Attention All Winners: It is time!

Well, the time has come.  You must now pre-order your copy of the latest Rona Shively story, Thy Will Be Done.  No ifs, ands or buts, the time is now.  LOL.

Thy Will Be Done copy

Seriously, in celebration of the sixth book in the series, the first twenty-five who order their copy from me will receive an entry into my drawing to win a brand new Kindle e-reader!  That’s right, and for those who order one or more Rona Shively books between now and the official release date for Thy Will Be Done, your name will be entered into a drawing for all Kindle versions of the Rona Shively stories!  So there are a couple of ways to win.  Pre-order Thy Will Be Done and you could win a chance at the Kindle e-reader.  Order any other Rona Shively story and you get a chance to win all Rona Shively stories available for the Kindle.  If you’re really lucky, you might win both!

The official release date for Thy Will Be Done is February 4th, 2013.  To order and get your entries into the drawings, e-mail me here!  Winners will be announced on February 5th!

Good luck!

New Contest: Tell Me Your Story and you might win a Kindle…

Well, it’s that time again. I haven’t had a contest on my blog for a while and so I figured that it would be great to do something this holiday season!

Here’s the scoop. To enter this contest, all you have to do is follow this blog (Benston Blogs) and then send me your story about the most ridiculous Christmas gift you ever received. The winning story will receive a brand new Kindle E-Reader as well as Keeping the Faith and This Side Up for Kindle. And, I’ll include your story in an upcoming Rona Shively book. Easy! Follow, share, win!

Deadline to enter is December 10th. Winner will be announced on December 15th right here on Benston Blogs!

As I’ve said, proceeds from all sales of the Rona Shively Stories goes to help my women’s empowerment ministry, Higher Ground Ministries. With that in mind, please consider purchasing all five Rona stories for just $50. This price includes shipping. Just e-mail me to order! If you don’t want to order all five, my newest Rona Shively story, Now You See Me just came out on October 31st so, it’s a great time to order the latest story if you’ve read the rest. You can get your copy of this book or of any of the Rona Shively Stories for just $10 (includes shipping)!

Good luck to those who enter and thank you for following Rona!

Subscribe to Benston Blogs by Email

It really can’t be over…

Summer, that is. Usually, I spend this time during my year to work on writing, promoting and generally winding down from what I do during the school year. Since I work in an elementary school, I have to fortunate privilege of being on vacation during the summer months. This year, the plan was to have been: finish writing Rona #5, work on revamping my websites, schedule more Tea & Mystery events, and fit in a few moments to get centered. Unfortunately, my summer consisted of the following: moving, going through some very stressful and emotional times, writing just enough to piss myself off, being frustrated, pissing a few others off, starting a new college program and being frustrated with my inability to concentrate, trying to redefine my life, and going back and forth to complete a leftover project that I had to do for work. Generally, I’m upbeat. I like a challenge and I really enjoy staying busy. This year, however; the challenges were not those which I would readily welcome into my life next year. In fact, if I never meet these particular challenges again, that will be just fine with me.

As I look at the next few months, I wonder how it will all work. I’m in classes online that require a great deal of attention. I will be returning to work full-time next Wednesday at a new school this year. My daughter goes back to school the following Wednesday. My divorce will likely be finalized within the next month. I only have about 200 more pages left to write on Rona #5 and the only Tea and Mystery I’ve been involved in over the past few months has been right here in my living room. Frustrating. Stagnant. Agonizing. The only thing left to do is this: hold a contest!

The winner will receive a complete set of Rona Shively books! In the Wash, Under Lock and Key, Keeping the Faith, and This Side Up! Here’s what you have to do to enter: E-mail me your best guess at who is going to die in the next Rona Shively book. If you’ve read them, you’ll know that there are at least five possible victims including Rona herself. I already know the answer of course, but let’s see what you’re thinking. Send me your guess and I’ll pick from the entries to see who gets the prize! It’s easy! I’ll post the results of all of the guesses I receive on the blog for fun. Someone is going to die, but who will it be? Sleuth it out, people!

A contest is a great way to end the summer, so send your entry to me by August 31st for your chance to win! Until next time…

Subscribe to Benston Blogs by Email

Our latest contest…

What Would Rona Do?

