Tuesday, February 24, 2015

BURIED and UNTRACEABLE - Elizabeth Goddard - Two Free Books

Dear Readers, I’ve been friends with Beth since before she was published. At one time, she attended the critique group that meets in our home. I love her writing. My copies of the two featured books haven’t arrived yet, so I can’t give a review of these stories, but her suspense novels always capture my attention. I’m sure these two will as well.  When they arrive, they’ll be the next two books I’ll read.

How did the book Buried come about?
I saw an article about a search for a killer on a mountain. A helicopter pilot wanted to warn some campers about the danger so he wrote on his Styrofoam coffee cup and threw it down to them. I thought that sounded intriguing so as the way of stories goes, it morphed into search and rescue story set in Alaska and starting with an avalanche. Of course, there is a dangerous man on the mountain.

Tell us about the book’s cover and what makes it unique.
I’ve received a lot of compliments on the cover for BURIED. It depicts a mountain and an avalanche, which I think is both beautiful and scary.

Please explain and differentiate between what’s fact and fiction in the book.
Mountain Cove is a fictional town I set in southeast Alaska just north of Juneau. I thought it would be easier to create my own town, but base much of what happens there off other towns in the region. The weather and the way people live, eat, heat their homes, all of it realistic for the area. The only way in and out of town is by floatplane or boat. Fact for the region. There’s an off-grid cabin in the story, and I based everything about the cabin off a real cabin in that region. There’s no electricity unless you want to use the generator, and solar power isn’t viable because half the year is dark, though I did have the owner of the cabin make an attempt. The avalanche experience was also taken from someone’s experience.

How much research did you have to do for this book?
A ton of research. I was fortunate to make contact with three people living in the region—someone from the forest service, search and rescue, and an avalanche specialist—who were extremely helpful with every aspect of the story. In addition to my experts and the internet, I leaned heavily on books I purchased about my topic.

What are some of the most interesting things you found about this subject that you weren’t able to use in the story?
There is always more research than one can fit into a story without making it turn into an informative journal. Honestly, I wish I could have put more into the story about search and rescue. How hard they work and how much they sacrifice to help others, and since most of them are volunteers, all the training and assistance they do at their own expense.

What inspired and surprised you while you were writing the book?
I’m always inspired by the beauty and the force of nature, especially mountains. I enjoyed reading about the Juneau Icefield and looking images of Michael’s Sword and Devil’s Paw which are nunatak spires (exposed peaks free from snow or ice) coming out of the field. I loved researching everything about glaciers. It’s all very fascinating to me and if it were up to me, I’d write stories set here forever.

What do you hope the reader takes away from the story?
That it’s all about God. In Him, we live and move and have our being. Through life’s struggles, we have to hang onto God.

What is the next project you’re working on?
I’m working on book five in Mountain Cove, which I hope to hear from my editor soon that she wants to buy it. It’s the story of the bush pilot introduced to readers through the first four books—the bush pilot and the missing Warren sibling. I’m having a lot of fun writing this one.  I’m also getting ready for the 2nd book in the series to release. UNTRACEABLE releases in March.

What do you do when you have to get away from the story for a while?
I work out, go running. Shopping or cleaning the house. It’s amazing how much housework I can get done because I’m procrastinating writing a story. I love to bake bread too. And I’m hoping to learn to knit or crochet as another creative outlet that has nothing at all to do with writing.

Please give us the first page of the book.
Mountain Cove, Alaska, North of Juneau
Gasping for breath, Leah Marks ran for her life, working her way through the deep snow from last night's winter storm, the semiautomatic in her pocket pressing into her side. What she wouldn't give for a pair of snowshoes.

How had Detective Snyder found her here?

At least she'd seen him from a distance, giving her a few more precious seconds to make a run for it. She had to escape. She wouldn't use her weapon against him unless she had no other choice. Shooting a police detective, even if he was a dirty cop and a killer, wouldn't win her any points no matter which way you looked at it.

Approaching Dead Falls Canyon, she left the tree line and took the biggest steps she could, her hips aching with the effort. She couldn't outrun him this way, but she reassured herself with the fact that he struggled with the same obstacles.

The deep snow would hide the hazards, and Leah counted on that. As she made her way, a snowcapped Mount McCann loomed in her peripheral vision. She'd spent enough time on the ski patrol in the Cascades during her college days to recognize the avalanche risk was high.

As she entered the danger zone, a glance over her shoulder told her Snyder was gaining on her. As strong as she was, she couldn't keep up this pace, and as if to confirm the thought, she stumbled headlong into the powder. Leah grappled and fought her way out, gulping panic with each breath.

With her fall, she'd have to turn and face him much sooner than she'd hoped. Leaving town and hiding in an off-grid cabin in Alaska hadn't bought her enough time. Hadn't bought her safety.

