Big News~Rona is relocating!

HG Books Logo 2013

Starting just the other day, the Rona Shively Stories is being re-released through Books from Higher Ground!  Rona’s publisher, will be closing its doors in September of this year and so, in order to ensure that Rona’s stories stay available, I have decided to re-release the books under my new publishing company, Books from Higher Ground!  This independent publishing company is not yet accepting book submissions from other authors, but plans to in the near future.  Until then, Books from Higher Ground is accepting submissions for its very first anthology until June 10th!  The anthology will feature stories about women who have either helped or hindered our progress.  We’re asking for your best 500 word story about a woman who has had a significant impact on your life; whether that be a good impact or a bad one.  Those selected will receive a free copy of the anthology.  All proceeds from the sale of this book will benefit Higher Ground Ministries.

It has long been my intention that the Rona Shively Stories would support the efforts of this women’s empowerment ministry.  Rona is a strong woman who has been through many challenges.  She’s the perfect woman to support Higher Ground and her stories are a great testimony about women overcoming obstacles.  If you haven’t already bought your copies, you can buy them at!  Both In the Wash and Under Lock and Key are now available for just $8.95 plus shipping.

In the Wash 2013Under Lock and Key 2013

If you have a story you would like to submit for the anthology, please send it to with the word, “Anthology” in the subject line.  We look forward to hearing your stories!

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!

Out with the old…

Well, thank God that’s over! 2012 was one of the most difficult years I’ve had in my life and in truth, I’m surprised I was able to accomplish anything with all of the chaos that surrounded me for most of the year.  But, with God’s help, I finished a degree in Religion and my sixth book in the Rona Shively Stories series.  So, there was some productivity tucked in there, though it was often difficult to discern from the outside.  In any case, I’m looking forward to 2013 and I’ve already got several ideas for projects I’d like to finish by this time next year.  With the release of Thy Will Be Done just around the corner, I’m already working on the next Rona book and I’m loving this storyline already.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Rona has some exciting things happening in Thy Will Be Done and the fun won’t stop there.  I’m also working on a couple of other writing projects that I’m not yet ready to talk about, but will share soon.

One thing I’m going to concentrate more on next year is having more speaking events.  I’ve got a great new workshop planned that I’m hoping to launch after the first of the year.  I’ll be approaching libraries to see who would like to host a workshop, so keep watching for upcoming events!  Aside from that, I still want to find more ways to help women overcome barriers to personal growth.  I’ll be looking for opportunities to work with women to help them achieve success and all proceeds from the Rona Shively books go toward Higher Ground Ministries efforts to promote women’s empowerment.  More information about the activities planned for Higher Ground will be posted on the Higher Ground website later this week.

I sincerely appreciate those of you who support me in these efforts and those who actually enjoy reading the Rona Shively series.  She’s still got a few adventures to experience and I’m hoping you enjoy every one of them.  If you’re out tonight, please be safe and have a Happy New Year.  May 2013 bring you many blessings and a spirit of peace and abundance.  God bless!

Until next time…

Don’t forget to check out the changes to Benston Writes!


Another One Bites the Dust…

It’s entirely possible that there are no good men left out there.  Rona Shively is finding that out in the latest Rona Shively Story.  She couldn’t depend on Trey, Norm disappointed her and now she’s starting to question whether or not she can really trust Garrett.  She’s on her third strike when it comes to relationships, but what’s really scaring her more than anything else is that shopping for baby blankets is a bit more treacherous than she had ever imagined.

If you haven’t read the last few stories, you need to get caught up before February of 2013.  Coming soon, from, the next Rona Shively Story!!!!

To order The Rona Shively Stories, e-mail me here.  The first fifty orders get $10 off the purchase of the complete set.  That’s all five Rona Shively Stories for just $40 plus shipping!  Take advantage of this great offer by putting “50” in the subject line of your e-mail!  This offer ends August 31, 2012.

Book Signing Tonight!

I just wanted to post here that I will be at the New Carlisle Public Library in New Carlisle, OH tonight at 6 p.m. to sign copies of my latest book, This Side Up: The Rona Shively Stories. I hope you can make it out to see me this evening!

I’m hard at work on Rona Shively 5! You won’t believe what’s going on with Rona. She’s definitely gotten herself into a situation she won’t easily get out of. Someone is trying to set her up and they’re using her friends and family to do it. It really is complicated, so if you want to know what’s happening, you’ll have to read the book. 🙂 I’ll keep you posted on my progress, but in the meantime you can order your signed copy of This Side Up or any of the other Rona Shively Stories by e-mailing me today! My first ten orders will get a free gift with their purchase!

Until next time…

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Attention: Middle Aged Babes…

Just in time for the holidays, I’ve found another great book for women. How To Be a Middle-Aged Babe by Marilyn Suzanne Miller is a wonderful collection of information for those of us who want to age gracefully. This guidebook to maintaining your babe status well into your middle-aged years is a must have for women with a sense of humor and perhaps a nice hint to those with none.

I wasn’t sure about this one because ordinarily I hate the word “babe”; however, the information on the front cover drew me in and I just had to take a look. Not that I worry about such things, but this book had great tips for coping with or at least developing a better understanding of just about every aspect of a middle-aged woman’s life. Questions like, “How can I be both hot and old at the same time?” or “How can I tell if I’m married or single?” had me laughing my ass off. Figuratively, of course. But wouldn’t it be nice if…never mind. In any case, this book would make a great gift between sisters, mothers and daughters, best friends, etc. The book has been praised by such celebrities as Penny Marshall, Julie Kavner and Laraine Newman.

