Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Rollin', rollin', rollin' ...

Today I am blogging at Inkspot, the blog for Midnight Ink authors, about the road trip I'm on this week to promote the release of Wicked Eddies, the second book in my RM Outdoor Adventures mystery series. If you live near one of the stops I'll be making, I hope you'll stop by and say hi!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Photos from the Pikes Peak Writers Conference

Last weekend, I drove down to Colorado Springs for the Pikes Peak Writers Conference. I was only able to attend on Saturday, but I arrived on Friday in time for the Staff/Faculty mixer. Many of the folks were in costume as their favorite literary character for the dinner that evening. Below are photos of myself with mystery author Robert Spiller (dressed as Brother Cadfael) and his wife Barbara (dressed as Philip Marlowe). Below that I'm with vampyress Julia Allen and MB Partlow dressed as the lost love Lenore in Edgar Allen Poe's poem, "The Raven."

The photos below are from my Saturday panel about "Fooling the Reader Fairly" with fellow mystery authors Donnell Ann Bell, Robert Spiller, and Laura DiSilverio. My topic was red herrings (false clues), and I brought a can of red herrings (kipper snacks) as a prop.

The last two photos are from the Saturday night banquet, where folks dressed to the nines. Notice the balloon centerpieces. I placed most of those on the tables when I helped decorate the banquet room. The first is of me with two of my favorite critique partners, Maria Faulconer and Barbara Nickless. The second is of me with with Robert Crais, an update of one taken of the two of us in 2001, when he handed me the certificate for my first writing contest placement. I had a great time at the conference, re-connecting with writer friends!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Who Knew Fly Fishing Could Be Lethal?!

Today, Mandy Tanner, the 27-year-old whitewater river ranger sleuth in my RM Outdoor Adventures mystery series, is a guest on the Killer Characters blog. She'll be talking about some surprises she's facing in Wicked Eddies, the second book of the series that will be released on May 8th. One of those surprises is that fly fishing can be lethal! Please read what Mandy has to say and take a stab at answering the questions she asks.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Off to the Pikes Peak Writers Conference!

I'm driving down to Colorado Springs today to attend my favorite writing conference, the Pikes Peak Writers Conference, at the Colorado Springs Marriott hotel. This is the 20th anniversary of the PPWC, so lots of special activities are planned. I'm really stoked about attending!

If you're attending the conference, I hope you'll stop in at my panel at 3:20 PM on Saturday, "Fooling the Reader Fairly" with fellow mystery authors Robert Spiller, Laura DiSilverio, and Donnell Bell. My topic is fishy smelling--red herrings! We'll all be signing our books in the bookstore after the panel. I'll also be hosting a table at the banquet and hanging around in the hallways and at the bar, hoping to chat with old writer friends and to make some new ones.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Thank you, Kirkus Reviews!!

Whoo hoo! I'm excited. Kirkus Reviews came through for me again with another good review for one of my books. They gave away quite a bit of the plot of Wicked Eddies (release date May 8) in the body of the review, so I'm not going to quote it all here, but here's the last line:

"Once again, Groundwater, mixing mystery with outdoor adventure, comes up with an excursion that will please most comers."
-- Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2012

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Today's Mystery Author Guest: S. R. Claridge

As promised yesterday, fellow Colorado mystery author S. R. Claridge is visiting my blog today. To read her bio and see her photo, please page down to yesterday's post.

Above is the cover photo for her upcoming May release, Death Trap, the fourth book in her Just Call Me Angel mystery suspense series. When Giovanni’s private jet explodes with Angel presumably on board, the family is thrust into a state of crisis and mourning. Learning that the explosion was not due to a malfunction but a well-planned attack, Angel’s men set out on a course for revenge while Giovanni must face the hard reality of assigning a new Boss to the family. Unknown to anyone, Angel is alive but is forced into hiding from the terrorist group enacting revenge on her grandfather, Salvatore. She watches in horror as her men are lured one-by-one into a trap of death, with their only chance for survival falling on the shoulders of a stranger with an unstable past. Tempers flare and bullets fly as the lines of family loyalty blur into a melting pot of Mafia destruction.

Below are S.R.'s answers to my interview questions. Please leave a comment for her, and if you have a question of your own for her, ask it!

1. Who or what inspired you to start writing and when did you start?

I started writing poetry when I was 11 years old, right after my grandmother died. Writing became my emotional outlet and I never stopped. I’ve written poetry, greeting cards, song lyrics, scripts and finally found my niche about five years ago in the fiction world of romantic suspense.

2. What tools and process do you use to “get to know” your characters before and while you’re writing the books?

They come to life on their own as the story develops.

3. How do you construct your plots? Do you outline or do you write “by the seat of your pants”?

I’m a pantser. I write whatever feels right in the moment.

