A Thousand Years

Considering all the address labels various do-gooder groups are sending me, I won’t be able to move for a thousand years, and even then, I’ll have a few labels left over as well as those they will be sending me over coming millennium.

I mean, really — in this electronic age, how many address labels does one person need? I’ve been using one each month to pay a local bill because I got out of the habit of paying in person with The Bob restrictions. (Incidentally, if you don’t know why I call this particular disease “The Bob,” it’s not just because I can’t bear to use its name, even though that’s true, it’s because of a scene from my book, A Spark of Heavenly Fire. Click here to read the explanation: The Bob)

And I might use a couple address labels for Christmas cards if I decide to send out the new cards I constructed from old cards at an Art Guild meeting the other day. But besides that, I have no use for address labels. You’d think charitable organizations would come up with some other sort of gimmick to get people to contribute to their cause, but I suppose the labels are easy to make and cheap to mail.

***

Please check out my new book!

“I am Bob, the Right Hand of God. As part of the galactic renewal program, God has accepted an offer from a development company on the planet Xerxes to turn Earth into a theme park. Not even God can stop progress, but to tell the truth, He’s glad of the change. He’s never been satisfied with Earth. For one thing, there are too many humans on it. He’s decided to eliminate anyone who isn’t nice, and because He’s God, He knows who you are; you can’t talk your way out of it as you humans normally do.”

Click here to order the print version of Bob, The Right Hand of God
Click here to purchase the Kindle version of Bob, The Right Hand of God.

Just When You Thought it Was Safe to Go In the Water

Yesterday I posted a favorite scene from my new novel, Bob, The Right Hand of God. It’s such pretty imagery, one of the many scenes that would make this a perfect movie.

Did you think that’s all it was — a pretty scene. Well, at first. Then, just in when you thought it was safe to go into the water . . .

***

Please check out my new book!

“I am Bob, the Right Hand of God. As part of the galactic renewal program, God has accepted an offer from a development company on the planet Xerxes to turn Earth into a theme park. Not even God can stop progress, but to tell the truth, He’s glad of the change. He’s never been satisfied with Earth. For one thing, there are too many humans on it. He’s decided to eliminate anyone who isn’t nice, and because He’s God, He knows who you are; you can’t talk your way out of it as you humans normally do.”

Click here to order the print version of Bob, The Right Hand of God
Click here to purchase the Kindle version of Bob, The Right Hand of God.

A Sea of Blue

The following is perhaps my favorite scene in my new novel, Bob, the Right Hand of God:

Chet ran west along the grassy swathe of what used to be Sixth Avenue, seeking the grocery store where he usually shopped. He had seen it yesterday, and he needed to stock up on all the basics, not just food but toothpaste, soap, shaving cream.

Chest heaving, he neared the edge of what was left of Denver. The grocery store was gone. The prairie had advanced a few more blocks, wiping it out. He was trying to remember where the closest stores were in the eastern section of the city when the smell of salt and fish caught his attention.

He stopped and stared. The prairie looked blue like the ocean. Colorado had once been part of a great inland sea. Was the development company bringing it back?

He trotted to the edge of the expanse. Not a watery sea but a sea of blue flowers. Blue bees, metallic-blue wasps, and delicate blue butterflies flickered among blue geraniums, spiky blue lupines, sky-blue poppies, delphinium, columbines, forget-me-nots, periwinkles, deep blue hydrangea.

Awe carried him into the blue.

He tilted his head back and watched a flock of bluebirds limned against the pale blue evening sky.

A chill creeping up his legs brought his gaze back to earth. He stood in water up to his knees.

Shivering, he waded to shore.

Although he lingered by the sea until long after the sun had slipped behind the indigo mountains, he did not see another blue flower.

***

What if God decided to re-create the world and turn it into a galactic theme park for galactic tourists? What then?

Click here to order the print version of Bob, The Right Hand of God. Or you can buy the Kindle version by clicking here: Kindle version of Bob, The Right Hand of God.

