Thursday, September 27, 2007

New Review at Over My Dead Body

When I was working on my September email newsletter, I realized I forgot to post news on my blog about the new review for A REAL BASKET CASE written by Shirley Wetzel and appearing at the Over My Dead Body website. My favorite two sentences are, "Claire is an endearing, kinda klutzy, amateur sleuth, and her gift basket business is a fresh and interesting facet of her character. A REAL BASKET CASE is Beth Groundwater's debut mystery, and a fine one it is." To read the whole review, go to .

The September newsletter should be going out in the next day or two, so look for it in your email. If you haven't signed up yet, go to my website, , click on Newsletter, and fill out the form. You'll automatically be registered for the contest for free mystery books.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

10,000 Goggle Hits

Back in January, I was impressed when a search in Google on "Beth Groundwater" produced 1,000 hits. Now, it produces over 10,000! Back then, I would occasionally search for my name to find reviews I may have missed. Now, I'm trolling for the many author/mystery community websites in which I'm registered, to make sure my appearances lists, etc. are up-to-date. I also enjoy finding recommendations for my book on reader's blogs and in library newsletters--gives a little lift to my days. I have a Google alert turned on to tell me when a new reference to my name and my book title appear, but it doesn't find everything, and it won't alert me when I need to make updates to existing references. Thus, the need to go trolling. Darn! :-)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Driving to Manhattan--Kansas, that is

On Friday, I'll hop in my fuel-efficient Prius for the day-long drive across eastern Colorado and most of Kansas to the lovely college town of Manhattan, KS, where I'll be attending the Great Manhattan Mystery Conclave. Normally I try to carpool with someone on these long drives, but my roommate at the conference, Pat Stoltey, decided that she's going to fly instead (and save her butt from getting sore!). So, instead of chatting with a friend to keep me awake on the journey, I've checked out a couple of books on CDs from the library to listen to. The books are funny mysteries by Alexander McCall Smith and Elmore Leonard, so they should keep me laughing and alert on the long drive.

I'm really looking forward to the conference. I went to the first two and thoroughly enjoyed the friendly, home-town feel of the small gatherings. I missed the third one last year, due to having to chaperone a marching band event for my son, and I can't wait to catch up with folks I haven't seen in two years. I'm also looking forward to rubbing shoulders with Diane Mott Davidson and Nancy Pickard again. I just loved Nancy's Virgin of Small Plains novel, and Diane gave me some very useful promotion advice a year an a half ago at the Pikes Peak Writers Conference. Serving on the same panel as Diane will be a milestone in my career.

If you read this and plan to attend the conference, please come up to me and say hi!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Large Print Edition of A REAL BASKET CASE

I received good news recently that Wheeler Publishing, an imprint of Gale that is a sister to Five Star Publishing, will be releasing a large-print edition of A REAL BASKET CASE in January, 2008. I'm excited, because this will mean more library sales for me.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Striking Gold at the Colorado Gold Conference

What a fun weekend at the Colorado Gold conference! I arrived at the hotel late Thursday afternoon, checked in and freshened up, then drove to RMFW President Linda Hill's lovely home for a dinner for conference volunteers. Serious schmoozing with other authors, invited agents & editors, and fellow volunteers commenced. I snuck out around 8 PM to catch the tail end of a SWAT team presentation to the Rocky Mountain chapter of MWA at the Denver Press Club.

Then, I returned to my hotel room, sat on the end of one of the beds to remove my shoes, and Bam!, the bed collapsed. The cross-frame at the foot of the bed was no longer attached to the rest of the frame. I slept in the other bed that night and called the desk the next morning to ask them to fix the bed or get me moved before noon. Then I spent a pleasant 90 minutes in the exercise facility chatting with Jeff Shelby while on the elliptical machine, lifting weights, swimming a few laps in the outdoor pool, and "hanging" in the hot tub with other conference attendees. I returned to the room to find the bed still broken. After numerous phone calls, I was moved to another room, just in time for my incoming roommate, Ann Parker, to find a horizontal bed waiting for her vs one sloped at an angle.

After a couple of Friday afternoon sessions, I was one of the helpers who assisted Pam & Laura of the Author, Author! bookstore make the mad-rush move to transfer books to the back of the ballroom and set up signing tables for all the authors in attendance. Dinner and an inspiring kick-off speech by C.J. Lyons was followed by the mass signing. I had good results at the signing and sold 9 books. Then the Five Star gang met with acquisition editor John Helfers in the bar. He told me that my To Hell in a Handbasket manuscript was in the acquisition process for first quarter 2009 (he passed it on to Deni Dietz, who edited the first, for her opinion) and I should hear from him within a few weeks. I've got my fingers crossed that a contract will arrive in the mail soon. Time to celebrate--off to the hospitality suite I went!

