Saturday, April 22, 2017

Goodreads Giveaway Winners - Cherry Blossom Days

~ Congrats to Janet, Tera, and Michael!!!  Winners of Cherry Blossom Days Goodreads Giveaway.  I'll have the signed copies to you very soon and I do hope that you enjoy the chapbook.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Raven and The White Rose

~ Just started dabbling in digital art again. This is a gothic piece I recently created titled, The Raven and The White Rose.

copyright Sandy Benitez 

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Fall by Bethany Griffin

Madeline Usher is doomed.

She has spent her life fighting fate, and she thought she was succeeding. Until she woke up in a coffin.

Ushers die young. Ushers are cursed. Ushers can never leave their house, a house that haunts and is haunted, a house that almost seems to have a mind of its own. Madeline’s life—revealed through short bursts of memory—has hinged around her desperate plan to escape, to save herself and her brother. Her only chance lies in destroying the house.

In the end, can Madeline keep her own sanity and bring the house down? The Fall is a literary psychological thriller, reimagining Edgar Allan Poe’s classic The Fall of the House of Usher.

REVIEW:  Anyone looking for an atmospheric, gothic story should read this book. It's engaging from the first few pages until the very end. I found it very hard to put the book down at times. I love the dark, gothic imagery of the manor and its surroundings. The main character, Madeline Usher, is melancholy yet inquisitive and brave as she struggles to release the hold that the manor has on her and her twin brother, Roderick. And who could not love her loyal wolfhound, Cassandra.


Friday, April 14, 2017


~ In the back garden, there are five white roses in bloom on the mossy, green hill. A hummingbird and orange butterfly flutters nearby. My mind is at ease; spirits lifted.

~ Scenic drive on Gilman Springs Road; a winding road beside a grouping of small hills and mountains veiled in fluorescent green flora and fauna. We spot a blue lake that was once dry earth.

~ Further on this journey, a canyon road that also winds alongside bountiful orange groves and secluded ranches. A train approaches from the east as we cross the tracks. 

~ Arriving at our destination, we become reacquainted with a handful of ducks, some lounging by the pond while others swim. On our journey home, we encounter another train. This time, it passes us and we wait in silence at the track as it churns along, carrying dozens of cars sprayed in graffiti.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

The Moth Presents: All These Wonders

From storytelling phenomenon The Moth, 45 unforgettable true stories about risk, courage, and facing the unknown, drawn from the best ever told on their stages 

Carefully selected by the creative minds at The Moth, and adapted to the page to preserve the raw energy of live storytelling, All These Wonders features voices both familiar and new. Alongside Louis C.K., Tig Notaro, John Turturro, and Meg Wolitzer, readers will encounter: an astronomer gazing at the surface of Pluto for the first time, an Afghan refugee learning how much her father sacrificed to save their family, a hip-hop star coming to terms with being a one-hit wonder, a young female spy risking everything as part of Churchill's secret army during World War II, and more. 

High-school student and neuroscientist alike, the storytellers share their ventures into uncharted territory and how their lives were changed indelibly by what they discovered there. With passion, and humor, they encourage us all to be more open, vulnerable, and alive."

REVIEW:  Interesting read. Lots of heart-wrenching, insightful stories told from real life situations. My favorite stories included John Lennon's hairdresser, the boy soldier from Sierra Leone, a man who worked at the Fukushima nuclear station, a man who lived next door to a notorious gangster, a woman sharing custody of a dog with her ex, and so many other stories I can't think of at the moment. I liked that the stories weren't too long but I think that's because they had to fit in over 40 personal stories into this book.

I received a beautiful navy blue hardcover book with a golden moth on the front cover. I also received this book for free from blogging for books in exchange for an honest review.


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Cherry Blossom Days Goodreads Giveaway

~ I'll be giving away 3 signed copies of Cherry Blossom Days, my new chapbook of love poems, on Goodreads.  The giveaway will begin at 12:00am PT on Friday, April 7 and finish at 11:59pm PT on Friday, April 21. Be there or be square or just enter as a show of support. :-)

Cherry Blossom Days, by Sandy Benitez, is a petite collection of ethereal love poems; a love story that unfolds within the season of Spring infused with memories of the Pacific Northwest and Asian imagery.


Sandy Benitez’s slender new collection of love poems, Cherry Blossom Days is a tribute to longevity in love and to rebirth in spring. Through exquisite garden and floral metaphor, the poet tells the story of a couple that has written a long history together. The collection is an anniversary celebration of relationship and seasons. Each poem expresses gratitude for steadfast commitment and for the gift of loving and being loved. In gardens where”/ the burnt sepia / of the orange peel jessamine / and periwinkle blue petals / of a drought-resistant bush /…” in bedrooms where ”The sky is swollen with longing/silk against skin /…” the poet shows us how love is cultivated over time to ”Here, in this moment / is where I want to ghost with you; /a place all our own to haunt, / where love never changes seasons / and stands still.”  A lovely read for spring!

~ Catherine Arra, author of Loving from the Backbone

“I want to live in the world that Sandy’s poem’s inhabit, juicy, delicate and sensual. Each poem urges me onward to the next, finding what love gives when it endures the years. My favorite line? I have always been Haiku.”

~ Elaine Reardon, author of The Heart is a Nursery for Hope

“This is a beautiful book of love poems that anyone who's ever been in a relationship could identify with. Realistic slices of life, that combined with clarity of vision and the energy of the lines themselves brings to mind work of the ancient Chinese masters while remaining totally modern. A very good collection from a fine writer.”

~ David Gross, author of Little Egypt

Cherry Blossom Days is twenty-seven love poems which seem to be in chronological order. It takes risk to open up a relationship and hold the attention of a reader for a sustained collection, and Sandy Benitez does this through flowers, haikus, cherry blossoms and other Japanese references, frequent moves with packing and unpacking, and a woman still in love after 26 years, waiting for her husband to arrive home.”

~ Martin Willitts Jr, The Wire Fence Holding Back the World (Flowstone Press, 2016), winner of the Turtle Island Editor’s Choice Award.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Finalist in Goodreads April Newsletter Contest

~ One of my poems, Magnolias & Mangoes, is a finalist in the Goodreads April Newsletter Contest!  I can hardly believe it. I've entered this contest a couple of times and never placed. I was hoping to get honorable mention at best, but to place as a finalist is a complete surprise. I just checked the votes and it's clear that my poem isn't going to win, but it's okay. I'm just happy to have finally made it that far.