My Short Story “The Willow” Has Been Anthologized!

My short story, “The Willow,” has been published in the Second Wind anthology Change is in the Wind. Reviewer Sheila Deeth says:  “Pat Bertram’s ‘The Willow’ haunts with its beautiful portrayal of love and loss.”

I hope you will read this story. It did what I wanted, capturing the essence of timeless love and the new life that comes from loss. You don’t even have to buy the book. I’ll let you download the anthology this week for free! To download the ebook, go to https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/146269, pick the format of your choice, and then use coupon code HG57Y when you purchase the book. Your cost should be $0.00 (Offer expires April 17, 2012)

Excerpt from “The Willow”:

One summer day, shortly after their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, Gracie was curled on the couch, proofing the catalog for an exhibit of the new modernists, when Scott trudged into the room. Gladness at the sight of him sparked a smile as always, but something in his manner . . .  a hesitation . . . made her smile fade.

“Do we have any plant food?” he asked, his words slurred.

“There should be some in the garage.” She peered at him. “Are you okay?”

“I think I’m dying.”

Gracie bolted upright, heart pounding so hard it shook her body. “What?”

“A little plant food should help.” Scott started to walk away.

“Wait! Just wait a minute, Scott.”

He glanced over his shoulder, a questioning furrow between his brows.

“You can’t just drop a bomb like that and then leave as if nothing happened,” she said.

“What bomb?”

She stared at him for a second, unable to speak, but finally managed to croak out the words. “You said, ‘I think I’m dying.’”

“I didn’t say you were dying.”

“Not me. You. You said you were dying.”

“I said the tree was dying. You never listen, do you?”

The chill in his voice froze her. All she could do was sit immobile on the suddenly uncomfortable couch and watch him. He stumbled as he left the room, and his shoulder hit the doorjamb.

Fear, like fury, flashed through her body. Something was wrong with Scott. Terribly wrong. In all their years together, he’d never spoken to her in such a tone. She hadn’t even known he had such a tone. And that stumble? He was the most graceful man she’d ever met, walking on the high beams of his buildings as if they were earth-bound sidewalks.

She chased after Scott and found him staring up at the canopy of the globe willow. Golden leaves sprinkled down on him as if it were fall instead of just beyond spring.

“Do we have any plant food?” he asked, warmth and worry in his voice.

Gracie put a hand to her mouth to hold back a dry sob. Didn’t he remember that he’d already asked her about the plant food? “Maybe it’s time for you to get a check-up,” she said.

“Me? I feel good.” He grinned at her and held out his arms. “How about a little stress release, love? That’s all I need to make me feel great.”

Blurb from Change is in the Wind:

The assignment was simple: submit a short story dealing with change. The results were astonishing, engaging, and incredibly varied. The stories compiled in this volume range from taut action drama, to stealthy intrigue, to enthralling spirituality, to tangled relationships, to timeless love renewed—or lost, to angelic second chances.  No two of the tales are remotely similar, and yet they are linked in remarkable ways. Each story is tied it to all the others in the anthology with two exquisite threads. The first constant theme is redemption; in each case there is a transformation, often painful, that brings new beginnings, new possibilities and revitalized life. The second theme is love—timeless and true—expressed in a multitude of ways, but unfailing in bringing hope and newness. Change in the Wind is an extraordinary collection of marvelous stories from gifted, eclectic writers who draw us into their worlds and leave us wanting more.

Second Wind Publishing is starting a new short story contest. Perhaps you will be included in the next anthology! For information about this new contest, click here: Holiday short story contest

Short Story Contest!!!

Second Wind Publishing invites you to submit an entry to their short story contest.

Stories are to be about spring or renewal, at least, that’s what the contest rules say, though that does not mean the stories have to be upbeat or happy. You can work against the theme — contrasting a disaster that takes place in the spring with the beauty of the season, perhaps. Of course, up beat is good, too, it’s just that most of the writers I know (including me) don’t do upbeat.

My grief book, which will be published early next year, begins: Death came in the spring. And the end of the introduction says: The spring of death gave way to the summer of grief, and grief flowed into the fall and winter of renewal. See? Who says spring has to be about happy upbeat things?

You have until December 31, 2011 to submit an entry.

Go to the Second Wind Contest Blog for rules and how to enter.

Best of luck!!

Inviting You to Enter a Short Story Contest

Second Wind Publishing invites you to submit an entry to their short story contest.

Stories are to be about spring or renewal.

Contest entries must be your own original work. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Self-published stories are acceptable, but the story must not exist in print form or in any other anthology. The story must be no longer than 5,000 words.

The contest is open to anyone in the world, 18 or older, though the entry must be written in English. All entries will be posted on the Second Wind Contest Blog for everyone to read and comment. The authors and management of Second Wind Publishing will choose the three finalists, but reader comments will be taken into consideration. Entries will be judged on originality, readability, writing skills, characterization, and plot. Spelling and grammar count. The decision of the judges is final.

Everyone is welcome to vote for the winner, which is to be chosen from the three finalists.

The winning entry will be published in the upcoming Second Wind anthology, Change is in the Wind. (Title subject to change.) The winner will also receive a coupon from Smashwords.com for an unlimited number of free downloads of the anthology for one month. The coupon can be sent to as many people as you wish during that month. The winner will also be able to purchase an unlimited number of print copies of the anthology at half price plus shipping costs.

All entries will be deleted once the contest is over.

The contest begins today, October 3, 2011 and ends December 31, 2011.

Schedule:
December 31, 2011 at 11:59 pm: Contest ends.
January 1 — January 15, 2012: Judging of entries by 2W (and 2W authors) to pick top three entries
January 15 — January 31, 2012: Judging of the three finalists by blog readers to pick the winner
February 1, 2012: Winner announced
April 1, 2012 Book on Amazon for sale (In an ideal world …)

Please send your entries as a Word .doc or .docx to secondwindpublishing@gmail.com

Best of luck to all of you!!

Unexploding a A-OK Life

I had to check my spam comments today to see if anybody’s contest entry ended up there by mistake. (If you add more than a link or tow to your comment, it’s sure to be classified as spam). I thought I’d share some of the canned crap I found.  If these absurdities aren’t enough to ponder here’s something I just discovered: On average, 3.8 cans of SPAM are consumed every second in the United States. Yikes.  

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If you haven’t yet entered the Second Wind Publishing contest to win free books for a year, you can enter here: Free Books for a Year!

Win Free Books For A Year!

Everyone who leaves a comment on this post will be entered in Second Wind Publishing’s best contest ever — a chance to win a copy of every title Second Wind will publish in 2011.  (People outside of the United States will win ebooks. Those inside the United States can choose and either ebooks or print books.) This will include a copy of my upcoming novel Light Bringer, which is scheduled to be released in the spring of 2011. (Suzanne Francis, author of The Song of the Arkafina Series, and first person ever to read my new book said Light Bringer is “brilliant.” My favorite word!)

Light Bringer tells the story of  Becka Johnson, who 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?

So be sure to leave a comment. If you don’t want to receive mailings from Second Wind about other promotions and new releases, let me know. You will still be entered into the contest. Also, three people chosen at random will win an ecopy of one of my published books — your choice! (Pick from the three on the right sidebar of this blog.) Both contests end at midnight on December 30, 2010.

Best of luck to all of you.

Blog Jog Day: Introducing Light Bringer

Welcome to Blog Jog, a one-day jog around the highways and byways of the blogosphere. Feel free to rest here for awhile before you trot on to the next blog in the jog. If you don’t know where to start exploring Bertram’s Blog you can scroll down to see my latest posts, or you can check out the index of all my posts: Archives.

Everyone who leaves a comment on this post will be entered in Second Wind’s best contest ever — a chance to win a copy of every title Second Wind will publish in 2011. This will include a copy of my upcoming book Light Bringer, which is scheduled to be released in the spring of 2011. (Suzanne Francis, author of The Song of the Arkafina Series, and first person ever to read my new book said Light Bringer is “brilliant.” My favorite word!)

Light Bringer tells the story of  Becka Johnson, who 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?

So, be sure to leave a comment, then jog on over to visit novelist and writing coach Emily Hanlon at: Fiction Writing: the Passionate Journey.

You can find the entire list of participants for Blog Jog Day at: Blog Jog Day.

Note: If you don’t want to receive information about upcoming releases and contestsfrom Second Wind, be sure to note that in your comment. You will still be eligible for this contest.

I’m Not Waiving Any Moral Rights I Have in My Blog!

A couple of weeks ago I got an email from a marketing company doing a social media campaign for a major corporation. Apparently they wanted to get bloggers to do a contest for them, and the winner would receive . . . nope, better not go there. If I told you what the prize would have been, it would be tantamount to telling you who the corporation is, and I’d probably get sued.  For my part in the production, I would have received the same prize, but since I have no use for it, it wasn’t much of an incentive. I like doing online promotions, though, whether for me or someone else, so I was going to do as they asked just for the fun of it.

(It’s a good thing I didn’t. The last contest I promoted got almost no entries, so if you’d like to help me redeem myself as a promoter, you can check out: Free ebook giveaway of the latest thrillers!)

