Tag Archives: Daughter Am I

A Gift for a Grief-Stricken Friend by Pat Bertram

Grief: The Great Yearning by Pat BertramI haven’t really promoted my book Grief: the Great Yearning, which chronicles my thoughts and feelings during the first year after the death of my life mate/soul mate. It seemed crass and insensitive to capitalize on people’s grief, though the book has been a big help to many who have suffered a significant loss such as a husband or a parent. As one person said, “Grief: the Great Yearning is an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”

If you need a gift (or a stocking stuffer) for someone who is grieving, please consider giving them a copy of Grief: the Great Yearning. It might help to bring them comfort knowing that someone else has felt what they are feeling.

The print version of Grief: The Great Yearning is available from Second Wind Publishing, Amazon, Barnes and Noble. You can even give the ebook in any format as a gift. Just go to Smashwords and click on “Give as Gift”.

If there are people on your Christmas list who like to read, please check out my other books. I’m sure they’d like at least one of them!

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More Deaths Than OneBob Stark returns to Denver after 18 years in SE Asia to discover that the mother he buried before he left is dead again. At her new funeral, he sees . . . himself. Is his other self a hoaxer, or is something more sinister going on?

Click here to read the first chapter: More Deaths Than One

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A Spark of Heavenly FireIn quarantined Colorado, where hundreds of thousands of people are dying from an unstoppable, bio-engineered disease, investigative reporter Greg Pullman risks everything to discover the truth: Who unleashed the deadly organism? And why?

Click here to read the first chapter of: A Spark of Heavenly Fire

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DAIWhen twenty-five-year-old Mary Stuart learns she inherited a farm from her recently murdered grandparents — grandparents her father claimed had died before she was born — she becomes obsessed with finding out who they were and why someone wanted them dead.

Click here to read the first chapter of: Daughter Am I

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Thirty-seven years after being abandoned on the doorstep of a remote cabin in Colorado, Becka Johnson returns to try to discover her identity, but she only finds more questions. Who has been looking for her all those years? And why are those same people interested in fellow newcomer Philip Hansen? And what do they have to do with a secret underground laboratory?

Click here to read the first chapter of: Light Bringer

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Pat Bertram is the author of Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I.All Bertram’s books are available both in print and in ebook format. You can get them online at Second Wind Publishing, Amazon, B&N and Smashwords. At Smashwords, the books are available in all ebook formats including palm reading devices, and you can download the first 20-30% free!

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The Hero’s Journey in DAUGHTER AM I ~~ by Pat Bertram

DAIthumbI fell in love with the concept of the mythic quest when I read Christopher Vogler’s book The Writer’s Journey, so much so that I knew I had to write my own quest story. I’m not one for fantasy, either in real life or genre fiction, so I decided to use the hero’s journey structure for Daughter Am I, my contemporary novel of a young woman — Mary Stuart — who goes on a journey to learn about her recently murdered grandparents. Accompanying her are six old rogues — gangsters and con men in their eighties — and one used-to-be nightclub dancer.

Developing so many characters at one time is difficult under normal circumstances, but the mythic journey archetypes helped me create the characters and keep them focused on their roles. Whether gangster or wizard, hit man or Darth Vader, the archetypes — and the power of the archetypes — are the same.

The hero is the one who grows the most in the story, who gains knowledge and wisdom. Heroism, in the mythic journey sense, is connected to self-sacrifice, risk, and responsibility. The hero must perform the decisive act of the story, though at the beginning, before their transformation, heroes often need to be goaded into action. Mary starts out only wanting to learn about her grandparents, and ends up becoming intensely loyal to the elders in her charge, which changes all of their lives.

A herald gets the hero started on the journey. Kid Rags, a dapper forger forced into retirement by computer technology, eggs Mary on, challenges her to find out more about her grandparents. Kid Rags is also a mentor, giving guidance and gifts, a role he shares with Teach. Teach is a con man who believes everything is a con, and he is not hesitant about sharing his vision.

Every mythic journey needs a trickster, a character who embodies the energies of mischief and a desire for change, and who provides comic relief. The trickster in Daughter Am I is played by Happy, an ex-wheelman for the mob. Happy wants to be on the move, is always urging action, and he peppers his talk with morose and unanswerable pronouncements about death. Did I mention that he carries a gun, but that his hands shake too much to be able to aim it properly? Poor sad Happy.

