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!
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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. **

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