Tag Archives: Light Bringer

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!

***

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

***

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

***

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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Crashing the Party by Pat Bertram

Once a long time ago, I crashed a Halloween party. Sounds very bold, doesn’t it? But truly, it was out of character for me, and besides, I was in costume so in a way the person who crashed the party wasn’t really me. I remember that the party was given by a friend of a friend, but I have no idea how or why I decided to go — perhaps as a joke to see how long it would take for people to realize they didn’t know me.

I dressed as a witch — the whole bit: long black scraggly hair, puttied nose and chin almost meeting, heavy black brows, green-tinged skin, cackling voice. I walked into the party as if I belonged there, and for a while I was the belle of the ball as people tried to guess who I was. It finally occurred to one guy that I was a total stranger. So I left. Rather hurriedly.

That’s how I feel now as a science fiction writer — as if I’ve crashed a party, and no one has yet discovered that I don’t belong.

But am I a science fiction writer? Light Bringer was written as a thriller, not science fiction, though readers have called the novel science fiction. The story tLBthumbnailakes place in the present day, not in some fantastic future or otherworldly setting. The characters are recognizably human. Most of the science is based either on what is known today or gleaned from ancient religious documents and mythology. There is more history than science. And yet, a couple of my characters are not quite human, there is talk of UFOs and of another planet in our solar system that might return to wreak havoc upon earth. And, more importantly, Light Bringer is about ideas, showing us humans in a different light. Do those few science fiction elements make my thriller science fiction? Will calling it science fiction give people the wrong idea about the book?

People like what they recognize. There are certain conventions that readers expect in their favorite genre, and they are unforgiving if their expectations are not met. What if they decide I’m only masquerading as a science fiction author?

And so here I boldly stand, acting as if I belong, but secretly wondering if anyone will guess that I am a stranger in a strange land.

***

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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Keeping Track of Characters — by Pat Bertram

LBI don’t usually do character profiles before writing a novel except to decide on basic information — gender, a couple of physical traits and maybe general idea of personality type. I prefer to let the needs of the story dictate who the character is. I mean, if I have created a caring, nurturing character, and the story demands a wisecracking sharpshooter, then the story starts out with problems from the beginning. (Unless, of course, the wisecracking hides a caring, nurturing side of the character, which could make for an interesting character, though I’m sure it’s been done thousands of times before.)

Each book has its own demands, and Light Bringer had more demands than most. It was the only book I did a storyboard for. Halfway through, I got lost in all the points of view, the various stories that needed to be intertwined, the special needs of the novel, so I wrote a brief description of each scene on a card and played with them, dealing them out in various arrangements until I found the best way to fit all the pieces together.

Light Bringer was also the only book I did a character chart for. The story was based on both modern and ancient conspiracy theories (though ancient conspiracy theories fall under the category of “myth”). Instead of having one erudite character lecture a clueless character on the theories, I created a discussion group where each character believed and vociferously defended his or her pet theory. One unexpected benefit of the group was that I had ready-made pool of characters to draw from for bit parts.

Group dialogue causes problems for readers in that it’s hard sometimes to keep track of who is talking and what their purpose is in the story. It’s also hard for writers to keep track, so I made a chart of all the characters, their beliefs, style, food needs, and various other aspects to make sure that each was different.

For example, Scott Newman, a retired banker, believed that the international bankers were controlling the world to gain total wealth and power. He was lean, sharp-featured, contemptuous, didn’t eat “corporate foods” (things like chips and frozen dinners that were created by corporations) because as a loan officer, he’d already done enough to further the aims of the international bankers.

Faye Pozinski was almost his direct opposite. She believed that the British oligarchy (London bankers, the London School of Economics, the Fabian Society, the Rhodes Round Table) were controlling the world to create a neoBritish empire ruled by a theocratic world king. An ample woman in her fifties still working as a grocery clerk, Faye was hearty with a braying voice, a vegetarian, and delighted in wearing wildly colored clothes.

