhile human companion Lizzy Lou, is Danielle Wilkinson Steiner.

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TPF: Danielle, welcome to The Phil Factor and thank you for taking some time for my readers and dog lovers. Without giving away too much, could you tease my readers with a tantalizing synopsis of your book?

Danielle:  The Great Adventures of Nina Puppalina and Lizzy Lou: Nina Finds Her Home is a children’s picture book written and illustrated from the rescue puppy’s perspective about her adoption experience! Will she find the right home? Who will take care of her?

TPF: So how did the name Nina Puppalina come about?

Danielle: When we adopted Nina from our local SPCA, they had given her the name Nina. We loved the name and kept it! Our daughter Elizabeth’s babysitter, Sally coined the name of Nina Puppalina when she met our new pup for the first time and it stuck!

TPF: Your bio says that you worked in the publishing industry before choosing to write your first book. What did you do in the industry and did that experience help you when you decided to publish your own book?

Danielle:   I worked for three large publishers; Houghton Mifflin, Pearson and Wiley. I always worked in the College Division doing sales and marketing. College sales are very different from Trade book sales….I can’t really say my career encouraged my desire to self -publish. Writing a book one day was always on my “bucket list” and I did not think it would be a children’s picture book until we adopted Nina.  I decided to self-publish because the story is based on my family. I wanted to be able to share my story my way and own copyright.  Also, I knew going the traditional publishing route probably would have taken more time…….and I wanted Elizabeth to enjoy working on the process with me….not to mention  enjoy the book before she was too old to appreciate it!

TPF: How does your daughter Lizzy Lou feel about being immortalized in literature forever? Any concerns that she’ll grow up with a diva complex?

Danielle:  Well it’s funny, since Nina is telling the story, Elizabeth has decided “Nina’s famous”. So far no Diva complex, she’s just happy to be able to share our story and promote pet adoption!

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TPF: Your cover art work is gorgeous. Can you tell us a little about the artist?

Danielle:  Sarah Ashmun is a local mixed media artist, I met through Linked In. She has a background in landscape architecture and my book is her first children’s picture book to illustrate. She was really keen with understanding my vision and capturing it so beautifully. We both read Alexandra Horowitz’s. NYT best seller, Inside of a Dog…..her current research was used to illustrate and write from the dog’s perspective. Sarah also had her first baby girl, Skylar born in January 2016!

TPF: The reviews for your book on Amazon are outstanding! Will Nina Puppalina readers have a sequel to look forward to in the near future?

Danielle:  Yes, stay tuned our next book is Nina Puppalina, Lizzy Lou and the Trainer, full of fun and antics.

 TPF: Danielle, thank you again for sharing The Great Adventures of Nina Puppalina and Lizzy Lou with us. We look forward to reading more in the future. You can follow Danielle (and Nina Puppalina and Lizzy Lou) on Facebook and you can order her books here on Amazon.

To Beat The Devil: Author Interview with M.K. Gibson!

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An author friend who has a small independent publishing company recently asked me to read and review a recently published first novel by a new author. Admittedly I was a little leery. I’m very picky about what I read. I’ve started and stopped three different novels over the last several months because I didn’t enjoy them. My friend told me a little about the plot and I agreed to try To Beat the Devil by M.K. Gibson. Remember those three novels I never finished? I flew through To Beat the Devil in a week and was disappointed the sequel wasn’t out yet. It is flat out fun. It may not be for everyone. For instance, if you’re a woman who likes Nicholas Sparks, move on. We don’t need your kind here. If, however, you’re someone who might like a book that is the equivalent of Star Wars, Blade Runner, and The Hobbit thrown in a blender with a dash or two of funny 80’s and 90’s pop culture references, then To Beat the Devil is your new favorite book. Let’s hear from author M.K. Gibson:

