Category Archives: author

“A Roller Coaster Ride of Fun” and like Back To The Future?

Reviewed by Bruce Arrington for Readers’ Favorite

Time To Lie: Landon Bridges’ Story Book 1 by Phil Taylor is what I would call a YA thriller/sci fi/comedy that is somewhat reminiscent of Back to the Future, but without the DeLorean going 88 miles per hour in order to travel to a different time. Landon’s in a much different situation, and time travel is not exactly like he expected it to be. His knowledge about his future begins at zero (as you might imagine), but ramps up steadily throughout the book. Without giving too many spoilers away, our hero Landon learns that some big changes are coming and he’s a big part of them. Little by little, he learns the extent of his responsibility in the whole mix.

This was an excellent story, with believable characters, plenty of twists and turns, mysterious people coming and going, and events unfolding, all the while adding a generous dose of self-deprecating humor to the mix. The story was tightly written and worked well to keep me in my seat. It was hard to put it down. I liked the part where the author showed how going back and forth in time can mess things up, instead of only always telling how things will change for the worse. The only downside I saw in Time to Lie, Landon Bridges’ Story Book 1 was the use of profanity throughout that might turn some readers off. However, overall, Phil Taylor delivers a roller-coaster ride of fun. Fortunately for us readers, this is only the first book. Highly recommended.

Thank you Bruce and Readers Favorite! If you haven’t tried my humorous suspense time travel novel, why not? It’s available on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback. Have a great Friday! ~Phil

Guest Blogger: John Howell

Today’s guest blogger is the hilarious John Howell of John’s Fiction Favorites.

Thank you, Phil. It is a real pleasure to be a guest on your blog. I consider you one of the funniest bloggers and have looked forward to this visit. If I may, I would like to paint a fictional picture for your readers. Since you have opened your blog to other writers, I have created an imaginary situation where you set auditions for those who want to appear. (Don’t worry everyone, this is just pretending, and Phil has no plans to start an audition process.)

So here is the scene. Phil sits behind a desk in the audience on a platform built for the occasion. He has his sycophants on either side. On his right hand is the executive producer with a script person on his left. One small desk lamp illuminates his space. He has pencils and paper and a large Yeti cup filled with coffee. Phil has a microphone so those on stage can hear every word. The stage glows from a huge spotlight that burns from the back of the auditorium. The prospective blog guest takes the stage and can’t help blinking from the light.

Phil starts. “Mr. Howell please come down to center stage.”

John moves into the white-hot light, raises his hand to his eyebrow to cut down the glare. “Hello, Phil. You can call me John.”

“Thank you, John. What can we do for you today?”

“Well, I’m here to audition for a guest spot on your blog.”

“Sounds good, John. Have you brought any Gifs, videos, or photos?”

“I only have a photo of myself and my books.”

“Books? You going to hump books on my blog?”

“Well, I thought I would mention them.”

“Look, John. I have a lot of book humping on my blog including my own. I was hoping you would have something different.”

“Well, I can sing a little.”

“Okay let’s hear that then.”

“I also do a soft shoe.”

“Soft shoe. What’s that?”

“It’s a little dance without tap shoes.”

“Okay, I get it. Go ahead.”

“Ahem.”

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing sir. I was just clearing my throat.”

“Do you need some water?”

“No thank you. Normally I have an accompanist, but I wasn’t prepared to sing.”

“Well, we have no time for an accompanist. Can you do it anyway?”

“Okay here goes.”

“What are you doing?”

“Big opening with the soft shoe.”

“Sheesh. Go ahead. Wait what’s that?”

“A pitch pipe. I don’t want to be off pitch.”

“You ready now?”

“Yes Here’s my song.

Passengers will please refrain

from flushing toilets

while the train

is standing in the station. I love you.”

“Okay, thank you.”

“Wait, there is another verse.”

“Please leave your number with the assistant back stage.”

“But the second verse is killer.”

“Don’t call us. We’ll call you.”

“Can I leave these photos with the assistant too?”

“Sure. Leave the bio, the photos, the contact information but please clear the stage.”

“Thank you, Phil. I’m such a fan just being here is a thrill.”

“Okay, thank you. Can we have Mr. King down to center stage.”

John’s Bio: John began his writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive business career. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories.  His first book, My GRL, introduces the exciting adventures of the book’s central character, John J. Cannon. The second Cannon novel, His Revenge, continues the adventure, while the final book in the trilogy, Our Justice, launched in September 2016.  All books are available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. John lives in Port Aransas, Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.

Contact information

Blog: Fiction Favorites, http://johnwhowell.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/john.howell.98229241

Twitter –https://www.twitter.com/HowellWave

Authors db –http://www.authorsdb.com/authors-directory/6604-john-w-howell

LinkedIn –http://www.linkedin.com/pub/john-w-howell/48/b59/462/

Google +https://plus.google.com/+JohnHowellAuthor/

Goodreads –https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7751796.John_W_Howell

Amazon Author’s page –https://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell

Thank you to John for his awesome guest blog post. If you’re not already following him on all the social media platforms above, well, what’s stopping you?

Have a great Friday! ~Phil

 

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