Tuesday, April 2, 2013

My Top 10

I recently talked music with a friend. I mentioned a few artists I enjoyed, ones they had never heard of. Giving a song title, I referred my friend to YouTube so they could listen to one of my all-time most favorite songs.

Which they did.

Which they ended up becoming emotional over.

Which made me feel like, wow – maybe by sharing my taste in music with someone, I’d turned them on to an artist they might never have known, otherwise.
That got me thinking. Why not blog a Top 10 List.

But not about music. Not for this blog, anyway. That would be too easy, and expected. Especially with the opening paragraphs. Nope. I decided this blog, this Top 10 List, will deal with movies.
It’s kind of funny. Yes. I am a movie fanatic. Some fanatics I’ve met rationalize movies, and pick them apart and try to analyze and over-analyze, re-evaluate and analyze again. Sure, I’ve got director’s I prefer, or like, or have heard of. Same goes for actors and actresses. But when I judge a movie, I use three simple rules:

--Did I feel the urge to text or play on Twitter during the movie?

--Did I mentally create a shopping list of items I’d need on the way home during the climax?

--Could I remember what movie I’d seen while walking to my car in the parking lot?

Pretty standard, probably not much different from criteria used when you judge movies. I mean, I have a few other things. Was it visually stunning, purposely grainy, humorous, scary, sexy – as meant, or accidental.

The biggest thing I ask of myself – Did I like it.

That’s really all that matters. Truth is I like most movies. I can find the good in them, even if I have to dig some to get at it. Maybe I can see what the writer tried to have happen, or what the actor interpreted as his character’s motivation, or the simple fact the best was done with the shoelace budget available.

I’ve rambled a bit here. I’m sort of sorry. Sort of not. Regardless, it’s time to move forward. Below, behold, My Top 10 Favorite Films*:

10. National Treasure

9. Raiders of the Lost Ark (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Lost Crusade, Crystal Skull)

8. Jurassic Park

7. Reservoir Dogs

6. Matchstick Men

5. Donnie Brosco

4. Goodfellas

3. Toy Story (I, II, III)

2. Star Wars (I, II, III, IV, V, VI)

1. Lord of the Rings (The Hobbit, The Two Towers, Return of the King)

* I count trilogies as 1 Movie (or any cluster of films under the same title)

Let me tell you, coming up with just ten movies is tough. Very. What I’d like is to see YOUR list of top ten movies. Or argue with me about mine. Leave comments, or email me.

And next time, maybe I’ll do books, or pizza toppings. Vacation spots or types of potato chips … I don’t know yet. Could even be music. (Anyone wondering what artist/song I was referring to in the opening paragraph? Anyone care?)

As always, share the blog, post it, email it, Facebook it, Tweet it!

Sincerely and Always,
Phillip Tomasso

Pulse of Evil Book Trailer

Pulse of Evil For Sale

Other titles for sale for Kindle

Other titles for sale for Nook

The Molech Prophecy for sale on Nook/Paperback -- writing as Thomas Phillips

Monday, March 25, 2013

New Blog Location

I am using my website's blog from now on.

Please visit that site to stay current with my Rambles.

Thank you!

Click for New Website Blog:


Phillip Tomasso

Thursday, February 7, 2013

As Luck Would Have It

I once heard, or read, or found out, or someone told me —but am far too tired to research— that when a type or genre of book is popular, it’s already too late to attempt jumping onto that proverbial bestselling bandwagon. Examples that come to mind, at this moment anyway, are books like Harry Potter, Twilight, The Hunger Games and TV shows like The Walking Dead. Because, right now, utopia / dystopian worlds, such as the one in Divergent and The Maze Runner (not to mention, once again, The Hunger Games), are toping bookseller charts, movie theaters and DVD rentals – guess what? That market is saturated.

If you are working on a utopian / dystopian, apocalyptic and/or supernatural manuscript, might want to stop. Publishers will be mailing out form rejection letters (or emailing them). This may include vampires and zombies – it’s what I’m thinking, same boat. It’s just a guess, a gut feeling.

Think of it this way. You write the manuscript. Let’s say that takes roughly a year. Add six months for some re-writes and edits. Maybe you already have an agent. So we can skip that. How long might an agent take to find a publisher? For the sake of argument, let’s be generous and add another six months (uh-huh). Publisher reviews the material in bits and bites, eventually offers a contract (we will add 3 months for that process). You get assigned an editor. More re-writes. And fifteen months later your book is in stores (or available for Kindle/Nook uploads). Not bad. What year is it then? From start to book-on-a-shelf? I really don’t know, like, more than 3 years has passed? I can’t do the math. Not this late at night.

