Thanks for stopping by! This is the official blog for the Rona Shively Stories Mystery Series. Check in for details on upcoming Rona Shively Stories and other events! Watch Rona's transformation as she tackles life head on, now armed with newly found faith and the knowledge that she is not actually in control of anything. Finally, it is all starting to make sense.

Upcoming Events

***All Rona Shively books are now available on Kindle! See below for details!***Buy your copy of any Rona Shively Story and help someone today. All proceeds go to Higher Ground Ministries to empower women! Get your copy today at!***Help women reach Higher Ground!

Friday, January 11, 2008

BB's Mini-Mystery #1-Winner!

Congratulations to Conda!
She is our winner for solving week one's Mini-Mystery,
"With One Stone!"

Here's the rest of the story:

Marla set the fire at the sanctuary. She called Mrs. McInrude in to talk with her about the vote and while Mrs. McInrude wasn’t looking, she turned out the lights and set the fire! Mrs. McInrude perished in the fire. It was Marla who called in to say she was sick, pretending to be Mrs. McInrude.

Marla was having an affair with Dr. Ballast and the two of them boarded a plane shortly after the board meeting where they voted to sell the property. The reason for this: Dr. Ballast was in cahoots with the contractor. He was playing the role of the lone holdout on the vote to make things look good. Actually, the contractor was paying the doctor to make sure the vote went the way it did. The fire was a bonus. Dr. Ballast had no idea the lengths that Marla would go to show him her love. She reinforced the deal by destroying the property and helping him to save face in the community. After all, it was the Margaret Ballast Memorial Bird Sanctuary and how would it look if he was willing to sell the property that he developed in his wife’s memory?

The two were never found and are currently enjoying a relaxing and decadent lifestyle in the Spain where they work as volunteers in local bird sanctuary.

Conda's guess was the only one that correctly identified the real killer! Great job! Thanks to everyone for your guesses. I look forward to reading next week's!

It's only going to get better, folks so keep watching for the next Mini-Mystery to be posted on Monday, January 14th.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Life and Times of Rona Shively...Issue 4

***Special Announcement***

The Life and Times of Rona Shively

You can get your Rona Shively banner by going to my Myspace page at and copying the codes there!

<-----Fiesty, Fearless and Fabulous----->

Vol. 1, Iss. 4 January 10, 2008
In this issue...

What's new!
Upcoming Events
Fun Facts
What's new!

Happy New Year! I hope everyone came through the holidays feeling energized and ready for a whole new year of laughs and craziness with Rona Shively! Right now, I’m working on the short story, “I Thought I Heard You Laughing.” In the last newsletter, I promised a teaser and here it is:

Garrett Shaw meets his client…

I looked over my shoulder and found a balding, overweight man wearing a pink, feather boa over a strapless evening gown that was a less than flattering way to cover his rotund physique. For a moment, I was sure I had drifted off to sleep and was having that recurring nightmare where I went to bed with a beautiful woman and woke up next to Paul Sorvino.

Hope you enjoyed that little blurb from my very first Garrett Shaw short! Keep watching for more good stuff. In addition to this short, I’m in the middle of Rona 3! As promised in the last issue of the newsletter, I’m finally ready to tell you the title of the next Rona Shively Story. Choosing a title is extremely important to me and I often come up with the title before I start writing the book. I’m weird that way. Well, without further delay…drum roll, please…here it is:

Keeping the Faith: The Rona Shively Stories

Once you read it, you’ll understand why this title captures the essence of what Rona is experiencing and hopefully, it’ll be inspirational! Surprisingly, it’s been kind of a tearjerker so I’ve been stopping more frequently to dry my eyes than with the previous two stories. I think you’re going to really enjoy the changes Rona’s going through. Soon, I’ll be launching a cool, new book trailer that gives a little preview of what’s to come. Keep watching!
I’m still reaching out to book clubs and libraries to try and introduce more readers to the Rona Shively series. Hopefully, my goal of reaching 50 States in 2008 will be accomplished by this time next year. I’ve got five already!

This little bit is a repeat from last issue:

If you belong to a book club or know someone who does, ask them to check out the Rona Shively series! In addition to meeting with book groups who read the series, I’m offering a special 25% discount on In the Wash and Under Lock and Key for clubs who order through my website. Just drop me an e-mail at if your club is interested. For more information visit my website at

Don't forget to visit my blog at You never know what I’ll say over there! You’ll want to subscribe so you don’t miss the contests and other announcements that I post every week. Right now, I’m running a great contest called BB’s Mini-Mystery Challenge. You can win a $10 gift card and be entered into a drawing for a fabulous Grand Prize! All you have to do is take a guess at whodunit. Each week between now and February 9th, I’m posting a mystery that I want you to solve. I’m drawing winners from the correct guesses for the $10 cards and at the end of the contest; I’ll pool all of the entries (right or wrong) to select a Grand Prize winner! The big prize will be announced on February 9th! So what are you waiting for? Get over there and put in your two cents.
Would you like to read an excerpt of In the Wash or Under Lock and Key? For free? You can do so by going to my website at!

Upcoming Events

January 12-Borders, Sawmill Rd., Columbus, OH 2-4 p.m.
February 23-Waldenbooks, Aurora, IL 2-4 p.m.
Fun Facts

In every issue of this newsletter, I'm going to include some bit of trivia about Rona Shively and/or some of the characters in her book. Pay attention to these tidbits because they will be on the test later! Actually, a few months down the line, I'll be giving away a big prize to the person who can plug the correct answers into a Pop Quiz!

