Big Sibling

Detectives and other operatives in current mysteries and thrillers look to the internet and the sites where people hang out for clues, so much so that when an author fails to mention those social sites, the absence is glaring. Just as when they don’t mention cell phones. Because cell phones make our lives so much easier and make it harder to be out of touch, the cliché is that the character forgot to charge the phone or is out of range or some such excuse to put the character further into jeopardy.

Which reminds me of Judge Judy and how when defendants talk about a text conversation, and Judy wants to see the message, the defendants always say that it was on a different phone that got broken, and now they have a new one. It happens so often that it’s rather a running joke. But as amusing (or not) as that may be, this post isn’t about cell phones but the social sites.

Have you ever noticed I cannot bring myself to call it “social media”? The closest I come is “social networking sites,” which is what they were known as when I first got online. The “media” part, I suppose, is to make us think these sites have some sort of credence, which they don’t. Not only is the news (on any side of any matter) suspect, so are the lives people portray. As if they are better — or badder — than they are in real life.

In fiction, the lives portrayed online are counted as evidence, especially if someone tells a detective they hadn’t seen the victim in several months, and an online photo shows them together. Or if they say they have never been to a certain place, and a post says otherwise.

Since this happens in real life too, I have never been so naïve as to think that anything I post online is private. I have assumed from the first day that “Big Sibling” is watching me. (Trying to be gender neutral here.) To that end, I have never posted anything I wanted to keep private. In fact, I want people to see my posts and to get to know me in the hope that they will buy my books. Still, I do wonder what I am inadvertently giving away. Anyone can do a bit of detective work and find out where I live, but any official would already know that. Anyone can put the clues together and come up with my age. A few people know when I was born, but generally online I use a pseudonymous birthday. And anyway, that information is available in any official data bank, and especially is available to anyone who has access to my driver’s license, so it’s not much of a secret.

Those officials could comb Facebook for my friends, but then, they would probably already know who they were. And Twitter and LinkedIn? I have no idea who most of my connections are, and I have no interaction with them. In fact, my profiles on both sites are more or less moribund, though the link to my daily blog is posted on both sites. Or at least it’s supposed to be. I haven’t checked recently to see if that is currently the case.

I don’t post photos directly to Facebook, though I suppose they are stored on their servers anyway because of the link to the link to my blog that I post on the site. But that’s okay. Lately all I’ve been posting are images of flowers, not me and whatever victim I might be accused of victimizing. (Though my life is so boring, I’m sure if any official were to check with my neighbors, all they would have to say about me is, “Yes, I know her. Yes, I saw her. I don’t remember what day, but it doesn’t matter. I see her out in her yard every day.)

I am so used to telling the details of my small life that if I did have a secret, I probably wouldn’t have one. I would have blabbed it here, and a blabbed secret is no longer a secret. Though come to think of it, it’s possible they would think that anyone so bland would have to be hiding something (something other than blandness, that is).

Too bad. It would be fun to have a secret. Or maybe not, if fiction is anything to go by. People with secrets are often victims. Since that brings us back to the beginning of this post about officials who come to social sites looking for clues as to who might have wanted to erase the secret by erasing the victim, I’ve apparently come to the end of what I wanted to say.

I hope you have a very nice (and very private) day.

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.

People Like Me

I finally finished the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy. Whew! It really got tedious, all the shopping and designer clothes and idiomatic terms that were translated in footnotes.

The most bizarre thing about the books is that I would have thought they’d be used as examples of how not to write, but apparently, if a book makes money, no one cares about the lack of a plot, the lack of clearly defined major characters, the lack of any sort of character arc, the insertion of too many characters that have no point except to pound home the point that the rich, no matter the nationality, are different.

One of the many things I didn’t understand were those footnotes. Though the story was written in English, these people were not actually speaking English in their own homes among their own families, yet the author kept inserting Asian terms in the midst of what should have been Asian people talking in one of the many Asian languages. I didn’t understand why he didn’t just translate those terms as he did the rest of their dialogue and forget the footnotes. Admittedly, there were times they spoke English, and I suppose they would bestrew their English sentences with Asian terms, but I don’t feel like giving the author the benefit of the doubt, especially since he kept inserting himself in the footnotes. I had to look at the footnotes to see what the heck the characters were talking about, which was bad enough, but it was especially jarring to have all that author intervention. Anyone who knows about writing knows that the author should be invisible. A story is a conversation between the reader and the characters, and no author should ever poke his head into the conversation. It disrupts the fictive dream and takes the reader out of the story.

