Unfinished

My latest novel, Unfinished, is the story of a woman who discovers that her deceased husband kept secrets from her. But she has secrets — and unfinished business — of her own. A novel for those who love drama, buried secrets, stories that tell the truth about grief, and women who find themselves when they find themselves alone.

Excerpt:

Amanda still couldn’t bear to get rid of the rest of David’s clothes, but she needed to do something to keep from dissolving into tears once more. She’d cried enough to last her a lifetime, yet tears continued to damn up, ready to spill when she let her guard down.

On the shelf above the clothes rack in his closet, Amanda found a stack of shoeboxes. David won’t need his shoes. I can get rid of them.

Inside one of the boxes, Amanda found a small doll with mismatched arms and legs and a sneer painted on the muslin face—her one attempt at making a doll for the annual Christmas Bazaar. She’d thrown it away, embarrassed by her failure, but apparently David had dug it out of the trash and kept it all these years.

Tears stung Amanda’s eyes. Oh, David, how can you be gone? You were such an appreciator—you appreciated everyone and every good they did. The world is smaller without you in it.

Holding her breath, wondering what else David had kept, Amanda sifted through the box. A few pennies. A flyer for a book sale she’d held at his first church. A couple of indeterminate designs she vaguely remembered doodling on a phone pad. A stack of notes in her own handwriting. “I’m at the Woman’s Club dinner tonight, David. There’s stroganoff and a salad in the refrigerator for you and Thalia. Don’t forget to heat the stroganoff.” “Taking Thalia to the doctor. Just a small cut, but she might need a stitch or two. Back soon.”

All her notes were the same. Stark messages with no endearments, no words of love. Amanda wished she’d told David more often how much he meant to her. They’d never been a romantic couple, and David had been uncomfortable with professions of love, but still, she should have told her husband frequently that she loved him. And now she’d never have the chance. Too damn much left unfinished.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels UnfinishedMadame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

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Fun and Clever and Unique

I love talking about my books, though I seldom get a chance. Luckily for me, the following conversation with my sister was caught on text!

SISTER: I’m into chapter 6 of Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare and I have so many questions and comments!!!!!!

ME: You like it, though?

SISTER: Love it! It’s fun and clever and unique. Is the cover photo actually one of your dance mates?? Is there a Deb character in your class? How fun that you condensed your family into one representative sister and brother.

ME: Almost all the people are real. Yes there is a Deb, though she is a composite character and caricatured a bit. The first few chapters tell the true story of the story so the cover is exactly as described in the book. The woman on the floor is Grace, the one who suggested the project.

SISTER: That is so fun!

ME: Many of the conversations in the book actually took place. Buffy really did say, “I’m not the one who volunteered to be the victim.” Oddly, after the book was written, Grace asked how I picked her. She had forgotten the whole thing was her idea.

ME: Perhaps the only truly fictional character is Pat. I’m not sure she exists. 🙂

SISTER: Pat???? Are you referring to Pat in the Hat? Trust me, she’s very real.

ME: It was fun writing as me. I didn’t have to worry about a character arc. Just show my feelings. It’s amazing how much of those first chapters are as they happened.  The cops kept showing up (going to lunch at a nearby restaurant) and it was a bit freaky to see them when we were talking about killing Grace.

SISTER: And btw, it’s very surreal to be reading a book by Pat featuring a character who is Pat, while texting with Pat (the writer? the person? the character?) hah!

ME: Now you know how it felt writing the book. I kept thinking Grace was dead, and then she’d show up for class. At one point, I really did consider asking one of the lunching cops what the procedure would be if she died, and I remember thinking, “I don’t need to ask. I’ll find out when she’s dead.” The whole thing was totally surreal.

SISTER: I can imagine!

ME: Don’t be surprised if your “surreal” comment shows up on my blog.

SISTER: For the record, I don’t mind being quoted.

ME: Remember that blog I did when I asked you  if it was bizarre reading a sex scene written by your sister? Well, that is one of the highest “hits” on my blog because of the juxtaposition of those two words: s e x and sister. You would not believe how many people in the world google, “how to have s e x with my sister,” or “how to get my sister to have s e x with me,” or the ever popular, “how to f*** my sister.” Truly bizarre.

