Friday, April 13, 2007

Meet Beth Groundwater

A Basket of Trouble

Hello, everyone. First thing, I want to sincerely thank the Killer Hobbies authors for inviting me to be a guest blogger. I'm Beth Groundwater, author of the amateur sleuth mystery, A REAL BASKET CASE, released by Five Star Publishing on March 21, 2007. My protagonist, Claire Hanover, designs and delivers gift baskets for her part-time business. I don't have her problems, like a dead young massage therapist in my bedroom and my husband being accused of the murder! However, I do share her fascination with putting together just the right combination of items in a gift basket that form a cohesive theme matching the intended recipient.

On the Articles page of my website,, I list Tips for Making Perfect Gift Baskets. They include such hints as:
- Include at least one unique item the recipient would NEVER buy him/herself
- Include something for each of the senses: taste, smell, touch, sight, sound
- Never put foods in the same basket with strongly scented candles or bath product
- Pick one main color and two complementary accent colors and use them throughout
There are more suggestions for layout and construction, but the most important thing to keep in mind is that putting together the basket should be FUN, not a chore. Your heart should be involved in the process so you are picking gift items that truly fit the recipient and his/her interests.

I've also included a recipe for a Mystery Lover's gift basket on the Articles page, and links to various gift basket business and resource websites on my Links Page. The gift basket business is a thriving one, and I'm happy to report there are many stores in multiple cities that share the name of my book, A REAL BASKET CASE. J

I've constructed gift baskets for charity auctions (my favorite theme for this is "Nuts About Chocolate"), for friends and relatives, as thank-you gifts for the authors who blurbed my book, and as prizes for my email newsletter registration contest. I offer three possible themes for the prizes, Mystery Lovers, Chocoholic, and Relax-a-Bath. Most prize-winning subscribers, of course, prefer the Mystery Lovers theme, since they are mystery readers, after all. I've collected bookmarks and postcards from fellow Colorado mystery authors to add to the book collections and other mysterious items I place in these baskets.

For those of you who are aspiring authors, I have a blog which is an adjunct to my website,, where I describe my road to publication. I won't have much time for basket designing mid-April through June, because I'll be on the road promoting my book, with events scheduled every weekend. Check out my Appearances page to see if I'll be coming to your area! I've been gratified by the good reviews A REAL BASKET CASE has received so far, including:

"This will appeal to Desperate Housewives fans and those who like cozies with a bit of spice."
-- Barbara Bibel, Booklist Review, February 1, 2007

"Drugs and jealousy add up to a Rocky Mountain murder. A tense, exciting debut."
-- Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 2007

My hope is that Claire's basket of trouble will add up to a basket of fun for anyone who reads the book! Thanks again for inviting me here, Joanna, Deb, Monica, Linda, and Rett!

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