A Nice Brew & Something New With Benny Neylon/Giveaway

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I am pleased to have Benny Neylon on the blog today to discuss Multiple-Genre Writer Syndrome and of course, his favorite tea 😉  Benny is the author of several books, including two collections of short stories set in contemporary Ireland (Yarns, and Thumbprints), as well as his first novel, NSA.

He also happens to have a fantastic sense of humor and is a true pleasure to correspond with. Please help me welcome him. Thank you for taking the time to share and visit today Benny!

Benny has also offered to generously give away all 4 of his current eBooks to 5 lucky winners. This will be open internationally, so stick around!


Multiple-Genre Writer Syndrome

Help, I think I’ve got Multiple-Genre Writer Syndrome.

It’s okay, MGWS is not that rare – you’re going to be just fine.

Who are you, and what the heck do you know about it?

I’m Benny, and I too am a multiple genre writer.

Forgive me if I sound a little suspicious–

I am, really! I’ve written microfiction, essays, screenplays, short stories and novels in sci-fi, non-fiction, contemporary fiction, satire, thriller and parody. Hell, I’ve even dabbled in freeform poetry and haikus… what can I say, I’m sick!

Why is this happening to me? All I wanted to do was write a steampunk series and now I’m midway through penning a historical romance and a self-help manual!

I don’t know; it’s just how it goes with MGWS… That said, here are four off-the-cuff unproven signs you might have MGWS:

  1. You read voraciously and sponge up information, squeezing it into that giant soup cauldron we call the human skull. Later (usually inconveniently late at night), stories fall out, not always in the genre you’d imagine: [Thumbprints, my short story collection, materialised just like this.]
  2. You think to yourself, “Why the hell not? There are so many interesting things to write about, so many different styles of writing possible, that it would be an absolute shame not to try more than one.” I mean, would you want to go through life having sampled only one kind of tea, when the greatest tea in the world – Pukka’s Three Tulsi, see below 😉 – might have passed you by?
  3. You have developed a mental crutch to deal with those moments when you are struggling to write or edit one particular story: by switching to a completely different genre, you create a workaround for writer’s block. Then, when you return to your first story, it’s as if the barrier has melted away. [For example, I wrote The Holiest Bible Ever – a short and irreverent retelling of Genesis – as I wrestled with the form and message of NSA, my first novel.]
  4. Deliberate practice: you are a keen student of scientific methods and strive for excellence, figuring that working across different genres will make you a more complete writer because science.

[More unsubstantiated theories are available on request.]

Well then, what can I expect to stay the same with MGWS?

–Your voice: each writer’s voice is unique, from the way you arrange words, to where the focus is (or isn’t) in a scene, to what you as narrator notice in the world you have created. Unless you are consciously aping the style of another writer, that voice – your voice – shines through, whatever the genre.

–The end goal: creating fiction for others to enjoy, completing a work you are proud of, and crafting a story with something to say. You don’t need to force social or political commentary into your work, but just knowing that your story has brightened someone’s day will always be worthwhile.

That all sounds good… what’s going to be different?

–Your level of organisation may need to step up a notch with MGWS. Writing in a single genre, a particular character could drop seamlessly into one story from another; this is clearly not the case with MGWS. You must isolate and compartmentalise your genres, put them in separate buildings (or computer folders) and securely patrol the perimeters, to prevent handcuff-loving musclebound hotties from your erotica novella inappropriately slipping into your WWII-era historical thriller.

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Putting the ‘mental’ in Compartmentalisation

–With MGWS, there is no cosy niche. Your efforts to find readers will be spread broad but thin, rather than focused in on one particular area. On the other hand, your work has the potential to reach a wider range of people, and if a reader loves your writer’s voice, they might just be willing to follow your writing and try a new genre, so everyone’s a winner!

So overall, you’re saying the outlook is…?

Positive and sunny – embrace the freedom of MGWS and enjoy writing about (almost) anything!

Want to know more? Ask any question on multiple-genre writing in the comments below and probably definitely receive at least one answer.



About Benny Neylon:
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Benny was hand-reared on a farm in the west of Ireland and is currently alive in Barcelona. Previously, he worked in Europe, Africa and North America as a structural engineer.

His latest book and first novel is NSA, a political satire in the vein of Catch-22.

Benny is also the author of two collections of short stories – Yarns and Thumbprints – set in rural and urban Ireland, respectively. The Holiest Bible Ever, his third book, “finds the funny” in a retelling of the Book of Genesis. He is presently working on a science-fiction short story collection and a steampunk novel, amongst other things (He has MGWS, after all).

image2Benny’s Favourite Tea: Pukka’s Three Tulsi.
Type: Infusion (Bag)
Drunk: Hot water and patience
Website Description: Sacred is the herb that shows you the way […] green tulsi for sweeping away the clutter, then purple tulsi for uplifting the spirits, and to finish lemon tulsi with a zesty twist to inspire you onwards.”

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(But an honorable mention to Nomad Coffee, roasting coffee right around the corner from me in Barcelona)

Find out more about Benny and his work at westclarewriters.com, on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and Tumblr


Giveaway!

