Tag Archives: Beth Groundwater

A Basket of Trouble by Beth Groundwater

Basket of TroubleA Basket of Trouble by Beth Groundwater is the third book in the “Claire Hanover” mystery series. Publisher: Midnight Ink, November 2013

A death at her brother’s stable ropes Claire into a basket of trouble

When gift basket designer Claire Hanover saddles up for the opening event at her brother Charley’s new riding stable, the last thing she expects is for Kyle Mendoza, one of the stable hands, to be found dead. Everyone assumes a horse trampled him, until it’s discovered that someone murdered Kyle before dragging him into a stall.

Charley’s troubles worsen when a rival stable owner steals his clients and Kyle’s family decides to sue him for negligence. Claire is determined to corral the killer and save her brother’s business. However, solving the mystery could be more difficult than finding a needle in a haystack . . . and maybe even deadly.

It’s been awhile since we’ve last seen Claire and boy am I glad she is back in the saddle as she is determined to save her brother’s business by any means necessary and if that means solving a murder, then so be it. With hot button topics interwoven in this engaging mystery, the author immediately pulled me in in this well-written drama that kept me on my toes as I could not put this book down and I had to know what happened next. This was a good read and I hope there are more Claire stories to tell.

A Day In The Life Of Claire Hanover by Beth Groundwater

Basket of TroubleJob: Gift Basket Designer

Hi, all. I’m a little shy about appearing here on Dru Ann’s magnificent blog, because writing is not really my thing. Creating beautiful gift baskets is! My name is Claire Hanover, and usually you can find me either out delivering gift baskets or in my basement workshop in my home in Colorado Springs constructing gift baskets on the beat-up oak dining table I rescued from a church yard sale. Two walls of my workshop are lined with plastic shelves that hold baskets, packing and wrapping materials such as Spanish moss and colored cellophane, fabric remnants, and clear boxes labeled “Ribbons,” “Tags/cards,” “Plastic/dried flowers,” “Candy,” “Hot sauces,” and more. The floor is usually littered with ribbon scraps, paper shreds and such, and I’m happily humming along to Enya, Yanni, or some other soothing CD while I work.

But today is different. I’m nervous as heck. I’m about to attend the grand opening of my brother Charley’s trail riding stable, and I so want his new business to do well. I’m bringing a gift basket that I decorated with vintage horse tack and a bow made from a horse-themed bandana. I filled it with some of Charley’s and his wife Jessica’s favorite treats—such as horehound candy for him and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory chocolates for her. I hope it adds to the festivity of the occasion, and I hope lots of people come!

I’ve been thinking about volunteering today to help with Jessica’s hippotherapy nonprofit, too. She uses horseback riding to provide physical and occupational therapy for all kinds of clients, from kids with autism or Down’s syndrome to adults with cerebral palsy or multiple sclerosis. Since Jessica and Charley recently moved from Durango to Colorado Springs, on my suggestion, she’s also making a fresh start and has to find new clients for her therapy. I’d like to help her out if I can. Both Charley and Jessica have been working so hard lately to get ready for this opening. I’ve got all my fingers and toes crossed, hoping they both succeed, and that my suggestion proves to be a good one.

The LAST thing they need is some disaster to crop up, such as, shudder to think of it, a murder like the others that have been dropping into my life lately. Oh God, that would be awful! I’m praying that nothing like that happens and that all of their wranglers live long, boring lives! Oh, my husband Roger’s got the car running and he’s calling for me. I’ll just grab this basket (Oof) and head out to the car. Wish me luck. I hope I don’t need it…

You can read more about Claire in A Basket of Trouble, the third book in the “Claire Hanover” mystery series, published by Midnight Ink. Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

Beth is giving away one (1) copy of A BASKET OF TROUBLE. Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. Contest ends November 12; US entries only.

Meet the author
Bestselling mystery author Beth Groundwater writes the Claire Hanover gift basket designer series (A Real Basket Case, a Best First Novel Agatha Award finalist, To Hell in a Handbasket and just released, A Basket of Trouble) and the Rocky Mountain Outdoor Adventures series starring whitewater river ranger Mandy Tanner (Deadly Currents, an Amazon #3 overall bestseller, Wicked Eddies, finalist for the Rocky Award, and released in June, Fatal Descent). Beth enjoys Colorado’s many outdoor activities, including skiing and whitewater rafting, and loves talking to book clubs.

Please visit Beth at: website | blog | Facebook | Goodreads

A Day in the Life of Mandy Tanner by Beth Groundwater

Fatal DescentAfter all the dangerous waters I had to negotiate in Deadly Currents and Wicked Eddies, I thought I’d take a break from patrolling the Arkansas River in Colorado as a river ranger and go back to being a whitewater rafting guide, this time on the Colorado River in Utah (in Deadly Currents). But I forgot how much work it is being a rafting guide!

