Category Archives: Stories about my book: In the Garden with Billy

Here you’ll find photos from the launch of my book, In The Garden With Billy: Lessons About Life, Love & Tomatoes. Billy is the reason for this blog, my quest to show others how easy gardening can be, and encourage everyone to reach out to others.

On the Road again….


Someone said the “S” word…snow; then they said the “I” word…ice. Snow and ice are forecast along the route I will travel today. Leaving Atlanta is precarious on the best day. Traveling becomes ridiculously complicated when the roads are wet and the clouds threaten to spit frozen balls on your windshield.

I would be lying if I said I’m not nervous. Readers of this blog know that above everything else, I am honest when baring my emotions.

To be selected as a Pulpwood Queen pick is a dream. Few meet her standards. While some believe my life as an author is glamorous, in reality I am just like any other person who must travel away from their family. Being an author is hard work…very hard work. I have never been this far away from my family and we are all hurting even before I pull away from the house. The weather does little to ease any apprehension.

Perhaps that is why the Good Lord placed Ann Hite in my path. It’s not popular these days to suffer separation anxiety while away from your family. In fact, most people relish the opportunity for a night out. But for me a night out is best enjoyed with loved ones. I spend enough time alone, inside, just the computer and my characters who oft refuse to share their stories.

That being said, Ann and I are torn. Yes we will miss our family, but our readers are also family. We love meeting them. Love telling them secrets about our characters, hearing readers input, receiving emails and hugs from those who love our characters as much as we do. This emotional contact with our readers is what moves us forward. Without meeting them, Ann and I would give up…stop writing…stay home curled in front of a fire with a cup of hot chocolate. We might even eat bonbons (the fantasy food some folk think authors consume).

So today, with the clouds bending low, we have packed our suitcases, our costume jewelry and our hats. We are Texas bound, excitedly so. I’ve done a bit of research about Jefferson Texas. According to Wiki, Jefferson is a metropolis when compared to my hometown of Bryson City, North Carolina. I can’t speak for Ann, but I’m a small town girl, eager to visit the tiny town of Jefferson Texas. In my heart I know that the citizens will wrap their arms around me and welcome me home.They will say, like my grandpa often did, step up here and give me a hug; that is why I will leave my Georgia family and head west…because my Texas family is waiting for me with open arms.

Renea Winchester is an award winning author of In the Garden with Billy. She is represented by Sullivan Maxx Literary Agency. In the Kitchen with Billy: Farming, Fords & Friend Bologna Sandwiches will be released soon. Until then, please visit the Facebook page and “Like it” to keep up to date on the happenings at Billy’s.

Photo credit: Rhonda Perry via Facebook


In the Garden with Billy: Lessons About Life, Love & Tomatoes Book Trailer

I hope you enjoy this glimpse into Billy Albertson’s farm. Or as he likes to say it his, “little strip of country.” Learn more at


Tags: , , , , ,

Edenwilde Book Club

It isn’t often that Billy Albertson accompanies me to book club meetings. Primarily because he’s a busy man. Even before I wrote In the Garden with Billy he was a busy man. Now, he has so many visitors, even  I sometimes need to make an appointment to see him. As they say in the south, the Edenwilde ladies “must be living right.” Last week they received a treat. Billy Albertson joined their group. We came. We noshed. We stayed a very, long time. At one point I looked at the clock and said, “Law have mercy…it’s 10 o’clock!”

Thank you to Edenwilde for making Billy feel right at home, and to the other bookclubs that have read In the Garden with Billy: Lessons About Live, Love & Tomatoes. truly, you have touched my heart (Billy’s too).

Here are some comments from the group:

Amazing book club meeting last night in Edenwilde. Local author, Renea Winchester, along with Mr. “Billy”, came to share their book, In The Garden with Billy, a beautifully written account of how this unlikely pair met and became best friends. So endearing and delightful. We could all learn alot from Mr. “Billy”…he told some charming, funny stories about family and gardening. I believe you can order their book from amazon.

Such a delightful time at your house last night with Billy and Renae! I just loved listening to him talk and tell his stories…a treasure! ”

“Thanks guys for hosting book club last evening it was a blast. What an fascinating man Mr. Billy is!”
“Thanks Jo Anne it certainly was a night to remember.”

Billy and his fans

Renea Winchester is the author of In the Garden with Billy: Lessons about Life, Love & Tomatoes. Currently, she leads emerging author workshops in conjunction with her latest release: Stress-free Marketing: Practical Advice for the Newly Published Author. She is also working on In the Kitchen with Billy, which will be filled with tall tales and yummy recipes. In the Garden with Billy is available at your favorite bookstore, online and electronically. Visit her at


Happy Anniversary Part Three

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The birth, and subsequent launch of a book is a magical time. Over a year of writing, waiting, and weeks of planning, In the Garden with Billy: Lessons About Life, Love & Tomatoes resulted in what is arguably the best book launch ever!

