After publishing Angel with a Broken Wing last Summer, my next thought was… what do I do now? Go to the beach?
After much rumination, I decided to write another book. I wanted to create a thriller/detective novel that took place near Philly. Should I try to make the story inspired by real events?
I also wanted to make it about a couple of guys that were friends and decided to go into business together.
Alex Hunter and Scott Appel are two ex-investment brokers turned private investigators. Burned out from the competitive sales environment of buying and selling stock, they open the Watchman Detective Agency in Camden, New Jersey.
During an unbearable heatwave, the guys are caught up in a bizarre case. The Camden Strangler, as the media call him, has been murdering prostitutes in the area.
It’s a hard-boiled police procedural, using the classic Hitchcockian premise of the common man getting caught up in extraordinary circumstances. I wanted to explore some of the darker elements of life but seen through the eyes of lighthearted unique characters. I also wanted something with a shorter, timeframe than my previous book.
Below the Wheel takes place over two weeks in the lives of the characters.
I hope to finish it in the next few months.
Planned Release Date: June 22, 2021
Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.
Can we talk numbers for a moment before I get to the good stuff?
Last year in 2019 we had 24,000 visitors and 43,000 page views.
In 2020 we had 93,000 visitors and over 133,000 page views!
Here’s where we are as of this writing. Over the last 5 years, we’ve had over 145,000 visitors to the site, over 226,000 page views, and 2,315 subscribers! I can’t believe my good fortune. Our biggest market is obviously the US, but the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, India, and Germany are not far behind.
Phicklephilly is read in over 200 countries globally every day!
Thank you all!
Did you know there’s a Language Translation widget on the homepage? It’s really increased my global reach, and I like that people everywhere in the world can now enjoy my stories in their native tongue. Phicklephilly can be read in any language with a simple click of a button! (Now you have no excuse not to read my blog!)
I started this blog back in the Fall of 2016 with a single post on a Monday about a date I went on. After writing it, I thought… How the heck am I going to come up with something for next week? But I wrote something else and was on my way. It was a very long and slow progress in the beginning. (The only way to become a writer is to simply write!)
Then I’d do an update on the occasional Wednesday. Then came Tales of Rock. Then Crazy Dating Stories from my past. What followed was Dating and Relationship Advice. What was once a weekly thing, has grown to a daily forum!
I think the greatest thing that came out of 2020 was the publication of my first work of fiction, Angel With A Broken Wing. You can get that here:
Here’s where we’ve been this year.
Sadly, Sun Stories are finished. I no longer moonlight at the tanning salon, so there simply aren’t any new stories to write. But the good news is, you can read every story ever written and a whole lot more in my book, Sun Stories: Tales From A Tanning Salon, available on Amazon! At 720 pages, it’s my longest and most lurid work ever.
I’m almost out of gas on these stories. They’ve been fun to recount, but there are only so many in my memory. I’m sure there’ll always be some crazy story to tell based on who I am, but for the most part, they’ve been exhausted at this point. I’ll eventually tell the tales of my young life in Philly and New Jersey with some legendary people, and there are still some from my time in California in the early 80s, but beyond that, not much is left.
But, you can read all of them in 3 volumes on Kindle or acquire the entire collection in, Crazy Dating Stories – Anthology!
I really enjoyed writing about the journey on the road to Los Angeles back in those days. I think I did justice to the trip itself, but I know there’s so much more to tell. I still have more stories to write, but they’ll no longer be running every Friday anymore. I’ll probably write a few more and run them on Saturdays. I’ll compose them as the memories surface, but I’ll write them when the mood strikes me. I promise they’ll be interesting, but for now, I need to focus on the things that are happening in my life right now. (So, they’re not going away, just published a bit less.) I recently reconnected with an old girlfriend from back in 1983, so that story will surface at some point.
