Monday, April 30, 2007

A Launch Party and a Panel Signing

I had a busy but successful weekend. At my Book Launch signing at the Barnes & Noble bookstore in Colorado Springs on Saturday, the Liberty High School Band was having a fundraiser across the aisle. The students serenaded me with lovely music the whole afternoon. I asked them if they would wear my buttons in exchange for me handing out their fundraiser coupons to folks buying my books. They were very appreciative of my help, given that my son is in a band that competes with them, and five of the Liberty supporters bought copies of my book!

My website master & dear hubby posted a photo from the Launch on the "Author Photos" page of my website, accessible from either the "About Beth" or "Press Kit" pages. You can see from the photo that I brought snacks and a balloon bouquet to jazz up the signing, and I collected names for a gift basket drawing. The snacks, napkins, tablecloth, and balloons were color-coordinated to my book cover colors. I ended up selling out the stores' stock of 35 copies and brought in 5 of mine to leave as signed stock.

Sunday was my second "Mystery Through the Ages" panel at the Reader's Cove bookstore in Ft. Collins with three other debut Colorado mystery authors. We had a nice crowd, even with the lovely weather that was driving folks outside. I sold 7 copies and left 3 for signed stock. A photo of the panel in action (look who's got her mouth open) is also on the "Author Photos" page of my website.

And the Woodmen Edition, the neighborhood weekly newspaper, was kind enough to coordinate the timing of the publication of an interview with me for the Friday before these events!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Romance Reviewers like A REAL BASKET CASE

I've gotten a couple of reviews from romance publications on my amateur sleuth novel, A REAL BASKET CASE. It's heartening to read that reviewers in this genre that focuses a lot of attention on characterization enjoy my mystery. Here's an abbreviated version of the reviews:

"Ms Groundwater has written an amateur sleuth mystery with a gutsy heroine. The situations that she manages to get herself into as she tries to uncover the truth will have readers chuckling, gasping, and turning the pages. Readers will be kept guessing to the end in the best fashion of a good who-done-it."

-- Love, Romances and More, April, 2007

"At first, I feared that Claire would be a character I couldn't relate to, let alone like. But it's clear from the first few pages that this is simply a woman at a crossroad in her life, and with one mistake, that life, and the lives of others, are now in peril. Many wild scenarios run rampant throughout Beth Groundwater's book, and the author has successfully mixed humor with the macabre. An enjoyable mystery that will weave its way into your psyche, A REAL BASKET CASE should not be missed."

-- Courtney Michelle, Romance Reviews Today, April, 2007

Friday, April 27, 2007

First Book Road Trip--in a Blinding Blizzard!

I just returned from my first 2-day, 1 night promotion trip, and I thought I'd tell you how I crammed in as much as possible--and how you can/should do the same when you promote your book. I drove north at 2:30 pm Tuesday and barely made it over very-scary Monument Hill in a wild snowstorm to arrive in Boulder at 5 pm for dinner with some members of the Rocky Mountain Sisters in Crime chapter there. At 7 pm was our "Mystery Through the Ages" panel signing at High Crimes bookstore (with fellow Five Star authors, Pat Stoltey and Mike Befeler), and I was heartened by the hardy audience that came in from the rain to hear us (since Boulder is at a lower altitude than CO. Springs, the precipitation was just rain there).

After sleeping over at Mike's home, I did the following Wednesday:
- met with a gift basket business owner, who took 3 copies on consignment for "Mystery Lover's" themed gift baskets
- two stock signings at B&N bookstores
- a pitch to the Westminster acquisition librarian to buy my book
- a visit with a Book Club (wine & food included) who had bought & read copies of A REAL BASKET CASE

I even got some shopping done at the Flatiron Crossing Mall! If some/all of my signed stock sells, the trip probably netted me 30-45 direct sales and hopefully more word-of-mouth sales. This weekend is my Book Launch at a local Barnes & Noble in Colorado Springs on Saturday afternoon and another "Mystery Through the Ages" panel signing at Reader's Cove in Ft. Collins on Sunday afternoon.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Pikes Peak Writers Conference

What a great conference! I had to do a lot of sleeping afterward to recover, but it was a good exhaustion. I sold 19 copies of A REAL BASKET CASE and 2 MAP OF MURDER anthologies, better than I expected. Whoo-hoo! Bill Reed, a reporter at the local Gazette newspaper, and I had a good discussion, so I hope he includes some of it in his article that he's writing about the conference. Thanks to an introduction by a good friend, Ronald Kovach at The Writer Magazine asked me to submit an article. And Eric Maisel, the creativity coach, was SO inspiring! Everything he said resonated with me. Folks seemed to like my workshop on "After the Call" and the "Niche Mysteries" panel I served on, because I received lots of compliments on them.

This was a milestone conference for me--getting to sign copies of my debut novel. Thanks to everyone who bought one! That's a feeling that I hope every aspiring author will have the pleasure of experiencing. As I was talking to Bill Reed, I told him how each PPWC was a different experience for me as I moved through the phases of my career, from my first one in 97, when I hadn't written any fiction yet and just came to learn, to my second in 99 when I entered the Paul Gillette writing contest, got lousy scores and realized I had so much more to learn, to my third in 2000 when I found my critique group buddies, to my fourth in 2001 when I placed third in the Paul Gillette, etc.

