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Thursday, July 10, 2008

I can too...

Ok, so I've watched one too many episodes of Blue's Clues. Funny how my mind works sometimes. I've been trying out some of the different social networking sites on the internet and I've found my favorites to be MySpace, Facebook and possibly Squidoo. I also do alot on NING networks, but I find it difficult to keep all of the different networks updated there since I have to go into each network seperately. There is no common platform there or at least, I haven't figured it out yet.

I've been using MySpace for quite sometime and it has been a great way to keep in touch with readers and other authors. I have found so many people through that one networking site, including old friends, favorite authors and even people who are willing to review my books. It is and will probably always be one of the most valuable tools I have found for promoting my work.

Recently, I stumbled across Facebook and am finding it to be equally beneficial. Although I haven't gotten nearly as involved there as I am on MySpace, I see potential. It seems to be a good place to post information about upcoming events and a god place to present general information about myself and my writing.

My latest discovery has been Squidoo. It is quirky and a little difficult to navigate, but once I get the hang of it I'm sure it will be great. Lots of people seem to be using this one, but I am still learning the ropes.

Over the last year or so, I have also joined the NING network site. From there, I was able to join several individual groups and post information about my writing and other projects. It is fairly easy to navigate, but the biggest problem I have is that there is not one central place for a profile. You have to set up a profile within each individual network. Nothing seems to cross over. It's a bit cumbersome, but I have met alot of great people there.

What networking sites do you find useful? Challenging? Worthless? Weigh in on this discussion...I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Until next time...

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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

An Open Letter to Gordon Ramsay...

Chef Ramsay,

Although I do love your show, I'm so very disappointed in your choice for the winner of Hell's Kitchen. Poor Petrozza, passed over for what would have been the opportunity of a lifetime, was obviously the more deserving of the two finalists. Blah, blah, blah...

If I were to write a letter to Gordon Ramsay, it might start like that, but then again, it might very well start like this...

Chef Ramsay,

WTF? We all know that Petrozza was, by far, the most consistent contestant in your competition. Although he didn't win the challenges, he was always able to maintain the same level of productivity and quality in his cooking. He didn't get rattled nearly as much as Christina did and when it came right down to it, she had to be told how to handle her kitchen staff on the night of the final. It was so obvious that you practically walked her through the entire process, while Petrozza was doing a great job of running his kitchen. He was only knocked off balance by a shortage of ingredients, but even handled that well.

While Christina sounded like a whiny, teenage babysitter barking out encouragement to her staff, Petrozza sounded more like someone in control of what was happening in his. It was obvious to see that Christina was not able to hold her own in the kitchen and in fact, didn't even know what to do without your prompting. I have to say, I don't get it.


Rebecca Benston

Glad I got that off my chest...geez.

Until next time...

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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

More of the same...

I hate to beat a dead horse, but the damned thing keeps neighing. I say this in reference to some submission guidelines I recently read on a publisher's website. I was just innocently looking for information about some of the different publishers out there and I ran into what I consider to be a very prejudicial statement, spelled out in black and white for all the world to see. I know that I shouldn't let it anger me so, but it is very disheartening to see this over and over. To explain:

Do not send us books printed by PublishAmerica, iUniverse, Xlibris, or anybody else as a sample of your work. It will, in 99.9% of the cases, work against you. Obviously, that also means don't include those books in your query letter or list of credits, either.

I won't mention which publisher's website this was on and I don't want to sound whiny, but for Pete's sake people. Right now, I'm a PublishAmerica author. Although they aren't at the top of anyone's list for best and brightest publishing group, they do not charge a fee and should not be lumped in with publishers who do. My work through PublishAmerica should be considered as work that I can include on my list of writing credits. It was distributed through the big warehouses and I did receive royalties (no matter how meager).

I have spoken with authors who paid through the nose to have their books published and they don't seem to be having the same problems with credibility as I have had as a PublishAmerica author. Even though I've said, time and time again, I paid nothing to have my book published. I was never asked to pay for their services, nor did I ever do so.

Because of this seemingly universal snubbing, I have been denied book signing opportunities, book reviews, memberships to writing groups and now, it appears, the likelihood of being published through another publishing house because my work with PublishAmerica simply doesn't count.

I'm sure there are people out there who believe that all of this makes sense and that PublishAmerica authors have not put in their time as writers. They base this solely on their own beliefs about the publisher and project their feelings onto the writers. They have no real basis for their claims other than their own bias and quite frankly, I think that sucks.

My intention has always been to submit my first novel-length effort to a bigger publisher and see if I have what it takes. As someone who views a show of effort as a positive thing, I see absolutely nothing wrong with writing and publishing through a smaller, less prestigious publisher to get started in the writing world. My goal here is not to grumble and complain, but to enlighten those who are clinging to the notion that PublishAmerica authors are just hacks or vanity press writers who couldn't possibly succeed on a more substantial playing field or who were somehow deviously suckered into signing with a predatory publisher. Hasn't anyone ever heard of starting out small or what I like to call an entry level position?

I'd worry that writing this blog post might damage my credibility, but it appears that I probably didn't have any to begin with. After all, I'm just a PublishAmerica writer. What do I know?

Just another example of how narrow-minded people can be...just another reason why I write.

Until next time...

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Monday, July 7, 2008

Thoughts for today...writing, living, feeling...

