Category Archives: White Picket Prisons

The Next Big Thing

The Next Big Thing is a blog meme making the rounds among indie authors. A meme is kind of like a chain letter. If I break the chain by not posting this bad things will happen to me. The idea is to pique interest in your next work (the next big thing)  and to expose readers to other indie authors. For this assignment I was tagged by Natalia Cherjovsky whose collection of captivating short stories, Humanity Revisited, was published to Amazon about 7 weeks ago. 

What is the working title of the book? It is currently titled The Ghost Runner but since another writer published a book by that exact same name towards the end of last year I’ll have to come up with another title. Let me know if you have any ideas.  No, seriously, let me know.

Where did the idea for the book come from? My son is a baseball player and when they don’t have enough players for two full teams in a pick-up game or scrimmage they employ ghost runners as imaginary runners when someone who is already on base has to bat. That’s all I’m going to tell you.

What genre does your book fall under? General fiction/suspense

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition? That’s a tough one because the main characters are all about 12 years old. Who I would really like to cast is the actors from the movie Stand by Me, but only if they were still that age. This would have been a great story for both Corey’s, Feldman and Haim, to have been cast in as young actors.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book? The Golden Boys return, or become, in this humorous prequel that takes the reader back to the terrifying and magical summer that forged the lifelong bond between them.

How long did it take you to draft the first manuscript? I’m still working on it. Are you implying that people actually write more than one draft of a manuscript?

What else about your book might pique the readers’ interest? For readers that follow my Facebook page I’ve had contests where the readers give me ideas for the name of places and other things in the story, so several readers will get to see their funny ideas worked into the story. For those that read White Picket Prisons they might be surprised to know that there may be a little romance for Chuck and a whole other Golden Boy they’ve never heard of.  There’s also a fair bit of humor worked into the story as well.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? At this point I’m planning on self-publishing, but if anyone knows an agent or agency who might be interested I’m willing to listen to offers.  Let’s just say that I’m looking for Stephen King kind of money.  I probably won’t find it, but it can’t hurt to look.

My tagged writer to do this for next Wednesday is the talented Rene Folsom. Check out her whole catalogue of paranormal romance novels.

 

 

Bad Blogs on Broadway

When Al Gore invented the internet he had no idea most of it would be wasted by bloggers. Allowing just anyone to blog without a screening process is like letting ‘The People of Walmart’ walk around with a p.a, system all the time. Just because you can say something doesn’t mean you should. It’s gotten so bad that even Fox News has a blog.

Bloggers have no idea what the rest of us think of them. In conversation if you ask someone what they do and they respond with, “I’m a school teacher and a blogger,” how do you react? Most of us roll our eyes and sigh, hopefully not too noticeably because we don’t want to upset the “blogger.” You know how volatile they can be. They might run off and write a scathing post about us that would be read by all of their friend. The one thing that we don’t do when someone tells us they’re a blogger is to say, “What’s your blog about?” In fact I’m fairly certain that last sentence was the first time in history that those words have actually been assembled into a sentence. 

I imagine that at internet headquarters the people in charge are getting pissed. I picture a bunch a poindexter brainiacs in a room looking at a white board with a pie chart titled “Internet” that shows the internet contains 10% legitimate websites, 40% pornography/dating sites, and 50% blogs. Next to that would be another pie chart titled “Blogs with redeeming social value.” That chart is just a big empty circle. 

Blogging is so 2005 isn’t it? There was a time when it was kind of cool to have a blog. Ok, maybe there wasn’t, but now that virtually every person in the public eye has a website masquerading as a “blog” that you can comment on it is so not cool. You know what is cool is the Harlem Shake. Nope, definitely not. As soon as someone in my demographic knows what something is, like blogging or the Harlem Shake, then that thing has lost whatever cache it might have had. Seriously, I just nailed down Gangnam Style and now I have to learn the Harlem Shake?  I think the definitive way to tell if some pop culture trend is past it’s cool peak is that if someone with a blog describes it as cool. 

