Meet Matt Posner, Author of the Shocking “THE PARING KNIFE”

 

Read & Tell

 

My guest today is Matt Posner, another author of the fabulous Carnival of Cryptids. Author of sevral books, Matt is a writer and an English teacher from New York City, where he is also a performing poet and percussionist with The Exploration Project, New York’s premier avant-garde multimedia club band.

 

matt posner headshot

Matt Posner, author of “The Paring Knife”:
I want my writing to change lives for the better. I want to be entertaining, but I also want the reader to feel more at ease with the universe.

Thanks for having me, Ia. I’m here today to promote Kindle All-Stars 2:  Carnival of Cryptids. It’s an anthology featuring short stories by seven up-and-coming independent authors, selected and introduced by our leader, kick-ass author and kick-ass cop Bernard Schaffer. Cryptids are mysterious creatures suspected but never proven to exist, like Bigfoot or Loch Ness monster, or your homeland’s equivalents, Yowie and Bunyip. Buyers of this anthology get a dual benefit. They get the stories, which are all suspenseful narratives by publishing professionals, and they get their full purchase price donated to The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, a magnificent charity here in the United States.

Carnival of CryptidsCOMING SOON

Carnival of Cryptids. Proceeds from this book will go to
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

 

Hello Matt, what a noble endeavor! And what a fantastic collection; I am deeply impressed by the high quality of every story in Carnival of Cryptids. Could you please let our readers know about your contribution to this anthology?

I wrote a story called “The Paring Knife,” and I am helming the publicity campaign for the book.

Would you be so kind to give them a one-sentence synopsis of “The Paring Knife”?

It’s a dark underground cooking TV show in which some of the ingredients are cryptids and the losers get attacked by children with knives.

How real are your characters?

They are modeled on the people I see on Food Network and The Cooking Channel. Not on specific people, just on the various types who are there. If you watch competitive cooking, you will find a lot you recognize.

Yes, your characters marvelously represent those in real TV shows. Great observation!

Who or what inspired you to write this story?

Since I was in Kindle All-Stars: Resistance Front, I’ve made it my ambition to be a part of the regular roster for the series. I was happy Bernard Schaffer picked cryptids as a theme, since I have been studying them since childhood.

How long did it take you to write The Paring Knife?

I started it in July and submitted it at the end of October. I was stuck at the end of the second round of competition for a while, not sure who would be eliminated or why.

But you ended up with such a shocking, delightful story. Man… I’ll never eat pakoras again! But you must be a wicked cook. How did you come up with the title?

I wanted something that featured both the idea of elimination of contestants (paring away) and contained the menace inherent in the situation (losers are attacked with knives).

Brilliant! And what is your favorite part in the story?

I mock one of 2011’s bestselling novels at a certain spot. I like that part.

I noted that! Perhaps you mocked more than its title, I wouldn’t know though.

Who would you say have been the most influential authors in your life? What is it that really strikes you about their work?

I read voraciously growing up, so there are really far too many to name or even recall. Every time I think I have that nailed down, I remember another one I should have mentioned. So for variety’s sake, I’ll say which authors I really DON’T like:  Virginia Woolf, Henry James, Virginia Woolf, William Golding, and Virginia Woolf (barf!)

Hahahaha… In my country of birth I chose science, and am I glad we were never forced to read books we didn’t want to read 🙂 How about writing? What story would you like to share about the joy, challenge, or hardship of writing?

Writing—I think I have that figured out. It’s marketing myself that is the challenge now. I wish I had a marketing degree.

Looks like effective marketing is either costly or time-consuming; a real challenge for me too as I must focus on my family first. I wish you success in your effort. Who gives you the most encouragement? Why is that important to you?

My beloved wife Julie makes me a functional human being. Having read Sydney’s Song, I know you know what it’s like to feel someone completes you that way.

What are you working on right now? Tell us your latest news.

I’m working on School of the Ages:  Simon Myth. It’s the fourth book in my series. It’s damn hard to finish because my plotline has turned out to be unreasonably ambitious. I hope I can finish it before the summer.

Do you see writing as a career or distraction? Why?

I’m a professional teacher. I have a union job. I wouldn’t give that up unless I had just ridiculous amounts of money rolling in. Is writing a distraction? No, it isn’t that either. I think about writing all the time and I am constantly getting ideas with no time to execute them. Even when I went on European vacation last time, I wrote as much fiction and nonfiction as I could.

Yes, it was in your third School of the Ages: The War Against Love. I will include my review on that one at the end of this interview so our readers can learn more about the series.
How much do you have in common with your protag?  

