Blog Talk Two

I just finished being interviewed on blog talk radio, and all things considered, it went okay. Well,  there was that part where my mind went blank and I couldn’t think of a single disease mentioned in A Spark of Heavenly Fire, couldn’t think of a single biological warfare experiment that I researched. Sheesh. I spent years on the research. You’d think at least some of it would have come easily to mind. I did manage to mention a  connection between swine flu and the novel, but still . . . it would have been nice to sound as knowledgable as I am about the horrors of biological warfare and human experimentation. And I talked about the Hanta River in North Korea, when it’s in South Korea.  In the end, though, it doesn’t matter. The story isn’t about disease, though I kill off hundreds of thousands of Colorado residents with the flu-like epidemic I created. The disease, the deaths, the quarantine are all simply the setting for the story of how insomniac Kate Cummings came alive when all around her people were dying.

What does matter is that I didn’t give the right website address for my publisher, Second Wind Publishing. Aaaarrrggghhhh! You can find them at Just goes to show that you can’t take anything for granted. Make sure you have website addresses and other pertinent information right in front of you. Don’t rely on your memory!

I had fun, though. I’d met one of the hosts, Steven Clark Bradley, author of Patriot Acts, through Facebook. We’ve had a few interesting email conversations, he’s participated in some of my discussions, and he did a wonderful review of More Deaths Than One. During the blog talk show he mentioned that he stayed up late one night to read my book –Oh, how I enjoy keeping men up late at night! What power!

We talked about how I got the ideas for my books, talked about the characters, and I got in a plug for my novel, Daughter Am I, which will be published next month. All good stuff. The best thing about Blog Talk Radio is that, like all blogs, it’s forever. So stop by whenever you can. I’ll be there.

Blog Talk Two (Today’s interview): Back Story — The Behind the Scenes Look at Writing a Novel

Blog Talk One (My first interview): Talk to Me: Conversations With Creative, Unconventional People

Steven Clark Bradley’s review: More Deaths Than One

More Deaths Than One and A Spark of Heavenly Fire are available from Second Wind Publishing, LLC.

You can also download the first 30% free at Smashwords

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On Writing: Perseverance

My guest today, Steven Clark Bradley, has been to or lived in 34 countries, including Pakistan, Iraq and Turkey. He has a master’s degree in liberal studies from Indiana University. He speaks French and Turkish. He has been an assistant to a prosecutor, a university instructor and a freelance journalist. Bradley is the author of four novels, including Patriot Acts. Bradley says:

I have always been a storyteller. It seems to have been something I was born with. It was actually my son who challenged to stop writing as a hobby and to start publishing my several manuscripts I had written. As a child, I started writing dreams and ideas and it was all part of the process of learning how to paint a tableau with words. Probably the hardest thing was learning to get over what I call ‘the middle of the book’ syndrome. Perseverance is one word that best describes the main character trait that all dedicated writers possess. I can attest to that as I developed the characters, setting, atmosphere and all the million things that go into holding a story together.

Winston Churchill said, “The Pessimist sees problems in every opportunity, but the Optimist sees opportunities in every problem” Once we get into the middle of a novel, we need to get over the hump of taking the story to the next level by pouring ourselves into it. Sometimes, when we find ourselves wanting to quit something, we feel pulled in two directions. Have you ever heard these voices in your head? “There’s no use in continuing!” or perhaps “I have failed and I give up!” These feelings are almost always untrue and are usually caused by depression, fatigue or loneliness. There are so many other personal things in our lives that cause such feelings of hopelessness. We are also drawn by voices in our heads that tell us not to give up. “Think of all the time you’ve invested!” or “Think how hard you have worked!” It’s that second voice that helps you continue on and is what I call “Wise Perseverance.”

To wisely persevere, you need to see the costs or difficulties and benefits or positives of what you are doing. An honest and good decision requires honest and good information. The more you understand yourself, the more certain you will be about your decisions and the more likely you will find the strength to persevere until the story starts to write itself. Some call that this “Literary Critical Mass” when the story becomes a living thing and logic flows and literary inertia seem to take over. Actually, this drive makes all of the characters come alive so that eventual readers will become one with the story until you accomplish your task! All of this serves to develop your own writing style and makes you unique and singular in your message. You’ll probably find that you’re having more fun than you actually thought you would!

I can say that each novel feels like another one of my literary children was born. All the hard work, all the revisions, the TLC that goes into making it powerful and readable and clear, expressive and addictive to the reader comes together when it sits in my hand. The greatest thing is to finally read it in book form and I forget that I am the writer and loving it. It is one of the greatest feelings I have ever had. My novel, Nimrod Rising represented more than 12 years of hard work. There is no feeling like that.

