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 2, 2009

Free Books & Author Spotlights in 2009

As part of my Author Spotlight feature, I'll be giving away a free copy of the spotlight author's book to one lucky subscriber each month. This month's spotlight author will be J. Walt Layne. His information will be posted by next week and all subscribers to this blog will have a chance to win a copy of one of his books. There will be new author spotlights each month and lots of chances to win great books! Stay tuned to the blog for your chance to win!

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Thursday, January 1, 2009

I'll put that on my list...

Is it possible that there are some people out there who don't make New Year's resolutions? As someone who is constantly setting goals and making plans, I can't imagine letting this annual milestone pass without making at least one commitment to myself to improve something in my life. No matter how nerdy or insignificant that might sound. For those of us out there who are resolution-challenged, I've compiled a few links that you can refer to for help in making your own resolutions:

For absolute beginners: An e-how article on making resolutions.

For people who need more specific guidance: There is a list of ideas for resolutions here from

For people who don't really want to resolve to change anything: This article by Susan Whelan on resolutions to pamper or otherwise indulge yourself. Nothing too overly responsible or guilt-inducing over there.

For people who can't stand people who regularly make resolutions: Although this one by Scott Young is from last year, it's still a very interesting and thought-provoking article. He makes some great points about design flaws in the whole New Year's resolution structure. He asserts that "Resolutions play into the mindset of success and failure." After reading this article, you'll be so ready for an argument that the next person who asks you about your resolutions for the year are might be sorry they bothered. That's just cool.

And of course, for writers: This article on writing-related resolutions appeared in Angela Hoy's Writer's Weekly newsletter. This article is actually pretty good and somewhat helpful.

So, while you're trying to figure out just what it is that you need to do today besides sleep off that Champagne hangover, try your hand at making a resolution. Even if it is just to resolve not to drink so much on New Year's Eve this year.

Happy New Year!

Until next time...

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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Reflections on 2008

2008 has been a challenging year for many of us, but I wanted to take a few moments to talk about some things that made this year a good year for me in spite of a couple of big disappointments.

Early in the year, I came up with my Tea & Mystery speaking series and was fortunate enough to share the presentation with several libraries in Ohio and one all the way up in Waterville, NY. These events have been lots of fun and I'm looking forward to doing many more in the coming months. I already have two scheduled for February, so remember to get in touch if you'd like to schedule one, too! More information about the presentation is available on my website.

After a fairly rough summer, I finally finished working on my third Rona Shively story, Keeping the Faith. It is the first full-length novel in the series and I'm anxious to get it in the hands of my readers. I've already started writing the fourth Rona Shively story and am getting really excited about the changes readers will see in Rona as she tries to figure out how to handle a very sensitive situation involving one of her longtime friends. There will be more info on this one later, but in the meantime you can read excerpts from all three Rona Shively stories at the website.

Another major change for me involved a new job as an elementary school librarian. I have to say that the first couple of months on the job were a little scary. I wasn't sure I'd made the right decision at first, but by the time Christmas break rolled around I had changed my mind. I'm in this for the long haul. I love the kids, love the school and aside from writing, can't think of a job that suits me better than this one. I'm very fortunate to have this opportunity to work with the kids and introduce them to all of the great things that books and reading have to offer.

With these things in mind, I'm heading into 2009 a bit more enthusiastically than I would have thought possible just six months ago. I've gotten lots of good feedback this year on my writing and marketing efforts. I've met lots of great people through social networking and through the speaking events I've presented. And, I've gotten lots of great ideas for some new stories. I'm very optimistic for many reasons and I'm hoping that I can maintain that optimism no matter how things go over the course of the year.

Best wishes to everyone for a wonderful New Year!

Until next time...

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

One for the Authors: How do you reach your readers?

I was sitting here this morning trying to figure out when I had done my last newsletter when it dawned on me that I'm not sure I need both the newsletter and the blog with all of the other stuff I've got out there. I've been working on my websites alot over the past couple of years and seem to be stuck in a pattern that I'm not sure is working as well as it can be to promote the books I write. Between the blog, the social networking, the websites and the newsletters, I still don't know what is really working for me.

