Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Importance of Format

Book format, that is, like hardcover versus paperback versus ebook. I'm blogging about this topic on Inkspot today, the blog for Midnight Ink authors. Please join me and leave your opinion in a comment!

Friday, June 24, 2011

News Tidbits: A Bestseller List, A New Cover, Plummeting Squirrels

For the end of the workweek, here's some news tidbits.

First, Deadly Currents made it onto the May Trade Paperback Bestseller List from the Mystery Lovers Bookshop, one of the largest specialty mystery book stores in the country. And it's position was #6. Woot! Many thanks to all of my readers.

Second, Thorndike Press has released the cover art for the large-print version of Deadly Currents that will be released July 27th. You can see it HERE, and here's the Amazon page for it (which as of this writing didn't have the cover art on it yet).

Third, the plummeting squirrels. My husband and I are in our Breckenridge house for awhile, in anticipation of my Saturday, July 2nd, 3-5 PM book signing at The Next Page Bookstore in Frisco, Colorado. It will be a fundraiser for the Gore Range Chapter of Trout Unlimited. If you're in the area, I hope you'll stop by and bring friends.

But, back to the plummeting squirrels.

They've managed to make a nest in the roof eaves above the sliding glass door out to the deck. They don't have a deck or porch, though, just a hole leading directly out into open air. So, every so often during the day, we'll hear a THUD as one of them falls out and drops to the deck. They always manage to shake themselves off, and with much chittering with their family members up above, eventually scamper up the side of the house back to the hole. We've been lucky that none have landed on us as we go in and out, but we'll have to BEWARE THE PLUMMETING SQUIRRELS!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Shelf Awareness

For those who missed it yesterday, a photo of me in the FIBArk parade appeared in Shelf Awareness yesterday.

And if you're asking, what is Shelf Awareness, here's the scoop. It is a free e-newsletter about books and the book industry. There are two versions:

- Shelf Awareness: Enlightenment for Readers, where they list news of interest to readers and review the best books coming out each week, as selected by their industry insiders. This is a new newsletter that they just started.

- Shelf Awareness: Enlightenment for the Book Trade (librarians, booksellers, publishers, agents, authors, etc.) with news about important events in the book trade, which has been published every business day since 2005. This is the e-newsletter that contained my parade photo yesterday.

I subscribe to both. If you want to subscribe to either or both e-newsletters, go HERE.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The 2011 FIBArk Hooligan Race

As promised yesterday and Monday, when I talked about other aspects of the FIBArk whitewater festival in Salida, Colorado, and my participation in it, I am posting today about the Hooligan Race. The Hooligan Race is open to anything that floats. Anything. Except a boat, that is.

Hooligans pick a theme for their homemade craft, dress up in costume, and try to put on a good show for the hoards of onlookers lining the banks. The winner is not determined by whose craft is the fastest, or even the most durable (many don't survive the race). It's the team that puts on the best show for the crowd.

Necks start craning each time the announcer shouts, "Hooligans in the water!" to signal that another heat of homemade craft are starting their scramble through the downtown whitewater park. Below are some photos of creative rafts in the race. First is a fire brigade, followed by a jail break on a mattress and a giant caterpillar.

The next two photos show Boris the spider and the giant river rat ("river rat" being a term for anyone who loves paddling whitewater).

The next two photos show how things can go wrong. First, a replica of the space shuttle is breaking up in the standing wave feature of the whitewater park. Second, a raft has crashed into the bridge support, and the paddlers are going to have to abandon ship.

Lastly, here's the hands-down favorite of the crowd, which set a new pyrotechnic "high bar" for race competitors: The Natural Disasters.

And the final FIBArk event that I attended was the VIP Brunch on Sunday for board members and VIPs such as myself. After stuffing ourselves and sipping on beermosas (versus mimosas - made of beer and orange juice) made from product provided by the main sponsor, New Belgium Brewing, my husband and I got in the car to head home to Colorado Springs. Here's a final photo of me with the Parade Director, Donna Rhoads. What a fun weekend!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Part Two of My Experiences at FIBArk

Yesterday, I blogged about being the Honored Guest or VIP in the FIBArk Parade in Salida, Colorado, last weekend. I'll continue talking about the festival, and my participation in it, today and tomorrow. First and foremost, FIBArk's reason for existence is whitewater races.

Freestyle events award points based on the paddler's ability to do tricks and maneuvers in a river hole or standing wave. Below are photos of two standing board paddlers in a freestyle event.

Slalom racing requires paddlers to negotiate a course of gates, poles hung three feet apart and suspended above the river, through the Whitewater Park in downtown Salida. Below are two photos of kayakers going through slalom gates, followed by a cataraft paddler aiming for a gate. In my mystery, Deadly Currents, my whitewater river ranger paddles a cataraft, so this photo gives you an idea of what one looks like. The fourth photo shows slalom gates across the river and also shows how high the water is, washing over the riverside sidewalk.

Also, FIBArk was the venue for the 2011 U.S. Wildwater National Championships. Below is a photo of two kayakers pushing hard to get a good start in the wildwater race. Notice the slim, sleek shape of the boats, which are built more for speed than maneuverability.

The festival also hosts its signature race that it began with 63 years ago, the downriver, which is a 26-mile long-distance marathon paddle to the finish line. Below is a photo of the start of the raft downriver race.

Over time, many other activities have become part of the festival, including a carnival with games and rides for the children, food stands, musical performances, foot and bike races, and more. Below is a photo of a line of food stands, followed by two of the Amphitheater in Riverside Park, the music venue.

Last but not least are two photos of Lisa Marvel, the owner of The Book Haven bookstore, and me manning our book signing table for Deadly Currents across the street from Riverside Park and in front of the very popular Boathouse Cantina.

Tomorrow, I'll post photos of some of the creative and wild entries in my favorite FIBArk event, the Hooligan Race. You'll also see some interesting crashes. Be sure to check back!

Monday, June 20, 2011

I Love A Parade...

...especially one that features moi!

Here's the scoop and the photos. This past weekend was the FIBArk (First in Boating on the Arkansas) whitewater rafting festival in Salida, CO. Because I feature Salida and the festival in the first book of my new Rocky Mountain Outdoor Adventures mystery series, Deadly Currents, I was invited to be their Honored Guest or VIP in the FIBArk Parade.

The weekend began with a noon interview on Friday on the local radio station, KSBV, "The River Rat." They also had me record a promo spot for the station while I was there. Something along the lines of "Hello, this is Beth Groundwater, author of Deadly Currents and the FIBArk Parade VIP. I tune into KSBV, the River Rat, every time I visit Salida." Here I am with on-air radio personality Marc Scott during the interview.

The parade took place at 10 AM on Saturday morning. The next three photos show a float and the local roller derby team lining up to participate, and the color guard that started the whole shebang off.

The next two photos show me perched on the back seat of a PT Cruiser convertible and waving to the folks lining the streets. It was an absolutely amazing experience, especially when we pulled into the heart of downtown, where the crowd was 4-8 people deep and the parade announcer introduced me.

The next four photos are of antique cars and floats in the parade. Some of the floats, such as Boris the Spider, were rafts constructed for the upcoming Hooligan Race.

And the last four photos are of Shriners who came from all over the state of Colorado to participate and put on a show during the parade. In the background you can see The Book Haven Bookstore that hosted my signing table at FIBArk.

My next two posts will feature photos of FIBArk events, my booksigning table there, and the always outrageous Hooligan Race. Tune in tomorrow and the next day for a look see, then let me know what you think. And make plans to attend next year's FIBArk!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Busy Long Weekend!

This weekend is my last big promotion push for Deadly Currents, the first book in my new Rocky Mountain Outdoor Adventures mystery series, before I knuckle down and start outlining book three in the series.

The whirlwind of events started yesterday with a blogtalk radio interview at Gelati's Scoop GZONE with Giovanni Gelati. You can listen to the interview HERE.

Today, from 5:00 - 8:00 PM I will be signing copies and chatting with customers at Covered Treasures Bookstore in Monument, Colorado during the town's June Art Walk event.

Then Friday kicks off my red carpet weekend at Salida, Colorado, for their FIBArk (First in Boating on the Arkansas) whitewater rafting festival. The weekend will begin with a noon interview on on the local radio station, KSBV, "The River Rat." There's even been talk of me doing a few promo spots for FIBArk while I'm there. :) Previously, I was also interviewed by a local writer for the Salida Citizen, the community's on-line newspaper. You can read the interview HERE.

Then from 1:00 - 5:00 PM Friday afternoon (and Saturday afternoon), I will be signing copies of Deadly Currents at The Book Haven table on the back deck of the Boathouse Cantina, right on the river front. After that, I plan to watch the Freestyle competitions taking place in the Salida Riverfront Park and get some dinner with Lisa Marvel, the owner of The Book Haven. She has graciously offered to house my husband and me during the festival.