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TPF: For my readers who haven’t yet downloaded the book, without giving too much away, could you give them a quick plot teaser?
M.K.: Haven’t downloaded the book yet? Your words anger and confuse me! 😉 hah hah, just kidding. So the short elevator pitch is Bladerunner meets Dresden Files meets Supernatural. The slightly longer plot pitch is thus: To Beat the Devil is a quasi cyberpunk novel set after the biblical apocalypse. God is gone, Hell has risen and to combat that, mankind began augmenting themselves with technology. The novel picks up almost 200 years later. Our protagonist, Salem, is an immortal smuggler who a bit of an isolationist and a jerk. He has his world opened when he meets a mysterious client who helps him find his humanity, while together they investigate what’s happened to the human soul.
TPF: What did you do in the Air Force? How did your experience in the Air Force help you with this book?
M.K.: I could tell you but…
But seriously, I worked in Military Intelligence as an analyst for 20 years.
Did it help me? Not directly. But indirectly, 100% yes. In my career I’ve been all over the world and see places and things many folks don’t get the chance to outside of travel. Plus, I was blessed to have had the opportunity to meet many diverse and interesting people, learn their stories and watch every manner of human interaction. And, in my time, I’ve been at tremendous personal and emotional highs with horrible, wretched, tearful lows. As I write, I try and draw from those people and those experiences to hopefully infuse my writing with heart and believability (I swear that’s a word!), even in a dystopian, cyberpunk, Hell ruled future.
For example, back when I was stationed in Alaska, I did a lot of shift work. Over the winter, you would go weeks to months with no sunlight. I was single and recently promoted so my age peers were no longer my work peers. Thus, I was sad, alone in the dark for a good long time. I used those feelings when I write Salem who feels isolated from everyone and everything in this new, messed up world.
TPF: Since retiring from the Air Force, is writing your full time gig, or do you do something else? And if you could, would you just write full time?
M.K.: My current full time gig is as a military contractor. Basically doing the same thing I used to do when I was in the Air Force, but as a civilian. I like it, don’t get me wrong, but when the day comes when I can support my family with my writing, I will walk away from government work and never look back. I want NOTHING more than to write and entertain people until the day I die.
TPF: As unusual as some of your characters are, are some based on people you’ve known in real life, and are you Salem?
M.K.: Hah hah…you found me out. Yes, in many, many ways I am Salem. Similar build, appearance and manner. He is my avatar. My way of reacting in an insane, unique world. But, in many ways, he and I are vastly different. In my defense, a lot of first time writers with 1st person point of view books put a lot of themselves in their primary character. It not only makes the voice more personal, it strengthens their writing as they (we) learn the craft and practice.
And yes, I’ve used people from my life as templates for some my characters. But those templates evolve into, hopefully, fun characters to read.

Jensen Ackles

Jensen Ackles

TPF: If you could choose anyone play your protagonist Salem in the movie version of your book, who do you think would be the best fit?
M.K.: When I originally came up with the idea and tinkered with it back in 2008, it would have been Jensen Ackles, Dean Winchester from Supernatural. Hell, I guess he could still do it. I’m sure Hollywood would want Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper or Ryan Reynolds. I think it may actually be against Hollywood law that they are not in a movie at least once a quarter. Hmm…
TPF: So what’s next for you? How soon is the sequel on the way? Will there be other books not based on Salem and his Earth?
M.K.: Well, book 2 is slated for late summer. I’ve written enough material so far for 5 books, and I have a lot more ideas for where the series goes, ends, possibly picks up again and perhaps some one-shot spin-off novels. I recently submitted my manuscript for Villains Rule to my publisher. It’s my attempt at a Pratchett/Goodkind tongue-in-cheek comedic action novel, which follows a human from “the real world” who acts as a villain adviser to fantasy overlords.Of course, like all writers, I have a ton of great story ideas in my mind. I just need to the bloody time to get them out.
But, before this interview is over, I would like to take a moment and say Thank You to you Phil Taylor. Thank you for taking a chance and reading my book. Thank you for your review and lastly, thank you for this opportunity to talk to your readers. Writing has been a lifetime goal of mine. Starting from the bottom sucks. But, with good people like you, helping poor schlubs like me, each day is easier and worth sitting down at the laptop. To any reader who pick up my book and gives it a read: From the bottom of my heart, thank you. You are why I do this. In the immortal words of Henry Rollins: Live Long & Strong!

M.K., thank you very much for taking the time to talk about your book for my readers. You can find M.K.’s awesome, action packed and hilarious book on Amazon and you can follow M.K. on Twitter, and his website. For more great novels from other authors in this genre visit Amber Cove Publishing and JimBernheimer.com. Have a great Sunday! ~Phil

New Eyes: Author Interview with Steve Treu!