The shapeshifter is Tim Olson, Mary’s romantic interest. He doesn’t actually change shape, but he appears to change constantly from Mary’s point of view. He tempts, dazzles, confuses her, and makes her question his loyalty.

The shadow represents the energy of the dark side, the villain, and in the case of Daughter Am I, the villain truly is a shadow — Mary and her band of feisty octogenarians never even get a glimpse of him until the very end. Iron Sam, a dying hitman, is also a shadow. Although he is not a villain who has to be vanquished, he represents the dark side of Mary, a sinister balance to her guilelessness.

The story of Daughter Am I lightly follows the stages of the mythic journey, from a glimpse into Mary’s ordinary world, to the call for adventure (her own curiosity as to who her grandparents were and why they were murdered), her reluctance to commit to the journey, meeting her mentors, deciding to take a chance and just head out to talk to others who might have known her grandparents, undergoing tests and ordeals, and ultimately returning home, knowing who she is and what she wants to do.

Although Daughter Am I takes the same “hero’s path” that worked for such disparate stories as The Wizard of Oz, Star Wars, and Tin Cup, the journey is Mary’s own, not a rehash of any of any other quest story. That is the beauty of the hero’s journey — the structure is infinitely malleable, giving any story a mythic undertone without overshadowing the story itself or confining it into a strict formula.

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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.”

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Did Writing This Book Change Your Life? By Pat Bertram

I wish I could say writing this book (Daughter Am I) changed my life since would make a good story, but the fact is, it made little difference. It was the third novel I wrote. I’d already experienced the joy and sense of accomplishment completing a novel gives one, and I’d already experienced the disappointment that comes from having a novel rejected. I’d already experience the joys of being published and the disappointment that comes from not having the book take off immediately. Now, if Daughter Am I would go viral, that would change my life!

Here are some challenges other authors faced as they wrote their books. The comments are taken from interviews posted on this blog.

From an Interview with J J Dare, Author of False Positive and False World

Writing my first book a few years ago gave me confidence. I believe it was an exercise to prepare me for the challenges I would shortly face in my personal life.

From an Interview with Noah Baird, Author of Donations to Clarity

I think people thought I was pretty weird before the book. They still think I’m weird, but I think I get a pass now because I’m a writer.

From an Interview with Calvin Davis, Author of The Phantom Lady of Paris

After penning the Phantom Lady, I was not the same person. The actual writing of the novel took about five and a half years. During that period, I wrote and rewrote again and again, etc. That said, the truth is, it took me all my life to write the Phantom Lady. The penning of my two other novels was preparing me to write TPLOP. The production of my countless short stories was also tutoring me on how to create the Phantom Lady. And during all this time of schooling, “the lady” was inside me clamoring to be liberated, as I was clamoring to liberate her. “Free me…free me,” she screamed. When I completed the last sentence of the novel, the lady was finally liberated. “Thank you, Calvin,” she said. “Thank you.” Finally, she was free…and so was I.

From an Interview with Sherrie Hansen, Author of Merry Go Round

I think each book that I’ve written has changed my life. I remember an episode of Star Trek, Next Generation, when Jean Luc Picard was swept away to live out his life on another planet. He eventually fell in love, married, had children, and learned to play a musical instrument. When his new world came to an end, he learned that he had never left the Enterprise, and that the whole alternate life experience had occurred only in his mind, in a few days time. I feel like that every time I finish a book. It’s like I’ve visited some alternate reality and lived the life of my character from start to finish, feeling what they feel and experiencing what they experience, when in reality, I’ve just been sitting at my desk, typing away. In a very real way, I think each book makes me a richer, more multi-faceted, more understanding person because when I’ve walked a mile (or a hundred) in my character’s shoes.

Click here for more interviews by Second Wind Authors.

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Pat Bertram is the author of Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I.All Bertram’s books are available both in print and in ebook format. You can get them online at Second Wind Publishing, Amazon, B&N and Smashwords.  At Smashwords, the books are available in all ebook formats including palm reading devices, and you can download the first 20-30% free!

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Interview with Pat Bertram, Author of Daughter Am I

Pat Bertram is a native of Colorado. When the traditional publishers stopped publishing her favorite type of book — character and story driven novels that can’t easily be slotted into a genre — she decided to write her own. Second Wind Publishing liked her style and published four of Bertram’s books: ‘Light Bringer’, ‘Daughter Am I’, ‘More Deaths Than One’, and ‘A Spark of Heavenly Fire.’

What is the main premise of Daughter Am I?

