Category Archives: books

Throwback Thursday! Interview with Author Christopher Moore

This is one of my most popular posts ever. The author, Christopher Moore, who has several NYT bestsellers, couldn’t have been nicer and didn’t care that he was talking to a guy who’s blog only had about 150 followers at the time.

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(June 18, 2013) PT: Chris and welcome to The Phil Factor. Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for my readers. For those of you who may not be familiar with Christopher Moore’s work he is the author of thirteen published novels and a graphic novel. Whether the genre be suspense, fantasy or the skewering of the vampire craze, you can always add the word humor in front of anything Christopher Moore writes. Christopher Moore is also one of the most fan friendly authors you’ll ever meet and if I’ve learned anything from his Facebook page it’s that he is a man who loves Meerkats.

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PT: Chris, speaking of your Facebook page, the Meerkat thing has been a running gag on your page for years. How did it get started?

Chris:  I don’t really remember. I think I was just scrolling through the channel guide on the TV one day and there were all these bizarre animal and vocational shows, and I thought, what if you combined one of those shows and had meerkats who were pizza delivery guys. So the first dozen or so Meerkat Pizza Delivery jokes were just promos on twitter for a non-existent TV show. As it went on, people started sending me pictures, and I started putting captions on them, and it just got out of hand. 

PT: Rumor has it that your novel The Stupidest Angel is in production to be a feature length film to be released later this year. Is it still on track to be out later this year and how much input have you had on the making of the movie?

Chris: The guy who is producing it has been breathlessly close to starting to film at least three times, but he’s missed the deadline if he were going to be able to release it in 2013. It’s been in development with the same guy for like six years, and he works hard and is very earnest, but as you might have guessed, it’s hard to get a movie made. I’m supposed to be in the movie as an animation character, and the producer listens to my suggestions on casting, but beyond that, I just keep writing books and waiting for news like anyone else. I sold my first book for a film twenty-three years ago and that one hasn’t made it to the screen yet, so I’m kind of used to not getting too excited about these things. 

PT: That’s too bad. I’ve often thought many of your novels would make great movies. One of my favorite novels of yours is Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal. Did you catch any flack from fans of Jesus Christ for some of the humor in that book?

Chris: Not at all. I think it had a self-correcting audience. In ten years, I’ve gotten perhaps 30,000 e-mails about it and only five have been negative, and four of those people hadn’t even read the book. It’s actually being taught in a number of seminaries and is on the recommended reading list at Harvard Divinity. I guess the people who were supposed to get the joke, got it, and those who wouldn’t, didn’t pick the book up. 

PT: Of all your characters, which one has the most of you in him or her?

Chris: Probably Tommy from my vampire series, although he’s not like me now, but me when I was 19 or 20, which he is in the books. He’s a kid from the Midwest who just sort of throws caution to the wind to goes, all by himself, to California to find his fortune and a career as a writer, and I sort of did that at his age, so his reactions are similar, I think, to what mine would have been in a similar situation, although I didn’t ever have a red-headed vampire as a girlfriend.

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PT: As I alluded to in the introduction, you’re extremely fan friendly. Why?

Chris: I don’t even think of my fans as fans. It always sounds strange to me. They are my readers. They are the people who allow me to do this wonderful thing that I get to do for a living. If my work didn’t resonate with my readers, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do, and I love doing what I do, so I guess I feel like I owe them. Plus, when you make people laugh, they are kindly disposed toward you, so most people I encounter are pretty nice. There are many worse ways to spend your time than entertaining people who love your work. 

PT: On your website, www.chrismoore.com you have apparel, something I doubt any other author has. How did that idea come to fruition and why the tie in with all profits going to MS research?

Chris: All the swag, from Fucksocks to T-shirts came from reader suggestions and requests. I never really wanted to be in the merchandise business, and I didn’t want to have to oversee the product. For a long time there was a volunteer from my old web forum who ran the store, then a few years ago I turned it over to a guy who specialized in making merch. (I think right now he’s had a management meltdown, so I don’t even know what’s available for sale anymore.) Anyway, since I didn’t want to put the effort into it, or feel like I was pimping t-shirts for a living, I decided to give all the proceeds to charity. About the time all of this was being set up, a young friend of mine was diagnosed with MS, so I decided to give all the proceeds to MS research. 

PT: There you have it ladies and gentlemen, the first ever mentions of Meerkats and Fucksocks on The Phil Factor. We are truly in groundbreaking, man on the moon territory, here. Chris, before you go, do you have a preview or teaser about your next book you’d like to share with your readers?

