Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Wrapping up 2015 with a Few of My Favorite Things

One the many things my best friend (henceforth to be known as M) and I share is an unhealthy attachment to cats. M's cat, Michonne, had kittens in November, so she had the opportunity for these adorable Christmas kitty pics! (We might have to use them for Christmas cards next year!)

Friday, December 18, 2015


Hidden messages, plain, in sight,
Whisper, Here, true magic thrives.
Nature beckons, See Earth with open eyes,
And Wander, unraveling its Mystery
While marveling, with Wonder,
At what Miracles appear in the ordinary.

Thank you for reading! I hope you're having a beautiful day, night, or sometime in the between....

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

On this day, in 1911....

On December 8th, 1911, my mother's mother was born. She was a beautiful, loving woman, a protestant pastor's daughter, who married a protestant pastor and raised two incredible daughters. She also played hockey, went to business school, and had a keen fashion sense, which occasionally caused

Monday, December 7, 2015

Yes, sometimes it does.

"When it rains it pours."
This Morton Salt Girl mug once belonged to my father's mother. I didn't really know her, but I do remember the visit to Chicago when she gave me this mug and its sister, an old locket with my brother's baby pictures in it and a tiny little metal box, which I keep the locket in.

On days, like today, when it seems nothing is going right, I'll drink my green tea from one of the mugs, and remember I'm only here because she persevered through much more difficult times. I'm eternally thankful she did. She raised her four children and two foster children during/post WWII, and could only buy as much salt or sugar as her ration books would allow. Dad also mentioned something about a Victory Garden once.... Anyway, it helps me keep things in perspective.

When it rains, it may pour, but I will always try to find a rainbow after the storm.

I hope you're having a beautiful day, night, or sometime in the between....

Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Novica Christmas Parade

The Christmas Parade was last night, and I missed it! It's not always easy to get down there for these things, especially when I make so many other trips down for family events during the holidays. Hopefully we'll make it next year.
Novica is based on my hometown. It's not an exact replica, though one commonality is the annual Christmas Parade, traditionally held the first Saturday of December. And, because Sam loves her hometown as much I do, and the timing was right, the parade made its way into A Shadow in Doubt. Since I missed out on the festivities this year, I decided I'd share Sam's version of the '06 parade with you....  

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Heavy Hearts in San Bernardino

Dozens of families are going through what no one ever should have to, again. Hundreds of others are dealing with the emotional scars of what they witnessed yesterday, possibly for the rest of their lives. My heart goes out to everyone affected by the horrific events in San Bernardino

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Falling Leaves

Legends of Autumnal Splendor 
Unfold in changing Leaves,
Emblazoned memories
Of Glorious Golden Afternoons,
Drift away, one by one,
Curling up to slumber 
Under Pale Winter's white light,
Dreaming with Hope
To Awaken, Anew, with Spring.

Autumn Leaves Image from Pixabay

Friday, November 6, 2015

November News: Aliens and an Interview

November? Already? Where did this year go? It's day six of NaNoWriMo, but only my third day of writing. I'm close to hitting par for day three though, and I'm about to dive back in...after I write a quick post...

The idea for this year's attempt came to me a while ago. All I really did with it was write some notes about the two main characters, and a few paragraphs of a scene. Then I tucked it away in my treasure trove of story sparks,

Monday, October 19, 2015

Ready for #NaNoWriMo?

It's almost that time of year again - when writers around the world gather together for the greatest event known to man, er, um, writers - National Novel Writing Month, a.k.a. NaNoWriMo.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Calling All Readers! I Need to Know....

In 1978, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers released their second album, You're Gonna Get It! It was a very good year, in my humble, unbiased opinion. Any year we get new Petty is a good year, right?

I could go on for days about my life-long love affair with his music - I can listen to most of his songs in my head, no LP or iPod required. Which (sort of) explains how I Need to Know got stuck in my head this morning. Have a listen so we're on the same page-

Now I'll explain the why....