SISTER: OMG, that is wild. And in the vernacular of today: ew

ME: I know. Totally ew.

Let’s hope this blog doesn’t have the same ew factor.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels UnfinishedMadame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

A Different Kind of Christmas Story

No Santa 🎅, no elves, no shopping malls or presents, 🎁 nothing that resembles a Christmas card holiday, but still,  A SPARK OF HEAVENLY FIRE — especially Kate’s story — embodies the essence of Christmas: generosity of spirit.

Kate isn’t the only point of view character in the book — the story is told by four different characters who show four different ways of dealing with the horror of the red death that descends on Colorado right before Christmas. Kate is the spark of heavenly fire, the woman who blazes with generosity during this dark hour of adversity. Two of the other characters are the opposite — they do everything they can to ensure that they survive. And then there is Greg, a reporter, who is consumed with finding the truth of the red death.

I’ve always liked the following scene, which takes place between Greg and Olaf, his boss:

***

“How’s the research coming, Greg?” Olaf asked, a shade too heartilty.

“I feel as if I’m drowning in paper.”

“So I see,” Olaf said, laying a hand on the stack of Takamura’s articles. “Mind if I look?”

“Help yourself. They belong to the newspaper.”

Olaf settled himself in his customary chair with a handful of the papers. A minute later, he raised his head.

“How do these guys get anything printed? If my reporters turned in work as incomprehensible as this, they’d be out of here so fast they’d think they were flying.” He glanced at the papers and shook his head. “Even the titles are incomprehensible. ‘Imitating Organic Morphology in Micro-fabrication.’ I don’t even know what that means.”

“Me neither,” Greg said, thinking if he had to wade through this sort of stuff to learn about the red death, the earth would fall into the sun long before he read half of it. He put his hands together as if in prayer. “Please tell me it’s not written by John Takamura.”

“It isn’t. Doris Stefano, Melanie Levy, Andrew Forbes, and Lee Nishimura collaborated on this particular gem.”

Good. That meant he had to scan it for Takamura’s name instead of reading the entire thing.

“These two are by Takamura. ‘Self-Dispersement of Genetically Enhanced Corn,’ ‘Deviant Behavior in Recombinant Plant Parasitoids.’” He tossed the sheaf of papers back onto Greg’s desk. “Better you than me.”

“What do these guys do?” Greg asked. “Take a course in obfuscation?”

“Probably. Convoluted writing and obscure terms are a way of intimidating the uninitiated, keeping the profession closed to non-scientists, and adding to the scientific mystique. Just think, if diseases had names like Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice, doctors wouldn’t make anywhere near the amount of money they do now.”

Greg laughed. “That’s an idea. They do it for hurricanes, why not everything else?” He mimed seizing the phone and dialing. “Mr. Olaf? I can’t come in today. I’ve got the Bob.” He hung up his imaginary receiver and looked inquiringly at his boss.

Olaf nodded. “Works for me.”

***

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

Click here to buy A Spark of Heavenly Fire

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Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels UnfinishedMadame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

 

Killing Grace

Even though it took me along time to decide to write Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare (killing off one’s friends a good way to lose those friends, and I don’t have any to lose), and even though it took even longer to actually sit down and write the book, the writing itself was easy. I used whatever happened in class for inspiration, and if that failed me, I asked one of the characters what she would like to do, and if that failed, I wrote me writing the book. That was fun! Here is one such excerpt:

***

In every mystery story, it seems, there comes a time when the author wants a way to present insights, needs to show state of mind, or simply gets bored with a straightforward narrative and plays at being creative, so the storyteller recounts a dream.

Since I hate dreams, my own included, I usually skip those parts of a book, so I won’t bore you with the details of my dream. Suffice to say that early Wednesday morning, long before the sun gave any indication of wanting to rise, I dreamed I was Grace grieving the death of Pat. I carried the belief I was Grace into the first moments of waking, and for a second I didn’t know if I were Grace grieving for Pat or Pat grieving for Grace.