Saturday morning, from 10:00 AM until Noon, I will be the VIP in the FIBArk Parade, riding in a convertible and waving to the onlookers. What fun that will be! I picked up a couple of magnetic signs of the cover art for Deadly Currents today that I'll put on the sides of the convertible I'll be riding in during the parade.

After a quick lunch, it's back to the signing table. Then comes the highlight (for me) of every FIBArk I've attended in the past, the Hooligan Race. Teams build rafts out of anything that floats, dress up in costumes to match the themes of their homemade rafts, and compete to see who puts on the best show for the crowds lining the banks of the Arkansas River downtown. The beer flows, water guns shoot in all directions, and crowds hoot and holler as rafts disintegrate in or miraculously survive the rapids. Go HERE to see the highlights of last year's Hooligan Race.

I'm sure the imbibing will continue over dinner and well into the night, but my husband and I will have to rally by 9:00 Sunday morning to attend the VIP Brunch on the SteamPlant plaza and observe the Downriver Races. Sated after an exciting weekend, we'll head home to Colorado Springs for a well-deserved rest.

But wait, there's still a meeting with a book club on Monday!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

An Interview in the Salida Citizen

As many of my blog readers hopefully know, I have been asked to be the VIP in the Parade for the FIBArk (First in Boating on the Arkansas) whitewater festival in Salida, Colorado this coming Saturday morning. It's a match made in heaven, because Salida and FIBArk are both featured prominently in my March mystery release, Deadly Currents, the first book in my Rocky Mountain Outdoor Adventures mystery series featuring whitewater river ranger Mandy Tanner.

To publicize my involvement in FIBArk, I will be interviewed on the local radio station, KSBV, "The River Rat," on Friday. Also, I was interviewed by a local writer for the Salida Citizen, the community's on-line newspaper. You can read the interview HERE.

I'll be checking for and responding to comments on the interview over the next few days, so please let me know what you think of the interview--and feel free to ask a question of your own!

Monday, June 13, 2011

We Have a Weiner!

No, no, no! Make that "We Have a Winner!" A winner in my email newsletter contest, that is. :)

The winner's name is Danielle Estes, and she hails from Mobile, Alabama. She is the 26th winner in the contest and is receiving an autographed copy of Deadly Currents and two other mystery books written by author friends. For a full list of previous winners, check out the Contests page of my website.

If you aren't already a subscriber to my email newsletter, please sign up at on the Newsletter page of my website. For every 100 new subscribers, I draw a name from the list of all of my subscribers to win an autographed copy of one of my books and 1-2 other mystery books. You can't beat those odds! Good luck!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

So...What Are You Reading These Days?

Today is my day to post at Inkspot, the blog for Midnight Ink authors. I'm talking about what books I've been reading lately and asking for suggestions. Please go there and let me know in the comments what you've been reading these days. Got any great suggestions for me or our blog readers?

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Many Thanks to my Goodreads Reviewers!

It's been three months since Deadly Currents, the first book in my new Rocky Mountain Outdoor Adventure mystery series, was released by Midnight Ink in trade paperback and ebook formats. The book has received excellent professional reviews from Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal, Publisher's Weekly, the Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Mystery Scene magazine and more. And I'm very, very grateful for those. But the reviews that really warm my heart are the amateur reviews from plain old readers on the Goodreads social network.

As of this writing, Deadly Currents has been placed on the book lists of 250 Goodreads readers and has received 41 ratings and 25 verbal reviews. The average rating, on a scale of 1 (worst) to 5 (best) is a 4. I'm thrilled with that! And reading the insightful comments of readers about the book is pure pleasure. Here are some samples:

"I was surprised by how much I liked this one. It was given to me and I'm not into rafting at all. Well, at least I wasn't. Now I'd like to try. Along with the rafting and scenery details, the mystery was well crafted and pulled me along at a great pace. I thought the main character was very fleshed out. I'll read more of this series."

I really enjoyed this book. It was great to read a cozy set in a different setting and Beth is obviously very knowledgeable on the subject of white water rafting!"

This is a new series for Beth Groundwater and it is as good as her earlier one.
I didn't figure out "who dunnit" until Groundwater was ready to let me, which is always a good thing. Now, waiting impatiently for her next book.

"Now you can enjoy whitewater rafting to your heart’s content—from the cozy comfort of home! This book had everything: a spunky protagonist, a picturesque Colorado setting, and a plot that kept me twisting in the wind (or churning in the water . . .?) until the final chapter. I predict that this will be another winning series for Beth Groundwater."

