Tag Archives: More Deaths Than One

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

***

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

***

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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Making Sense of Life’s Disorder — by Pat Bertram

Life is often disordered, but fiction cannot be. We read fiction to make sense of life’s disorder, and we demand that things make sense. No matter how well ordered the rest of the plot, when a stranger comes and simply hands the hero the one element he needs to complete his mission, we feel cheated. The hero should have to work for his goals.

This same order must be inherent in every bit of the book, characters as well as plot. Foolish and spontaneous actions, arbitrary decisions and behavior make the story unbelievable. A character can’t simply wake up one morning with a desire to change jobs, or go on a quest, or hunt for a murderer. While such whims are a part of our lives, they are not part of fictional characters’ lives. All their decisions must be motivated.

A character can wake up one morning with a desire to change jobs, for example, but the author needs to add a few words to explain why: a quarrel with a boss, a promised promotion that doesn’t materialize, a backbiting co-worker. If a character must quit on a whim, the author has to establish motive from within the character. Perhaps the character always acts on whim, in which case the author needs to show that. Or perhaps it’s June; the scents seeping in the open window remind the character of the long summer days of childhood, and he has an overwhelming need to experience that freedom again.

Readers will believe almost anything an author wants them to believe, as long as it is motivated.

At the beginning of my book, More Deaths Than One, I have Kerry, a graveyard-shift waitress, showing an interest in Bob, the quiet hero, who stopped by the coffee shop every night for a hot chocolate. I always thought it was enough that she was bored and was playing games with him, trying to get him to talk, but a reader told me she found Kerry’s motivation for involving herself with Bob a bit thin.

Because Bob is debilitated by headaches and nightmares, I need Kerry to push him into action when he discovers that the mother he buried twenty years ago is dead again and that he has a doppelganger living what could have been his life. If her motivation for involving herself with Bob isn’t believable, then the whole book falls apart.

On the other hand, most readers seem to think the connection between Bob and Kerry is believable. She’s bored, unhappy with her present boyfriend, craves excitement. Perhaps boredom isn’t a good motivator (though we know that it is — we will do almost anything to keep from being bored) but once Kerry starts uncovering the truth of Bob, there is no way she’ll walk away from him and the excitement he brings to her life.

***

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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More Deaths Than One by Pat Bertram

More Deaths Than One: Bob Stark returns to Denver after 18 years in Southeast Asia to discover that the mother he buried before he left is dead again. He attends her new funeral and sees . . . himself. Is his other self a hoaxer, or is something more sinister going on? And why are two men who appear to be government agents hunting for him? With the help of Kerry Casillas, a baffling young woman Bob meets in a coffee shop, he uncovers the unimaginable truth.

This is the beginning of the first chapter of More Deaths Than One, available from Second Wind Publishing.

 

“What do you think of a guy who embezzles from his own business?”

Bob Stark recognized the voice of the graveyard shift waitress, the attractive one with the black hair. He glanced up from his contemplation of the scars on the laminated plastic table and saw her standing by his booth, gazing at him, her eyebrows quirked. She seemed to expect a response, but he had no idea what to say. And why would she ask him such a question? Though he’d been coming to Rimrock Coffee Shop for four weeks now, she’d never deviated from her standard lines of “What’ll you have?” and “Here you go.”

He took a surreptitious look around. Except for the two drunks arguing in a corner booth and a cook cleaning the grill in the kitchen, he and the waitress were the only two people in the twenty-four-hour coffee shop.

Beneath the overly long bangs, her dark eyes gleamed, giving him the impression of laughter. “Yes, I am talking to you.”

“I’ll have hot chocolate,” he said, adhering to the unwritten script.

With a flip of her wrist, she brushed the hair off her face. Her skirt flounced as she whirled away from the table, and Bob noticed that she had nicely muscled thighs. Good calves, too. Not wanting her to catch him staring, he picked up a newspaper someone had left behind and leafed through it.

The waitress returned with his beverage. “What would you do if you were a girl who just found out her boyfriend is embezzling from himself?”

Bob stirred his hot chocolate, trying to think of the right response, but nothing came to mind.

“Men!” she said, hurrying off to answer the ringing telephone.

Later, after the drunks had stumbled out into the night, she came back to Bob’s table carrying a cup of coffee for her and another cup of hot chocolate for him.

He raised his palms. “I didn’t order this.”

She sat across from him. “Let’s not quibble over details.” She sipped her coffee, eyes laughing at him over the rim of the cup, then she set the empty cup aside.

Folding her arms on the table, she leaned forward and stared into his face. “What do you have to say for yourself? And who are you? You’ve been coming in here every night, real late, and you never talk except to order hot chocolate.”