"Leah!" he called, his voice much too close.

Heart hammering, she turned to stand her ground. Stared into his stone-cold eyes. Breathing hard, he flashed a knife as he approached; smirking because he'd finally cornered her.

Dressed to kill, he was in black from head to toe—a dead giveaway against the white-carpeted mountains.

So that's what death looked like.

Funny that she'd worn white camouflage hoping to remain hidden, for all the good that had done.

Cold dread twisted up her spine. She thrust her hand into her pocket to reach for her weapon.

It was gone.

No! She must have lost it when she'd fallen. Snyder now stood between her and the snow she'd crushed with her tumble. Between her and her gun.

"Give me what I want, Leah." His dark eyes flashed from the opening in his ski mask.

"Why? So you can kill me like you killed Tim?" She had no idea what Snyder wanted from her, what he thought she had, but she'd witnessed him commit murder. No way would he let her live.

A thunderous snap resounded above them. A crack appeared in the white stuff beneath Leah Marks's boots.

The ground shifted.

Before she could react, before she could think, the avalanche swept her away—swept Snyder away, too—along with everything she'd been taught about how to survive. Carried away by a daunting, crushing force, heavy and swift to kill, she was helpless to stop the power that gripped her with icy fingers.

Roared in her ears.

Terror seized her as the megaton of white powder ushered her along to a frozen grave, an untimely death, as though she was nothing more than a twig. One brutal way to die had been exchanged for another.

And then…

Her body slowed before easing to a stop. The snow settled and held her inside.

Frozen silence encased her, shrouded her in muted gray light.

Think. What did she do now? Something. There was something she must do and she must be quick. To act before the snow compressed around her.

Fear temporarily gave way to determination as survival tactics filled her thoughts. She took in a breath to expand her chest, give her breathing room. With her left hand near her face, she scooped snow away from her mouth and nose before it hardened completely. These things she did while thrusting her arm toward the surface in what she thought was the right direction. If only she could breach the packed snow and force her hand through. Before she could complete that one last task, increasing her chance of survival, it was all over. There was no more give to the snow—it had locked into place.

Buried alive. She couldn't move.

Wow, Beth. I can hardly wait to read this one. Now let’s talk about the other featured book. How did this book come about?
UNTRACEABLE is the second book in the Mountain Cove series, so it was just a matter of brainstorming to come up with exciting and adventurous stories, and I watched several mountain climbing movies that inspired me.

Tell us about the book’s cover and what makes it unique.
The cover is a crevasse—which is a crack in ice or a glacier, not to be confused with a crevice, which is a crack or fissure in the earth. My characters had to cross a glacier. From the air or in pictures you think ice, right? Glaciers look beautiful and smooth, but they’re layered with crevasses, deep and small and some hidden out of sight. Very dangerous traveling and not for the faint of heart.

Please explain and differentiate between what’s fact and fiction in the book.
To create the man-against-nature part of the conflict, I drew from a true story of a man who kept getting snowed under by blizzard after blizzard during the spring in and around the Juneau Icefield. I always like to find a story that’s true, so I can base my fictional story on something that really happened. A large part of the geography of my story is purely fictional, though based on the southeast Alaska Coast Range, and of course the Juneau Ice Field.

How much research did you have to do for this book?
I spent as much time on research as I did on writing.

What are some of the most interesting things you found about this subject that you weren’t able to use in the story?
Staying alive in arctic temperatures during a blizzard and traversing a glacier are complicated aspects of the story that I felt would bog the pacing down if I got too technical, so for the most part I gave the reader what they needed to know and skipped the technical. There are many issues with crossing a glacier that I wanted to put in for details, and I found fascinating, but not only would it slow the story down, but would push my word count over the publisher’s limit.

What inspired and surprised you while you were writing the book?
I was surprised by the spiritual theme that arose in the story. It stems from where I was in my own spiritual journey, and then as I wrote, my characters had to dig down deep to find the strength to survive. I found the spiritual payload surprising, and there was a takeaway for me—the kind of thing I hope readers will get.

What do you hope the reader takes away from the story?
Ah, now we come to the question I almost answered above. Here’s a snippet from my Dear Reader letter at the end of the story, which says it all:

“As Christians we can struggle with the need to know and feel that God is here with us, and we might feel untraceable—that even God has lost us. But in the end, we find out that He was here all along.

Psalm 139 says it so much better, but no matter how far away from Him we might travel—either physically, emotionally, or spiritually—He is always here. I pray that you sense His presence in your life today!”

What is the next project you’re working on?
I’m continuing with more Mountain Cove stories, two more to be exact making a total of six (here’s to hoping my editor will buy them) and then I’m onto a new series with Love Inspired Suspense. In addition, I’m putting up a series called Redwood Coast, starting with Hearts in the Mist—one of my Heartsong Presents stories that I was able to obtain the rights back from Barbour Publishing.

