Thursday, August 21, 2008

Music Inspires My Writing

I know many writers that require dead silence when writing. The slightest noise becomes an immediate distraction. They'd rather sweat in heat and humidity instead of listening to the hum of an air conditioner; or write in a vacuum to prevent the rattle of basement pipes from breaking a train of thought; or lock themselves in the attic if it will muffle the laughter of children playing outside from reaching their ears ...

And, I know other writers who will allow classical music -- as if trapped in an elevator -- to softly spill from tiny stereo speakers, a stereo kept in some other room, so that the sound just barely reaches the ears ... but is there. Still present. Ever so soothing.

Then, well, then there is me.

I can't write at home. Or rarely. Writing at home, regularly, is a distraction. The fridge is too close. The TV--right there. The bed--and the thought of a quick nap--too tempting.

No. When I write, it's in a public place. A loud place. A crowded place.

I saw an episode of Family Guy once. And in one of the (endless) flashbacks, it showed two guys in a Starbucks -- laptops open. One guy says, "Everyone look at me. I'm writing. I'm a writer..." And the other guy, says something along the lines of, "I need to let everyone see I'm writing...."

Yeah. I laughed. It was funny. I saw me in them. I do not write in public to "show off". I write in public because it inspires. I am a people watcher. A people studier. And as much as I enjoy listening to snipits of conversations as they take place around me ... I write best when I am listening to music.

There are really only two places where you can find me writing. At the Starbucks in Barnes & Noble in Greece Ridge Mall, or at Cafe Amenity on Ridge Road. I buy my coffee--what's that? Oh--yes, I like to buy a ... don't laugh ... iced vanila-flavored coffee with cream and heavy sugar. Heavy sugar. When you think enough sugar has been added. Add a ton more ...

Anyway, I sit with my coffee, turn on the laptop and --here's the important part-- pull out my Ipod and earbuds. While the computer boots up, I get the music started. When I write, I write with the music loud. My feet tap. My knees bounce. I sometimes sing along (tragic as that may be for those around me).

What happens is, the style of song I am listening to inspires the tempo and tone of my writing. Something fast, and hard has me typing fast and furious. The thoughts pouring from my brain quicker than my fingers can transpose them onto the LED screen. When a softer, slower song comes on, my brain down-shifts. My words are more articulate and timed, more careful and exact.

If my Ipod battery dies -- I'm done writing for the day. And if the battery was fully charged when I walked in -- and it still died, well then I must have had one heck of a productive day.

The art of writing is about your classic Three-Ds. Drive. Dedication. Devotion. Whether you write in the morning, at night, with music or in complete solitude -- I guess every writer needs to find what works best for them. The important thing is, if you have a story to tell, tell it. Without music, who knows, maybe I'd never have become a published author ...

What can you find on my Ipod?

Jars of Clay
Jeremy Camp
3 Doors Down
Hawk Nelson
Casting Crowns
Goo Goo Dolls
Garth Brooks
Randy Travis
Avril Lavigne
Chris Tomlin
Todd Agnew
The Fray
Chris Doughtry
Counting Crows

Thomas Phillips
Author of, The Molech Prophecy

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Wiccans vs. Christians

I held two book signing events in Buffalo this past weekend.

At the first, two Wiccans approached the table where I sat and signed copies of my novel, The Molech Prophecy. They read the back cover of the book (provided below), and then proceeded to tell me how upset and offended they were about the story I’d written.

At the second signing, oddly enough, two different Wiccan’s came over to the signing table. They read the book’s back cover, and –seemingly excited—bought a copy.

To be clear, when writing fiction, everything still needs to remain primarily factual.

In The Molech Prophecy, the principal story revolves around Christians and a rogue Wiccan.

In my extensive research on Wicca, their beliefs and practices, I often came across their principal rule: Harm None.

The story I tell centers around a Wiccan coven leader who, in order to fulfill a prophecy, breaks the cardinal rule of his faith.

Is it “Hollywood” story-telling. Sure. Was it meant to be offensive? Of course not. Are the facts about Wicca that I incorporated into the story factual? You bet they are.