In this case, I don’t suppose it really mattered since there was no real story. Just a lot of rich people doing rich people things.

Luckily, I’m finished with that particular literary non-event and will go on to a completely different book, this one about a middle-aged, middle-class woman in the sandwich generation — caught between raising young children and taking care of aging parents. I’m not sure I’ll be any more into this story than I was into the rich folk saga — both are alien situations that I can’t really identify with. But then, if I only read books about people like me (assuming, of course, there are any books about people like me), there’d be no reason to read because I know about people like me.

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive? If you haven’t yet read this book, now is the time to buy since it’s on sale.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.

Research

“Research” is a rather innocuous word with various definitions, such as “careful or detailed study,” “studious inquiry,” and “collecting information about a particular subject.” This word didn’t used to present a problem, but nowadays, the word “research” has become a trigger for contempt of others.

Some people are contemptuous of those who find out their information via Facebook or other such sources, but the truth is, depending on who your friends are and how committed they are to the truth and serious research, you can be steered toward all sorts of interesting, scientific, and thought-provoking articles.

Some people are contemptuous of those who Google a subject, read an article or two and call it research.

Some people are contemptuous of those who read a scientific paper but don’t go beyond that to do any of their own thinking or collecting any additional information.

Because “research” is such a trigger word, I have become uncomfortable talking about the research I’ve done for my books, though my research was not of the Facebook or Google or reading a couple of articles variety. My research was done before I knew what any of those online things were — before I’d ever even used a computer — and entailed reading hundreds of books, presenting all sides of the issues I discussed in my novels, as well as spending a lot of time in libraries. It’s because of all the research I did for A Spark of Heavenly Fire, my novel of a pandemic that preceded the real world one by a decade, that I am leery of any “research” people currently tell me about and expect me to believe. There have been so many shenanigans over the years, and suddenly, we are to believe that those in control of the drugs (any drugs) have our best interests at heart.

I mentioned a few weeks ago that when the woman I take care of is napping, I read her Reader’s Digest Condensed Books, and recently one of the books that showed up was novelization of troubles in the pharmaceutical industry. Thalidomide, anyone? Fen-phen? Eugenics? DES? Statins?

Oops. I didn’t mean to get into that. This wasn’t supposed to be about my distrust of the drug companies but simply a discussion of how the word “research” has become an emotional quagmire. But despite the quagmire, I really don’t have to feel bad about calling the information I get for my books “research,” because if nothing else what I do certainly falls under the category of collecting all sorts of information about a particular subject, or even several subjects, since each of my three “conspiracy” novels focused on a different area of study.

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.

Feeling the Cold and the Creeps

It warmed up a mite. A couple of mornings ago, it was minus eight degrees Fahrenheit, and this morning when I walked to work, it was twelve degrees. A veritable heat wave! Despite the high temperature being just above freezing this afternoon, the heat from the sun was so intense, the snow is almost melted. There will be another day or two with single digit lows, then it will get back into the temperatures I’d become accustomed to — lows in the twenties, highs in the fifties.

That also means I’ll be back to watering my grass occasionally. And the streets will be clear and dry so I can go to the library. They are holding a couple of interlibrary loan books for me, and I need to go pick them up, though I’m not sure I really care to read them. I ordered these books months ago — maybe even a year ago — but because of all the closures and slowdowns due to The Bob, I didn’t get the books until now. In fact, I’d completely forgotten about them.

Meantime, what was once an author (Louise Penny) I enjoyed reading became one who gives me the creeps. This author, like one I have abhorred for a very long time whose initials are JP, is teeming up with a politician to write a book. I have no idea why an author who is respected in her own right needs the name of such a controversial politician (initials HRC) to further her career or why she would want to further the needs of the politician. It makes me feel manipulated, as if hands on my back are steering me in a direction I don’t want to go. I realize I shouldn’t let her decision to team up with another person make me rethink the books she wrote before the teaming, but it does. I will never be able to unsee those two names together on a book without shuddering. (It’s not the same with James Patterson and the other Clinton because I lost respect for Patterson and his writing franchise decades ago.)