When twenty-five-year-old Mary Stuart learns she inherited a farm from her recently murdered grandparents — grandparents her father claimed had died before she was born — she becomes obsessed with finding out who they were and why someone wanted them dead. Along the way she accumulates a crew of feisty octogenarians-former gangsters and friends of her grandfather. She meets and falls in love Tim Olson, whose grandfather shared a deadly secret with her great-grandfather. Now Mary and Tim need to stay one step ahead of the killer who is desperate to dig up that secret.

How long did it take you to write it?

I developed the idea for Daughter Am I in a single day, but I had to finish the book I was working on at the time, so I didn’t actually begin writing Daughter Am I until several months after I got the initial idea. It took me a year to write, and then another year to edit.

Who’s your favorite character in it?

That is a hard question! All the octogenarian gangsters in Daughter Am I are my favorites in their own way. There’s Teach, who sells bullets he claims came from the shoot-out at the O.K. Corral. There’s Kid Rags, who still works as a forger. There’s Happy, a trigger-happy ex-wheelman for the mob, whose hands shake so much he can barely aim let alone shoot. That’s only three of the octogenarians — there are seven feisty old gangsters all together. Well, six gangsters and one ex-showgirl.

What projects are you currently working on?

I’m currently collaborating on writing a novel online with eight other Second Wind authors. We each write from the POV of a different character, and follow that character throughout the story. In the first story, a little girl’s body was found in the desert, but who killed her? We won’t know until the book is finished! You can find this project at http://rubiconranch.wordpress.com I hope you will check it out!

What is something that surprised you about being an author?

The most surprising part for me is that I know how to write. For many years, my life was shadowed by the sadness of having no innate talent for writing. I’m not being modest — I really couldn’t write anything worth reading. When I decided to write despite that lack, I set out to learn everything I could about developing a readable story. Most of the how-to books confused the heck out of me — the authors would talk about rising conflicts and motivation/reaction units, and I didn’t have a clue what they meant. It’s only recently that I realized I actually know what I’m doing.

What one word describes how you feel when you write?

Intent.

Who designed this cover?

I did! I took the photo while I was out walking one day, and then tweaked the color. I’m pleased with the result.

Which do you use most for writing on, laptop or desktop?

Okay, I admit it: I am a closet pencilphile. Seems silly, I know, in this electronic age, but I write in pencil on loose-leaf paper. There. I’ve outed myself. I feel so much better now.

I am not being contrary. I do have reasons. I have a better mind/writing connection using pencil and paper than I have with a keyboard; a mechanical pencil is easier on my fingers than pen, and paper is easier on my eyes than a computer screen. But I do use a lap top for blog posts and interviews and such.

Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?

For me, fiction writing is largely a matter of thinking, of trying to see the situation, of figuring out the right word or phrase that puts me where I need to be so the words can flow. I can do this better late at night, in bed, clipboard propped against my knees or on a pillow than sitting at a desk. If, as Mel Gibson said, “A movie is like public dreaming,” then novels are like shared dreaming, and where better to dream than in a comfortable bed?

Your favorite quote:

“Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it.” — Goethe

If you were to attend a St. Patrick’s Day Party, which one thing would you never leave behind and why?

I’d take the Luck O’ the Irish. With a bit of luck, I could get whatever I wanted, including gold. And anyway, luck weighs a heck of a lot less than a pot of gold and is easier to carry with you.

Where can your readers stalk you?

I have a website — http://patbertram.com — where I post important information, including the first chapters of each of my books, but the best way to keep up with me, my writing, and my life on a daily basis is by way of Bertram’s Blog. http://ptbertram.wordpress.com

I’m also at Facebook, Good Reads, Squidoo, Twitter

All my books are available both in print and in ebook format. You can get them online at Second Wind Publishing, Amazon, B&N and Smashwords. Smashwords is great! The books are available in all ebook formats, including palm reading devices, and you can download the first 20-30% free!

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Character As Fate by Pat Bertram

Heraclitus believed that a person’s character is their fate. Character — the sum total of a person’s traits — influences the choices a person makes, and the consequences of those choices ultimately become that person’s destiny. Or not. Much of life is luck, happenstance, and totally out of our control, though we tend to believe we have much more control over our lives than we really do. But that’s not an issue here because this is a writing discussion, and in our story worlds everything is under our control, and what our characters do determine their own fate.