What is hot now is Vlogging. Video Blogging! Instead of writing words you read, all of us arrogant dolts who think you want to know our thoughts are now on Youtube in front of our webcam telling you what we think. I know, that’s pretty hot right? I guess Tosh.0 has to get his material somewhere. 

I just wrote a sarcastic blog about blogging. Does that make me an ironic hipster? I’m not sure, but if I just said ironic hipster then it is definitely not cool to be one. I’ll make a deal with you. If at least 10 of you go back to your Facebook page and click the “Share” link under this I promise I won’t ever do a Vlog. This is a birthday present to my big brother Steve whose birthday was yesterday and he asked me to write a sarcastic blog about bloggers. 

 

 

 

 

The Everyday Oscars

Well, it’s happened again. I was passed over. Not a single Oscar nomination. The whole process is completely biased against people like me. Ok, I know that there aren’t really other people like me, but that does not excuse the Hollywood establishments prejudice against me. The Oscars have been handed out longer than I’ve been alive, but not once have I been awarded a gold, phallic statuette. Just because I’m not some kiss-ass Hollywood insider who’s made a movie in the past year they completely overlook my accomplishments!

It is because of this snub that I refuse to attend the awards ceremony. I do have Oscar-worthy acting talent. So do many of you. Just because our skills don’t appear on the big screen doesn’t mean our talents should go unappreciated! To recognize the acting achievements of everyone like me, I hereby introduce The First Annual Everyday Oscar Awards! I imagine the awards ceremony will go something like this:

MC Phil: The Everyday Oscar for Best Performance in The Workplace goes to…(fumbling with envelope)..Mark Genzler for his role in “The Overdue Report!“; (video clip begins to roll on the monitor) Mark: “Yes Mr. Whalen, I knew that report was due this morning. I was about to forward it to you when I got the call that my grandmother, the woman who raised me after my parents died, was in a car accident.” Mr. Whalen: “Is that a Hooters napkin sticking out of your pocket?” Mark: “Yes it is sir. The hospital needed two quarts of my blood for the transfusion. They said I should drink lots fluids for the rest of the day. I got a little woozy driving back to the office and I had to pull over.”

MC Phil:That always brings a tear to my eye. Next up, the Everyday Oscar for Best Relationship Saving Performance goes to…Susan Reynolds for her fantastic performance in “Whose Boxers Are These?” (video clip begins to roll) Boyfriend: “Heather, I just found these boxer shorts under your side of the bed! They’re not mine! Whose are they?!!?” Susan: Awww! You ruined the surprise! I bought them for you, but I got so turned on at the thought of you in them, that I put them on myself and wore them around for a day. Would you like to see me in them?” Boyfriend:“Are these your skid marks?” Susan: “Umm…yeah?”

If you’d like to nomonate me for an Oscar, Everyday or otherwise, please click the Facebook Like or share button, subscribe to The Phil Factor on your Amazon Kindle and you can follow me on Facebook here; Facebook.com/AuthorPhilTaylor  

 

We’re All Gonna Die!

“We’re all gonna die!” It seemed very funny to shout that during a fire drill my freshman year at Cicero High School. It was still funny to my friend John Martin and I after we realized our only consequence would be a stern talking to by the principal. Yes, when confronted I dragged my friend into it. He dared me to, I said.

What happened was that in the midst of 2000 students being evacuated from our high school I turned to my friend John and said, Do you dare me to yell “We’re all gonna die?” Of course John took me up on my offer and unwittingly became my accomplice when I caught heat from the man. At the time I was young and foolish with no concept of my own mortality. I thought death was something to be laughed at.

I no longer think death is funny. I generally still do not believe in my own mortality, but I’m starting to hedge my bets in this regard. Just because it happens to other people doesn’t mean it will happen to me. As my mother always said, “If your friend jumped off a bridge does that mean you have to?” Much to my mother’s eternal satisfaction I am answering NO. If you want to die, go ahead and do it, but I refuse to be a follower.