As far as “The Paring Knife” is concerned, it’s the script of a TV cooking show, so it doesn’t precisely have a protagonist. Instead, I used the story as a chance to be much more vicious and wicked to my characters than I would ever be to real people—and to be funny doing it.

As far as the protagonist of the School of the Ages series, Simon, I have a lot in common with him.  I was a dark-minded brooder when I was his age. The difference is that he’s heroic and bold, and I never was those things.

That’s the joy of writing, isn’t it? One of my best friends was always a shooting champ in her writings, because in real life she never won the first place. What are your hobbies?

Book promotion has mostly replaced my old hobbies. I still like to go to art museums. Julie and I travel, especially overseas, when we can afford it. We are also movie and TV aficionados, seeking out not only the standard Hollywood fare, but also great foreign, independent, and older movies.

Book promo! My family is allergic to that, so I’m done with methods that don’t work to be with them. Good luck with your effort though. And give us a shout whenever you’ll visit Aussieland. Foreign movie? Check out Intouchables if you haven’t seen it.

Tell us a bit about who or/and what matters to you.

I wish I could do something to get the generation of students I am teaching to value and enjoy reading. What’s most frustrating is their almost instantaneous rejection of things that are not in their immediate world-view, and their experience of reading as a difficult, burdensome task to which most anything else is preferable. I wish I could change all that.

That is sad. My daughter’s friend wrote recently that a boy’s best friend is no longer a dog. It’s now a computer, where he mostly play games such that kids in non English-speaking countries don’t know how to write in their native alphabets anymore. But I noted you always make sure your writing is something that kids will find entertaining. What is important for your readers to know about you? Why?

I am friendly to readers and happy to hear from them about my work. Don’t be shy about writing to me. You’ll make me smile like a proud papa.

I want my writing to change lives for the better. I want to be entertaining, but I also want the reader to feel more at ease with the universe.

Any tips for us on reading and/or writing?

Do both as often as you can. Writing:  try to be interesting. If you aren’t feeling it, your readers won’t. There are things that work and things that don’t work, but the words you don’t like writing, no one will like reading.

Thank you so much Matt, that’s a precious advice.  Thanks for visiting and sharing with us. And oh, as regard The Parting Knife, tell your Belinda to use fresh lime leaves to eliminate any meat smell before or during processing 🙂  No other citrus will do—I even grow a lime tree for its leaves.

 

Schoof of the Ages

Matt’s books are available for Kindle from all Amazon bookstores and also for Nook. In India, the School of the Ages series is sold exclusively by Times Group Books in their online venues or in bookstores.

 

My mini review of The Paring Knifeimages (1)

Three very experienced chefs are invited to show off their culinary skills in the Underground Food Challenge at the Underground Food Network. As in your usual real-TV cooking show, these contestants are given unexpected surprise ingredients to work with; but unlike your usual show, Matt Posner has invented creatures man wasn’t supposed to know, and you’d never guess what’s going to happen.

Whipped up with clever details by a teacher who obviously enjoys cooking, THE PARING KNIFE is gross and shocking. You will laugh, but first you will cringe. Bon appétit!

 

 And here’s what I reviewed a few months ago: 

School of the Ages: The War Against Love

A grim YA Urban Fantasy, this entertaining read is the 3rd in The School of the Ages series.

Brilliant young wizard student Simon and his friend Goldberry must face dangerous, vicious foe after vicious foe right from the start to the end, starting from the attack by Nazi magicians in New York and on to new villains in Europe as they travel with their mentor Dr. Solomon Archer. Along the way, love happens too, in the form of a tempestuous beauty who is the daughter of the all-powerful Arch-Mage of Prague, which brings further threats of life-threatening dangers and devastating loss. In the end the student wizards, along with their friends and teachers, must face their most formidable enemy.

In this meticulously plotted book Posner has deftly developed memorable main and supporting characters from diverse cultural backgrounds. In this book we learn about Simon’s family, his grandmother, and his intriguing new friends and his remorseless enemies.

THE WAR AGAINST LOVE is a well-written action-packed majestic epic of romance and feud with a message of tolerance, written by an author who has worked closely with his audience and understands them well.

 

Check out Matt’s website schooloftheages.webs.com. Follow him on Facebook,  Twitter @schooloftheages and Pinterest. Matt is also a goodreads author. 

 

 

Meet Her Awesomeness Susan Smith-Josephy, Author of “The Ogopogo Club”

 

Read & Tell

 

 

 

 

My guest this week is Susan Smith-Josephy, author of  “The Ogopogo Club”, the only short story  written by a female author that was selected to be part of the Kindle All Stars “Carnival of Cryptids.”