This is most obvious in a tragedy — a character comes to an unhappy end because of a flaw in his or her own character, though in today’s stories, because readers like a more optimistic ending, that fatal flaw is often balanced by a special strength. But character/fate works for other types of stories, such as a thriller where a character becomes obsessed with finding the truth, and that obsession leads to both the character’s fate and the end of the story.

For example, In Daughter Am I, a young woman is determined to find out the truth of who her grandparents were and why someone wanted them dead. That determination overrides her usual placidity and takes her on a journey that eventually leads her home again, changed forever. She really did find her destiny because of her character.

I wonder if the opposite is more true (if truth has degrees), that destiny is character. Does what happens to us, both the actions under our control and those beyond our control, determine who we are? Determine who our characters are? This was a theme I explored in More Deaths Than One. So much happened to my poor hero Bob that was not under his control, yet what was under his control — how he handled his fate — made him the man he became.

Any discussion about fate and writing would also have to include the question: does the writer’s fate affect the character’s fate? None of my books have totally happy endings. There is always a pinprick of unease in the background, but the book I am now contemplating — the story of a woman going through grief — is going to have even less of a happy ending. Perhaps because I know the ending of my own love story? Not my story, obviously, since I’m still here, but the story I shared with another. Except for my work in progress (the one that’s been stalled all these years) the stories I’m thinking about writing now all end up with the characters alone.

When I wrote the first draft of my novel More Deaths Than One (and the second draft and the third) I had the hero Bob meandering around his world trying to unravel his past all by himself, and it was boring. Did I say boring? It was moribund. The story went nowhere because there was no one for Bob to butt heads with.

In the fourth draft of More Deaths Than One, I gave Bob a love interest, a waitress he met at a coffee shop. (Hey, so it’s been done before. The poor guy spent eighteen years in Southeast Asia, and didn’t know anybody stateside. How else was he supposed to meet someone?) That’s when the story took off. He had someone to butt heads with, someone to ooh and aah over his achievements, someone to be horrified at what had been done to him.

From that, I learned the importance of writing scenes with more than one character. And yet here I am, once more falling into the black hole of writing a character alone.

Which leads me to my final question: could the fate of the character also influence the writer’s fate? If so, maybe I should decide where I want to go from here, and write my destiny.

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Pat Bertram is the author of Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I.All Bertram’s books are available both in print and in ebook format. You can get them online at Second Wind Publishing, Amazon, B&N and Smashwords.  At Smashwords, the books are available in all ebook formats including palm reading devices, and you can download the first 20-30% free!

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New Releases From Second Wind Publishing. Let’s Party!

SecondWind Publishing is pleased to announce the release of three new thrillers: One Too Many Blows To The Head, by J.B. Kohl and Eric Beetner, False World by JJ Dare, and Daughter Am I by Pat Bertram.

What is more exciting than three new releases from Second Wind Publishing, LLC? Four new contests!

Eric Beetner is having a Free ebook giveaway of the latest thrillers! Tell us an experience based on one of the new releases, and you might win that ebook. Click here for information.

J.B. Kohl invites you to “Tell Me About it. Maybe I’ll Give You A Book.” Write a 500 word short story about a flawed character. Click here for information.

JJ Dare is sponsoring a “False World” Story contest. All you have to come up with is 50 words. Click here for information.

If writing isn’t your thing, Pat Bertram is having a Treasure Hunt! Click here for information.

What is more exciting than four new contests or three new releases? Two great games to play! Click on the photo to find the game.

And what is more exciting than four new contests, three new releases, two great games to play? One free download! Click here to get a free download of the Second Wind Publishing Mystery Sampler ebook.

If you prefer to read online, click on one of the covers above to read the first chapter of the novel.

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Free ebook giveaway of the latest thrillers!

To mark the release of three of Second Wind’s newest thrillers – Daughter Am I by Pat Bertram, False World by JJ Dare and One Too Many Blows To The Head by JB Kohl and Eric Beetner – we’d like to know your experiences with the theme laid out in each book.

Choose the book that sounds interesting to you and answer a question based on a central theme in that book. If your response is chosen you win a free ebook download of that novel! You can enter for all three if you like and have a better shot at getting a free download.

First is One Too Many Blows To The Head by JB Kohl and Eric Beetner:

Kansas City, 1939.
In a world of fixed fights and mob influence Ray Ward and his brother Rex are two of the only clean fighters in town. With Ray in the corner and Rex in the ring they are headed for the big time. Until that fateful night. Now Ray has a score to settle using a lifetime of lessons in how to fight back.

