Thursday, March 26, 2009

First BIG review for To Hell in a Handbasket

My publisher just received a heads-up on the following review that appears in Kirkus Review (one of the big four review publications) in their 4-1-09 issue, and they forwarded it to me. I'm absolutely thrilled!

This title will publish in May 2009
Author: Groundwater, Beth

Review Date: APRIL 01, 2009
Publisher:Five Star
Pages: 268
Price (hardback): $$25.95
Publication Date: 5/15/2009 0:00:00
ISBN: 978-1-59414-759-3
ISBN (hardback): 978-1-59414-759-3
Category: FICTION
Classification: MYSTERY

A family's ski vacation turns deadly when they find out their social connections are a little more connected than they thought.

All gift-basket designer Claire Hanover (A Real Basket Case, 2007) wants is some quality time with her family, especially daughter Judy, who's been away in Paris for her senior year of college. A ski trip to Breckenridge seems ideal: close enough to their Colorado Springs home for Judy to swing by and do her laundry on the way from the airport, with plenty of opportunity for family bonding as moguls zing past on the upper slopes of Ptarmigan. But willful Judy has more interest in bonding with tall, dark Nick Contino than with Claire, and it's only because Nick and his father Anthony are off skiing the back bowls of Copper Mountain that Judy agrees to spend the day on Peak Eight with her parents and Nick's sister Stephanie. When the two girls start down Ptarmigan's Claimjumper run, Stephanie crashes into a tree, sustaining fatal injuries. Though Judy thinks a showoff snowboarder ran Stephanie off the trail, Claire finds ski tracks leading from the crash site into the woods. Her suspicions grow when the snowboarder, Boyd Naylor, is run down by an SUV with plates similar to Anthony's. The Continos' Russian pal Ivanov, who supplied the vehicle to them in return for unspecified favors, brings out Claire's inner Mama Bear, determined to protect her cub.

Groundwater's second leaves the bunny slope behind, offering some genuine black-diamond thrills.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Blogging about Blog Book Tours

Today I am a guest blogger on Inkspot, a multi-author blog hosted by authors who have been published by Midnight Ink Books. Since I'm in the middle of planning and preparing for my first-ever blog book tour, I wrote about what a blog book tour is and what's involved in planning one and gave pointers to educational information for other authors interested in planning their own book blog tours. Check it out at Planning a Blog Book Tour and please comment! Let me know what you think.

Friday, March 20, 2009

A Book and A Dish

Martha Cheves, author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat, has started a new blog where she displays recipes from other authors and reviews of their books. She posted a delicious recipe from me for "Tarragon-Raspberry Flank Steak with Caramelized Onions, Kale and Mango Salsa" (yes, it's my own recipe and I've made it and eaten it), along with her review of the first book in my Claire Hanover gift basket designer mystery series, A Real Basket Case. The second book in the series, To Hell in a Handbasket, comes out in May.

To read my recipe and Martha's review of A Real Basket Case, go to: A Book and A Dish. Please let both Martha and me know, by commenting on our blogs, if you try the recipe and what you think of it.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Taxes are so Taxing!

I've been working on my taxes this week, compiling all the information for my writing business income and expenses. After compiling a number of long lists, both income and expenses are more than I thought they'd be! My income came from an advance on To Hell in a Handbasket, royalties on A Real Basket Case, speaker honoraria, contest judging, short story and article sales. Expenses came from travel to conferences and signings, writing organization membership fees, advertising, mailing, research, office supplies, and more. I'm still tracking down some numbers, but it looks like I may even be in the black this year.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Mystery Author Scrubs Kitchen!

And it wasn't even my own!

(Photo taken by Stephanie Merchant Johnson)

Today I was one of a troop of volunteers who are helping the Cottonwood Artists School in Colorado Springs move from its old location to its new one. Why is an author helping a bunch of artists move their studios? Because Cottonwood has been a huge supporter of Pikes Peak Writers (PPW). They provide us with a free place to hold our monthly "Write Brain" meetings, storage for our books, and more. This was PPW's chance to give back, and quite a few writers turned out to help during the move weekend.

PPW provided a lunch for volunteers (my contribution was apples and oranges) and bodies to work. I spent this afternoon scrubbing the second floor kitchen in the new facility for three hours until it was spanking clean. Then I unpacked the boxes of dishes, silverware, etc. and stowed them in the cupboards. My hands are impregnated with the smell of Clorox, but I'm feeling mighty proud of what I accomplished. And, I can't wait to see the new digs once all the artists have moved in and are creating beautiful works of art again in their new home. One thing I've loved about going to PPW meetings at Cottonwood is seeing the new artwork on display each month in the gallery and on the walls.

For those who would like more information about Cottonwood Artists School, which offers workshops as well as provides studio space to artists, go to:
Cottonwood Artists School

Monday, March 09, 2009

My Writing Rituals

Did you ever wonder what my writing rituals were, or if I even had any? Janice Hally at interviewed me awhile back about my writing rituals and recently posted the interview. Check it out at:

Beth's Writing Rituals

There's a link at the bottom of the interview for seeing the complete list of three dozen authors that Janice interviewed, if you'd like to compare my rituals or your own with theirs. Have fun!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

A Star in the Five Star Catalog

I just discovered that my upcoming release, To Hell in a Handbasket, is a star attraction in my publisher's spring catalog! Here's the scoop.

My publisher, Five Star, is part of the Gale/Cengage Learning corporation and puts out a catalog every three months listing its hardcover titles. These catalogs are mailed to library systems throughout the US and distributed at library conferences. The April-June, 2009 catalog features the covers of eight books on its front cover: 3 mysteries, 3 romances (which they call "expressions"), 1 western, and 1 science fiction/fantasy. To Hell in a Handbasket is the featured mystery for May!

In addition, Five Star offers a menu of ordering plans to libraries, one of which is the Five Star Choice 2 plan, where the publisher selects two titles out of all of those they publish that month, in all genres, and sends those to the library. To Hell in a Handbasket is the Five Star Choice 2 title for May, which means it will automatically be included in that ordering plan as well as the Mystery 3 and 4 ordering plans. All of this should translate into more library sales for me.

I'm excited and very gratified that my publisher honored my writing by selecting To Hell in a Handbasket as a featured title. To see the catalog in a PDF file, go to:
Five Star Apr-Jun 09 catalog