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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Winning Entry

On Monday, I announced the winner of the Got Character? contest. Julia Johnson submitted an intriguing character by the name of Toby Jo Cartwright. I figured I'd take a little time tonight to tell you a little bit about the character and why I thought this was the best of the bunch.

The character of Toby Jo Cartwright owns a car dealership and car repair service station called Trustie's Cars and Repairs. As submitted by Ms. Johnson, TobyJo is a great mechanic and graduated at the top of her class in the vocational school. Despite being steered into high society activities by her wealthy family, she managed to break free and start doing her own thing. Much like Rona Shively, she doesn't take any crap from anyone.

To watch TobyJo at work, no one would know that she had been in and won several beauty pageants by the age of sixteen. She is six feet tall and model thin with stawberry blonde hair which she had symbolically chopped off so that it was easier to keep tucked into her work hat. She has crystal green eyes, a soft, smooth voice and and a girlish giggle that gives her femininity away. She has a sense of confidence that helps her succeed in a business that is generally dominated by men. Although she can hold her own as a mechanic, she still knows how to turn on the charm when she's walking customers through her showroom and trying to sell them cars. She's earned the respect of her employees by being fair, honest and forthwright.

I think this character will be a good fit for the Rona Shively books and I look forward to adding her into the mix. I plan on having Rona shop for a new vehicle as she travels back to Nevada in the fourth book. I'm not sure yet whether or not this will be the first time she has met Toby, but I'm sure that they will get along great.

Thanks to Julia for this wonderful character idea. It was clear that she enjoyed writing this description as much as I enjoyed reading it.

Until next time...

Butterflies, nerves, and piles of anxiety...

I don't often get the opportunity to speak in front of large groups of people. On Tuesday, however, I was invited to be the speaker at our local Kiwanis Club meeting. I was thrilled to be invited, but at the same time, terrified. I could just feel my legs turning to jello as I walked into the meeting. Now, this is obviously some twisted psychological thing that had absolutely no reason for occurring. These people are some of the nicest people I've met and it was not a threatening situation at all. For some reason, though, my brain decided that it was time for me to be absolutely petrified.

I had scripted out this wonderful speech about how I had chosen to be a writer after years of doing what others considered to be "the right thing." It was actually pretty good. I read it to myself a few times before the meeting and even recorded it so that I could do the whole playback thing to make sure I didn't sound stupid. To my surprise, I didn't sound stupid on the recording, but when it came time to do the speech, I froze. I couldn't even read the words I had written. So, I did what any self-respecting author would do, I made it up as I went along.

As it happens, everything was fine. I was the only person...until this moment...who knew that I hadn't stuck to my script. The group asked some great questions and I think I gave pretty good answers in spite of my anxiety. And although it scares the hell out of me, I'd do it again.

Until next time...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Is there a vaccination...

for this rampant outbreak of stupidity? I'm noticing more and more that even the simplest of things are becoming more difficult to accomplish. Thanks to people who appear to be afflicted with a supremely terrifying case of stupidity. Just yesterday, I went through a drive-thru and ordered, quite distinctly, one large cherry Coke and one small Sprite. This, to me, did not appear to be a tall order. Nothing taxing here, not even a complicated sandwich order. Just two beverages. One large, one small. When I got to the window, the girl looked at me blankly and asked, "That was one diet cherry Coke?" I said, with probably a little more disgust than was warranted, "Nooooo, a large cherry Coke and a small Sprite." Hadn't we just done this bit? I truly hate having to repeat my order. I take such pains to make sure I don't rattle off fifteen different variations of items that I really would hope that the person on the other end of the line is listening and comprehending. And where the hell do they pull this "diet" crap from? Does the word "large" even sound like the word "diet?" I don't think so.

Obviously, my expectations are too high.

Just a tiny rant for this lovely Tuesday morning...have a nice day.

It's Official! We have a winner!

Yesterday was the official release date of the newest Rona Shively book, Under Lock and Key. To celebrate the occasion, I announced the winner of the Got Character contest. Congratulations are in order for Julia Johnson of Belton, MO. Her character, Toby Jo Cartwright has won a spot in the fourth Rona Shively story. Julia also won copies of In the Wash and Under Lock and Key to help her get started with her collection.

I am currently working on the third book in the series and struggling with choosing a title. I had three titles in mind for it, but am sure that one fits better than the others. I'll keep you posted on my progress. For now, I'm excited that there are now two books available to Rona fans! If you haven't already, go to my website at or and order your copy today!

Until next time...

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,