Rona Shively is nearing the big 4-0. I’m looking for your suggestions about how she might handle this transition in her life. Do you think she’s the type to fret over a couple of grey hairs? Or is she more likely to get even crankier as she ages? After reading Keeping the Faith, you’ll see what direction Rona is most likely to take. But for now, I’m wondering what you think she should do with the rest of her life. I’ll post some of your responses in the next newsletter and on the blog. Just send me your thoughts by October 30th and the top three responses will win a prize!

Subscribe to Benston Blogs by Email

The Final Mini-Mystery…

Here is week #5’s installment. Good luck!

Out of Focus
By Rebecca Benston

Grace Martin was a photographer. She was twenty-three, single and desperate. She had been struggling to make ends meet by working two part-time jobs and taking on assorted freelance projects. One of her part-time jobs was as a waitress for a local family eatery called Mack’s. She had been there since high school and was getting tired of the same old routine and had actually given her two weeks notice three times in the last two years in hopes of getting away from the place.

Her other part-time job was as a babysitter for a woman who had a part-time secretarial position for a local tax attorney. Her name was Marguerite Halford. She had two small children, Hattie and Sam. They were three and four, respectively. One evening when Grace was preparing to leave, Marguerite asked her a strange question.

“You’re a photographer, right?” she had asked.

“Sure, did you need some pictures taken of the kids?” Grace had asked, hoping for another project.

“Well, not exactly,” she said, “It’s kind of complicated. Can you hang on for a second while I make sure the kids are still down for their naps? I don’t want to talk about it in front of them.”

Grace nodded, “Sure, I guess so.” She was puzzled. What kind of craziness was she about to hear? Marguerite had already shuffled out of the room to check on the kids and when she came back in, she was carrying what appeared to be women’s underwear.
Grace’s brow furrowed as she looked at Marguerite’s hands. “What’s that?” she asked.

“This is why I need pictures,” she said nervously.

“I’m sorry; I don’t understand what you need…” Grace said, “You need pictures of underwear?”

The color rose in Marguerite’s face and she said, “Oh, no, no, not the underwear. It’s not mine. That’s the problem. I found them here and I’m worried…” She took a deep breath before she continued, “…I’m worried that Ted is having an affair.”

Grace’s hand flew to her mouth involuntarily. She had been working for Marguerite and her husband Ted for the past three years and this was a little awkward to hear. “Oh, I see,” she said.

“Yes, and I was wondering if you had any experience in taking pictures without someone knowing you’re taking pictures,” Marguerite said. “I need to know who she is.”
“Well, I-I don’t know, I usually don’t do distance shots,” Grace started to say. She looked at Marguerite, whose face was flushed and filled with tension. “I mean, I’m not sure I could get a good enough shot with the equipment I’ve got.”

“I’ll buy you what you need,” Marguerite said, “I need these pictures so that I can go to an attorney. Would you be able to set up somewhere nearby and possibly catch something this weekend?”

“Geez, I guess, I mean, where?” Grace said.

Marguerite had obviously been planning, she answered, “I thought you might be able to set up in the building across the street. I know a lady who lives over there.”

The two of them talked about how Grace could get a shot of Ted this weekend. Marguerite was going to visit her mother with the kids this weekend and Ted would be alone at the apartment. Grace could use Marguerite’s friend Tess’s apartment to set up her camera equipment. It was directly across the street and should be ideal for the kind of shots that Grace would need. Tess was out of town and Marguerite was actually feeding her pets and taking her mail in for her every day, so she had a key to her apartment. This is what had given her the idea in the first place. Marguerite told Grace to go out and get the equipment she needed to take the pictures and to put it on her credit card. She told

Grace that she would pay her $1,000 for pictures that showed anyone other than Ted or family members entering the apartment. It should be easy enough as long as Ted didn’t decide to take his escapades on the road instead of bringing his lover to their home.

Grace left Marguerite’s apartment feeling low. Although she should have been happy, she felt bad that Ted was deceiving Marguerite. She felt especially bad for the kids. She wasn’t sure if she was doing the right thing by trying to help, but she really needed the cash. She reasoned that it would serve a good purpose if Ted really was cheating on Marguerite. If he wasn’t, then she could help put Marguerite’s mind at ease by reporting that she hadn’t seen anything out of the ordinary. Maybe the underwear had been a gift he had bought for her. She hadn’t asked Marguerite where she’d found them. Maybe Ted had just hidden them until he could wrap them up for Valentine’s Day. These thoughts kept her up all night and when the alarm clock finally went off at 7 a.m. the next morning, she felt as though she hadn’t slept at all. Her mind was so cluttered and she had to go to work at Mack’s at 9.

