Friday, October 16, 2009

Beth Groundwater Joins InkSpot!

Since this is my first official post on Inkspot after signing my 2-book contract with Midnight Ink and joining my fellow "Inkers" at this blog, I thought I'd introduce myself and my new mystery series. You can always find out more about me and my writing by checking out my personal website and blog. Also, I'm at Bouchercon this weekend, so if you are, too, come up and say hi! If you comment on this post, I'll reply after I get home.

The photo shows me on July 4th (hence the red, white & blue outfit) in Breckenridge, CO signing the two books in my Claire Hanover gift basket designer mystery series published by Five Star Publishing. I love my state, and I enjoy using real Colorado locations in my fiction. A Real Basket Case is set in my hometown of Colorado Springs, To Hell in a Handbasket is set in Breckenridge, and the new Midnight Ink series will be set in Salida, Colorado.

My new Midnight Ink series will be the Mandy Tanner river ranger series. The first book, Wicked Whitewater, is slated to be released in the first quarter of 2011, and the second, which I'm currently drafting and have tentatively titled Evil Eddies, will be released in the first quarter of 2012. Mandy is a 27-year-old seasonal river ranger with the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area, the most popular location for whitewater rafting and kayaking in the United States. She's single, struggling to make ends meet, and might just be in love.

River rangers, like Mandy, are usually whitewater rafting guides who take additional training to become rangers, and I met quite a few while researching the series. If they discover a dead body in or near the river while on patrol, they become part of the investigative team with the detectives in the Chaffee County Sheriff's Office, though the Sheriff's Office retains primary responsibility for solving the case. Thus this series will be a hybrid of the amateur sleuth and police procedural genres. I'm a fan of the work of C.J. Box and Nevada Barr, and my hope is that my new series will marry the wilderness settings and ranger/warden lifestyles of those series with the thrill of running roiling rapids.

I was an avid "river rat" in the 1980s, running whitewater rivers in the eastern US in an open-boat canoe stuffed with flotation bags before I settled down to raise a family. I'm still fascinated with flowing water. My husband knows that if we drive alongside a whitewater river, I'll be leaning out the car window, reading the water, assessing if it's deep enough to be run, and if so, what line I would take. I have enjoyed reacquainting myself with the river rat subculture and its updated boating equipment while researching the Mandy Tanner river ranger mystery series. And, of course, I never turn down the chance to take a whitewater rafting trip! I enjoy Colorado's many outdoor activities, including skiing, hiking, and biking as well as whitewater rafting, so sometimes it's hard to sit inside and write.

I'm thrilled to be a part of the Midnight Ink publishing family and an InkSpot blogger. I have a feeling I'm in for wild ride!


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Wow, you've had an interesting life, Beth!

The last, and only, time I went whitewater rafting was in the middle of a drought in TN. The rocks in the stream kept coming up through the bottom of the raft and bumping my rear end. Sigh...droughts and whitewater--not a good combo!

Welcome to InkSpot!

Alan Orloff said...

Welcome to InkSpot, Beth! Have fun at Bouchercon.

Dru said...

Welcome Beth.

Your new series sounds very interesting and I look forward to reading it.

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Welcome, Beth! Your series sounds like great adventure. Since I enjoy both C. J. Box and Nevada Barr, I'll be adding you to my reading list.

jbstanley said...

So glad to have you as an Inker. And Elizabeth is right - you are a fascinating lady!

Sheila Deeth said...

Cool. Like you said, not just baskets. The next books sound fun though I know nothing about rivers and rafting. (Didn't know anything about baskets either till I met you.)

Lisa Bork said...

Beth, welcome to Inkspot. Your new series sounds interesting. I went rafting on the Snake River once--the scenic, not whitewater, trip.

It was a pleasure to meet you at Bouchercon. I wish you all the best with your new series!!

Beth Groundwater said...

Thanks for the welcomes, fellow Inkspotters! I also enjoyed dining with a few of you at Bouchercon and getting to know you better. Lisa, your "speed-dating" pitch at the New Authors event sounded polished & intriguing, so it was just right! Sheila, I love getting your comments on my personal blog, and I hope you'll continue to visit Inkspot--and not just to read my posts.

G.M. Malliet said...

So nice to meet you at last at Bouchercon. Welcome, Beth!