A Nice Brew & Something New With Benny Neylon/Giveaway


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.


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:

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.”


(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


*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!


Danielle ❤

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Giveaway Q&A With Dave Johnston

Questions & Answers

I am excited to have Dave Johnston back for a rather fun and unusual Q&A and Giveaway. When Dave recently decided he wanted to offer a giveaway for his YA debut Lot of a Nobody, I approached him about doing a Q&A. Which he happily obliged, but he decided he had a few questions of his own! And well, I like to play fair 😉 Be sure to stick around and enter for a chance to win The Lot of a Nobody on eBook (this is international).


So without further ado.. here are Dave’s responses to my questions:

1. The Lot of a Nobody was a significant change in pace compared to your Sixty Minute Reads featuring Holly Holloway. What prompted the decision to write a YA title at this time?
I had such a fantastic relationship with my late Grandfather, that I really wanted to explore those emotions and hope that they resonated with others. As a writer you get the wonderful opportunity to say “Imagine if …”, and I found that a story began to present itself from that initial little acorn. I allowed the characters to drive the story and the narrative, to which point it emerged fluidly as a YA novel. There are so many genres I’d like to explore, but hopefully the core voice of my writing will remain.
2. Lot Nobody is an incredibly fun character! Where did you draw your inspiration for such a young and spirited protagonist? 
Well firstly I think Lot would be surprised you think he is fun, and that lack of self-confidence was definitely born in him from my own anxiety and shyness experienced as a child. But you’re right, he is fun, and so much fun to write, and what better foil to have him bounce off than Ethan Longbow, his best friend and special ball of craziness. I’d hate to say any of my characters were inspired by just one thing – they are an amalgamation of myself, my friends, heart-warming stories I’ve read, and comedy TV programmes I watched when younger (Fry & Laurie, The Day Today, Blackadder, Monty Python)
3. It appears that you are on your way to having to very contrasting but wonderful book series (if I am wrong about this, I am going to be disappointed.). How do you plan to find balance between writing the two? 
I have to admit I am at a bit of a crossroads. I know exactly where Book 3 of the “Sixty Minute Reads” series is going, in the same way I have mentally planned out what will probably be a trilogy of Lot Nobody novels in that series. Perhaps I should throw it to a vote?
4. Describe yourself as accurately as possible in 5 words.
Sporadic, determined, forgetful, spontaneous, silly.
5. If your name were an adjective, what would it mean? Use it in a sentence please.
Hmm, well in my twenties my friends called me Dangerous Dave. With great imagination comes great irresponsibility, and before kids I lived my life whichever way it chose to go. Living off pure spontaneity is great fun, but can also end up quite hairy – it just depends if you can accept the consequences. “Who’s that guy in the wheelchair with the broken feet?” “Oh, that’s Dangerous Dave”.
Bonus Question: I now know that you are not a tea drinker (I am letting that one slide). So what is your beverage of choice?
I do feel like an outcast in this industry not drinking tea haha. My only recollection of ever trying it was at primary school, when I spat it all over the headteacher.

Orange squash is my go-to-drink. Is it called that in America? Maybe its known as cordial or dilute? Anyway that keeps me fully stocked up on E-numbers during the week, and then at weekends when the kids are in bed I’ll usually go for a white wine from New Zealand, or my new favourite liquor Amaretto – its like drinking (alcoholic) liquid sweets YUM

And then it was Dave’s turn to ask the questions:

1. If you could spend a day with any fictional character, who would it be, and what would you do with them?
This is an easy question for me! It would be with Bilbo Baggins and we would enjoy second breakfast, smoke a nice pipe and go on an adventure.

2. Is England a place where you have / would like to visit?
Asking me if I would like to visit England is like asking me if I wear pants. Of course I would! It has been on my bucket list for years. I would love to stay in Yorkshire and enjoy some of the renown food and sights. Also maybe Suffolk coastline for a bit. And of course Tower of London, Stone Hedge and visit Cotswolds! In short, I could spend a very long vacation traveling in England.

3. What toppings do you have on a pizza?
Garbage Pizza! Everything minus the anchovies and mushrooms. I like it loaded and sloppy. I also eat pizza with a fork.

4. What’s your funniest habit (including secret ones haha)?
I had to think about this. I have several quirky habits. I cannot go to sleep at night without Forensic Files on the television! Seriously, 7 nights a week. Thank you HLN for airing constant episodes. Although I am not sure if that is considered funny or creepy? I cannot handle open doors. If a room is not in use all doors (including cabinets, etc) have to be closed). I feel like someone is watching me, otherwise. Do you think this falls back on my Forensic Files problem?