What Do I Need to Know Today?

To learn the tarot and to get familiar with the various decks I inherited from my brother, I’ve been picking a card every day, and then researching the meaning. To get the best use of such an undertaking, a person needs to ask a question, though it isn’t necessary. My question — when I remember to ask it — is always, “What do I need to know today?” I find when I don’t ask the question, the card reflects my worries more than anything else. When I do ask . . . well, sometimes I get advice and sometimes not, but it’s hard to figure out from a card what I need to know especially if I don’t know what I need to know because the cards can only tell me what I already know since I am the one interpreting them.

Still, the advice I glean is sometimes spot on, sometimes too general to be useful, and is often something I already I know about me or my life. (I haven’t yet figured out how to discover that which I don’t know about my secret inner workings, even though learning such things is supposedly the best use of the tarot.)

The one suggestion that comes up over and over again in my daily one-card reading is to trust my intuition, trust my intellect, and to stay true to myself. I can’t help but equate this advice to certain current events since my intuition — and intellect — are both at odds with what most other people think, so I tend to doubt myself.

Despite the lack of true knowledge from the tarot about what I need to know each day, it’s still an interesting exercise. Maybe it will open my mind up to this intuition I am supposed to trust. If not, at least the question helps me focus on the day and what I might glean from it.

Forgetting the cards and what they might tell me, I’m curious as to what you might tell me — me specifically, or me as a member of the human race — what I need to know today.

So, what do I need to know today?

What do you need to know?

***

My latest novel Bob, The Right Hand of God is now published!

What if God decided to re-create the world and turn it into a galactic theme park for galactic tourists? What then?

Click here to order the print version of Bob, The Right Hand of God. Or you can buy the Kindle version by clicking here: Kindle version of Bob, The Right Hand of God.

Reviews Requested

Non-authors often have suggestions of things for me to do to promote my books, which I appreciate, even though I’ve probably already implemented the suggestions. (In fact, I had two such conversations yesterday.)

Oddly, what no one ever asks is what they can do.

Admittedly, I made a mistake by spending too much time promoting other authors, presuming wrongly (in all but a handful of cases) that the authors would in turn do something to promote me.

And I probably made a mistake posting so much of my grief writing here on this blog where anyone can read it without having to do anything in return. Which is okay. My mission, ever since Jeff died, is to untangle the many threads that go to make up the knotty — and so very agonizing — problem we call grief.

Still, there is something you can do, which is probably more important than anything I can do.

If you have read and liked any of my books, if any of my grief books have helped you, you can leave a review for me on Amazon. You don’t even have to have purchased the book from Amazon — after all, none of the professional reviewers buy the books they review.

I realize that some people are intimidated by the expert reviews that have been posted, thinking they could never write as well. Or they simply do not know what to do.

But it’s easy. Truly.

You don’t have to write a synopsis of the book — there are already synopses posted, both by the publisher and a few of the reviewers. Nor do you have to agonize over what to write.

First, say what you liked about the book. You might like a specific character or the interplay between a couple of characters. You might like the setting. You might like the plot, the style of writing, the way the author kept you interested. Just say something, anything, that you liked.

Then, say how the book affected you. Maybe it made you laugh, or think, or offer comfort, or take you away from your problems for a few hours.

Finally, star your review. (A five-star review is nice — hint, hint — but not necessary.)

A simple review is fine. A short review — a couple of sentences — is fine. A misspelled review is fine. (You can always edit it later if you wish.) The important thing is to leave a review.

You can find my author page on Amazon here, with a listing of all my books: Pat Bertram Books

Thank you for your help!

***

“I am Bob, the Right Hand of God. As part of the galactic renewal program, God has accepted an offer from a development company on the planet Xerxes to turn Earth into a theme park. Not even God can stop progress, but to tell the truth, He’s glad of the change. He’s never been satisfied with Earth. For one thing, there are too many humans on it. He’s decided to eliminate anyone who isn’t nice, and because He’s God, He knows who you are; you can’t talk your way out of it as you humans normally do.”