This month's tidbit-Rona Shively has applied for a position at a local insurance company. She’s actually just being nosy, it’s not like she’d really work there. She talks with a receptionist who might know more than she realizes about the case at hand. The receptionist is part of the key to this whole mess. Remember her name.


As always, I appreciate your support and hope you will continue to enjoy the Rona Shively Stories!

Until next time...

Rebecca Benston

Monday, January 7, 2008

BB's Mini-Mystery #1

I'll take entries up until 5 p.m. EST on Friday, January 11th. Here's your mini-mystery:

With One Stone: A Mini-Mystery
By Rebecca Benston

Marla Franzen volunteers at the local bird sanctuary. She’s been there for five years and she absolutely loves her work. Recently, there’s been talk that the sanctuary will be closing. The rumor is that a local developer wants to buy the land so that he can build a community of condominiums. Funding hasn’t exactly been great for the sanctuary and the board of trustees for the organization has voted to consider selling the property. Marla has been extremely vocal on the subject and has made it clear to the board of trustees on a number of occasions that this, to her, is not an acceptable course of action. After all, she says, the community doesn’t need another group of condos. The sanctuary is the last peaceful area in town and losing it would be a terrible shame.

Dr. George Ballast, the local dentist is on the board of trustees. He has voted against the sale of the sanctuary each time it has come up in discussion. He is the only one on the board who feels that this would be a great loss to the community. A fellow bird enthusiast, he shares Marla’s concerns about adding yet another group of condos to an already over-populated area. His dental assistant, Sheree Harper, is a long-time friend of Marla’s and she agrees with the doctor. “It’s simply not fair to take away such a beautiful landmark,” she says.

Sheriff Robert Winthorp is also a member of the board of trustees. He feels that the sanctuary is not the “haven” that the volunteers tout it to be. The property is poorly maintained and the birds aren’t so extraordinary that the community will miss out on anything. Obviously, he is not a bird lover. He’s just a member of the board because it was an election year when they recruited him. “We don’t even have any parakeets, so why not tear it down?” he says.

Local elementary school teacher, Evelyn McInrude, is a board member as well. She claims that the bird sanctuary isn’t sustainable and though she hates the idea of letting it go, it isn’t practical to try and save it. It isn’t a government landmark; it’s simply a local project that is failing miserably. The board had never been able to obtain the funding it needed because their grant requests weren’t strong enough. For that reason, she maintains that the sanctuary has long been a drain on the board members who have been paying to maintain it thus far.

Tomorrow, the board will vote once more to determine whether or not the contractor’s offer is accepted. He’s offering $500,000 for the land and the board knows that this is well over market. The problem is that the volunteers, mainly Marla, have organized a sit-in and plan to take action as soon as they board convenes at 9 a.m.

On this particular evening, Marla visits the sanctuary to reminisce about the good times she has had there. The birds are the only thing that kept her sane after she lost her husband of thirty years to cancer. She cries as she walks through the sanctuary and listens to the birds fluttering around. Suddenly, she hears something near the back of the building. Before she knows what is happening, the place is engulfed in flames and she is trapped. She screams, but no one can hear her. No one works here in the evenings and generally, the place is deserted. The fire blazes out of control and it is a long time before the fire trucks arrive.

In the morning, the volunteers arrive to find a charred mess where their sanctuary used to be. The fire trucks are still there and the Fire Marshall is looking around, collecting evidence for his investigation. Most of the board members are in attendance as they are set to meet this morning to vote on the sale of the property. It appears that the vote will now be a no-brainer. Conspicuously absent from the scene are Dr. Ballast, Mrs. McInrude and Marla. The doctor had an emergency extraction and could not attend the meeting this morning. Mrs. McInrude called and left a message saying that she was ill. The other board members decide to discuss the fire once they have convened their meeting.

As they discuss the fire, Sheriff Winthorp asks the board to hold off on the vote out of respect for the loss of the sanctuary. He also mentions that it is curious that all of the volunteers except Marla were present this morning. The board agrees to postpone the vote until the following Monday in order to allow for the appropriate investigations to take place. After all, they had an insurance claim to file and they needed to wait for the inspector’s report from the fire department.

A week passes and the Fire Marshall comes to the board’s meeting to discuss the findings of his investigation. A female body was found among the ashes and has been identified as Marla Franzen. The board members are shocked and horrified at the news. All but Mrs. McInrude are in attendance and Dr. Ballast confirms what the Fire Marshall says by informing the board that he had to verify the dental records. The body was, in fact, Marla Franzen. No suspects have been identified as the scene was devoid of any usable prints or other evidence. Whoever had burned the sanctuary down had known exactly what they were doing.

Weeks later, there’s a break in the case. Dr. Ballast has disappeared and it is reported that he was seen leaving town with a woman at around midnight just hours after the board meeting where the final vote to sell the property had taken place. He and his companion boarded a plane for Costa Rica and he is not expected to return. His office appears to be permanently closed.

The contractor has planned to begin construction of the condominiums within the month and most of the red tape has been dealt with in terms of the insurance claims, etc. Mrs. McInrude never returned to the board meetings and one of the board members took it upon herself to visit McInrude’s apartment to make sure she was ok. She found the apartment to be in decent shape, but there was no evidence that McInrude had been there for several weeks.

What is going on here? Who set the fire at the Bird Sanctuary? Who was Dr. Ballast leaving town with? What happened to Mrs. McInrude?
You tell me. E-mail your guesses! The person who gets closest to the answer will win a $10 gift card and be entered into the Grand Prize Drawing! The answers will be posted on Friday, January 11th at 6 p.m.!

Good luck!

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,