Blog Hop: The Writing Process

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Joe Perrone Jr.

Thanks so much to Joe Perrone Jr. for inviting me to this Blog Hop on the Writing Process.

Joe Perrone Jr. was the first author to be interviewed on this blog!

Joe’s Bio: Joe Perrone Jr. worked as a sportswriter for the Passaic-Clifton, NJ, Herald News, as well as a freelance advertising copywriter. Joe was also a professional fly-fishing guide for ten years in the Catskill Mountains of New York, and has had several fly-fishing short stories published in the Mid Atlantic Fly Fishing Guide. The author is perhaps best known for his Matt Davis Mystery Series. Roscoe — “Trout Town USA” — serves as the setting for Joe’s books in the Matt Davis Mysteries series.

Joe’s Links: Website | Amazon | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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The idea of this blog tour is to introduce readers to new authors. I have been asked to answer 4 questions about my writing process and then tag 3-4 more authors.

Here are my answers to the questions:

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Selfie: BCBG shoes

JESS’S WRITING PROCESS

1. What am I working on?

I am currently blogging about Singapore’s political history.

On the creative writing side, I most recently completed The Wilde Twins (a psych thriller series featuring serial killer evil twins).

I have several other projects to get to…

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

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The Wilde Twins (Trilogy) | Jess C Scott

I will let readers decide on that. I like to study the work of people whom I admire and learn from them (whether it’s to do with writing, or something else).

3. Why do I write what I do?

Because I enjoy original stories and seeking the truth.

4. How does my writing process work?

I usually have some kind of plan or (quite comprehensive) outline. If not I tend to waste a lot of time trying to fix details along the way.

Hot chamomile tea helps me stay nice and relaxed while writing/editing.

My Links: jessINK | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads

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Authors I have Tagged:

I’ve tagged fellow authors Maria Savva, Edward Giles Brown, Matt Posner, and Katherine Mayfield.

I’m very happy to introduce you to these authors, so hop on over to their sites and see what they are up to.

On Twitter, you can follow the various blogs in this tour via the hashtag #MyWritingProcess

maria_savva_hs(1) Maria Savva

Maria Savva lives and works in London. She studied Law at Middlesex University and The College of Law. She is a lawyer, although not currently practising law. She has published five novels, the most recent of which is Haunted, a crime fiction/psychological thriller. Far Away In Time is her sixth collection of short stories.

Maria’s Links: Website | Maria’s Writing Process | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon

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(2) Edward Giles Brown

Edward Giles Brown is the author of 365 Days of Verse, a sonnet collection containing a sonnet written every day for a year, and The Sacrifice, a five act play.

He’s currently revising 365 Days of verse and will eventually release a single-volume second edition. He is currently seeking work in Hong Kong.

Edward’s Links: WebsiteTwitter | Amazon | YouTube | Writing Process

matt_posner(3) Matt Posner

Matt Posner is my highly motivated and industrious co-author on the book, Teen Guide!

This is Matt’s bio from the Teen Guide to Sex and Relationships page:

Matt is an NYC teacher who’s willing to make controversial statements that he thinks are in your best interest. In his own words, Teen Guide “explains what mature, adult sexuality is and provides a useful guide to entering that sexual world at the right time.”

Matt is also the author of the School of the Ages series (an urban fantasy for ages 12 and up).

Matt’s Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads

Katherine Mayfield(4) Katherine Mayfield

A former actress who appeared Off-Broadway and on the daytime drama Guiding Light, Katherine Mayfield is the author of the award-winning memoir, The Box of Daughter: Healing the Authentic Self; Bullied (a guide to recovery for teens and adults who have been bullied); and Dysfunctional Families: The Truth Behind the Happy Family Facade.

She has written for numerous local and national publications, and appears regularly with the Portsmouth Athenæum’s Wednesday Writers’ Series in Portsmouth, NH. She teaches writing workshops and classes in Maine, provides coaching and editing for other writers, and enjoys using her acting skills and love of words to record audiobooks.

Katherine’s Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads | Writing Process

Teen Guide: Blog Tour

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The Teen Guide blog tour kicks off today!

I will add the blogs Matt and I have been interviewed/reviewed/hosted at, along the way.

