Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Even Published Authors Get Rejections

My literary agent is still trying to place my whitewater river ranger mystery series with publishers, but given the current economic climate, it's been a very tough uphill climb. We just received a rejection from one editor who said:

"There’s a lot of good writing here but unfortunately given the economic climate that we are faced with I fear that this book would fall into mid-list hell."

A few weeks ago, another editor said:

"The concept for this series is fabulous and I thoroughly enjoyed reading the manuscript. Unfortunately, however, I'm going to pass."

When you are SOOOO close, the rejections seem to hurt even more. I have faith that the series will find a home, though, eventually. I had so much fun writing the first one, and I'm looking forward to writing more. This character is just itching to find another dead body. :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Advance review copies of my upcoming May release, To Hell in a Handbasket, have been shipping out to reviewers the past few weeks. The first review to be posted by an online reviewer has appeared, and she gave To Hell in a Handbasket 5 stars! Patricia Reid's review has been posted on Goodreads and Bestsellersworld, and she has submitted it to BooksnBytes. Here's a link to the full review at Bestsellersworld:

Bestsellersworld Review of HinH

Monday, February 23, 2009

Blog Book Tours and Goodreads

I am in the process of planning my first blog book tour to promote the release of my second book, To Hell in a Handbasket. The tour will take place in the release month of May, and I hope to visit 10-15 blogs. To educate myself on how to do a blog book tour, I joined the blogbooktours yahoogroup, which Dani Greer moderates as a revolving series of 3-month classes to teach authors about blogging, social networks, and planning and conducting a blog book tour. I've learned an awful lot being a member of the group and tried to share what I already knew with the other participants.

Dani has a blog associated with the group, where she posts information that has come up in the discussions. Her latest post is from a message I sent to the group about my interactions on the Goodreads social network, which I've belonged to for some time. Go to: Blog Book Tours: Goodreads to read what I had to say about using Goodreads to promote your book. If you're an author who is interested in planning your own blog tour, there's a click-on icon on Dani's blog to ask to join the yahoogroup. But be forewarned, you are expected to be an active participant in the class!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Another Good Review for A REAL BASKET CASE

I recently received an email from Linda Peri, who reviewed my first novel, A Real Basket Case for the Cañon City Daily Record newspaper on Friday, February 13. She graciously sent me a copy of the review. I had visited with the Florence, Colorado library book club in January to discuss the book with them, and Linda is a member. Here's some of the nice things she had to say in her review:

"Beth Groundwater is an author to watch. Her very first mystery, A Real Basket Case, was nominated for a prestigious Agatha Award in 2007 and she has more books in the pipeline. She is a charming lady who loves visiting book groups and discussing her own as well as other author’s books.

A Real Basket Case has all the elements of a cozy mystery. Claire, the gutsy amateur sleuth, ... lives in Colorado Springs. We feel the crisp, cool air as she strolls through the Garden of the Gods. We taste the fine cuisine when her friends brunch at the Broadmoor. We feel the suspense build as Claire and her tracker friend, Deb, follow a drug kingpin’s limousine through Old Colorado City and we smell the tangy Italian food as she questions him at lunch. There is something special about a novel that takes place in these familiar and well-loved local settings and we can look forward to her next mystery, To Hell in a Handbasket, that will be published in May."

Thanks so much, Linda!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Win an ARC of To Hell in a Handbasket!

For quite some time now, I’ve been running a contest for subscribers to my email newsletter. Each time another 100 subscribers sign up, I draw a random number from all of the subscribers and award a prize of two books. These are the best contest odds you're going to find anywhere!

In the past, one of those prize books has been an autographed copy of A Real Basket Case and the other has been a book by another mystery author of my choice. For my next draw of a winner, I will replace the copy of A Real Basket Case with an autographed Advance Review Copy (ARC) of To Hell in a Handbasket, to be released in May.

Be the first among your associates to find out what mystery gift basket designer Claire Hanover has to tackle in her second adventure, this time in Breckenridge, Colorado. Revel in winter sports, family crises, and shady characters lurking among the firs and pines! Make mystery ARC and first edition collectors envious!