Click here to order the print version of Bob, The Right Hand of God
Click here to purchase the Kindle version of Bob, The Right Hand of God.

My “On” Button

Before the election, I talked with a friend one day about all the lies and cheats and deceptions. Like most people, she knew knew these tactics existed, but since she believed the lies told by the alphabet newscasters, she wasn’t aware there was another side.

I don’t often monopolize the conversation, but every once in a while, someone finds my “on” button, and I hold forth. Much of the truth of this past election was hard to find, but if one read more than an article or two, and if one read articles that went against what one happens to think at any given moment, it was a lot easier to piece things together. Also, I’ve studied such things most of my life — people often downplay the unpalatable truth with a contemptuous sneer of “conspiracy theory,” but the truth is, a conspiracy is merely something people in power do behind your back. And politics is full of back door, back room, back stabbing deals that we are not privy to, and if we do happen to stumble on the truth, well, then, they dismiss it by saying it’s just another conspiracy theory or fake news or whatever damning name they want to call it.

That particular day, however, I’d watched the news with her, watched the newscaster show a clip of an interview, then listened to her turn the person’s words upside down to prove a completely different point, then asked a second interviewee a question that would again make a mockery of the truth. The two of them talked about the horror of the event as if it had actually happened, rather than being a total fabrication.

Since I don’t watch the news, this took me aback. That they didn’t even pretend to hide their reprehensible behavior was too much for me. Did they really think we were such fools as to not hear what we originally heard?

Apparently so. Anyway, that got me started.

The friend listened agog as I explained not what we had just seen but also some of the subtle — and not so subtle — lies we’ve been told, explained how they vilified some players while beatifying others, and even explained some of the historical background leading up to this particular political mess. When I realized what I was doing, I apologized.

She said, “I like listening to you talk.” She asked me how I knew everything I did, including all the pieces that went together to make up my books. Then she said, “You must have gone to school for a long time.”

The truth is, I didn’t go to school for a long time. In fact, I have far less formal education than just about anyone I know, but I’ve spent a lifetime reading and researching, listening and thinking to make up for the lack. Even more, I almost never watch television. I didn’t grow up watching like most people of my generation did because my father wouldn’t get one. He wanted us to be independent thinkers, which kind of backfired on him. He wanted us to independently come to the same conclusions he did, and he was appalled to discover that we all turned out to think independently of him.

But that’s beside the issue. The real issue is that a lot of knowledge is hidden in books. Not school books or text books, but . . . books. All kinds of books, fiction and non-fiction. If one never reads, one never learns anything but what they are fed.

The first time I realized that tales hid truth was in grade school. For an English assignment, we had to create a newspaper. I thought it would be fun to make the news stories about various fairy tales and nursery rhymes, and in trying to find things to say about these bits of folklore, I happened to come across a book that gave the origins and meanings. And wow! What an eyeopener!

And so began my quest for the truth hidden in books.

If I have ever had a life-long passion, it’s with the truth, reading, seeing that which is hidden that we’re not supposed to know. So far, not all the truth is suppressed, and I’m not sure it can be, but it’s a lot harder to find than on a lighted screen.

I can’t say knowing the truth — at least as much of it as I do — has made me happy. It’s made me more of an outcast than anything (except during my years with Jeff — he was the only other seeker I had ever met, and together we learned a lot). But still, I’d rather know the truth — and if I don’t, I prefer searching for it — even if people don’t agree with me. Sometimes, their disagreement leads me to other paths. So far, none of these paths have set me on a totally different course, though a lot of the paths augmented the ones I was already on.

Searching for truth is like this find the hidden objects game I’ve been playing — it’s about learning patterns, seeing the truth as deviation from the pattern as well as seeing the truth in the pattern.

See what I mean about my “on” button? I had no intention of going into all that, but once I got started, I just kept going.

Luckily for you, I also have an off button.