If you’d like to interview me / have me contribute a blog post and/or article, just contact me at missfey[@]gmail.com

* Teen Guide to Sex and Relationships (info + author bios) @ jessINK *

* Submit  a question at the Teen Guide: Q&A blog (2013 +)

===Teen Guide: Blog Tour (2012)===

Jess’s Blog Tour

April 30 — Interview at Unwritten
May 1 — Official PR Release (PR Log)
May 8 — Guest Post at Maria Savva’s Blog (on the word “fag” + the mixed messages young people are receiving)
May 9 — Feature at The e-reader House
May 10 — Interview with Junying Kirk (“Let’s Talk About Sex”)
May 12 — Mention at Joseph Grinton’s Blog (“Eternal Youth…”)
May 13 — Guest Post at Katherine Mayfield’s Blog (“Rediscovering the Authentic Self”)
May 14 — Sex and Writing: Author Feature with Juliana Sliema (18+)
May 28 — Guest Post at The Fear Girls (“The Need for Self-Publishing”)
June 10 — Book Spotlight at Bookingly Yours
July 12 — Interview at The LL Book Review
Aug 14 — Interview at Blkosiner’s Book Blog
Dec 20 — Radio Interview with CK
Mar 26 — Interview at The Indie Spotlight
Aug 13 — Joint Interview at STOMP

Matt’s Blog Tour

Feb/May— Official Announcement + Excerpt (“Love vs. Lust”)
May 7 — Guest Post with Ey Wade
May 7 — Guest Post with Simon Palmer
May 9 — Interview with Katy Sozaeva (SotA series + Teen Guide mention)
May 10 — Interview with Osier Publishing (“Are You Shy On These Topics?”)
May 10 — Interview with Mande Matthews (“What’s controversial in Teen Guide?”)
June 11 — Feature with Revital
June 3 — Interview with Laurie Laliberte
Dec 20 — Radio Interview with CK
Mar 26 — Interview at The Indie Spotlight
Aug 13 — Review at Indybay (CA)

Interview, Matt Posner / Tales of Christmas Magic

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Author Interview #37, with multi-genre writer (and NYC teacher), Matt Posner!

This is a customized Q&A in line with the author’s latest eBook: “Tales of Christmas Magic.”

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[Q&A with Matt Posner / Tales of Christmas Magic (7 questions)]

Jess: I like how the collection presents the magic that features in School of the Ages (magic which is based on the mind and spirit). What was the inspiration for presenting magic this way (realistically in “our world”)?

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Matt: I have read a lot about magic and the paranormal. Although I was interested in the subject from childhood, I took up the study more systematically when I was 21 as a result of feeling turmoil in my life. Learning to read tarot and understand Hermeticism gave me some structure at a time when other things weren’t helping.

Shortly I discovered the writing of Colin Wilson, beginning with The Occult and moving on to various other similar books, like Mysteries, Poltergeist!, and Beyond the Occult, and from these I became aware of how many amazing phenomena there were in the world that could be incorporated into fiction.

At first I tried to put them into an epic fantasy novel, which was agented for a while in New York around 1993, but then I left the subject alone for a while. When it came time to return to writing about magic, I used all that I had studied and learned to create the School of the Ages magical system.

Jess: Epic fantasy is a great foundation ;) I thought the underlying theme(s) in the story “Goldberry vs. Santa Claus” were very smoothly handled. Incidentally, the characters featured on the cover are from this story. Any reason for this? :)

Matt: I consider this the centerpiece story of the collection. It’s the one that is most Christmas-themed and has the strongest dramatic tension. Having a teen girl magician fight Santa Claus makes a good blurb also. Using that story enables me to get the school (actually Toronto’s Casa Loma castle) and Santa on the cover. Adding to that, my cover artist Eric Henty found a girl on a stock photo site who looks perfect as Goldberry, and then a boy on the same site who looks perfect for Simon.

What luck: the resulting image is just great!

Jess: Your School of the Ages project contains a very unique blend of elements (ranging from history, to religion, spirituality, and education!). Does it get confusing at times or does working with these themes come very naturally to you as a writer?

Matt: It comes naturally to me because of my multicultural past. My parents socialized with Indian immigrants beginning when I was a small child, and I read Amar Chitra Katha comics about the Ramayana and other Indian mythology.

In high school, I focused on Spanish classes as much as English. In college, I took a course in ethnomusicology and listened to world music while getting my bachelor’s in Humanities. It was one of my favorite courses.

Years later, getting married to Julie, who is from India, really strongly activated my desire to know more about non-Western cultures. Working in yeshiva high schools caused me to build some Jewish cultural identity (what they call Yiddishkeit).

Over the last few years, I have repeatedly taught a college course called World Civilizations (shoutout to my students!) which caused me to reflect on the vast range of cultural heritages there are and fed me ideas. I taught some art history in college too. I’ve been to some of Europe’s greatest art museums, although not enough of them yet in my opinion, and not to mention the great ones in New York City, where I live. These things have only whetted my appetite for multiculturalism.

Jess: Speaking about multiculturalism — something that I (and many other readers) like about the STA series is how it is multiculturally-inclusive. How would you define multiculturalism (along with its strengths and disadvantages, to be more specific)?

Matt: I define multiculturalism as the view that the world is made up of many traditions, faiths, arts, languages, societies, and that all of them are interesting and have some way to contribute to the lives of other human beings. I want to write about the interaction of these cultures and I want to draw cool stuff from all of them to make the School of the Ages books distinctive.