Please give us the first page of the book.
"Off rappel!"

Heidi adjusted her night vision goggles at her brother Cade's call up the rocky cliff face from below. The snow-covered, mountainous landscape looked green and black, but at least she could see instead of stumbling around in the dark and falling to her death. Even though the moon was out in full force, this side of the mountain remained in the shadows.

The helicopter had dropped them off as close as possible to the summit, but they'd still had to hike another two hours to get to the place where they would rappel down to the trapped climbers, at least one of them injured, or so the three rescuers—Heidi and Cade Warren and Isaiah Callahan—had been informed.

As a member of North Face Mountain Search and Rescue—like the other Warren siblings—this was only the second time Heidi had climbed at night, and she shoved aside the unpleasant memory of the first. There was enough tension between her and her brother Cade, and unfortunately their friend and coworker Isaiah—who usually flew the helicopter—that she didn't need to tack on anything more to an already heavy load. And it wasn't just the emotional and mental burden. The pack on her back weighed her down, too.

Drawing in a cold breath, she hoisted the hefty pack—loaded down with climbing, medical and camping gear for spending the night—and rappelled the cliff. Cade, ever the protective brother, had insisted on going first, though Heidi was the trained technical climber of the three.

She'd made it halfway to the next rap station and paused for a rest, when gunfire ricocheted off the mountain. Heidi jerked and lost her balance. Her overfilled pack pulled her over, flip-flopping her. Now hanging upside down, her heart pounded.

She was the technical climber here.

She was the expert they counted on to assist in getting these people out.

She hadn't wanted to come. Not after what had happened last summer. But there'd been no choice. Two other daunting rescue operations were ongoing and they needed the manpower. If only she weren't out of practice.

All her fault. This was on her, and she knew it.

Heidi was a wreck, but she couldn't afford to give in to her emotions right now. Those climbers stranded in the saddle between the summits couldn't afford her messing up.

No way would she call for help, though. The last thing Cade and Isaiah needed was a rescuer who required rescuing. Besides, she'd assured Cade she could do this, but even if she hadn't, he'd pretty much insisted that she try. Isaiah had been the one to protest. He hadn't wanted her here. Whether because he personally didn't want to work with her after distancing himself for some unknown reason or because he didn't trust her abilities, she wasn't sure. Either way, his attitude stabbed her like an ice ax.

"What's going on up there, Heidi?" Cade asked over the radio.


"You need help?" Now Isaiah. Great.

And the incident command center would hear their conversation, too. Over the years, they'd developed their own radio-speak, and didn't use the more technical terms. Cade always wanted them to talk plainly. Worked for her.

"Heidi, I asked if you're good?" Isaiah again.

At the very least, she would prove to Isaiah she was back. She could do this. "I'm rapping down. You're distracting me."

With all the strength she could muster, she grabbed the rope and inched her way up, righting herself. Then she breathed a sigh of relief.

But what about the gunfire she'd heard? Heidi used her night vision goggles to scan the mountain and the saddle below, but saw nothing of concern. Was it someone chasing off a bear somewhere? Cade and Isaiah hadn't mentioned it. Had she imagined it? Or was it simply echoing from miles away? She wouldn't bring it up. All she needed was for them to think she was hearing things. As always, Isaiah and Cade were packing weapons in case they came across a bear, so she wouldn't worry.

Following Cade down, she rappelled, careful that the unusually heavy pack wouldn't throw her off balance again. She met him at the second rappel. A glance down revealed a beaming flashlight and a small fire burning nearly four hundred feet below.

Voices resounded from the camp. The climbers must have spotted their rescuers. Cade rappelled again. Heidi watched and waited before she followed. She glanced up but couldn't see Isaiah from here. He was likely growing impatient to hear her call.

Heidi looked down at Cade and saw him swinging over, creating a new path.

"Be careful. There's a vertical ice wall and a sheer drop," Cade told them over the radio.

Negotiating the terrain would be difficult enough under the circumstances, but with the expected inclement weather, even in April, things could only get worse.

As with Buried, I can hardly wait to read Untraceable. How can readers find you on the Internet?
I love to connect with my readers. You can sign up for my newsletter at my website: http://elizabethgoddard.com
Or twitter. http://twitter.com/bethgoddard

Thank you, Beth, for sharing these two new books with us. 

Readers, here are links to the books. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Buried Buried (Love Inspired Suspense\Mountain Cove)

Untraceable (Mountain Cove)

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link:


Melanie Backus said...

Wow! Two great books from a great writer. Thank you for sharing today, Lena and Elizabeth!

Melanie Backus, TX

Linda Kish said...