See also:
Interview with Steven Clark Bradley
Steven Clark Bradley reviews Pat Bertram’s novel More Deaths Than One

A Stranger on My Own Blog

Sometimes I get to feeling like a stranger on my own blog. I know I’ve told you several times before that I’m going to reclaim it for myself, but I keep meeting fascinating people who have more interesting things to say than I do, so I invite them to write a guest post. Sometimes I don’t even know how fascinating the people are! I met Vince Gotera on Facebook when I added my Suspense/Thriller Writers group to his index of Creative Writing Sites on Facebook, and we struck up a sporadic conversation. (Actually, I think sporadic is being generous.) The upshot of the deal was that he would write an article for me about an editor’s pet peeves. How was I to know that Vince is the editor of  the prestigious North American Review, the longest literary magazine in the U.S.? Actually, I should have known the magazine was a big deal — with Google, there is no excuse not do one’s homework. Still, it makes me seem as if I’m way more savvy than I really am. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Vince’s bloggery, “Submitting to Literary Magazines 101: Professionalism.” And don’t forget to read the comments. Vince was a perfect guest, responding to everyone who commented. Even more thrilling, this is just the first installment of a three-part series.

I’m doing it again — aren’t I? — talking about other people instead of myself. But I don’t know what to say anymore. When I first began this blog, I gave writing tips and suggestions, then somewhere along the way it began to seem presumptuous. Who was I to tell anyone how to write? Two hundred rejections is not an indication of a great writer! At least it’s not an indication of a writer who follows the rules she’s propagating. Then I got the idea that I should write that which only I can write. Again, a presumptuous idea. But I did talk of my WIP (poor stalled creature that it is) until I found a publisher who loved my books More Deaths Than One and A Spark of Heavenly Fire. Then I started promoting. Or at least talking about it. I don’t have a clue how to get from here to selling the thousands of books I should be/could be selling.

Which leaves me to talk about . . .

I don’t know. At least I don’t have to figure it out for a while. Joan De La Haye is going to be stopping by here on May 5th as part of her blog tour. Then Steven Clark Bradley will be here shortly after that talking about the importance of perseverance in writing.

Meantime, I started a new blog — one just for me. I liked the idea of the WordPress P2 theme, (sort of a Twittery thing) and had to try it out. Stop  by and say hi! Talking about presumptuous — I call my new blog The Mind of Pat Bertram. Sheesh. As if anyone cares what goes on inside my head.

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My First Review!!!!!!!

Steven Clark  Bradley, author of Patriot Acts, has written such a marvelous review of my novel More Deaths Than One, that I can’t keep it to myself. I want to shout it to the world! I knew it would be a good review, because several days ago he messaged me on Facebook. This is a transcript of our conversation:

Steven: (4/19/09 10:37 pm) Hi Pat, I wanted to let you know that I am deeply into your book and it is fantastic. You have a great hook, at least it certainly hooked me! You have a natural talent. I usually read a book really quickly when I am going to post it and review it, but your book has my total attention and it reads very well. If you can get a large number of people to know of it, I know you could have a best seller there. Once again, free of flattery, you are one of the smartest writers I have met. I promise, you’ll love what I write about More Deaths Than One.

Pat: (4/20/09 11:51 am) What a wonderful thing to say! I am thrilled you like More Deaths Than One. You’re one of the very few people who have started reading it, so your encouragement is much appreciated.

The question that has haunted me for months is how do I get a large number of people to know of the book. Perhaps someday I will find the answer. Your review will help, that’s for sure!

Steven: (4/20/09 12:14 pm) The only word that comes to mind is Superb! I read until 1:00 Am last night and forced myself to go to bed! Great work!

I think your characters are so interesting and human. I feel I know them well now. Could we call it “What about Bob?” ;>) you’re a really great writer and no reason why you cannot sell thousands of books.

Steven: (4/22/09 1:21 am) Hi Pat, Sorry I have not written, but I have been busy finishing one great novel . . . written by you! I have already posted a review for your novel. I have not read a book that enjoyable in a very long time. You are a natural. I hope you like what I wrote and every word is the truth. I am happy to be your first posted review on Amazon. That gave me great pleasure. Have a great night and thank you for allowing me to share in the mind of Pat Bertram.

Pat: (4/22/09 12:17 pm) Steven, I am sitting here trying to figure out how to thank you for the fantastic review and the wonderful presentation on your blog, but  am touched beyond words. Still, you deserve the words: thank you. Your review was so well done that even I am now anxious to read More Deaths Than One!

Steven’s review: More Death’s Than One

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