Dean Fokoli is a detective with a new partner, an alcoholic wife and a guilty conscience. At least the boxer on the radio who just got beat to a pulp won’t end up in his homicide file. But when the dregs of the crooked fight world start turning up dead, Fokoli is on the hunt for the killer. The chase will take him to the underbelly of the Kansas City night and hopefully keep him one step ahead of his past.

The question is…have you ever been in a fight? A bloody knuckle brawl? A verbal smackdown? Tell us your story of when it got out of hand.

Next up is Daughter Am I by Pat Bertram

When twenty-five-year-old Mary Stuart learns she inherited a farm from her recently murdered grandparents – grandparents her father claimed had died before she was born – she becomes obsessed with finding out who they were and why someone wanted them dead. Along the way she accumulates a crew of feisty octogenarians – former gangsters and friends of her grandfather. She meets and falls in love with Tim Olson, whose grandfather shared a deady secret with her great-grandfather. Now Mary and Tim need to stay one step ahead of the killer who is desperate to dig up that secret.

The question is…have you ever learned something shocking about your past? Maybe not murder but what rocked your world once you found out?

Finally is False World by JJ Dare.

The second book in the Joe Daniels’ trilogy continues where False Positive ends as Joe 
continues his mission to destroy those who have destroyed his life. As the world changes, Joe’s search for justice takes on a global urgency and he races to find answers before deadly answers find him.  In this second installment of the Joe Daniels’ stories, the mystery and thrills are non-stop. Beginning in a secluded town in the middle of nowhere, it is not long before Joe is traveling across the country and, ultimately, across a collapsing world on his quest for vengeance.  

The world is not what you see.  And neither is Joe.

The question is…have you ever sought revenge or retribution? In a small way, a big way? What made you seek justice?

We look forward to hearing your real world experiences with these themes that make all three books page turning thrillers to leave you breathless at the finish.

Just post your story in the comments section below.

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Message in a Novel

After watching the movie, The Jane Austen Book Club, which followed several couples whose stories mirrored those in Austen’s books, I decided to reread Sense and Sensibility. While plowing through the incredibly long and obtuse introduction to the book, I couldn’t help wondering what Jane would think of it. Did she really mean to say all the things the author of the introduction said Jane meant to say? How would Jane feel if she found out that kids were studying her book in school and adults were studying it in book clubs? Did she mean her books to be studied? Or did she mean for them to be read?

On the off chance of Daughter Am I ever being taught in schools, I’ll tell you right now what I meant. I meant for people to enjoy the story of Mary’s quest to discover who killed her grandparents. I meant for people to be taken away from their mundane lives for a few hours. I meant for people to read themselves to sleep and wake up thinking about Mary’s journey and perhaps smile at the antics of the aged gangsters who accompany her. And after all that, if I get anyone to wonder about the truth of the stories my gangsters tell, so much the better.

Although I pepper my novels with little known or controversial truths, I stay away from obvious messages in my novels, such as political agendas, religious beliefs, and current issues, yet it’s almost impossible to completely delete messages from a story. Even the frothiest romance has a message, a theme: love wins out in the end, or love conquers all.

The unifying theme in all of my books is the perennial question: Who are we? More Deaths Than One suggests that we are our memories. A Spark of Heavenly suggests that we are the sum total of our experiences and choices. Daughter Am I suggests we are our heritage. But you don’t really need to know this theme. It was more for me, a way to keep me focused on my stories.

Because that is what I write. Stories. Not books to be studied, but stories to be read.

Daughter Am I is Pat Bertram’s third novel to be published by Second Wind Publishing, LLC. Also available are More Deaths Than One and A Spark of Heavenly Fire.

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Keeping conversations real

Learning “tricks of the trade” about writing is part of what my journey with Second Wind Publishing is all about. Will I ever know all of the tricks and bring an end to my learning curve? I lean toward the belief that I won’t, and maybe that’s what I love most about writing. Its complexity and slipperiness guarantee that it will never be a stagnate entity. “Getting it right” is subjective because, after all, one man’s “perfect” book is fifty cents at a garage sale to another man. Even the Bible has its detractors.

I recently learned a writing “trick” that moved me a bit farther along my learning curve. Pat Bertram, another Second Wind author with newly released “Daughter Am I,” put me on to it, and it’s such a nice bit of information that I wanted to share it in this blog. It has to do with structuring characters’ conversations so that they feel in-the-moment and real and fluid. It was fun to break out of my mold of sameness and change my characters conversations for the better. An interesting side note: the changes shortened my book by almost five pages.

