The truth is I don’t like to write about myself except in columns and fiction, but I have posted stories out there. One of my favorites is in a blog I used to write reviewing iPad apps. I let the .net domain expire, but you can click the “x” in the warning and still read the story in the review.
In fact, quite often my reviews would involve long anecdotes about my childhood which were elaborations (often embellished, as they should be) on my childhood.
Usually I prefer bogus biographies, such as the one in my current novel, Cigerets, Guns & Beer, which you can find profiled on http://www.theindiespotlight.com.(third one down list) You see, I was a pitiful child born to an itinerant Baptist minister who was himself the son of an itinerant Baptist minister who was also the son of an itinerant Baptist minister who fled from Europe to avoid persecution at the hand of his father who was a prominent Catholic Bishop who was the son of a Pope.
As you might guess I was raised on table scraps and dogma, with no social skills whatsoever. This meant I was too shy to introduce myself to girls and victimized by the jocks in gym class who laughed at the Bible I was required by my faith to carry in my gym shorts underneath my jock strap so I wouldn’t be tempted to evil.
The girls would laugh as they chased me naked from the shower into the girls’ locker room, naked and clutching my Bible to my jewels, the one thing I was man enough to keep the jocks from taking away. But that didn’t stop my father from a Biblical tongue lashing every night at home, flaying my conscience with verse after verse about honoring thy father and modesty and plucking my eye out to avoid temptation.
So you can see why I would rather lock myself in a room and write fictional stories than actually expose my tender psyche to readers who might mock me and expose me once again as I was exposed as a child.
I wrote books so I wouldn’t have to admit I was too shy to date girls. Even after I was in Baptist camp and Donna Sheerer, the girl my parents told me I should never hang around with, met me after services on a hot July night when my father preached a particularly fiery sermon on heavy petting being the gasoline on the fire of temptation and then leading us with an invitation hymn “Oh, why not tonight” and said to me “Well, Phillip, why not tonight?”
I wrote books but I was too shy to send them out to publishers and this went on until retirement, even though I wrote professionally for a living. I wrote advertising copy and for web sites and even technical manuals. Then I realized I could publish eBooks and so my son and I decided to start publishing the novels we wrote (and I rewrote and polished and rewrote) and never did anything with to start a college fund for my granddaughters.
I have no idea if he will get off his ass, but my books are up and I’m serious about publicizing Cigerets, Guns & Beer.
I spent years and thousands of dollars going to conventions and doing agent interviews and doing everything they said and in the end the message I got was, even if we publish your book you’re still going to have to spend the money and sell it yourself.
One editor at Doubleday told me my novel Raising Hell was one of the funniest books she had ever read and that I would probably never find a publisher willing to market it.
So I decided in retirement to go the eBook route.
I converted them to Pages on my Mac and used the styles to format the Headings with HTML headings with “h1” for the chapter heads (this was the most important part). Word is a pain for everything but Kindle. I exported as an eBook and created accounts with iTunes, Kindle and Nook.
My marketing currently is working my way through the Goodreads listings to find review sites willing to review or post Cigerets, Guns & Beer.
Cigerets, Guns & Beer (2014)
Dodd breaks up a convenience store robbery on his way through the tiny Texas town of Sweet Water Falls Texas. What’s the thanks he gets? The sheriff won’t let him leave, the car lot can’t find the parts for his vintage Mustang and he seems caught in a rivalry between women looking for some new blood.
It seems a family named Dodd were killed robbing the bank in the forties and a half million dollars was never found. Everyone thinks Dodd returned to find the missing money and no one intends to let him leave until he recovers the missing money and maybe, just maybe, a long lost flying saucer.
The Worst Noel (2012)
The only innocent soul in hell is sent to save a small town church and its century-old christmas pageant. But Pilgrim knows that if Lucifer wants the church saved, it can’t be good.
A holiday novelette from the author of Raising Hell in the tradition It’s a Wonderful Life. Only this devil will never earn his horns.
Raising Hell 2012
Pity poor Lucifer. He rules hell with a vice grip. Demons and damned scatter at the sound of his foot steps. The Supreme Butt In hasn’t pestered him in eons. Lucifer’s future looks perfect, pitch black, until an administrative error sticks him with an innocent soul—an overweight optimist who calls himself Pilgrim and who believes he must be in hell to do good.
Lucifer never considers sending him back. Why waste a second chance to corrupt an innocent soul? He orders his subordinates to torture, degrade and humiliate Pilgrim until he promises to become evil if only it will ease the pain. Unfortunately, Pilgrim makes the best of the worst possible experiences. Always polite and well-mannered, he makes Pollyanna seem like a prophet of doom. Even worse, the damned start catching on, and set about making hell into the most enjoyable place of everlasting torment they can.
Lucifer can’t let Pilgrim continue to wreak happiness, but he can’t send him back untainted, either.
When God arrives with a deadline for Pilgrim’s return, he enlists fellow fallen angels Screwtape, Azazel and the gender morphing Mephistopheles in a plot to corrupt Pilgrim’s soul before the deadline expires.
Poems, Parables & Prayers for the Third Millennium (2001)
“Often hilarious and always thought provoking, POEMS, PARABLES and PRAYERS delivers a cure for rigid interpretations of faith. The poems explore our modern experience of the divine with metaphors from the office, urban living, and even modern science, while steering clear of dogma and the impulse to evangelize.”
Harmon Place author Joe Hoppe describes the poems as “an honest, intelligent and, above all, absolutely heart felt attempt to not only understand, but rejoice in the presence of God in the 21st Century.”
POEMS, PARABLES and PRAYERS features the innovative photography of Virginia artist Beth Beck, images that Washington City Paper art critic Louis Jacobsen hailed as “tangible relics of established religions… infinitely more mystical than just another Sunday sermon.”
Both skeptics and believers will embrace the vision that Award winning poet Albert Huffstickler* calls “reverent. A book of passion and humanity. Phillip Stephens at his best, which is very good.”
*author of Walking Wounded and Working on My Death Chant.
(This book is out of print but I have copies)
Because my mobility is limited after years of crippling beatings I largely am confined to home now where I spend time socializing rescue cats and enjoying films on my Apple TV. Film is a serious love and I enjoy foreign films, especially those of Andrei Tarkovsky, Goddard and Buñuel, as well as Bollywood and Hong Kong.
GDIMonday (the site I created to promote Raising Hell)
AskTabby (short lived blog by my cat)
BPKBlog Righteous Indigestion (currently inactive, but you can catch old posts)
Books available from: