Tag Archives: books

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

Indie Author Dr. Meg Sorick!

Dr. Meg Sorick is also an author. Or is it that Author Meg Sorick is also a doctor? When she’s not straightening out her characters lives on the pages of her books, she’s straightening out spines in her office. When she’s not doing either of those things, she’s commenting on my blog. Over the past year and a half, since she and I started following each other, I don’t think I’ve written a blog post she hasn’t commented on. Because of that, I am far overdue in featuring her here on my blog.

Here’a synopsis or her Buck’s County series: What DO I write about? Ordinary people with families, people who fall in love and sometimes find themselves in outrageous circumstances. Add some suspense, humor, family dynamics and good conversation and voila! These ideas have coalesced into a series of romantic suspense novels set in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where I live. The first four are currently available here on Amazon and a fifth is on the way. Stay tuned!

In addition to writing books, Meg is also an accomplished poetess and artist. Her blog is always an interesting read because you never know what you’re going to get. One day it’s photographs, another poems, the next some great pencil drawings and after that there might be beautiful poetry, or a preview of her next book.

What I like about her books is that each is focused on a different character, but since they all live in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, the characters cross paths in each others stories sometimes. For me, I always love when an author can weave a web like that, and Meg does it well.

I’ve shown her books in order here, but you’d better hurry up and read them because she’s got book no. 5 in the Bucks County series, Breaking Bread, coming out soon! Go check out her blog and her books. You won’t be disappointed! Have a great Friday! ~Phil

 

Indie Author John Howell!

Heeer’es Johnny! John Howell has long been one of my favorite blogging friends and I’ve been terribly negligent in supporting him as an author. This week with the re-release and .99 cent sale of the first novel in his trilogy, I thought I’d start a new weekly feature on Fridays with authors I know and like. John has recently re-released his first novel in the trilogy for an astounding .99 cents on Amazon. From John, here’s a taste of what you’ll be getting in his story:

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John J. Cannon successful San Francisco lawyer takes a well-deserved leave of absence from the firm and buys a boat he names My GRL. He is unaware that his newly purchased boat had already been targeted by a terrorist group. John’s first inkling of a problem is when he wakes up in the hospital where he learns he was found unconscious next to the dead body of the attractive young woman who sold him the boat in the first place. John now stands between the terrorists and the success of their mission.

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The characters from My GRL continue to His Revenge and on to Our Justice. In His Revenge, John seeks to atone the killing of Gerry Starnes, the woman who sold him My GRL. The action moves from Port Aransas to California and on to Ecuador. His enemy Matt Jacobs has a twisted idea that John would make an excellent spokesperson for the terrorist group. He figures out a way to get John to cooperate on a plan that is designed to embarrass the President and wreak havoc on the oil industry. John must pretend to go along hoping he can create a way to get revenge. The question remains who will get the revenge?

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Our Justice is the final story in the trilogy. John has been keen on bringing Matt Jacobs to justice. Matt has been keen on getting John to help him in a plot to assassinate the President. He plans to use John’s hero status to get close to the President to do his duty work. Both Matt and John feel their cause is right and both want justice extracted in their favor. We must see who in fact achieves Justice, Matt, John or neither.

For .99 cents, pick up the first book in the trilogy! Who knows, you may just find your new favorite author. You may also find your new favorite blogger if you visit john’s blog. He’s always a fun read. Have a great Friday! ~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

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.

An April Fool’s Memory

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No, I’m not going to tell some outlandish story and end with April Fools! I’m am often a joker throughout the year. I know, shocker right? My April Fools joke is that I don’t pull any pranks on the day when all the amateurs are out trying to be funny.

The reason I posted that picture of the Stalkers cover above is that April Fool’s Day always reminds me of it because in March 2006 on my blog in the two weeks leading up to April Fool’s Day I wrote a series of posts as if I was responding to an online stalker. My readers were all up in arms and urging me to call the police and not to respond to the stalker. On April 1st I revealed that it had all been a prank and that only one reader had seen through my ruse.

Why the book? In 2013 the publishers of Stalkers asked for submissions of short stories involving stalkers. I used my blog stalker series as the basis for a story, but I wrote it in social media format. The entire story is told through blog posts, readers comments, Twitter messages, and e-mails. My story was accepted along with 16 others, and I was thrilled that it was positioned as the final story of the collection. It is seriously a great collection of suspenseful stories and I’m humbled to have been chosen to be included with so many great writers.

Stalkers is available on Amazon as an e-book for $3.99 or $18.99 for the enormous paperback. You already know me, but who knows, maybe you’ll find your next favorite author from one of the other stories. (P.S.: I don’t get a cent from the book sales. It all goes to the publishers) Have a great Friday! ~Phil