My problem is that yesterday a meteor or meteors filled the sky over Russia and actually hurt some people. Also some scientists with a telescope larger than a third world country notified us that an asteroid would be buzzing our planet today close enough to knock some branches off of the trees in my back yard. I may not believe that I’m going to die, but I’m not completely unrealistic. I will admit than an asteroid, in most cases, is larger than me and if it hit me in the head I would have a hard time surviving that. Yes, I know I have a large head, but not large enough that it has it’s own gravitational pull.

Who I’m really angry at is the scientists. Damn them and their ever inquisitive minds! Why did they have to tell me this? Did anyone here really want to know that getting hit by an asteroid the size of Rhode Island is a possibility? In this case ignorance is bliss. Why couldn’t the scientists just leave well enough alone? My entire life I’ve been at the top of the food chain and that has been a pretty secure feeling. Now this. Now I have to spend the rest of my life staring up at the sky looking for asteroids.

In general I figure that if a really big one hit the Earth I’d be fine as long as it didn’t hit me directly in the head. Maybe all this is why the scientists developed the male birth control pill. They just figured that if we’re all gonna die then we might as well start getting  jiggy with it. Yes, that’s right, I said jiggy. I’m bringin’ jiggy back. In fact, that’s probably the new science geek pick up line. “Hey baby, you know we might get hit by an asteroid any minute, so why don’t you just go ahead and get jiggy with me? Obviously I’m cool enough to say jiggy, but the scientists aren’t.

When I’m elected President, or Sexiest Man Alive, whichever comes first, I’m going to pass a law stating that if the scientists see an asteroid headed our way, unless they have some way to make the entire planet duck out of the way they should just shut the hell up.

If you enjoy my nonsense and want to make sure you don’t miss an episode until the big one hits, you can subscribe to The Phil Factor on your Amazon Kindle and follow me on Facebook by clicking the Like button at www.Facebook.com/AuthorPhilTaylor. If you’re a Cicero High School alum click the Facebook Share button below so we can continue to reminisce together about our high school highjinks and so that this eventually gets back to John, who is probably still mad that I sold him out.

The President Might Kill Me

He’s probably not trying to kill me right now, but he might. And he could, and it would be legal. I’m sure President Obama wouldn’t be the first to think about killing me, but he’s probably the first that could do it legally by remote control plane. Earlier this week the Obama administration re-affirmed a Bush era policy that gives the President the right to unilaterally decide to kill someone that might be a threat to the country in the future.  If you need more factual information than I’ll ever provide you can read about it here: http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/07/us/drones-classified-document/index.html

Sure my little Barack Obama jokes on my blog may seem cute, but what if Barry gets his panties in a bunch and decides that I’m trying to lead an uprising? I won’t debate the pros or cons of the policy, but I will say as a “guy” that it is a seriously awesome policy. We get to sit home playing Call of Duty while Barack by virtue of his job gets to play it for real. Part of the policy leaked to the public this week indicated that Barack Obama could use drone planes to assasinate anyone he thought might be a threat to U.S. security. Drone planes! Seriously, how cool is that? I wonder if he has a Playstation controller in his desk drawer that he takes out. 

Now if he’s picking off al-Queda operatives I’m cool with that. But what if he gets some bad info? Or worse yet, what if somewhere out there some terrorist has the same name as me? Sure, the chances of that are fairly small, but it could happen. How can I rest easy knowing that Barack could be scrolling through the online White Pages and click on the wrong Phil Taylor when he’s targeting the drone? Or what if Barack decides to take a night off, gets all liquored up, checks Michelle’s browser history and finds that she’s been visiting my blog just a little too often again? That is exactly when we need a little bit of the old checks and balances system. 

I’m pretty sure that my ADT security system won’t be much help if a drone flies in my front door and tries to drop a smart bomb in my pants. It won’t matter where I am if Barry decides that me or my blog are a threat to the country. I’m pretty sure that if Dominos can find me in 30 minutes or less the Air Force can GPS the hell out of my cell phone and find me no matter where I am. 