So what is this trick, you say? It’s something that I’ve started calling “Beat/Attribute,” for want of a better name. It has nothing to do with WHAT the characters are saying and has everything to do with describing HOW the characters are saying what they are saying. Is the dialogue snappy, with no intruding visuals? Or, if there are visuals, do they occur before or after the dialogue? Is there a WAY of speaking that needs to be emphasized? It also means eliminating unnecessary “said”s—ones that only serve to draw a reader out of the scene. Another interesting side note: WHAT the character says often changes too, as a by-product of playing around with the sentence structures.

To give an example from Love Trumps Logic, due for release soon, here is what one of LTL‘s sentences looked like originally:

“No, it happened because I foolishly allowed your prattle about your cousin to lure me in here,” Beau said, taking the last two glasses of champagne from a passing footman’s tray and downing one of them in a single gulp.”

There is nothing grammatically wrong with the structure, but if a book has the same structure over and over, dialogues begin to feel stilted. It is better to alter the types of dialogue structures used, to make for a more interesting read throughout the book. Here are some alternative structures on the same sentence:

1) Beau took the last two glasses of champagne from a passing footman’s tray and downed one of them in a single gulp. “No, it happened because I foolishly allowed your prattle about your cousin to lure me in here.”

2) [Skip the description] “No, it happened because I foolishly allowed your prattle about your cousin to lure me in here.”

3) Beau took the last two glasses of champagne from a passing footman’s tray, downing one of them in a single gulp. “No, it happened because I foolishly allowed your prattle about your cousin to lure me in here,” he said crossly. [Stephen King wouldn’t agree with this one; he hates –ly descriptors in conversations].

4) Beau took the last two glasses of champagne from a passing footman’s tray. “No, it happened because I foolishly allowed your prattle about your cousin to lure me in here.” He downed one of the glasses in a single gulp. “Let’s go.”

5) “No, it happened because I foolishly allowed your prattle about your cousin to lure me in here.” Beau took the last two glasses of champagne from a passing footman’s tray, downing one of them in a single gulp.

I could come up with more varieties, but I’ll stop. The point is that altering the dialogue structures throughout a book keeps the action fresh and prevents readers’ eyes from glazing over.

Does anyone have any other interesting “tricks” they want to share? I’d love to hear them!

Lucy Balch

Love Trumps Logic

Coming soon from Second Wind Publishing.

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Writing Without a Reader is Like a Kiss Without a Partner

I do so enjoy getting fan mail! How wonderful to wake up to a message such as this: I just finished Daughter Am I, and have to tell you how very much fun I had on that ride. I’ve always been a fan of happy endings, most especially if the characters are willing to put time and energy into helping make it happen. I loved coming full circle. I loved when Crunchy collected his latest stray — “Can we keep her?” I loved seeing in print “Money could buy happiness.” What a wonderful story, from start to finish. What an awesome gift. Thank you.

I hope I didn’t include any spoilers. All I could think of was sharing this woman’s enthusiasm for my latest novel.

For the most part, despite writers’ groups and online discussions, writing is a solitary occupation. You spend years (okay, only eleven months for Daughter Am I, but who’s counting) writing a book, months rewriting it, and perhaps a year or two editing it. During all that time you have only your vision to sustain you. You wonder if anyone will ever buy the book. You wonder if anyone will like it. You don’t need acclaim, because writing is an end in itself. Still, as John Cheever, said, “I can’t write without a reader. It’s precisely like a kiss — you can’t do it alone.”

Readers connect the circle, and in an odd sort of way, they finish the book. They take your vision and make it their own. Priceless.

DAIDaughter Am I: When twenty-five-year-old Mary Stuart learns she inherited a farm from her recently murdered grandparents — grandparents her father claimed had died before she was born — she becomes obsessed with finding out who they were and why someone wanted them dead. Along the way she accumulates a crew of feisty octogenarians — former gangsters and friends of her grandfather. She meets and falls in love Tim Olson, whose grandfather shared a deadly secret with her great-grandfather. Now Mary and Tim need to stay one step ahead of the killer who is desperate to dig up that secret.

Daughter Am I is Pat Bertram’s third novel to be published by Second Wind Publishing, LLC. Also available are More Deaths Than One and A Spark of Heavenly Fire.

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