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becke_davis
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Visiting Author Tuesday: Our guest author is BETH GROUNDWATER

[ Edited ]

Our guest author tomorrow will be Beth Groundwater, who has a new release, To Hell in a Handbasket.

 

(The following is from her press kit)

 

Beth Groundwater has published eight short stories, and her first mystery novel, A Real Basket Case, ISBN 13: 9781594145476 or ISBN 10: 1594145474, was released by Five Star, an imprint of Gale/Cengage Learning, in March, 2007. The book garnered good reviews from Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, and other national reviewers and was nominated for the 2007 “Best First Novel” Agatha Award. The large-print edition was released on January 22, 2008 by Wheeler Publishing. The sequel, To Hell in a Handbasket, will be released by Five Star in May, 2009. Between writing spurts, Beth defends her meager garden from marauding mule deer and wild rabbits, and tries to avoid getting black-and-blue on the black and blue ski slopes of Colorado. 

 

A Real Basket Case   To Hell in a Handbasket  

 

 

Here is a link to Beth's website: 

 

http://bethgroundwater.com/Home.html 

 

and to Beth's blog:

 

http://bethgroundwater.com/Newsletter.html 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here's Beth's bio, from her website:

 

About Beth Groundwater

My first forays into fiction writing were my Freddie stories when I was in fifth and sixth grade. My protagonist, Freddie, had all sorts of wild adventures, including visiting an underground mole city after burrowing down in a giant screw-mobile. Freddie was a boy, because back in the sixties, I thought girls weren't supposed to have adventures. I know better now! 

A middle-school English teacher almost squelched my love for telling stories when she graded assignments on grammar, punctuation and sentence structure versus content. A good student, I learned to focus on form versus function to get the grade--something I had to unlearn later. During my high school senior year, I took an independent study in English and wrote fiction and poetry, which was critiqued by a college professor. They came back covered in red ink, but I learned a lot, including how to handle criticism!

After that, I obtained a college degree in Psychology (useful in character development) and Computer Science from the College of William and Mary in 1978. I wondered why I double-majored in the two fields that attracted the weirdest students at the college. I now think it's because of my lifelong interest in developing solutions to convoluted puzzles, be they software algorithms, understanding what makes a person tick, or solving a mystery story's "what if?"

I was a software engineer and software project manager until my retirement in 1999. Once management discovered I was a rare commodity--a software engineer who could write, I wrote countless manuals, design documents, final reports, marketing proposals, and technical papers that I presented at conferences. I also married, obtained a Masters Degree, and produced two children. I had no time to read the newspaper or watch TV, let alone write fiction. But once my husband and I met our retirement savings goals, I yearned to create stories again.

I've been writing fiction since retiring and so far have finished four novels, a novella, and numerous short stories. I was active in two critique groups for over five years, but now meet with one. To learn the craft, I studied writing books, took workshops, went to conferences, and entered contests, some of which I won or placed in (see my resume). I attended my first writers' conference, the Pikes Peak Writers Conference, in 1997 and still attend regularly. I'm also a big believer in networking. I belong to the following writing organizations: Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Romance Writers of America, Pikes Peak Writers, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, and the Short Mystery Fiction Society. I am the Published Author Connection for Pikes Peak Writers, Secretary of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of Sisters in Crime, and Board Member-At-Large for the Rocky Mountain Chapter of Mystery Writers of America..

On my long road to publication, I collected over 100 rejections on my short stories in order to get eight published, including one in Wild Blue Yonder, Frontier Airlines' in-flight magazine, one which was translated into Farsi, and one which was performed in live theatre. I also spent almost three years getting rejected by 89 literary agents before one decided I might have some talent and took me on. Two months later, he negotiated the contract for my first published novel. I am now with my second agent. Am I bragging about my persistence? No. I'm just telling prospective authors what it takes. Keep at it!

Between writing spurts, I defend my meager garden from marauding mule deer and wild rabbits, and try to avoid getting black-and-blue on the black and blue ski slopes of Colorado. In addition to skiing, I love water sports, particularly whitewater rafting/canoeing and snorkeling. If a water slide is around, I'm on it--more than once. Growing up as a military brat, I also enjoy and thrive on travel. I'm the family travel agent and have planned trips for us to Europe, Australia, New Zealand and all over the USA, including Alaska and Hawaii. I've loved to read since I was a child, and I read at least two novels a month. I savor those monthly meetings with my Book Club, and not just for the gossip and wine! 