She leaned back. “I bet you can’t sleep. That’s why you come, isn’t it? What’s the problem? Bad dreams?”

Bob felt a shudder go through him. He came here to get away from the nightmares, not remember them. He took a gulp of chocolate, grateful for the warmth sliding down his throat.

“You’re a shy one,” she said. “And you never did answer my question.”

He lifted one shoulder in a disinterested shrug. “You asked a lot of questions.”

“The one about the girl finding out that her boyfriend is embezzling from himself.”

“Depends on their relationship. Is she involved in the business?”

“She helped him start it, works in the office during the day, and waits tables at night to pay the rent.”

“Then he’s embezzling from her, too.”

She flicked the hair out of her eyes. “You’re right. God, what a fool I’ve been. Ever since I found out he’s been cheating on his business, I’ve been wondering if he’s been cheating on me. That son of a rabid dog. He promised we’d get a house together as soon as the business did well enough, and it turns out we could have been living in our own place for several months now.”

“Even if he’s not cheating on you physically,” Bob said, “he’s cheated on you morally.”

“I want someone who’s honest and true to himself, someone who likes and respects himself so he can like and respect me. Is that too much to ask?”

The door opened. A young couple entered. Mouths locked together, they slid into a booth and groped beneath each other’s clothes.

The waitress stood. “I better go remind them this isn’t a motel.”

Grateful to be alone, Bob sipped his hot chocolate and read the newspaper.

The Broncos still reeled from their humiliation at the previous Super Bowl, having lost to the Redskins forty-two to ten.

Two youths found a man’s decomposing body in a culvert off the South Platte River. The man had been tortured; the work of a gang, the police surmised.

Silverado faced insolvency, having squandered one hundred million dollars on bad loans.

And Lydia Loretta Stark was dead. Again.

***

Pat Bertram is a native of Colorado and a lifelong resident. 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 book:  More Deaths Than One, Daughter Am I, Light Bringer, and A Spark of Heavenly Fire.

Read the rest of the first chapter of: More Deaths Than One

Download (free) the first 30% of: More Deaths Than One

Click here to buy: More Deaths Than One on Amazon

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Dead Darling

“Darlings” are those bits of our rhetoric we love but that serve no purpose in our novels. This speech, orated by the verbose character Harrison, is another of my darlings from More Deaths Than One. By the time I got rid of all his unnecessary speeches, he went from being a major character to a minor one. 

“All through history, people made clothes to fit their bodies, but with the advent of ready-to-wear in the twentieth century, people now make their bodies to fit their clothes. This aberrant behavior has become so ingrained that everyone takes it for granted, as if it has always been so. In fact, women take great pride in being a perfect size zero or four or whatever.

“I was strolling down a street in mid-town Manhattan not too long ago, watching the power-suited, whippet-thin young men and women hurry by, and it occurred to me that the sign of a prosperous and pampered nation is this fashionable gauntness rather than corpulence, as is commonly believed. Only in a country assured of an ample and continuous food supply can its citizens starve themselves to the point of emaciation simply to serve the fickle gods of fashion.

“But perhaps it’s not their fault. Advertising is a powerful behavior modification tool. Take the story of the match king.

“In the early part of the twentieth century, Ivar Kreuger, a match manufacturer, managed to corner the match market. Through various deals, he ended up with the exclusive rights to sell matches in many countries, including most of Europe, but this monopoly was not enough for him. Back then, it was a common practice for two or three people to light their cigarettes from the same match. Ivar realized that if he could somehow keep that third person from using the match, he could greatly increase his sales, so he had his advertising department start the rumor that it was unlucky to light three cigarettes from the same match. Tales were told of dreadful things happening to the third person who used a match, like the bride who had been left at the altar and the soldier who was killed after each had lit a cigarette from a match which two others had already used. Even today, though most people use lighters, the superstition that it’s unlucky to light three cigarettes from the same match still persists. That’s the power of advertising: the ability to control the behavior of vast numbers of people.”

***

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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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.

***

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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Excerpt From More Deaths Than One by Pat Bertram

More Deaths Than One: Bob Stark returns to Denver after 18 years in Southeast Asia to discover that the mother he buried before he left is dead again. He attends her new funeral and sees . . . himself. Is his other self a hoaxer, or is something more sinister going on? And why are two men who appear to be government agents hunting for him? With the help of Kerry Casillas, a baffling young woman Bob meets in a coffee shop, he uncovers the unimaginable truth.

This is the beginning of the first Chapter of More Deaths Than One, available from Second Wind Publishing.