In the aftermath of that strange duality, when I came fully awake, I lay there wondering about my connection to Grace, wondering if somehow my talking about her death had brought it about. I no longer thought Grace existed in some sort of quantum state, both alive and dead, and all we had to do was find a way to observe her and she’d magically appear back in the studio, smiling up at us, asking why she reclined on the floor.

I do know that anything is possible, that at our most infinitesimal level, way beneath cellular construction and even atomic configurations, we are created from discrete patterns of nothingness held together by a force of energy that could destroy—or build—the universe. Our senses, and ultimately our brains, translate those waveforms into what we see, hear, taste, feel, know.

That is what we have to contend with in our daily lives—what we know. And I know Grace is dead.

(Grief is not always so conciliatory. I know Jay is dead, but I also know he is at home waiting for me. It’s why I continue to hang around this California desert town though I have no real reason to stay now that my father is gone—I’m reluctant to return to Colorado and confront the foolishness of my belief.)

What do I know other than that Grace is dead? Not much, to be honest, though I do believe someone else was involved with her death. There have been times when one or another of us students slipped on a slick patch of the studio floor, so a fall would not be particularly mysterious, but if Grace had hit her head on the barre hard enough to knock herself out, she would not have been able to arrange herself in the position we found her.

So that left me with three conclusions: someone killed her and arranged the scene; someone killed her and Grace managed to drag herself into position during her final moments; or someone found Grace unconscious, moved her, and left her to die.

But why? How could Grace’s death have made a difference to anyone’s life? I’ve heard it said that there are three main motives for murder—sex, power, and money. I suppose sex could be a motive for the murder of a long-married seventy-five year old woman, but it seemed farfetched to me, especially since she appeared to be devoted to her husband. Whatever money Grace had belonged to both her and Charlie so I didn’t see financial gain as a possibility for a motive, either. And power? What sort of power could Grace have exerted on anyone, or someone exerted on her? I thought of Deb eagerly slipping into Grace’s spot at the front of the class, and I wondered if the desire for that sort of power, so insignificant to the rest of the world, could have made Deb want to do away with a woman she might have considered a competitor.

Knowledge, of course, is power. Perhaps Grace had discovered a secret, but among our assorted classmates, who could have a secret so powerful that only murder would protect it?

I hoped the police would find the truth soon, because the dream made me uneasy. If I couldn’t distinguish between myself and Grace, is it possible others saw the same connection? Could I be next on the murderer’s list?

I got out of bed and dressed for the day, vowing to protect myself. But against whom? Margot, the woman Buffy had picked out as the perfect murderer? Or maybe Buffy herself, a woman who knew too much about the ways and means of murdering?

***

Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare for those who love fun, dance, murder, mystery, older women who live with all the verve and nerve of the young, and me! (The main character is named Pat.)

Click here to read the first chapter of Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare

Click here to buy Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare

 


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Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels UnfinishedMadame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Books for Book Lovers

When you are making out your Christmas lists, here are some books for you to consider for your bookish friends, and for yourself too, of course, if you haven’t already read these books.

Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare for those who love fun, dance, murder, mystery, older women who live with all the verve and nerve of the young, and me! (The main character is named Pat.)

Click here to read the first chapter of Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare

Click here to buy Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare

Daughter Am I for those who love road trips, treasure hunts, buried family secrets, mysteries, gangsters, young women coming of age and old folks who refuse to admit their age.

Click here to read the first chapter of Daughter Am I

Click here to buy Daughter Am I

Light Bringer for those who love precocious babies, aliens, conspiracy theories, secret underground laboratories, lost identities, and manipulative international corporations.

Click here to read the first chapter of Light Bringer

Click here to buy Light Bringer

A Spark of Heavenly Fire for those who love conspiracies with a medical twist and for those who wonder what it would be like if the world were to go through another pandemic.

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

Click here to buy A Spark of Heavenly Fire

More Deaths Than One for those who like conspiracy theories, mind control experiments, the Vietnam era and its aftermath, and a bit of otherworldly strange midst the horror.

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

Click here to buy More Deaths Than One

Unfinished for those who love drama, buried secrets, stories that tell the truth about grief, and women who find themselves when they find themselves alone.