This was a monthly series where I collected funny, crazy dating profiles from online dating sites. Frankly, I don’t really use those sites anymore and got tired of collecting, cutting, and pasting all of that nonsense into my blog. So they’re also sadly dead on this site. You can always go back and read the old ones. They’re pretty funny!
Phicklephilly the Podcast
I’ve done a few of these on Spotify and enjoyed making them. If I have time I’d love to do a podcast series about a former love of my life, Michelle. I still miss her friendship and would like to create a kind of audiobook type thing so you can hear my stories in my own voice. I’d also like to have guests on and interview interesting people about a myriad of different subjects. Please stay tuned, this is new ground for me and any feedback is always welcome! But, it’s been a crazy year and I’ve been so busy creating new content and publishing to sit down and do the podcast. I’m not ruling it out, but it’s resting on the back burner for now.
She was my girlfriend over 10 years ago. I still sometimes think about her, and you can read her series on Phicklephilly from 2016-2017. Originally there were only about 15 chapters but it ended up being 24 based on events and time. But I assure you, Michelle is not coming back. I miss her and wish her well, but it is what it is. There will be no more Michelle stories.
Anyway, let’s talk about what’s coming up in 2021.
Dating and Relationship Advice
This series began back in 2017. I would publish content on the weekends. It just seemed like a natural progression for the blog to take. I wrote about dating and relationship tales from my own life, and thought, why not give a little advice to help others?
It was okay for a while, but then a friend of mine was going through a difficult separation from his wife and I wanted to help. I, of course, rallied around him to assist. But I also thought, what if I try to write something every day that references dating and relationship guidance? I’ll do it every day for 30 days and he can read it, and it’ll help acclimate him to the new dating world after being off the market for 12 years.
Well, that turned into 90 days. Then I simply pushed on and kept researching and writing, and before I knew it, it became a daily thing.
But… after a year I realized he was too busy to read it and it felt like a waste of my time. I also wanted to focus on the things I wanted to write about in my own life. I was tired of having to edit 14 posts for over 3 hours every Sunday night, just to be ready to publish for the upcoming week’s material.
But then something magical happened.
My daily traffic doubled, and then tripled!
I liked that very much. But after a year and a half of that I decided around the end of the third quarter of 2019 I was sick and tired of writing dating and relationship advice every day. I decided to stop doing it by year-end and focus on stories that were exclusively about my life experiences from then on.
But… it got to be about a month later and I realized that dating and relationship advice had become the foundation of the blog itself. It seemed people loved reading them and always enjoyed the content, and commented to let me know that it was helping them in their daily lives. Some of them have become the most popular posts ever and are read every day!
So… Happy 2021! I’ll continue to try to bring you the best and most interesting dating and relationship content I can for at least another year. (Knowing me, I’ll probably never stop writing about the subject because there’s so much to tell!)
Thank you for all of your words and support. Dating and Relationship Advice is here to stay!
Tales of Rock
I still love researching and writing this column. As a musician and a fan of music, it’s fun to dig up these stories about the musicians we all love and hate. They’ll continue to run every Sunday through 2021. I’ve also added another feature entitled, The Best Band You Never Heard. It’ll run on the first Sunday of every month and introduce you to just that. Great bands, you may never have heard about that rock! Tales of Rock is here to stay!
I have a new series that happens on the first Saturday of every month entitled, His & Hers, that I write with my friend Jackie. Readers send us dating and relationship questions and we answer them. If you have a question you’d like us to address, go to the Contact tab on my homepage and hit me up!
Future Posts and Series
Due to the pandemic and not being able to go out and make new stories, I’ve turned my thoughts inward. I’ve written several stories from my past. I think you’ll find them entertaining. I’m going to try to publish one story every other Tuesday in 2021. It’ll be all-new tales from my past life. I mean, if I do get out and something happens, I’ll definitely write about it, but I think these could become a future book.
I recently started writing a series entitled, The Worst, Creepiest & Annoying Songs of the 70s. It’ll include just that. I loved digging out these songs, and as the series progresses, the songs will get worse and worse! The series should be around 7 parts and run on Tuesdays when there isn’t new story content.