And then there was Chester, a wizened, jeans-wearing diabetic fruit grower who overdramatized everything. He’d once seen a UFO above his orchard, and he believes we are ripe for an alien takeover because he’s convinced these otherworldly creatures want to keep us from blowing up the earth.

These are only three of my discussion group characters but you can see why I needed a chart. So much to keep track of!

***

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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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

Amazon

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.”

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You Might Be a Writer . . . If You Agonize Over Commas by Pat Bertram

LBthumbnailA fellow writer took exception to my comma usage in the opening sequence of  Light Bringer. I double-checked the first page or two of the book but couldn’t see anything to change. I know I used a lot of commas, but each one was painfully earned. While writing and rewriting the novel, I would take them out, agonize over them, then put them put them back. The next day I would repeat the process all over again.

There are many rules for comma usage, the main ones being to use a comma between all terms in a series, before the conjunction when joining independent clauses, and to set off parenthetical remarks. I do not need to give you examples; you probably know more about commas than I do. But despite all the rules that have been formulated for commas, there is one overriding rule: use a comma to prevent confusion.

In other words, follow the rules until you can’t follow the rules. Clarity is more important than any punctuation rule.

Beyond clarity, the commas in Light Bringer were used for pacing. I could have used short sentences at the beginning, but short sentences evoke action, and someone driving at night on snowy, unplowed, unlit roads would not be moving quickly. I could have used run-on sentences, but they have a breathless quality, and also seem to evoke speed. Again, not what I wanted. So what I was left with was commas.

A lot of commas. Maybe I really should take some out. Or not.

***

THE BEGINNING OF PARAGRAPHS OF LIGHT BRINGER:

Helen Jenks gripped the steering wheel and squinted into the darkness beyond the beam of the blue 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.

An odd drone caught her attention. She held still 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 to ease the stiffness in her 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 untouched, she hesitated to mar the opalescent expanse with her boot prints. 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.

***

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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Excerpt From “Light Bringer” by Pat Bertram

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?

“Brilliant!” —Suzanne Francis, author of the Song of the Arkafina series

“Pat Bertram has a marvelous ability to write the longest parables in all of literature. She unglues the world as it is perceived and rebuilds it in a wiser and more beautiful way.” —Lazarus Barnhill, author of The Medicine People and Lacey Took a Holiday

“Light Bringer is TYPICAL BERTRAM: plots within plots, multiple characters with multiple agendas, fast moving, more than enough mystery and intrigue for everyone, satisfying conclusion. Great book!” —Malcolm Campbell, author of The Sun Singer and Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire

Light Bringer is one of the most unique novels I have had the pleasure to read in a long time. Ms. Bertram’s fascinating characters and original subplots make this a page-turner I simply could not put down.” —Deborah J Ledford, author of Staccato and Snare

Excerpt:

No wonder she felt tired—it was still night. She was about to climb back into bed when she remembered what Luke had said about the setting moon illuminating the outlines of the houses where the white tribe had lived. Afraid of missing the phenomenon, she didn’t even take time to snatch a robe to throw over the long T-shirt she wore, but dashed to the front door, yanked it open, and stepped out onto the porch.

She gaped at the town. By outlines, she’d thought Luke meant a faint tracing on the ground where the foundations had been, but this . . . this was a complete village, each exquisite stone house solidly visible. Though the stones weren’t uniform, they fit together snugly, like a miniature version of the megalithic ruins she’d seen in pictures of Cuzco. The roofs seemed to be made of rough wooden shingles, and the windows were covered with what appeared to be mats woven of dried grasses.

Seeing the door of the nearest house open a crack, she froze.

The door opened wider, and a sleek, hairless white cat with outsize ears and large slanted eyes sneaked outside. It looked around as though proud of its accomplishment, then sat back on its haunches and washed its face.

A ghost cat?

Becka felt a giggle percolate to her throat. She tried to swallow her amusement, but a tiny gurgle escaped.