4. In the age-old question of character versus plot, which one do you think is most important in a murder mystery and which one do you emphasize in your writing? Why?

Both are important; however, a weak plot can be carried by a strong character, but weak characters can’t be saved even by a good plot.

5. What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer and what inspires you and keeps you motivated?

The marketing and publicity side of being an author is the most challenging part for me. It’s difficult to find balance between the writing and the marketing, not to mention all the other hats I wear, i.e. mom, wife, daughter, chauffeur to my kids, etc. ;-)

6. What is a typical workday for you and how many hours a day (or week) do you devote to writing?

During the school year, I take my kids to school at 8:00 am and come home and write from 8:30 to around 2:30 when I have to pick them up. One day a week I focus that time on marketing. In the summer I write a lot at night, as I am busy playing with the kids during the day.

7. What advice do you have to offer to an aspiring author?

Don’t quit.

8. Now here’s a zinger. Tell us something about yourself that you have not revealed in another interview yet. Something as simple as your favorite TV show or food will do.

I love Grey Goose martinis with bleu cheese olives. I crave Mexican food every Friday night. I loved the TV series 24. I’m a Seinfeld fan and believe great wisdom can be found in simple wit.

9. What are you working on now and what are your future writing plans?

I am currently working on the fourth book in the Just Call Me Angel series, called Death Trap, and due to be released in May 2012. I am also working on an independent suspense thriller about a cult-like organization with political under ties.

10. Is there anything else you would like to tell my blog readers?

Thank you for allowing me to visit today, Beth! I hope your readers will visit my website and check out my blog.

Thanks, S.R.! Now, who has a comment or question for her?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tomorrow's Guest: S. R. Claridge

Tomorrow, author S. R. Claridge will be a guest on my blog. Susan Renee' Woods Claridge (writing under the penname S.R. Claridge) grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, graduating from Lindbergh High School and furthering her education with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from the University of Missouri, Columbia. Susan has lived in Los Angeles, CA, Boulder, CO, and Kansas City, KS, and now resides in Broomfield, Colorado, with her husband and two children.

She began her writing career being published for her poetry, lyrics and greeting cards, but has found her niche in the fiction world of mystery and romantic suspense. She says it is her background in theater and psychology that help her fill the pages with enough dramatic suspense to keep her readers guessing until the very end. Her latest, Death Trap, will be released in May.

In her guest post tomorrow, Susan answers my interview questions, and I'm sure you'll be intrigued by what she has to say. Then, feel free to ask her some questions of your own in the comments.

Monday, April 16, 2012

An Inspirational Interview

Fiona Mcvie interviewed me for the Inspiration Forum recently and posted it today. To read it, go HERE.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Wicked Eddies available for Kindle preorder!

I'm pleased to say that Wicked Eddies, the second book in my RM Outdoor Adventures series starring whitewater river ranger Mandy Tanner, is available for preorder on the Kindle now. You can preorder it at Amazon HERE. As soon as I see the listing for the Nook version on the Barnes & Noble website, I'll post the link here, too.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

April Appearances

I'm reading an ARC (advance reader copy) of a book that will be coming out soon from a big-name Colorado author with one of the huge New York publishers. On the backs of ARCs, publishers often list the promotion campaign planned for the book. This one had the usual stuff that we all do--blog tour; Goodreads giveaway; outreach to the author's community via website, Facebook and email newsletter contacts; media interviews; etc.

It also included a 6-city book tour.

Well, la-de-dah, I thought. Wouldn't it be nice if my publisher sent me on a 6-city book tour for the early May release of Wicked Eddies, the second book in my RM Outdoor Adventures mystery series. Then it struck me. I'm sending myself on one--and more! I'll be back east for a week visiting Hampton/Newport News, Virginia; Bethesda, Maryland; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Then I'll have book events in Colorado Springs and Denver, Colorado, as well as in many small communities throughout the state, including Frisco, Salida, and Monument. Finally, in October, I'll be at the Bouchercon mystery fan conference in Cleveland, Ohio.

I'd love to see some of my blog readers at these events. The Appearances page of my website is always the best place to check for up-to-date information on where I'll be when, but for my blog readers, I thought I'd let you know where you can find me in April and early May. Please come and say hello if you live nearby. Here goes:

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Pikes Peak Writers Conference

Colorado Springs Marriott Hotel

5580 Tech Center Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80919

Wednesday, April 25, 2012, 5:30 – 8:30 PM

“Series Writing for the Organizationally Challenged”

Dinner Meeting of Chesapeake Bay Writers

Rivers Inn Restaurant

8106 Yacht Haven Rd, Gloucester Point, VA 23062

Friday-Sunday, April 27-29, 2012

Malice Domestic Conference

Hyatt Regency Hotel

One Bethesda Metro Center (7400 Wisconsin Ave.),

Bethesda, MD 20814

Monday, April 30, 2012, 4 – 8 PM

Festival of Mystery

Greek Orthodox Social Hall

12 Washington Ave, Oakmont, PA 15139

At both of the conferences and the festival, the bookstore is open to the public, as are the signing rooms. For instance, at the Pikes Peak Writers Conference, you can stop in the conference bookstore from 4:30 - 5:15 PM to catch me signing copies of my books there after my panel.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

National Library Week

Today I'd like to join readers, authors, and librarians nationwide in celebrating National Library Week, a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians and to promote library use. Also, today is National Bookmobile Day! To find out more about what's happening for National Library week, I suggest you go to the American Library Association page about it or the @Your Library announcement, which includes a Twitter contest.