Unfortunately, when you write fiction or non-fiction, you will stumble across critics. Generally, I do not mind criticism—from someone who actually read my book. However, I do get offended as an author when my book receives negative criticism from someone who only spends forty seconds reading the back cover summary of the entire novel and from that, passes judgment.

What’s the best way to decide if The Molech Prophecy is offensive, or entertaining, is for you to read the book yourself – and then decide. And if you do—I would love to hear your thoughts, good, bad, or indifferent!

Here is a definition of Wicca, as described in an article found on Suite 101:

Wicca is a Pagan revival of European pre-Christian religions. Often called the religion of witches, the Wicca practice a religion of secrecy. They do not actively seek new members and they do not convert people to their religion.

Wicca is a loosely woven religion. Each Wiccan is allowed to choose what he or she believes. For example, some believe in reincarnation of the soul. Others believe that the soul travels to Summerland after the body dies. Still, others believe that we travel to Summerland after death and, when we are ready, reincarnate as birds, animals, and plants.

The origin of Wicca is hotly debated. Some believe that author Gerald Gardner invented Wicca. This is a half-truth. Wicca evolved from ancient Shamanism. It traveled through the ages, shaping and changing into classical Paganism. When Christianity gained power, Paganism was perverted into a fairytale of evil witches, imps, and satanic goats. Gerald Gardner, and others, took what was left of the Old Ways and rebuilt a new Pagan religion: Wicca. Wiccans practice a religion of duality. They believe in the God and Goddess or the Lord and Lady. Both God and Goddess are equal, and each presides over different aspects of nature and life. There is the Lord of the Hunt, Lady of the Woods, Sky Father, and Earth Mother.

The Wicca internalize their God and Goddess. They believe that their deities are within them and within all things in nature.

Wiccans are often accused of not having morals because they do not have a book that lists rules for behavior. Instead, Wiccans have one golden rule: do what you will, harm none. This simple rule governs all that Wiccans do.
Suite 101, Wicca Defined

Thomas Phillips
Author of The Molech Prophecy
In Stores Everywhere

Friday, August 8, 2008

Upcoming Signings

Kind of a boring blog -- but wanted to post my upcoming signings and radio interviews:

Saturday, August 16, 2008, Starting at 2:00 PM, Borders, 2015 Walden Ave, Cheektowaga, NY 14225, 716-685-2844

Saturday, August 16, 2008 Starting at 6:00 PM, Barnes & Noble, McKinley Mall, 3701 McKinley Parkway, Buffalo, NY 14219, 716-822-0832

Saturday, August 30, 2008, Starting at Noon, Borders Express, Boulevard Mall, 702 Alberta Drive, Buffalo, NY 14226, 716-833-8820

Saturday, August 30, 2008, Starting at 4:00 PM, Borders Express, 4545 Transit Road, Williamsville, NY 14221, 716-634-0335

Saturday, September 13, 2008, Starting at 1:00 PM, Barnes & Noble, 3956 Route 31, Liverpool, NY 13090, 315-622-0370

Saturday, September 20, 2008, Starting at 8:00 AM, Bagels And Blessings, WRCI 990 AM
With hostess, Ethel Chadwick

Friday, September 26, 2008 Starting at 7:00 PM, Borders Books, 30 Square Drive, Victor, NY 14564, Phone: 585.421.9230

Saturday, September 27, 2008, Starting at Noon, Barnes & Noble, 4401 Transit Road, Suite 800, Clarence, NY 14421, 716-634-1011

Friday, October 10, 2008, Starting at 7:00 PM, Talking Leaves, 3158 Main Street, Buffalo, NY, 14214, (716) 837-8554

Saturday, October 11, 2008, Starting at 11:00 AM, Alpha & Omega, 1601 Penfield Road, Rochester, NY 14625, (585) 381-1250

Saturday, October 11, 2008, Starting at 2:00 PM, Alpha & Omega, 125 White Spruce Blvd., Rochester, NY 14623, (585) 272-8080

Saturday, October 11, 2008, Starting at 6:00 PM, Alpha & Omega, 1540 Ridge Rd West, Rochester, NY 14615, (585) 697-7693

Saturday, October 25, 2008, Starting at 11:00 AM, The Book Shoppe, 519 Main Sreet, Medina, NY 14103, 585-798-3642

Friday, November 7, 2008, Starting at 7:00 PM, Barnes & Noble, Webster Towne Center, 1070 Ridge Road, Webster, NY 14580, 585-872-9710

Saturday, November 8, 2008, Starting at 1:00 PM, Creekside Books & Coffee, 35 Fennell Street, Skaneateles, NY 1352, 315-685-0379

Hope to see you at some of these!