***

My latest novel Bob, The Right Hand of God is now published!

What if God decided to re-create the world and turn it into a galactic theme park for galactic tourists? What then?

Click here to order the print version of Bob, The Right Hand of God. Or you can buy the Kindle version by clicking here: Kindle version of Bob, The Right Hand of God.

Reviews!

I received a couple of excellent reviews for my novel Bob, The Right Hand of God, which was recently published by Stairway Press. Not that I was worried — I know the book is good (though I’m sure all authors think that about their books) but both reviewers are people whose opinion I value, so I was hoping for good words.

Luckily, both of them liked the book.

Malcolm Campbell, author of Fate’s Arrow wrote: “The book is many things: highly readable, realistic and believable in portraying how the characters react and interact, dystopian in that everything we know is gone and the replacement plan isn’t providing anything better, and (yes) playful. Should the reader laugh or cry? Hard to say. While the ending was predictable, this well-written novel is highly recommended.” Click here to read the full review: https://malcolmsroundtable.com/2020/11/04/review-bob-the-right-hand-of-god/

Sam Sattler of the book blog “Book Chase,” wrote: “Bob: The Right Hand of God is funny and it’s clever, but deep down, it has a message about the important things in life. Pat Bertram has written several books on grief and grieving and she brings that kind of emotional sensitivity even to a farcical tale like this one. If you are looking for something fun to read, this is one you should consider.” Click here to read the full review: https://bookchase.blogspot.com/2020/11/bob-right-hand-of-god-pat-bertram.html

If you, too, enjoyed the book, please leave a review on Amazon. It doesn’t have to be a full review such as the above two reviewers wrote. It can be as simple as single sentence saying you enjoyed the book, or that it’s the perfect book for these time, or that you’d like to see it made in a movie, or anything. (If you hated it, then never mind.) I would like to see this book find a wide audience. I think people would like it, even those who don’t read much.

If you haven’t yet read the book, click here to order the print version of Bob, The Right Hand of God. Or you can buy the Kindle version by clicking here: Kindle version of Bob, The Right Hand of God.

Thank you!

Malaise

I’m having a hard time thinking of something to write about today. To be honest, I’m having a hard time even caring about thinking of something to write about, or caring about much of anything. Oh, I am still enamored of my house — I feel blessed to be here. I am still intrigued with the possibilities for landscaping. And I’m still hopeful about my newly published novel. But other than that, I’m feeling . . . disconnected. Or maybe just upside down.

Part of it, I’m sure, is shock over the direction people have chosen to steer this country. We’re already as close to socialism as I ever want to be, but apparently, most people want what I don’t, and the thought of what’s going to be happening in the next few months and years makes me nervous.

Part of it, too, is that I’m tired. I still haven’t recovered from the time change, though why that should make a difference, I don’t know. I’m also tired from caring about things I have no control over.

Part of it is that I spend too much time alone. I have my job, and I do see other people now and again, but I am too much in my own head, which isn’t always a good place to be.

And part of it might be that, as my tarot card today intimated, I am at a crossroads, needing to reflect and reevaluate my life so I can have a better understanding of where I am and where I need to grow. (One thing, I know is that I need to opt out of reading or hearing any news — I no longer want to know anything “they” are doing since there’s nothing I can do about it.)

Of course, all of the above could be hogwash. It could simply be that I have nothing to say. 411 days of daily blogging is a long stretch. (I had to look up the word “hogwash.” know what it means in its usage today but not how it started out. It turns out hogwash is not something for cleaning hogs, as I vaguely assumed, but is actually swill — kitchen scraps one feeds to the pigs.)

The weather was nice enough today after the winds died down that I was able to take a walk, which helped. And I had a couple of nice meals — eggs and a vegetable salad. So maybe this malaise will soon pass, at least I hope it will.

***

My latest novel Bob, The Right Hand of God is now published!

What if God decided to re-create the world and turn it into a galactic theme park for galactic tourists? What then?