Monday, April 23, 2007

In a Cold Sweat

Why? I just finished up a 7 minute live radio interview on local station, KCMN, 1530 AM, with the morning show personality, Tron Simpson. I'd prepped what I wanted to say and managed to wedge in 4 of the 5 "talking points" I wanted to cover. Hopefully my voice wasn't too shaky, because boy, was I nervous! I'll have to get quite a few radio interviews under my belt before I feel confident enough to appear on TV without soaking my blouse. :)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Revving Up for the Pikes Peak Writers Conference

The Pikes Peak Writers Conference starts tomorrow at 11 am, and I am revving up for attending my tenth one. As a conference volunteer, I worked three hours this afternoon stuffing registration packets and arranging books on bookshelves. I've got my notes and "visual aids" prepared for my workshop, "After the Call," and panel, "Genre Mysteries" (with Chris Goff, Maggie Sefton, and Robert Spiller). I've got a box of A REAL BASKET CASE books and four copies of the MAP OF MURDER anthology ready to check into the bookstore tomorrow morning, and a supply of "I'm a Real Basket Case" buttons, business cards, and trifold flyers. Now, for a good night's sleep, so I can put on a happy smile and my comfy shoes and have fun!

I'll try to report on the conference soon after, but I might need a recovery day Monday after such a high energy weekend. Along with trying to attend a few sessions, I'm manning the registration desk part time, helping with the Newcomer's Orientation, talking to prospective Sisters in Crime at their host table, trying to recruit speakers for future PPW monthly Write Brain meetings, etc. etc.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Calling all Bookstores...

...and Newspapers. Now that my mystery, A REAL BASKET CASE, has been released, you may be wondering what I'm working on for promotion efforts. I've been checking in with the bookstores where I have signings planned to make sure that they've ordered books, that those orders have been filled, and that they know about my promotion activities in their area so they can plan accordingly. Also, I've been contacting newspapers to which I sent ARCs to see if they plan to run a review and if they'd like further information for a profile/interview article. This will continue throughout the summer, with me making the calls or sending emails 3-4 weeks before each event.

I've also been publicizing whatever reviews, interviews, and profiles I've been able to get to online email loops. The latest news is:

I have a blog at the Colorado Springs Gazette newspaper that points to this blog.

Also, I am the featured author this month of the Houston, TX chapter of Sisters in Crime: .

And I appear as a guest blogger on the Killer Hobbies blog. Go to to read about my killer hobby of making gift baskets.

Friday, April 13, 2007


What is WorldCat? It's the world's largest network of library content and services, and it can be found at Many libraries in the US make their card catalogs available to the WorldCat search engine, so someone looking for a rare book can find out what libraries have copies and work out an inter-library loan agreement with their local library to obtain a copy to check out.

Now, how is WorldCat useful to authors? We can use it to see how many libraries have copies of our books in stock, which gives us an idea of our library sales. Not ALL libraries participate, but enough do to make the search worthwhile, especially for authors whose publishers focus on library sales, like Five Star Publishing does. When I searched for my book, A Real Basket Case, today, I found that 46 library systems have copies and some of those have multiple copies. I consider this to be good news, given that my book was only released on March 21st.

Monday, April 09, 2007

My First Review from a Plain Ole' Reader

Friends and relatives who preordered my book online are receiving their copies and have started reading it. How cool is that? Anyway, this afternoon I received my first review from one of those friends who just finished the book. He's not a professional reviewer, an author, or anyone else connected with the world of writing. He's just someone who likes to read fiction. Here's what he had to say:

"Read the book through. Every time I thought about laying it down, I'd get caught up in it again. You needed a diagram to keep everyone straight.

That second chapter is a teaser."

Hee, hee, hee! We authors LOVE it when we make a reader miss their bedtime!! JB, thanks so much for the praise, and I'm so glad you enjoyed A REAL BASKET CASE.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Life After 50

For those readers who live in Colorado Springs, pick up the April issue of the "Life After 50" local monthly newspaper. There's a most excellent interview article with fellow mystery author Bob Spiller and myself about writing fiction as a second career after you turn fifty. I managed to get a plug in for the Pikes Peak Writers Conference and upcoming monthly Write Brain meetings in my portion of the interview. I'm very pleased with how my photo turned out and interviewer Jeanne Davant's prose.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Conference Panels

For those of you who are attending a mystery or writing conference this year, I thought I'd let you know what my panel or workshop assignments are so far for the ones I'm attending.

April 20-22 Pikes Peak Writers Conference, Colorado Springs, CO
Saturday, 4:50 PM, What are Niche Mysteries and What is their Appeal panel
Sunday, 8:30 AM, After the Call workshop

May 4-6 Malice Domestic Conference, Crystal City, VA
Saturday, 9:00 AM, Not to Old to Tangle panel

May 25-26 Mayhem in the Midlands, Omaha, NE
Saturday, 1:30 PM, In the Bedroom with Colonel Mustard: Sex and the Traditional Mystery panel
Saturday, 3:00 PM, Light at the End of the Tunnel--And It's Not a Train! The Lighter Side of Mystery panel

June 8-9, Murder in the Grove, Boise, ID
Saturday, 3:00 PM, Mysteries in Brief: Short Stories panel

and more to come...

Monday, April 02, 2007

Jeannette Cezanne's World of Publishing

I just got off the phone after a lovely Internet radio interview with Jeannette Cezanne on her World of Publishing show on the World Wide Artist Internet broadcasting site. She made me feel so comfortable and at ease that the hour just flew by. We talked not only about my debut mystery book, A Real Basket Case, but also about writing and marketing short stories. If you're interested in listening to the interview, go to, click on "Sound Gallery" then on "World of Publishing" in the little box that appears. Scan down the list of recorded shows until you see my name. Since we just finished the interview, the show hasn't been posted to the "Past Shows" page yet, but it should be up there in a day or two.

Doing an Internet interview was a way for me to ease into the live interview process before trying to break into the "big time" of on-air radio or even, horrors, TV! I asked Jeannette for feedback, so I can learn from the process and hopefully improve my "stage presence" for the next time.