Tag Archives: Colorado

A Barebones Kind of Writer? — by Pat Bertram

As a project for a writing group, we were supposed to post the last sentence of a couple of our chapters, but it was hard for me to find last sentences that say much. It’s usually my second and third to last sentences that have the meat, with a final, very short sentence to deliver the punch, such as these chapter endings from Light Bringer.

She thrust the magazine at Mac. “This isn’t a picture of my parents.”
But the frantic beating of her heart told her it was.

She turned around slowly, and clutched at her chest.
The ghost cat was inside the house.
And so was something else.

Wisdom lay stretched out on the borrowed couch, eyes closed in feline bliss. The skin on its belly rippled gently as if being caressed by unseen fingers. A chuckle reverberated in its chest.

“Shakespeare was right,” Emery said. “‘Hell is empty. All the devils are here.’”

Still, I did manage to find several ending sentences that were a bit longer than most and even made a sort of sense by themselves:

Lying awake, staring at the dust motes dancing in the moonlight, he thought he could hear voices murmuring in the wind.

After the sun set, they headed home in a rich, warm alpenglow that turned the world to gold.

A skinny, hairless cat with luminous silver eyes sat on the porch and stared at them, a quizzical look on its face.

Could it be that they were all following a script of someone else’s devising?

They were met with a burst of color, a song of pure joy that seemed at odds with the harsh environment of the laboratory they had entered.

Hugh shot them a disgusted look, then he and Keith plunged into the light.

Hmmm. I might have to change my opinion about my writing. I always thought I was a barebones kind of writer, but there seems to be a bit of poesy to my descriptions, especially with longer passages, such as this one, also from Light Bringer:

She looked just as he remembered. The lithe body that moved as gracefully and effortlessly as a song wafting on a breeze. The shoulder-length brown hair that glimmered red and gold in the sunlight. The smile, big and bright and welcoming. Only her clothes—a pale green blouse and cotton shorts—struck a discordant note, as if he were used to seeing her in more exotic attire.

“Hello,” she said when he neared. The single word sounded as musical as an entire symphony.

“Hello,” he said, a goofy grin stretching his face. He felt a harmonic resonance and knew, once again, they belonged together.

After several seconds, her smile faded. “Do I know you?”

“Of course. We met . . .”

He gazed at her. Where had they met? Though it seemed as if he had always known her, they must have met somewhere, sometime; but when, in his pathetic little life, could he have met anyone so special? It slowly dawned on him he couldn’t have—not until this very moment.

Ducking his head, he whispered, “I’ve made a terrible mistake. We don’t know
. . . We’ve never . . .”


Where to buy Light Bringer:

Second Wind Publishing


Barnes & Noble Nook

iStore (on iTunes)

Palm Doc (PDB) (for Palm reading devices)

Epub (Apple iPad/iBooks, Nook, Sony Reader, Kobo)


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”


Filed under books, Excerpts, Pat Bertram, writing

Westward Ho! by J J Dare

Tomorrow, I start my journey west. Hurricane Lee delayed my exit today, but on Monday that dastardly General will be in my backdoor as I travel.

Well, actually, I’ll be headed north first to visit my daughter who is living in Siberia, I mean, Shreveport, Louisiana. After a day or two, I’ll head west to Texas. From there, I’ll be RV’ing to Colorado.

My favorite coffee cup, pictured above, will accompany me. I’m packing light, with only what I can fit in a backpack and sports bag. I’ll be roughing it: wearing the same jeans a few days in a row, fighting spotty internet connections, no fast food places within driving distance, and no cigarettes or booze. Oy.

It all came about rather quickly. I was asked if I wanted to go on a two-week escape and even before I made up my mind to go, I’d made up my mind. All I had to do was work out the particulars.

Particulars like, will my adult child remember to feed the cats, who will cut the grass, what should I bring, when will I get back . . . will I come back . . .

I need this, I’ve been told. Escape the ordinary, break away from the past, take a step or two into the future. It’s free, it’s two weeks in the Rockies, and it will be fun.

At any other point in my life, I would have had to decline. I have always been tied to someone who needed me around – now, for the first time in my life, I have no ties, no responsibilities. It’s an empty, strange feeling to be responsible only to myself.

Myself. What an odd experience this will be. Though I’m embarking on a vacation journey, it’s really the start of discovering who I am. There is a stranger staring at me in the mirror that I need to get to know

Creativity is awakening in my mind for the first time in two years. I’m excited to write, excited to unveil new characters and anxious to bring them to life. I’m anxious to bring me to life.

