Traveling Books

Although you might think this post concerns books about traveling, it’s actually about books that travel. I’d never given much thought to how far books travel, and probably never would have if it weren’t for the confluence of two events. First, my friend who returned to Thailand to be with his ailing wife, took my book Bob, The Right Hand of God with him, which, according to him, makes me an international author. Sounds good, doesn’t it, being an international author? More accurately, it makes the book itself an international book because the author — me — is definitely not international since I’ve never been out of the USA. But my book is now out of the country, having gone by way of car, plane, bus, and perhaps even train, so that makes it a traveling book.

The second event concerns the book I am currently reading. It was written by a Spanish author and translated and published in the U.K. And somehow a copy of that book, printed so very far away, ended up in the local library in the ongoing book sale section. It looks like a well-read and much-loved book, so who knows what sort of roundabout journey that book made to get here. And now it’s in my hands.

This made me think of other traveling books I have known. For example, a friend sent me a trio of books about trees for a house anniversary gift, and those books also came from the U.K. Actually, they came from Amazon in Las Vegas, which is mystifying because she ordered the books from a business located in U.K. Still, since those books were published in London, they had to have traveled to Las Vegas somehow, before they ended up here.

I’ve also been an agent a couple of times for someone overseas who needed out-of-print books that were not available where he was living, and if I remember correctly, at least one of those books originated over there.

Most books don’t travel that far, at least I don’t think they do, but still, they rack up the miles going from the printer to the distributor to the seller to the buyer and then to the reader if the buyer and reader aren’t the same person. Eventually, books travel to a secondhand store and then continue their journey to another home. I ordered one such book from a used book outlet in Oklahoma, and the gift card inserted into that obviously unread book showed that it had been gifted to someone in New York. It was delivered to me in California, and then I myself brought it to Colorado.

But that was a simple journey. Some books travel in a more convoluted fashion. I heard of a woman who had donated her childhood books, then later in life found one of those very same books in a used book store far from where she grew up. She bought it, of course, because obviously it wanted to go back home to her. One can only imagine the secret life of that book — where it had traveled, who had read it, who loved it, and how it ended up back in the hands of its original owner.

A huge percentage of books don’t enjoy that kind of far-reaching journey. 77,000,000 unsold and unread books are pulped — destroyed — each year by the major publishers. (Print-on-demand, where only books that are already sold are printed, hasn’t changed things much because bookstores need the product on hand even though they return up to 40% of those books to the publisher, and up to 95% of those books are sent to landfills or recycled into paper pulp.)

But that’s too depressing to think about. I’d rather imagine the journeys books go on. It’s only fitting that they get their own journeys since so many of them take us on mental journeys and allow us flights of fancy such as this blog post.

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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.

Free Samples!

If you’ve been wondering about my novels but have been afraid to take a chance on buying a book, below are the links to all the first chapters.

I hope you will take a peek.

Bob, The Right Hand of God (Absurdist, Urban fantasy)

Unfinished (Drama, mystery)

Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare  (Mystery, Dance)

Light Bringer (Suspense, Science Fiction)

Daughter Am I (Mystery, Road Trip,)

A Spark of Heavenly Fire (Drama, Suspense)

More Deaths Than One  (Thriller)

All books are available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Pat-Bertram/e/B002BLUHUY/

Did the Macaw Survive?

Someone wrote to me yesterday and said that Bob, The Right Hand of God was a cool book, but he felt bad about Rosemary and the scarlet macaw. Especially the macaw.

There really is no other interpretation of Rosemary’s fate than the one presented in the book, but I thought the macaw had a different end. Looking back, nowhere in the book does it say unequivocally what actually happened to the poor bird, though I had thought it’s fate could be assumed.

Apparently not.

I suppose it depends on if one believes what Bob says, and if one thought there were a stable environment where the bird could be sent, and if Bob were honorable enough to help the poor thing survive. All things that are debatable.

Now I’m curious. Do you think the macaw survived?

None of this, so far, spoils the story since these events took place toward the beginning of the book, so if you respond, I’d appreciate your not mentioning anything that might give away the story.

The book calls out for a sequel, the story of the next generation if nothing else, and your response would help me figure out if (a big if!) I were to write a sequel, whether I should include a mention of the bird or leave the poor thing to its ambiguous fate.

***

“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 buy Bob, The Right Hand of God

Feted!

As if a feast wasn’t enough celebration yesterday, my host and hostess also feted me.

They set up a chair and a table, asked me to be seated, and said that they had a ceremony to perform.