“What do you think of a guy who embezzles from his own business?”

Bob Stark recognized the voice of the graveyard shift waitress, the attractive one with the black hair. He glanced up from his contemplation of the scars on the laminated plastic table and saw her standing by his booth, gazing at him, her eyebrows quirked. She seemed to expect a response, but he had no idea what to say. And why would she ask him such a question? Though he’d been coming to Rimrock Coffee Shop for four weeks now, she’d never deviated from her standard lines of “What’ll you have?” and “Here you go.”

He took a surreptitious look around. Except for the two drunks arguing in a corner booth and a cook cleaning the grill in the kitchen, he and the waitress were the only two people in the twenty-four-hour coffee shop.

Beneath the overly long bangs, her dark eyes gleamed, giving him the impression of laughter. “Yes, I am talking to you.”

“I’ll have hot chocolate,” he said, adhering to the unwritten script.

With a flip of her wrist, she brushed the hair off her face. Her skirt flounced as she whirled away from the table, and Bob noticed that she had nicely muscled thighs. Good calves, too. Not wanting her to catch him staring, he picked up a newspaper someone had left behind and leafed through it.

The waitress returned with his beverage. “What would you do if you were a girl who just found out her boyfriend is embezzling from himself?”

Bob stirred his hot chocolate, trying to think of the right response, but nothing came to mind.

“Men!” she said, hurrying off to answer the ringing telephone.

Later, after the drunks had stumbled out into the night, she came back to Bob’s table carrying a cup of coffee for her and another cup of hot chocolate for him.

He raised his palms. “I didn’t order this.”

She sat across from him. “Let’s not quibble over details.” She sipped her coffee, eyes laughing at him over the rim of the cup, then she set the empty cup aside.

Folding her arms on the table, she leaned forward and stared into his face. “What do you have to say for yourself? And who are you? You’ve been coming in here every night, real late, and you never talk except to order hot chocolate.”

She leaned back. “I bet you can’t sleep. That’s why you come, isn’t it? What’s the problem? Bad dreams?”

Bob felt a shudder go through him. He came here to get away from the nightmares, not remember them. He took a gulp of chocolate, grateful for the warmth sliding down his throat.

“You’re a shy one,” she said. “And you never did answer my question.”

He lifted one shoulder in a disinterested shrug. “You asked a lot of questions.”

“The one about the girl finding out that her boyfriend is embezzling from himself.”

“Depends on their relationship. Is she involved in the business?”

“She helped him start it, works in the office during the day, and waits tables at night to pay the rent.”

“Then he’s embezzling from her, too.”

She flicked the hair out of her eyes. “You’re right. God, what a fool I’ve been. Ever since I found out he’s been cheating on his business, I’ve been wondering if he’s been cheating on me. That son of a rabid dog. He promised we’d get a house together as soon as the business did well enough, and it turns out we could have been living in our own place for several months now.”

“Even if he’s not cheating on you physically,” Bob said, “he’s cheated on you morally.”

“I want someone who’s honest and true to himself, someone who likes and respects himself so he can like and respect me. Is that too much to ask?”

The door opened. A young couple entered. Mouths locked together, they slid into a booth and groped beneath each other’s clothes.

The waitress stood. “I better go remind them this isn’t a motel.”

Grateful to be alone, Bob sipped his hot chocolate and read the newspaper.

The Broncos still reeled from their humiliation at the previous Super Bowl, having lost to the Redskins forty-two to ten.

Two youths found a man’s decomposing body in a culvert off the South Platte River. The man had been tortured; the work of a gang, the police surmised.

Silverado faced insolvency, having squandered one hundred million dollars on bad loans.

And Lydia Loretta Stark was dead. Again.

***

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

Read the rest of the first chapter of: More Deaths Than One

Download the first 30% of: More Deaths Than One (free)

Click here to buy: More Deaths Than One

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Share in the Fun of Daughter Am I

It’s almost three in the morning. This will be the fourth night this week I stayed up late to prepare a blog, update a website, or plan a cyber party. No one is making me do all this work — it originates in the same place where once the writing came from. The need to write will come back some day, but for now the need to let people know about the books I have already written consumes me. I want people to share in the fun of Daughter Am I, the journey of discovery, the reluctance to turn each page because when they do the story will be that much closer to the end.

The first step in introducing my new novel to the world was my cyber launch party, which is still going on. You can find games, puzzles, and a sampler giveaway at my “DAUGHTER AM I HAS FINALLY BEEN PUBLISHED! LET’S PARTY!!” party. If you haven’t already stopped by, just click on the link and you will magically be transported to the festivities. You don’t even have to dress up — you can wear your ratty old jeans and bedroom slippers, and no one will ever know!