5. What’s the best film adaptation of a book you’ve read?
I have a few favorites that include: Great Expectations, The Shining (although I have read King was not impressed), Do Android Dream of Electric Sheep (Blade Runner) and A Clockwork Orange.

Bonus Question from my 6-year-old son: “How do you speak American?
Oh wow! American VS British English.. hmm. Slang has to be one of the biggest differences. Learn American slang and you are halfway there right? I don’t know if that is actually true (sort of making bits up as I go). I feel like Americans tend to also speak at a higher volume (we are loud) and more aggressively.  We use a lot of different words. Vacation = holiday and that sort of thing.  We also spell them slightly different. We neglect the letter “U” a lot. Color, neighbor, favor. Is any of this even helping? Tell your son I think I just failed his question haha.

Many thanks Dave, for the awesome and very interesting Q&A!

dave johnstonDave Johnston is a Father, writer and climber – smarter than an onion, edgier than an orange, rasher than bacon. He can complete a Rubiks Cube in under 2 minutes, has a series of DIY disasters under his belt, and once broke some major bones in his body – now filed as a character building exercise.

Dave has published one novel and two novellas to date, lives in Sheffield, England, and likes gravy.

Search Facebook/Twitter: TheDaveJohnston, or visit www.sixtypublishing.com to stay in touch.


the lot of nobody

The Lot of a Nobody

“Lot was a Nobody. Lot was a nobody. Sometimes, life deals you a right melon.”

Lot Nobody is average – even his ears – and is so lonely that he’s become invisible. But on his 16th birthday Lot truly starts disappearing – uprooted to a magical island, then sent back fully naked in the most embarrassing of situations.

After befriending Ethan Longbow – a classmate who’s about as street as a satsuma – Lot’s insecurities start to peel away, an angry volcano begins to pulsate, and Lot Nobody goes toe-to-toe with the dastardly megalomaniac Hector Shady.

Lot must now face his anxieties, save his new island friends, and discover why the hell his bum has been so itchy …

Enter to win one free eBook edition of The Lot of a Nobody (International).

Rafflecopter giveaway

*Please Note that this giveaway is for one eBook provided by the author. It is open until 5/10/17. A valid email address will be required to receive the book. The winner will be announced on the blog and social media and must be 18 yrs of age or older. I will contact the winner by email, and they will have 3 days to respond before a new winner will be selected.

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Celebrating The Holidays With Friends – Erin A. Jensen


Many of you have seen my recent giveaway and posts regarding Dream Waters by Erin Jensen. It is one of my current reads, and I have been completely entranced with her writing and the very distinct story line.

This is probably my last “Celebrating The Holidays With Friends” guest post as the holidays are approaching rapidly and time seems to be limited. I could not be happier than to conclude this segment with Erin. She is always genuine and kind with each interaction, providing a wonderful and welcomed experience. She has been continually supportive and giving. I cannot thank her enough for all that she has done! I am excited to have Erin share a bit more about who she is. While I could spend a lot more of my time explaining how wonderful connecting with her has been, I will let her post speak for itself.