Contact your own local library to find out how they're celebrating the week. As for my library, the Summit County Library, they've organized quite a few events for this special week. Check out this Summit Daily News article about all of the events, including three today!

I'm a member of the Friends of the Summit County Library, and I'll be volunteering to help at bookfairs and the library information booth at the summer food market. Find out if your library has a volunteer organization that you can join! It's a great way to meet fellow bibliophiles and support your local library at the same time.

Also, if you need to downsize (as I did recently for my move to Breckenridge) and have to give up some of your book collection, donate it to your local library. If they can't use the books in their collection, it's likely that their volunteer organization will sell the books during a fundraiser to raise funds for the library. Hopefully some of those funds will be used to buy books for the library's collection, including those all-important children's books that help instill a love of reading in the next generation.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

An Intriguing Interview!

B.R. Stateham asked me some thought-provoking questions in an interview he just posted to his blog, In The Dark Mind of B.R. Stateham. Check it out, and let me know what you think!

Monday, April 09, 2012

Goodreads Giveaway

The official release date for Wicked Eddies, book 2 in my RM Outdoor Adventures mystery series is one month away, on May 8th. To celebrate this countdown milestone, I'm giving away a copy on Goodreads to a lucky winner of the giveaway contest there. If you're a Goodreads member, please enter the contest and good luck to you!

Also, if you're a Goodreads member, I'm opening up my Q&A group for discussion during the month prior to the release. Ask me any question you like! And if you aren't a member of the group, feel free to join. It's public.

Lastly, here are a few things that Goodreads members can do for me:

1. Befriend me or become a fan at my author page.

2. Add Wicked Eddies to your to-read list.

3. If you've read one of my other books, please rate and/or review it on Goodreads.

4. Send a book recommendation to your Goodreads friends suggesting that they read Wicked Eddies.

And, just in case you haven't had a chance to read the blurb for Wicked Eddies at my website or Amazon's or Barnes and Nobles's or Midnight Ink's or ... here it is to whet your appetite:

Fly fishing is dangerous? River ranger Mandy Tanner had no idea until days before a huge tournament in Salida, Colorado. True, the Arkansas River can be a man-eater, but the rapids weren’t responsible for driving a hatchet into the neck of would-be competitor Howie Abbott―a secretive man who may have been cheating. While casting about for suspects, Mandy seeks clues from Abbott’s family members, including her best friend, bartender Cynthia Abbott. But when Cynthia becomes the prime suspect, Mandy realizes she’s wading into deeper, more hazardous waters than ever.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Lamenting the Closing of Another Independent Bookstore

Today I am blogging at Inkspot, the blog for Midnight Ink authors, about the closing of one of my favorite independent bookstores, Weber's Books & Drawings, which is the only bookstore in my hometown of Breckenridge, Colorado. Please read it and leave a comment about your favorite local bookstore and/or how you feel about the recent trend of bookstore closings.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Happy Delivery of WICKED EDDIES!

I received a lovely surprise package today--my author copies of Wicked Eddies, which will be released officially on May 8th. The countdown begins!

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Celebrating the Delivery of a Manuscript

Hallelujah! I can back away from the keyboard that I've been bent over for months. On Sunday, April 1st, I delivered the manuscript for Cataract Canyon, the third book of my RM Outdoor Adventures series, to my acquisition editor at Midnight Ink. Yes, April 1st was the due date, and I was working on edits and prose polishing right up to minutes before I hit the Send button.

I'm proud of the book, and I feel that it unravels an interesting and intense mystery that stresses my characters. However, every time I read a chapter, I found something to improve or change, even though each of the chapters has gone through multiple edits.

And frankly, I'm going to continue to edit the manuscript after I turned it in. My critique group has yet to give me feedback on the last two chapters, and I'll incorporate their suggestions in the manuscript. After it rests for a couple of weeks, I'll read through it again, and I'm sure I'll find things to change. I'll fold these changes in with those that I will make as a result of my editor's feedback. In the meantime, I'm on pins & needles, hoping that she likes it and doesn't have too many changes for me. I'm sure she'll have some, though.

I just hope her feedback doesn't take the form of the above photo. Wish me luck, please!