*Must be 18 yrs of age or older to enter and have a valid email address. All winners will be announced on social media and contacted via email. This giveaway is provided by the author. 

Enter to win all 4 eBooks!

Cheers!

Danielle ❤

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A Nice Brew & Something New With Dennis Macaraeg & His New Novel Somewhere in San Diego

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Many of you may be familiar with author Dennis Macaraeg and his debut novel Somewhere in the Shallow Sea. You can find my review here. I am pleased to have an opportunity to discuss his writing and introduce his latest novel Somewhere in San Diego. Of course I also had to ask about his favorite tea!

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Getting to Know More About Dennis & His Work

 

As your sequel is releasing could you describe the inspiration behind your work for those who are unfamiliar with your books? Please feel free to share anything you would like readers to know about your work.

Perhaps my greatest inspiration in writing the sequel is undoubtedly my readers. At first, I wanted to work on a different novel, but when my readers kept asking me when my next book is coming out, the answer was a no-brainer. I had to write a sequel. I set a goal to finish the first draft within a year, and I did it considering it took me close to five years to write my first novel.

My books, which I call ‘the Somewhere Series’ has a recurring theme. The first part has the element of danger. The bad guys are chasing Danny and the person he’s with. They must get from point A to B without getting captured. The second part is a love story. Usually, it’s about past lovers joined during an extraordinary circumstance. They must work together to save a life of a friend, and of course, during the ordeal, their old feelings for each other begins to surface.

Many people think of their past love, and this book delivers that memory.

Essentially, my book is a love story while running for their lives.

Is writing something that you have always enjoyed the thought of doing or did you have other childhood goals/dreams?

To tell you the truth, I wasn’t interested reading storybooks when I was in elementary school. In high school, reading novels didn’t interest me. I don’t know why? Maybe because the required readings and the books read in the classroom felt as if they were forced down on the students. I remember spending hours in the library reading the Encyclopedia, though. I read lots of informational books when I was growing up.

Then when I was around 13 years old, my dad brought home an electric typewriter. I immediately liked the sound of the hammer as it strikes the paper on the roller. One night, out of the blue, I don’t know what I was thinking, I began typing for fun. An hour later, I typed my first story. It’s about an old tree. It’s on my website for everyone to read. Let’s say it’s a story of adventure.

That’s when my interest in writing began. I thought to myself that writers are those super talented people like Ernest Hemmingway or Mark Twain. For me, becoming a writer was like wanting to become an astronaut. It was nearly impossible to achieve. I don’t have chops to get it done.

How does an aspiring writer even begin the first sentence of a book and end it with about 50,000 words in between?

How do you balance the commitment of writing a book with the demands of daily life?

Balancing my day is one of the hardest parts of yearning to be a novelist. I’ve read that some writers woke up at 4:00 a.m., wrote for 2-3 hours before going to work. I’m not a morning person, so I write at night when everything is quiet, and I hear the crickets in the backyard.

My weekends are usually busy. I have a big family. There is always a birthday party, a wedding, or some special event to go. I get up around 7:00 a.m. and start writing until ideas stop flowing out of my brain.

What is the most difficult part of the writing process for you? 

This is the easiest question to answer. Unfortunately, it is also the problem for most writers.

It is simply—what am I going to write?

When I first conceive a story in my head, I get excited. It’s like having a massive crush on the girl sitting next to you in high school. A week later, after summoning all your courage, you would ask her to go to the school dance. This is the terrifying part because if she said no, then you would be crushed and you have a lot of explaining to do with your buddies. If she said yes you would be elated but this brings out another set of problems. You need something to wear, and you need to borrow your parent’s car.

This is where the story is outlined, and the research begins.

Then the night of the big dance arrive. She is in her pink dress while you are in your rented tuxedo.

This is the part where the final draft is finished and sent to the printer.

Also, the scariest and the most exciting part.

Will she kiss you on the dance floor while a thousand balloons fall from the ceiling, and all your friends are wide eyed and looking at you as you live the moment of high school bliss?

Or is it where the record skip and everyone on the dance floor screech to a halt?

Do you have any unfinished books lying around or any “works in progress” that are not a part of your current series?

Yes. It is a love story loosely based on my college experience. It’s about falling in love. Not knowing what to do after graduation. Choosing between growing up or continuing with a carefree lifestyle.

If you could recommend only one book that you feel everyone should read, what would it be and why?

The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino.

This book is about perseverance and motivating yourself to keep reaching for your goal. It is a short book. I read it again and again.

How has writing affected your life?

Writing is the fuel that keeps my passion for living and exploring the world around me. It’s like falling in love and being loved. The other person does everything to make you happy, and in return, you’ll do everything to match his or her kindness.

Writing is the same.

My day is never boring because I’m always thinking of a new plot or researching about it.

Last but not least, can you share something about yourself that we do not know?

I earned my pilot’s license when I was in my early twenties. I dreamt of becoming an airline pilot. In fact, there is a scene in the book where Danny, the main character is flying a two-seater single-engine open cockpit airplane. 