To sign up for my email newsletter, go to the newsletter page at my author website:

Beth Groundwater's Newsletter

If you have already signed up and have been receiving copies of my newsletter, you are already entered into the drawing. However, if your email address has changed since you last signed up, you'll need to do so again. And even if you're a good buddy, don't assume I'll add you to the list. I do not automatically sign up friends and associates because that would be spamming; registering must be your choice. Don't worry about signing up more than once, my email service will weed those duplicates out.

I wish I could give an ARC to every one of my subscribers, but I only have a few ARCs, so only one subscriber will have the privilege of an early read of To Hell in a Handbasket. Good luck to you all!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Jen's Book Thoughts blog reviews A REAL BASKET CASE

Jen Lorain is an avid reader who posts reviews and author interviews at her blog, Jen's Book Thoughts. On February 12th, she posted an insightful and complimentary review of my first mystery novel, A Real Basket Case. You can find the review by going to:

Jen's Review of A Real Basket Case

A quote from the review that warms my heart is:

"A Real Basket Case is a light, quick, enjoyable read. But don't try to read it too quickly or you'll miss the creative subtleties woven throughout the plot.

Groundwater has a firm grasp on how to use the English language to create effect."

Needless to say, I loved the review and posted a comment to say so: "Wow, Jen! I'm absolutely thrilled with the review that you gave my book, A REAL BASKET CASE. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You actually GOT the subtle, situational humor I sprinkled throughout the book, unlike a few other reviewers."

I hope you'll take at look at the full review on Jen's blog, then browse the blog for more reviews and author interviews. She's interviewed some of my favorite fellow mystery/suspense authors.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

AMAZON joins the fray!

Thursday I blogged about the second book in my Claire Hanover gift basket designer mystery series, TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET, being listed for preorder on the Barnes and Noble website. Today, much to my delight, I discovered that Amazon is now listing the book for preorder, too, though not yet at a sale price. I have yet to figure out what Amazon's strategy is for listing titles for sale, and my first title, A REAL BASKET CASE, has gone on and off sale (20% off list price) multiple times there.

To see the Amazon listing for TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET, go to:

Amazon listing

The publication date for TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET is May 15, 2009, so preordering it now does not mean you'll get to see a copy before then. You'll still need to wait for it to be shipped from the publisher's warehouse, starting May 15, to Barnes and Noble or Amazon, then on to you. What preordering does for me, however, is that it increases the early demand for the book, and thus influences the publisher's decision about the size of my first print run.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET is available for preorder!

The launch countdown has officially begun! I was ecstatic to discover today that the second book in my Claire Hanover gift basket designer mystery series is now listed for preorder (at get this, 25% off list price for members!) on the Barnes and Noble website. To see the listing, go to:

Barnes and Noble listing

Unfortunately, they don't have the cover art or back cover blurb up yet, but you can see both at my author website:

My Website

The book isn't listed on Amazon yet, but I expect that it will be soon. I'm on pins and needles waiting for early reviews and hoping that I'll get some good ones. You know, I didn't think I would be as excited for my second novel to debut as I was for the first one, but I can feel the tension growing now. I hope my blog readers will help make To Hell in a Handbasket even more successful than A Real Basket Case!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Mexico Vacation: Puerto Morelos in the Mayan Riviera, Part 1

My husband, Neil, and I stayed at the El Cid resort in Puerto Morelos for the first week of our trip, and I highly recommend it. The first photograph shows the main courtyard and pool of the resort and the second shows the view of the whirlpool from our condo. The third photograph is of the resort’s tequila tasting room stocked with añejo and extra añejo tequilas, which have been aged for at least a year and should be sipped neat versus mixed in cocktails. Encouraged by our waiters, who kept pouring liberal shots, we and two other couples got absolutely plastered in this room one evening. Needless to say, the next day was spent lying on the beach!

The next two shots are from different poolside evening performances, the first by folkloric dancers and the second by fire dancers.

