“A Spark of Heavenly Fire” is a well paced thriller

The following is a review of my novel A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and was written by Dellani Oakes.

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Kate Cummings works in a medical clinic as a patient advocate. Since the death of her husband, she’s led a quiet, uneventful life. All that changes when a jogger in the park falls on her, hemorrhages and dies. This event is strange enough, but when the same symptoms appear in a woman at the clinic, Kate realizes that something more is going on.

At the park, Kate meets Greg Pullman, a reporter for the newspaper. He’s somewhat younger than she, but they click on many different levels. When his fiancee, Pippi O’Brian, dumps him, he finds friendship and solace with Kate.

Together, Kate and Greg begin investigating the odd circumstances surrounding the deaths of the jogger and the woman at her office. As more and more people get ill, the city of Denver finds itself under military quarantine.

“A Spark of Heavenly Fire” is a well paced thriller. Kate and Greg race against time, trying to find the cause of the outbreak as well as survive in the aftermath. The characters are 3 dimensional and believable. The reader feels a link with them, and hope that they will somehow survive.

I highly recommend “A Spark of Heavenly Fire” for anyone who likes a good mystery with a dash of romance. It’s an excellent book and I look forward to reading Pat Bertram’s other novels – “More Deaths Than One”, “Daughter Am I”, “Lightbringer” and “Grief: The Great Yearning” (non-fiction).

Look for all Ms. Bertram’s books at www.secondwindpublishing.com as well as Amazon.com, BN.com and Smashwords.com

“More Deaths Than One” will leave you breathless

The following is a review of my novel More Deaths Than One, and was written by Dellani Oakes. I didn’t bribe her into saying such nice things. I promise.

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“More Deaths Than One” by Pat Bertram will leave you breathless—first with anticipation, finally with a contented sigh of a job well done. Set in 1988, this well crafted, fast paced novel of love and intrigue spans the globe from Denver, Colorado to Bangkok, Thailand.

Bob Stark is a quiet man. A Vietnam vet, he’s returned to the states after nearly 18 years in Thailand. He came back to his childhood home of Denver because his life in Thailand couldn’t continue. His friend and mentor, Hsiang-li, left on a personal quest to find a golden Buddha in the jungle—the place where he had to bury his wife and child after they were murdered.

Kerry Casillas works nights in the diner Bob frequents. One night, she introduces herself and they get to know one another. Soon after meeting Kerry, strange things start to happen. Bob and Kerry find themselves embroiled in a mystery far beyond their understanding.

“More Deaths Than One” is an interesting tale of one man’s journey to find the truth. The character of Bob Stark is deep and many faceted. He’s quiet, kind and resourceful, showing abilities even he didn’t know he possessed.

Kerry is a fun loving character and the opposite of Bob in many ways. She’s talkative, outgoing and imaginative. She is the perfect partner and counterpart to Bob. She, too, has hidden talents that surprise and please Bob.

The well-paced plot of “More Deaths Than One”, keeps the reader riveted, waiting to discover the many mysteries in Bob’s past. I enjoyed the fact that though I guessed at all of these secrets, I was right about only a few. Bertram truly kept me hopping as I made my way through the book. I like when a novel isn’t so predictable that I know the end before it arrives.

 

Dellani Oakes, A Denizen of My Online World

I’d like you to meet Dellani Oakes, a wonderful writer, great blogger, Facebook friend to thousands of readers and authors, blog talk radio host, fabulous reviewer. Hmmm. I think I listed everything. Nope — forgot to mention the most important thing of all: she’s also an indefatigable writer. Her two published novels are Indian Summeran historical romance and Lone Wolf, the first novel in a new science fiction series. Both were published by Second Wind Publishing. (Click on the title link to read the first chapter of each book.) She has 54 works in progress at last count  and a notebook with hundreds of  other ideas for short stories and novels. When asked recently how she thought of all those stories, she replied: “There are more ideas in my head than I can get written down in one lifetime. I’ll have to live forever.”

We can only hope to have her around so long!

You can meet Dellani at Dellani’s Choice, the new blog she recently started to post author interviews and reviews of books she has read. Or you can meet her at Writer’s Sanctuary, her original blog. She’s been collecting author’s book titles & their links as a holiday guide for people who want to find great gifts. So be sure to check out Writer’s Sanctuary.

Click here for an interview with: Dellani Oakes, Author of Lone Wolf

Click here for an interview with: Wil VanLipsig from Lone Wolf  by Dellani Oakes

Click here for an interview with: Manuel Enriques, Hero of Indian Summer by Dellani Oakes

Click here to friend Dellani on: Facebook. Tell her Pat sent you.

To Outline or Not Outline

Dellani Oakes, today’s guest blogger, is the recently published author of Indian Summer, a unique regency novel of a young girl’s coming of age. Dellani says:

I continue to be amazed by people who make outlines of their stories, know where the story line is going and most of all know the ending before even writing the book. Who are these godlike folk and why am I not like them? I am a very off the cuff writer, I don’t know where the story is going to go, although I like to have a general idea before I begin. I usually start with an idea or, more often than not, a sentence that seems to resonate in my mind until I get it down on paper. Novels and short stories start the same way, a compelling first sentence.

When I was a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers, I read an article in the newsletter that caught my interest. It was an interview with Tim Powers. I read snippets to my husband asking him (like he knows), “How can he do that? How can anyone do that?” Outlines? Those are things you write after a term paper is written and only because the teacher requires it. If they had a crown for that, I’d be Queen.

I rarely know where my stories are going. I don’t always know what I’m going to do with a character after I’ve introduced him, but I know he’d not be there if he weren’t important in some way. For me, writing is an exploratory process. I can’t sit down knowing what will be, I have to let it unfold. I think the idea of outlines is very intimidating for some writers, especially new ones. To know everything in advance takes some of the fun out of my process. Don’t misunderstand, I think it’s marvelous that some people can do that. I find it incredible that they are organized enough to work their way through the entire book before actually writing it. It is a matter of preference and personality.

Having tried the outline, I can honestly say it doesn’t work for me. I can’t even write a short synopsis of a book because I put in too much detail. I got half way through my first outline and thought, “If I am going to spend this much time on it, I might as well just write the book.” The outline hit the trash and I put all that creative energy into the novel instead.

What I think I was trying to say when I started is this: Don’t be intimidated by the idea that you must outline. Don’t think you can’t start the novel you’ve been dreaming about because you have no clue how it’s going to end. Go with what is comfortable for you and find your way. By all means, try outlining because it is a wonderful tool, but don’t lock yourself into the thinking that you have to follow it once it’s there. Nothing is cast in stone, everything is malleable Thenwhen the creative juices flow and the words pound at the inside of your skull demanding to be set free, you can give them the outlet they need, hammering away at your keyboard or pouring from your pen. Whatever you do, just keep writing and let the outlines take care of themselves.

Indian Summer is available from Second Wind Publishing.

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