Click here to order the print version of Bob, The Right Hand of God. Or you can buy the Kindle version by clicking here: Kindle version of Bob, The Right Hand of God.

It’s Alive!

I’ve never had a green thumb. Any indoor plant — and most outdoor plants — I ever had took one look at me and promptly expired, so a few months ago when a friend gifted me with a plant she’d grown from her mother’s purple passion plant, I accepted with an outward smile and an inward groan.

Luckily, she said it wouldn’t hurt her feelings if the plant didn’t make it, which made me feel a whole lot better. And also, luckily, the plant isn’t picky about being watered — once a week or thereabouts is all it needs.

Despite my benign neglect, the plant seems to like it here. It’s in front of southern window with a light curtain that I mostly keep closed, so the purple passion plant gets plenty of diffused sunlight.

Surprisingly, not only has the plant thrived, but whenever it gets too tall and stringy, I lop of the top of the plant and stick it in the pot, and that bit thrives, too. Because of this, it doesn’t have nature’s symmetry but a rather wild appearance.

But it’s alive, and that’s what counts. Or at least, I think it is.

***

My latest novel Bob, The Right Hand of God is now published!

What if God decided to re-create the world and turn it into a galactic theme park for galactic tourists? What then?

Click here to order the print version of Bob, The Right Hand of God. Or you can buy the Kindle version by clicking here: Kindle version of Bob, The Right Hand of God.

Make-Believe Worlds

I’m seceding from the world at large and planning on disappearing into make-believe worlds. There are simply too many horrible or stupid or insulting conversations about the election in the real world, the seemingly most innocuous being one of the worst, for me. People are saying that this was a contest between two men and should not be affecting our relationships with one another. While I might agree with the second part (to the extent that people keep their insults and aggressiveness to themselves), I definitely do not agree with the first part. To say it’s a contest between two men makes it seem like a high school presidential election where the most popular person wins. Many of our national elections have been like that, with nothing at stake, but this election is historic. It was not a choice between two men, but between two entirely different directions for the country to take — between freedom and subjugation, between choice and control, between more government and less government.

People on both sides are appalled that so many people voted for the other side, which means, again, that it was not about two men but about all of us.

So, I’m seceding. Or maybe it’s more that I receding. Either way, I’m finding comfort in make believe worlds.

I’ve got books, my yard (though I had to give up on digging up the grass in my garden because the tops of my feet hurt from all that unfamiliar work), and I’m immersing myself in one of those silly hidden objects game where you search for . . . you guessed it . . . hidden objects. I play my own game (which should come as no surprise to anyone who knows anything about me). The game itself is free, but you are expected to buy “energy” (the coin of the realm) with real money as well as various other artifacts, but my game is to find ways of playing free. For example, if players agree to watch a commercial, they get gifts of energy and other e-delights, and I always agree — it gives me a chance to rest my eyes. They also occasionally have a side game that can be played free, as well as “happy hours.”

The game amuses me. It keeps my attention and provides exercise for my not-as-sharp-as-it-once-was memory, but it’s also an excellent example of an inflationary world. The more you play, the more energy you can accumulate, but the more energy you accumulate, the more each phase of the game costs. But, unlike in the real world, I can find ways around the inflation, such as playing the most “expensive” games during happy hour, and only playing the “cheap” games with my accumulated energy.

For now, I’d rather live in the make-believe worlds in games, in novels, and even inside my own head. At least, I don’t have to listen to lies and comments that irk me.

To set the record straight, none of the comments left here have ever irked me in any way. I appreciate every one of you and your comments. But then, this blog, in its own way, is also a make-believe world.

***

Speaking of make believe worlds, my latest novel Bob, The Right Hand of God is now published! Click here to order the print version of Bob, The Right Hand of God. Or you can buy the Kindle version by clicking here: Kindle version of Bob, The Right Hand of God.

What if God decided to re-create the world and turn it into a galactic theme park for galactic tourists? What then?