Message Edited by becke_davis on 05-25-2009 07:20 PM
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becke_davis
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Re: Visiting Author Tuesday: Our guest author is BETH GROUNDWATER

A Real Basket Case  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here's a review of A Real Basket Case by Harriet Klausner:

 

In Colorado Springs, middle aged Claire Hanover suffers from an empty nest syndrome with her two children Michael and Judy at college and her spouse Roger, the Chief Finance Officer working late hours and ignoring her. She has some satisfaction with her gift basket business, but that fails to overcome the loneliness. Her best friend Ellen Kessler suggests she have a fling with her aerobics instructor Enrique Romero especially when he offers her a home massage, which she accepts.

 

Enrique comes over to her house, but someone shoots and kills him in Claire's bedroom. Immediately afterward, she sees Roger standing next to the bed holding the gun. Police Detective Wilson feels he has an ironclad case of a cuckold husband catching his wife with her lover, but Roger insists he is innocent. Claire believes him though he believes the worst in her. She begins investigating who would have a motive to kill Enrique besides Roger. As she fumbles her way through hookers, drug dealers, irate aerobic students, and some jail time, she soon concludes someone close to her fits might be the culprit.

 

Though Claire should have hired a professional investigator, readers will know her motives to risk her life are solid as she blames herself for causing the immediate mess by going outside her beliefs when she invited Enrique to her home. The story line is fast-paced as she follows clues that the police ignore because their case against her husband is overwhelmingly solid. Readers will appreciate this fine amateur sleuth as Claire knows if she fails she will become A REAL BASKET CASE. 

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becke_davis
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Re: Visiting Author Tuesday: Our guest author is BETH GROUNDWATER

Hi Beth and welcome to the Mystery Book Club! As you can see, I've posted a lot of links, but please go ahead and tell us something about yourself and your writing career -- how long have you been writing?  How did you get started?  What are you working on now?
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becke_davis
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Re: Visiting Author Tuesday: Our guest author is BETH GROUNDWATER

Beth - it looks quiet here but over 50 people have looked at these posts this morning. Maybe we can inspire a few of them to join the conversation! 

 

Tell us something about your writing.  You've had great success with your first book and your second is getting excellent reviews.  Do you plan to continue this series, or are you writing something different at the moment?

 

I'm always curious about a writer's journey: what inspired you to start writing? How long did it take you to get published? 

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Beth_Groundwater
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Re: Visiting Author Tuesday: Our guest author is BETH GROUNDWATER

Hi Becke,

Thanks for the invitation to come visit and chat with members of the Mystery Book Club! I'm off to a late start for some of you, I'm afraid, because I'm on Mountain Standard Time, living in Colorado. And, we don't have our usual sunny weather today. It's gray & cloudy, good sleeping-in weather.

 

Now, on to Becke's questions. As my bio says, I've been writing seriously as an adult since my retirement from a software engineering career in 1999. I started with short stories, then tackled my first novel-length manuscript, which remains unpublished. The second novel-length manuscript I wrote became A Real Basket Case, and the third was To Hell in a Handbasket. My agent is shopping my fourth, the first in a new series, to various publishers.

 

I set aside the months of April - June this year to do full-time promotion for the release of To Hell in a Handbasket. After that, the next novel-length manuscript I write will depend on my agent's progress. It will either be the second in the new series or the third in the Claire Hanover gift basket designer mystery series. I have an outline for the second in the new series and some ideas for Claire's third adventure--I'm thinking of Durango, Colorado as a setting and her brother who lives there as a family issue. But, who knows? In this screwy publishing business, anything can happen!

--
Beth Groundwater, http://bethgroundwater.com/
DEADLY CURRENTS, 03/11, A REAL BASKET CASE re-release, 11/11
WICKED EDDIES, 05/12, TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET re-release, 11/12
FATAL DESCENT, 06/13, A BASKET OF TROUBLE, 11/13
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Re: Visiting Author Tuesday: Our guest author is BETH GROUNDWATER

Becke mentioned the excellent reviews I've been getting for my new release, To Hell in a Handbasket, so I'm going to use that as an excuse to brag a little because I'm thrilled with the reviews. This, the second book in the Claire Hanover gift basket designer mystery series, is set in Breckenridge, CO, where Claire and her family go on a ski vacation a few weeks after the events in A Real Basket Case. The vacation quickly goes to hell in a handbasket when the sister of her daughter’s boyfriend is killed on the slope.Here are a few quotes:

 

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

-- Kirkus Review, April 1, 2009

 

"How it all plays out makes for an engrossing and entertaining mystery that keeps you reading until the final page. Tightly plotted and very current, the story manages to keep you on the edge of your seat. Even though the physical violence is off screen, the tension comes from the potential danger to the characters you've met and come to be concerned about."

-- Gumshoe Review, May 1, 2009

 

"This cozy mystery packs quite a punch and proves that good story telling is good story telling no matter what the label of the sub genre."

