Friday, July 27, 2012

The Winners!

Thanks to all who entered the Goodreads contest for print copies of my two newest books.

872 people entered a contest to win SIX DEGREES OF LOST.

And the lucky winners are:

JM from Indiana
Elizabeth from New York
LaShanda from North Carolina

You should be receiving your books shortly.

471 people requested THE GIRL WHO REMEMBERED HORSES.

And the lucky two winners are:

Leah from Massachusetts
Robin from Michigan

Congratulations! Your books should be arriving shortly.

If you were not a winner, there are two more contests going on Right Now to win these books.

To Win SIX DEGREES OF LOST, hop on over to Novels, News, and Notes from your Northwest Neighbors right here.

And to Win THE GIRL WHO REMEMBERED HORSES, you can visit the Horse Crazy Girls site, where they are having a contest right here.

Both of these contests end soon, so hurry, and good luck, everyone!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Meet Sharon Ledwith

Today I'd like to welcome author Sharon Ledwith, who has a brand new book out from Musa Publishing, and it looks fantastic!

Sharon – Can you tell us a little about The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis?

Actually, Linda, the blurb says it best:

When 13-year-old Amanda Sault and her annoying classmates are caught in a food fight at school, they're given a choice: suspension or yard duty. The decision is a no-brainer. Their two-week crash course in landscaping leads to the discovery of a weathered stone arch in the overgrown back yard. The arch isn't a forgotten lawn ornament but an ancient time portal from the lost continent of Atlantis.

Chosen by an Atlantean Magus to be Timekeepers--legendary time travelers sworn to keep history safe from the evil Belial--Amanda and her classmates are sent on an adventure of a lifetime. Can they find the young Robin Hood and his merry band of teens? If they don't, then history itself may be turned upside down.
I absolutely love this cover, Sharon. Did you have any input with the cover designer?
Yes! My cover design artist, Kelly Shorten is awesome to work with. It was her idea to add the blue jewel (which I call a Babel) in the middle of the cover. I had a marketing company use it to create a branding logo for my website and blog. I suggested using the arch, as Kelly originally had white columns running up the sides. I’d forgotten how fun it was to get back into design since we owned a graphic trade company for over twenty years, which we sold in 2004.

Tell us a little bit about your writing journey. You’re a bit of a late bloomer, like me. How did you end up writing for children?

Sigh. I had a dream in the late 90s. In this dream, I saw seven arches, and there were seven people (five kids, two adults) with crystals in their hands, walking up to these arches. It definitely had an “Indiana Jones” feel to it. At that time, I was writing a paranormal romance (before there was a distinct genre) and had no intention of writing a middle-grade/young adult book like The Last Timekeepers. So, I thought I’d challenge myself and write a novel—a series—that would appeal to my son, who at the time was the target age of my audience. I’ve always loved the time travel genre, so I imagined the arches I saw vividly in my dream as time portals. It was a no-brainer for me.

Do you have a favorite character in The Last Timekeepers? Who is it and why?

This is the second time I’ve been asked this. When it rains, it pours! Okay, truth be told, Treena Mui has a soft spot in my heart. She’s great with the comebacks. She’s a natural when it comes to one-liners and puns. That was me as a teen. I guess I relate to her warped sense of humor.

What was the most difficult part of writing this book?

Hmmm? The rewrite. I had to pull the manuscript apart, on the insistence of my publishing company, Musa Publishing, and make it a stand alone point-of-view in Amanda Sault’s voice. You see, originally I submitted my manuscript with each chapter being in a different character’s point-of-view. My editor loved the core ideas and teachings the book offered, but thought it was confusing. So, I bent to the forces of the universe, and revised the entire manuscript. Easy-peasy. Not. The silver lining is that I get to pen four more novels in the other main character’s point-of-view. Sweet!

Ha! Sounds like a chore! (And people think a writer's job is gravy.) Do you write every day, Sharon, or as the mood strikes? Where is your very favorite place to write?

Pretty much every day. I get up early and try to write at least 500-1000 words. I know that doesn’t sound a lot, but the words accumulate. If I get some time throughout the day, I’ll add to those words. I pimp my wares (and other author’s wares) in the wild world of social media, which takes a chunk out of my writing time. Mornings are sacred to me. I have a writing studio overlooking a forest. It’s a dream come true.

The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis came out first as an ebook, right? Do you read ebooks as well as print books? Could you talk about your reading life, and how you feel about the differences, and all the ways people can read now.

I’ll admit, I was a little hesitant with ebooks. I wanted both. Musa Publishing mentions both in their contract, yet they were so new, it was easier and cheaper to go the epublishing route for them. But recently they offered the authors a fab deal – to print promotional paperbacks so authors had them available for signings and giveaways. I really appreciate and admire Musa Publishing for lending a helping hand and putting their authors first. I like the idea of choice. Paperback or ebook? You can carry around a whole library in your ereader. Or if you like the feel of a book, you can have that too. It’s the best of both worlds, this new dynamic.