The next step in introducing Daughter Am I was setting up a blog tour.  A five week blog tour! Believe me, I did not intend for the tour to be so extensive, but the first person who agreed to be a host requested November 12, the next person requested October 18, and just when I had finished filling all those dates, I got a request for November 21. So — a new challenge for me. I like challenges, but 70 blog posts in five weeks? Whew! (Why 70 instead of just 35? Because each day I will have to introduce that day’s host and post the link on my own blog.)

The next step after that will be . . . hmmm. Haven’t gotten that far yet. But I’ll figure something out. Something fun. The one thing I have learned in my first six months of being a published writer is that promotion is just another word for party. So, let’s party! The drinks are on me.

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.

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.

Click here to buy Daughter Am I from Second Wind Publishing, LLC.

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Happy Bloggiversary to Us!

One year ago today, we at Second Wind Publishing started to blog. Many of us had never blogged before, but we wanted a forum to connect with our readers, and so we learned. While learning how to blog, we also learned how generous readers are with their comments, and we would like to thank all of you for your support. Click here for: Goodies and Giveaways.

To celebrate this anniversary, Second Wind authors talk about their experiences with blogging.

More Deaths Than OnePat Bertram, author of More Deaths Than One and A Spark of Heavenly Fire: I have more blogs than one, so I was familiar with blogging when I joined the authors here at Second Wind Publishing Blog, but it has been a wonderful experience participating in the growth of this blog with its fantastic array of posts. Wishing us all — authors and readers alike — a happy new blogyear!

Images of BetrayalClaire Collins, author of Images of Betrayal and Fate and Destiny: I’ve never been afraid to try new things, but my biggest problem has always been time. I didn’t know where I would find time to post blogs every few days in my already tight schedule. I started slowly, writing about writing and posting every couple of weeks to my blog and the Second Wind blog. Now, I actually enjoy blogging and I spend a lot of time on my own blog. Visit me if you get a chance.

Loving LydiaAmy De Trempe: author of Loving Lydia: For me, posting a blog was harder than writing a novel and it took some time before I became comfortable.  I wondered what I should write about and if I had anything intersting to say.  Now I find it to be a fun activity and have enjoyed posting to both Second Wind and my personal blog.  More importantly, I’ve found I really enjoy reading the posts of others and comments from readers. It has opened up a world for me that I barely knew existed.

False PositiveJJ Dare, author of False Positive: It’s been an interesting blog ride for me. Finding something new to say was daunting the first couple of times. I got over the initial “oh-my-gosh-what-am-I-going-to-talk-about” reaction fairly quickly. Instead ofagonizing over a post (and rewriting and rewriting the week prior to my turn atthe blog), I’m at the point where I can zip a blog post off with only a littlebit of editing. I’d have to say blogging is helping me in my own writing – I’m honing a fast write and never look back style 🙂

front-sta-195x304Deborah J Ledford, author of Staccato: I appreciate being able to tell followers of the Second Wind Publishing blog the evolution of my debut thriller Staccato from inception to publication to promotion. Sharing the journey through a series of articles in order to show the entire path this writer took, as well as what pitfalls I encountered along the way, has been a pleasure.

Buried in Wolf LakeChristine Husom, author of Murder in Winnebago County and Buried in Wolf Lake: Last year I barely knew what a blog was and hadn’t read one. Pat Bertram asked if she could post an article I had written for my fellow Second Wind authors about my first book-signing experience on her blog. Okay, sure. Suddenly, a link appeared on an email. I clicked it and there on the Book Marketing Floozy blog was my article. It was like magic. I have learned a bit since then, but haven’t been able to carve out the time to develop my own blog, or update my website. I post blogs on the Second Wind Publishing WordPress site. Mostly, I enjoy reading what the other authors write, on WordPress and Facebook. I recently joined Twitter and will try to figure that out one of these days. Blogs have opened a whole new world for me!

Badeaux KnightsSuzette Vaugn, author of Badeaux Knights and Mortals, Gods, and a Muse: In my first blog I talked about my extended family which just keeps growing. Every month it seems we get new authors in our mix that fit with the rest of us. Over the last year we’ve added several authors that seem like they’ve always been here. Amy, Lucy, Deb, Eric, Jennifer, Jerrica, Pat, Sherrie, Mickey, Juliet and the newest member J. Conrad have officially doubled my Second Wind Family. Then we have all you wonderful readers that make our family possible, thank you.