She decided to go to work, stop off at the camera store for a telephoto lens for her camera after she finished her shift at 2 p.m. and then head over to Tess’s apartment to set up for that night. It was Friday and Marguerite had told her that she and the kids would be heading for her mothers by 1 o’clock. Grace didn’t want the kids to see her going into the apartment building, so it was good that they would be gone by the time she got there. Ted worked until around 5 or so and would probably get home by 6. She didn’t want to run into him, either. Although it was only five hours, her shift at Mack’s went very slowly. She had only six tables during the whole lunch rush and managed to pick up a useless $12 in tips. She left the restaurant at 2 and headed over to the camera equipment store to look for what she needed.

When she talked to the clerk, she asked which lens would work better for long distance shots. She knew, but she needed to talk to someone to take her mind off of what she was preparing to do. The clerk tried to sell her some outrageous piece and she quickly told him she only had half of what that lens cost to spend. He changed his tune and gave her the right lens and she also purchased a tripod and some extra film. She left the store, satisfied with her purchases. These would come in handy after this project. She might even be able to start doing more landscape work. This made the idea of taking pictures of a cheating husband slightly more palatable to Grace.

Grace drove over to the apartment building across from Marguerite’s, stopping to get a sandwich on the way. She was relieved to find a parking spot in the lot behind the building. She hadn’t wanted to park on the next block and carry all of her equipment down the street. Within fifteen minutes, she had let herself into the apartment and set up the camera. The window in front of the apartment had a direct line of sight to Ted and Marguerite’s front door. The apartment building they lived in was more like a condo. Each unit had a door in the front, so there was no question that visitors going in that door would be there for Ted. Once the camera was ready, she took a couple of test shots and then decided to sit down and eat. She looked around the apartment she was in and saw several pictures on the fireplace mantel. They were photos of a Border collie decorated with the usual, cheesy bandana around its neck. These appeared to be the only photographs in the apartment and none of them included a human being. There were no dog bowls around, so Grace assumed that the dog had either passed on or that it was someone else’s pet.

As she studied the room, Grace noticed that there was little in the way of clutter. The apartment was tidy and Tess had decorated it very tastefully. There were contemporary white couches arranged around a plain black table. A clear vase with two white roses sat in the middle of the table. The flowers hadn’t wilted, so they must have been recent purchases. This made the hair on the back of Grace’s neck stand on end. What if Tess wasn’t out of town? What if Marguerite had the dates wrong? If Tess came home, how could she explain what she was doing in her apartment with a camera aimed across the street? She didn’t know the woman and she was pretty sure that Marguerite hadn’t told her what she was up to.

She hurried through her sandwich and threw away her trash. Now that she had herself sufficiently worried, she wasn’t sure if she should just pack up and tell Marguerite no one had visited Ted or not. It wasn’t quite five o’clock and she really didn’t want to stay in the apartment very much longer. She looked out the window and to her surprise, saw that Ted’s car was already in the driveway across the street. She hadn’t seen him pull up because she had been in the kitchen eating her dinner. As she watched the street, another car pulled up to the curb in front of the condo. She watched in amazement as a woman got out and walked up to the door. Ted opened the door and the woman stepped inside. All this time, Grace had been watching but hadn’t thought to snap a picture. She smacked herself in the forehead and decided to go ahead and take a few pictures of the car. Now she would have to wait until the woman came out to get a shot of her.