Before this trip for twelve tourists even started, trouble came sniffing around our heels like a camp squirrel begging for a handout. Our best guide, Gonzo, forgot some important gear when he provisioned the trip and had to scrounge it from another outfitter. And I had to juggle the tent assignments when we found out that one “family” really wasn’t a family and didn’t want to sleep together. Rob, my fiancé and co-owner of RM Outdoor Adventures, keeps telling me that things will work out, but I’m not so sure.

First of all, I’ve never rafted the Colorado River, let alone guided a group down it. I just hope I can follow the leads of the other guides through the rapids and keep my raft from flipping. Second, we’re stuck with these tourists for five whole days in Meander and Cataract Canyons, a hundred long miles of river to paddle, and we don’t expect to see another soul on the trip. That’s because we’re going off-season in the fall, after the other outfitters have all closed up shop. This is part of Rob’s plan to extend our business into the spring and fall seasons by offering unique trips, like this combination climbing and rafting trip. I sure hope his plan works. I’m not very happy about the climbing guide he hired, though. Tom “Cool” O’Day seems kind of sleazy to me.

But I’m excited, too. I’m looking forward to doing some sightseeing along the Colorado—exploring native American ruins and rock art, a petrified wood forest, the cliff Thelma and Louise were filmed jumping off in their car, and the beautiful Doll House formation high up on the canyon rim. I hear the Milky Way is magnificent to see at night, too, since there’s no light pollution in the canyon. And running the huge rapids in Cataract Canyon is supposed to be a blast, even in the fall, when the water flows are lower, but still much higher than what we have on the Arkansas River.

I know I’ll be working my ass off from dawn until long after dusk, setting up and breaking down camps, cooking meals, training our tourists to paddle the rapids, and keeping everyone entertained and safe. That’s a rafting guide’s lot. I can count on Rob and our two guides, Gonzo and Kendra, to chip in and do their share of the work. I just hope Mr. Cool and the tourists chip in, too. And that the tourists give the guides a good tip at the end of the trip. Hopefully that’s all I’ll have to worry about. I sure don’t want any injuries, or for anyone to have to swim a rapid.

Well, time to go to the trip meet-and-greet at Milt’s Stop & Eat, supposedly the best burger and shake joint in Moab, Utah. After a long day of prepping and checking everyone in, I’m ready to chow down on some of their tater tots that everyone keeps talking about. And we guides are all primed to get the tourists excited and in the mood for fun. On most multi-day trips, personality problems crop up and have to be smoothed over, and I can see the potential for that in this group. But no more than usual, really. No one seems ready to kill anyone else yet.

Beth is giving away one (1) copy of FATAL DESCENT. Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. The book will be shipped directly from the author. Contest ends June 14 and US entries only.

Meet the author:
Bestselling mystery author Beth Groundwater writes the Claire Hanover gift basket designer series (A Real Basket Case, a Best First Novel Agatha Award finalist, and To Hell in a Handbasket) and the Rocky Mountain Outdoor Adventures series starring whitewater river ranger Mandy Tanner (Deadly Currents an Amazon #3 overall bestseller, and Wicked Eddies, finalist for the Rocky Award). The third books in both series will appear in 2013, starting with Fatal Descent this month. Beth enjoys Colorado’s many outdoor activities, including skiing and whitewater rafting, and loves talking to book clubs. Please visit her website, blog, Facebook page and Goodreads page.

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

This Vacation is Going to Hell in a Handbasket by Beth Groundwater

My husband Roger, my college-aged daughter Judy, and I came up to Breckenridge to have a nice relaxing ski vacation after the trouble with Enrique in Colorado Springs that almost ruined Roger’s and my marriage. But I don’t want to talk about that. You can read about it in Beth Groundwater’s book, A Real Basket Case, if you really want to know. Let’s just say that I’m extremely grateful Roger didn’t end up in prison.

Along with spending some time with Judy (I miss her since she went off to college!), I was going to make and donate a gift basket to the Summit Foundation fundraiser’s silent auction. Now I’m too rattled to even think about how to construct that relaxing spa-themed basket. Not when I have to throw together a sympathy basket instead!

Here’s what happened. I was a little upset when I found out that Judy’s boyfriend Nick’s family was “magically” going to be here at the same time (those two planned it, I know!), but I can go with the flow. Then an absolutely horrible thing happened when we three went skiing with Nick’s sister Stephanie yesterday. She was an excellent skier. But somehow she crashed into a tree on the ski slope and suffered a massive head injury that killed her. I can’t imagine what her parents and her brother must be going through!