Life seems to be taunting me, getting the books to me now when I don’t care rather than long ago when I especially wanted to read them. But I will try to remember that these books were written pre-HRC when I still thought Penny was worth reading, and slog my way through them. If nothing else, maybe I’ll finally find out how her detective ended up in the tiny village of Three Pines. The first books I read had him living in the big city. The last books had him living in the village. Without the intermediary books, it’s an additional mystery, so I will watch for the move, enjoy the books as best as I can, and console myself with the thought that these will be the last books of hers I will ever read.

And anyway, with winter here, it seems only fitting to be reading mysteries that take place in the far north (farther north than here, anyway). One thing that fascinates me about books that take place in Canada is the peek at a country and culture that is so similar to USA, and at the same time, vastly different. Although we’re becoming a country divided by myriad languages, this is more by default than by design. Canada seems to have always been a country defined by its two languages and two cultures. Or maybe three when you include the First Nations. Unless I’m wrong about that? I have to admit, the only things I really know about Canada are from the authors I’ve read, not just Louise Penny, but Robertson Davies, Lucy Montgomery, and Margaret Atwood. And, of course, from people I’ve met online.

But I’m getting far from where I started this essay, which is the cold. Brrr! I hope you’re keeping warm this winter, wherever you are.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of intriguing fiction and insightful works of grief.

A Sort of Christmas Story

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 — there are plenty of thrills, and though the book was written more than a decade before the current pandemic, there are enough parallels to give anyone the chills — A Spark of Heavenly Fire is fundamentally a Christmas story. 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.

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 download the ebook on Smashwords in any format here: A Spark of Heavenly Fire. As my gift to you, the download is free for the entire month of December.

Pointless and Plotless

I accidentally checked out a Christian novel at the library the last time I went. Normally I don’t care what I read because almost every book has passages and even pages that I skip, such as graphic sex in romance, over-the-top violence in thrillers, and gory scenes in horror stories, so it’s no problem to skip the proselytizing in books written for a religious-oriented readership.

But this book . . . ai-yai-yai. Not a page went by without a sermon, and most of those “sermons” were given by the loving husband, which if they were given to me, would have turned me against him and religion both. He wasn’t a preacher by trade, which would have made his preaching understandable. I think he was a fireman, but that bit of information was swallowed up in the excess of religious rhetoric, so I’m not even sure if that’s the truth. He wasn’t a dynamic character, that’s for sure!

I did like one point he made, though, that when Jesus calmed the waters, he not only saved his disciples, but also all the little boats that were in the turbulent sea at the same time. It’s always interesting to think about those who we might have influenced that we never knew about. (Although I looked, my name was not listed at the back of the book with all the folks who unwittingly influenced another person.)

Still, one point does not make a story, and the story in this particular book was a cheat, mostly because there was no plot. (And despite the preaching, there was no real point to the story, either.) No matter what happened, God saved the heroine. For example, she found out later in life that killers had been set upon her when she was young. When she finally met one of her nemeses and found out about the contract on her, she asked why he didn’t kill her as he’d been paid to do. He told her it was because of the ten armed bodyguards that always surrounded her. (Not bodyguards with ten arms like the goddess Durga, but ten bodyguards with guns.) Apparently, they weren’t bodyguards but angels. Still angels with guns? But that’s an issue for another time.

That wasn’t the only case of her being rescued by angels. Oddly, there was nothing in the book that made her so special that she was surrounded at all times by an army of angels, and why other characters were so unspecial they were left to their fate. But ignoring that whole issue and going strictly by a literary rather than religious perspective, where’s the suspense? What could have been chilling encounters ended up being . . . nothing. Because nothing happened. Basically, she did what she wanted, and everything turned out for her. The only conflict was of her own making, if the mild unease the character experienced from time to time could be called conflict.

Oh, well, I can’t say this is the worst book I ever read. Some well-respected works that won major awards I found even more ridiculous, but that’s the risk one takes when one grabs a handful of books without spending time vetting them.