Take care, and God Bless,


International Christian Retail Show in Orlando, FL July 13-17, 2008

Without much time to recoup from the July 11th book signing at Barnes & Noble to kick off the release of The Molech Prophecy, I was Florida bound.

Whitaker House is an absolutely amazing publisher. You don’t often hear authors dedicate much time to talking about their publisher. The topic is usually about themselves, or their titles. And as much as I want to talk about me, and my book, none of it would be possible without a publisher. And when I was fortunate enough to find a home with Whitaker, this became that much more of a reality.

Please remember, I am a first time novelist. No one really knows Thomas Phillips. Few have heard of The Molech Prophecy.

In May, 2008, Whitaker asked me if I’d be interested in attending the International Christian Retail Show (ICRS) in Orlando, Florida in July. Of course, I told them I’d be honored.
What I did not expect was: 1. Flying first class, 2. Limo at the airport to take me to the hotel, 3. The publicist coordinating a TV, radio and a variety of media interviews, 4. Limo to take me back to the airport, 5. First class flight home …

Unreal. Need to say it again. Unreal.

I knew that fellow suspense novelist, Mark Mynheir was going to be at the conference. Over the last several months Mark has provided support, encouragement, endorsements, and friendship. So I emailed Mark telling him it would be such an honor to finally meet him in person.

Unfortunately, Mark was going to be leaving the conference the day I was arriving. It looked like we might have an hour or two where our attendance would overlap. Of course, my flight was a little delayed. The room at the hotel wasn’t ready …

Mark, a Floridian, called me on my cell. He told me he explained to his wife he might be a little late getting home. Why? He wanted to wait for me. We met in the lobby of the Orange County Convention Center. Working as a Homicide detective, Mark stood a few feet taller than me—which was fine, I looked up to him anyway. We were dressed very similarly, with matching gray-blue shirts and ties … which, as he proceeded to escort me around the conference showroom, was pointed out by each and every person he introduced me to.

Like a mentor, Mark spent more than an hour, leading me from booth to booth, giving me the rundown on how the conference worked, what to expect, what not to expect, and how not to let any of it get to me (good and bad). Mark introduced me to some of his author friends—and my jaw, surely stuck in a dropped-open position—consisting of: Robin Jones Gunn, Terri Blackstock, Dave Lampert, Angela Hunt … ah yeah, hence the “O” shaped mouth …

The days I spent in Orlando went quickly. I was at the conference from open to close. In bed by 10:00 … which made me laugh. Who goes to bed at 10:00? This guy right here!

One of the best parts of the convention was seeing the Whitaker House booth. The set-up was wonderful. And better still, I had the opportunity to meet the staff working behind the scenes to help sell my book.

Please, stop by my Myspace and Shoutlife sites to take a look at the photos from this convention.

Take care, and God bless,


First Book Signing for The Molech Prophecy (7/11/08)

Looking back to when I first signed a contract for The Molech Prophecy with Whitaker House (September 2007), it felt like July 2008 would never get here.

Fortunately, editors and in-house publicists, kept me busy through the months.
The work that goes on behind the scenes prior to the release of a novel is, at times, a bit overwhelming. I enjoyed every minute of it, from proofing galleys, soliciting reviews and endorsement blurbs, to coordinating a wide variety of interviews.

It was mid-May when I set up my first book signing for The Molech Prophecy. It’s hard to believe that someone could have a “relationship” with a place, but I am most fond of the Barnes & Noble in The Mall at Greece Ridge Center, in Rochester, NY. There was no question in my mind that my first signing would be held in that store.