While she was standing there looking out the window, someone knocked on the apartment door. She froze. She couldn’t answer the door so she just stood there and waited for whoever it was to give up and go away. They knocked a few more time and after about five minutes, they must have left. Grace tiptoed over to the door and looked through the peephole. No one was in the hall. She took a deep breath and opened the door. A package had been left in front of the door. She picked it up and took it inside the apartment, forgetting to lock the door behind her. Seconds after she had put the package down on the counter, someone burst through the door and grabbed her from behind. She struggled, but the assailant had her in a choke hold with one hand over her mouth. Moments later, Grace lay on the floor of the kitchen in a pool of blood. She had been stabbed to death and the package she had brought in from the hallway was beside her, unopened and soaked in Grace’s blood.
A neighbor had seen someone run down the hallway from Tess’s apartment. She had called the police because she knew that Tess wasn’t home, but saw that her door was wide open. When the police arrived, they found Grace in the apartment and they assumed that she was Tess. Later, upon closer investigation they discovered that Tess was, in fact, out of town and that the person who had been killed did not live in the building. Grace had no identification with her other than Marguerite’s credit card. She had left her purse in the trunk of her car because she’d had so much to carry with the camera equipment. Mistakenly, after checking the name on the card with their database, the police had gone across the street to see if Marguerite was home or if it was her on the kitchen floor of Tess’s apartment. Ted had told them that Marguerite was visiting her mother out of town. The police had asked Ted if he could come over and help them identify the body at Tess’s apartment.

He had gone without hesitation because he knew Tess and he also knew that she’d had some trouble with an abusive ex-boyfriend in the past. He had been meeting with a client at the condo and he left her there to read over the contracts he’d prepared for the sale of her boat. He was a boat salesman. When he got to the apartment and saw Grace there, he told the police that this was their babysitter. He was puzzled as to why she was here and he noticed that there was a camera set up at the window. The police asked if the camera was Tess’s and Ted had told them it was probably Grace’s. He told them that she was a photographer, but he wasn’t sure why she would be over here with the camera. He didn’t think she even knew Tess. The police took the camera as evidence and later found that there were pictures of the car in front of Ted’s condo. They also bagged the gift that was beside Grace’s body as part of their investigation.

Okay, folks! It’s all up to you! Can you guess what happened to Grace? Who is responsible for this? What is going on? Send in your guess by Friday, February 8th for your shot at the $20 gift card and an entry into the Grand Prize Drawing! I’ll be giving more details about the prize package later in the week!

Good luck to you!

BB’s Mini-Mystery #2 Winner?

Here’s what happened:

Standing behind the gun was Regina, Westmiller’s wife. She had long suspected Westmiller was having an affair with someone, but she wasn’t sure who. He spent many nights out without so much as a phone call. He talked incessantly about his friend Art and seemed way too interested in what he was doing every evening. She had followed him on several occasions and found him leaving board meetings only to visit Art at his home. She knew that Art was single and that he was a little on the eccentric side, though she had never pegged him as a homosexual. She had changed her mind about this when she intercepted an e-mail message that Art had sent to her husband earlier in the week. The message had said, “I’ve got something for you and I think you’re going to like it.” Mistaking this cryptic message for something flirtatious instead of what it had actually been, a message about the money the two were embezzling, she began planning her revenge.

First, she had paid a homeless man to call the house and threaten her husband. She figured she might be able to scare him into spending less time with his friend by making him think that he was suspected of impropriety. She hadn’t actually known that he was trying to take money; it was just something she had made up. When that didn’t seem to work, she had sent him the package with the dead snake hoping that he would be so creeped out that he would confide in her. He hadn’t. Instead, he hadn’t even mentioned it when he had called her that day. He had called her after his board meeting to say that he wouldn’t be home until late. He had some things to take care of at the office.

She was overcome by rage and decided that she would go to Art’s house and confront him. She expected to find her husband there, but when she arrived, she found Art dead on the floor. She had hurried out of the house and back to her car, driving away quickly to avoid being spotted. On the way out back to her house, she passed Thornton. He was headed toward Art’s house. She had been right about the two of them, she thought to herself as she turned around and headed right back to Art’s house. She pulled the dainty little gun she kept for self-defense out of her glove box and headed into the house. She saw Thorn standing over Art’s computer, phone in hand. She didn’t even give him a chance to explain. She shot him…three times…in the heart.

When the police came, Regina was standing in the hallway. The gun had dropped to her feet after she’d fired the shots. The police quickly handcuffed her and hauled her away. Upon closer investigation, they found that she was only responsible for one of the murders. Coughley had been killed by someone else entirely. Further investigation and an eye witness produced a suspect almost immediately. Mr. Chandler, the Mayfield Family Shelter director had been so enraged by Westmiller’s report that the estate money from Mr. Thompson wasn’t going to be what they expected that he had gone directly to Coughley’s home after the meeting and the two of them had exchanged words. Things had gotten heated and Mr. Chandler had stabbed him, killing him instantly.