-- Kevin R. Tipple, Kevin's Corner, May 10, 2009 

 

--
Beth Groundwater, http://bethgroundwater.com/
DEADLY CURRENTS, 03/11, A REAL BASKET CASE re-release, 11/11
WICKED EDDIES, 05/12, TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET re-release, 11/12
FATAL DESCENT, 06/13, A BASKET OF TROUBLE, 11/13
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Re: Visiting Author Tuesday: Our guest author is BETH GROUNDWATER

Becke asked: "How long did it take you to get published?"

 

As said before, I started writing seriously in 1999. My first short story was published in 2004 and my first novel, A Real Basket Case, was published in 2007. I collected hundreds of rejections along the way. In fact, during the two years it took for A Real Basket Case to sell, I wrote the sequel, To Hell in a Handbasket. How did I keep on going in the face of all those rejections? As the song goes, "with a little help from my friends". I am a big proponent of networking with other writers and give talks on the subject at writing conferences.

 

For one thing, you need other writers to commiserate with, to realize that you're all going through the same thing, and that rejections are just part of the business. Also, those other writers will help you make the connections you need to succeed in the publishing world. The difference between an unpublished and published writer is not so much due to talent but to persistence, and the key to persistence is having a fellow group of cheerleaders egging you on.

--
Beth Groundwater, http://bethgroundwater.com/
DEADLY CURRENTS, 03/11, A REAL BASKET CASE re-release, 11/11
WICKED EDDIES, 05/12, TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET re-release, 11/12
FATAL DESCENT, 06/13, A BASKET OF TROUBLE, 11/13
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Re: Visiting Author Tuesday: Our guest author is BETH GROUNDWATER

Beth - Bragging is allowed, especially with reviews like those! Are you allowed to tell us about the series (or possible series) you are working on, or is that a secret for now?
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Re: Visiting Author Tuesday: Our guest author is BETH GROUNDWATER

Sure, I can tell you a little about the new series, because I sure hope it will be published!

 

The protagonist is a young (27), single, female whitewater river ranger who lives in Salida, Colorado and works for the Arkansas Headwater Recreation Area. The headwaters of the Arkansas river is the most popular area in the US for whitewater rafting and kayaking, and is one of the few places where full-time whitewater river rangers are employed. If a ranger finds a dead body in the river, he or she becomes a defacto member of the investigative team, even though the Chaffee County Sheriff's Office is responsible for investigating the crime if it is murder. This solves the amateur sleuth problem for me that I have in the Claire Hanover series of why in the world Claire is sticking her nose in a murder investigation.

 

I had a boatload of fun (couldn't resist that!) researching the first manuscript because I used to do a lot of whitewater canoeing in the 1980s before I had my children. And though the technology of the boats has changed significantly, the "river rat" culture has not. I loved dipping back into that adventure-seeking lifestyle and the unique language they use. 

 

My ultimate hope is that I can alternate between the two series, keeping my writing fresh and me interested in these two very different sleuth characters. However, I can't control all the variables in the publishing business, so I'll just have to see what happens.

--
Beth Groundwater, http://bethgroundwater.com/
DEADLY CURRENTS, 03/11, A REAL BASKET CASE re-release, 11/11
WICKED EDDIES, 05/12, TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET re-release, 11/12
FATAL DESCENT, 06/13, A BASKET OF TROUBLE, 11/13
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Re: Visiting Author Tuesday: Our guest author is BETH GROUNDWATER

This sounds like a great story idea, and I'm sure we'll be reading this book before long.

 

Did you know from the start that you wanted to write mystery? Have you always been a mystery fan?

 

On another thread, we've been recalling the first mysteries we remember reading, and our favorite mystery authors when we were young -- those who formed our love of the genre.  Can you remember the first mystery you ever read?  What are your favorite mystery books? 

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Re: Visiting Author Tuesday: Our guest author is BETH GROUNDWATER

Becke and Beth,

 

Wonderful post--thanks for all the links, the review and the interview. Great premise for a mystery and has me wondering who done it! Best to both of you.

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Re: Visiting Author Tuesday: Our guest author is BETH GROUNDWATER


Christine-Husom wrote:

Becke and Beth,

 

Wonderful post--thanks for all the links, the review and the interview. Great premise for a mystery and has me wondering who done it! Best to both of you.


Christine - thanks for being brave enough to post. We do get a lot of lurkers here (80+ had viewed this thread last I checked) but it's nice for Beth when she can see a personal comment. 
 Her books look great, don't they? I had hoped to read them both over the weekend, but my family visit in Chicago didn't give me much time to read, unfortunately. (This is why my TBR pile is ridiculously big.) 

 

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Re: Visiting Author Tuesday: Our guest author is BETH GROUNDWATER

[ Edited ]

Hi Beth, both of your books sound great and I unfortunately haven't read them, so there goes my To Be Read Pile expanding again. I can't wait to get the books and dig in. The preface sounds really interesting. 