For those of you who don't know, it's been a rough year for my family. We've had several things that didn't quite go our way. The economy sucks, my presidential candidate isn't going forward in the election, gas is too damned expensive and I can't seem to get my frigging car (which I just bought in April) to run from one place to another. These things, on top of a miscarriage and my husband's nine week long recovery from knee surgery were enough to drive me almost completely crazy. It's just been one shit storm after another. So, what keeps me from going completely crackers? Well, I'd have to say that aside from my daughter, my writing is the one thing I can count on to make me happy. No matter what else is going on, I can go to writing and put my feelings, however shitty, down on paper. I can choose to share these thoughts or keep them to myself. I can write angry or I can write happy, it really doesn't matter. The point is, I write.

Times like these make it difficult to concentrate on major writing projects such as my mystery series, but I have found that simply taking the time to jot down notes about what I would like to have happen in my book is a very effective way to gain ground. As a matter of fact, I have recently uncovered several scribblings that I made at various points during the past few months which made wonderful additions to what I am writing. I have written and rewritten Keeping the Faith at least three times now and I'm finally starting to like what I see. It is frustrating for someone like me, a person who hates rough drafts and rewrites, to continually revamp a story. I think, however, that this means I am growing as a writer. At least, that's what I'm telling myself.

I have been saying for the past six months that Keeping the Faith will be ready for publication by this Fall and I am diligently working toward my self-imposed due date. The setbacks have been tough, but I can always come back to the writing after a bad day. It keeps me going and reminds me that there is something in my life over which I have at least a little control. When all else fails, I can decide who lives or dies in my books. I decide who wins and who loses. I can make someone sick, and I can heal that person if I so choose. It's delusion at its finest. Although it doesn't make up for what I have lost in real life, writing does give me an outlet through which I can process the pain and the feelings that sometimes get lost in the daily shuffle. I can say what I need to say in any way I want to say it and this is very important when life is handing you a bunch of lemons.

It's probably obvious to you all that I'm a thinker, one of those analytical, what does it all mean types who drives everyone around me crazy. I love to pick things apart; sometimes I simply can't help myself. I just hope that my analysis of things is at least entertaining enough to keep you reading. If it isn't, I'll still keep writing. Complain if you like, hell, complain even if you don't like to, it's good for you. The point is, if you've got something to say then say it. It matters, even if it only matters to you.

Until next time...

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Sunday, July 6, 2008

Enough is enough...

I'd like to know why it is necessary for me to have to sit through commercials for the "Girls Gone Wild" videos when I am trying to watch television in the evenings. Here I was, trying to watch a comedy special on the comedy network and all of a sudden, there they were; a bunch of trampy women jumping around, pulling their shirts up jiggling around with those little censorship tabs plastered all over them. Woo-hoo. Wasn't I thrilled to have to sit through four minutes of that shit.

What bothers me, but not more than the fact that there are women out there doing these stupid videos, is that you can't even control when these things are going to pop up on your television. I don't think I've seen one before eleven o'clock at night, but still, I'm watching the comedy network, not the nasty, pedifile, porn network. Not that I'm judgemental or anything, but how long before I have to monitor the Cartoon Network for ads like this? It is truly ridiculous.

Aside from that, I could do without all of the ads for Viagra, Cialis, and those other medications that have no place out in public view. For Christ's sake, they cover up the Cosmopolitan magazines in the grocery stores, the least they could do is keep these types of things off of the television. It's embarassing to be sitting there, watching television with your child and have to explain what that man is smiling about or why those girls are jumping around with their tops off. I should not have to change my channel to make sure I don't see these things. If I voluntarily decided to watch something that's a little "off-color," then that's on me, but when I'm just trying to enjoy a simple stand-up routine it's a bit much to be bombarded with smut. Give us a break, surely you can find better advertisers to sponsor your programming, people.

That's what I'm disgusted about this morning, I'm sure something else will come up later and I'm happy to share it with you all as it all unfolds.

Until next time...

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A Little Bit of Mystery: Short Mysteries to Confuse and Amuse

Where I've Been...

Listen to my interview on the Jeffery S. Miller show.

Listen to my interview on Calling All Authors.

Listen to my interview on the Let's Just Talk w/Kathryn Raaker.

Listen to my interview on Radio Free Baxter.

Where I'll Be...

After a short break in the summer, I'll be at the following locations:

8/11/09 Allen Park Public Library, Allen Park, MI 6:30 p.m.

Looking for something entertaining for your library or bookstore patrons? Looking for a fun way to spend a couple of hours? Do you love mysteries? Then you need to schedule a Tea & Mystery event for your library or bookstore! The fee is minimal and the presentation is fun and informative! Attendees will be given the chance to win great prizes and share their thoughts about the mystery genre and their favorite mystery writers!

E-mail me today at for details on how to set up your Tea & Mystery event!

Books by Rebecca Benston

Reviews for Rebecca Benston

“You'll find yourself looking forward to more stories from the files of Rona Shively.”

Michelle Shealy, Reviewer for


“Rebecca Benston has written a detective with plenty of suspense…I hope there will be a sequel…”

Annick, Reviewer for Euro-Reviews


“The story is good, the plotting great. Rebecca Benston draws you into the story from the first page. Read the book.”

Lucille P. Robinson, An Alternative Read


“Rebecca Benston’s twists, turns, and descriptions are utterly engaging.”

Tracy, Fallen Angel Reviews


“In The Wash is like a 1930’s film noir detective story that had a modern, edgy twist and a female lead.”

Janet Davies, Once Upon a Romance Reviews


“Under Lock and Key is an enjoyable, fun book! Rona Shively is a delightful character. I loved her off-beat, quirky personality and her outstanding sense of humor.”

Connie Harris,


“Talented author Rebecca Benston shows the reader just how complicated life can get suddenly and how people you thought you knew, aren't who you thought they were.”

Anne K. Edwards,