Thursday, May 30, 2013

Random Things

Yikes. I have been a bad blogger. Woefully neglecting my blog! :-(

So here, in apology, are several random things:

Wild Lilac (Ceanothus integerrimus) growing on the bank above us. It's blooming everywhere right now!

Our cat, Fred, is a total goofball, and loves to perch in the craziest places. Here he is on top of a medicine cabinet in the bathroom.

These are lovely wild iris (Iris chrysophylla) growing on our property.

And here is a doe that frequents our meadow every evening. She was camped out in the bushes by the creek this morning, and I think she might drop a fawn soon. How exciting would that be?

I am feeling the urge to write, though, honestly. I've just been too busy enjoying nature and the outdoors. I have the sequel to The Girl Who Remembered Horses to work on, that is about 80% complete, as well as a YA novel in verse that is probably 75% finished. Time to get cracking!

But wait! Is that a baby hummingbird in the pink weigela?

What have you been enjoying this spring??

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Is This Cheating?

During the last few years, I've been a reading machine. Taking advantage of a great library system with loads of new releases (not to mention a state-of-the-art drive-up window) I became one of their best customers. I proudly signed up for the Goodreads Challenge for 2011 and 2012, and challenged myself to read 111 and 112 books for those years. Done!

2011 Reading Challenge2012 Reading Challenge

Living in a rainy climate, I gobbled up books like crazy - usually averaging about two novels a week.

But wait! Something happened. After I signed up for the 2013 Goodreads challenge, and marked myself at 113 books for the year, I noticed I was getting more and more behind. The challenge told me so, with snide little comments like: At this rate, you are 2 books behind schedule. (No problem, I thought. Just read a little faster.) Then the messages got more serious: you are 3 books behind, then 4, then, *gasp* five!

Yes, we moved further south at the beginning of the year. Yes, we moved to a somewhat warmer climate, where I am outside more, fixing up our house, planting, weeding, rekindling my interest in native plants, falling into bed at night too tired to read. But soon I had several unfinished novels with bookmarks stuck in various places. More gardening books than I can possibly digest! Library books stacking up on my coffee table! E-books stacking up on my Nook, and I was too darned busy to read! How would I ever complete my challenge?

I know. I'd read picture books! Those count, right? So here I am, perusing the children's section at the library, gathering picture books by the armload, reading them (they only take a couple of minutes each) and then marking them on my Goodreads challenge. But I still can't catch up!

Now I am, gasp, seven books behind! Should I drop out? What if I don't make it?
(I really HATE to make a challenge for myself and then FAIL!) EEEKK!

2013 Reading Challenge

2013 Reading Challenge
Linda Benson
You have read 33 books toward your goal of 113 books.
At your current pace, you're 7 books (7%) behind schedule.
But I've figured it out - whereas before I did most of my reading in the LOONNGG rainy winter, when it was too cold/miserable to go outside - now I might read a lot more in the summer, when it's too HOT to go outside.

I hope so. Otherwise, (although I do love novels) you might find me permanently camped out in the children's section of the library next December, reading picture book after picture book, until I finally meet my goal of 113.

That wouldn't really be cheating, would it?

P.S. If you are completing a Goodreads challenge, or if you just plain enjoy reading for fun, remember that Six Degrees of Lost is still on sale over at Amazon for only .99!

Hope you are enjoying whatever you are reading!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Six Degrees of Lost - On Sale - .99

Happy May, everyone! Start your e-readers . . .

I've got a great promotion on one of my books to tell you about!

Six Degrees of Lost is only .99 from May 1-15.

A Lost Dog, A First Love, A Journey

Olive’s mother is headed to jail and her brother to join the Army, so thirteen-year-old Olive is uprooted from sunny California and dumped in Washington State like a stray. That's exactly what she feels like surrounded by her aunt’s collection of homeless dogs, cats, and horses.

Fourteen-year-old David’s future is already carved in stone. From a military family with two brothers serving overseas, he’s been pointed towards the Air Force Academy his entire life - but a rafting trip gone awry might ruin his chances.

When a runaway dog is almost hit by a car, the search for its owner leads Olive and David, two teens from entirely different backgrounds, to an unlikely bond. Will their growing attraction to each other be enough to keep Olive from a foolhardy journey to find her mother? Will David risk his family’s plans to save her?

Have you read this one yet? I hope you'll take advantage of this awesome price to buy a copy for yourself, or give it to someone else. Here is a short excerpt:

“So what’s with all those dogs barking in the back yard?”

“They’re foster dogs. My aunt takes them in when they get too crowded at the animal shelter. Some of them aren’t adoptable, and would be put to sleep otherwise.”

“Really?” I gulp.

“We’ve also got six cats in the house, plus the horses out back. Come on, I’ll show you.” The yellow dog jumps up and down, begging for the stick. Olive flings it down the driveway. I see a small shelter out back, with sagging fences. Olive is already headed that way, taking short barefoot steps on the gravel, so I follow.

A sway-backed pinto horse with a mouth full of hay sticks his head out from the shelter and then turns and goes back to his breakfast. It looks kind of bony.

“Wow,” I say. “Skinny.”

“Yeah, that’s Paintball.” She grins. “Well, that’s what I call him. He was found wandering loose up in the National Forest. Aunt Trudy says somebody just dumped him there.”

Olive shrugs. “I know. Hard to believe, huh? I guess they couldn’t afford to feed him, but still, that’s just mean.”

A huge brown horse wanders over to the fence. “Who’s this one?” I reach between the strands of wire and pat his head. He’s just as skinny as the first one.

“My aunt says he’s ancient, and we’ll probably never get his weight back on. They found him tied to a tree in front of the animal shelter, but they don’t really have any facilities for horses there, so he came here instead. He’s sweet, huh?”

“Yeah, he seems nice.” The old horse pushes his head underneath my hand, clearly enjoying the attention.

“I call him Shakespeare. ‘Cause he looks so noble and elegant.”

Elegant? I think. That’s a stretch. “Can you ride them?”

“I don’t know. Aunt Trudy says we don’t really know that much about them. Anyway, it’s been too hot, and she’s always busy. She’s a clerk at the animal shelter thrift shop, and she takes turns working down at the shelter, besides feeding all these animals here at home.”

Olive talks so fast she makes my head swim. She barely takes a breath, and rattles on. “So besides the ones she takes in from the shelter, my aunt is always finding animals, too. She says there must be an invisible sign at the bottom of the driveway that says: Lost Animals Stop Here.”

“Is that how you found this dog?” I stroke the big lab’s ears, and he presses against me.

“He was standing in the middle of the road,” she says, “and almost got hit by a car.” She smiles. “Maybe he was reading the sign.”

So, go! Snatch up your copy while the price is right. It's up on Amazon now, and should be on sale at some other sites soon. Here's the link:
Thanks so much, everyone. Really appreciate your support!!