About Phil

Phil Edwards

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I chose that header up there because, as plain as it is, it's what I spend a lot of time looking at.

My name is Phil Edwards and I live in Chicago. Right now, I'm writing and working on the projects below, though in the past I've done time as a journalist, internet marketer, desk clerk, Wal-Mart employee, grocery cart pusher, and weeder. As you can see from the previous sentence, I'll stick with the Oxford comma until the day I die.

Thanks for visiting the site and let me know if you have any questions. If you want to know a few random facts about me, I like running, tennis, and occasionally reading about politics as if I were a true wonk. My favorite ice cream flavor is Cookies and Cream, I believe in a technologically determinist theory of history, and I think being mediocre at different things is as fun and virtuous as being great at others (my mediocrity includes Photoshop, Final Cut, and, I guess, CSS, though I definitely rank below mediocre there).

I don't blog, but you can also get updates on me and my projects through Facebook and Twitter. I'm still figuring out the best way to use those sites, but I'll try to put some free stuff and/or wisdom to make it worth your time.


Trivia Happy

It's taken a lot of work and is hopefully just beginning. Trivia Happy, is a place where you can play trivia with your friends and learn amazing things. I'm doing a lot for it-check the site and my own feeds for more information.

Fake Science 101

The best book of all time. Really.

This fake textbook is 272 full color pages guaranteed to set hearts on fire (only figuratively, based on early data). It's the culmination of about two years of work and I'm very proud of it. Based on the Fake Science site, it's called Fake Science 101: A Less-Than-Factual Guide to Our Amazing World and it's completely worth the seven paragraph subtitle.

Dumbemployed: Hilariously Dumb And Sadly True Stories About Jobs Like Yours

Dumbemployed is a site and a book I've worked on with Matt Kraft. The site was started a couple of years ago and the book is published by Running Press in June 2011. Recently, Warner Brothers TV optioned the TV and film rights.

The project started from a naked interest in creating a "meme" style book and getting a book deal. We were greedy for internet fame and, miraculously, got it. The happy part is that the book we got to do is uniquely fun. It's got charts, graphs, and a ton of funny one liners. In addition, I ended up designing the cover for the book, which was a pleasant surprise.

It's a good bathroom read, gift book for a college graduate, or the perfect document to hide in the darkest corners of your filing cabinet.

Jake Russo Mysteries

My Jake Russo Mysteries Retirement Can Be MurderDeath by Gumbo, Dead Air Can Kill You, The Show Must Go Wrong, and Lights! Camera! Murder! are available on Kindle and in print.

I read the occasional thriller and crime novel. But when it comes to mysteries, I prefer old stories by Agatha Christie to modern day torture puzzles. When I wrote these stories, I wanted to mix the tone of a PG Wodehouse book with light Agatha Christie intrigue.

The conceit behind the series is simple. Jake is a reporter who is low on the totem pole. In each book, he gets transferred to cover a new subculture and the inevitable murder that happens there. In the first book, he covers retirement communities in Florida. In the second, he explores the food scene in New Orleans. The third sees him going to Wisconsin to watch an old time radio show. The fourth is, naturally, set on Broadway. The fifth stays in show-biz, but moves to Hollywood.

Jake isn't a savant—he's a regular Joe who figures out the mystery the same time you do. He has his own emotional journey along the way, as does his cameraman Gary, his girlfriend Mel, and the other people he meets. Of course, humor is a priority throughout (as the cheesy titles indicate).

It's been an incredible pleasure to have a wide range of readers, and the feedback in reviews and emails has been invaluable in making me a better, more careful writer. In addition, I used to think that writers who talked about "watching a character grow" were reveling in cliche. Now, however, I have an appreciation for how fun it can be to see characters change and mature over a series of novels. At the same time, I've learned how to build better mysteries. I hope to follow Jake around for a while.

Snooki In Wonderland

Snooki in Wonderland is a site and parody book available for Amazon Kindle.

I was sitting around with a friend when we started looking through the top free books for Kindle. Alice in Wonderland ranked high, and I wanted to try a mashup. The idea for placing Snooki in the book came almost instantly.

It was a lot of fun to work with the classic John Tenniel images, and I think there are a few gems. In addition, it was a lot of fun to simply read Alice in Wonderland as I edited Snooki in. It's a pretty great book.

I was honored to see Snooki in Wonderland covered on a wide range of websites and in magazines like Time. I don't know if I'll do another mashup, but this one taught me a lot.

Cloud Crash: A Technothriller

Cloud Crash: A Technothriller is a thriller available on Kindle and in print.

It's set in Silicon Valley and stars Cal Stevens, who's a former journalist and present corporate investigator. It packs in conspiracies, globe-trotting, and, of course, a beautiful woman.

It was a lot of fun to write. There's a certain pleasure in writing words like "Area 51" and having them be part of the story. I also had fun writing about technical issues for newbies.

That's all for now. But, of course, there's always more to come...