About Beth
 

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 reared 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 seven 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, Pikes Peak Writers, and the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. I am the Membership Chair 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 nine 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!

I enjoy the many outdoor activities available in my home state of Colorado, including downhill skiing, hiking and biking. Also, 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, Southeast Asia, Africa, South America, 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!