Not exactly a professional exchange, but money has a strange effect on some people. Standing there in Coughley’s opulent home, Chandler thought about his humble apartment and his measly $30,000 per year salary as shelter director. He looked around at all of the fine things that Coughley had afforded by shuffling money around and his jealousy overtook him. Before he knew it, the knife was in Coughley’s chest and he had blood on his hands. He took off, hoping that he hadn’t been seen. Unfortunately for Chandler, a homeless man had been hanging around the neighborhood checking the trash cans for things he could resell. He saw everyone that came and went that night and he went straight to the police.


Well, folks, this one must have been tough. Though she didn’t guess both killers, this week’s winner Angela Robinson, did guess that Westmiller’s wife had killed him. That’ll do! Congratulations to Angela! Your $10 gift card will be in the mail asap! And the names of all those who sent in a guess will be entered into the drawing for the Grand Prize in week five!

Keep watching for next week’s Mini-Mystery! It’ll be posted on Monday, January 21st.

BB’s Mini-Mystery #2

Board Stiff: A 9 to 5 Mystery
By Rebecca Benston

Thornton Westmiller was a prominent executive. He had a corner office, a company car and other perks too numerous to detail. He was also a member of several boards around town. His favorite post was that of Treasurer for a local shelter. One evening, Westmiller received a call at his home from an angry citizen. There were accusations of impropriety and misallocation of funds for the shelter. Annoyed, Westmiller hung up and proceeded to go about his evening ritual of dinner, a few moments of conversation with his lovely wife, Regina, and his usual late night glass of bourbon. He checked over the financial records for the shelter before he went to bed. He had been waiting for funds from a bequest to be transferred into the shelter’s account and they hadn’t shown up yet. He had figured out a way to “redirect” some of the funds if he could catch the deposit before anyone else noticed it was there. He had been checking it almost hourly for the past couple of days and was starting to get frustrated. He’d give it another day and then he would call his contact to make sure things were going as planned.
The following day, Westmiller received a note at his office along with a nicely wrapped package. Happy to be the receipient of a gift, he anxiously opened the package. But instead of finding a new pair of golf shoes as he had anticipated, he recoiled from the sight of a dead snake with a bright, red ribbon around its broken neck. This gift obviously wasn’t from his wife. He opened the note that had come with the package and it said, “The only good snake is a dead snake!” The handwriting was carefully printed in block lettering, no doubt, in order to preserve the sender’s anonymity.
He slammed the lid back onto the box and frantically called for his secretary, Judy. She hurried in, her dainty heels clicking across the tile floor.
“What is it, Mr. Westmiller?” she asked. She had only been with the company a short time and wasn’t yet familiar with her boss’s moods. She assumed he was upset with her for forgetting to make coffee.
“I need you to dispose of this box immediately,” he said.
“Dispose, but it’s such a beautiful gift,” she said, stepping closer to have a look. She lifted the lid and shrieked as she caught sight of its contents. She dropped the lid, stumbled backward and nearly fell right into Westmiller’s lap. Thankfully, she caught herself before making contact. She hadn’t had any problems with her boss, but he sometimes looked at her in a way that made her a little uncomfortable. She was a beautiful young lady and had left other jobs because her boss’s couldn’t keep their hands to themselves. She had hoped that Westmiller would be different.
“Just get rid of it,” he said.
She scurried away from the desk and called downstairs to the security guard to get some help. Later that day after the box had been removed, Westmiller grudgingly picked up the phone to call the local police. The security guard had suggested that he file a report in case any other crazy packages came for him. “You can never be too careful,” he had said.
Since this was a non-emergency call, he was on hold for what seemed like an eternity. As the minutes passed, he decided he could handle this later and hung up the phone. At exactly 5:30 p.m., he packed up his briefcase and headed out of the office. His secretary had already gone, her shift usually ended at 5 p.m. and there was really no reason for her to stay late. He walked past her desk and out of the office, locking the door behind him.
As he made his way through the parking garage, he couldn’t stop looking over his shoulder. He was paranoid, and for good reason, who gets a gift-wrapped snake?
He reached his car and looked around the garage one last time before getting into the sleek, new BMW. He started the engine and backed out of the space, then drove off toward downtown. He was on his way to yet another board meeting.
When he reached the parking lot of the Mayfield Family Shelter, he parked close to the building. He was uncharacteristically late for the meeting which had started at 5:30. He walked quickly up the walkway to shelter entrance, stepping carefully over a homeless man who had decided to sit with his legs sprawling out across the narrow path. The man looked like a heap of dirty laundry and smelled just as pleasant. Westmiller looked back, taking in the sight and shaking his head.
He pulled on the door to the shelter and found it locked. He had never been late for a meeting before and hadn’t realized that they locked the doors to the shelter at 5:30 sharp. There was a small doorbell situated near the door and he reached out to ring it. After a few moments, he stepped closer to the door and peered inside. He couldn’t see anything but an empty reception desk. He pulled his cell phone from his pocket and dialed the number for the office. At the same time, he heard the phone on the desk inside begin to ring.