A Guest Post by Erin Jensen

A few words about my journey, advice for my past self and my undying gratitude to book bloggers:
I’ve been tossing around different ideas for a guest post since Danielle generously asked me to write one.  I’ll be honest, this is the first guest post I’ve written.  I published my debut novel, Dream Waters, in April 2016 and Dream World (book 2 in the series) on October 31st.  I spent three years writing and editing Dream Waters without telling anyone but my husband, our two sons and my best friend that I was even writing a novel.  Eight months later, the grocery store where I work part time as a pharmacist is selling both my books, people walk up to me on the street and tell me they loved my books and people on the other side of the globe are reading my stories and tweeting about how much they loved them.  When I stop to think about it, I’m astounded by everything that’s occurred over the last eight months.  I mean, I’m still the same introvert that I was a year ago, except for the fact that I found the courage to step WAY outside my comfort zone and chase after my dream.  Maybe that’s why I felt so daunted about writing this post.  I’m not someone who feels particularly comfortable being the center of attention and quite honestly, I still find it hard to believe that people would be interested in reading what I have to say.  I’m not going to attempt some grandiose masterpiece of a post, because that’s not me and I doubt it ever will be.  So after much consideration, I’ve decided to share five things I’ve learned from my journey and wish I could go back and tell my past self.
1.  You’ve only got one life.  Don’t waste it being too afraid of failure to chase after your dreams.
Even if my books had tanked, I could look back on this experience and be proud that I went for it.  I’ll never have to look back on my life, wish that I’d been bolder and wonder what might have been.  No matter the outcome, I threw caution to the wind and put my heart and soul out there to be criticized and judged.  I’m not going to lie, there were plenty of terrifying moments and more than a few tears along the way but I’ve never felt more alive.
2.  Share your hopes and dreams with the people in your life.
If I’d known how supportive and enthusiastic my family, friends and coworkers were going to be, I would’ve told them I was writing a book so much sooner.  These amazing people in my life have become some of my biggest fans.  The first time one of my coworkers came into the pharmacy with my book in hand and asked for an autograph, it felt odd.  I stood next to these people every day and my signature was all over the place in the pharmacy.  Why any of them would want my signature was beyond me.  I’m used to family, friends and strangers asking me to sign their copies of my book at this point, but I’m still floored by their enthusiasm.  They’ve shared my social media posts, told their friends and coworkers about my books, chosen my book for their book clubs to read and basically shouted about my books from the rooftops because they’re genuinely excited about my writing.  Their words have also gotten me through plenty of days when I doubted myself and seriously questioned my choices.
3.  There’s more than one way to publish a book.
One of the reasons I waited so long to tell anyone about my book was that I spent a year sending query letters to agents and getting rejected.  Each rejection letter reinforced that voice in my head telling me I wasn’t good enough to do this.  My best friend kept encouraging me to self publish, but I needed that validation from a professional to believe that my book was good enough.  Eventually, I started reading more about the self publishing process and considering the possibility.  I liked that I wouldn’t be signing away any rights.  The final say on the cover, the story inside, the title and every aspect of the process would be mine.  Instead of waiting around and crying over rejection letters, I could be putting my work out there to find its way into the hands of readers.  I might never have worked up the courage to go through with it if my husband hadn’t sent my book out for a few professional reviews beforehand.  The positive feedback from those gave me the confidence to reach for the stars, start my own publishing company and publish Dream Waters on my own.
4.  It’s important to connect with other authors.
I live in a pretty rural town in upstate New York, so finding other authors seemed like an impossibility at first.  But I found other authors on Twitter and discovered how supportive the writing community could be.  Independent authors are happy to share the posts of fellow authors and help spread the word about their books.  I’ve even found an author friend on the other side of the world.  We write back and forth every day about our struggles to squeeze time to write into our day, our progress and life in general.  Other people in my life are supportive and sympathetic, but she gets it in a way that only a fellow writer can because she’s been there too.
5.  Book bloggers are the most amazing people on the planet.
I’m not just saying this to butter them up.  I genuinely mean it.  Whenever I read articles written by independent authors, they always stressed how crucial book bloggers were to their success.  I honestly knew nothing about book bloggers.  To me, the whole process of contacting them to inquire if they’d be interested in reviewing my book felt like querying agents all over again.  Maybe that’s partially because I read an article that referred to contacting them as “querying.”  I just didn’t have a thick enough skin to put myself out there to be rejected again.  I wear my heart on my sleeve, and each rejection felt like a crushing blow back in my querying days.  I’m not sure what made me reach out and contact my first book blogger, but I couldn’t be more thankful that I did.  Book bloggers aren’t the cold pretentious people that I feared they’d be.  They’re MY people, book loving people who want what I want, to share the stories they love with fellow book lovers and spread the word about new books that are out there waiting to be read.  Every blogger I’ve contacted has been wonderful.  Many of the ones who had too much on their plate to review my book still graciously offered to post a spotlight or an interview, as did lots who were excited to read and review my book but apologized that they couldn’t do it immediately (which I never expected them to do).  I am truly thankful to all the book bloggers who’ve taken the time to help spread the word about my books.  You, my fellow story lovers, are the reason that I write.

About Erin

Erin Jensen is a part time pharmacist and a full time creator of imaginary worlds. She lives in upstate New York with her ridiculously supportive husband, two wonderful sons that she couldn’t be prouder of and a Yorkshire terrier who thinks he’s the family bodyguard. She’s an unapologetic coffee addict, and her happy place is anywhere she can squish her toes in the sand while listening to waves crash onto shore with a good book in hand.



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Follow Erin on Twitter @ErinAJensen