Phoenix Entertainment and Development

Phoenix Entertainment and Development

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Scouting Locations

Next week I'll be on the road back to one of my old stomping grounds; Poughkeepsie, NY.  I will be up there during July 3rd-5th and will be a guest on the Anthony Charles Podcast to promote my new book The Phoenix Blade.  While I'm up there, I will also be scouting areas for the sequel for my detective series.

So I guess the big questions are how do you scout areas and how do you choose the areas to scout?  In my Phoenix Blade series, I could not afford to physically scout all the areas listed in my books.  In that series of books, I used the Internet to scout every location and vehicle.  Thanks to Google and the Internet as a whole for aiding writers with finding generalized details about people, places, and things.

A lot can be said for scouting through the Internet.  However, my personal preference is to view the areas and locations personally.  The Internet can give general details, but you get more intimate details from being there in person.  Minor details can unknowingly impact the feel of your book. 

So how do you choose which areas to scout?

Most of it depends on your story.  First, I would research the area where your story takes place.  This is the most important part of your scouting process.  Without knowledge of the area for your story, there is more room for error; that is unless you are creating a fictional world.  The second thing to do is to use the Internet to find places to scout (this is where the Internet is beneficial).  By searching the web, you can find more locations that you can sort through for your story.  Once you have a handful of locations picked out, you can personally go there to check them out.  Make sure to bring a notepad/notebook, pen, and camera.

When I researched an upcoming book, The Campus Killer, I traveled to the New Paltz/Poughkeepsie areas to look at colleges, towns, and restaurants.  It took my attention to detail to a different level by experiencing the settings first hand.  My writing had creative and general details in the past, but by seeing the areas and taking pictures, I had first had knowledge of how it looked and a reference point to continuously go back to when writing.

Hope this helps.  Stay tuned for more posts coming in the next few weeks.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

My First Book Signing

It was another life goal attained; a milestone that's been reached.  The first book signing for The Phoenix Blade has happened and I am still in a state of awe while tying to find the words to describe such a surreal moment; probably one of the greatest moments in my life.  My family and friends made it incredibly special for me, and I owe each and every one of them a special thank you for not only supporting my dream, but being there for me to celebrate my achievement.

When I first booked the signing with the Book Revue, I was nervous.  I knew it was a shot in the dark and a chance for me to enter the world in which I longed to be a part of.  It was an opportunity to share my work with people that were unfamiliar with my writing and build a bigger audience of readers. 

I counted down the weeks and then days to my book signing; eagerly waiting for that one moment where I could reflect on as another major step in the right direction of my career.  Then I was told I had to make a speech and handle a Q&A session as well.  Instinctively, my brain panicked and tried to build up a wall preventing me from rationally handling the situation.  Thankfully I had several supporters including my future wife, my mother, and my best friends who all gave me the perfect advise.  "Just be you and stop worrying about what you're going to say."  I continued dwelling on it for days, but couldn't think of anything to write down to prepare.  So I did what they suggested; speak from the heart. 

When I entered the building, the nerves disappeared.  I was filled with an energy that I still cannot describe.  But for a fleeting moment, I wasn't the Andrew Hess that used to be shy and quiet.  I was the man I evolved into over the last several years where nothing worried me.  The nervous feelings were replaced by confidence and I was ready to go.  Once my intro was read, my name was called, and the rest was history. 

It took me hours to fall asleep last night.  The air of excitement continued to circulate in my mind.  I wasn't ready for the night to end, but knew it wouldn't be the last time I would feel this way.  This was only the beginning. 

I would like to thank everyone again for coming out to make the night special for me.

In the next month, keep an eye out on here, my fan page or my website for my upcoming Virtual Book Tour with the Virtual Book Tour Cafe, an appearance on the Anthony Charles Podcast, and future events/signings.!/ThePhoenixBlade!/TheRealPhoenix13

Thursday, June 13, 2013


Back in 2010/2011, I ha a vision of where I wanted my life to go.  The first step in the process was to get my first book out.  I pushed hard and sent out nearly a hundred query letters to literary agents; yielding little interest in a brand new writer.  I reached out to a well known author to find out what I needed to do to get my name out there and never heard a reply.  That was the moment I decided if I ever made it in the writing industry, I would never turn my back on any potential writer trying to find their way.  Thankfully I was given advice by my dad's nutritionist about getting into the self publishing world to start my career. 