I’ve learned a lot since then too. I’m still working on the whole blogging thing but since I’ve figured out it doesn’t always have to be about writing, I’m doing better. I’ve featured favorite music, books, and slight jabs at my sister on my personal blog and actually have articles in the drafts waiting for those off days where I can’t think of anything.

Hand-Me-Down BrideJuliet Waldron, author of Hand-Me-Down Bride: Blogging seemed one of those internet “too much information” things until I got into it, and began to read the blogs of other Second Wind writers. Blogging keeps you focused on your craft and gets you to work in a briefer, but just as interesting, medium. It feels just one short step beyond the world of the campfire story teller. Personally, it’s been a sort of archeological project. A way for me to excavate  my own store of memory, from times now considered “historical.”  🙂

Thank you everyone for stopping by! Don’t forget to check out our goodies and giveaways.

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Heroine Smugglers and Aroused Geese

Now that two of my books have been published and a third is on the way, (Second Wind Publishing will be releasing Daughter Am I in August) I don’t feel I have the right to complain about anything — I’ve achieved something that many people only dream of. But I’m going to complain anyway. Or at least state my truth very emphatically. I do not like to proof my books. By the time I get to the proofing/copyediting stage, I have written, rewritten, and edited the manuscript so many times that I find it almost impossible to focus on what is there rather than what I think is there. I also have a little voice in the back of my head whispering that if the story is riveting, if the writing is good, if the characters are real and sympathetic, a mistake or two doesn’t matter.

Perhaps not, but . . .

The other day I was reading a book by an established author, and I came across this line: They were heroine smugglers. Um . . . yeah. Can’t you just see it? Men in enveloping black capes carting dozens of young women in antebellum costumes over the border during the dark of night. Of course, if the heroines were true heroines, they would have heroically rescued themselves, in which case they would not be smuggled, hence there could be no heroine smugglers.

I admit that I’m being silly, but the point is that a mistake or two does matter. (At least one slipped by me in More Deaths Than One, but it is truly difficult to spot and I intend to get it corrected.) So I will grit my teeth, gird my loins, clench my jaw, prepare for battle, and finish proofing Daughter Am I.

For those of you who are going through the same torment, or will be going through it, here are a few tips that I’ve gleaned along the way:

Go slowly and carefully. Use a ruler or your fingers to mark the lines of print and to keep your gaze from sliding down the page. Check to see that hyphenated words at the end of the line are hyphenated properly. You might also try working from back to front like many professional copyeditors do to keep from getting involved in the story, which, surprisingly, does happen even when it’s your book that you’ve read and reread a hundred times.

Feel free to add your own tips to my list. I’ll be glad of any suggestions to make sure I don’t end up with heroine smugglers or aroused geese. Yep, aroused geese was another phrase in the same book. It might be grammatically correct, but idiomatically . . . let’s just say I don’t even want to know what those geese were up to.

Pat Bertram is the author of More Deaths Than One and A Spark of Heavenly Fire, available from Second Wind Publishing.

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A Spark of Heavenly Fire Is In the Spotlight!

Second Wind Publishing is spotlightling my novel A Spark of Heavenly Fire this week.  The story is oddly relevant right now, in that it tells the story of  people living through an epidmic of a deadly flu-like disease. Colorado is quarantined to keep the outbreak from turning into a pandemic. I wish I could say that the horrors of the quarantine and martial law are figments of my imagination, but the truth is they are based on executive orders that Clinton signed. If such an event does transpire, it will not be a pleasant experience.

 The first chapter of A Spark of Heavenly Fire is posted on the Second Wind Website, and I am hosting a discussion on The What, When and Where of Reading at our Facebook group. For the discussion, I asked:

Some of us in this group are published writers, some of us are trying to become published, some of us are just beginning to learn how to write, but one thing we all have in common is that we are readers. So, let’s talk about reading.

I read anything and everything, though I prefer books that can’t easily be slotted in a genre, books that make me think, such as Kate Wilhem’s early works. Those novels were classified as science fiction, though they were so much more. Mostly now I read when I eat, though for much of my life I’d read in bed at night and end up staying awake to finish whatever book I was reading.

What about you? What do you like to read, when do you like to read, and where do you like to read?

If you aren’t yet a member of the group, please join us for literary fun, discussions, and contests. In the next few weeks, we will be posting information about a short story contest that Second Wind is going to sponsor, but I’m letting you in on the secret now so you can get a head start on writing the best short crime/mystery story. The winner will be included in an anthology Second Wind will be releasing later this year, and the winner will also receive three free copies of the anthology.

Meantime, what do you like to read, when do you like to read, and where do you like to read?

Pat Bertram is the author of A Spark of Heavenly Fire and More Deaths Than One, available from Second Wind Publishing.

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