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New Eyes is a new book by first time author Steve Treu. I know I don’t usually get into any deep thoughts here at #ThePhilFactor, but Steve’s got some really interesting ideas that may open some eyes. Let’s get right to it!

TPF: In a nutshell, what makes your book, New Eyes, and your theory different from all the other self-help books people have to choose from?

Steve: Jesus, Muhammad, Krishna, Buddha and Albert Einstein all walk into a bar for a discussion. They walk out together as friends. That’s New Eyes in a nutshell!

This book is revolutionary in its depth and breadth. First it dives into quantum physics to identify the true source of our problems, and then it links together all of the world’s well-known religions to support the idea that evolving consciousness is the primary objective of the human species.

While it goes deep into uncharted waters, New Eyes was essentially written for the layman. I’m a former sportswriter and nothing in this book will go over anyone’s head. I didn’t write it to impress college professors, I wrote it so that everyone could have practical access to some of the greatest mysteries within this universe. In other words, as complex as New Eyes may sound, my goal was to keep it as simple as possible. Ultimately, the intention of this book is to inspire a paradigm shift.

TPF: Are you talking about spirituality from a scientific perspective or are you a spiritualist looking at science from a religious point of view?

Steve: Yes. Which is to say, both! The book makes the case that the two disciplines are not mutually exclusive, as science and spirituality are merely different languages that are describing the same thing. It begins with a scientific perspective, explaining the nature of reality through the lens of quantum physics, then shifts toward the non-physical perspective to shed light on the true meaning and purpose of spiritual teachings.

Unfortunately, religion has been greatly misunderstood and misapplied for centuries, creating conflict and division throughout the world.

Steve Treu

Steve Treu

TPF: If someone isn’t looking for self-insight or improvement, what would they like about your book?

Steve: Knowledge is power, and readers are telling me that they feel both after finishing New Eyes. The middle section of the book is filled with super cool concepts.  If you enjoy movies like “The Matrix” or “Interstellar” or “Inception” or anything of that genre, you will be fascinated to know that the world of science fiction is becoming science fact. There is surely much fodder for Jeopardy enthusiasts or trivia buffs in New Eyes.

TPF: What has been the most surprising reaction you’ve gotten to your book?

Steve: Good question. I’ve worked with over 3,000 clients in my life as a licensed professional counselor, nearly all with addiction or mental health issues. I have seen first hand how the concepts in this book heal people as they shift their perspective on life, with countless clients reporting that they feel “cured” from what had ailed them. So I am not surprised when I hear from them how they have been impacted by New Eyes. Plus, my 12-year-old son Aidan said he wanted to read it … and then I actually caught him doing so. That was surprising. (And also gratifying!)

TPF: What can you tell me about your company Quantum Revolution, Inc.?

Steve: As the name implies, we are starting a revolution of the mind that we intend to go viral. Reality-changing scientific concepts have been kept quiet for far too long.

Indeed, the book begins with a little story about a man from the 1500’s who is among the first to realize that earth revolves around the sun. Can you imagine not knowing that? Well, future generations will one day look back upon us, shaking their heads in amusement that we were unaware of some of the scientific facts that we have not been applying.

I’d hate to be the last one to find out that the sun does not revolve around the earth. At Quantum Revolution, we hate to see people struggling when both science and spiritual show that suffering is unnecessary.

As such, we are a mental health and addiction treatment company that utilizes such principles to help people heal. When they shift their consciousness, they improve their lives. Our goal is to make these concepts known to anyone who wishes to be on the cutting edge of modern science and spiritual awakening.

TPF: So what’s next for you?

Steve: I am already writing another book, called Hope Is Dope, which is really more of a basic manual for teachers, students, ministers and anyone else who is interested in taking part in this Quantum Revolution. We want to overthrow the way addiction treatment is done in this country by advocating a more love-based approach, one that features virtues such as compassion, wisdom, forgiveness and hope as opposed to shame, guilt, threats and punishment.

It is an empowering model, as each individual person needs to take complete responsibility for their emotional state as well as for their healing. This is a significant part of what New Eyes is about as well, that the world is healed on the level of the individual. Just as a rising tide lifts all boats, each person who elevates consciousness facilitates the development of others.

