Keeping the Faith…available September 25th!

I’m so happy to announce here on Benston Blogs that my third Rona Shively book, Keeping the Faith will be released by Publishing on September 25th! This is the first novel-length Rona Shively story and I can hardly wait for the release date! Rona is going through some changes and you won’t believe what she’s up against or for that matter, whom she’s up against in this one.

Stop by my Rona Shively website for more about this book!

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Updates, Great News, Contests, & Mayhem: Read at your own risk…

I say, “Read at your own risk,” because I am aware that sometimes my gibberish can become quite unpalatable. No matter. I’m just getting a little slap-happy from being home so much. It’s this love-hate relationship I have with winter. I do love the way the snow looks when it falls, but I hate to drive in this weather. I love the cold, but I hate having to be bundled up so much in all of the sweaters and jackets. I love having snow days, but I really hate not being able to go out and do stuff.

Thankfully, the time off has given me lots of time to pester people about things like entering the What Would Rona Do? contest which ends on January 31st. Hint, hint. I’ve also been contacting libraries to schedule Tea & Mystery events! I’ve also been talking with people on Facebook that I haven’t talked to for years. Snow days give you lots of time to catch up on the things you haven’t done in a while. They also give you lots of time to think about all of the things you should be doing. For instance, I haven’t written a word on my fourth Rona book in at least two days. I opened the file and stared at it for a while, but nothing happened. The story is in my head, hiding behind one of my posts. Not a real post, a blog post. Lest you think there is way to much space in my head. Please, no snide comments about that remark. 🙂

In other news, perhaps most importantly, I’m feeling elated as I have just discussed my third and fourth Rona books with a publisher who has agreed to sign me. Tentatively, Keeping the Faith is now slated to be released in September of 2009 by Publishing. The owner is a great guy and I’m so happy that I am now going to be a part of the Stonegarden family! Sorry it has taken so long to get KTF out, but such is the plight of the aspiring author. I’ll be posting more snippets from KTF on my website, so take time to stop by there.

As you probably already figured out from my last paragraph and from previous posts where I’ve said as much, I am already working on the fourth book in the series. I’ll have more information about that one for you in a couple of months. I don’t want to give too much away just yet. For now, I’m thrilled that my series has found a new home and I look forward to getting Rona out to more and more people this year! Since I’m feeling generous, I think I’ll give something away!


How about this? Not only am I giving something away for Rona’s Birthday on 2/4 in the What Would Rona Do? contest; on 2/14 I’ll be giving away a special Heartbreaker Prize Package for Valentine’s Day and the only way to enter this contest is by commenting on the blog.

Each person who comments on the blog today through Valentine’s Day will be entered into the prize drawing! I’ve posted a picture of the last Prize Package I gave away so that you have an idea of what kinds of things you might win!

There’s actually no mayhem, as the post title implied, but I can probably come up with some mishief if it’s really that important to you. Mainly, I wanted to share my great news and invite you to win some cool stuff! Have a great day and I’ll anxiously await your comments!

Until next time…

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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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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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Are you forgetting something?

What Would Rona Do? The deadline for contest entries is December 31st! Be sure to send your best idea for how Rona will spend her fortieth birthday. Just e-mail me by December 31st for your chance to win a signed copy of the upcoming Keeping the Faith.

Also, new subscribers will also receive a free e-book version of the Rona Shively Holiday short story, Not Even a Mouse! This is in addition to the free e-book, Little Love Notes! If you haven’t subscribed yet, what are you waiting for?

More good stuff is on the way!

Until next time…

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Keeping the Faith…

It’s that time of year when I start looking at my writing goals and try to determine what to tackle next. So far, I think I’ve stayed on task as much as humanly possible given the year I’ve had. In spite of injuries and other issues, I managed to finish Keeping the Faith and begin working on a couple of new projects. This year hasn’t been easy, but it has been full of wonderful new experiences and I’d like to take a moment to mention a few of these.

Although this publisher did not survive the year, I was glad to have been included in the From the Shadows Horror Anthology. I met some really nice people and was able to have my short horror story, Eleven published alongside some very talented horror writers.

I had the good fortune of being included in another anthology this year with the winning entries for the Writer’s Digest Short Shorts. My short story, The End placed (although not in the top ten)and was included as one of the top twenty five entries in the contest. I was very happy to be recognized by this publication.

Another wonderful thing that has happened this year has been my Tea & Mystery Tour. I’ve been to several libraries in Ohio and one in New York state. These discussions have been a great way to get out and meet mystery readers and talk about the two of the things I most enjoy, reading and writing. I look forward to doing more of these discussion next year.

The most rewarding thing that has happened this year in terms of writing has been that I finally finished my first novel-length Rona Shively story. Anyone who knows me, knows that this was especially difficult for me since I have a tendency toward brevity. It’s not that I don’t have alot to say, it’s just that I generally say it very efficiently. So, writing nearly three hundred pages was challenging to say the least. I still haven’t figured out what this means to me as a writer, but it wasn’t scary enough to stop me from starting my fourth Rona Shively Story shortly after finishing KTF. I’m just anxious to see where this one takes me.