 

Smith-Josephy_Susan

Susan Smith-Josephy, author or LILLIAN ALLING and THE OGOPOGO CLUB: “I’ve always been fascinated by the bizarre, the awful, and the unexplainable.”

 

Hahahahahahaha! OMG… Carmen, oops, Susan, please tell our readers here a one-sentence synopsis of “The Ogopogo Club”!  (*in tears, laughing*)

A woman, married to a jerk, learns just how real The Ogopogo Club is.

How real are your characters?

Um, for legal reasons, I must say “they’re not real at all!” However, in reality, they’re based on composites of people that I know very well.

You are so mischievous! I knew I was going to be entertained even before I read it! And I wasn’t disappointed at all 🙂

So what inspired you to write this story?

I’ve always been fascinated by the bizarre, the awful, and the unexplainable. So when an opportunity came up to contribute to the Kindle All Stars 2 “Carnival of Cryptids” I knew I had to do it.

You’re the only female author of Carnival of Cryptids, so I knew from the beginning there must be something very special about you and your writing. When did you first know you just had to write?

I’ve written for a number of years but I’ve become a lot more prolific now that I’m doing it full time.

How long did it take you to write this piece?

The writing didn’t take long, maybe a few days. But the editing took a lot longer.

How did you come up with the title?

I wanted a local cryptid. The Ogopogo is a watery, bumpy-backed water creature that lives in Lake Okanagan in British Columbia. I love B.C., but its wilderness can be scary. Especially when you’re out on a remote lake, alone with two drunk men.

What is your favorite line in the book? (or paragraph)

“She imagined how it would be if they really existed.  They could come up under a small boat like ours and lift us up, and over we’d go.  No one would know, and no one would find our bodies.  Rumor had it that each time the Ogopogo ate a man, the creature grew a new hump.”

And little did she know… 🙂  Really brilliant, Susan 🙂

So who would you say have been the most influential authors in your life? What is it that really strikes you about their work?

Patricia Highsmith comes to mind. Her stories are a mixture of mystery, the bizarre, and shocking characters. She had a talent for writing a likeable villain which is not an easy thing to do.

Not easy, but you did it very well! Susan, share with us your story about the joy and the hardship of writing.

I enjoy writing because I can do it by myself. No matter how much someone would like to help you, you simply have to do it yourself.

The joy comes from finding the first kernel of an idea. The challenge and hardship then is turning that idea into something worth reading.

And finding more joy in the end, I’m sure. Who gives you the most encouragement? Why is that important to you?

I have a friend from university that lives half a country away, yet we e-mail each other regularly and talk about our writing projects and encourage each other.  I value this feedback very much.

I get a ton of support from my husband and my mother, too. My husband’s driven me thousands of kilometers to help me solve a problem with geography in my research. My mom is an avid reader of everything, and has an instinct on what’s right in a story.

Aren’t you lucky! And they must love the process too, seeing how talented you are. Are you working on another story right now? Tell us your latest news.

Right now I’m working on another non-fiction book. It’s a biography of a local old timer. He came to British Columbia for the gold rush in the 1850s, and soon turned to mule train packing to make a living. He was a character, well-loved, and continued with his career well into his 80s. I love to research and write about every day people who do extraordinary things. He probably didn’t think he was doing anything special, but he worked for more than 50 years in a physically grueling profession, during some of the most fascinating times in our province’s history.

I also have an ebook of fiction anthology coming out later this year. In keeping with my love of the macabre and weird, it’s a collection of stories I’ve written over the years with a general theme of the dark side of human nature.

It seems that my non-fiction focuses on the good in people, and my fiction spotlights the bad. I need to figure out why that is.

Methinks you’re a well-balanced all-rounder, Susan. I’m so going to check out your other books!

Do you see writing as a career or distraction? Why?

It’s neither, really, and also both. It’s a career because I do it all the time, every day. But it’s also a distraction because every time I try and do something else, I feel like I should be writing.

How much do you have in common with your protag? 

Not much in that she keeps her mouth shut, and I am loud and opinionated. But some, in that I hate being around groups of drunk people.

I see, so you sort of vent your dislikes both aloud and in writing—and why not? Isn’t that one of the joys of being a writer? I too sometimes take my vendetta against obnoxious people in my writing 🙂 

What are your hobbies, Susan?

Reading, papercrafting, gardening, photography, travel. Can I count “cleaning my closets” as a hobby? I like to do that.

You must be very organized. What is your other profession? When do you find the time to write?