Bottom line, Quantum Revolution Inc. is going to be working on inspiring people to see the world differently. We plan to do this through therapy, education, books, seminars, inspirational speakers, social media, documentaries, feature films, video games and perhaps a quantum theme park one day. (We like to dream big.) In the end, we hope that all of us can walk out of this place together as friends.

TPF: Thanks Steve. My readersand I really appreciate you taking your time to talk about your book, which is available in both paperback and e-book format from Amazon. You can also find his work on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram as quantum.revolution. For those of you celebrating the holiday today, Happy Easter and for those not, have a great Sunday! ~Phil

Throwback Thursday! A Special Top Ten with Zombie Author Marie Lanza

The Top Ten Things YOU Need To Survive the Zombie Apocalypse

This weeks Top Ten list is a first for The Phil Factor. I’m thrilled to have a guest Top Ten list by indie zombie author Marie Lanza. Some of you will remember Marie from her hilarious interview here back in January 2014. Since January Marie has released her first full length novel, Fractured: Outbreak Zom 813 and The Colony: Isolation which is the second installment in her Colony e-book series.

Marie Lanza

Marie Lanza

Last time Marie appeared here on The Phil Factor we had a fun interview, but this time Marie was kind enough to agree to participate in my Top Ten Tuesday with a list of the Top Ten Things YOU Need to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse.  Here it is:

1. Weapons – Guns, Bullets, Knives, Swords, Machete, Shovel – It all works. Guns will always draw attention, so if you can, using your other weapons is best. Plus, it will help conserve bullets. Avoid non-lethal deterrents; pepper spray or stun guns, you’ll only hurt yourself and possibly more flavorful for the zombies!

2. Running Shoes – As much walking and running as you’ll be doing, a good pair of shoes is essential. With everything you’ll be dealing with, who wants to suffer from blisters?  Those high-heeled shoes you’ve been dying to wear… ‘nuff said. Unless they’re spiked heels… put those in your weapons pile.

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 3. Bite proof clothing/protective gear – Leather, arm & leg guards. This will help when you’re fighting in close contact with the infected. Fashionable and practical.
 4. Physical Fitness – In both The Colony e-series and my novel Fractured, my characters are strong physically. During the apocalypse, you’ll get winded from the day to day running. Zombies don’t get winded.  Idea for my new workout video: 20 minute workouts for the Zombie apocalypse.
 5. Technology – GPS system, Two-way Radios. In my novel Fractured these were essential for communication for Harmony and Dan to keep in touch with their families. Don’t forget batteries!
 6. Food – MREs, canned food. This stuff will last forever.  Leave the farm fresh salmon behind!
 7. Water – Water bottles, Canteens, Camelbak, Water Purification equipment. You may be able to get away with no food, but no one can survive without water. Water bottles are key. If water sources are potentially contaminated, you don’t want to question whether or not you’re drinking to your own death. Boil anything going into the canteens, camelbaks and even the water you’re filtering through water purification equipment. But the questions remains… does even boiling it kill the virus?
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 8. Lighting – Flashlights, Flares, Candles, Glow Sticks and of course, lighters and matches. In a pinch a mag-light or a flare can make a good weapon!
 9. Storage – Backpack, tactical belt or vest, easy to handle and easy to run with. Don’t make the mistake of duffle bags, over the shoulder or anything that’s not easily carried while you’re running. These items could also get caught on something easier than a backpack, tactical belt or vest. Leave the roller bags at home.
 10. Misc Tools – Swiss Army knife, can opener, duct tape, scissors, batteries and solar chargers.  Look for ‘101 uses for duct tape in a Zombie filled Wasteland’ at a bookstore near you!
Wow! It doesn’t get much better than that. Zombie survival advice from one of the world’s foremost experts! I have to say, I read Marie’s novel Fractured: Outbreak ZOM 813 and I was not disappointed. I’m a Stephen King fan and I loved Marie’s novel. If you want to know what it would be like to survive day to day after a zombie apocalypse this is the book for you. In addition to enjoying Marie’s fantastic novels you can also find her on her radio show The Dirt which you can find on iHeart Radio and TradioV. By all means make sure you also follow Marie on Facebook and Twitter. Like I said though, if you like a good, no, great zombie survival story check out all Marie’s books on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback versions.
As always, if you enjoyed #ThePhilFactor and want to help your friends survive the zombie apocalypse please share by hitting the Facebook, Twitter, or re-blog buttons below.