I’ve recently written another 7 part series entitled, Back The Tracks, about my childhood memories of where my friends and I used to play. That series will begin on January 7th and run every Thursday.
I also have a 9 part series about the band, Aerosmith starting In March. I know everything’s already been written about that band. They were always my favorite growing up, so I decided to write about MY experience with that group. Where I was and what was going on in my life through the years as each of their studio albums were released. Should be a fun ride! That series will begin on March 4th and run every Thursday through the end of May.
In May I’ll begin another series entitled, Hunt’s Pier. It’s about an amusement pier in Wildwood, New Jersey. It spans over 60 years and should be a solid tale. That series should run every Thursday through July.
After that, I need to finish writing a series about a woman who was my girlfriend back in 1984. It was a unique relationship that’s full of surprises. As I said, I’ve been writing about the past until I can get out and start socializing again. So I have some good stories to keep you all entertained until then. The series is called, Betty Ann and will run through the summer to October. I think you’ll dig it.
New book: Below The Wheel
This is a hard-boiled detective story I’ve been working on after Angel with a Broken Wing. It takes place in Camden, New Jersey. Alex Hunter and Scott Appel are private investigators who get caught up in the case of a serial killer. With a bit of luck, I’ll finish it and hopefully publish it in the Spring of 2021.
The core formula of Phicklephilly has always been my personal experiences here in Philadelphia. Although Dating and Relationship Advice has become the foundation of the blog that carries it forth, I believe the stories about my life lie at the center of its existence.
I live a quiet and private life now but have always believed in absolute transparency in the words that I write here. I have no illusion as to who, or what I am in this world. I’m not ashamed of anything I’ve done, and it’s all from the heart. But, let’s face it, because of the pandemic I can’t go out in the city and go on any dates anymore, so I’ve begun writing stories from my past. But, if things return to normal this year we can all get back out there.
There’s more, but this is the direction I’m going in for this blog.
Other than that I’ve been leading a pretty quiet and uneventful life. I like to write and stay busy. I feel like old Ben Kenobi from Star Wars, Episode IV- A New Hope. Not Obi-Wan out fighting the Empire, just old Ben hanging out in his little house watching Netflix.
Sometimes I feel like all of my memories are here on phicklephilly and scattered in a bunch of letters and photo albums in my house. I need to get all of those memories onto the page!
But… I’m still alive and well, and I’m sure there’ll be some new adventures I’ll explore in this brand new year. It’s going to be okay everybody. We have a new President and we’ll all pull together like we always do as a nation and go forward.
Thank you again for reading Phicklephilly loyal readers!
Onward and upward into The Roaring ’20s!
Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.
I was working at a local media company here in Philadelphia. One of my advertising clients was a tanning salon. I became friendly with the owner. He was always complaining about his staff. I asked if I could start moonlighting there for some extra income.
He immediately hired me. One shift became two, then three, and within a month or so, I became full time. I was tired of working at the media company where I was currently employed. A publication that was no longer relevant in this city. Print was basically dead… but tanning salons were hanging by a thread.
But I enjoyed working there. It was a fun job. I met a lot of great people during my time there. But with every job, there’s always challenges… and temptations.
Sun Stories: Tales from a Tanning Salon, takes you on a sunny, and sometimes dark journey of my time working there. It’s filled with funny, unique, and sometimes cringe worthy tanning stories. But there were other forces at work there. What began as an easy part time gig, slowly evolved into a story filled with love, obsession, sex, and misadventure.
When I was editing Phicklephilly 2, I had a revelation. I realized that Phicklephilly 2 was all about the relationship I was in with my girlfriend, Cherie. The love affair, the passion, and the infidelity of that glorious celebration of two people coming together.
But, I looked at Sun Stories, and saw that it ran parallel to Phicklephilly 2. It was a complete documentation of my work life during that period. Phicklephilly 2 was about my relationship with Cherie, and Sun Stories was my work life.