With hilarious tips about beauty and how to handle your finances, this book has something for every woman. If you are looking for a fun read, pick this one up today.

Until next time…have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

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makes me nervous. Right now, I’m waiting to hear back from a publisher about the third book in the Rona Shively series. Right now, I’m kind of nervous. For reasons I won’t go into here, I’m trying to switch publishers. I just think it’s time. Doing this means moving away from what I’m familiar with and jumping out into “Reject Me” territory. Though I know it is a fact of life, I’m not all that hot on rejection. Who is?

My third book is the first full-length novel I’ve ever written and I think I’ve done some really great things with the Rona Shively character this time around. The story has some good, some bad, and some ugly…but no Clint Eastwood unless you count Rona’s new love interest, Garrett Shaw. Rona is nearing forty and so, in the next book, you’ll see that she’s starting to mature a little. It’s about time she did. She’s held some grudges in her day and now, she’s starting to rethink her position on some of these. Still, she maintains that she’s fully justified in hanging onto the others.

One way or another, Keeping the Faith will be published. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the publisher I’ve approached will pick it up, but if they don’t, I’ll figure something out. For now, the series is in a state of literary limbo awaiting the call to be printed but keep the faith, everyone. Rona Shively will return.

Until next time…

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What a week!

I’ve been extremely busy this week and although I’m certainly starting to feel it now, I’m also very motivated by what I’ve been doing. On Monday, I started a new job as a librarian for a local elementary school. In addition to my part-time schedule at my previous job and my writing and my promotional efforts, I’m just a wee bit tired. I haven’t had time until today to put together a thought much less enter it here on the blog.

I didn’t realize just what schools were up against until I was told by my principal that I have absolutely no budget for books. My first thought was, “No budget for books? How are you supposed to run any kind of library without a book budget?” After a few moments of panic, I started to think about ways that I could get what I need for the library. People are always willing to donate things for kids, so I think the logical place to start is by asking people what they can do to help me build up the library’s collection. This would be easier, of course, if people weren’t scraping to put together what they need for their own families to get through each day. It’s a shame that our government is so focused on fighting this war and manipulating us with their political shenanigans that they can’t take care of what is needed here at home.

I always enjoyed visiting the school library when I was a kid. I spent lots of time there, so I’m hoping that I can make this library a place where kids really want to be. I think that without the library, my life would have been missing a very important component. I’m motivated by the notion that what I put into this job can make a big difference to a kid who might not realize what they would miss by not reading. Books open up doors for kids and make them realize that there is more to life than what is right in front of them. Readers become productive members of society. They get it. Some of them might even take up writing. It makes me happy to think that some years down the road, one of my kids might even be the next R.L. Stine or Beverly Cleary or even James Patterson all because they had a librarian who taught them to appreciate a good book.

The challenges I am facing in this new position are welcome challenges. As a writer, I know that I will truly enjoy having yet another ongoing opportunity to encourage children to read. I’ll keep you posted as to my progress with the new job.

Until next time…

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Withholding your book=Withholding your love…

Or something along those lines. I was just reading about Author Stephenie Meyer and her decision to put her final installment in the Twilight series on hold as a means of protesting the distribution of illegal copies of this manuscript. You can find it here. It hit me funny. I thought, “What kind of message are you sending to your readers by doing this?” She argues that the distribution of the book was a “a huge violation of her rights as an author as well as her rights as a human being.” Come on! I don’t know her personally, but I do believe Ms. Meyer exhibits a tendency toward the dramatic.

This is probably going to make some writers angry, but I believe that it only hurts the reader when authors do things like this. No matter what the reason for withholding the book, the reader is the one who suffers. A writer should be able to find a more creative way to deal with such blatant violations of their rights without punishing their audiences. Yes, it’s a big bummer that the story was leaked and that an unedited, sloppy version of it was allowed to be distributed to people. But, does she really think that her readers wouldn’t understand this if she had simply made a statement that the book that has been put out there is not the correct version of the story? She’s not giving her audience any credit for being able to understand that this is not the book she intends to publish.

How do you feel about this issue? If your manuscript were to somehow leak to the public before it was in top form, would you throw a tantrum and take all of your toys home with you, never to be shared again? I’d like to know where you stand.

Until next time…

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The light in the middle of the tunnel…

Just the other day, I finished writing the third Rona Shively book, Keeping the Faith. It will be my first full-length novel and I am very excited about this. The process was just as other authors have described; very emotionally charged and much like giving birth. Unfortunately, at 2 a.m., I had no one available with whom I could share my overwhelming enthusiasm. My husband and daughter had long been asleep and I didn’t dare wake them. It was a little anti-climactic in a sense, but the important thing is; it’s finished!

As I set about the task of editing this monster, I will also be working on a couple of new projects. By the end of this year, I hope to have finished a story that I have been working on in a hit-or-miss fashion over the last ten to fifteen years. It is a combination Sci-Fi/Historical Fiction piece that I am eager to get back into writing. I think you’ll enjoy it! I’m also going to begin writing the next installment in the Rona Shively series, but I’m going to keep details about that one under wraps for now.

In addition, there are a number of contests and other projects I am going to be working on throughout the end of the year. My big goal, however, is to get this Rona Shively story into a new publisher’s hands. I’m absolutely thrilled at the prospects here, but I know that the bulk of my work still lies ahead. So, armed with about twenty of my library’s finest style manuals, publishing guides and writing books, I’m setting about the task of getting my newest book into your hands.

Keep watching for more status reports…you know how I love to update everyone…

Until next time…

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