They both sound great.


lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Beth Goddard said...

Thanks for stopping by Melanie and Linda!


Necee L said...

I'm a southern girl who moved to Alaska...and I love Alaskan stories! I met my husband here and am intrigued by so much undiscovered terrain for us! Can't wait to read this series! Denise from Alaska : )

Sunnymeadows said...

Looking forward to reading these. I live in the south.

Anonymous said...

Either or both would be great to win. Enter me for both!
J.C. -Indiana-

Melissa Oldaker said...

These both sound like great reads. Thanks for the interview.

Melissa O in NC

Mary Preston said...

Great reading ahead thank you.

Mary P


Cindy W. said...

I would love to win Elizabeth's books. I love the Love Inspired Suspense line of books.

I live in Indiana.

Cindy W.

Beth Gillihan said...

Great first pages! They both look like fantastic reads! Thanks for the chance to win!

Beth in Montana

Marianne Barkman said...

I love the mountains..to look at, not to live in. And I love all things Alaskan! Thanks for a great interview Lena and Elizabeth, and for the chance to win. Has any one told you lately that YOU ROCK?!!!

Deanna Stevens said...

Oh my gosh... I've got to know how she get out from under the avalanche?? Would love to win a copy & find out, thanks for a chance to win one :)
Dee From NE
dkstevensneAToutlookD OtCoM

Jean said...

Sounds Wonderful!

Jean (FL)

Sheila Deeth said...

I think I'm hooked. Would love to read these. Sheila in OR

Pam Graber said...

Let me just say that the blurb you printed from "Buried" really made my claustrophobia kick in. After the reaction I had, I think I NEED to read the book to find out how she gets out of that spot. Would love to read both of these books!

Pam in Ohio

Beth Goddard said...

Thanks for all your comments, folks. Everyone loves Alaska stories--me included--and it makes me wonder what's going to happen when I have to move to a new region of the country! LOL Hopefully, those stories will be equally appealing. :)

And NeCee--I am so jealous of you. All that undiscovered country. Your life is an adventure!


Beth Goddard said...

Oops, I should have said, when I have to write a NEW SERIES set in a new region of the country. LOL

Beth Goddard said...


I'm totally claustrophobic as well. I'm also afraid of heights so the worst case scenario for me is to be stuck in a very crowded elevator on the 23rd floor. That happens almost every writing conference. LOL

I had to write this book because I had this opening scene in my head, and it needed a story to go with it, right?


Jackie McNutt said...

I have not read any of Beth's books but they look great !
Ohio reader
mcnuttjem0 {at} gmail{dot}com

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me in this awesome giveaway!!
Conway, SC.

Tammy G. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jan Hall said...

I can't wait to experience these books. All of my adventures these days are within the pages of the books I read. Alaska is a far cry from West Texas where I live.

KayM said...

I love reading books set in Alaska. These sound very exciting. Thanks for offering a chance to win them. Tennessee

Abigail Richmond said...

Awesome! Would love to read these! Please enter me!
Blanch, NC

Sierra Faith said...

They sounds good!! Can't wait to read then :D


Melissa M. said...

These look exciting, and I love that God is the focus!
-Melissa M. from TN

Library Lady said...

"Buried and Untraceable" Sounds like the title of one book instead of two.
Either way, I would be happy to win both books.
Janet E.

kam110476 said...

Hi Elizabeth & Lena! Holy cow - those are some seriously intense first pages! As the snow was falling around Leah I found myself literally kicking my legs to get the snow away! And I'm terrified of heights so I felt my blood pressure skyrocketing when Heidi lost her balance. I cannot wait to dig into the entire Mountain Cove series!!
Kristen in OK
kam110476 at gmail dot com

kam110476 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beth Goddard said...

Good one, Library Lady! LOL That DOES sound like one title. I love one-word titles myself. Coming up with the one word to represent the book is tough. My initial title for the first book was AVALANCHE. I had named each of the four books in this series by the actual event, if that makes sense.

I'm working on book 5 (and I hope they buy it!) and it's called TAILSPIN, working title. Having a lot of fun with this one too.

Jasmine A. said...

Gosh, they both sound so exciting! Now I HAVE to read them both ;)

Jasmine in Montana

Anonymous said...

They both sound exciting! Shelia from Mississippi

Necee L said...

Yes, it is! We love it here : )

Merry said...

I love suspense and high drama, Buried and Untraceable sound like they fit the bill! Please include me.
Merry in MN

Trixi said...

I have "Buried" & would love to add "Untraceable" to this! Great interview & excerpt of the book. Thank you for a chance to win!
I live on the beautiful Oregon coast:-)

Unknown said...

Sound like good reads...thanks for the giveaway..Rita from wisconsin...
rita dot navarre at yahoo dot com