Sunday, October 11, 2015

An excerpt from The Shadow Watcher - Chapter 7

Society in the Shadow of Civilization, Time Travel

Curious about The Society in the Shadow of Civilization? This week I'm sharing Chapter Seven from The Shadow Watcher ... which is where he finally starts to explain himself.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Character Spotlight: Adjatay - Keeper of the Tree

(Spoilers, maybe? Be warned....)

Sam first meets Adjatay in The Shadow Watcher, and visits him again in A Shadow in Doubt. Though Adja's appearances are brief, he is a key figure as the keeper of the Flamella tree.

According to, the name Adjatay is of Cameroon/African origin, meaning prince". It was meant to be; in my head, Michael called him Adja, before I even started looking for names. 

Adja was taken in by the Society in the Shadow of Civilization in the mid-eighteenth century, and in recognizing the purity of his soul, he became a sort of spiritual center for Samuel, and later Sam. It takes a special kind of person to live alone in the jungle for more than a century, without going bananas.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Staring at the Stars

Orion Nebula
Today was my father's birthday, he would have turned seventy-eight. It's been over fourteen years, but, I still miss him every day. Tonight I spent some time watching the clouds dance around the stars.

Between summer camping trips and many weekends at one spot or another along Colorado River, we spent countless hours staring up at the sky. He taught us how to read a star map, and used the big, extra-bright flashlight to point out the constellations. I've always been fond of Orion, probably because it's one of the few that shines through the light pollution back home.

Just wanted to let you know I was thinking about you today, Dad. Love you always.

Photo courtesy of user WikiImages at 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

#SundayLinkParty - Writers Helping Writers

Look at Twitter, Facebook, any social media platform, or anywhere else on the internet, and you'll find hundreds of thousands of writers. One might think we're all extremely social, and perfectly comfortable talking about ourselves and our work. Some of us are, I'm sure, but, not me. I know I'm not the only one.

Writing, in all forms, is a personal process. All writers have their own quirks. Some need music, others need silence. Some need chocolate, others need the rumble in their stomach. Some need coffee, I need Pepsi. It's when the writing is done, when we have to come out of our caves and share our work with the world, many of us struggle with facing our fears.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Happy Escape Day!

August 5th, 2169 is when is all began ... The night two strangers appeared on the moon, and told Dr. Samuel Marks what he already knew, he and accomplices must flee the Colony before the govenment discovers his project - the Flamella tree. But, there's only one way to keep it from the U.C.E.; they must Escape 2169....

Fore Shadows is a Society in the Shadow of Civilization short story - both prequel and sequel to The Shadow Watcher. It's available free from:
Amazon (US & UK)     

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Sam's timeline is getting seriously twisted.

Society in the Shadow of Civilization
Book Two

Sam Marquet's journey continues with unexpected twists, as she struggles to find the balance between her new role in the world her grandfather created and her place in the real one.... 

Monday, July 13, 2015

A Midnight Rambling: Getting Nostalgic in Novica

LOML and I had an impromtu date night Friday, and wound up in Downtown Novica, of all places. My hometown, the place I love more than any other on Earth - I drive by at least once every couple of months, but almost never pass through downtown anymore. If you're from Novica, you know you don't drive the "main drag" through Downtown - you go around, unless you have all day. But, we had time to kill,

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

More Midnight Rambling: Burning the Candle...

It's half past midnight, I'm sitting here, at my desk, taking a break from corrections on A Shadow in Doubt. I haven't been sleeping much the last couple of weeks. Some of that has to do with the heat. The rest, well, I'm doing that thing I do when there is a deadline approaching

Friday, May 15, 2015

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Almost Midnight Ramblings....

It's well past midnight in Chicago, and the Blackhawks are in second overtime. It's not quite eleven here, but it feels later, so it's a midnight rambling! And, as I really don't know what I'm rambling about, this could be fun....