I didn’t see it happen because I’m not in great shape. I can ski the expert slopes every now and then, but they really make my knees ache. It was hard to keep up with the girls, and I could tell Judy was getting impatient with me. I told them to go ahead. If only I’d been able to keep up with them! Maybe then…

I feel so guilty. I should have insisted we stay on blue intermediate slopes. The ski patrol claims it was an accident, but I don’t believe it. None of us actually saw Stephanie hit the tree. Afterward, I saw ski tracks in the snow that showed someone deliberately hit her and forced her to crash into that tree. But before I could point the tracks out to anyone, the ski patrol obliterated them with the rescue sled, so now no one believes me.

I just met Stephanie yesterday, but she seemed like a lovely girl, poor thing. I wish Nick’s family hadn’t come. Then poor Stephanie might still be alive. But you know, there’s something fishy about that family, and I’m afraid Judy may be in danger, too. I just want to leave Breckenridge and take her with me, get her out of here.

But Judy is the definition of stubborn, barely listens to what I have to say, then ignores my advice and does what she wants. Three months ago, I worried that she would do something stupid in France during her spring semester art study program, like starting to smoke pot or heaven forbid, getting a tattoo or piercing. Fortunately, nothing so far! But she’s showing all the signs of having fallen in love with Nick. She refuses to talk about leaving him, even for a short while.

I’ve got to convince Detective Silverstone of the Summit County Sheriff’s Office that Stephanie was murdered and that my Judy needs protection. Oh God, I’m scared to death that she’ll be hurt. And when one of my kids is threatened, my Mama Bear claws come out!

An icy demise snowballs in book 2 of this Agatha Award-nominated series. Gift basket designer Claire Hanover is reluctantly enjoying a spring ski vacation with her family in Breckenridge, Colorado, when a bloodcurdling scream cuts the frigid air. Claire is appalled to find the sister of her daughter’s boyfriend dead on the slopes. Others assume the girl’s death was an accident, but Claire notices another pair of ski tracks veering dangerously into the victim’s path. To protect her daughter as incriminating clues surface, Claire unravels a chilling conspiracy.

** Beth is giving away one (1) autographed copy of TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET. Contest open to US residents only and ends November 15. Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. Book will be shipped directly from the author. **

Meet the author
Bestselling mystery author Beth Groundwater writes the Claire Hanover gift basket designer series (A Real Basket Case, a Best First Novel Agatha Award finalist, and To Hell in a Handbasket) and the Rocky Mountain Outdoor Adventures series starring whitewater river ranger Mandy Tanner (Deadly Currents and Wicked Eddies). The third books in both series will appear in 2013. Beth enjoys Colorado’s many outdoor activities, including skiing and whitewater rafting, and loves talking to book clubs. Please visit her website: http://bethgroundwater.com

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

A Day In The Life Of Claire Hanover by Beth Groundwater

Hi, Claire here. I was a little intimidated when Dru Ann Love asked me to share my typical day with her readers. I mean, how interesting can a day spent with a middle-aged housewife with a part-time gift basket business really be? Sigh! I’ll try my best to jazz it up some.

Since I’m sharing EVERYTHING, I’ll tell you that my “day” usually begins with waking up a couple of times in the early morning with hot flashes. I can’t wait until I’m done with periomenopause and my thermostat goes back to normal!

My husband Roger and I live in the Coyote Hills neighborhood of Colorado Springs, though I wish I still lived near my best friends Ellen and Jill (more about them later). Weekdays, I get up around six-thirty when his alarm goes off and fix his breakfast and coffee before he leaves for his job as a CFO for a mid-sized technology company run by a small-sized tyrant. Sorry, I’m prejudiced. That man just works my man way too hard.

Roger’s and my kids are grown, so once the “big kid” is out the door, I don’t have many other family responsibilities. I’ll usually spend the mornings, and some afternoons, on my gift basket business, creating baskets, delivering them, shopping for supplies, handling orders, and so on. I have a workroom in my basement filled with baskets, ribbons, artificial flowers, packing and wrapping materials, and other odds and ends I use to decorate my creations. I also keep a stock of Colorado-based foodstuffs and other products, because my Colorado Collection baskets are very popular, especially with real estate agents. For other baskets, after I interview the giver about the recipient and pick a theme and a color scheme, I’ll shop for the gift items that will go in the basket. I try to stimulate all five senses and really match the person’s interests and personality. I guess that’s why I have so many repeat customers. I have to admit that I’m kind of proud that.

Often these days I have dinner by myself, a bowl of canned soup and crackers, usually, in front of the TV because Roger’s boss has him working such long hours. You know, I thought that once the nest emptied, Roger and I would have more alone time together. I dreamed about snuggling together while watching a movie, ski trips, hiking together, maybe even dancing. But that hasn’t happened. If I want to dance, I’ll have to do it alone.