The cat swiveled its head in her direction and focused its luminescent eyes on her.

She gazed at the hairless creature, unable to look away. What is it they say about staring too long into the abyss? Make sure it isn’t staring back at you?

She shivered, but still couldn’t avert her eyes.

Suddenly, with one liquid motion, the cat sprang to its feet and streaked toward her.

***

Click here to read the first chapter of: Light Bringer

Click here to buy: Light Bringer

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Writing the Book Only You Can Write by Pat Bertram

“I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn’t photograph them.” –Diane Arbus, noted American photographer

Out walking the other day, I noticed an incredible shadow of a tree on the sidewalk, and I had to stop and take a picture. I happened to pass at just the right time. In a few minutes, the sun would be in a different position, clouds would filter the sunlight, and the lines of the shadow would blur. But  for just a moment, there it was — stark and beautiful. Since I happened to be carrying my camera, I am not the only one who saw that shadow — you can see it, too.

During my two years as a published writer, I learned that if you wish to be a selling author, you need to pick a specific, recognizable genre, and you need to develop a series character in that genre who is so compelling people will be waiting for your next book. Readers who come late to the series go back to read earlier books, and so sales take on a life of their own, each book helping to sell the others. This was a painful lesson, because I did not do that. Each of my books is a stand-alone novel without a series character, and each straddles a shadowy line between genres.  Instead of a series that helps promote me and my oeuvre, I have to start over each time a new book is published, promoting each book individually.

And yet  . . . I can’t feel too badly about my stand-alone, genreless books. They would never have been written if I didn’t write them. Only I could have presented that particular world view, created those characters, told those stories. Maybe my books will never find a strong readership, maybe I will go down in obsucurity, but in those books are things no one would ever see if I hadn’t written a word photograph. Like my lake of flowers in Light Bringer:

Becka kept running, needing no footpath to lead her to their destination. She could feel the music tugging at her, guiding her, singing her forward.

At first a faint red trumpeting, the music swelled into a full orchestra: orange church bells, yellow bugles, green violins, blue flutes, indigo cellos, violet woodwinds.

Beneath it all, she could hear the grasses murmuring, “Hurry, hurry.”

And then there it was, spread out before her in a shallow thirty-foot bowl. A lake of flowers— chrysanthemums and tulips, daisies and daffodils, lilies and columbines and fuchsia—all blooming brightly, all singing their song of welcome.

***

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? (Light Bringer has been called a speculative fiction thriller, which is as good a genre description as any.)

***

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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Light Bringer, the Puzzle and the Game

My latest novel, Light Bringer, has just been published, and I’ve been spending the past few days updating sites and blogs. Still haven’t gotten around to my website yet  — it takes about ten times longer than I ever plan for. The only reason I’m telling you this is that I’d planned to write a great article about the themes of the book, perhaps talk about the plays of light in the novel, but that would take work, and I’m ready to play. So, let’s play! Just click on the image.

And if that isn’t any fun, here’s a jigsaw puzzle (I get such a kick out of these!)

Still want more fun?

Click here to read the first chapter of: Light Bringer

Click here to read the back cover copy and an excerpt: 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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Celebrating Four New Releases from Second Wind Publishing!

To celebrate these releases, we have three contests/giveaways/chances to win books. Choose your favorite, or enter all of them! All events end on April 15, 2011, so hurry!!

1. a writing contest: If you could write a letter and send it back through time to yourself, at age eight, what would you say to your younger self? J. Conrad Guest will select the best ones and award those letter writers inscribed copies of One Hot January. Click here for the rules and to submit your entry: What Would You Say to Your Eight-Year-Old Self?

2. a quiz: One person, randomly chosen from all correct entries, will win an ecopy of all four newly released books. (To be downloaded at Smashwords.com). Click here for the quiz: Take this Quiz and Win Books!