What’s next on your writing and publishing journey, Sharon? Anything else in the works?

You bet! Currently, I’m working on the prequel to the Last Timekeepers series, entitled The Legend of the Timekeepers. I also have a completed manuscript of the second book in the series entitled, The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret, but there’s the fun job of revising it into Jordan Jensen’s point of view. I’ve written a master plan for the series with possible titles and premises, and I’m in the process of putting all this information together in a series guidebook, so I’ll be one busy gal!

And last question: I know that you’re a fellow animal lover. (We have that in common.) Do your books have animals in them? What is your favorite animal?

Yes! The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis has a deerhound named Tuck. The prequel has an assortment of animals, as well as human-hybrids. I try to put an animal in every book I write. It just seems wrong not to. After all, I worked in an animal shelter for a stint. My favorite animal? Wolf, hands down. Domestic – dog and cat.

Sharon Ledwith's middle-grade/YA time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, is available through Musa Publishing. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, yoga, kayaking, time with family and friends, and single malt scotch. Sharon lives in the wilds of Muskoka in Central Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, a water-logged yellow Labrador and moody calico cat. To find out more, visit her website, her blog, find her on twitter, on facebook, and find The Last Timekeepers on facebook.
You can also find The Last Timekeepers on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, and most online retailers.
Thank you so much for stopping, by Sharon! Best of luck to you, in your writing and publishing journey.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Bird Nerd

Every single year, when the days finally get long and the weather warm, I have a hard time staying interested in writing. Yes, I know I have four books published, with a fifth, called Walking the Dog coming out this September. So I do have the physical proof that I am *clearsthroat* actually a writer.

But I don't want to write in the summer! And I have to remind myself, every single year, that yes, I am truly a writer, but summers are for Being Outside! Smelling the Flowers! And Bird Watching!

Because I find myself spending hours watching mother birds talking to their broods, encouraging them to leave the nest. I grab my camera at every opportunity to take silly shots of baby birds in and out of their nests. And annoy my friends by posting them on facebook. Yes - it's true. I am a certified Bird Nerd!

Baby Barn Swallows in Nest

Baby Barn Swallows who just left the nest, learning to fly.

See what I mean??

And because my life spills over into my writing, there is even a scene in my newest book, Six Degrees of Lost, where the barn swallows suddenly leave, which they do. They grow up and fly south. It will happen soon now, and summer will be over, and I'll go back to my regularly scheduled program of banging out words on the computer.

But for now, excuse me. I'm off to spot a young Swainson's thrush . . .

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Re-reading a Novel

I have to admit that although I adore reading, there are very few books that I've read for a second time. I mean, if you already know how the story unfolds and what will happen, then what's the point?

But I'm re-thinking this notion. Since our Book Club started up last fall, I've found myself having to re-read a couple of novels that I recommended to the group. Since I read them several years ago, I figured I better refresh my memory so that I can talk intelligently about them. And you know what? I am enjoying them just as much on a re-read, and it's amazing how much I've forgotten.

Right now I am re-reading Half Broke Horses, by Jeannette Walls (who also wrote The Glass Castle.)

Guess what? I'm enjoying the voice, the breezy writing style, and the hard-scrabble tales of this amazing woman all over again. Favorite part so far? When she rides her horse, Patches, 500 miles across New Mexico and Arizona to take a job teaching school. It took her 28 days, camping out by herself, and she was just 15 years old.

You gotta admire somebody like that.

How about you? Do you ever re-read books that you loved the first time around?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Addicted to Print?

For those of you who've been waiting to read my two newest books in print: Good News! I'll soon have some promotional, limited edition copies of both The Girl Who Remembered Horses and Six Degrees of Lost - hot off the press.
These promotional copies will be available through contests, book signings, or you can get them from me in person.

And there's a contest right now, over at Goodreads to win them. Three print copies of Six Degrees of Lost are up for grabs, and it runs through July 26th, 2012.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Six Degrees of Lost by Linda  Benson

Six Degrees of Lost

by Linda Benson

Giveaway ends July 26, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Two print copies of The Girl Who Remembered Horses are available, and the contest runs through July 27, 2012.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Girl Who Remembered Horses by Linda  Benson

The Girl Who Remembered Horses

by Linda Benson

Giveaway ends July 27, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

I think you have to be a Goodreads member to enter these contests. If not, let me know. But Goodreads is a fun site, especially if you're an avid reader like I am.

Can't wait to read them? They're available right now in digital format (links on the right) and The Girl Who Remembered Horses is already available on Overdrive. Ask your favorite library to add it to their digital collection.

Good luck, everyone, and keep watching here for more chances to win a Print Copy of my two latest books!