I’ll give you an example. In Level Three’s Dream, the students go to Paris where they have an unexpected battle with a group of older students from Paris’ magic school, Citadel d’If. Some of them are fairly unsurprising French ruffians, based loosely on the gang in the original La Femme Nikita, but pumped up with magic powers. However, one is distinctive: Arnaud le Vampire is an Algerian Arab. I know from studying history about the long and uncomfortable connection between France and Algeria, which was so severe that it nearly caused a civil war in France, and I wanted to reflect this history by putting a French-speaking Algerian into the school. He’s not a typical undead vampire, either; he’s fully alive, about 18 years old, and has the abilities of a psychic vampire, who can drain your energy by staring at you. (Many people believe this type of vampire actually exists!) When he fights, Arnaud shouts the Takbir, an expression used by Muslims for both prayer and battle: “Allahu Akbar!”

There are loads of vampires in the books these days, but I feel sure that there are no others like mine, and that readers will be excited by Arnaud’s contradictions and want to read his future appearances in my narrative.

Jess: I wouldn’t doubt the existence of such vampires either :P. I enjoyed “The Sphinx” (the last story in the collection, written when Matt Posner was 16 and bored in Honors English!). What are some of the things you notice with regards to your writing at that age, and in the years thereafter?

Matt: When I go back to my much older writing, my juvenilia such as “The Sphinx,” I’m struck by the fact that my prose style — sentence construction and such — has not changed tremendously. That’s why you can read “The Sphinx” in the same book as stories I wrote in 2011. The themes and meaning are immature, but the quality of the prose is much the same.

Maybe I should feel bad that my style hasn’t advanced as much as my content has, but I’d rather say that I knew very long ago what kind of writer I wanted to be. The truth is that I wrote more fluidly and confidently then, when the troubles of the world and the brutal pressures of limited time to work didn’t distract me from my voice and ideas. I put this story into the collection for a lot of reasons, but one of them was to show that not only do I have it, but I always had it.

Like Lady Gaga, “I’m on the right track, baby. I was born this way.”

6. Excellent! Writers/creative types have to have confidence in their own work :) Please share your favorite excerpt from this collection:

How about this:

Santa Claus had stopped laughing and was now closing in on Simon, who was between them. “Out of the way, or I’ll feed you to Mrs. Claus,” he said, not very jovially. “She gains about ten pounds a year from eating children on the naughty list, you know.”
Tales of Christmas Magic, Matt Posner

7. Comment on writing versus teaching, in your experience (Matt is a teacher in NYC):

Teaching has made me a better writer in that I understand better what goes into literature structurally. I have gotten more out of teaching literature than having it taught to me, or studying writing in graduate school, where I found that my experience was more about politics and personality, both of which I wasn’t good at then. I use writing skills in teaching. The other day I needed a simple example of an ironic poem, so I wrote one myself and then put a fake author’s name on it*.

Writing is solitary, teaching very public, and I need to be public part of the time, or else I will become too self-centered; it’s the phenomenon of the only child at work there. All this said, I feel that if I could only do one of the two, I would much prefer to write. If I were suddenly wealthy enough to quit working a teaching job and focus on writing, I would still want to teach, but I would just be more selective about it: do less of it and exercise more control over the details of the job than I can at present. As a teacher, I work with special education students, who are needy in a lot of ways, and often, though not always, difficult. It’s important to me to feel I’m the kind of person who can love those who are hard to love and who can make a difference in the lives of those who are hard to help. I want to test myself that way and I want to prove to myself day by day that I don’t have to be afraid. I don’t think I should give up doing this, but I wouldn’t mind if I did it a little less…

* My Dog
by Alan Smithee

My dog smells sour.
My dog has fleas.
She barks at night.
On the floor she pees.
She’s the best dog
I ever had.
For how could such
A dog be bad?

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Now go check out some of Matt’s work(s) — after reading his eclectic bio!

Author Bio + Website Links:

Matt Posner is a writer and teacher from New York City. Originally from Miami, FL, Matt lives in Queens with Julie, his wife of more than ten years, and works in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Matt is also the Dean of School of the Ages, America’s greatest magic school, located on a secret island in New York Harbor, and is pleased to tell stories about its people in the five-book series School of the Ages, which will be published between 2010 and 2015.

As the child of classically trained musicians, Matt is a performing poet and percussionist with The Exploration Project, New York’s premier avant-garde multimedia club band, along with the painter Eric Henty and founding musician and impresario Scott Rifkin. Matt teaches high school English, with a fondness for special education students, and teaches world civilizations at Metropolitan College of New York. His interests include magic and the paranormal, literature, movies, history and culture, visual arts, world music, religion, photography, and professional wrestling history.

Website: www.schooloftheages.webs.com

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