Saturday morning I pitched to agent Natanya Wheeler, and she requested a partial submittal of my Wicked Whitewater manuscript. For the lunch break, my roomie and I took a half-hour stroll to get some fresh air, then dined at Panera Bread with Pat Stoltey and her critique group. After some more sessions, two of which I moderated, and schmoozing, Ann and I got dolled-up for the banquet and cheered for the writing contest winners. Unfortunately, I didn't win the simile contest. My entry was probably too gross to read-aloud at the banquet. :) I really enjoyed Bob Mayer's speech comparing a writing career to a Special Forces jumpmaster getting his team ready to parachute out of a low-flying airplane on a night mission. Then it was off to the hospitality suite again, but I didn't indulge in alcohol that night since I was presenting an early morning workshop the next day.

Amazingly, 15 people made it to my 8:30 AM Sunday morning workshop on tools for getting to know your characters and gave me good feedback. Then Ann and I checked out of our room--she was a lovely roommate! Worn out with sessions, I chatted with folks in the lobby, then helped Pam & Laura breakdown the bookstore. After lunch and a rousing go-forth-and-write speech by Joan Johnston, I climbed into the car for the drive back to Colorado Springs. Soon after carting my bags inside the house, I was snoozing in the Lazy-boy.

Monday, September 17, 2007

A New Review and Guest Blog Post

A REAL BASKET CASE received a favorable review from reviewer Cindy Chow on the No Name Cafe website run by author Lorie Ham. My favorite sentence is, "What Beth Groundwater achieves so successfully is conveying the hopelessness and desperation felt by a woman who fears that her marriage is over and who must learn to fight for what she truly wants." To read the whole review, go to: and click on "click here for the no name cafe". My book is first under the Book Reviews list.

Also, I guest-blogged on Sunday about the usefulness of online goal-setting groups on the Little Blog of Murder. To read my post--and comment on it, if you wish--go to: and scroll down to September 16th.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Off to Mine for Colorado Gold

I'm heading north to Denver today to attend the Colorado Gold writing conference hosted by the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. I'll be presenting a workshop on character development techniques, moderating two other workshops, and helping to set-up and break-down the bookstore. In between, I hope to network with new and old writer friends and maybe even learn something new. The hard part will be staying on my diet--esp. when a lot of the socializing and business takes place over drinks!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A plug from Southwest Airlines' Spirit Magazine!

I just found out that this month's issue of Spirit Magazine, Southwest Airlines' in-flight magazine, has an article on "Put the Mystery into your Travel," about mystery novels set in real locations that serve as entertaining destination guides to those locales. My book, A REAL BASKET CASE, is listed for Colorado Springs, Colorado. To read the article online, go to: , then click on "Click here to discover even more mystery travel locations and books" to see the full list of books, including my debut mystery.

The editors were even so kind as to include links to authors' websites, including mine. I do have scenes in the book in the Garden of the Gods park and some of my favorite local restaurants, and an important event occurs at the 5-star Broadmoor Hotel. However, some of the locations in the book, where bad stuff happens, were made up or based on an amalgamation of real locations, so don't go looking in Colorado Springs for Graham's Gym or the auto shop or apartment complex mentioned in the book. They don't exist! What fun. I'm so thrilled that Southwest Airlines gave a nod to A REAL BASKET CASE!

Friday, September 07, 2007

A Writing Lull...and Balance

A couple of weeks ago, I finished incorporating all the suggested edits from my critique group that I agreed with into my latest manuscript and gave it to another author friend to read cover-to-cover and give me feedback. That left me with no current writing or editing project to work on. I soon realized that I wasn't ready to start a new project. My muse protested, said she wanted to read some good books, watch a few good movies, get outdoors and get some exercise, etc. The well was dry and needed to be refilled.

I've learned not to push when my body and my muse tell me it's time to focus on other aspects of my life outside my writing life. So, these last few weeks I've been concentrating on getting back into an exercise routine and trying to lose those extra pounds I gained while eating out so much on the promotion trail this spring. I've also been enjoying those books and movies! When my friend has her comments ready on my manuscript, I'll tackle those edits, then hopefully, once that baby is put to bed and I've refilled the well of creativity again, ideas for a new project will start appearing in my dreams.

In the meantime, I'm preparing my talks for the Colorado Gold writing conference and the Great Manhattan Mystery Conclave this month. I'm looking forward to both and to reconnecting with a lot of old friends.