Click here to read the first chapter of Unfinished

Click here to buy Unfinished

Grief: The Great Yearning for those who need the comfort of knowing they are not alone in their sorrow and those want to or need to learn more about the mystery of grief.

Click here to read the first chapter of Grief: The Great Yearning

Click here to buy Grief: The Great Yearning

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Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels UnfinishedMadame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

A SPARK OF HEAVENLY FIRE Embodies the Essence of Christmas

Washington Irving wrote: “There is in every true woman’s heart a spark of heavenly fire, which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity; but which kindles up, and beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity.” As I read these words several years ago, I could see her, a drab woman, defeated by life, dragging herself through her days in the normal world, but in an abnormal world of strife and danger, she would come alive and inspire others. And so Kate Cummings, the hero of my novel A Spark of Heavenly Fire was born. But born into what world?

ASHF

I didn’t want to write a book about war, which is a common setting for such a character-driven story, so I created the red death, an unstoppable, bio-engineered disease that ravages Colorado. Martial law is declared, rationing is put into effect, and the entire state is quarantined. During this time when so many are dying, Kate comes alive and gradually pulls others into her sphere of kindness and generosity. First enters Dee Allenby, another woman defeated by normal life, then enter the homeless — the group hardest hit by the militated restrictions. Finally, enters Greg Pullman, a movie-star-handsome reporter who is determined to find out who created the red death and why they did it.

Kate and her friends build a new world, a new normal, to help one another survive, but other characters, such as Jeremy King, a world-class actor who gets caught in the quarantine, and Pippi O’Brien, a local weather girl, think of only of their own survival, and they are determined to leave the state even if it kills them.

The world of the red death brings out the worst in some characters while bringing out the best in others. Most of all, the prism of death and survival reflects what each values most. Kate values love. Dee values purpose. Greg values truth. Jeremy values freedom. Pippi, who values nothing, learns to value herself.

Though this book has been classified by some readers as a thriller — and there are plenty of thrills and lots of danger — A Spark of Heavenly Fire is fundamentally a Christmas book. The story starts at the beginning of December, builds to a climax on Christmas, and ends with renewal in the Spring. There are no Santas, no elves, no shopping malls or presents, nothing that resembles a Christmas card holiday, but the story — especially Kate’s story — embodies the essence of Christmas: generosity of spirit.

When you are making out your Christmas lists, I hope you will include A Spark of Heavenly Fire. That should make both of us happy!

You can read the first chapter of A Spark of Heavenly Fire here: https://ptbertram.wordpress.com/free-samples/a-spark-of-heavenly-fire/

You can purchase the print book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Spark-Heavenly-Fire-Pat-Bertram/dp/1630663662/

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Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels UnfinishedMadame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Don’t Annoy Me

A friend sent me this mug, and though I laughed at the sentiment, it doesn’t apply to me. I don’t put people who annoy me in my books — I’m more apt to walk away from them, and if I can’t, then I try to ignore them, and if I can’t do that, then I carp about them. (If someone annoys me online, I simply unfriend the person.)

Besides, it’s only when I am near such people that I find them annoying. When I am by myself, they disappear. To put annoying folk in a book would give them a bigger place in my life than they deserve. I’d also have to think about those people, and that is no fun at all!

And then there’s the whole thinking-makes-it-real philosophy. Supposedly, you can make things come true if you visualize them in the smallest detail. If you kill someone in a book, you’re definitely visualizing the act and all the details, so does that mean it could happen? If not, does it mean that the whole visualization technique of making your dreams come true is flawed? (It seems so. It’s never worked for me, anyway.)

The one time I did create a fictional death for someone I knew (I mean someone I know; she isn’t past tense yet!) I had a hard time convincing myself to write the story. Even though it was her idea, I worried that my thinking about the murder would make it happen for real. When I finally did decide to go ahead with the project, I made my internal conflict about killing her part of the story. And it turned out to be a fun book. (That novel, Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare is now available for Christmas gift shopping!)

Despite all that, poor “Grace” was never one of those who annoyed me, and by making the book more about me than her, I managed to slide past the necessary visualizations. And oddly, one or two people who did annoy me no longer did after I put them in the book. I guess by writing about them and their quirks, they became understandable.