Would you consider these "cozy mysteries"? 

Message Edited by dhaupt on 05-26-2009 02:29 PM
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Re: Visiting Author Tuesday: Our guest author is BETH GROUNDWATER

Debbie asked if I consider my books to be cozy mysteries. I call them "edgy cozy" because there are a few 4-letter words, there's some on-screen blood, and talk about sex or aborted love-making, though no on-screen sex. So, I dally at the edge of cozy, but don't go beyond the boundaries.I think the Claire Hanover mysteries are perfectly okay to recommend to your grandmother, but I always recommend that parents read my books first before giving them to their teens to read. There are some adult themes, and parents should really be the first-line judge.

 

Becke asked: "Did you know from the start that you wanted to write mystery? Have you always been a mystery fan?"

 

I've always been a mystery fan, but I also read and still read books in other genres such as mainstream/literary, women's fiction, romance, and science fiction. I cut my mystery teeth on Nancy Drew, Edgar Allan Poe, and Agatha Christie. My first short stories were mainstream, and the first novel-length manuscript I tried to write was a futuristic romantic suspense. However, when I wrote A Real Basket Case, I knew I'd found the genre I was comfortable with. I'm a puzzle person--crossword, sudoku, jigsaw, you name it, and that's what writing a mystery is--designing a puzzle for your sleuth, and the reader, to solve.

 

Becke also asked: "What are your favorite mystery books?"

I'll answer with the names of my favorite mystery AUTHORS instead, because once I find one I like, I try to read all of his or her books (as most mystery fans do). My all-time favorite is Sharyn McCrumb, and I've read all of her series, except the most recent NASCAR one, because I'm not really a NASCAR fan. I also enjoy Donna Andrews and Tim Cockey for their humor. Mystery authors from Colorado that I enjoy include Margaret Coel, Christine Goff, Diane Mott Davidson, Robert Spiller, Kathy Brandt, and Mike Befeler. I also enjoy Wyoming author CJ Box and Kansas author Nancy Pickard. I've met all of these nearby authors at various conferences, and they are great people as well as wonderful writers.

 

--
Beth Groundwater, http://bethgroundwater.com/
DEADLY CURRENTS, 03/11, A REAL BASKET CASE re-release, 11/11
WICKED EDDIES, 05/12, TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET re-release, 11/12
FATAL DESCENT, 06/13, A BASKET OF TROUBLE, 11/13
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Re: Visiting Author Tuesday: Our guest author is BETH GROUNDWATER

Thanks for answering our questions, Beth. I see that now well over 100 people are viewing this thread, so I'm going to have to guess what questions our lurkers would like me to ask on their behalf.

 

We've talked to Rhys Bowen about the possibility of her books being made into movies or TV series.  If your books were filmed, who would you like to see in the leading roles? 

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Re: Visiting Author Tuesday: Our guest author is BETH GROUNDWATER

Beth, you mentioned writing short stories. Are any of them in collections that we might purchase or find at the library?
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dhaupt
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Re: Visiting Author Tuesday: Our guest author is BETH GROUNDWATER

Thank you Beth,

I wasn't worried about content, as far as I'm concerned the "edgier" the better  :smileysurprised:

So I can't wait to start reading your books. 

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Re: Visiting Author Tuesday: Our guest author is BETH GROUNDWATER

Becke asked about my short stories. The most recent short story anthology that contains a story of mine, titled "The Murder Cache", is the Map of Murder anthology published by Red Coyote Press in 2007. Here are two links for buying a copy:

 

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Map-of-Murder/Susan-Budavari/e/9780976673330/?itm=3

 

http://www.redcoyotepress.com/

 

Here's a link to a flash-fiction mainstream story of mine, titled "Lucky Bear" that you can read on-line:

 

http://www.angelfire.com/biz5/authors/mag/luckybear.html

 

I also have one published poem, "Ride the Wind", in the Rubber Side Down anthology. You can buy a copy at:

 

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Rubber-Side-Down/Jose-Gouveia/e/9781931122191/?itm=1

 

Other less recent anthologies that contain stories of mine are Manhattan Mysteries, 2005, and Dry Spell: Tales of Thirst and Longing, 2004.

--
Beth Groundwater, http://bethgroundwater.com/
DEADLY CURRENTS, 03/11, A REAL BASKET CASE re-release, 11/11
WICKED EDDIES, 05/12, TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET re-release, 11/12
FATAL DESCENT, 06/13, A BASKET OF TROUBLE, 11/13
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Re: Visiting Author Tuesday: Our guest author is BETH GROUNDWATER

Hey, I have Manhattan Mysteries!  Or at least, I read it. It's probably buried in my bookcase someplace, I'll have to look for it now.