3. a giveaway:  leave a comment on this post telling us which newly released book (or books) you would like to read, and you might win that ebook! Four people chosen at random from all commenters will win an ebook of their choice to be downloaded from Smashwords in their preferred format.

Your choices of books for the giveaway:

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?

 —

In One Hot January, Joe January, an emotionally aloof private investigator from the South Bronx, gets more than he bargains for when he uncovers this seemingly impossible plot of time travel and alternate realities by grudgingly agreeing to help a pretty young woman locate her missing father. Her father, a Professor of Archeology from Columbia College, must prevent the secret location of Hitler’s body, which lies in a cryogenic state awaiting a cure for cancer, from falling into the wrong hands. By the end of the novel, January is thrust one hundred years into the future, where he must survive on a century-old sagacity as he endeavors to find his way back to his own time and the woman he loves but lacked the courage to tell. The tale concludes in January’s Thaw, to be released later this year.

The Magic Fault unfolds in Turin, Italy, where the Catholic Church’s most revered relic has been stolen by a mysterious sect from the city’s cathedral.  The theft occurs during the 2004 Salone del Gusto, Turin’s celebration of “good, clean, and fair food” sponsored by the international Slow Food Movement. Tom Ueland, an American Midwest college history professor and journalist who writes about magical thinking, is in Turin to vacation with a friend, Rachel Cohen, an exhibitor at the celebration.  He’s also there at the invitation of the Turin archbishop, himself a student of magical thinking.  Tom takes up the chase after the Shroud of Turin and is spun toward a resolution he never sees coming.

More Than a Governess: Becky Thorn has been keeping a secret for more than seven years. A secret that, if found out, could destroy her. So before she gets too ensconced in London society, she accepts a position as a governess for a reclusive Viscount and his wife, far away from the ton.

Stephen Hastings, the third Viscount Hastings, is nothing short of perturbed when the tart Miss Thorn shows up on his doorstep. He is a man with little time and even less patience, who feels his pushover housekeeper is doing a fine job keeping his wards out of his hair. But Miss Thorn thinks differently and needles her way into becoming his governess, and eventually, the object of his affection.

Read the first chapters of these books at: The Exciting Worlds of Second Wind Books.

For even more fun, click on the covers and you will find a surprise!

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Take this Quiz and Win Books!

For all questions, answer
A for Light Bringer by Pat Bertram
B for More Than a Governess by Jerrica Knight-Catania
C for The Magic Fault by Paul Mohrbacher
D for One Hot January by J. Conrad Guest

If you don’t know the answers to the following questions, (or don’t want to guess) you can find most but not all of the answers by clicking on the above links. One person, randomly chosen from all correct entries, will win an ecopy of all four books. (To be downloaded at Smashwords.com). Send your responses to secondwindpublishing@gmail.com before April 15, 2011 to be considered for this special prize.

Hint: five questions pertain to each book.

  1. This book has been described as the world’s longest parable.
  2. The main character of this book is a Midwestern college history professor.
  3. This story takes place in London.
  4. This book is about getting a second chance at starting over.
  5. One of the main characters in this book is short of time and short of patience.
  6. The main character of this book is described as an indignant Humphrey Bogart
  7. This book features a ghost cat. Or is something other than a ghost?
  8. This book is a regency romance.
  9. This story takes place in Colorado.
  10. The stolen object in this story could have repercussions for the Catholic Church.
  11. This is the fourth novel by this author to be published by Second Wind Publishing.
  12. This book is written in the style of Raymond Chandler.
  13. This book is best described as speculative fiction.
  14. This story is about the theft of a famous relic.
  15. This book takes place in alternate realities and features time travel.
  16. This story takes place in New York.
  17.  This is the first book by this author to be published by Second Wind Publishing.
  18. This story takes place in Italy.
  19. This book is part of a published series.
  20.  The heroine of this story is a servant. Or is she?

Now you are intrigued! If you want to know more, you can find the first chapter of all four books at: The Exciting Worlds of Second Wind Books

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