That gives me another reason not to put people who annoy me in a book. Do I really want to understand such folk? I mean, they are annoying!

Still, now that I have the mug before me, I’d suggest not annoying me. You never know — it might give me ideas.

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Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels UnfinishedMadame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Acclaim for LIGHT BRINGER

In compiling this list of acclaim, I discovered that the light and lyricism inherent in Light Bringer brings out the light and lyricism in reviewers. Even the “brilliance” of Suzanne Francis’s one-line endorsement reflects the light. (Suzanne Francis was the first person who ever read Light Bringer, long before it was published, for the simple reason that she asked to read it.)

“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

“Pat Bertram has woven a wonderful story that weaves together imagination with history, science fiction, love, power and so much more, and it works so well. If you are looking for a good story, well written, then read this book. I hope you will love it as much as I did!” –S.M Senden, author of Montgomery County

“Mysteriously beautiful and musical. Pat Bertram’s novel soars in her descriptions of mystery and scenery. The song of the rainbow flows through the characters, binding them together, while the silence of the great unknown drives them and pulls them apart.” Sheila Deeth, author of the Mathemafiction Series

Light Bringer is color and sound and more color, described as it’s never been described before. Part sci-fi, part small town life, part intrigue, part romance, part rainbow explosion, this is a tale of two people who are not like other people yet end up in a little out-of-the-way community where a lot of strange things have happened and continue to happen. It’s a multi-layered story Pat Bertram should be very proud of, and incidentally will make you crave muffins. Consider yourself warned.” Tracy Fabre, author of Evan’s Castle

“Light Bringer is something completely new and surprising . . . surprising in its freshness, originality, its genre bending brilliance. Part thriller, part fantasy, part sci fi, part mystery . . . its plots were large and complex, encompassing themes that plague us every day; offering social and world commentary blended with weather trend observations (where ARE all those tornadoes and tsunamis coming from??) I do believe Bertram has defined a new genre, and it is a pure delight. Fresh. Original. Riveting. The characters are real and engaging.” Aaron Paul Lazar, author of Under the Ice

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Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels UnfinishedMadame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Shedding Light on LIGHT BRINGER

Right before he died, Jeff told me that since I had written such good books, it was my responsibility to see that they sold. I’m glad I don’t have to admit to him how dismally I am doing, especially with Light Bringer. Light Bringer was originally published as a memorial to him on the first anniversary of his death, and republished a few days short of the anniversary five years later. Although the book had been written while he was still alive, it was the first novel I wrote that he didn’t get to read, so I’d like others to read it in his place, hence this spate of blog posts about this special book.

Light Bringer begins ordinarily enough with strange lights in the sky, a way too precocious baby, NSA agents coming to the door of a man’s apartment, the man being rescued by an invisible owl-like creature and miraculously finding himself in the same town where a youngish woman is searching for the mystery surrounding her birth. (These sorts of “ordinary” things do happen to you every day, don’t they?)

It ends with the two protagonists, a bevy of antagonists, a ghost cat, the invisible owl man, and a whole slew of conspiracy theorists all clashing in a resounding riot of color in a secret laboratory far underground in Western Colorado. Whew! I didn’t give anything away, but I didn’t exactly get this into a one-sentence response as to what Light Bringer is about.

If I tell people Light Bringer is my magnum opus, they get a glazed look in their eyes, but the truth is, I spent my whole life doing research for this book, though of course, I didn’t know the research would culminate in a such a story. I just went where the research took me.

As I’ve mentioned before, there is no true genre for this novel. Talk of crashed space ships and aliens make this seem like science fiction, but oddly, the book was never meant to be anything other than a way of putting together the puzzle of our origins, relying heavily on Sumerian cosmology and modern conspiracy myths.

In “Light Conquers All,” a guest post I did for Malcolm R. Campbell, author of Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire, The Sun Singer, and the proud owner of even more blogs than I have, I talked about the plot demanding “extensive information about mythology, conspiracies, UFOs, history, cosmologies, forgotten technologies, ancient monuments, and color. Especially color. Color is the thread connecting all the story elements, and all the colors have a special meaning. (You can find a brief listing of color meanings here: The Meaning of Color.)”