Fast forward three years and three books later.  I've been working on finding ways for authors to promote their self published works in order to make a name for themselves; trying marketing strategies, book signings, and pushing myself to use more social media.  At the same time, I have been working towards building my company Phoenix Entertainment and Development; a place where writers can find assistance as they learn how to write, self publish, and ways to market your books.  This past week I launched the official website for my company

I urge everyone to check it out and come down to my book signing this Monday June 17th at the Book Revue in Huntington, NY

If you're interested in helping out or interested in learning more about PhoenixED feel free to check out the website or contact me via email.

Monday, June 3, 2013

No Problem: A Rebuttle to CBS

I was watching CBS on a Sunday morning a few weeks ago and heard a man named Bill Flanagan going on a rant about why he has an issue with people saying the phrase "No Problem" instead of saying you're welcome.  Now I can agree that the phrase "No Problem" gets over used and tends to be annoying to constantly hear if uttered on an every other minute basis.  But is it really worth it to get so worked up over that you needed to waste time on TV ranting about why you hate the phrase. 

Before continuing, I would like to provide the correct definition for No Problem.


1. any question or matter involving doubt, uncertainty, or difficulty.
2. a question proposed for solution or discussion.
3. Mathematics . a statement requiring a solution, usually by means of a mathematical operation or geometric construction.
4. difficult to train or guide; unruly: a problem child. 
5. Literature. dealing with choices of action difficult either for an individual or for society at large: a problem play.

In the video, Mr. Flanagan took two examples of using the term "No Problem" that he found to be irritating and annoying.  The first had to do with a former employee who came in late every day.  When he was spoken to about his tardiness, the employee said no problem.  Now in my opinion, this situation is where the term should not be used and the employee was wrong for saying it.  But then Mr. Flanagan said that person was no longer employed by him.  I feel that comment was unnecessary due to it leading the viewer to believe the person was no longer employed due to both his lateness and for using the term.  I can see the point he was trying to make.  However, it almost makes you question if the employee changed his ways and showed up on time or early to work but continued saying "No Problem" in the wrong context, would Mr. Flanagan have fired that employee anyway for just being annoying. 

The second example was about a waitress who asked what kind of water Mr. Flanagan wanted.  He said tap water please in which she replied no problem.  Mr. Flanagan was annoyed by this due to him saying as if there could have been a problem.  This was an example I took issue with.  In my opinion, this is where "No Problem" would be appropriate.  It's not something that an over emphatic emotion of gratitude and was something that was indeed not a problem.  But who knows; there could have been an issue that appeared.  He wanted tap water, and at that very moment there could be an issue in which they could no longer access the tap water or find something wrong with it. 

Now in the video, Mr. Flanagan said using the term "No Problem" is a way to say you have gone out of your way; not to feel indebted.  The examples he used in the video for proper ways to use the term were; stopping your car in the rain to help someone fix a flat tire, lending ten thousand dollars to a friend so the bank doesn't foreclose on their house, and donating your kidney to someone who needs it. 

I understand why Mr. Flanagan feels the term could be used in these examples.  However in my opinion, I would find it more irritating if I thanked someone for doing something that important and just said no problem.  That would make the action seem so unimportant due to the person saying something that is nonchalant.  Now maybe that has something to do with how often the phrase is used; maybe it doesn't. 

Now I can agree with Mr. Flanagan that the term gets overused and that it does have a lot to do with the younger generation misusing and overusing the phrase.  However, I feel that Mr. Flanagan himself did not provide accurate examples of how to use the phrase.

I guess the points I'm trying to make are simple.  The first is that Bill Flanagan has a point in talking about the misuse and overuse of the phrase "No Problem."  However, the examples used are not clear cut right and wrong ways to use the phrase.  In general it comes down to how people perceive the phrase.  I don't think it is something to get worked up over, criticize someone for, chastise someone, or even make a big deal on TV about.