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Author Q & A

Me

As a self-published author, I am asked a lot of questions by people who are curious in one way or another.  Sometimes, they ask questions due to a desire to become published writers themselves.  But here are a lot of questions that I am asked:

What exactly is my writing background?

I am a former Marine Corps photojournalist who also wrote for the Goldsboro Times newspaper for a short time.  I published my first action thriller novel, 2018: An Uncivil War, in 2013, as well as my comedic short story, The Saint Who Stole Christmas.

What inspired me and inspires me to write and continue writing?

As a teenager, Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels convinced me that writing would be in my ultimate future, though I knew not when and how.  In later life, the works of Tom Clancy and Vince Flynn reignited that passion, pushing me toward my goal of finally becoming a published novelist.

Who are my strongest writing influences?

I’ve already mentioned Ian Fleming, Tom Clancy, and Vince Flynn…these guys were my strongest influences on my action thriller passion.  As for my love of horror, Edgar Allen Poe and Stephen King caught my attention and studious eye.

What are my goals as a writer?

To ultimately live my dream.  Previously, it was to leave a lasting, immortal footprint in the world of literature.  Now that I have accomplished this, my next goal is to become a local celebrity in the state of Alabama, similar in manner of Kathryn Tucker Windham; though my work is more raw than hers was ever meant to be.  My final goal will be to sell enough books that I can live without ever having to work for anyone else ever again.  If I become as successful as Tom Clancy and Stephen King, that is perfectly okay too!

How often do I read, and what do I usually read?

I read frequently, often garnering knowledge and wisdom from writers who have achieved the success that I hope to someday achieve.  Right now, I am reading Stephen King’s collection of short stories, Night Shift.  I’ve also been reading the stories of H.P. Lovecraft of whom’s work I have discovered a new fascination.

How long did it take me to write my first novel, and what all was involved?

For 2018: An Uncivil War, I conducted research into the history of the American Revolution and the American Civil War.  I also poured over numerous gun rights / gun control statistics.  Various interviews had been scheduled and were conducted…all of this in an effort to make my work as realistic and authoritative as possible.  I spent approximately 9 months in the actual writing, but probably more than a year combined with all of the activities mentioned above.

What is the plot synopsis of this novel?

The start of the 2nd American Civil War dawns after the American federal government repeals the Second Amendment (right to bear arms).

How did it sell, and how do I feel about this level of success?

Initially, I had hoped that the strong feelings on the subject of gun rights and gun control would have boosted this novel into best seller status.  But I instead sold between 100 and 150 copies in print and digital formats.  It may not have been a New York Times bestseller, by any means.  But I am surprised to have sold more than just 50 copies!  I am quite pleased with the limited success in which I was blessed.

How much money do I make from my books?

The money I make from my books is certainly nothing to brag over.  Having come from virtual obscurity into the world of book publishing, one cannot expect to make very much money.  With the cost I paid to AuthorHouse to have my book released in print, I operated at a major financial loss.  The biggest gain I have received is from my loyal following of readers.  2018 is blessed with a four-star rating on Amazon and five stars on Barnes and Noble.  So I don’t need money to give me a feeling of accomplishment, though it certainly would never hurt.

What did it take to get 2018 into print?  How do I feel about the publisher?

I had to research a publisher and ended up choosing AuthorHouse.  I had to send them my cover image and book files, and they did all the rest.  The hardest part was the investment to get my work published.  That set me back between $3- and $4-thousand.

I regret the decision to publish with them, though they did an excellent job of book presentation.  I later found out that CreateSpace, through Amazon, offers just as good a product for much less money.

I heard, after the fact, that AuthorHouse exploits new writers; and now I truly believe it.

What other books written by me are available for purchase?

After publishing 2018, I wrote a short story and published it in two different editions (Children’s and Off-Color).  And I’ve been working on my second novel, a horror story called An Interstate Ghost Story: The Girl on the Highway.  Finally, I most recently released a table-top role-playing game called The Sea Dogs where you can create pirate characters and run them through adventurous sea tales.  All of this is available on Amazon.  However, 2018 is available on Barnes & Noble and the AuthorHouse website as well.

What works can readers expect from me in the near future?

I hope to release An Interstate Ghost Story within the next year or so.  However, I am taking my time with this one; attempting to make sure there is no doubt whatsoever that I will have released the best possible product of literature.  And I am also in consideration of releasing a non-fiction book.  But this I must keep under tight wraps for now.

More specifically, what can I divulge about my next work, the horror story?

When more than 30 people die in a massive, horrible accident near Montgomery, Alabama on Interstate 65, the state troopers contact a disgraced celebrity paranormal investigator named Cliff Rodger to investigate this and numerous other previous accidents.  Rumors abound that a ghost known as the Girl on the Highway may be causing most of the accidents between Montgomery and Greenville in the state of Alabama.

Am I planning to write a sequel to my first novel?

My wife is thoroughly pissed off about this, but I refuse to release a sequel until the first novel becomes successful enough to warrant it.  It isn’t because I’m being a spoiled brat throwing a childish tantrum; it’s because I will need to take a trip overseas in order to obtain the realism that I demand in my novels.

Is it true that I am having some physical problems that affect my ability to write?