They’re both happening at the same time. I have to release them together.
That’s my whole life between 2016 and 2018. It’s everything. I have to release them both.
Cherie. I loved her. But after Michelle and Annabelle, I was now armed with how to navigate my future relationships. Secure myself and see what happened. I’d never enter into another relationship without my armor on.
I was working at the media company that was the last cool paper in the city. When I think about going to that publication, I think of Ronnie James Dio. He once said that when he joined Black Sabbath to replace Ozzy Osbourne, he called it, the second coming… or going, of Black Sabbath.
That’s how it felt when I joined this dying publication. I loved all of the people I worked with there, but knew the paper was doomed. It’s greatest days had come and gone. I only did it because I was about to be fired from the start up where I was working. I had such high hopes for what I was going to build with that little start up. The money was great, and I’m forever grateful for that. But they never followed through with the investors to build it out into a national site.
That site is dead now.
It was heartbreaking for me to leave them, but I’m sure the owner was relieved he no longer had to pay me. Why did he never follow through? It makes no sense. I guess I’ll never know. We could have built something wonderful. I jumped to a local free publication and made a go of it. That old publication was in a state of flux, and the changes that unfolded for that sweet paper destroyed the very thing it once was. I worked hard at what I’m good at. Acquiring accounts and building the business.
But the writing was on the wall. They had brought in a fool to run the daily operations. He systematically destroyed the advertising department at the paper. Can you imagine that? The guy gets a job to grow a struggling business and all he knows how to do is ruin it.
He did that. All of the meetings. The Monday morning kickoff meeting. The Wednesday Sales Meeting. The Thursday One on One. He should be horse whipped. He broke the spirit of everybody who worked there.
There are no clients in any of your foolish meetings you silly asshole.
How could he be such a failure as a leader when he seem like such a nice guy?
My father passed away, and I was fed up. I was the only sales guy on the floor. Rocco was a fixture and an account rep. He can’t sell. The new manager brought in a couple of retards, and I could see there was no future there. The place was a rotten husk.
It kind of sucks, because back in the day, I LOVED that publication and the CITY PAPER. They were god to me. If you wanted to see what was up in Philly, they were the papers you grabbed. They were in honor boxes around the city. I would always read them every week. Everything I needed to know was in those sweet papers.
But, here I was working at this anachronism. It was over. My daughter will never touch a newspaper. It’s over. It’s been over since 2008. Print is dead.
Oh, but here we go…
Tanning is dead too.
I had a client who actually spent money with me to advertise his brand. I did my best for him. I believed in his products and services. I gave my all. I came up with creative ideas because I cared. I wrote killer copy for his ads. I did what I’m good at.
I liked it so much, I went to work there to escape the dungeon of selling print advertising in a paper whose epitaph had already been written.
But I had no idea it would open a flower I had never seen before.
When I started writing Phicklephilly back in May of 2016, I never realized how much it would grow and flourish as I went forward. It began as an earnest effort to start writing again. After a few false starts through the summer, I finally decided that if I was going to start writing again, I should stop talking about it and just do it.
It began like most creative works. Slowly. Once I published my first post, I thought; how am I going to do this every Monday? I had no followers and no exposure anywhere. Instead of worrying about that, I decided to dig in and start to tell stories from my recent past. But since then it’s grown exponentially. It’s a dot com now and has hundreds of thousands of page views. I’ve monetized the site and secured advertisers that generate revenue to support my work. It’s been a lot of fun!
In the beginning, my inspiration was a server named Maria who worked at a local restaurant. I sort of had a crush on her but it never became anything. But it was enough to get me writing again. When I met her I had already been in Philly for almost ten years.