I’d just like to say a big hello to all the wonderful CIA and FBI operatives reading this today. Welcome to The Phil Factor! Think about this: the CIA and FBI monitor “internet chatter” to find threats to U.S. security. I assume that they probably have some internet filter that grabs onto anything with certain keywords they’ve programmed it to look for. In the course of this blog I’ve used the words President Obama, kill, smart bomb, al-Queda, threat and Michelle. 

In the event that I’m killed by a drone plane or I mysteriously “disappear” please keep the Phil Factor spirit alive by hitting the Facebook Like or Share buttons. Also, I’m still on my quest to have my novel White Picket Prisons gross more than the $264 that Christian Slater’s movie Playback did, so if you haven’t, please buy my book for your Kindle, Nook, or iPad for only $2.99. You can also keep up with all my writing hijinks including contests by following my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Phil-Taylor/331876066920144

 

Christian Slater is My Darth Vader

In much the same way that Darth Vader dogged Luke Skywalker throughout the series of Star Wars movies, Christian Slater has dogged me. One upping and thwarting me at every turn and stealing my success, all the while smiling smugly and skating away after a wry, sarcastic comment. Well no more I say. Hear me now and hear me loud Christian Michael Leonard Slater. Your bloody reign of terror is in it’s waning moments and I shall savor my victory. Or perhaps, much like Luke and Darth Vader there will be reconcilliation and you will join the side of the righteous and the good. 

Our story began in the maternity ward of a New York City hospital in the late 1960’s. As our parents stood side by side gazing lovingly at us in our bassinets they discussed names. My parents proudly named me with a regal middle moniker from my maternal grandfather. As my parents proudly revealed my name, your parents, with a look of concern, or perhaps scorn, huddled and whispered hurriedly before turning and smiling smugly as they revealed that you would be called Christian Michael Leonard Slater, the boy with TWO middle names! Only hours out of the womb and you were already attempting to steal my infantile thunder. “Curse you! You swaddled demon!” I thought to myself as I shook my tiny fist in the direction of your bassinet.

Of course our school years were inexorably linked with the spelling bees, school plays, and of course who can forget the 1975 Cub Scout Troup 316 Pinewood Derby? Each and every time my dream of grasping that golden ring, that top stair on the podium, that starring role or just a moment of applause from my classmates seemed so close until…until the golden boy, Christian would swoop in at the last moment and spell the word, remember the line, or perhaps have a Pinewood Derby car that seemed just a little too fast to be only 5 ounces. 

Then of course came high school where I was the shy, skinny, guy on the track team while you were the rebellious, edgy outsider that all the emo chicks were into. Grudgingly I have to admit that I did listen to your pirate radio station, but I hated myself for doing it.

As an adult now those petty childhood competitions are behind us. I thought I had moved on. But then, just when you had forgotten about me, you slipped. You left the door open a tiny crack and I plan to come barging through like the Kool-Aid pitcher on a hot summer day. I’m sure you were hoping I wouldn’t notice, but I did. It turns out Christian that I was one of the very few that noticed that you “starred” in a movie last year. Your movie Playback was only shown in a single theater for a single week. Playback grossed a whopping total of $264.00. Really? $264? Isn’t that pretty much just tickets and snacks for a family of four at the movies? 

Dear Christian it might interest you to know that in 2012, I, Philip One Middle Name Taylor, released a book, a short novel, White Picket Prisons. Much like the lion of the Serengeti I am stalking you and your paltry $264 movie. I dare to dream that I could take down my mythical Darth Vader. That sad little movie will be your Deathstar and your downfall as my novel grosses more than $264. I’m not there yet, but I am confident Christian that with the support of my friends I shall finally best you. Where are your friends Christian? Certainly not in that theater watching Playback. A few years from now I also hope to savor the final irony as you come groveling, beggng to play the role of Cooper in the Lifetime network movie based on White Picket Prisons. 