Chris:  It’s called The Serpent of Venice, and it’s the sequel to Fool, and is set in Venice with characters from Othello and The Merchant of Venice.

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Chris, thank you again for responding to the interview request of some random internet guy with a blog. For those of you who want to learn more about his hilarious and suspenseful novels you can find them in bookstores and at every online e-book retailer. You can also visit him at www.chrismoore.com, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. As always, please take a moment to hit the Facebook and Twitter share buttons below.

Have a great Thursday! ~Phil

Top Ten Tuesday! The Ten Best Books I’ve Ever Read. What Are Yours?

Like the title says, these are the ten best books that have ever read. They’re my favorites. Yours may be different. In fact, I’m hoping they are. Either in the comments or, in your own blog post with a link back, I’d like you to share some of your favorite books so that we can all maybe find a new favorite book or author from each other. Of course I won’t shamelessly plug my own books by putting them on my list, but if you want to, I won’t argue.

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10. The Vampire LeStat: by Anne Rice. Unbeknownst to most people (you know it’s serious when I use big words like unbeknownst) it wasn’t Stephanie Meyer who invented the vampire genre, but Anne Rice about fifteen years earlier. LeStat, referred to as the Brat Prince, is such a fun character you’ll want to become one of the undead just to hang out with him for eternity.

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9. The Da Vinci Code: by Dan Brown. The first in the series was easily the best. Don’t watch the movie because Tom Hanks stars in it with a ridiculously bad hairdo, but read the book.

8. How to Succeed in Evil: by Patrick E. McLean. Edwin Windsor is an Evil Efficiency Expert who contacts out his services to help supervillains be more villanous. Hilarious!  You end up rooting for evil!

7. Bite Me: by Christopher Moore, award winning, New York Times bestselling author who I interviewed for The Phil Factor about three years ago. Spoiler alert: This won’t be his only book on the list. Trust me on Christopher Moore. You’ll want to read so many of his books. Bite Me skewers the vampire genre with brilliant sarcasm.

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6. Dave Barry’s Complete Guide to Guys: by Pulitzer Prize winning Dave Barry, whom I interviewed for The Phil Factor in 2013. If you’re a woman, you’ll laugh as you read countless hilarious examples of the idiocy of men. If you’re a guy you”l see yourself in so many of the true stories.

5. 11/22/63: by Stephen King. I hope you didn’t watch the Hulu miniseries. They took some liberties with the plot that I didn’t think were necessary and detracted from the story. Read the book. It’s a surprising love story.

4. Good Omens: by Neil Gaimans and Terry Pratchett. Read. Laugh. Thank me later. Both authors are cherished titans of English literature, and their other solo works are brilliantly funny. Together they don’t disappoint.

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3. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy: by Douglas Adams. This book is a literary classic. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT watch the movie. Read the book. Your cultural education cannot be considered complete until you’ve read this book.

2. A Dirty Job: by Christopher Moore. Being the Grim Reaper is a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it. Hilarity galore. If you enjoy the absurdity of Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett, then you’ll also love Christopher Moore.

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1. Odd Thomas: by Dean Koontz. In general I consider Dean Koontz to be Stephen King lite, but Odd Thomas is his signature character. I read books from a first person point of view. I become the protagonist when I read. Some characters fit in my head better than others. Odd Thomas fit me like a glove. For me, he was one of those characters where I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be him or have him as my best friend. I read the first Odd Thomas novel at least a decade ago and was disappointed earlier this year when, after 16 novels, the series came to an end.
Those are my top ten. What are yours? Answer in the comments or create a post and link back so we can all find a few more good reads.

Have a great Tuesday! ~Phil

Check Out This Great Interview with…

Craig Boyack has a brilliannt concept on his blog. He doesn’t interview authors, his robot girl, Lisa Burton, with a fictional radio show, interviews the main characters from novels. Just recently my Time to Lie protagonist, Landon Bridges, made of go of it in his radio debut. Go read the interesting interview via Time to Lie, on #LisaBurtonRadio

How An April Fool’s Joke Led To a Stalker and Being Published

The year was 2006. #ThePhilFactor was about a year old. I had a small but loyal following. I thought up the prank about two weeks before April Fool’s Day and set it in motion. I first wrote a small post about my response to a fictional overly amorous woman who had gone outside of blog comments and emailed me directly. The prank was that my readers didn’t know the woman was a fictional character.

Over the next two weeks I wrote three or more posts where I asked the woman to stop messaging me through Twitter and email. My readers implored me to ignore her rather than to feed her ego with my public response. Some even suggested that law enforcement might be needed. I openly blogged about stopping The Phil Factor to end the harassment.