Some days, not as often as I should, I’ll take a walk in the nearby Garden of the Gods Park for fresh air and exercise. That’s going to change soon, though. I let my best friends Ellen and Jill talk me into taking an aerobics class with them starting tomorrow. Who knows, maybe I can flatten my pouchy stomach and lose a few pounds? I’m more likely to collapse in exhaustion, though, before the class is half over. But Ellen says that doesn’t matter; the women who come aren’t that athletic. They’re there to drool over the instructor, Enrique, who she says is prime, grade A eye candy.

I have a feeling that my life is about to get a lot more interesting!
You can read about Claire Hanover (and the unfortunate Enrique) in the first book of her series, A REAL BASKET CASE, which was re-released in trade paperback and ebook on November 8th. When the book came out in hardcover, it was a finalist for the Best First Novel Agatha Award. TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET, the second book in the series, was released in hardcover in 2009 and will be re-released in trade paperback and ebook in November, 2012. That will be followed by a third new book in the series, BASKETFUL OF TROUBLE, in November 2013. To find out more about Claire, the books, and gift basket design, visit author Beth Groundwater’s website at: http://bethgroundwater.com.

Contrary to what many readers think, Beth Groundwater does not have a gift basket business. She does, however, enjoy making gift baskets for family, friends, and silent charity auctions. Beth lives in Colorado, loves writing mysteries set in her beautiful state, and enjoys its many outdoor activities, including skiing, hiking, and whitewater rafting. She loves talking to book clubs, too, so if you want her to meet remotely or in-person with yours, contact her at her website (http://bethgroundwater.com).

** Beth has generously offered to give away one copy of A REAL BASKET CASE. To enter, you must leave a valid e-mail address in the comment box with your comment. One entry per person and this is open to anyone with a U.S. mailing address. Contest ends on November 14th at 6pm EST. The winner will be chosen using a random number generator and will be notified by e-mail and has 2 days to respond. Book will be shipped directly from the author. **

Deadly Currents by Beth Groundwater

Deadly Currents by Beth Groundwater is the first book in the new “RM Outdoor Adventures” mystery series. Publisher: Midnight Ink, March 2011

The Arkansas River, heart and soul of Salida, Colorado, fuels the small town’s economy and thrums in the blood of river ranger Mandy Tanner. When a whitewater rafting accident occurs, she deftly executes a rescue, but a man dies anyway. Turns out, it wasn’t the rapids that killed him—he was murdered. Tom King was a rich land developer with bitter business rivals, who cheated on his wife, refused to support his kayak-obsessed son, and infuriated environmentalists.

Mandy’s world is upended again when tragedy strikes closer to home. Suspicious that the most recent death is connected to Tom King’s murder, Mandy goes on an emotionally turbulent quest for the truth—and ends up in dangerous waters.

What a wave of a ride! This story kept my attention as I watched Amanda (Mandy) Tanner slip into the fascinating world of whitewater rafting and investigating. Trying to protect her uncle’s name, Mandy starts asking questions that someone does not want answered. Faced with a family heartbreak, Mandy moved up her efforts to find the murderer. The closer Mandy gets, a killer watches, ready to make a move. Striking out at her does not stop Mandy, but spurns her on. The author did a good job at twisting me around because I should have seen the killer but I didn’t. That’s a good mystery. I love the setting and this is from someone who will never get that close to nature’s water. The wonderful cast features an exuberant Mandy, her best friend Cynthia, who tagged along on Mandy’s investigations, her brother David, who I hope we see more of and her boyfriend, Rob. This was a wave-smashing soak-yourself-to-the-bone ride and I’m looking forward to the next adventure in this energizing series.

previously posted on the Cozy Chicks blog

To Hell in a Handbasket by Beth Groundwater

To Hell in a Handbasket by Beth Groundwater is the second book in the “Claire Hanover, Gift Basket Designer” mystery series. Publisher: Five Star, May 2009

In this sequel to A Real Basket Case, Colorado Springs gift basket designer Claire Hanover takes a spring ski vacation in Breckenridge, Colorado, with her family. The vacation quickly goes to hell in a handbasket when the sister of her daughter’s boyfriend’ is killed on the ski slope. Others think an out-of-control snowboarder slammed into her, but just before the ski patrol arrived, Claire saw another pair of ski tracks that veered into the young woman’s.

Claire passes her findings on to an initially skeptical sheriff’s detective. Confusing clues point to alternative scenarios for the young woman’s death—which was definitely no accident—and put Claire’s daughter, Judy, in the path of danger. As the spiral of intrigue winds tighter and other deaths occur, Claire must draw on inner reserves of strength to conquer not only the conspiracy but also the winter elements. And, like a mother bear, she must fiercely protect her independent-minded cub from harm.

I really enjoyed this cozy mystery and getting to know Claire and her family.  I like how Claire would do anything to protect her family, even if it meant a love loss for her daughter.   I look forward to reading more by this author.  My rating: 4 stars

*new-to-me author