The last three photographs are from our snorkeling tour to the National Park reef off Puerto Morelos, where lifejackets and guides are required to keep tourists from touching the corals. The first shows me under the awning in the boat, and the next two show fish and coral formations (note the two snorkelers behind the formation in the second one). Neil was the underwater photographer and took some excellent shots.

Mexico Vacation: Puerto Morelos in the Mayan Riviera, Part 2

Besides enjoying the amenities of the resort and biking or walking into the quaint town to sample the restaurants, shop, and listen to live music, we had two day-long adventures in Puerto Morelos. The first was a guided tour combining adventure activities (zip-line, rappelling, kayaking, and swimming in a cenoté) run by Mayan natives, a Yucatan hot lunch, and a tour of the Mayan ruins at Coba. The first photograph shows me on a zip line, and the second shows the cenoté we climbed down into and swam in. Cenotés are limestone caves whose rock ceilings have partially collapsed, creating sinkholes and allowing light and tourists to come in.

The third photograph shows me climbing up the Nohoch Mul Pyramid, the only Mayan pyramid that tourists in the Yucatan peninsula are still allowed to climb. The fourth photo shows Neil and I on top of the pyramid, and the fifth shows me and other tourists tentatively working our way back down while holding onto the rope. It’s a LOT scarier going down! It’s estimated that Coba had at least 50,000 inhabitants at its peak.

Our second adventure was a trip we took on our own to the town of Akumal (about 2 hours drive south) to snorkel in Yal-ku lagoon, a beautiful brackish water lagoon with lots of fish. The facility includes a garden studded with artistic statues. The sixth and seventh photographs show different parts of the lagoon, the eighth one shows some fish, and the last two photos were taken at the La Buena Vida beach bar and restaurant overlooking Half Moon Bay.

This trip acquainted us with the Mexican transportation system. We took a taxi to the local bus station and bought tickets to Akumal. After waiting over an hour with still no bus (which were supposed to come every 45 minutes), the station manager put us aboard another bus going further south and asked the driver to drop us at Akumal. On the return trip we tried colectivos, large vans that pick up and drop off Mexican workers and tourists along the side of the highway. We took one from Akumal to Playa del Carmen and another from there to Puerto Morelos. The return trip was faster and more interesting (Mexican gangsta rap on the video screen!).

Mexico Vacation: Cozumel, Part 3

The second week we stayed at the El Cid La Ceiba boutique resort on the island of Cozumel, also highly recommended. The first photo shows the ferry terminal at Playa del Carmen, from which we caught a ferry to Cozumel. The second photograph shows the resort from the dive boat dock and the third from the tower top floor. The fourth photograph is the view from our condo—different cruise ships, one to four a day, disgorged passengers every morning and sailed away every evening. We snorkeled almost every day we stayed there.

On the one day it rained, we took the Atlantis Submarine over 100 ft deep to view the outer Chankanaab reef. The fifth photo shows the submarine, the sixth shows me going “down the hatch” and the seventh and eighth show the underwater sea life, that even beg for sustenance! On a different day we explored the town of San Miguel and lunched at Margaritaville. The seventh and eighth photos show Neil and I with our tropical beverages there, but notice that we eschewed the balloon hats. The last photo is of me on the Carnaval stage set up in the main square.

Mexico Vacation: Cozumel, Part 4

Our biggest adventure on the trip was swimming with dolphins at Dolphin Discovery in the Chankanaab Park. The first photo shows me getting acquainted with a 20-year old dolphin named Ixchel, named after the Mayan fertility goddess. The second photo shows her giving me a belly ride and the third shows her pushing me on a Boogie board. The fourth photo is two male dolphins putting on a show for Neil’s group. While at Chankanaab, we enjoyed the best snorkeling on the trip, including spotting a three-foot barracuda! The fifth photo shows a fish swarm, the sixth shows some fan corals, the seventh is me in my snorkel gear, and the eighth is Neil in his.

The ninth photo shows us with our 1.3 pound lobster tail dinner at La Perlita the last night of our trip, and the last photo shows us right before we left for the airport with rough seas spraying the rocks behind us. What a great trip!