I went to high school in Colorado... and I just loved learning about the culture of river rafting... something I am deathly afraid of since I can't swim! I thought the characters were great and loved how Groundwater pegged the stereotypical Coloradoan! The storyline was great too! It kept me guessing...I look forward to some more books by this author."

Goodreads book reviews are syndicated widely, including to
Worldcat (and to libraries all over the world through that system), Google Books, Blio, Stanza, Better World Books, Alibris, and Facebook. Goodreads applications are available on the Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader, Android (f0r mobile phones), iPhone and iPad, among other devices. And when Lifehacker, a website dedicated to making life easier with technology, asked thousands of its readers where they got their book recommendations, 39% picked Goodreads. That was well over the 26% who picked Amazon, the 13% who picked Shelfari, and the 11% who picked LibraryThing.

Given this information, the most important place on the web to collect good reviews for your book is Goodreads. And Goodreads readers have come through in spades for Deadly Currents. I am so very grateful that not only did so many folks on Goodreads enjoy reading the book, they took the time to give it a high rating and explain why they enjoyed it. Many thanks to you all!

Monday, June 06, 2011

Planting Trees in Breckenridge

Saturday morning I worked my butt off planting tree seedlings in Breckenridge. All of the Lodgepole Pine trees in Summit County have been hit hard by the pine beetle plague, and in many areas the percentage of dead trees is 80 - 90 %. The town of Breckenridge opted to clear-cut the Discovery Hill open space of all the Lodgepole Pines and replant with a mix of Bristlecone Pine and Englemann Spruce seedlings, which mixed with the remaining young Lodgepole Pine seedlings would made for a healthier, diverse forest.

My husband and I volunteered Saturday morning on a work crew of about two dozen people, including four Breckenridge trails department employees who trained us and kept us in line. In two and a half hours, we managed to plant 250 seedlings and water every single one. The photos below are from that morning. The first one shows me with my work gloves and shovels, poised to dig another tree hole. The second shows the watering operation.

Some of the trees were able to be watered from a long hose that snaked up the hill from a water truck. On the higher sections of the hillside, though, buckets of water had to be lugged up (by the young male volunteers) to the planted trees. The third photo shows me standing on the trail, with two teens approaching, the last one lugging water.

For every seedling we had to dig a hole 2.5 times the diameter of the root and dirt core and a little longer, then repack the dirt around the seedling. Then we had to create a berm downhill of the seedling to retain rain water and mark it with a colored flag (shown in the second photo), so another set of volunteers could come back on Tuesday to water them again.

Hopefully these young trees will thrive and in ten years or so as people walk along the trail, they will have shade. The stacks of cut lodgepole pine trees will be burned later in controlled burns, so we didn't plant any new seedlings near them. It was a good feeling to contribute to a job well done, and we were given tickets to that evening's Bluegrass Jam concert to boot!

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Working on a Climax

I've been editing the climax of my WiP (work-in-progress), which is the third book in my Claire Hanover gift basket designer mystery series, tentatively titled Basketful of Troubles. I handed it out to my critique group and received their feedback at our last meeting.

I was concerned prior to the meeting because the scene included a lot of people, a lot of action, gunshots, a bucking horse, terrible danger, high emotions, people afraid to act or acting inappropriately, and more. And I'd already rewritten the climax a couple of times, to raise the stakes and the accompanying emotion.

I had a right to be concerned.

My critique partners liked the basic elements of my climax scene, but they pointed out many areas that needed to be fixed. These included:

1) A man was sucker punched by someone, but once he got the other party under control, he was content to hold him pinned down and not get a revenge lick in.
2) A woman ran inside a building to call the cops early in the scene, but readers forgot about her by the time the fighting began and kept asking, "Why isn't anyone calling the cops?"
3) Someone was hurt, badly hurt, and I didn't show his pain on screen.
4) I didn't keep the focus of the scene on the bad guy at all times so the reader knew what he was doing.
5) I made the characters' dialogue too long. They would speak more in fragments.
6) I got so wrapped up in describing the action that I called a character the wrong name--more than once.

And 7) There was a logic hole so big you could drive a truck through it. Aaargh! It took me quite a while to come up with a solution for that.

By now, I bet you're wondering how I could possibly be a published author.

I've been busy making fixes the last few days. I'm happy to report that the scene reads better, much better, thanks to the astute eyes of my critique group. What would I do without them?