“Damn it!” he said, flipping his phone shut. He turned to walk back to his car and noticed that the homeless man had disappeared. “Good riddance,” he murmured to himself as he walked back down the pathway. It was starting to get dark and he wanted to get out of here. There was no sign of anyone hanging around, but he knew that if something happened out here, no one would know until the board meeting ended. The board met in the basement of the building and there was no way they could see or hear what went on outside from where they were. He looked over his shoulder again as he pulled his car keys from his pocket. When he looked back around, he was face to face with Mr. Chandler, the shelter director.
“Whoa, there,” he said, “You scared the life out of me.”
“Sorry about that,” Mr. Chandler said, “I had to run out for a minute. I’m guessing you’re here for the meeting?”
“Yes, actually, I was running late and couldn’t get in,” he said.
“No problem, let’s get in there,” Chandler said smiling.
The meeting went on for what seemed like hours, though it was really only about forty-five minutes. They discussed budget and when it came time for the treasurer’s report, Westmiller gave them the information he had put together and answered questions from the various members. He had gotten so good at fielding their questions; he didn’t even have to think about his responses anymore. Towards the end of the meeting, someone piped up and asked, “Whatever happened with that bequest from Mr. Thompson’s estate, the doctor who just passed away.”
Westmiller shifted in his seat, this was the money he had been putting aside for his “special project.” He shuffled through his reports and pretended to be looking for the deposit information, though he knew it wasn’t there.
“Well, there’s been some kind of glitch with the funds and the estate is claiming that Mr. Thompson only had us down to receive $100,000 and not the $250,000 we were expecting. The old man at the end of the table, Mr. Swanson stood up abruptly and smacked his hand down on the table. “That’s ridiculous! We have been counting on that money and he had said for years that he would make sure that we received $250,000!”
Taken aback by the man’s attitude, Westmiller cleared his throat and said, “Well, I’m not sure what happened, but it appears that the estate wasn’t as large as what Thompson had originally thought.”
“But he had the funds set aside for us for years,” Mrs. Terhune, the local librarian said. “I believe his wife said that it was actually written into his will this way.”
“I don’t know what to tell you,” Westmiller said, “I spoke with the attorney for the estate the other day and he said that there were more expenses than expected with Thompson’s medical bills and that he was splitting the remaining monies with three charities here in town.”
“That’s preposterous!” said Swanson. “I don’t believe it! How are we supposed to keep operations going if we don’t get the funds we’re promised?”
“I understand you’re upset, but this is really beyond our control,” Westmiller replied, “We’ll simply have to make do with what we have. We’re lucky to receive anything, you know.”
The group grew silent at this and then started nodding their heads in agreement. They were lucky to get any funds from private citizens and they all knew this. The meeting adjourned a few moments later and the group made their way outside. As the crowd dispersed, Westmiller got into his car and drove off toward his house. He received a call on his cell phone as he was pulling out of the shelter lot.
“Hello,” he said.
“Westmiller, you don’t know who you’re dealing with,” a voice said. It was low and gravelly, but he couldn’t tell if it was a man or a woman.
“Who is this?” he demanded.
“Someone who knows what’s going on,” the voice said. “You’d better make things right or you’ll be sorry.”
“Who is this?” he demanded again. It was too late, the person had hung up and all he was left with was a dial tone.
“This is ridiculous,” he said to himself. He flipped the phone closed and slipped it back into his coat pocket. He drove the rest of the way home, thinking about the call. He was a little worried, but figured it was just some crank trying to throw him off balance. He thought for a moment and then called his friend, Estate Attorney, Art Coughley. The phone rang a couple of times and then Art picked up.
“Art,” he said, “Thorn, here. Hey, you wouldn’t have made that transfer yet, would you?”
“Hey, Thorn, how’s it going?” he said, “No, actually, there’s a bit of a problem with it. We should get together and talk.”
He checked his watch and said, “Well, I’m not quite home yet, I could swing by if you’re not busy.”
“Yeah, sure, go ahead, I was just working on some papers,” he said, “I could use a break.”
They hung up and Westmiller headed toward Coughley’s house. He stopped at a drive-thru on the way to pick up a sandwich. He hadn’t eaten since lunch and was starving. About twenty-five minutes later, he was pulling through a set of wrought-iron gates and up to the beautiful two-story house where Coughley lived alone. He walked up and knocked on the door, expecting to hear footsteps on the marble tiled floors. He heard nothing. He tried the door and found it unlocked. As he walked inside, he turned to go into the den where Art was normally working.
“Art,” he called. “Are you here?”
No answer.
He walked into the den and when the desk came into view, he saw that there was blood all over the place. “Art!” he called. Then he realized that Art was not going to answer. Art was lying on the floor, behind the desk with a knife sticking out of his chest. Westmiller gasped and started to reach for the telephone on the desk. He stopped himself as he caught sight of the computer screen. The account for Mr. Thompson was up and it was open to the transfers screen. Not knowing much about the way this particular software worked, Westmiller thought for a moment. It couldn’t hurt to make a couple of adjustments.
Within seconds, he had transferred the money into his accounts and wiped the keyboard and mouse clean of his fingerprints. He stood up and reached for the phone to call the police. As he dialed 9-1-1, he heard footsteps in the hallway. He turned just in time to see the gun as it fired three shots into him. His lifeless body fell in a heap, landing on top of Coughley. The two men lay in a bleeding heap behind the desk as the phone receiver dangled uselessly over them.