I shook my head, not wanting any part of it (he tends to be a bit of a joker, though not at all mean), but she said, “You’ll like it.”

I sat down and warned them I was not a good sport. And I’m not — I don’t like pranks and practical jokes, and I don’t like being embarrassed, and I particularly don’t like being called a bad sport for putting up with abuse. (Which so often practical jokes are.)

Again, though, my hostess said it wasn’t a problem, that I would like it.

So I sat on my throne, and a minute later, my host dressed as a herald, solemnly marched up beside me and intoned, “By His Lordship of the Shire: Today will auspiciously be remembered as the appointing of She Who Must be Obeyed. In recognition of this momentous occasion, She Who Must be Obeyed will officially be written into the parchment of memories. Whereas her name shall not be forgotten! (Unless erased.)

“Wench, bring forth the quill of everlasting symbols that fadeth not.”

My hostess solemnly marched toward me, holding a pen out in front of her with both hands as if it were a wand or something special, and handed it to me.

Then he said, “Bring forth the parchment that She Who Must be Obeyed may enter her mark upon history.”

She left the room and came back, again, she marched toward me, holding out a tray covered with a fancy cloth. She ceremoniously removed the cloth to reveal a zippered bag. She slowly unzipped the bag, and pulled out my book, Bob, The Right Hand of God.

I laughed. You, of course, have already figured out what was going on, but I was totally surprised. And delighted — both by the ceremony and that they had actually bought a book. When I mentioned my surprise, he said, “Did you doubt we would?” Well, yes. Not everyone who says they will buy a book follow through.

Anyway, I signed the book, we took photos, and then he intoned, “In celebration of this historic occasion, a feast for all! Happy Thanksgiving.”

I must admit, it was a memorable occasion, and she was right, I did like it.

***

“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.

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.

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!

Frigid Temperatures on the Way

I spent the morning getting my yard ready for the frigid weather that’s headed our way. I did one last watering, then stored the hoses and insulated the outside faucets.

And I planted bulbs.

After last year’s fiasco, where I planted many bulbs and almost none came up (due probably to my following directions and not watering them during the early spring drought as I probably should have), I hadn’t planned to do any more bulb gardens, but I donated a few dollars to the Arbor Day Foundation, and they sent me bulbs for a purple garden.

I followed their directions exactly. Dug down deep to loosen the soil in the whole garden area (as difficult as it was, it was easier than it sounds because this particular garden is only about two-and-a half by four feet), planted the bulbs at the requisite depth, and watered extremely well.

I took a picture of my garden, but it looks like . . . dirt! So here is the photo of what it would look next spring in the hands of a real gardener:

Halfway through all this work, I wondered if I was jumping the winter gun because I was HOT. By the time I finished rolling up the hoses, however, cold winds had sprung up, bringing a promise — or a warning — of cooler weather. Although the high today will be near seventy, the low tonight will be in the twenties, and tomorrow we won’t warm up beyond the mid-forties. Saturday will be warm again, in the seventies, and then it will get really cold, down to 10 or 15 degrees with a high around freezing. Brr. Just the thought makes me shiver.

Luckily, I just stocked up on tea! Nothing warms me — body and soul — like a special tea. The one I’m drinking now is called Breakfast in Paris, and is a combination of black teas, lavender, bergamot oil, and vanilla. Very nice! Though truthfully, I could still enjoy the tea if frigid temperatures weren’t on the way.

***

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

Help My Publisher Buy a Maserati

If we sell enough Bob, The Right Hand of God books, my publisher says he will be able to buy a new Maserati. I doubt his choice would be purple, but still, it’s a pretty car.

I’m not sure if this desire of his for a new Maserati is a real wish or if it’s more a metaphor for selling a ton of books. Well, several tons. A ton of my books would be about 3,000 of them, and there’s no way the profits on that would get him anything but a junker. Still, it’s a goal to reach for, and then once that’s reached, we can aim for another ton.

And I? What would I buy from the proceeds of all these tons of books? There’s nothing I need right now, though I must admit financial solvency would be nice.

What would be even nicer is if large numbers of people read and enjoyed the book. I wouldn’t mind if fame didn’t come along with the the sales of those tons of books because fame is overrated. But I would like people to recognize the name of the book, maybe even my name as an author. And I’d like to be able to say, “I sold a ton of books,” and know it was the literal truth.

To help us reach this tonnage, after you read the book, I would appreciate your leaving a review on Amazon. It’s a relatively easy way of supporting the author you love (me).

***

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