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.

Books for Book Lovers

When you are making out your Christmas list (because of course, you are making out a list even though it’s only August), 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.

Bob: The Right Hand of God for those who love whimsical and satirical apocalyptic stories, rebellious loners, six-foot millipedes, baby volcanoes, and cities that suddenly turn into oceans. 

Click here to read the first chapter of Bob: The Right Hand of God

Click here to buy Bob: The Right Hand of God

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

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 perhaps me. (The main character is named Pat. Coincidence? You be the judge!)

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

Grief: The Great Yearning for those who need the comfort of knowing they are not alone in their sorrow especially during the first year of grief.

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

Click here to buy Grief: The Great Yearning

Grief: The Inside Story — A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One for those who need to learn more about the mystery of grief either because they are grieving a person who had been intrinsic to their life or because they know someone who is grieving and want to understand more about what the griever is experiencing.

Click here to buy Grief: The Inside Story — A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One

Wasting My Author Mind

I’m reading a book that was published a couple of years before The Bob mess, and it gives me the willies since it could so easily reflect what’s happening today with the vaccine.

In the novel, a super-secret organization that is not government sanctioned but that uses the various alphabet agencies as cover for their dastardly deeds is trying to create a new hierarchy. In an effort to control the population, they are injecting people who rebel against this new hierarchy with nanotech implants that assemble themselves in their bodies and brains and turn the injected people into willing robots who will do anything in response to their handlers, even kill themselves.

Not that I think that’s happening in the real world today, but the point is that it could. As in the novel, some of the major players in The Bob mess are a multi-billionaire software mogul with a god complex, a whole stratum of the population that seems to want to remake the world in a way that is inimical to another swathe of the population, and way too many ways of spying on ordinary citizens (satellites, traffic cameras, phones in everyone’s hands).

What is missing in the fictional story is a pandemic and people who are trying to inoculate the whole world with a dubious vaccine. The vaccine might be dubious only in my own mind, but truly, who among us knows for absolute certain what all is in the injection they are so obviously foisting on us? And why, if they want everyone to get the vaccine, do they show commercials of people having needles stuck in their arms? So not a way to convince the needle-phobic to get the shot! Besides which, although they want us to believe that the vaccine protects us against delta and lambda and any other variation, vaccinated people are still getting sick from those as well as the original organism. Lambda is the scariest since it’s said to be able to work around the vaccine’s antibodies.

But what do I know? None of us know the truth of The Bob, the vaccine, the variants. All we know are what we are told by news organizations and political hacks, which might be the true truth, a semblance of the truth, or a wholly manufactured truth. All any of us can do is pick our truth. Although it might seem like it, in this essay, I’m not trying to peddle any brand of truth. Basically, I’m just playing author, combining the two stories — the novel I am reading and the story we’re being told about The Bob — and extending the scenario beyond the original premises as all good authors do.

There are certainly enough wild surmises out there to add plot twists to the story: The Bob being a result of “gain of function” experimentation gone wrong; the whole mess being instigated by a prominent population-reduction activist; the entire scenario being enacted for the purpose of inoculating the world’s population with some sort of chip or nanoconstruct; a dress rehearsal for some future nefarious plot to see what it takes to get us to do what they want us to do.

Instead of wasting my “author mind” on such far-out scenarios as these, I’d be better off trying to figure out some sort of world or a bunch of characters to play with that would carry me from book to book. Because if I were to write this story that’s currently writing itself in my mind, people would yawn at the very thought and put the book down (assuming they picked it up in the first place) with a “Bo-o-o-o-ring. Been there.”

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God

Huge Spoiler

I recently read a book that still makes me smile even days after I closed the cover, which is a rare occurrence for me. Generally, when I finish reading a book, that’s the end of it. Very few books any more make me think or feel anything but in the moment of reading, and often not even then. But to leave me smiling? Amazing.

The book was science fiction, reminiscent of the movie Enemy Mine with Dennis Quaid and Louis Gossett Jr. where two completely different beings from different planets meet and against all odds become friends. I don’t know if that was the purpose of either this book or the movie, but that’s the meaning I got from both of them.

