Saturday, June 30, 2007

Seven Events in Eleven Days!

The end of June marks the end of my big promotion push during the first three months after the release of A REAL BASKET CASE in late March. After that, I will be involved in one to four promotion events per month versus per week. So, I wanted to end the month with a bang! During July, I'll be vacationing with my family, so be forewarned--I won't be blogging much.

My seven events in the last eleven days of June started with a panel appearance at the Louisville, CO library on the evening of Wednesday, June 20th. I and three other mystery authors talked about our books, characters, careers, and writing styles, then chatted with the patrons and signed books. On Friday, I had a lovely visit with the Teen Writing Group at the Rockrimmon branch of the Pikes Peak Library to teach them how to write query letters. I sat in on their critique group afterward and was impressed by the talent exhibited by these young writers.

Saturday, June 23rd, I had back-to-back signings at Murder By the Book in South Denver and the Tattered Cover Bookstore in Highlands Ranch. The first event was a proxy signing for Elaine Viets, a mystery writer who is recovering from a stroke. Since as a result, Elaine was unable to tour for her new release, panels of mystery authors around the country are promoting her books as well as our own. This is a great example of the camaraderie of the mystery-writing community! The second event was four of the "Five Stars from Five Star" discussing and signing our mystery and romance books.

On Sunday, I served on a promotion panel with Lise Fuller and Karin Huxman for the local chapter of RWA called Pikes Peak Romance Writers. We had a tough time cramming in a discussion in one hour of all the ways authors can promote themselves these days on-line, in traditional media, and in person at conferences, signings/readings, book clubs, and library events.

Thursday, the 28th, I had a signing on the covered porch of Hamlet's Bookshoppe in Breckenridge, CO. A brief thundershower with high winds played havoc with the books and fliers on my table during part of the event, but being outside where I could greet the tourists strolling by on the sidewalk was where I needed to be. Then last night, I finished off the month with a signing at Poor Richard's Bookstore in downtown Colorado Springs. Of course, I couldn't resist buying a few books of my own there. They are a great source for used short story collections, which I love.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Colorado Springs Gazette Article and Internet Interview Available for Listening

Today the Colorado Springs Gazette newspaper finally published in the Life section Bill Reed's article on interviews about the writing business that he conducted at the Pikes Peak Writers Conference in April. I'm featured along with agent Kristin Nelson, editor Steve Saffel, and author Robert Crais. I'm honored to be in such a group! As VP of Pikes Peak Writers, my hope is that the article will encourage local writers who are not yet members to join the group and experience the benefits of our programs.

Also back in April, I did an Internet radio interview with Jeannette Cezanne on her World of Publishing show on the World Wide Artist Internet broadcasting site. It took awhile for the recording to be put on their archive, so it would be available for folks to listen to after the fact. I don't know how long it's been there, but I just ran across it today.

To listen, go to and click on "Track 7/Live Recording" that's labeled "Beth Groundwater." Probably because the interview was conducted by telephone, my voice is softer than the interviewer's, so you may need to turn up the sound on your computer. Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A REAL BASKET CASE in over 200 Library Systems!

There are two ways authors use to check the availability of their books in library systems nationwide. First is, the nationwide interlibrary loan system. Second is, the California interlibrary loan system, that also reports the book's availability in "worldwide" library systems. Neither system lists ALL the libraries in the USA or the world, but you can get a feel for your book's availability from them.

Worldcat lists 177 library systems that have 1-12 copies of A REAL BASKET CASE, and Calcat lists 221 library systems. So, I'm going to take a rough average of the two and assume I've crossed the threshold of 200 library systems. Time to celebrate! (I'll use any excuse to eat chocolate.)

I'm trying to make sure at least one copy of my book is in all 50 states and I have 4 to go: Hawaii, Mississippi, North Dakota, and Vermont. If you live in one of those states, please request my book at your library, then let me know the name of the library by clicking on "Contact Me" at my website, . If the book is already in your library, let me know that, too, so I can cross the state off my list. My next goal will be all the provinces in Canada!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Author Sleepover Party

Last weekend was a lot of fun! The "Mystery Through the Ages" panel had two signings in southern Colorado in Pueblo on Saturday and in Colorado Springs on Sunday. Since my co-panelists Mike Befeler, Linda Berry, and Pat Stoltey all live in northern Colorado, I invited them to spend the night at my house between the two events. After the event at the Pueblo Barnes & Noble store, we drank the wines that Linda and Pat brought while chatting on my deck, ate a Chinese take-out dinner, then watched L.A. Confidential on my big-screen TV. Sunday morning, we ate a blueberry pancake breakfast then took a stroll through the Garden of the Gods park before heading to the Southgate shopping mall for lunch and our signing at the Borders store. The highlight was spotting some bighorn sheep in the Garden of the Gods.

The signings weren't terrific, just a few sales for each of us, but we enjoyed talking to customers and left signed stock on the shelves at both stores. And, we had a great time bonding with each other, discussing this funny business of writing and promoting books.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Murder in the Grove

I spent this past weekend with Robert Crais in Boise, ID -- along with over a hundred other mystery writers and fans. :) T.L. Cooper and her committee really know how to put on a conference. As far as I could tell, every aspect of the event worked like a well-oiled machine.

Highlights included: Getting to know my roommate, Sunny Frazier, and liking her even more. Chatting with Bruce Cook and Robert Fate about Capital Crime Press at the Barnes & Noble mass book signing Friday evening. Hearing the tales from Bruce Cook, Robert Fate, Ken Sherman, Gammy Singer, and Robert Crais about what a messed-up place Hollywood is. Sharing with my panel-mates, Sunny Frazier, Ken Kuhlken, Conda Douglas, and Michelle Winkler, our love of the short story form. Catching up with L.C. Hayden, Honora Finkelstein, and Susan Smily again and swapping road tales. Laughing uproariously at the hilarious stories told by my table mates after the final reception. Sampling Basque food with our gracious local hostess, Joanne Pence. Meeting some new writer friends--both published and unpublished, and strolling the picturesque streets of Boise's downtown.

To top it all off, I volunteered to be bumped from my flight home in exchange for a free round-trip airline ticket. (We authors who have yet to make the NYT bestseller list need to save $ any way we can!) I only arrived home two and a half hours later than originally scheduled. Today, it's back to the butt-in-the-chair routine in front of the computer. Many thanks to whichever Murder in the Grove attendees are responsible for the bump in the Amazon rank of my book, A REAL BASKET CASE, today!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

A Library Book Club and Signing in One Day

Last Saturday, I crammed two events into one day. First I lunched with the "Tainted Tea and Titles" mystery book club affiliated with the Lake George, CO library then held a lively discussion at the library itself. These women were the most inquisitive and delightful group I've talked to so far. The questions came so fast & furious that I never had to wonder what I should say next. I only wish I could have spent more time with them.

But, I had to skedaddle at 2 PM to drive to Manitou Springs, CO for a 3 PM book signing at Black Cat Books. We billed it as a "Wine and Cheese" signing, because the store has a wine bar, and the Manitou Springs wine festival was held in a park a few blocks away that day. I brought crackers and cheese, and the store provided fruit. My husband joined me there to hand out fliers to passers-by and encourage them to come inside the bookstore and "meet the local author." A few friends dropped by and bought books, and I managed to entice a few tipsy wine festival goers to buy copies also. All-in-all a very enjoyable and successful day.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET goes to the publisher

On Friday, I emailed the manuscript for the sequel to A REAL BASKET CASE to John Helfers, the acquisition editor at Tekno Books for Five Star Publishing. In the sequel, TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET, which takes place a couple of months after the first book, Claire, her husband and daughter go on a ski vacation in Breckenridge, where her daughter's boyfriend's sister is murdered on the slope. Claire's friends don't appear in the second book, but Leon makes a repeat appearance. I love writing Leon, so he HAD to come up and give Claire some advice. :)

It will take quite some time for the manuscript to wind its way through the publishing process, but once I know a publication date, I'll let the world know!