After I said yes, I received a four page contract. I suppose it makes sense — after all, if they were going to give away a couple of items worth two hundred dollars each, they would want to make sure I did what I said I would do. The agreement seemed standard until I go to the part that said: You grant us the right to link to your blog and to reproduce, display and distribute excerpts from your blog, for any purpose, in any media now known or hereafter invented. Like I’m really going to grant them those rights forever.  I told them they could have the rights to any article I wrote on their behalf, but that’s it.

Anyway, they changed that section, and I went through the agreement one last time before signing. In a section about attesting to being over eighteen and being the sole owner of my blog and not defaming the company, etc., I found this: You hereby waive any moral rights you may have in your blog.

What???? I don’t even know what that means. Still, I gave them the benefit of the doubt and said if they removed that line, they had a deal. I never heard from them again.

The contest was supposed to start in two days. I’m keeping my eyes open for contests pertaining to that corporation. I’m curious how many people got suckered into signing away the reproduction, distribution, and moral rights to their blogs.  I hope you weren’t one of them!

Three Chances to Win a Copy of DAUGHTER AM I

You have three chances to win a copy of Daughter Am I. 

1. Eric Beetner, author of One Too Many Blows to the head is sponsoring an ebook contest for the new releases from Second Wind Publishing. To win a Daughter Am I ebook, all you have to do it go to the Second Wind blog and answer the question: “have you ever learned something shocking about your past? Maybe not murder but what rocked your world once you found out?” I know you have learned something that rocked your world — for example, how did you feel when you found out where you (and all babies) came from? See, it’s not so hard! You can also answer another question to win an ebook of One Too Many Blows to the Head by J.B. Kohl and Eric Beetner and a third question to win a copy of False Positive by JJ Dare. 

Click here to find the contest: Free Ebook Giveaway of the Latest Thrillers

2. At A Book Blogger’s Diary, all you have to do is leave a comment saying why you want to read Daughter Am I (because it was written by me, of course!). Click here to find the giveaway: A Book Blogger’s Diary 

3. And finally, you can win the only signed proof copy of Daughter Am I and have fun doing it by going on a treasure hunt. Click here for a chance to win the book: Treasure Hunt! 

Bonus: Download the first 30% of Daughter Am I free at: Smashwords

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Treasure Hunt!

Daughter Am I is a quest novel — a hunt for truth, a hunt for self, a hunt for gold — so what better way to celebrate the end of my Daughter Am I blog tour than with a treasure hunt! Unlike Mary, you don’t have to travel halfway across the country in the company of seven old rogues (well, six old rogues and one flirtatious old woman). All you to do is hunt for their names. I will even give you a clue. I mentioned the names a couple of times during my blog tour, so all you have to do is find the right article.

When you find all seven names, send an email to secondwindpublishing@gmail.com with your list, and you will be eligible for the real prize — the one and only proof copy of Daughter Am I, signed by the author . . . me. One person chosen at random from all those who send in correct responses will win the book. Who knows, one day it might be a collector’s item, and then you can exchange it for gold. As long as gold remains legal, that is. Teach doesn’t think it will. Oops. I gave away one of the names. So now you only have to find six others.

The hunt is on! Oh, did I mention there were seven octogenarians who accompanied Mary?

The contest ends November 30, 2009 at 11:59pm ET.

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I Need a…Gulp…Outline

I’ve been rereading my work-in-progress, trying to get back into the mindset of the story so I can work on it. Usually by the time I’ve written 37,000 words, my characters help develop the story. No, my characters never take over — they always do what I make them do. It’s more that I know who they are, what they want, and who’s going to stop them from getting what they want. Unfortunately, during the first part of my WIP, my hero mostly contended with the ever-changing world, and the people he met were simply passing through his life. So now I have to create a whole cast of characters.

I’m thinking of having a contest — let people suggest characters, and if I use it, they get an acknowledgement in the book along with a copy of the printed book when it’s published next year. Seems a bit of a cheat, but it could be fun.

But I digress. One of the characters I have to create is a group. Sounds odd, but groups have a culture, a dynamic of their own, a character that is different from the sum of the individual members. Groups also develop, just like characters do, and there are several distinct stages:

1. Coming together and finding the individual roles
2. Defining the task.
3. Feeling unrest — disenchantment with the group and each other
4. Cohesion — beginning to feel like a team
5. Interdependence — work as a team, believe in the subculture they have created.

In addition to creating a whole new cast of characters and developing them into a group, I need to figure out how to get my hero to give up the relative security he recently embraced and go back out into the dangerous world and dubious freedom.

When the novel is finished, much of this scaffolding will be invisible to the reader, but I need to be able to see at a glance how all the parts fit together so I can show what’s happening rather than telling it. It sounds to me like a need a . . . gulp . . . outline. I’ve never outlined a novel before. Should be interesting.

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