To everyone who has read the book, told others, and incorporated it into their book club reading “Thank you.” For those who haven’t read the book, your local bookstore can order it for you in a snap! Until then, please enjoy photos from that very special day. For those who have asked, I am working on a sequel titled In the Kitchen with Billy. But first, Make Your Mark Publishing will release Stress-free Marketing: Practical Advice for the Newly Published Author.
fter a year of book tours, I realized emerging authors need someone to guide them through the marketing process. Visit my blog at  Subscribers to the blog are registered to received a free copy of the book. I am also booking workshops now which will be held in independent bookstores across the south. If you’ve written a book and need guidance, contact me here to schedule a workshop or email my publisher at

Renea Winchester is an award-winning author. When she isn’t writing, she volunteers at her local library.


Happy Anniversary In The Garden With Billy: Part Two

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I’m a blessed gal. In this photo segment I’d like to share images of some of the authors I’ve met during the past year. Some of you will recognize these authors: they’re your favorites. They work hard to write books you’ll love. They are also friends, mothers, daughters, dads…real people just like you. They were accessible when I had questions, kind, and willing to help little ole me. I am forever in their debt and honored to call them friend. These are the authors who have mentored me during my journey. In a few weeks I’ll release a new title specifically written for those newly-published authors who (like me) didn’t know where to turn or what to do after their book was published. Until then, pick up a copy of any of these incredible authors books. You’ll be glad you did.

Renea Winchester is the author of In the Garden with Billy: Lessons About Life, Love & Tomatoes. Make Your Mark Publishing will release her second book titled: Stress-free Marketing: Practical Advice for the Newly Published Author in November, 2011.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Happy Anniversary In The Garden With Billy: Part One

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Almost a year has passed since the release of In The Garden with Billy: Lessons About Life, Love & Tomatoes. During that time I have logged a lot of miles and spoke to numerous garden clubs, book clubs and community clubs. I’ve also been embraced by booksellers. Love those independent booksellers.

A quick word about local bookstores: they are NOT dying. I laugh every time someone says that the written word is dead. Indie bookstores are doing well because they know that readers matter! Indies will survive. I believe it will be the small businessmen and women of America, those who understand the importance of personal relationships who will continue to prosper.Honestly, we all knew the big box would one day collapse. Let the revival of personal customer service that was crushed beneath the weight of BB stores begin.

Thanks again to everyone for reading. Thanks for emailing me, for coming to events, for supporting the written word. Much love and BIG hugs ! Now let’s look at some photos. Note: I won’t try to name everyone. With over 100 thousand photos on my computer, I somehow managed to lump a majority of them into a file named “writing events.”So much for my husband’s attempt at organizing. God bless his heart. I hope you enjoy Part One of Happy Anniversary In The Garden With Billy: Lessons About Life, Love & Tomatoes.

Renea Winchester can be reached through her website here. Her book can be found at your favorite independent book store. If they don’t have it in stock they will be happy to order it.


What’s Keeping Me From Gardening…

There are some who follow this blog who may not know that my “real” job is that of a published Author. Not only do I help Billy in his garden, I wrote a book about our adventures.

In The Garden With Billy

The book has been well received and I am so very grateful to you, the readers, who have attended events, emailed, called and visited the farm wanting to know how to grow your own food. 

Today’s blog is a pictorial account of some of the places I’ve traveled while promoting the book.

In The Garden With Billy: Lessons About Life, Love & Tomatoes was launched in the fall of October, after a long awaited, painful period called the “in between time.” A wringing-hands-and- praying time when supersticious authors like myself worry that something will happen at the last minute to “kill” all of their hard work. 

Thankfully the book arrived safely and Billy graciously allowed me access to the farm and we hosted what

The John Deer "tractor"

can only be described as the best book launch in history. Seriously, try to find another book launch that featured “hay rides” pulled by a lawnmower-tractor with one particular wheel that kept leaping off randomly. Go ahead, I dare you.

From there it’s been a non-stop traipse of talks and tales of  gardening adventures sprinkled with the “real message” behind the book…that of the value of friendships.  To use my grandpa’s saying, “I am proud to know you.”

Every one of you. You have no idea how much it means for me that you’ve taken your precious time to get to know me.  I am not the most techno-savvy author in the world, but I would love to share with you some snapshots taken at libraries, book club meeting, and book stores who graciously invited me into their heart. My schedule is filling up for 2011, so please visit my website at to see where I am, or to invite me to your event; and do come see me.


While speaking to readers I met Jennie Helderman who informed me that In The Garden With Billy had been nominated for a SIBA award. This is  quite an honor. Additionally, I have been nominated for the Georgia Author of the Year !

Visit my website to learn more about me, and of course, remember to keep those hands dirty !