I have degenerative disc disease in my cervical spine which includes spurring.  These spurs pinch and threaten to sever nerves which allow me strength and coordination in my left hand and arm.  So I now type clumsily with my left hand.  I have recently had an MRI and suspect that it is time for another spine fusion (I’ve already had one titanium plate surgically fused into my neck).

What is my biggest dream as a writer?

My biggest dream as a writer is to be able to successfully sustain the comfort, wellness, and happiness of me and my family, while writing books that the reading public will love, cherish, and remember forever.

What advice can I give to people who wish to become writers?

Don’t!  It is a very tough job filled with tons of competition, some friendly, others not so.  But for those who simply love it like I do, please feel free to contact me at phil.sanderson.writer@gmail.com for some quick free advice.

 

 

 

 

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$2.99 Christmas E-Book!

The Saint Who Stole Christmas (1)

Enjoy a great Christmas short story on e-book, just in time for the big Holiday…for only $2.99! Available in two editions!  Off-Color and Childrens:  http://ow.ly/G7akl

Amazon’s Black Friday Deal on “The Saint Who Stole Christmas”!

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Phil Sanderson is pleased to announce his Black Friday deal on Amazon, taking place from midnight Saturday Nov. 22, 2014 to midnight Saturday Nov. 29, 2014!  For this one week only, running through Black Friday, you will be able to purchase The Saint Who Stole Christmas in e-book format for only $1.99!  That is a savings of almost 35%!

This short story brings the story of Santa Claus into the modern world where Santa is faced with having to cut some financial corners in order to pull off Christmas for nice and naughty children alike.  The story is both witty and humorous and possesses enough substance to be remembered with Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and May’s Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.  Most importantly, the story contains enough seasonal imagery to reignite the spirit of Christmas in even the Scroogiest reader!

The story comes in two editions, which easily covers entertainment for all family members!  The Off-Color Edition has slightly rude, crude, and suggestive humor; while the Children’s Edition is perfectly suitable for those wanting to stay on Santa’s “nice” list.  The e-book is only available on Amazon and normally retails for $2.99.

For more information on these stories, please click on the links in the previous paragraph.  For more information on Phil Sanderson and his literary works, please visit his Official Website.  Merry Christmas to you and your family!

From a Booty Call to a Felony

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I cannot believe what I just saw on the local news.  A local store just got robbed!  No, it was not a grocery store.  Neither was it a dollar store.  Shockingly enough, it was not even a convenience store!  It was an adult store known more or less affectionately in these parts as the “X-Mart”.

When adult stores start getting robbed, you suddenly realize that these are indeed strange times in which we live.  In this case, if the pervatrator ends up getting apprehended, the words stiff sentence are going to sound like more than just words that got stuck in someone’s throat!

Our local news station showed camera footage of the crime as it happened.  The cashier opened the register and stepped away from it.  And the robber reached over across the counter, grabbing the cash out of it prior to fleeing the scene.

Several things bug me about this crime.  First of all, what ended up happening to the money after the guy got it out of the register.  I think this is the first time this law-abiding citizen has ever wished for money to have become laundered after a particular robbery.  Secondly, you have probably seen similar footage where the clerk fights off the robber.  If this would have happened, what in the world would the clerk have wielded against the robber?  And is it anything that would have actually intimidated the robber instead of making him laugh his ass off as he ran to the getaway vehicle?  Then we have rights for criminals!  If the guy had bolted out of the store and slipped on a strange substance, could he turn around and sue the business for not maintaining safe conditions?  Lastly, what expression came across the faces of the officers who responded to the call.  And even more importantly, what expression came across their faces as they entered the business?

Realistically, the person who committed this crime more than likely came in at one point or another to stake out the area and plan his actions before acquiring his booty.  I’ve worked in standard retail environments where you can look for suspicious behavior from customers.  For example, if you are an employee who sees someone paying more attention to you than the products on your shelves, then there is a chance that this stranger may be waiting for you to turn your back.  I guess if the products on your shelves happen to be activated and vibrating furiously enough that they are falling off said shelves, you know you have a potential turd in the punchbowl if the fellow is still watching you!  And this is only compounded if the person’s saggy pants are vibrating and / or buzzing as he exits the business.

So I guess there was nothing to alert the employees prior to the robbery.

One thing that many business establish to deter this type of criminal activity is use of environmental measures that make robbery an unattractive option.  Anyone driving by the X-Mart at any time of day will clearly see that — judging by the outside of the store — none of these measures seem to be in place.  For example, several businesses that I managed kept all windows near the cash registers clear.  This was so that police could potentially see any robberies as they occur with no promotional items or other signage in the windows obstructing the view.  There is nothing like this for the X-Mart.  Because there are no windows allowing people on the outside to see inside the store.

So what can an adult store owner do to ensure a robber-unfriendly environment?  It’s not likely they can create and strategically place blow-up security dolls.  And if they could, wouldn’t these be distracted by the inflatable companion dolls with a permanent “O” etched upon their willing faces?  Besides, no good can possibly come from creating “Adam” for “Eve”.

All of this has to be daunting for owners of adult stores.  And my heart, in some strange way or another, goes out to them.  For I don’t know where the answer lies, when business goes from a booty call to a felony.