As always, if you like what you read here please hit the Facebook Like and/or Share button. If you enjoy my nonsense and would like to help me defeat Darth Christian Slater you can find my humorous, murder mystery novel White Picket Prisons available for Kindle, Nook, and iPad for only $2.99. You can also following all my writing stuff by liking my Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Phil-Taylor/331876066920144?fref=ts

 

 

 

The Man with the Scorpion Tattoo

No, this is not a male version of the popular novel The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. This is much better than that.  I’m pretty sure nobody had very many laughs reading that dragon tattoo book. The Man with the Scorpion Tattoo also is not a fictional character. The Man with the Scorpion Tattoo is a guy I see at my Starbuck’s almost every morning. To be fair, it’s not really my Starbucks. I am neither owner nor manager, but The Man with the Scorpion Tattoo still shows up there regularly regardless of my lack of affiliation with the place.

The Man with the Scorpion Tattoo is bald. Not old man, male pattern baldness bald, but “I shaved my head so I can look like a bad ass” bald.  The Man with the Scorpion Tattoo also has a giant scorpion tattooed on his bald head. A scorpion tattoo that is much larger than any real scorpion. The tattoo stretches from the top of his head, wrapping around the back and down to the top of the neck. Each morning I wonder, what exactly is he trying to tell the world about himself?

Evil. I think having a giant scorpion tattooed on a menacing bald head kind of screams evil. My shamrock tattoo says I’m Irish. His scorpion tattoo says ‘I’m evil.” In fact after observing The Man with the Scorpion Tattoo daily for a while now, I’m pretty sure he is actually Satan. Yup, the real one. Apparently, just like you and me, Satan stops for his Starbucks fix on his way to work every day. Coffee, black of course. None of those frou frou girly drinks with whipped cream.  He keeps to himself and goes about his business quietly while at Starbucks, but just the same, I’m pretty sure he’s Satan. He makes small talk with the baristas so as not to arouse any suspicion. He tips, but never too much or too little. He always sits alone at the table by the window.

I suppose it’s possible right? I mean, Satan has a job to do every day doesn’t he? If he didn’t show up for work each day encouraging evil, imagine all the police officers, military, and jail staff that would be out of work. Without evil our economy suffers. So like the rest of us, Satan’s day begins when his alarm goes off. Because he’s evil, he hits snooze. Twice. Then I imagine Satan walking his dog clad in pajama pants and a Motley Crue reunion tour t-shirt. Obviously, he doesn’t pick up the poop in a little bag because of his inherent evil nature. Unlike me, Satan never bothers to iron his shirt for work either. Before leaving for work he grabs his bagged lunch, grumbling over the low carb kick his wife is on, and gives Mrs. Satan a little kiss and let’s her know if he’ll be home late because there’s a need for a little extra unrest in the middle east. Then he hops in the Satan mobile (you would think a red car, but he thinks that’s too flashy and goes with black. Tinted windows of course. Maybe a Mustang.) Then he stops at Starbuck’s to have his coffee, check Facebook and go over his schedule, all the while making a mental note that when he gets some extra time he’ll have to perpetrate some evil on that guy in the tie who stares at him every morning.

Remember the 1995 Joan Osborne song, “What if God Were One of Us?”  If God could be one of us, so could Satan. And if Satan had a name, I imagine it wouldn’t be any of those fancy biblical names like Beezlebub or Lucifer. Seriously, how much of a giveaway would that be? He’d be constantly hounded by fans and papparazzi. No, I’m pretty sure that if Satan has a name it’s something like Ed. And yes Ms. Osborne, I would call him Ed to his face. I wonder if Ed has a blog…If he does, I’m pretty sure he gets more reads than I got last week because his friends click on the Facebook Like or Share button below. C’mon people, we can’t let evil win!

If you enjoy my nonsense and want to help me defeat evil you can subscribe to The Phil Factor on your Amazon Kindle, try out my humorous murder mystery novel White Picket Prisons and follow me on my new Facebook author page at <a href=”https://www.facebook.com/pages/Phil-Taylor/331876066920144.

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