The store, or should I say Rebecca—the store’s events coordinator, was thrilled to hold the launch release for The Molech Prophecy.

Despite sending out invites, promoting the signing on sites like Myspace and Shoutlife, and begging friends and family to show, I worried the night before and the day of the signing. (Book signings in the summer are tougher than when held in fall, or winter months—why? Because people are busy. Vacationing. At the Beach. They want to be outside. Soon enough inclement and unpredictable weather will nearly paralyze the western New York area for six months …)
Although my signing started at 7:00 PM that Friday night, I arrived around 6:00. I’m a bit neurotic that way. (Like if I go to the movies and the coming attractions have already started—I have to resist demanding my money back and walking out …).

By 6:30, a few people had arrived. I signed a copy or two, and had a time to spend talking with people. And all the while, my stomach twisted into knots. Where was everyone else? Wasn’t anyone else going to show? I’d casually glance at my watch. 6:33. The event didn’t even start—officially—for another 27 minutes … but still …

At 6:45, my stomach twisted in the opposite direction. I saw people I recognized coming in through the street-entrance doors, stepping out of aisles, coming around corners. The quiet events area’s library-like silence shattered. A line formed.

My ten year old daughter was charged with the responsibility of working as my personal photographer. I sat at the table—which was ridiculous. As each person came up for a copy of the book, I stood, hugged and kissed them. Some people I knew (and some I did not—but it didn’t matter, lol).

I saw people from work, family, friends, Myspace friends, strangers … and two hours later, my hand numb, my gel pen out of ink, I sat back in the wood chair and took a moment to catch my breath.

The day had been more successful than I’d hoped. I felt so blessed that people came to share in my excitement about having a novel published. Blessed.

Please visit either my Myspace site, or Shoutlife site to see a slide show of photos taken by my daughter at the signing.

God bless,


Friday, June 27, 2008

FIRST Wild Card Blog Tour

It has been some time since I've blogged. I apologize. I have been busy behind the scenes, in an attempt to make the upcoming release of The Molech Prophecy as successful as possible.

Today, FIRST Wild Card Blog Tours launches blogs about The Molech Prophecy.

That's pretty exciting. This whole thing is possible because a teenager, Caleb, introduced himself to me on Shoutlife. (He is my #3 friend on the site). He said he writes regular book reviews. He wanted to review a copy of The Molech Prophecy. He also went on to contact my publisher. He told them he wanted to manage a blog tour for the book. And he did a fantastic job!

Tuesday, the book is going to be in stores across the country. That feels both amazing, and makes me a bit apprehensive. My dream is being realized. Tough concept to grasp. I'll say it again, see if it sinks in some. My dream is being realized.

Man, that's scary.

On-line purchased shipped to buyers the last few weeks. Which is cool.

I found the book at for $7.19 -- with Free Shipping.

The book sells for just $9.99 anyway. But $7.19??? That's awesome.

Okay -- I don't want this to be rambling.

I have a ton of on-line interviews that should be popping up on the Internet the next few months. And am generating a host of book signings across Western New York and down into PA. Check my websites for dates/times/locations.

Have an awesome weekend all, and be sure to check out the FIRST Wild Card Blog Tour for The Molech Prophecy!

God bless,


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Lightening Slow

The one thing I have learned is that the publishing world is based on the "Hurry Up And Wait" theory. Much work gets done behind the scenes at a break-neck pace and full of tight deadlines. Edits and re-writes, book cover design, author photos, preparing press releases and media packages, submitting advance review copies to other authors, magazines, newspapers, radio stations, all in the hopes of landing good reviews with sound-bite-like usable endorsement blurbs...

And then you wait.

Once everything is put together and the final copy of the book is decided on, the final text, the final cover, what endorsements to include on the cover, on the inside pages ... and the package is shipped off to press ...

Then you wait.

As the author, now in the waiting period--the work done, the novel at the printers--I wait.

July will be here before I know it. And then, hopefully, I will hit the ground sprinting--selling off as many books as the publisher had printed and force them into a second run.