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Spring Ballet Season - Beauty and the Beast

It is time to start getting excited! "Beauty and the Beast" will be coming to 4 beautiful theaters near you, April...
Posted by Inland Pacific Ballet on Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Random Ramble - the hummingbirds are back!

While I was procrastinating turning on the computer yesterday, I did some watering in the front yard and this hummingbird came to visit. She flew right up in my face, hovered there a second, and darted around the stream from the hose. Then, she landed near the spigot, and proceeded to take a shower.

I posted about hummingbirds last spring, and how I should apply some lessons learned from their daily routine in my garden to my own writing routine. I'm still working on the routine part ... it's getting a little better ... ? Not here, though. I've been neglecting the blog. So, I post a random glimpse of my random routine....

I'm easily distracted, especially by animals - cats, dogs, birds, horses, ducks, rabbits, wallabies. Iguanas, and lizards, too, though I'm not a big fan of snakes. (It's a problem. I may need a support group.) You can imagine my delight when this little bird decided to hang out. Here's a video....  

And another....

In conclusion, this post has nothing to do with writing. It's just about this hummingbird, and its cuteness. Because, yes, sometimes cuteness is important!

I hope you're having a beautiful day!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

More Midnight Ramblings

It's actually almost one a.m. here in California, as I start this post, and my mind is wandering away from me again....

Fifteen years ago, somewhere around this time, I would be coming home - either from work or LOML's apartment - and sit up until four or five writing my first (as of yet unpublished) novel/series. It's technically high fantasy, I suppose, and I'm torn between the YA version it currently is, or the Adult version I envision it to be. Now, I really can't focus on much at this hour - but I'm still awake, so I'll blog.

One of my goals for 2015 is to get back to Isiterra. I shared The Tale of the Orbs here several months ago. It was written as part of the back story for what became what I call my Middle Earth. It's actually another planet, in another galaxy far, far away ... (Just kidding ... sort of.) The picture below reminds me of a bad place there....

The orbs, or moons, are the gods of this world - believed to have created life on the shell of another of their kind. No space travel involved, and the inhabitants closely resemble those of Earth, with some slight variations. The different races of "man" are Keepers (human), Siyens (have various powers) and Underdwellers (adapted to live underground but not dwarves, rarely surface, some may have powers resembling a Siyen.) Animals (or crennas) are for the most part the same, but there are some additions, such as the dreaded Kraorack. The "common tongue" spoken by all is English, but there are separate languages I've been creating along the way for each, and dialogue throughout is sprinkled with them. Several words, such as "crenna" are used even in common tongue, because that's what they're called in that world.

The characters live and breathe in my head just as they did then - maybe more so now because I know so much more about them. The map of the world is clearly drawn out in my head - but I've never been able to get it on paper. I'm out of practice with the languages, which I blame in part on the kids for looking at Mommy funny when they walk in on her speaking in Siyen or Northern Underdwellish.  But really, I have to blame Sam and The Shadow Watcher for talking in my ear. Their story didn't require my invention of religions and languages, etc., they're here on Earth.

I did start practicing some Siyen a few weeks ago;"Onae mara ceren senen" - I can save them. I haven't touched the original draft in years - I don't even know what the title is anymore. But, when I last visited it, I decided the beginning needed more character/world building chapters. (Oh, but they're fun, they involve an annual hunting competition, and the heroine nearly gets killed before the real story even begins!) I started them, but still need two more. I think my first NaNoWriMo attempt was the second book, but that is still completely unedited. (I'm actually scared to look at it.) Somewhere, there are outlines for the third and fouth books on paper, but they're in my head too. The most vivid scenes to come to me I've written and tagged for which book and where they belong. They just feel far away right now...

But, A Shadow in Doubt is first. I will have updated release information in the coming weeks. And with that, I'm going to turn in....

I hope you're having a beautiful day, or night, wherever you may be!