I’m a retired journalist, so I’m at home. But I also do social media for a local company, and do other stuff as well, so I usually write in the middle of the night.

How nice. I can’t wait to be a wise, retired lady of 70, and writing full time.

Who and what matters to you, Susan?

My family and a few good friends mean everything to me. I need not to be around dysfunctional people, and I’ll do a lot to avoid them. Physical health is vital. I’ve had some friends with serious health problems, and it changes absolutely everything.

How has your published work influenced others and their attitude towards you?

It means a lot to me when someone takes the time to buy and read my book. And if I get an email or a letter from them, I just love that. And when a reader reaches out to me on Twitter and reviews my book, I am just thrilled that they wanted to take the time to do that.

And why not? You’re awesome!

Anything important for your readers to know about you, Susan?

I love it when readers write to me and give me updates on my research subjects. After the Lillian Alling book came out in print, I received some wonderful letters from descendants of the people in the book. It was very moving.

And Lillian Alling was such an inspiring personality; what a woman! I’ll have to read that book.

 

lillian_alling_bookcover

Susan’s first book, “Lillian Alling: the journey home” is a true account about a woman who, in the 1920s, walked from New York to Siberia via Canada and Alaska.

 

Any tips for us on reading and writing?

I’m a fan of both print and ebooks. I have about ten print books that I’m reading now, and an equal amount of ebooks just waiting for me on my Kindle. Reading is reading! I believe you cannot be a writer if you’re not a reader.

Thank you so much for stopping here Susan. Best wishes for your work!

 

Susan Smith-Josephy is a writer, researcher and editor based in Quesnel, British Columbia. Susan has a degree in History from Simon Fraser University, and also studied journalism at Langara College. She has worked at various community newspapers throughout British Columbia as both a reporter and an editor. She is also researching some particularly gruesome British Columbian historical crimes.

Watch out for Susan’s next non-fiction book is about Jean Caux, the famed packer, who is known in British Columbia as Cataline.

Find Susan on her website www.susmithjosephy.com, her blogs http://writersglob.blogspot.com and http://writingsnoir.blogspot.ca/, Pinterest, Google+, Facebook, and follow her where  most action happens: on Twitter @susmithjoseph

Her book Lillian Alling: the journey home is available from the following outlets Caitlin PressAmazon.com,  Amazon Canada and every other Amazon.

I hope you have enjoyed meeting her. This is my third interview with the authors of Carnival of Cryptids, a new-released anthology for charity purpose, specifically the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Come back next week and meet the next brilliant author of Carnival of Cryptids.

 

My mini review on “The Ogopogo Club”:

The OGOPOGO CLUB is the story of Carmen, a very obedient wife, and the abuse she receives from her despicable husband.  One stormy afternoon, they go out fishing with his drunken friend to the scary Lake Okanagan in British Columbia, where Ogopogo, a watery, bumpy-backed water creature is rumored to have lived. 

A short story with a huge twist. Susan Smith-Josephy knows well how to give her readers a good time. Thoroughly entertaining.

 

Carnival of CryptidsCOMING SOON

CARNIVAL OF CRYPTIDS is an anthology
about creatures man was never supposed to know.

Meet Simon John Cox, Author of “The Cage”

Read & Tell

 

This is my second Read & Tell on CARNIVAL OF CRYPTIDS, a new-released anthology for charity purpose, specifically the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

 

Carnival of CryptidsCOMING SOON

Carnival of Cryptids, a fantasy anthology for the purpose of charity,
especially the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

 

My guest this week is British author Simon John Cox, author of The Cage, one of the fantastic short stories in this anthology. As Jeff Provine has told us last week, Carnival of Cryptids is a collections of stories about creatures man was never meant to know, and Simon’s chosen creature is Yeti.

 

New Picture

Simon John Cox: “Honesty and integrity matter most to me.”

 


OMG Simon, what a story! The Cage simply left me speechless! Congratulations on this short story. Would you be so kind to give readers its one-sentence synopsis?

Yeti! Circus! Ringmaster! Money! Moral dilemma!

It felt so much more than that! How real are your characters?

They’re all based on bits of real people. As such the Yeti is either the most or the least real…

Who or what inspired you to write this story?

I had such a positive experience with the first Kindle All-Stars project that when I heard there was going to be a second I decided that I had to write something. I think I picked the Yeti because I like the idea that it’s potentially so similar to Man—that gives a lot of scope. That’s what prompted the story—at its heart it’s an exploration of the moral questions behind the objectification of a living, sentient, intelligent creature.