Just because I am waiting for the actual release of the novel, does not mean--or I am not intending to imply--that I sit idle, waiting.

My work as writer/author is over, for the moment.

But in today's world, a writer must wear many, many different hats.

Today, I wear the hat of a sales/marketing/advertising representative.

My goal? To generate interest in the novel.

If you walk into any bookstores-the first thing you, the consumer, is faced with is ... literally thousands of books to choose from.

Most of these books sit on shelves, spine out.

More than likely, this is where you will find my book--if you are looking for it, that it--sitting on a shelf, in the Christian Fiction section, alphabetically under "P"...

I do not foresee book-dump displays placed strategically at store entrances...That would be awesome. But that type of promotion happens to less than 20% of today's authors. The other 80%+ are like me. Hoping, against odds, that you--the consumer--pass up the well known writers on your venture to the bookstore, because you are hungry for something new. Something different.

And even if you are, why choose my book?

Why, indeed.

So by wearing these hats, everyday I set out to promote my name, Thomas Phillips, and my book, The Molech Prophecy.

How do I do that?

I set up book signings, radio and media interviews, blog tours, myspace site, shoutlife site, blog site ... I lead creative writing classes, teach creative writing to junior high students ...

Not all at once, of course.

But a little each day.

It's all part of the getting ready, while waiting.

July is right around the corner.

Soon, my book will be in stores.

And I will be faced with a limited time period (three months) to impress my publisher with outstanding sales ... that is, if I want to publish more titles with them ...

And since I am a writer, a storyteller, I do want to publish more titles with them ... with anyone.

But sales and name recognition are key.


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Welcome ...

This is my first, official blog.

My name is Thomas Phillips. I am a writer, with a first book due out July 1, 2008. I am anxious, apprehensive, but most of all ... excited!

There is plenty going on. The need to blog is now, suddenly, strong. So ... here I am.

I think this first blog will be kind of bare bones. Facts, and some information. May be dry. But I want to lay down some ground work before doing much else. Seem fair?

My novel, The Molech Prophecy, is about former gang member Tommy Cucinelle, who thought he had left his old life behind when he became a Christian. That's why he's surprised when his pastor asks him to use his old "skills"--finding people who don't want to be found--to locate the church secretary after she mysteriously disappears and the church is vandalized. The police don't have any leads.

Tommy's investigation brings him face-to-face with the unpleasant memories from the past that threaten his new identity, but turmoil is soon the least of his worries. A local Wiccan church is at the heart of the mystery, and Tommy's search uncovers a startling prophecy about child sacrifice to the pagan god Molech. When the missing woman's sister--Tommy's newfound romantic interest--disappears as well, the quest becomes personal.

How does that sound? Good, I hope.

Whitaker House is publishing the book. And I must say, I couldn't be more thrilled. They are an awesome publisher staffed with some highly talented, helpful and caring people. I feel lucky to be a part of their family.

Advance review copies of the book have been mailed out to magazines, e-zines, authors, radio stations and newspapers to gather endorsement blurbs and reviews. So far, it seems, readers are enjoying the story I've told. Here are some endorsements for best selling authors that have made my day:

"A fast-moving and provocative thriller. I enjoyed The Molech Prophecy, and look forward to more from Thomas Phillips." –– James Scott Bell, best-selling author of Try Dying and The Whole Truth

“With a confident debut, Thomas Phillips enters the world of mystery. The Molech Prophecy, like its protagonist, starts off with deceptive simplicity but reveals greater depth with each chapter. Phillips mixes the straightforward style of Brandt Dodson with the evangelistic leanings of Creston Mapes and gives us an inspiring, fast-paced story, set against the spiritual struggle of real life.”--Eric Wilson, author of A Shred of Truth and the upcoming Field of Blood

“The Molech Prophecy is a gripping, heart-pounding read with an incredible plot. Thomas Phillips is a fresh and captivating new voice in Christian fiction.”—Mark Mynheir, homicide detective and author of The Void

I have some book signings, conventions, and radio interviews coming up. I will keep you posted. And I promise to write more, and more intimately in the posts to follow.

If you have questions -- feel free to send me an email.

Take care,