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About Dennis Macaraeg

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Dennis Macaraeg is a fiction writer who lives in San Diego. He graduated from San Diego State University. When he is not writing, he enjoys photography.

Favorite Tea: 
I like green tea. The loose kind with toasted brown rice. It’s popular in Japan and called Genmaicha.
When I first tasted this tea, it impressed me.
Also, rooibos tea. In fact, I mentioned it in one of the scenes on my book.
Learn more about Dennis Macaraeg here.
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Available Now!

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Somewhere in San Diego
A thriller about best friends, scientific data, hired guns and a harrowing race with a past lover to stay alive
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Marine biologist Danny Maglaya must meet with his best friend and fellow scientist Blake Mason to upload the data demanded as ransom by the kidnappers of Blake’s fiancée. The task might have been simple, but every time the two scientists try to rendezvous, two contract assassins show up. With Danny and Blake’s phones hacked and each move they make monitored, the only way to survive is to outwit the men wanting to eliminate them. With an ingenious but risky solution, Danny teams up with his ex-lover to piece together secrets that only she, Danny and Blake know. A series of perilous events follows as Danny and his old flame, Valerie, race through San Diego County, solving clues about Blake’s whereabouts and about their possible future together. Will their love for each other be the catalyst for success or will the bitter pain of their breakup be a recipe for disaster?

Purchase: Amazon US  Amazon UK 


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A Nice Brew & Something New with Dan Klefstad

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One the greatest joys I have discovered as a blogger is the many opportunities to meet writers and readers from all walks of life. During my last several months of trying to build Books, Vertigo and Tea I have an established so much more than just a mere blog. I have developed kinship among readers and authors alike that have enriched and expanded my life as a reader. From self published Indie Authors to more well-known names, I have been graced with an opportunity that not only encourages me to branch out but has presented me with a new knowledge and respect for the titles I love and the heart that is poured into them. I am never been one to shy away from an opportunity to absorb and learn more. I love the connections and the passion that is writing and its devoted community. This is a newer feature where I hope to share some of these newer experiences.

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Recently I was contacted by Dan Klefstad. This was a new name, so instantly I was intrigued. It turns out the Dan has written a short story  The Caretaker that was published in Crack The Spine, a digital literary magazine that happens to publish a collection ranging from flash fiction and poetry to even some non-fiction. I was unfamiliar with Crack the Spine, but instantly book marked the site upon the discovery thanks to Dan. Feel free to click the logo to the left to check it out.


Thoughts on The Caretaker by Dan Klefstad

The Caretaker is a short story that comes in the form of roughly 18 pages, give or take. Being that it is a fast read, it is nearly impossible to elaborate on without revealing the story in its entirety, so here is a the intro.. a nice little teaser:

Dear Applicant

Congratulations. Out of hundreds of applications, yours stood out for your “unwavering persistence to get the job done.” Well put! No doubt, you will deserve the eight-figure salary and opulent benefits that come with this job. But I must warn you: The more you read, the more my employer will consider you a threat if you decline our offer. If you have no intentions of taking the job, delete this message now before reading further.

(Continued below).

I found The Caretaker to be an enjoyable and steadily paced short story that managed to deliver a very unique and satisfying experience over the span of a small course of time. Dan Klefstad has offered an alternate perspective on one very guilty pleasures, vampires. You can read The Caretaker as published in Crack the Spine here.


Dan Klefstad & His Inspiration Behind The Caretaker

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I am the morning newscaster and book series editor for NPR station WNIJ. After my on-air shift ends at 9 a.m., I interview authors from all over northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin — novelists, short story writers, poets, memoirists. Here’s my archive: http://northernpublicradio.org/topic/wnij-read-me

 

Each interview has been a master class in storytelling, and in the creative process, whether I’m interviewing someone with an international reputation (such as Robert Hellenga or Amy Newman) or a self-published writer from my neighborhood. I guess it made sense that I’d try to write my own stories. So, earlier this year, I published my debut novel, Shepherd & the Professor, on a traditional contract. Then I wrote this story, “The Caretaker” that I want to expand into a novel. The journal Crack the Spine was the first to express interest, so I went with them.

As for what inspired this piece…Let’s just say I’m a person who, like many others, works very hard and dreams of spending my “evening years” in peace and luxury — traveling the world, eating at the best tables, drinking the finest wines, and living life to the fullest. But I’m not there yet; I have several more years of work for an employer that demands much of me. But this employer, unlike the vampire Fiona, is on a mission to serve others. I am, of course, talking about public radio — independent, public service-minded journalism. It’s a mission I believe in — but, truth be told, it takes a toll. I’m sure everyone who works in the not-for-profit sector will identify with that statement.

I live in DeKalb, Illinois, with my wife Susan who inspired the protagonist of Shepherd & the Professor that can be found here on Amazon.


I want to extend a special thank you to Dan for not only providing me with this opportunity but his willingness to answer my questions and bear with me as I struggled over the last few days to compose posts.

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