What happened? Who pulled the trigger? Who killed Art? Why? Can you guess? I’ll post the rest of the story on Friday, January 18th at 6 p.m. EST! Make sure to send in your guess for your chance to win a $10 gift card and be entered into the Grand Prize Drawing!

Good Luck!

My first prize giveaway of 2008!

How exciting!

I just love to give things away. For this reason, I’ve decided to give away five (5) $10 Barnes & Noble or Borders (your choice) gift cards and to top it off, one very special gift! This contest is interactive, so you’ll need to visit the blog each week to play! Here’s how it will work:

  • I’ll be posting a new mini-mystery here on the blog each week. The be titled, BB’s Mini Mystery # (whatever # it is). You get the idea.
  • You’ll read each post and try to figure out whodunit.
  • You’ll e-mail your guesses to me using the link in each post.
  • At the end of the week, I’ll look at all of your guesses and choose a winner from the correct guesses for that week’s $10 gift card!

During week five, I’ll take all of the entries (not just the correct guesses) I have received and put them in a big hat…well, not really, but I’ll find some way to pick one. Ok, I’ll pick a winner from the entries I’ve collected over the five week period and that person will receive the grand prize! I’m not telling what it is, but it’s better than a $10 gift card!

Sound like fun? Well, keep watching the blog because my first mini-mystery post will appear on Monday, January 7th! This contest will end on February 9th. Make sure you play every week so you’ll have more chances to win the grand prize!

A great way to stay up to date on my blog posts is to subscribe to the blog feed! Subscribe today so you don’t miss any of the action!

Until next time…

Got Rona Shively?

Here we go again, folks! Another contest! This time, it’s serious! The prize is a $50 Visa Check Card to use as you please! All you have to do is e-mail me a photo of yourself (clothed, please) holding a copy of either In the Wash or Under Lock and Key or both! This contest will run through midnight on October 30th. The winner will also receive a cool Rona Shively t-shirt!

I’ve also got some prizes in mind for second and third place, but we’ll see how it goes!

Anyway, go to your local library or bookstore, get the book and get your picture taken. It’s that simple. If your bookstore or library doesn’t have Rona, ask them to please get her for you. If you’d rather just get it yourself, you can head over to Benston Writes and order your own copies. Right now, we’re running a special. Get both In the Wash and Under Lock and Key for the special price of $29.95+shipping! Signed, sealed and delivered!

Get in the game and enter today!

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…