What especially made me smile about the book was the ending, and since I’m going to tell you the story as well as the ending, I’m not going to mention the name of the book. Anyway, the story begins when the human wakes up with amnesia and discovers he is on a spaceship far out in space, which is an amusing scenario to begin with. Well, maybe not amusing, but provocative.

He eventually discovers he’s on a mission to save Earth and that all the other people on the mission are dead. And when he meets the alien, it turns out all the beings on that spaceship are dead, too, so it’s up to the two disparate beings to save their planets. Which they do, of course, because they are heroes, right? Image the fellow’s surprise when he discovers he wasn’t a hero who had volunteered for the mission but a middle school physics teacher who had refused to go when called because he loved teaching and didn’t want to give it up, and so he was shanghaied. Still, he did save the earth, and because he saved the other alien’s life (“other” because each is an alien to the other), he ended up not being able to go to back to Earth and return to his much-loved teaching job. Instead, he ended up on the other planet, which had an atmosphere inimical to human life. So the other aliens built a terrarium for him, keeping him as sort of their pet alien.

What really amused me, though, is at the end of the book, he is again a teacher, teaching young aliens about physics. So he did what he had to do and got to do what he loved to do. A person — or a character — can’t ask for more than that.

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.

Undead Husband Thrillers

There is a subgenre of thrillers where a woman’s husband dies and then later, sometimes years later, she finds out that he is still alive.

Sometimes the widow is convicted of killing her husband, and when she gets out of prison, she kills him for real. Sometimes the widow killed her husband, and the supposed “sighting” is a hoax to flush her out. Sometimes the husband faked his death. Sometimes it’s the wife and the children who are declared dead, and only later is the husband united with the children, but not the wife.

I think about these stories as I read them, and wonder how I would react if I found out Jeff hadn’t really died. It would be impossible, of course, because I was there when he took his last breath. I even waited a few minutes before I notified anyone. And, I was there when they shrouded his body with a white blanket, covered it with a red plush blanket, and took it out to the mortician’s SUV.

Still, I wonder. What if I hadn’t been there, and they took the body without waiting for me. What if all I had was an urn they said were his ashes? If I had seen him just a few months after his death, maybe even a year or two, I would have been ecstatic. Later, of course, I might have second thoughts as the sense of betrayal set in. If I had seen him five or so years later, my first reaction might be delight, but it would be followed immediately by fury. How dare he let me think he was dead; how dare he abandon me and subject me to years of grief! Still, I’d listen to his explanation, and if it was reasonable enough, I might forgive him, but I don’t think I’d be able to pick up our life where it left off.

Now, if I were to see him, it would be completely different. To be honest, I’m not sure I’d even recognize him. Eleven years is a long time. And if I did, I’m not sure how I’d react. It would seem a betrayal of him — and my grief — not to want him in my life again, but I’m not the same person I was all those years ago. And if he was willing to walk away from me, then he wouldn’t be the person I thought he was.

His story would have to be truly remarkable to get me to believe that he didn’t simply abandon me. What if he did it to save me? He had actually talked about driving away and leaving me when he got too sick; he didn’t want me to spend my life caring for an invalid, and he didn’t want to be cared for. I can see a scenario based on this — he drove off a cliff, survived and was found, though he had no memory. Perhaps the person who found him was able to heal him. And perhaps years later, he remembered who he was but couldn’t find me.

That’s not an unreasonable scenario — there’s no way he’d be able to track me to this town. I haven’t left much of a paper trail. And yet, I still have the same cell number, and he could find me with no trouble on the internet, so he’d be able to contact me. Maybe he found out via this blog that I’d found a modicum of contentment and he didn’t want to disturb my peace.

Come to think of it, this could be an interesting book. So many of the undead husband novels end up with the husband getting dead for real, disappearing again, and — in a very few cases — becoming reconciled with the abandoned wife. But no book that I know of hints at what the reconciled life would be. The only thing similar is one of those stories where a kidnapped child finds his/her way home years later to a not-happily-ever-after ending.

Maybe someday I’ll write the book, but I don’t really want to think about the story. And I won’t until the next time I pick up an undead husband thriller.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator