Mystery author Beth Groundwater writes the Claire Hanover gift basket designer series (A REAL BASKET CASE, 2007 Best First Novel Agatha Award finalist, TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET, 2009, and A BASKET OF TROUBLE, 2013) and the RM Outdoor Adventures series starring river ranger Mandy Tanner (DEADLY CURRENTS, 2011, an Amazon bestseller, WICKED EDDIES, 2012, finalist for the Rocky Award, and FATAL DESCENT, 2013). Beth lives in Colorado, enjoys its outdoor activities, and loves talking to book clubs.
Friday, December 26, 2008
My Holiday Story is Available for FREE Download!
Monday, December 22, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
A Rolicking Good Time at Adams Mystery Playhouse!
Thursday evening, my hubby and I joined 28 other stalwart sleuths from the Rocky Mountain chapter of Mystery Writers of America for our holiday party at the Adams Mystery Playhouse, complete with dinner and a mystery play (http://www.adamsmysteryplayhouse.com/). The play was "Death for Dinner." It included a police detective who sounded like a cross between Borat and Inspector Clouseau and who had the audience in stitches with his impromptu asides. Our table was one of three who correctly identified the killer at the end of the evening, so I'm feeling pretty smug.
The whole mystery dinner theater event was a heck of a lot of fun, complete with a conga line and audience members brought up on the stage to dance with the actors. I laughed until my sides hurt, and laughter is indeed the best medicine for whatever ails you. Suspense and romance author Colleen Collins made a great strumpet suspect, mystery author Christine Goff was making sure not to get her fingerprints on the evidence, and mystery short story author R.T. Lawton's lap got a lot of use. A good time was had by all! Now I'm off to shop for some of that blood-red vodka the bartender was mixing drinks with...
Friday, December 05, 2008
Guest Blogger Jean Henry Mead!!
As I promised in my last blog entry, Jean Henry Mead is my guest all day tomorrow, and she will be ready to answer any questions you post to my blog during the day. Remember that if you post a comment or question to my blog, you are automatically entered into a drawing for three signed copies of A Village Shattered. To get you stimulated, here's an interview with Dana Logan, one of the two sleuths featured in A Village Shattered.
Dana Logan, why do you think the author made you the main character?
Probably because I’m the most like her: tall, stubborn, eccentric and impatient. Novelists deny that they pattern their characters after themselves or people they know, but even if it’s only subconscious, it’s bound to happen. Who else do they know as well as themselves? Or friends and family members?
Other characters in the novel say that you look like the actress Gina Davis and that your friend Sarah resembles Shelley Winters. How do you feel about that?
Gina Davis happens to be one of my favorite actresses. And I’m glad the author also likes her. In the unlikely event they make a film about my life, I’d like Gina to play my role. But that’s never going to happen. Sarah and I have a real knack for getting involved in murder cases. Sarah always wanted to be a private investigator because she typed reports for her late husband, who was a PI. That’s how we got into this serial murder case, and it has nothing to do with the way we look.
Couldn’t you have just said NO! when your friend asked you to help her solve the first murder of your club member?
And let Sarah wonder around in the San Joaquin Valley fog all by herself? Not on your life! The killer is watching all of us and might even be a Sew and So club member. That’s who’s getting killed. Our friends all belong to the club and we discovered that the killer stole our membership roster and is killing our members alphabetically. First it was Alice, then Betty and Candice. My first name begins with a D so I may be next on the killer’s list, although there’s a member named Carole, so she could be the next victim. That’s why we have to discover who the murderer is, before he or she strikes again.
But what about the sheriff and his deputies?
Sheriff Grayson was recently elected and his only law enforcement experience was training police dogs. Some say he’s trying to run his department like a kennel , and half his staff resigned when he took office. Now maybe you understand why Sarah and I have to put our crime solving skills to work in order to save our lives.
What crime solving skills?
Sarah understudied her husband for years and knows the private investigating business thoroughly. And I have a large library of mystery and crime novels that I read at a rate of three a week. So we’re well aware of how law enforcement operates.
But doesn’t the sheriff object that you’re trying to do his job, and risking your lives in the process?
Of course he does, but would you cringe in a corner if you knew a killer were stalking you? Sarah and I may have recently joined the ranks of senior citizens but we’re a long way from being attached to rocking chairs. We’re quite capable of defending ourselves and sifting through clues to determine the killer.
I’ve heard that Sheriff Grayson has a crush on you? Do you think that’s why he’s giving you preferential treatment?
I’m aware of his infatuation but he’s a recently divorced man so I’m not taking his attentions seriously. And I would hardly call it preferential treatment when he takes Sarah and me down to police headquarters for exhaustive questioning. He even made us go to the morgue to identify a body he thought was our neighbor Harold Samuels. Sarah’s blood pressure skyrocketed and it didn’t do mine any good.
Who do you think is killing your friends?
I’m not sure. Sarah insists that it’s Harold Samuels, a sixtyish neighbor whose eyesight rivals Mr. Magoo. He disappeared the night that we had him over for dinner. Sarah put some cloral hydrate in his drink so we both feel responsible for his disappearance. Betty Wilson’s husband Pat is a likely candidate. He got rid of all his wife’s things, except for heirloom silverware and her jewelry within hours after her body was found. And everyone knows he’s a womanizer. There are other suspects as well.
Dana sure has whetted my appetite for this novel! Here are some links if you want more information:
Jean's blog tour schedule can be found at: http://myblogtour.blogspot.com/
Her website is: http://jeanhenrymead.com/
The print copy of Jean's book just went up at Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/5alkkr
The multi format edition is currently number one at Fictionwise-ePress-Online: http://tinyurl.com/6rdzm5
Monday, December 01, 2008
My First Guest Visits on Saturday
I will be hosting my first guest on this blog on Saturday, December 6th, and I hope folks will stop by and read the blog and comment on it. My guest will be Jean Henry Mead, who writes senior sleuth mysteries and western historical novels. She's a former award-winning photojournalist and magazine and small press editor as well as a news reporter/editor. The book that will be featured in this blog visit is A Village Shattered, the first novel in her Logan & Cafferty series. It will be followed by Diary of Murder next spring. The third series book, Dying Laughing, Jean's fifteenth book, will be released during the fall of 2009.
Jean's visit to my blog is part of her two week blog tour promoting the release of A Village Shattered. Jean promises that everyone who leaves a comment at any of the host blog sites will be eligible for the drawing for three signed copies of A Village Shattered, a senior sleuth novel featuring Dana Logan and Sarah Cafferty, who set out to solve the serial killings of their friends. Dana's beautiful daughter is nearly killed in the process. And I will have the privilege of interviewing Dana on Saturday! This should be a lot of fun.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
A Late Fall Newsletter and Website Updates
Also, we've been working on my October/November email newsletter. We've added all the new subscribers' email addresses and tested the links, so it should be sent out this evening. If you think you are on my subscriber list and don't see an email newsletter in your inbox by Monday, please sign up again on the Newsletter page of my website. My old newsletter service, Zinester, seems to have been blocked by some email providers, and those bounced addresses were deleted from my subscriber list. I'm now using Vertical Response, which seems to have much better luck getting through.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
"Biscuit Connection" on Sniplits
I've listened to the story myself and I'm very pleased with the job the male voice actor did with the character's voices and their emotions. Sniplits also has another story of mine on their website, "Covered Dish Casseroles," available for the same low price and read by a very skillful female voice actress. If you click on "Authors" at the website, then on my name, you'll see both stories listed.
The website includes a wide variety of high-quality short fiction in many genres read by trained voice talent. I've listened to quite a few myself and have really enjoyed them. I hope you enjoy the site!
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Making a Splash Down Under
Friday, November 14, 2008
A Writer's Week
- Contacted a bookstore to determine the status of my payment for consignment books, then deposited the check when it arrived,
- Mailed a copy of A Real Basket Case to a Japanese publisher interested evaluating it for publication in Japan,
- Participated in a 20-author library signing event,
- Attended a meeting of the local MWA chapter,
- Wrote the minutes for the local Sisters in Crime board meeting, mailed them out, and sent out an invitation to the members for our December tea,
- Went to my own book club meeting and discussed The Yiddish Policeman's Union,
- Had coffee with a new writer starting on his first novel-length manuscript to offer advice and encouragement and gave advice to another writer on novella markets,
- Made plans to host a fellow author on my blog next month and to host a discussion in a Facebook group next week,
- Started a list of revisions to my author website for my hubby to implement next week,
- Reviewed a second edit of my science fiction novella, The Epsilon Eridani Alternative, and returned my comments and revisions to the editor at Virtual Tales,
- Kept up with my email loops, social networks, and this, my blog, and
- Prepared a talk I will give tomorrow to the local chapter of Pen Women about "Networking Your Way to Success in the Creative Arts."
The only new fiction I wrote this week was one paragraph of new text for the novella. Gotta do better next week!
Saturday, November 08, 2008
Story sale to Sniplits.com
Sniplits publishes audio short stories as DRM-free MP3 files - and offers a paying market for new and established authors. Stories range from under a minute to about an hour in most genres, and they're very affordable, in the price range of music downloads, which are much shorter. My "Covered Dish Casseroles" story is available for only 88 cents. A Sniplits membership is free, and members receive a free story each week. Check it out at http://www.sniplits.com !
Monday, November 03, 2008
Two Signings Coming Up
For details, go to:
The second event is on Sunday, November 9th, from 2 - 4 PM at the Koelbel Library, Arapahoe Library District, 5955 S. Holly, Centennial, CO. For their Author Open House in conjunction with their "Inside the Book: Where Readers and Writers Meet" event, twenty Colorado authors will gather to discuss and sign their books for library patrons. Attending authors will include me, Christine Goff, Joanne Greenburg, Clinton McKinzie, Sybil Downing, and Robert Greer and many others I'm looking forward to seeing. Please stop by and chat with the authors and join the fun! I'd love to see some of my Colorado readers and friends.
For details, go to:
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Cover Art for TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET
Yesterday I received the cover art for my May, 2009 release, TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET. It's gorgeous and just what I envisioned when I sent directions to the art department. In the first scene of the book, there's an accident on a Breckenridge, CO ski slope, and Claire has to position her skis in an X on the slope to show the ski patrol where the victim is. The colors are breathtaking and give you a chill. I love how the artist "tied" it in with the gift bow theme of the first book, A REAL BASKET CASE. I'm pleased as punch with this beautiful cover and would love to receive comments on it. What do you think?
Comment, you ask? Didn't I used to have comments turned off on this blog? Yes, I did, because I didn't want to have spam or porn appear and I wasn't sure I wanted to check all comments. I've finally decided to turn on comments, with checking, for awhile and we'll see how it goes!
Monday, October 27, 2008
Author of the Week
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
I'm in Wikipedia!
Then today, I Googled my name and book title to check which online vendors were still offering it for sale, and voila, a couple of Wikipedia references were listed! I went to both pages and read them and was very impressed by the professional job the Wikipedia editor did in creating them. They were both created on October 18, so they're brand-spanking new, and must have been created in response to my request. I want to offer my deep appreciation to that Wikipedia editor and encourage my blog readers to check out the links below:
Thursday, October 16, 2008
More Novella Work
I'm also busy this week making final preparations for a joint Pikes Peak Writers and Pikes Peak Romance Writers workshop this Saturday. Debra Dixon is flying in to teach us all about "Goal, Motivation, and Colflict" from her book of the same name. This should be a good one!
Monday, October 06, 2008
Book Promotion Ideas
There are lots of ways to use the Internet to promote books, as evidenced by this EONS Meet the Authors event! You can choose a few social networks that are likely to contain your reader population and join them and join the relevant groups in them, start making comments in those groups, and start inviting people to be your friends. I joined Eons, because people who read cozy mysteries also tend, by and large, to be older and to be female. I also joined the ning group "Crimespace" since I write mysteries, and Facebook (tends to have older members than MySpace) and Goodreads (a book discussion network).
You can also search for topics related to your book in yahoogroups and join groups containing folks you think might be interested in your book. I'm a member of three or four mystery-reading yahoogroups and try to contribute to the discussions every now and then, so when I have an announcement to make about a book release or some such, the members already know who I am. Also, find online ezines in your genre and contribute stories or articles and ask to be interviewed. And, if they have book reviewers, ask if you can send a copy of your book to them to be reviewed. You can also ask to be a guest on blogs written by authors in your genre.
For in-person event possibilities, I suggest contacting local libraries to arrange talks with their book clubs or writer groups or to participate in their local author days, if they have them. And, find nearby fan conferences for your genre and talk to the program chair about getting on one of their author panels. For instance, in the mystery genre, there's Bouchercon, Left Coast Crime, Malice Domestic, and the Mayhem in the Midlands conferences, to name a few. The science fiction/fantasy genre has World-Con, Mile-Hi Con, and lots of others, the romance genre has the Romantic Times convention, etc. You can often save costs by finding a conference within driving distance then carpool with another attendee, and share a hotel room with another attendee.
Saturday, October 04, 2008
Meme: I've been tagged!
1. My TBR pile includes lots of mysteries, but also some literary, women's fiction, romance, and short story anthology books.
2. I'm in a book club that meets monthly to drink wine, eat dessert, gossip, and discuss that month's book.
3. I took a speed-reading class in elementary school, so I can read pretty fast.
4. My favorite children's picture book is Possum Come A Knockin'. My kids tired of it long before I did. It's hilarious!
5. I suck at writing book reviews, so I don't do them, and having to write a back cover blurb for someone else makes me break out in a sweat.
6. I did indeed read Nancy Drew when I was young, but my favorite mystery writer in my teenage years was Edgar Allan Poe.
Here's my six taggees:
Mike Befeler http://mikebefeler.blogspot.com/
Judy Clemens at The Little Blog of Murder http://www.thelittleblogofmurder.com/
Elizabeth Zelvin, Sandra Parshall, and Lonnie Cruse, all at Poe's Deadly Daughters http://www.poesdeadlydaughters.blogspot.com/
Ann Parker at The Lady Killers http://theladykillers.typepad.com/the_lady_killers/
Here's the rules of the game:
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on the blog.
3. Write six random bookish things about yourself.
4. Tag sixish people at the end of your post.
5. Let each person know he or she has been tagged.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
An Author Event at EONS
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Two Events and a Trip
Then, on Saturday, I'll be traveling to Orlando, FL with my husband for a week to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. Needless to say, I won't be responding to emails next week! When I return, I expect to find an edited manuscript of my The Epsilon Eridani Alternative novella waiting for me, so I'll be plunging right back into work.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
An Interview on "Murder by 4"
She got me talking about my new book, TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET, that will be released in May, 2009, so stop by for a sneak preview!
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
A New Publishing Contract!
After basking in the glow of that contest placement, I began the very, very long process of trying to find a publisher for it. Novellas are a very difficult size of manuscript to get published, I soon discovered. 25,000 words was too long for most science fiction magazines, and it's too short to interest a traditional book publisher. After considerable research, though, I found a variety of print magazine, ezine, anthology, and traditional and electronic book publishers whose submittal guidelines matched the novella's genre and length. Almost all of them forbade simultaneous submissions, so that meant submitting to one publisher at a time and waiting months to hear from each one.
The rejections started piling up, then in 2006 an electronic publisher accepted the manuscript and said a contract would be on the way. I waited, and waited, and the contract never came. I sent emails and got no response. I called the editor, who said they'd get back to me, twice. Nothing. Finally I had to give up on that publisher and start submitting again. That publisher is still in business, so I don't know what happened to my manuscript. Maybe they changed their minds and decided not to publish The Epsilon Eridani Alternative, but I wish they'd come right out and told me. Anyway, after finally amassing nineteen rejections (yes, that acceptance became a rejection in my list), Virtual Tales accepted the manuscript and sent a contract, which I signed at the end of August.
After five long years, I will finally see The Epsilon Eridani Alternative published. I'm very excited and looking forward to working with the editor and other staff at Virtual Tales. Here's their website: http://virtualtales.com/
Thursday, September 04, 2008
A New Review for A REAL BASKET CASE
Monday, September 01, 2008
A Storm and Two Interviews
Next, I wanted to let everyone know about two interviews with me that have been posted online in the last few weeks. The first was conducted by Lorie Ham for her "No Name Cafe" over a year ago, and she finally posted it a month ago. I think Lorie had quite a backlog of interviews and was stringing out the posting of them, which was fine with me. She did post the review of A REAL BASKET CASE done by her reviewer, Cindy Chow, right away (look at the bottom of the page listing the reviews). Lorie got me talking about other genres I've tried to write besides mysteries, my favorite acceptance stories, themes in my writing, and advice to aspiring authors, among other topics. Reading over the interview, just about everything there is still timely and right on, except my children are a year older. Here's the link:
The second interview was posted last week on Suspense Magazine's website and was conducted by John Raab with me in July. He got me talking about my biggest inspiration, what kind of music I enjoy, and what I like to do for fun, among other topics. You'll probably be surprised by my answer to the question, "If you could solve any mystery for yourself, what would it be?" ;) Here's the link:
I hope you enjoy both interviews with me and will take a look at the other author interviews available at both websites.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Heading to the mountains--with manuscripts
I will have some fun up here, though, in between reading. There's hiking, shopping, eating out, and a rubber ducky race. Can't miss that!
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Living up to my Bio
"Beth Groundwater is SCUBA certified, learning tai chi, and has visited Machu Picchu, Angkor Wat, and the Galapagos Islands. visit Beth's website at www.bethgroundwater.com."
Not a single thing in this bio is true, except for my website address. It looks like I'll have to get cracking to live up to my bio! Now where's that tai chi video my husband ordered years ago...?
Here's what I sent:
"Beth Groundwater is not currently a biker, but learning to ride a motorcycle is on her "Things to Do Before I Die" list along with getting a SCUBA certificate, learning tai chi, and visiting Machu Picchu, Angkor Wat, and the Galapagos Islands. She has accomplished at least two things on her list, publish a poem (this one) and publish a novel. Her debut mystery, A REAL BASKET CASE, was released in March, 2007 to good reviews and was nominated for a 2007 Best First Novel Agatha Award. The large-print edition was released in January, 2008, and the sequel, TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET, will be released in May, 2009. Please visit Beth's website at www.bethgroundwater.com."
After looking at the photos of some of the other poets in the anthology and reading their bios, I think Joe didn't want to admit that one of the poems was written by a non-biker! My local writing friends have been offering rides and the use of leather jackets and other accesories for any signings I do in the area. I'm thinking I'll have to straddle a cycle one day soon, too. :)
Monday, August 18, 2008
My First TV Interview as an Author
I, however, was feeling a little frazzled after arriving late, because I spent 2.5 hours on the road to make what was supposed to be a 1.5 hour drive, due to rain, construction, and rush hour traffic. I made it through the interview with a minimum of sweat, though, and I'm anxious to get my DVD copy so I can analyze my performance. The interviewer emailed us our questions ahead of time, and I wrote out and rehearsed some answers. I didn't memorize them because I didn't want to sound wooden, but I ended up forgetting a few points I wanted to make.
The taping was interesting. There were two cameras, one looking over the interviewer's shoulder at me and one "long shot" camera that took in the whole view of the two of us sitting in our chairs. This camera was moved continuously back and forth along a track by the cameraman. After the interview was taped, they moved one of the cameras behind me to tape the interviewer asking the questions again, without me answering. The three types of shots will all be edited magically together afterward.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
And now for something completely different...
Like cowboy poetry, biker poetry seems to be a genre on the rise. The book traces the beginnings of biker poetry to a poetry throwdown of sorts on a farm in Colorado in 1975, attended by an assortment of bikers and hippies and a young Hunter S. Thompson. The contributors include the late Allen Ginsberg and Thom Gunn, Diane Wakoski, and a host of writers from the motorcycle press, including Dr. Martin Jack Rosenblum (Harley-Davidson Historian Emeritus), Susan Buck, and K. Peddlar Bridges. The book features photos by noted motorcycle photographer, Michael Lichter ("Choppers, Heavy Metal Art").
Working with JoeGo has been a hoot, and I can't wait to get my hands on my own author copies. The anthology is available at the website of the publisher, Archer Books: http://www.archer-books.com/ and on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Rubber-Side-Down-Biker-Anthology/dp/1931122199.
Friday, August 15, 2008
And A REAL BASKET CASE is back on sale!
Now, on to other news. This afternoon I'm driving up to Denver to be interviewed by a librarian for her Denver Cable Channel 8 television show called "Off the Page". The show airs in nine markets around the metro area. She interviews Colorado authors to promote authors, libraries and literacy around Denver and surrounding communities. We're taping the show this afternoon, and it will air at different times in September. Figuring out what to wear is a challenge! I'm going to try to get an airing schedule and ask a Denver friend to tape it for me.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
That was quick ;(
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
A REAL BASKET CASE on sale!
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
A Lovely Writers Retreat
I want to pass on my kudos to Chris Mandeville and all the volunteers who contributed to make the volunteer retreat a special experience. I had a great day playing with words with Sue Mitchell, turning my log line into a "high concept" pitch with Karen Lin, walking around Chris's peaceful neighborhood and getting a massage from the magic fingers of Barbara Spiller, dry-running a Character Toolbox workshop with co-presenter Chris (we hope to do it at PPW spring conference), and listening to some outstanding readings at the American Icon practice in "The Wretched Pun" pub. I left relaxed, renewed, and revved up (a motorcycle pun for those of you who were there) to write and write some more.
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Article in The Writer magazine
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
An Interview with Lorie Ham
Feel free to take a gander and find out why I love to write, my rejection and first sale experiences, and who my favorite bookstore signing greeter is.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Photos from Spain
The first photo is of our resort in Costa Mijas, and the second is of the beach nearby. The third photo shows my husband and me on the rock of Gibraltar. The fourth is of the Salvador Dali sculptures in Marbella. The fifth shows our day-tour group in Tangier. The sixth shows the old town of Malaga as viewed from the Alcazaba, and the seventh shows me inside the cathedral pictured in the sixth photo. The eighth photo shows us in one of the Palacio Nazaries in the Alhambra, and the last photo shows the gardens and summer palace of the Alhambra.
Photos from France
The first photo shows my husband and me on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice. The second is of my friend Veronique's home, and the third is of the port of Nice. The fourth shows the Russian Orthodox cathedral in Nice, and the fifth is of Villefranche. The sixth photo is of us eating socca, etc. in Old Town Nice. The seventh photo shows the village of St. Paul de Vence, and the eighth shows the village of Eze. The last photo is of the beach in Cannes.
Photos from England
The first photo is Hever Hotel, where we stayed, and the second is Hever Castle. The third and fourth photos are outside and inside shots of the Canterbury Cathedral. The fifth photo is the Spa Valley steam train. The sixth is Chiddingstone Castle, and the seventh is me sitting on the chiding stone. The last photo is of Penshurst Place.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
My 2008 Summer Europe Trip
Kent, England June 7 – 15
After a red-eye flight, we arrived in the early afternoon on June 8 at our studio room with a hot pot and small fridge in the Hever Hotel in Kent, England, which was constructed out of the farm stables and cottages supporting nearby Hever Castle, home of the beheaded wife of King Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn. From that base, we could walk to many nearby attractions: 2.5 miles west on our first full day to the town of Edenbridge to get tourist information and buy groceries and lug them back, 1 mile south to Hever Castle and its formal gardens, 2 miles east to the National Historic Trust village of Chiddingstone (named after the huge stone where nagging wives and doers of misdeeds were chided in public) and nearby Chiddingstone Castle, and 1 mile north to the Wheatsheaf Pub and its bus stop.
On one day we took the bus to the town of Royal Tunbridge Wells, where we rode the short Spa Valley Railroad steam train (along with a gaggle of preschoolers and parents on a field trip) to Groombridge Place and toured its gardens and enchanted forest before returning on the train to RTW and touring the Pantiles historic shopping district. Another day the bus took us to Penshurst Place, a 650 year old castle which has been owned by the Sidney family for 19 generations, one of whom founded Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia. Mid-week we shared the hire of a van and driver with three Canadian ladies to drive to Canterbury and tour its famous magnificent cathedral, the underground Roman Museum, and High Street.
Food was very expensive in England, with one British pound being worth about two American dollars, so we breakfasted in the room, packed sandwiches for lunch many days, and ate simple dinners mostly in pubs or the golf club bar behind the hotel. We were blessed with lovely weather, though. It only rained one night while we lay snug in bed and sprinkled some one day. The locals were exclaiming that this was the first week of summer weather they’d seen this year. We saw farm animals of all types on our journeys along the “footpaths”.
Nice, France June 15 – 21
After an early evening flight, we stayed with the family of Bruce Miton, the 17 year old boy we hosted for a few summer weeks two years ago when he was 15. We met Bruce’s mother, Veronique, and his younger sister, Lorraine, but not his father, who works during the week in Montpelier. Also, Bruce’s aunt, Genevieve, and her younger daughter, Mathilde, drove down from Orange, France to see us for the last three days we were there. We had hosted Mathilde’s older sister, Marion, in 2002, and Marion’s family had hosted my daughter in 2003. So, we had a big happy reunion and marveled at how the kids had grown.
After we did some laundry Monday, Veronique showed us the port of Nice and we hiked up Castle Hill to see its scenic views, parks, waterfall, church ruins, and war memorial, returning for a lovely guinea fowl dinner. Tuesday we toured the Russian Orthodox cathedral in town, drove up the coast to tour the seaside villages (and hang-outs of the rich and famous) of Villefranche, St. Jean Cap Ferrat, and Beaulieu, and walked around the cape. That evening we strolled around Old Town and ate authentic Nice dishes like socca (chick-pea crepes) at a sidewalk café and ice cream at Fenocchio’s. Wednesday, we drove inland to tour the Fondation Maeght modern art museum and walk the narrow, winding cobblestone streets of the historic hilltop villages of St. Paul de Vence and Eze.
Thursday, Veronique had to work, so Genevieve and her friend Daniella from Cannes took us on a tour of Cannes, complete with an afternoon at a lovely beach at the end of the bay and drinks at Daniella’s apartment. Neil and I took the family out to dinner that night in Villefranche. Friday, we toured the attractions on Cimiez hill: palaces built by the “white Russians” who fled when the Communists took over, a Franciscan church and garden, the ruins of a Roman amphitheater still being used for modern performances, the Matisse Museum and the Chagall Museum. After a huge late lunch including homemade goose liver pate to celebrate Genevieve’s birthday, Neil went to work on Veronique’s hot tub to get it functioning again. Then we strolled on the Promenade des Anglais and picked up some pizzas from the local pizza truck on the way home for dinner.
Malaga, Spain June 21 – 28
After a travel day of two Easy Jet flights and a rental car drive to Costa Mijas, we bought groceries and dined on pasta and mussels on the patio of our timeshare unit overlooking the outdoor restaurant and pool and polished off a bottle of tempranillo wine to celebrate our arrival. We spent a lazy Sunday by the pool and watched an evening Flamenco performance at the resort. On Monday we drove to the British colony of Gibraltar and toured the attractions in the Upper Rock Reserve: cable car to the observation deck on top, the wild Barbary Macaques (apes) troop, St. Michael’s cave, the Great Siege (1779-1783) tunnels, the lower World War II tunnels, and the 1333 Tower of Homage Islamic castle ruins, ending with a much-deserved ice cream and iced coffee break at a sidewalk café in town. On the way back, we stopped in Marbella and toured the Old Town, including the 1505 Church of Santa Maria de la Encamacion, and Avenida del Mar lined with Salvador Dali sculptures, then dined on Spanish tapas at La Teberna de Santiago.
On Tuesday we took an escorted tour to Tangier, Morocco, starting with a bus pickup at 6:30 AM. We drove to Algeciras and got on a high-speed ferry to Tangier, then took a bus tour with the requisite stops to ride a camel, see a cobra dancer, walk the Casbah and Old Town markets, get a carpet presentation (and buy a supposedly $1850 carpet for $400), and eat a couscous and lamb meatball lunch with a belly dancer for entertainment. After the ferry and bus ride back, we dined at the resort’s restaurant with an American family we met on the tour and listened to Spanish guitar music. We spent Wednesday at the nearby Cabopino beach and watched an evening parrot show from our balcony while dining on paella and wine.
Thursday we toured the sights of Malaga: the fourteenth century Castillo de Gibralfaro, the Alcazaba Muslim palace and gardens, the magnificent well-funded city cathedral begun in the sixteenth century and added onto for 200 years, and the Picasso Museum, finishing up with a tapas dinner at Gorki’s in the Old Town. In both France and Spain, they tended to eat lunch at 2 PM and dinner at 9 PM, so we followed suit while there.
Friday we drove to Grenada to spend seven hours touring the 13th/14th century Alhambra complex, including the gorgeous Moorish Palacio Nazaries, the lovely gardens with their intricate waterworks, the summer palace, the fortress, and the more modern Palacio de Carlos V, built in 1527. The temperature was over 100 degrees that day, and my feet were swollen by the time we finished. After driving back to Costa Mijas, we ate at an Italian restaurant where the rest of the clientele were all British tourists. And Saturday we flew home, falling into bed at midnight after being up for 23 hours straight. A wonderful trip overall!
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Mystery Muse is the blog section of the website for the Rocky Mountain chapter of the Mystery Writers of America, of which I am a member. Shortly before I left on my trip, I emailed a contribution to that blog to the website master. My contribution, titled "Answer to "How do I get published?"" was posted on July 5th. You can find it at:
I recommend the other member posts, too, especially "Plotting the Novel".
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Off to Europe
Monday, May 26, 2008
A Graduation Celebration
Friday, May 16, 2008
A Big Birthday for a Big Boy
Sunday, May 04, 2008
Sniplits -- An audio market for short fiction
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Malice Domestic XX Report--Part Two
The New Author's Breakfast was at 7:15 am Saturday morning, and I was there to support my fellow new Guppies and Five Star authors and listen to their pitches. It was nice not to have a give my own speech, since I'd done it last year--just as it was nice not to have to go through the unnerving Malice-Go-Round pitch session the day before. I sat in on the "Simply the Best" panel of nominees for the Best Novel category of the Agatha Award, then came my own panel of Best First Novel nominees, "New Kids on the Block." (See the first photo above.) Our moderator, Margaret Maron, obviously took a great deal of care to prepare for the panel. She made us all look so good! Then came my signing and the chance to talk to fans and sign their books What fun! I'm still new enough at this that I LOVE talking to people who have read and enjoyed my book.
Next was lunch with thirty-some Guppies at the Sbarro's restaurant in the Crystal City Underground. Lots of photos were snapped and stories were swapped. The afternoon was spent listening to the Ink in their Blood panel about reporter protagonists, chatting in the hallways, and listening to Robert Barnard's delightful interview with Lindsey Davis. I hadn't read any of her books before, but I'm definitely checking out the Falco series now! Fellow Five Star author Maria Hudgins let me change into my party dress in her room, then it was off to the banquet.
A crowd of paparazzi mobbed the four Guppies nominees and must have taken dozens of photos (see the second photo above). ;-) Poor Deb Baker. She gave all of us sitting at her table small dolls as favors, reminding us of her doll collecting series. One poor dolly ended up dangling by a ribbon noose from the table number sign. Demises of the others via water-glass-drowning, candle-burning and other nefarious means were discussed, but not executed. ;-) The anniversary speeches were all entertaining, but there were so many of them that by the time the Agatha Awards were announced, I was stifling yawns, not from boredom, but from sleep deprivation kicking in. I was glad to head back to my friends' home right afterward, pack up, and roll into bed.
Sunday kicked off with the Sisters in Crime breakfast at 7:30 am, followed by the Agatha Christie's Legacy panel where Denise Swanson kept the audience in stitches, some hallway chatting time, the Women Who Sleuth Too Much panel, and Robert Barnard's interview with Peter Lovesey. All too soon, it was time for the final tea. I had to quickly gobble down some food--making sure I got my chocolate covered strawberry and chocolate mousse in a teacup-shaped dark chocolate shell. Yum! Then I had to dash off to the airport, but I did get to see Liz Zelvin's lovely hat featuring a bobblehead figure of Edgar Allan Poe, a bat, and a red rose, that won the "Most Creative Hat" award in the hat contest. And, on the two plane rides and long layover in Chicago, I polished off Hank's PRIME TIME. A lovely way to end a lovely weekend!
Malice Domestic XX Report
The 2008 Malice Domestic conference was a special one for me, not just because it was the twentieth anniversary, but also because I was an Agatha Award nominee for Best First Novel. So, I basked in the glow of congratulations and praise until the end of the Saturday banquet. Then, when Hank Phillippi Ryan won, I could celebrate that a fellow Sisters in Crime Guppies chapter member had won--and I didn't have to give a speech. :-) I came home with some Guppies books: Hank's PRIME TIME and FACE TIME, both autographed, Liz Zelvin's DEATH WILL GET YOU SOBER, signed of course (Liz was my Malice-Go-Round pitch mate last year), and the MURDER NEW YORK STYLE anthology with signatures from five Guppies whose stories were included in the volume, including Liz's and Nan Higginson's Agatha Award-nominated stories. I'm looking forward to reading them all, and I expect that anthology to become a collector's item as the authors become big-name mystery authors!
To save money on this trip, I used frequent flyer miles, which meant connecting through Chicago's O'Hare airport versus flying direct, and I stayed at the home of friends in Arlington, VA. They received many of my conference bag books as a hostess gift. All four of my flights were delayed, resulting in me arriving at my friends' home at midnight on Friday and arriving at my home in Colorado Springs at midnight on Sunday. Thank goodness I didn't turn into a pumpkin either time! But, my butt was sure dragging yesterday.
I did get up in time on Friday to breakfast with some Mystery Babes at 8:30 am, and finally got to meet Pari Noskin Taichert in person after corresponding via email for years. I'd missed her at LCC the month before because she'd been sick and in her room a lot of the time. Then came the chores of registering, dropping off my silent auction gift basket, checking in consignment books with Tom & Enid Schantz of Rue Morgue (good thing, too, because they sold ten of them!), signing myself and my two escorts (fellow Five Star authors Mike Befeler and Michael Allen Mallory) up to sit at Deb Baker's banquet table, etc. After a quick granola bar and cup of tea lunch, I went off to the Sisters in Crime chapter training session from 1-3 pm. Being the only board member (I'm secretary) from the Rocky Mountain chapter in attendance, I was directed to take good notes. The session was very informative and lively, and I found it to be immensely useful. Plus, I got to meet chapter board members from all over the USA!
After resting with my feet up a bit and looking out for DorothyL and 4MA members, I headed for the Opening Ceremonies, where I received my suitable-for-framing nominee certificate. After a dinner of munchies from the reception, five of us Five Star authors headed to the Clarendon Barnes & Noble Booksellers store for a Malice Domestic conference kick-off signing (see photo above). We have a tale to tell about getting lost and finding every screwy and confusing street and intersection on the "short 8-minute drive" from the hotel to the store. We made it in the nick of time and quickly set up to start talking to customers. Too tired after that to stay awake for the Murder On the Air program, I returned to my friends' home to chat with them briefly then collapse on my bed. I was their "mystery guest" because I left every morning before they got up and returned late at night. I'll talk about Saturday and Sunday in my next post.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Top Ten Rules for Networking as a Writer blog
Monday, April 21, 2008
My dog is darn bored! She just left my writing office with a snort of disgust. I did take her out in the yard yesterday while I spread mulch and we'll go for a walk tomorrow, but I'm not very good company now--mostly sitting at the computer all day and reading Agatha Award nominee books at night. My husband gets home Wednesday evening from his travels, and I leave Thursday morning for Malice. We'll be like ships passing in the night!
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Beth Groundwater made me burn my dinner
"If you're looking for an example of a killer opening, I thought I'd share that Beth Groundwater's first chapter made me forget that I was cooking dinner tonight. True, I almost always have a book in my hand, much to my partner's chagrin, but I don't usually forget when it's my turn to cook ;)
As I begin to query agents I'm still questioning my opening scene, and always hear the advice "start at the last possible moment where your book can possibly begin." I think Beth's opening achieves this wonderfully. I haven't gotten too far in the book yet, so you better not disappoint me, Beth! "
There's nothing an author likes hearing better than "you kept me up at night" unless it's "you made me burn my dinner"! Thanks for the praise, fellow Guppy, and I hope I can return the favor when YOUR novel is published someday soon.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Article for Authors about Speaking at Libraries
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Upcoming "Meet the Faces Behind the Books" Program
Sunday, April 13 • 1-3 pm
Englewood Public Library, 1000 Englewood Parkway, Englewood, CO
Books by the featured authors will be available for purchase at the Library during the open house. Musical entertainment will be provided by harpist Susie Spangler. The event is free and open to the public. This looks like it'll be a lot of fun!
Participating authors include:
* Dave Auburn, The Adventures of Teddy the Curious Pelican
* CJ Backus, We Just Did
* Mike Befeler, Retirement Homes Are Murder
* Linda Berry, Death and the Family Tree
* Michael Booth, Guide to Best Family Films
* Ann Brandt, A Caregiver's Story
* Carolyn Brink, Class Acts
* Judy & Randy Brown, Faces in the Rocks
* Eugene Buchanan, Brothers on the Bashkaus
* Sharon Catlett, Farmlands, Forts and Country Life
* Richard Chapman, God Bless America
* Pat Covalt, What Smart Couples Know
* Michelle Dally, A Highly Placed Source
* Donna DeNomme, Turtle Wisdom
* John Dicke, Proof Evident
* Brad Edwards, Unearthing the Battle of Milk Creek
* Debra Fine, The Fine Art of the Big Talk
* Donna Gallup, Rock of Refuge
* Robert Greer, Mongoose Deception
* Beth Groundwater, A Real Basket Case
* Warren Hammond, Kop
* Lynda Hilburn, The Vampire Shrink
* Christine Jorgensen, Calling for a Funeral
* Mary Beth Lagerborg, Dwelling: Living Fully from the Space You Call Home
* Janet Lane, Tabor's Trinket
* Sharon Mann, Mother of Exiles
* Claudia McAdam, Maria's Mysterious Mission
* Carol McIntyre, Painting My Passion
* Tamra Monahan, Colorado's Best Bed and Breakfasts
* Icats Nitram, Willow May Goes to the Midnight Carnival
* Marjorie Parker, Mama’s Little Ducking
* Bruce Paton, Adventuring with Boldness
* Julie Pech, The Chocolate Therapist
* David Perry, It Happened in Rocky Mountain National Park
* Phyllis Perry, The Secrets of the Sea Chest
* Joey Porcelli, Take 30: the First Three Decades of the Denver International Film Festival
* Laura Resau, Red Glass
* Robert Root, The Non-fictionist's Guide: On Reading and Writing Creative Non-fiction
* Rebecca Rowe, Forbidden Cargo
* Sandra Sanchez, Three Novellas
* Linda Sandoval, Names I Call My Sister
* Mary Saracino, The Singing of Swans
* Adam Schrager, The Principled Politician
* Craig Sodaro, Make It Mystery An Anthology of Short Mystery Plays
* Irv Sternberg, No Laughing Matter
* Mark Stevens, Antler Dust
* Patricia Stoltey, The Prairie Grass Murders
* Jessica Swaim, The Hound from the Pound
* Carol Tombari, Power of the People
* Guillermo (Bill) Vidal, Boxing for Cuba
* Eva Watt, Papa's Girl
* Mimi Wilson, Once-a-Month Cooking
* Elizabeth & Eric Zimmer, The Turtle and the Deep Blue Sky
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Upcoming Mountain of Authors Program
The free program will be held from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Saturday, April 12 at the East Library, 5550 N. Union Blvd, Colorado Springs, CO. No registration is required. This event will inspire new and established writers, and offer book fans a chance to meet and discuss their favorite titles with local authors. Panel discussions will be offered by nonfiction, fiction, children’s and teen authors. A free lunch and booksigning will also be held at the event.
10 - 11 a.m. Nonfiction Author Panel (moderated by Tim Blevins)
Beth Barrett, Marcia Ford, Karen Scalf Linamen, John Stansfield
11:15 a.m. -12:15 p.m. Fiction Author Panel (moderated by Kirk Farber)
Kevin Anderson, Kacy Barnett-Gramckow, Beth Groundwater, Rebecca Moesta, Robert Spiller
12:15 -1:30 p.m. Lunch (food will be provided)
1:30 - 2:30 p.m. Children’s/Teen Author Panel (moderated by Karin Huxman)
Mary Peace Finley, Donita Paul, Katherine Pebley O’Neal
2:30 - 3:30 p.m. Author Showcase: meet authors from the Pikes Peak region, and purchase your favorite author’s books. Showcase authors include Deb Stover and Kathy Brandt.
The Pikes Peak Poet Laureate cocktail reception will follow the program. Hey, a free day with free food and lots of authors, what could be better!
Monday, April 07, 2008
Local Newspaper Coverage, Part Two
Thursday, April 03, 2008
Local Newspaper Coverage
"Kudos are in order for two local authors recently notified of prestigious honors:
* Gary Schanbacher, author of the widely praised story collection Migration Patterns, from Fulcrum, has received an honorable mention in this year's Hemingway Foundation/PEN awards. Rocky critic Joan Hinkemeyer wrote of Migration: "Schanbacher's unflinching prose is also lyrical. With the accuracy of a laser, it lays bare the deepest emotions of the human heart."
* Beth Groundwater's mystery, A Real Basket Case, has been nominated for best first novel for the Agatha Awards. If she wins, she'll be in the company of prestigious past winners including Nevada Barr and Elizabeth George. Winners will be announced April 26.---
Also, the Colorado Springs newspaper, the Gazette, will be running a feature article on me and the Agatha nomination in their Life section on Monday, April 7th. A photographer came out to the house to take my photo and I met with feature writer Bill Reed this Monday. I gave him waaay more information than he needs for an article, so I'm curious what he decides to write about.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
A Ski Vacation Reward for Compiling Tax Info
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Social Networking Website Contacts
The meeting was a lively chat about how to get the most out of writing conferences, and boy, were my typing fingers sore by the end of the hour. The first photo is of my avatar (in the yellow skirt) chatting with Cybergrrl Oh about how to get up to the third tier of the clubhouse prior to the meeting. The second photo was taken during the meeting while my typing fingers were flying. To read a transcript of the whole meeting, go to: http://slwritersclub.blogspot.com/ .
The second contact was an telephone interview with CommunityGal from the Eons social networking website ( http://www.eons.com/ ). We discussed my Top Ten Rules for Networking as a Writer and my writing career. CommunityGal will transcribe the interview and post it on the site in the next week or two. If you’re an Eons member, my Eons name is AuthorBeth and I’m an active participant in a number of groups. Send me a friend request! I’m also a member of the Facebook, Crimespace, and GoodReads social networks, so if you’re involved with any of those, look up my name and send me a friend request there, too.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Left Coast Crime Hawaiian Costume
Here I am in my mu'umu'u for the Hawaiian costume contest at the Left Coast Crime banquet. I had crepe paper tropical fish and parrots hanging from my shawl and carried a crepe paper tropical drink. Thanks to Catherine Leonard Dilts for the photo!
Monday, March 10, 2008
Left Coast Crime Report - Part 2
Friday, after giving my spiel at the New Author Breakfast, I spent most of the morning setting up the RMSinC hospitality suite and serving my shift. I did catch the "Killing with Kindness: Traditional Mysteries" panel with fellow Five Star author, Barbara Graham. After a quick, much-needed nap, I caught Mike Befeler's group in the "Endless Conversation" room, then did my stint with my "Three Men and a Babe" group, including Steve Hockensmith, Mike Sherer, and Roger Sobin. Because of Roger's THE ESSENTIAL MYSTERY LISTS book, we ended up talking a lot about the different awards and how they are determined. I said I hope the book goes into many future editions, so I'll be included for my Agatha Award nomination!
After helping to break-down the hospitality suite for the day, I joined R.T. Lawton at his table in the Tower Exhibit Area where he was fielding calls from teams of cougars in his Surveillance Workshop who had lost their rabbits and wanted to know where to find them. I could commiserate because I'd been a cougar myself during a past version of R.T.'s workshop. The debrief from the teams of cougars and the wily rabbits during the MWA cocktail party was a howl--especially rabbit Twist Phelan's story about being accused of shoplifting when she was changing clothes to escape her cougar team. After socializing at the cocktail party, a wall of fatigue smacked me in the face, so I crawled into bed with a book and fell asleep early.
Good thing, because Saturday was a full day! I met with the panel I was moderating over breakfast, set up the hospitality suite, then sprinted to my 8:30 AM panel, "What's age got to do with it?" with Mike Befeler, Parnell Hall, Patricia Stoltey, and Simon Woods. Any panel with Parnell has got to be fun, and this was no exception, but I think the rest of us held our own and threw out some of our own zingers. After my signing time slot, I chatted with Roberta Isleib and Donna Andrews from the National SinC board about the new SinC Books in Print policy and how chapters might communicate better with each other and national. I found them to be very receptive to ideas and I enjoyed the time I spent with them. Then I caught the "What's not to like?" panel with Gwen Shuster-Haynes, JoAnna Carl, Carolyn Hart, Nancy Pickard, and Elaine Viets, and found nothing to dislike about it.
Saturday lunch was a stroll down the
Sunday morning, I enticed breakfast participants to come to my morning panel with offers of free leftover chocolates from the hospitality suite. I moderated Ellen Crosby, Michael Allen Dymmoch, and Margaret Tessler in the "Beyond Agatha Christie: Movements in the Traditional Mystery" panel, a wonderful group of interesting women. After that was a flurry of checking out, saying goodbyes, collecting unsold books, carting stuff to the car, meeting up with Jan, and driving home to
Many, many thanks and congratulations to conference chairs Christine Goff and Suzanne Proulx and their hard-working team of volunteers for putting on a really good show!
Left Coast Crime Report - Part 1
Wednesday, Deni and I drove up to Denver from Colorado Springs in the morning to arrive in time for a noon - 2 PM LCC preview signing at the Barnes & Noble store on the 16th Street Mall with seven authors from Five Star participating. We had a great time chatting with each other and selling books, and the store left an end cap up for us during the conference. It worked, because on Saturday when I stopped by to check, the four copies I had signed were all sold, so I signed four more. After checking in to the hotel with my roommate Pat Stoltey, Mike Befeler helped me cart all the food up to my room and we headed out to dinner with twenty other 4MA members at the Appaloosa Grill. I enjoyed matching faces to names, and I made plans with Jan Long, who needed a ride back down to CO Springs, to take her with me.
Thursday morning, I took Tiffany Schofield, the author representative and acquisition editor for Five Star, shopping for party supplies for our Five Star "meeting" that evening, then chatted with Ron & Nina Else of Who Else Books and Tom & Enid Schantz of Rue Morgue while checking books in with them. I caught the Sidekicks panel with fellow Five Star author Maria Hudgins, but missed the next set of panels while trying to straighten out some issues with the hotel about the hospitality suite. The "Dying Is Easy, Comedy Is Hard" panel with friend, Mario Acevedo, was a hoot, as I knew it would be.
Thursday evening, I joined a group of about 30 led by the Elses to dine on fried chicken and mashed potatoes at the Denver Press Club. At 9, the Five Star party began, with drinks and snacks and a Q&A session with Deni and Tiffany answering questions from the 20+ Five Star authors in attendance. A contingent of 4 romance authors who joined us needed detailed directions via cell phone to locate the room in the world's most confusing hotel, but the intrepid explorers eventually found us. There were goodie bags for all of us, and again, I enjoyed matching names to faces. Pat and I stumbled back to the room after 11 PM.
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
A Weekend with Jeffery Deaver
Jeffery Deaver arrived in Colorado Springs on Friday to conduct a workshop and give a dinner presentation the next day to Pikes Peak Writers. As Vice President of Programs for PPW, I and the Workshops Director dined with Jeffery Deaver on Friday evening. We showed him what rooms in the hotel would be used for the workshop and dinner and went over the next day's schedule, but the rest of the evening was pure entertainment.
He's a very interesting conversationalist--and person, and obviously highly intelligent. Thoroughly charming! He even bought me a drink and toasted my Agatha Award nomination (he who has been nominated for six Edgar Awards). The time just flew by, and we didn't realize how late we were keeping him. I also discovered that we two have some common friends/acquaintances in the software engineering community. And he graciously signed my copy of the The Blue Nowhere.
The next day was the Writing Workshop in the afternoon, followed by "An Evening with Jeffery Deaver". I was busy running errands and making behind-the-scenes arrangements a lot of the day, but I did get to hear his workshop presentation and dinner speech. I thought I did a lot of outlining work before I write a novel (3-4 months worth), but he works about 8 months to generate a 150 or so page outline before writing his novels. Of course, they are MUCH more intricately and brilliantly plotted than mine! Jeffery was very gracious about spending time with attendees during the breaks, at the bar, and at the signing after the dinner. We couldn't have asked for a better speaker and really appreciate his visit. I now have his Twisted short story collection on my TBR pile.
Today I'm prepping for the Left Coast Crime conference this coming weekend, and I hope to blog about it after my return.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Agatha Award Nomination for Best First Novel
2007 Agatha Awards Nominees Announced
Malice Domestic has announced the nominees for the 2007 Agatha Awards. Agathas will be given in the categories of Best Novel, Best First Novel, Best Short Story, Best Non-Fiction and Best Children’s/Young Adult Novel. The awards will be presented at the Malice Domestic XX convention during the Agatha Awards Banquet on April 26, 2008.
Malice Domestic XX Agatha Nominees:
The Penguin Who Knew Too Much, by Donna Andrews (St. Martin's Minotaur)
Her Royal Spyness, by Rhys Bowen (Penguin Group)
Hard Row, by Margaret Maron (Grand Central Publishing)
A Fatal Grace, by Louise Penny (St. Martin's Minotaur)
Murder With Reservations, by Elaine Viets (NAL)
Best First Novel
A Beautiful Blue Death, by Charles Finch (St. Martin's Minotaur)
A Real Basket Case, by Beth Groundwater (Five Star)
Silent In The Grave, by Deanna Raybourn (Mira)
Prime Time, by Hank Phillipi Ryan (Harlequin)
Arthur Conan Doyle: A Life In Letters, by Charles Foley, Jon Lellenberg and Daniel Stashower (Penguin Press)
The Official Nancy Drew Handbook, by Penny Warner (Quirck Productions)
Best Short Story
"A Rat's Tale", by Donna Andrews (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Sept/Oct, 2007)
"Please Watch Your Step", by Rhys Bowen (The Strand, Spring, 2007)
"Casino Gamble", by Nan Higginson (Murder New York Style, L & L Dreamspell)
"Popping Round To The Post", by Peter Lovesey (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, November, 2007)
"Death Will Clean Your Closet", by Elizabeth Zelvin (Murder New York Style, L & L Dreamspell)
Best Children's/Young Adult
A Light In The Cellar, by Sarah Masters Buckey (American Girl)
Bravo Zulu, Samantha!, by Kathleen Benner Duble (Peachtree Publishers)
Cover-Up: Mystery At The Super Bowl, by John Feinstein (Knopf [Random House])
The Falconer's Knot, by Mary Hoffman (Bloomsbury USA Childrens' Books)
Theodosia And The Serpents Of Chaos, by R.L. LaFevers (Houghton Mifflin)
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
A Golden Skiing Trip
After two full days of skiing in Breckenridge and Vail, I drove down to Golden, CO on Saturday for a visit with the Mount Lookout Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The event was their annual fundraiser tea for the Golden Pioneer Museum, and I was their speaker. The chapter members had put together quite a few lovely gift baskets for their silent auction, which was a fitting accompaniment to my talk, since my amateur sleuth is a gift basket designer. I was drooling over those baskets!
I gave a short prepared talk about A Real Basket Case and its sequel and my life as an author, then opened the floor up for questions. I prefer the informal nature of a Q&A period to a formal speech, and the women didn't disappoint me. They asked astute questions that allowed me to talk about some interesting aspects of creating characters, finding an agent, dealing with writer's block, cover art, and other topics.
Then we broke to eat, and what a spread they put out! I ate my fill of the lovely little tea sandwiches and cookies in between signing books. I had brought some of the brand-new large-print editions of A Real Basket Case and sold seven of those along with twenty-six copies of the regular hardcover edition. The chapter members were very generous not only with their purchases, but also their compliments. And everyone was gracious and welcoming. I had such a lovely time with the group. My only regret is that I was so busy signing and selling books that I didn't have a chance to put in a winning bid on some of those lovely gift baskets. Darn!
The weekend was capped off with another day of skiing and a morning of snowshoeing before packing up and heading home. A golden skiing trip!