But I mean, hey, still write the story. Finish it if you must. I don’t want to discourage. Point is it might be a tough sell. Probably will be. Just saying.

Nothing new under the sun. I know. I’ve heard that, too. But think cycles. Goes around. Comes around. When Katniss and Thomas and Beatrice and Rick Grimes have lost their flare, their popularity … the next wave of fiction will strike.

It will.

The question is –you ready for it— what type, what genre will be the newest, hottest fad?

I remember when my oldest son was little. Christmas was around the corner. The craziest toy was the latest craze: Tickle Me Elmo. I’ll admit it was kinda cool. But you couldn’t get one. No one expected it to be so popular. Stores were unable to keep shelves stocked. Think Tyco knew what they had on their hands when they first produced the battery-filled doll?

Doubt it.

Hate to say it, but I’d put my money on luck.

Movies. Books. Same thing.
It’s about timing. Delivery. But mostly luck.

I’ve bought toys I’ve despised, watched blockbusters I’ve hated, read bestsellers with sloppy plots and cardboard characters and thought – what am I doing so wrong if this is a bestseller?

I can’t predict what the next hot genre will be. But I will let you in on a secret. I have shoved into a sock drawer my zombie work-in-progress, and am diligently at work on something … fresh, new. Something that is hopefully different, but relevant, and will be holding my breath to see if my gamble pays off.

It might. Might not.

With fingers crossed (and breath held), we will have to wait and see what genre pulls into the forefront. Leads the pack. Takes the wheel . . . in the months (that follow the apocalyptic) storylines.

Me? Who am I but a midlist author. Still, I’ve got my money on ... Ha—I’m not telling!

Phillip Tomasso

PS … Check out my new website: http://www.philliptomasso.com/
Pulse of Evil Book Trailer

Pulse of Evil For Sale

Other titles for sale for Kindle

Other titles for sale for Nook

The Molech Prophecy for sale on Nook/Paperback -- writing as Thomas Phillips

Sunday, January 13, 2013

What's In A Name?

When I wrote my first book, MIND PLAY, I started more trouble than expected. I used the first names of family and friends for each of my characters. That wasn’t the bad part. That wasn’t where the problem started.

The problem, you see, came when I informed people of what I’d done.

Unless you are James Patterson (who has ten million books released every year – that he does not write), you cannot write books fast enough to use the names of all your family and friends. Look at my name. Tomasso. Know what that is? Know what that means? Italian. Ever see a small Italian family? I’ve got more aunts and uncles and cousins than Stephen King has fans. See what I’m saying, eh-oh, oh-eh.

Anyway. I try to do my best. I try to incorporate the first names of as many people as I can. The thing is, sometimes, those just aren’t the names I want for my characters. Believe it or not, I put thought into the characters. And they become real to me. I look up the meanings of names. I picture what they look like in my mind. And if they don’t look they’d be named “Jane Doe” because my Aunt Jane Doe is on my butt about using her name, then I can’t in good conscience name that character “Jane Doe.” It won’t work for me. It would shatter the person/character I’d created.

My Uncle Bill used to come to every book signing I had in Rochester. And at each new book signing he’d ask me when I was going to use his name. Finally, I’d sold the manuscript of a novel where I’d used his name, his full first Italian name – Abello (“Bill”). His character was a Mafia Don in the story.

When Uncle Bill got up to the front of the line, he handed me a copy of my book to sign for him. And, of course, he asked, “So, when are you going to use my name in a book?”

So I told him about being a Mafia Don.

You saw it in his face. He was excited. He asked me, “What’s the name of the book?”

I said, “Pigeon Drop.”

He grimaced. “What’s that? That’s crap.”

To this day, I am not sure if he was seriously mad, or just being funny. We Tomassos’ have an odd, peculiar, sense of humor.

My first book was released in 2000. My ninth, Sounds of Silence, will be released later this year – and you know what? I still have not used all the names of family and friends as characters in the stories written.
At work tonight, 2013 – it’s no different. Only, my friends are more aggressive about what they want. Crystal wants me to use her name. Not her last name. Her first name, and … get this – to make the entire novel about her. (You may not realize it – but it was Crystal’s inspiration that inspired my last blog, First Dates & Red Robin Yummm … ).

My point?

There isn’t one. (Is there ever with me?) Except, maybe … be patient. If I can use your name, I will. Promise.

More times than not, I am using your personality. You just may not be smart enough to recognize it’s you you are reading about.


Take care,

Phillip Tomasso

PS … Check out my new website:

(Still under construction)

Pulse of Evil Book Trailer

Pulse of Evil For Sale

Other titles for sale for Kindle

Other titles for sale for Nook

The Molech Prophecy for sale on Nook/Paperback -- writing as Thomas Phillips