L. V.Gaudet, author of The McAllister Series, reposted her review of Light Bringer today to help me bring attention to the book. Check it out on her blog:  https://lvgwriting.wordpress.com/2017/11/18/book-review-light-bringer-by-pat-bertram/.

Click here to read the first chapter of Light Bringer.

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Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels UnfinishedMadame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

We Can Only Write the Novels Only We Can Write

Of all the books I’ve written, the one that saddens me the most is Light Bringer because it never got the notice I thought it deserved. I don’t know what happened — perhaps I never knew how to categorize it, perhaps I am terrible at marketing. Perhaps a lot of things. But there it sits, a magical novel without much of a readership.

I understand the importance of categorizing novels — giving them a genre — because people like to know what they are getting. But what if the novel you wanted to write doesn’t fit within a genre? Are we supposed to not write it?

But truly, we can only write the novels only we can write.

To me, Light Bringer was mythic fiction — a story based on ancient cosmologies and modern conspiracy theories, but mention of ancient spacecraft and aliens made people want to throw it in the science fiction category, while secret government installations and covert international organizations made others think of it as thriller fare. And yet it is neither. Nor, despite the romances in the book, is it a romance. (It surprised me, but my father, who was not much of a fiction reader, understood all that.)

Writing the book, I never once considered genre. Well, come to think of it, that’s not true. In the very beginning, I thought naively of writing a book that fit all genres, but apparently that is an idea many neophyte writers come up with, and is considered the mark of an amateur. So I stopped trying to fit all genres into the book (though I did keep my cowboy character from the western elements and the ghost town and ghost cat from the horror genre.) I just wrote the book. I didn’t even have to do much research — so much of the book was based on my lifetime of studies into lesser known histories (also known erroneously as conspiracy theories), though I did research color and their meanings because color played a major role in the book, as the following excerpt will show:

After following the path for several minutes, they came to a place where the stream narrowed to no more than four feet. Chester bent over and began hauling out one of the boards stashed beneath a Douglas fir. The boards, withered a silvery-gray, were two inches thick, ten inches wide, and about six feet long.

With Rena and Philip helping Chester, it took only a few minutes to place the boards bank-to-bank, forming a makeshift bridge.

“I set these here for Gertie after she slipped and hurt herself wading across the stream,” Chester said.

Rena turned to Philip. “Gertie used to own this place.”

“She was my godmother. When she died, I dismantled the bridge.” Chester looked from the planks to Rena and Philip and then back again as if trying to make a decision. “I don’t know if you’ll like the place. Most people avoid it. They say it makes them shivery. Some even call it the devil’s garden, but me and Gertie called it . . . blessed.”

Rena touched the old man’s arm. “I’m sure we will, too.”

Chester nodded. He stepped onto the plank bridge and proceeded to the other side. Rena followed him, then turned and smiled encouragingly at Philip.

“It’s surprisingly sturdy. You won’t have any problem.”

A clear blue nimbus of trust emanated from Philip. Without hesitation, he clumped across the bridge.

In the full of the sun, the meadow grasses shone emerald. “Hurry, hurry,” they whispered.

I’m coming.

Rena set off at a run.

“There’s a pathway,” she heard Chester call.

She 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.

Standing on the brink, waiting for Philip and Chester, she could not lift her gaze from the flowers. Many of them were familiar, but others, in seemingly impossible tints and shades, were new. She inhaled, filling her nose with the intoxicating scent, and felt herself losing her balance as if she were drunk. She flung out an arm to steady herself, and barely missed hitting Chester.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

“More than okay.”

Philip came to stand beside her. Hearing his sharp intake of breath, she knew he felt as stunned as she by the sight, sound, smell of the flowers.

Knowing Chester needed to hear the words, she said softly, “You and Gertie are right. The place is blessed. Thank you for bringing us.”

If you would like to read more of this magical book, you can find it on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Light-Bringer-Pat-Bertram-ebook/dp/B004U39WQ6/. And hey, if you can think how to categorize it, let me know!

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Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels UnfinishedMadame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.