The adventure begins.

{ As an interesting side note, we stole the expression “Westward Ho!” from the Brits. It originated as the name of a satirical 1604 stage play by Thomas Dekker and John Webster, and has been the title of movies, books, songs, hotels, and even a small village in England }

J J Dare is the author of two published books, several short stories and about thirty works-in-progress.

Current enthusiasm is co-authoring at Rubicon Ranch


Filed under fun, Humor, life, musings, writing

Excerpt from Light Bringer by Pat Bertram

Light Bringer is Pat Bertram’s latest novel, scheduled for release by Second Wind Publishing in March, 2011.

Description of Light Bringer:

Becka Johnson had been abandoned on the doorstep of a remote cabin in Chalcedony, Colorado when she was a baby. Now, thirty-seven years later, she has returned to Chalcedony to discover her identity, but she only finds more questions. Who has been looking for her all those years? Why are those same people interested in fellow newcomer Philip Hansen? Who is Philip, and why does her body sing in harmony with his? And what do either of them have to do with a shadow corporation that once operated a secret underground installation in the area?

Excerpt (Prologue):

Helen Jenks gripped the steering wheel and squinted into the darkness beyond the beam of the Volkswagen’s headlights. Nothing looked familiar. Was she almost home? The snow had stopped falling, but in these hills so far from town, the county didn’t bother to plow. She didn’t know if she drove on the right road, or any road at all. There were no other cars, no tire tracks.

Where was everyone?

She sighed. Home in bed, probably, where she would be if she hadn’t pulled a double shift at the hospital.

Hearing an odd drone, she cupped a hand behind an ear and tried to isolate the sound from the rumble of the Volkswagen engine. Was something wrong with the bug? Oh, please, no.

All at once the sky lit up. She leaned forward for a better view and caught sight of a brilliant star that seemed to throb in time with her heartbeat, growing brighter with each pulsation.

She sat back and rotated her head around her stiff neck. Maybe it was Venus. Hadn’t she read that at certain times of the year, under certain conditions, Venus could be as big and as bright as the moon?

Leaning forward again, she saw the star pulse one last time, then wink out. As she became used to the darkness it left behind, it reappeared, darted toward the horizon, and vanished. So, not Venus. Perhaps a meteor or two.

She listened for the drone, but no longer heard it. Good.

Ten minutes later, she noticed a pin prick of light in the distance: her porch light. Her car slid to the side, and she gripped the steering wheel harder. Be careful, she cautioned herself. You’re not safe at home yet.

When at last she parked in front of her old frame house, she pried her fingers off the steering wheel and stumbled out of the car. Except for the dings and pops of the cooling engine, the world was silent, appearing so new and un-touched, she hesitated to mar the opalescent expanse with her footprints. Then her eyebrows drew together. The snow wasn’t untrodden after all. Tracks led to the house where a small gray creature huddled against the door.

She clapped her hands. “Shoo. Shoo.”

The creature did not stir.

“Go on. Get,” she shouted.

The creature still didn’t move. Was it dead? This wouldn’t be the first time a dying animal had been attracted to the warmth seeping from beneath the front door.

She approached gingerly, relaxing when she saw what appeared to be an old gray blanket that had somehow ended up on the stoop. She bent over to collect the wad of fabric, then straightened. Bad idea. Who knew what vermin had taken refuge in the folds.

Before she could figure out what to do, the blanket moved. She jumped back and stared at it. The blanket moved again, giving her a glimpse of a coppery curl.

She lifted the bundle, cradled it in her arms, and drew back the blanket. Two dark eyes, shining with intelligence, gazed at her.

She sucked in a breath. An infant, no more than nine months old.

As the infant continued to gaze at her, its eyes brightened to gleaming amber. Then it beamed at her—a welcoming smile, both joyous and knowing, as if it had recognized a dear friend.

Helen’s face felt tight. “Who are you?”

The baby chortled in response.

“And who left you here?” She glanced at the tracks. They led in only one direction—toward the house.

Feeling dizzy, she crouched to examine the tracks more closely.

They were footprints. Tiny footprints in the snow.

She staggered to her feet and followed the impressions to see where they had originated, but there were no footprints beyond her driveway. No tire tracks, either, other than her own. It seemed as though the baby had appeared out of nowhere and headed straight for her front door. All by itself.


Pat Bertram is the author of More Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fire,  and Daughter Am I.

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Filed under fiction, Pat Bertram