In Every True Woman’s Heart

I used to be a guest on various internet radio shows, but I got burned out on the whole idea, so I haven’t been accepting any invitations. When the shows were less than an hour and focused mostly on me, they were fun, but so many of the shows featured several guests and a couple of hosts, so it was hard to know who was supposed to be talking. Also, shows with many guests to be very long, and I am not fond of talking on a phone for any length of time.

Still, when Shannon Fisher invited me to be the first guest on a new show she will be hosting, I immediately agreed. I’ve never met Shannon in person, but we are good friends. We’ve often talked about life and death via Facebook and this blog, and I admire her greatly. She’s on the board of directors of UniteWomen.org, director of Unite Against Rape, and active in various other organizations. And now she’s accepted a position as host of a show on Authors on The Air.

A Spark of Heavenly FireNot only was I invited to be Shannon’s first guest, but A Spark of Heavenly Fire was chosen to be the first book featured on her new show: “The Authentic Woman – with Host Shannon Fisher – Perspectives on the Female Experience.”

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 a decade 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?

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, while others, such as Pippi O’Brien, Greg’s fiancée, 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. Pippi, who values nothing, learns to value herself.

The women drive the book, their sparks of heavenly fire lighting up the bleak world of quarantined Colorado, showing us love in all its guises: caregiving, motherly love, friendship. romantic love, love of life.

It’s fitting that that this book is being highlighted because Shannon herself is a true woman who embodies the spark of heavenly fire the world so desperately needs.

So look for me online on March 2, 2014 at 8:00pm ET at “The Authentic Woman – with Host Shannon Fisher – Perspectives on the Female Experience.”  I’m sure Shannon and I will have much to talk about!

***

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.” Follow Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

I Am a Guest on the UniteWomen.Org Blog!

A couple of weeks ago I asked for help in finding a topic for a guest blog for UniteWomen, a national non-partisan grassroots organization, whose mission is to end inequality for women that stems from prejudice and discrimination and to defend and advance the human and civil rights of women and girls.

Unite+Against+Rape-Pat+Bertram-1024x770I narrowed the wonderful suggestions down to two since more than one person suggested each of the topics.  One suggestion was to write about the compassion of strangers during grief . The other suggestion was to expand what I had written in  Help! I Need a Guest Blog Topic. (I’d written: Oddly, I’ve never felt disempowered as a women, perhaps because I seldom define myself by gender, religion, nationality, age, or any other consideration. I am simply . . . a being in flux. I have felt powerless at times, but not because of being a woman. The powerlessness came from being in situations greater than my abilities. Sometimes I developed the necessary abilities, other times I simply endured. Either way, somehow I moved beyond the powerlessness and here I am — still strong, still developing my abilities, still learning to empower myself.)

I wrote both posts and let UniteWomen choose which one they wanted. They chose the one about the compassion of strangers. The blog has now been posted and you can see it here: “Comfort In the Company of Strangers.”

The other article, I posted on this blog. You can see it here: Grief and the Loss of Identity.

A big thank you to everyone who suggested topics! Even if I didn’t use your topic, I’m still planning on someday writing the posts you suggested. They were all great topics.

***

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.” Follow Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Help! I Need a Guest Blog Topic

I’ve been invited to write a guest blog for UniteWomen.org. This is a huge honor since the Facebook group alone has more than 80,000 fans, so of course I said yes. To be honest, though, I would have said yes even if they honly 800 “likes” — I’m a big fan of the woman who asked me, and I appreciate the work she does to help empower women.

Oddly, I’ve never felt disempowered as a women, perhaps because I seldom define myself by gender, religion, nationality, age, or any other consideration. I am simply . . . a being in flux. I have felt powerless at times, but not because of being a woman. The powerlessness came from being in situations greater than my abilities. Sometimes I developed the necessary abilities, other times I simply endured. Either way, somehow I moved beyond the powerlessness and here I am — still strong, still developing my abilities, still learning to empower myself.

(Grief was one of those situations where I felt powerless, but I embraced the experience and endured.)

I have a third way of getting through situations greater than my abilities, such as my current inability to decide on a blog topic — I ask my blog readers for their input.

The woman suggested several topics for the guest blog:

  • Anything relating to women’s rights, gender equality, your identity as a woman (in and/or out of the romantic partnership).
  • Re-establishing your identity as a woman after the loss of your partner.
  • Lessons learned — anything that would empower or inspire other women.
  • How writing can be very healing and that you would recommend it to anyone who has gone through trauma.
  • How female friends supported you through grief.
  • Whatever you want to say to 80,000 women who are struggling for equality.

She also suggested a post about women judging and criticizing other women, like those who told me to “get over it” when I was grieving, but I don’t want to do that one. Sounds too antithetical for the blog.

Do any of these topics strike you as being more interesting than the others? Or is there another topic besides those listed that I should consider doing?

***

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.” Follow Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

I stand united against rape because . . .

I received an interesting request from a Facebook friend yesterday. This woman has been very supportive during my time of grief, helping me to believe that life will become new again. Because of this, she’s become not yet an offline friend, but more than most of my faceless Facebook friends, so I would have been inclined to grant her any favor.

As it turns out, responding to her request was easy and hard at the same time.

She wrote:

I am now the National Director of Public Relations for UniteWomen.org, a non-partisan women’s rights organization with a social media reach of over twenty million people around the world, and we are about to embark upon our “Unite Against Rape” campaign, which will involve posting an array of memes with short quotes taking a stand against rape. Some of these quotes will be from celebrities, and some will be from everyday men and women. We are hoping to get as much “star power” as we can at the kick-off of the campaign, and I thought of you and your books and I thought maybe we could use you in the campaign as a novelist. I am hoping you might like to participate by completing the statement “I stand united against rape because…” for an Internet meme.

Your quote would only need to be a sentence or two, and we would be incorporating it into a graphic that includes a photo of you (high resolution and from the waist up).

It is time to change the collective mentality and show that we are united against rape, and that we will stand up and speak out about it. If you would be willing to lend your name and likeness to UniteWomen.org’s “Unite Against Rape” campaign, I think it would be good for our campaign and give you some additional exposure for your blog.

Of course I said yes, that was the easy part. The hard part was the “because.” I stand united against rape because . . .

It is so self-evident that rape is wrong that I simply could not come up with a response. I thought of mentioning that rape is illegal, morally wrong, demeans all of us, steals our humanity. I thought of saying that such a barbaric custom has no place in the twenty-first century, but all of that is obvious. I mean, really — who is for rape? I bet even rapists would come out against rape since they probably don’t see what they do as rape.

In the end, all I said was, “I stand united against rape because rape is wrong. It’s as simple as that.”

***

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.” All Bertram’s books are published by Second Wind Publishing. Connect with Pat on Google+