I subscribe to a number of marketing newsletters and I visit alot of different types of blogs. There's John Kremer's Book Marketing Blog and Newsletter. I don't regularly visit the website, but have been known to hang around there after reading something intriguing on his newsletter. The newsletter is always very helpful, but doesn't always compel me to visit the site. This is probably because when I find a good website, I tend to read it very carefully the first time I find it and only go back to it when I'm tipped off that there is something I need posted there.

Basically, Kremer's newsletter works in tandem with his website to promote content that is especially useful to new and established authors. He keeps the main content on the site for longer periods of time and then updates little bits here and there; promoting the changes in his newsletter(which I believe is how most people do it). As for blogs, I wasn't even sure where the blog for John Kremer was until I did some digging today so that I could do this post. He's just got so much good stuff over there that I may never get to all of it. This is why I believe his newsletter is probably his most effective tool for reaching me. It may be different for other readers.

The same can be said for one of my other favorite blog/newsletter combos, Penny Sansevieri's A Marketing Expert. I visit Penny's site frequently, however; her blog is located right on her website and is much easier to follow. She does more with social networking sites than anyone I've seen. I always enjoy watching her posts on Twitter and Facebook because I know that I can use just about everything she posts. Nothing is wasted. If you aren't following her on Twitter, you're missing out.

One other marketing expert that I love following is Nikki Leigh with Promo 101. She does a number of things to help promote authors and she has blogs, websites and all manner of outreach. Again, she has so much information on her sites that it can be difficult to get to all of it. But, it is always there waiting for when I have the time to look at it. She has all kinds of different things authors can participate in to help promote themselves and their books. For example, my books are part of the Bad Guys and Villains blog, the Judge a Book by its Cover blog and I believe, the Share your Heroine blog. These can all be found on her website under Free Promotional Blogs and are well worth the time it takes to send her your info. Her newsletter is also very good, but they focus more on promoting current book tours and things like that. I tend to get more from just browsing her websites and blogs to see if I've missed anything.

I do follow some of my favorite fiction authors' blogs. Sometimes I visit to see what new projects they are working on but mainly I visit to get ideas about how I could better design and promote my own work. One that I visit regularly is author J.A. Konrath's A Newbie's Guide to Publishing. Konrath has, without a doubt, the best blog about how to survive the publishing game that I've read. I've gotten lots of good information here and always go back to see what else is new. I don't believe there is a newsletter attached to this blog; at least if there is, I haven't seen it. I'm not sure it needs one, though. It's one of those you simply must put on your feed list.

For me, I've gone back and forth with my websites. For a while, I had the Rona Shively site featured as the main block of information about my writing. I changed it a little over the last couple of years and then decided that I needed to promote my other writing as well by setting up Rebecca Benston Writes. After that, I created my blog. All the while, I had the Life and Times of Rona Shively newsletter going but I've never been quite sure about its reach. The newsletter only focuses on Rona Shively stuff. My blog seems to reach a lot more people, but I tend to promote the hell out of it by using Facebook, Myspace and Twitter to let people know when I have posted something new. The Rona Shively newsletter is in need of a facelift, but I'm not quite sure what direction to take with it. My books are evolving and so the way I promote them needs to evolve as well. I don't know if a Benston Writes newsletter is the way to go. It doesn't really seem to make sense yet.

Marketing and promotion are always on my mind and thankfully, there are talented people like John Kremer, Penny Sansevieri, and Nikki Leigh out there giving great advice on a regular basis. I'm still looking for more great author blogs to read and link to and am hoping that in 2009, I'll find just the right formula for getting the word out about The Rona Shively Stories and my speaking series', Tea & Mystery and Write Yourself Right. If you know of any good blogs or websites that I haven't mentioned here or that I haven't already linked to, please let me know. I'm always on the lookout for good information.

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,