How did you hear about the Kindle All-Stars project?


As best I can recall, I saw an advertisement for it on Twitter. I was a new independent author then, with only one book on Kindle, but I felt that I could deliver the highest quality material. In the years since then, I have made good friends in the KAS 2 and I feel like we have all grown together professionally and personally.


Tell us a little bit about your own work outside of the Kindle All-Stars.


If you mean writing, I’m the author of the School of the Ages series about a magic school in New York City. This series is scheduled to be five novels and unlimited short fiction books. Start with 2010’s The Ghost in the Crystal and go from there. This series is available worldwide in digital format,  except that in India I have a traditional publishing deal:   it is in paperback exclusively from Times Group Books.

I’m also the co-author, with Jess C. Scott, of Teen Guide to Sex and Relationships, a sincere advice book told from both male and female perspectives that aims to dispel illusions and help readers to take care of their physical and emotional health.

If you mean besides writing, I’m a New York City school teacher. I am struggling to get my students more interested in reading, to improve their reading level, to make them love literature, and to help my union resist the depredations of blundering and rapacious education reformers from Mayor Mike to Arne Duncan to the repellent Michelle Rhee.


What’s your favorite cryptid?


I just generally love cryptids. As far as a particular animal, I love the Paterson-Gimlin bigfoot video (, although I have severe severe doubts about it. As far as a current cryptid perhaps proving to be real, I’ll put the best odds on orang pendek, and the worst odds on Nessie.


Tell us about your story – what’s it called and what’s it about?


My story is called “The Paring Knife.” It’s about an underground TV cooking competition in which the competitors are cooking the flesh of cryptids along with other surprise ingredients. But even the dead cryptids prove dangerous, and anyone who is eliminated gets attacked by knife-wielding children. It’s a combination of horrific violence, slapstick comedy, pseudoscience, and “in” jokes for cryptid fans.

What was your process for writing your addition to CARNIVAL OF CRYPTIDS?


When the KAS 2 topic was finally official, I was on vacation in Europe and my brain was on overload from sightseeing, commuting, and budgeting. I didn’t have any ideas for a traditional “monster on the loose” story and was racking my brains for something that wouldn’t suck. I watch lots of TV cooking contests, and somehow that blended with cryptids and I got the idea for this piece. I wrote it, as I do most stories, while commuting on the subway or during downtime at school. At one point I spread out all the messy pages of draft and photographed them and put it on facebook. Same desk that you featured on your writer’s space profile of me. (insert link)


What have you learned about the many different cryptids of the world as a result?


I’m an avid follower of cryptid news, but also an eager debunker of cryptid nonsense. I used to write a column in the early 2000s in which I analyzed classic or new cryptid photos and tried to understand them scientifically. I was one of those who accurately identified the beast of Glyndon, Maryland as a mangy fox. I totally rejected and still reject the Myakka skunk ape photos. It was a fun time. I’d enjoy doing that stuff again although those early columns are written with a certain naiveté I would like to have outgrown.


Moving on from CARNIVAL OF CRYPTIDS, what are you working on now?


I’m trying to finish School of the Ages:  Simon Myth, the fourth novel in my series. It’s tough to work on because I’m very perfectionistic and the scope of the novel is beyond epic, with so many plotlines and characters.



Finally, if you had one shot at selling this collection to a stranger in the street, what would you say?


This book has a great story by Tony Healey, worth the price of admission alone! (Thanks for letting me look at your piece early a few months ago, as you also looked at mine.)


Okay, here’s a pitch line:

We have well-written stories by current and future literary stars, we have lots of cool monsters that don’t see much play in horror fiction, and every penny goes to one of the worthiest charities imaginable in the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.




Twitter: @schooloftheages


Publisher: Self-published worldwide; in India, Times Group Books

Links to Books 

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