In short, I have lots to be thankful for this year. As usual, things are pretty much as good as can be expected. This is my favorite time of year and I’m hoping that the next couple of months will bring more good news and lots to do for the coming year. Hopefully, the next time I blog, I’ll have some news about the status of Keeping the Faith.

Until next time…

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A Fun Time was had by all…

at my very first Tea & Mystery discussion on Thursday, August 28th. There was a wonderful group of people assembled at the New Carlisle Public Library in New Carlisle, OH. We talked about mystery books and why we love to read them. We talked a little about the mystery films and television shows that we enjoy and we even solved a mystery together! Congratulations goes to Elizabeth Shoemaker (pictured below)! She was the winner of the Whodunit contest and took home her very own Rona Shively T-Shirt!

It was nice to spend the evening with people who enjoy reading mysteries as much as I do. We had a very lively conversation about the different types of mysteries out there and were even able to give one another recommendations on other mystery authors we might enjoy reading.

My next Tea & Mystery event will be at the Clark County Public Library in Springfield, OH on September 10th at 7 p.m. If you would like to attend, call for details on how to register. The number is (937) 328-6903.

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She’s baaaack! And she’s hoppin’ mad!

Hello, all. Sorry I’ve been away for a while. I’ve been struggling with several things including a rather nasty bout with morning sickness. I simply haven’t had access to my brain cells for the past few weeks. Thankfully, a glimmer of coherence has presented itself and I’ve decided to give blogging another shot.

Yes, you heard right. Although I didn’t really want to say much about this until we’re sure everything is ok, I’m expecting our second child in late September. We’ve had some problems in the past with miscarriages and so forth, so please keep us in your thoughts as we pray for a healthy baby to join us this fall.

Today, I have a few things to say about the election. Like everyone else, I was all geared up to get out and vote for my candidate, Hillary Clinton. I was extremely disgusted to find out that my registration, which I filled out sometime last year was never turned in to the Board of Elections. Unfortunately, I didn’t find out about this until it was too late to do anything about it. And so, I couldn’t vote today. Talk about pissed. I’m sure there was steam rolling out of my ears. In fact, there might still be a little puff coming out here and there.

This discovery led me to wonder how many others had the same problem. It almost has me a little paranoid. Did someone lose it on purpose? Was the booth I registered at plagued by crazy, little Republican trolls who sought out my registration form and tucked it away, never to be seen again by the BOE? Who knows? All I know is that I made it a point to register early so that I would be ready and here I sit unable to vote. This was a big day for women to get out there and make their statement. We need Hillary in the White House. She’s been there before and if the truth is known, she’s responsible for much of the good that came out of the Clinton administration. I’m a big fan of Bill Clinton, but we all know that behind every good man, there’s an even better woman. 😉

Since I can’t vote today, I figure the least I can do is to state my position here on the blog. Ladies, it’s time to get Hillary back into the White House. We need this. Women have been taken for granted for too long and it is definitely our time to shine. We have a highly qualified, intelligent, motivated woman who can do this country some real good and we need to show her our support. I have filled out my new registration form and will be mailing it today. I will also be calling the BOE every month to make sure that they have me on the list. I’ll not miss another opportunity to vote. I just hope that I’m voting for the first female president when I go. If you haven’t already, get out and vote for Hillary. If not for yourself, do it for our daughters.

Until next time…

Things are going to start happening to me now…

or maybe not. All the same, I’ve got several irons in the fire. For one, I have a story that is being published in a new horror anthology in February of 2008 called From the Shadows. That’s the name of the anthology, my story is called, Eleven. I think it turned out nicely and I’m anxious to see if horror fans will enjoy it. You can pre-order your copy now by going to

For my mystery fans out there, I’m still hard at work on the third Rona Shively story. Title to be announced soon!

I’m also still working on the women’s self-esteem project, Reaching Higher Ground. I think I will have most of this finished by the end of the year. I had hoped for an earlier launch, however, things happen and sometimes you just have to adapt. 😉

In case you haven’t been to my websites lately, I have recently updated all of them to include a link to my newest page for my short romance, Hearts and Flowers. Hearts and Flowers was published several months ago as an Amazon Short and I only recently started thinking that maybe I should have given it its own web page. The story is very sweet and so unlike me, but I think its heartwarming tone is just right for the season. If you get a chance, check it out at I’ve posted a sneak peek at the story in hopes of selling copies of the entire download for a whopping $.49 on Amazon Shorts!

All of this while battling the cold that will not die! I seem to have picked up the worst little case of congestion and sinus pressure in my brief history. Bear with me as I try to think clearly through the fog of antihistamines and headache medicine. I promise, once this sinus pressure eases up, I’ll have something truly interesting to tell you.

Until next time…