My first relationship with Michelle had only lasted about three years before she left me. She was approaching age thirty and the alarms were going off in her head to get married and make babies. I had already been married and divorced years before that and had a daughter. I wasn’t going down that painful and expensive road again. The odd thing about my relationship with Michelle was, it was the first time I had a girlfriend that after we broke up, stayed friends with me. We were best friends. Isn’t that the key to all successful and loving relationships?
Michelle reconnected with her former high school boyfriend. Normally that never works but I think this time it might. I think Michelle broke up with him, left Delaware and came to Philly because the guy wasn’t on the road to success. I think Michelle needed to explore the world a bit. She did that for a while and then met me. I was new and different and we had the time of our lives together in the city. But what neither of us realized was that was all we really were. A couple of people who loved the city and it’s nightlife. The drinks flowed and the laughter ensued. But once we got an apartment and moved in together it was the beginning of the end. We didn’t know it at the time, but domestic life never suited our relationship. We were best friends who liked the social excitement of going out, and being a deadly couple in the city. Once the adventure ended it was over.
We tried it for a while, and did all of the things that couples do. Celebrate the holidays, birthdays, family stuff, and all of the other grinding aspects of domestic life. But we just got to a point where Michelle realized I wasn’t going to marry her and give her kids. We remained friends for several years after that until she moved to California in 2013 to be with her former boyfriend. He had become the man she had hoped he’d be many years ago. She married him, and at the time of this writing has a baby daughter. So it all worked out for her. She achieved the American dream.
I on the other hand started dating Annabelle in 2013. Annabelle is a failed actress and photographer. She makes her living shooting head shots and weddings. The reason things failed with Annabelle was our obvious age difference, and absolute opposite lifestyles. I was the corporate sales guy, and she lived in a world surrounded by theater people. It was like oil and water, and the only thing we shared was our mutual attraction to each other. Annabelle served as a temporary stand-in for my friend Michelle. The relationship lasted a tumultuous nine months and ended. It was fun in the beginning, but all romantic endeavors are. Once the reality sets in that you’re not a match, normally the relationship dissolves. Both of these relationships are well documented in the first Phicklephilly book.
Michelle is long gone, but her memory continues to haunt me of what could have been.
Near the end of the book I met Cherie. When I started writing the blog I realized I had to get back in the dating game. So I did what most people do. I went on Tinder, Bumble, OkCupid, and whatever else was available. I went on a bunch of crazy dates, but things clicked pretty early on with Cherie.
I realized I had an ending to my first book. I had burned through a couple of relationships, and then met my love, Cherie. Everything was right in the world. She made me happy and we shared some wonderful times. Over the first couple of months we became close and Phicklephilly had a happy conclusion. It seemed like the perfect ending to a great story. I had reached my destination, and had found love in Philly!
Also, when I was with Michelle and Annabelle, I wasn’t writing. Their stories were told from memory, so it’s basically our greatest hits. But phicklephilly the blog was alive and well when I met Cherie. A rich history indeed!
But what happened after the end of the first book? We’re both in love with each other and things are going great. The story has to continue. I can’t just let the tale end there. There’s so much more to reveal.
Phicklephilly 2 is the sequel to the best selling book, Phicklephilly: One man’s journey to find love in Philadelphia. In the first book, our hero returned to the city in search of the perfect girlfriend. It was a funny, and sometimes heart wrenching tale of a man trying to navigate the pitfalls of the modern dating world.
After two failed relationships, he turns to online dating. He goes on several crazy dates, but finally finds a woman he really likes. She’s a bright, unique beauty, but like all relationships, they face several challenges.
Phicklephilly 2 continues his journey and shows you what it’s like being in a relationship, and the dynamics that play out living in the city. But several factors work against them both at every step. Will the couple survive the pitfalls and demands of being in an exclusive committed relationship?
He doesn’t always do what’s right, but neither does she. This is his intimate story of what that’s been like for him. Join him to see if he wins… or loses again.
There’s always three sides to every story. His side, her side… and the truth.
PHICKLEPHILLY 2 will publish on September 14th!
Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.