Until next time,

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

March Updates: Sorting Laundry

I'm pausing from my marathon of fluff and fold this evening to post, since I haven't in awhile. I start posts, and then get distracted, and wind up deleting them because they no longer feel relevant. I guess I just haven't had much to say.

Silence is golden, except when you're trying to get your book out to readers. I know this is important, especially for indies ... so I'm now on Twitter too (@roaribenjamin). It's still very new, so bear with me....

But really, what I need to sort out is the status of A Shadow in Doubt - the sequel to The Shadow Watcher. I was originally planning to release it last Fall. Then, this Winter. Now, I'm hoping for Spring?
A Shadow in Doubt by Roari Benjamin

The original draft was my NaNo 2013 novel, which I wrote before The Shadow Watcher was published. In the process, I realized changes were necessary to book one, which I made. Once The Shadow Watcher was out there, I had to figure out how to get the word out. Side note - nothing will sell nothing, even if it's the greatest nothing in the world. Listen to what everyone else has been saying, and learn from my mistakes: start marketing before you publish, even more so if you're self-publishing. Don't wait to get on social media. I spent so long living in my own little world, I forgot to let the real one know it was there. I'm still playing catch-up.

But, back to ASID.... After getting The Shadow Watcher out there, and fixing some problems, and tweaking the cover, I got back to ASID, and then went back and fixed more problems, and tweaked the cover(s) more. I planned on writing a novella of Jay's time waiting for Sam and Michael to return to release before ASID, and then got side-tracked on the Fore Shadows stories. (Yes, that's plural, too. Escape 2169 is the first. There are drafts of two more, and tidbits of others. Another one pops into my head at least once a week.)

Along the way, there was trying to market The Shadow Watcher, another Nano, and the holidays. When I finally got to reading through it again, I found ASID needed to go another direction. As much as I was set on the original plan, the new one has to happen, and the reason why won't be obvious until much later - another book or in the Fore Shadows, don't know yet. I need to get a dedicated block of time, preferably at the start of the day - even one hour a - etched out here, soon. Who needs clean laundry anyway? (kidding....)

I hope you're having a beautiful night, or day! (I hear the dryer calling me....)


Saturday, January 10, 2015

Midnight (and then some) Ramblings

I'm sitting here, thinking strange things, then thinking I should write a blog post about them, and then I realized my mind can be a very strange place - I'm not sure I should blog about it. (This is not the first time I've had this realization, I just intentionally forget about it every time.)

Tonight's ponderings? Give yourself a high five if you guessed time-travel! Yes, I'm re-weaving threads of time in A Shadow of Doubt, again, which is the cause for delay. Future Sam and Michael made me see the problem in the sequence of events, so I'm using them to help fix it.

But then my mind wandered off (it does that) to a conversation I had with the Love of My Life (or LOML) earlier, which we've had before, and was somewhere in the mess of inspiration behind the Society in the Shadow of Civilization, about the first time travelers (presumably) from the future.

I know, we talk about weird stuff. But, really, if you stop and think on it, eventually, if it is possible, time travel will become reality. So, theoretically, if it is invented in the future, Travelers have already been to the past - or are here among us in the present. Let's just go with the idea it might be possible....

Now, what if the prophets of our past (yours and mine), such as Nostradamus, were, in fact, Travelers from the future who either couldn't get back, never planned to, or for whatever-other-reason stayed where they landed. Well, that would explain how they knew things, wouldn't it?

And yes, we've gone through a Nostradamus phase before - some of his quatrains are just too on to be coincidence, but then there are those that aren't. Ah, but what if things changed because he came back and wrote them? Or other Travelers came back to change those events in an effort to discredit him to future generations?

Or, (potential plot hint) what if someone from the future came back to take the place of one of said prophets, to change the prophecies, or use their power to influence a change over the future. I'm not saying this is part of the U.C.E.'s plan ... but it might be.....

I could keep going, but, it's late. So, on that note, I leave you. (And come back to finish posting the next day, lol!)

I hope you're having a beautiful night, morning or afternoon, wherever you may be!