Stop Stalling – A Year After “Keep Her” ~ A Guest Post by Leora Krygier

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Leora Krygier came into my life unexpectedly when I received a copy of her novel Keep Her last year. You can read my review here. Since that time not only did I find myself moved by this endearing and thought-provoking story that was a 2016 silver medal winner of the Moonbeam Chidren’s Book Award, but I was continually touched and inspired by my correspondence with Leora. It is an honor to have her share her journey after writing Keep Her here today. So without further ado..


Stop Stalling – A Year After “Keep Her.”

By Leora Krygier

Stop stalling! That’s what I kept saying to myself every morning for a year after the publication of my novel “Keep Her.” But somehow that well-worn imperative didn’t give me enough of the nudge I needed. Sure, there were some understandable reasons – my dad’s illness and his eventual passing away, and a new, delicious baby in the family. There was a lot going on – birth and death and everything in between, still I knew. I was stalling. And this stalling became my “bête noir,” roughly translated, my “dark beast,” or the nagging thorn in my side because every time I sat down to write at my desktop computer, ten minutes later I got up and found something else to do instead.

Life after publication is both exhilarating but also downright nerve wracking. I’d been through it before – the excruciating wait for reviews, the readings, the mentions in the press, and the PR and marketing push.  I did a lot of fun things this time including a SnapChat story, Instagram bookstagrams, a trip to the Book Expo in Chicago and meetings with environmental organizations like Heal The Bay, but still, writing and even publishing can be an often solitary road.

So now – thirteen months later, where am I? I’m still zigging and zagging on that road. I’m aching to write a sequel to Keep Her, to write the next life chapter for my beloved fictional characters Maddie and Aiden, whom I kind of left hanging at the end of the novel. But there’s another book – one that’s three quarters written, a memoir of sorts, and so much harder to write because it has to do with me, and who in the world wants to read about a year in my life?

But that non-fiction book needs completion, an arc closed, if not for others, than for myself. It’s about the year I made a left turn on both my writing and life roads. I spent a year researching a random W.W.II postcard I found in a thrift store in Los Angeles, then tracked down the owner and ran half way across the world to return it to its rightful place. And I say left turn because I should have been doing something else – figuring out my own family history, the whys and wherefores of my father’s past, his secrets and how they oozed into my life. But sometimes you have to make a left turn to get onto the right road, right?

I recently looked up the origin of the word “stall.” The noun refers to a compartment in a stable or shed that houses an animal. The verb is about delay, putting things away, i.e. putting them out of sight and out of mind. That definition made me realize that my “bête noir,” my own little beast was waiting for me to let it out of its stall.

And so, I did. I stopped stalling. Well, kind of. I reorganized my office space and put away a lot of my distractions. I bought a new chair. I finally opened up the computer file with the mostly written book and I’ve actually added and subtracted to the manuscript. It’s a start, I guess.


Meet Leora Krygier

leora.jpgI think I wrote my first story at the age of eight, a micro-autobiography. Micro? Because, well, how much can you say at the age of eight? But I guess I was hooked. I also love to take photos with my cameras and iPhone, which is always snug in my back pocket.
For me, every photo has a story, and every story is a snapshot.
I’m the author of “When She Sleeps” (Toby Press) a New York Public Library Selection for “Best Books for the Teen Age,” and about which Newsweek said, “Krygier’s luminous prose transports the reader.”
I’m also a former Los Angeles Superior Court judge and the author of “Juvenile Court: A Judge’s Guide for Young Adults and their Parents” (Scarecrow Press).
I live in Los Angeles with my husband. When I’m not writing, I love to go to the beach, walk the Santa Monica Mountain trails, and snap lots and lots of photographs.

Untitled design Leora enjoys a good English Breakfast tea and a blackberry infused tea and says “Nothing like a good cuppa”.

Follow Leora: Website Twitter Instagram

Leora’s Books
(click for Goodreads info)
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I want to extend a special thank you to Leora for sharing this experience and her time today.

Happy Reading ❤

Danielle

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An Ever So Slow But Happy Return

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First and always foremost! Thank you all ❤ I never could have anticipated the amount of concern, support and care I received during this hiatus. I even managed to acquire some new and very understanding followers during my month away from social media and the blog. I also discovered that I was added to Reedsy’s Best Book Blogs of 2017. This all stands as a true testament to how wonderful this community and readers are. Everything that BVT has become is a direct result of you! I know I have said it before, but I simply love you all so much!

I know I have a few of you who have messaged on social media and sent emails that I have yet to respond to. I will be doing my best to reply over the next week. I greatly appreciate the letters and thoughts. I  simply have not been online. I will also be responding to all of the comments as I am able. You can only imagine how behind I am!

With all of that said, I will be returning at a somewhat slow and more limited pace. I plan to remain active weekly, however the current goal will be about 3 posts a week when able. Unfortunately, I really need to continue with reduced screen time. I will not be able to blog hop and share as frequently as I once did (although I will still do so when able). If I want to write, read and blog; it will not be possible to keep up with my past routine at the same pace. This does sadden me a bit, but I am happy to be returning and will continue to support you all of you the best that I can. I will not be opening back up for reviews this month. I need to allow myself time to catch up on my backlog of current books and pending reviews/spotlights. I will however, post another You Choose, I Read soon 🙂

So the brief health update that some have asked about: I am currently scheduled for hearing aids and then a follow-up with the specialist later this month. The hearing aids are rather expensive and I have had to apply for assistance, but am in need with the moderate to severe loss in both ears. The new meds seem to have had little effect at this time, but I am not writing them off yet. The last visit concluded that the current symptoms are all neurological, so surgery is out. It was my original hope that some of the underlying causes were related to inner ear as this opened up more options in regards to treatment. I imagine the next step with the specialist will be to discuss where we go from here. I am having to reduce screen time due to increased migraines and vision changes. I was also told I suffer from reader’s fatigue due to the vision issues. But I simply cannot force myself to reduce my reading 😉 On the plus side, this was a somewhat better month in terms of vertigo. That is huge for me! So overall, I am calling my rest a success.

So now it is your turn! Let me know what you have been up to and what you are reading. I am itching to catch up with you all. How has the remainder of your summer been? Fill me on all of the good stuff I have missed. A month felt so very long to be away!

Danielle ❤

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Buy Me A Tea

 

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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