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.

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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.

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Excerpt From UNFINISHED

Amanda put a hand over the hole in her chest and was surprised to discover that under her white cotton blouse, her body remained intact. “I miss you, David,” she murmured. “Dammit, I miss you.”

A sudden fury swept over her. “Why did you leave me?” she screamed. She ran back to his closet, grabbed a handful of clothes, and dumped them on the floor. A muffled thud caught her attention, but it took a moment for the truth to soak into her grief-fuddled mind. Something weighty had been stashed among the clothes. She scrabbled about in the pile of garments and pulled out a threadbare terrycloth robe that seemed inordinately heavy.

For a second, Amanda considered reburying the robe in the heap of clothing. David had always been a private person, but during his last year, he had become furtive, and he would not appreciate her ferreting out his secrets. “Well, David,” she said aloud. “If you didn’t want me rummaging around in your life, you shouldn’t have died.”

Still, a feeling of dread made her hesitate. Summoning the strength of her anger, she thrust a hand into the robe’s pocket. Her heart thudded when she felt the shape of the cold metal object. Gingerly, she pulled the piece out of the pocket and stared at it. It couldn’t be real, could it? But the weight told her the small revolver with the two-inch barrel was genuine.

Click here to buy Unfinishedhttps://www.amazon.com/Unfinished-Pat-Bertram/dp/1941071651/

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Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

My Grief Book is One Step Closer to Publication

Grief: The Great Yearning is one step closer to publication. Today I received what might be the final copyedits. One of my fellow bereft volunteered to proof the book for me (actually, a mutual friend volunteered him, and he was kind enough to go along with the suggestion), and he turned out to be a phenomenal copyeditor. Found mistakes that all the rest of us missed. We don’t even have the excuse that we couldn’t see the words for the tears, since he had the same problem.

Very few people have managed to get through the book dry-eyed. Even though each person’s grief is different, there are enough similarities that this book speaks to everyone. It’s been called powerful, profound, exquisite, wrenching, raw, real. One woman wrote me, “I really like your book. When my husband died I devoured books about loss of spouse…maybe 30-40. The ones that were most helpful were similar to yours in that they recounted the journey. NONE were as complete as yours and that is what I wanted.”

Some people think the book will be best as a companion to those who are grieving. Some people think it will be best as a book to give their friends and relatives to help their loved ones understand what the bereft is going through. Some people think it should be required reading in classes for would-be therapists. Some people think it should be handed out to everyone whose spouse signs up with hospice so they are not shocked and bewildered when grief hits.

I never set out to write a book about grief. I merely cried out to an unfeeling void, looking for whatever comfort I could, trying to understand what had happened to him and me and our shared life. Apparently all that chaotic feeling ended up on paper, and now those emotions are tidily packed away into a book. Well, packed away until someone opens the book; then emotion explodes out of the binding.

Writing fiction comes hard to me. I have to drag every word out of my depths, but the words in this book came gushing forth. Of course, I was writing for me, not for others, and I didn’t have to create emotion out of nothing. I had emotion to spare.

Perhaps the time is right for this book. Perhaps it won’t mosey along like my novels, but will burn up the atmosphere when it takes off. Perhaps I really did write an important book. What a strange thought.