Finally, on April Fool’s Day, I revealed that it was all a ruse. Only one of my readers figured it out and had messaged me the day before.

In 2013 my then editor, Cynthia Shepp  and Renee Folsom, who created the covers for The Sneaker Tree and 50 Shades of Phil for me, had posted on Facebook that they were looking for writers to submit short stories, up to 10,000 words, related to the theme of stalkers. I remembered my old prank and wrote it as a story as if the reader was reading my blog posts (with some of the real comments), e-mails and Twitter messages with the stalker. For the story I added a bit of a wicked twist at the finish.

The book, pictured above, includes 17 stories from a bunch of great writers and I am proud that my store was chosen as the closer. Neither myself or any of the writers get a dime from sale of the books, but it was an opportunity for us to get some exposure. It’s gotten great ratings and reviews on Amazon. If you like suspense stories and are looking for a new favorite author, this might be the collection for you. You can find it in paperback or Kindle version HERE on Amazon.

Happy Easter/Passover/April Fool’s Day! ~Phil

An Interview with Me?!!?

AllAuthor.com interviewed me about my background and how I got the ideas for my books. If you’re interested you can find the interview HERE

Have a great Friday! ~Phil

A New Review For Time To Lie

Thank you to Jackie Paulson of The Nutty Book Blogger for the great review of my book Time To Lie. You can find the review and the rest of her site HERE. Have a great Friday evening! ~Phil

A Guest Post and a New Book by Allie Potts!

THE TOP 5 DANGERS OF BEING A WRITER by Allie Potts

1. Government Watch Lists: The Watch & Wand is set in a post-apocalyptic world where all but the most basic technology is outlawed. As a result, my search history includes all sorts of doomsday prepper supplies and survivalist techniques. Combined with the fact that I also write mysteries which require me to research various ways to kill people off while making it appear as a natural occurrence, it is a wonder I haven’t already had a visit by a government agent.

2. Split Personalities: Before I started writing I would nervously cross the street if I heard someone engaging in a two sided conversation with no one else present. Now, after catching myself trading barbs with myself out loud, I have to wonder if those other people simply were trying to work out the dialogue of a problematic scene.

3. Stunted Growth: This was not a concern of mine as I stopped growing upward sometime in the sixth grade, but for others you have to seriously wonder how much taller they might have been had it not been for the volume of caffeine the typical writer consumes.

4. Other Addictions: Look to most any writer’s bookshelf. A sandwich dressed by both mayonnaise and mustard might be considered an extravagant expense some weeks on a writer’s income, and yet an e-reader’s memories are filled and shelves sag as more books get added to the ever growing To Be Read list, rationalized as ‘research.’

5. Uncontrollable lies: Speaking of that To Be Read list, let’s go to the numbers. The average person reads at a speed of 200 words per minute. A book is considering a novel at 50,000, but some genre’s go far longer. Epic fantasy for example is often between 100,000 and 200,000. So let’s use then 80,000 words as a reference. This means that reading a book from end to end should take a typical reader 400 minutes or 6.67 hours.

As pesky things like sleep, family, and other jobs tend to get in the way of quality reading time the size of the To Be Read list rapidly outgrows available time and yet we can’t help ourselves from adding to it.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are other lies we tell ourselves:

  • We’ll never be good enough
  • We’re the best writer out there
  • No one will read it
  • It will be an instant best-seller
  • The one negative review among the twenty positive ones was the only honest review
  • the one negative review offering constructive criticism was written by a troll who obviously knows nothing as we are perfect

Choosing to be a writer is a dangerous path, but one I’ve never regretted taking.

Allie Potts is the author of The Fair & Foul and The Watch & Wand, books one and two of the Project Gene Assist series. Set in a not too distant future, the books take place at a time when science meets magic and biology merges with technology, while tackling what it means to be human.

Additionally, she is the author of An Uncertain Faith, a Rocky Row Novel, a cozy mystery/women’s literature story written for those who find themselves caught between a rock and a hard place.

When not finding ways to squeeze in 72 hours into a 24 day or chasing after children determined to turn her hair gray before its time, Allie enjoys stories of all kinds. Her favorites, whether they are novels, film, or simply shared aloud with friends, are usually accompanied with a glass of wine or cup of coffee in hand.

A self-professed science geek and book nerd, Allie writes everyday style stories, flash fiction, tips and tricks, and the occasional not-a-review review at www.alliepottswrites.com

Book links include:

Social Media Links

Allie’s new book, The Watch & Wand launches Tuesday but is already available for pre-order on Amazon. Go check it out! Have a great Sunday! ~Phil