How long did it take you to write The Cage?

I think I worked on it on and off for a couple of months, but I was sweating right up to the deadline as writing the story changed the direction of the story such that I couldn’t resolve the ending. I wrote a blog post about how I did so, in case anyone’s interested: http://www.simonjohncox.com/2012/10/flowchart-writers-block-technique-and.html

Yes, I could see so much thought and reflection had been poured into this one. The result is brilliant! How did you come up with the title?

I usually find it difficult to come up with titles for my stories, because I write with a story in mind rather than a title. It’ll often take me as much thought to come up with a title as it does to come up with a plot. It was only after I’d finished writing this one that I realised that the thing that was causing all of the conflict in the piece was the cage.

What is your favorite line or paragraph in the book?

Modesty forbids me from picking one, I’m afraid.

You are so humble! I would say it’s extremely hard to pick one, because all of the paragraphs have been so deftly crafted.
Who would you say have been the most influential authors in your life? What is it that really strikes you about their work?

I’d say probably Thomas Pynchon for his imagery and turbulent imagination, Gabriel García Márquezfor his imagination and poetry of prose, and Cormac McCarthy for his precision of writing. They’re the ones that I aspire to (and fall far short of).

Not far at all, Simon. The Cage showcases your superb imagination and precision, besides being soulful and thought provoking.

When did you first know you just had to write?

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing something or other…

What story would you like to share about the joy, challenge, or hardship of writing?

The real joy of it is when a stranger contacts you out of the blue to let you know how much they liked something that you’ve written.

Definitely count me as one!

Who gives you the most encouragement? Why is that important to you?

Apart from my partner, other writers. I’m a member of the Tunbridge Wells Writers Group, and I know various writers from the internet (many of them from the KAS1 project). They’re always very supportive in terms of encouragement, constructive criticism, advice and designing book covers (that last one’s mostly Keri Knutson and Tony Healey).

What are you working on right now? Tell us your latest news.

I’m trying to finish a second novel. It’s about one man whose records are erased and as a result gradually ceases to exist, and another man who is brought into existence by a series of clerical errors. It’s better than it sounds, honest.

Do you see writing as a career or distraction? Why?

It’s not a career, because I don’t make any money from it, but I wouldn’t call it a distraction either, as that sounds as though it’s something that I shouldn’t be doing…I’d say it’s an escape. It’s a great way of exploring the various ideas that are always rattling around in my skull.

How much do you have in common with your protag George Penny?

We’re both English. Beyond that…not much, I think. Although I expect there’s more of me in him than I realise…

Dumb question; I could see so much of you in this fine piece.

What are your hobbies?

Aside from writing I do a lot of running, and I also do Taekwon-Do.
I always think you need those to stay sane. What is your other profession? When do you find the time to write?

I’m a marketer, and I generally write during my lunch hour at work. Otherwise I’ll sit down at the blank page if I find myself home alone in the evenings or at weekends.

Tell us a bit about who or/and what matters to you.

Apart from my partner Saveria, I think honesty and integrity matter most to me. It sounds corny, I know, but it’s true.

Wonderful qualities—I wouldn’t worry about how it sounds. I’m sure they make you a blessing to those around you.  How has your published work influenced others and their attitude towards you, by the way?

The one thing that people say to me regularly when they hear that I’ve written and published fiction is that they’re impressed. I suppose anyone can say they’re writing a book, whereas not nearly as many can say that they’ve written one…

I will look for your other work. What one thing is important for your readers to know about you? Why?

That I am genuinely overjoyed if they like anything that I’ve written.

And they will want more from you. Any tips for us on writing?

I need to know the beginning and the end before I can write anything. I need to know the two points that I’m connecting.

Thank you for stopping here, Simon. Best wishes for your work!

 

Simon_John_Cox

Simon has been busy. Click here to find out more about his fabulous work.

 

My mini review of The Cage:

THE CAGE deceptively opens with a group of happy sailors seeking entertainment in town, singing and drinking without a care in the world. However before you know it Simon Cox rips your heart apart with a relationship so moving,  truths so deep.

The Cage follows the beautiful interaction between an ambitious ringmaster and his captive, and asks thought-provoking questions about our very existence and what matters to us humans. Superbly told in a fast pace, carefully thought-out presentation, by a writer who makes us care.

 

Visit Simon’s home www.simonjohncox.com and follow him on Twitter @simonjohncox. His book links are   AmazonBarnes & NobleSmashwords.

Carnival of Cryptids’ is now available from  Amazon USA and Amazon UKCome back next week and meet more of its fantastic authors.