Posts tagged: Pat Bertram

Daughter Am I by Pat Bertram – An Indie Gems Featured Book

~****~
Pat Bertram is an accomplished author whose work I love. It’s my pleasure to welcome her to Indie Gems. Indie Gems exists to showcase  fine independently produced books and their authors. Indie Gems has a few rules, to which I will adhere. Pat Bertram and her work certainly fit the criteria for Indie Gems. Pat and I spoke about her novel, Daughter Am I. I wondered about her process as she wrote the book as well as what she had to say to upcoming writers. In addition to her wonderful books, Pat maintains a strong web presence and is  generous in helping other authors. She could give us a seminar on social media, as well as discussing her book! Here we concentrate on Daughter Am I , a suspenseful and fascinating novel.

Sandy Nathan
Indie Gems of Your Shelf Life

Daughter I Am by Pat Bertram

What is your novel Daughter Am I about?

Daughter Am I is the story of a young woman who inherits a farm from her murdered grandparents — grandparents her father claimed had died before she was born. She becomes obsessed with finding out who they were and why someone wanted them dead.

How did Daughter Am I come to be?

Daughter Am I was the combination of two different stories I wanted to write. I’d read The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler, and the mythic journey so captured my imagination that I knew I had to write my own quest story. I also liked the idea of telling little-known truths about the mob, and I settled on the story of a young woman going in search of her past. As she listens to stories of old-time gangsters and bootleggers — her mentors and allies — she gradually discovers the truth of her heritage. I’ve always liked stories within stories.

How did you do the research for the book?

Read, mostly. Not all the history in Daughter Am I is from my research, though. I had an historian friend who regaled me with tales of gangsters for many years. In fact, I got to the point where I couldn’t watch a gangster film with him because he’d keep up a running commentary about all the things the filmmaker got wrong, and I’d miss half the story. I did a lot of research myself, though, and it was a special joy when I discovered something he didn’t know! Most of the information isn’t on the internet, but resides in . . . gasp! . . . books.

A Spark of Heavenly Fire

What challenges did you face as you wrote this book?

I had one great obstacle — me! The story came to me all in one day. Even the biggest story problem — why the gold was buried — was resolved that very night when I read a book about the war on gold. Still, even though I knew the story, it took me eleven months to write the first draft. Words come slowly to me. I’m not one who can sit down and just write what comes to mind. I have to dredge the words from somewhere deep inside.

What author influenced you as a novelist?

My biggest influence was Taylor Caldwell. She told wonderful stories that showed history in the context of fiction, and I’ve tried to do the same. She also used a hundred words when a single sentence would have sufficed, and I’ve tried to do the opposite.

What advice would you give to an unpublished author?

Write your book. Rewrite it. Edit it Re edit it. Study the publishing business. Learn everything you can about good prose, story elements, promotion. With so many millions of people out there who have written a book or who want to write a book, the competition is fierce. And, no matter what happens, keep writing.

A writer does not attain maturity as a writer until he or she has written 1,000,000 words. (I’m only halfway there.) So write. Your next book might be the one that captures people’s imaginations and catapults you into fame and fortune. Not writing another book guarantees you will never will reach that goal. It also keeps you from doing what you were meant to do.

Traditional publishing continues to struggle. How has this impacted you as an author?

The main impact comes from the sheer number of books being published now. So many people have given up the dream of their novel being accepted by a traditional publisher and have found alternatives, that an unknown author who signs with a small independent publisher has a difficult time making a name for herself. Other than that, the struggles of the major publishers haven’t really had an impact on me as an author.

What is your book promotion strategy?

I didn’t realize I had a strategy until just now. It’s simple — I promote other authors in the hope that some sort of author karma will find its way back to me and catapult me to stardom. Hasn’t happened yet, but I’ve met a lot of wonderful writers.

More Deaths Than One by Pat Bertram

What are you working on now?

Rubicon Ranch http://rubiconranch.wordpress.com/ is a collaborative and innovative crime series set in the desert community of Rubicon Ranch and is being written online by me and a few other authors of Second Wind Publishing.

Residents of Rubicon Ranch are finding body parts scattered all over the desert. Who was the victim and why did someone want him so very dead? Everyone in this upscale housing development is hiding something. Everyone has an agenda. Everyone’s life will be different after they have encountered the Rubicon. Rubicon Ranch, that is.

Who dunnit? No one knows, and we won’t know until the last chapter has been written. You can download the first book in the series free in any ebook format at Smashwords. https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/168165

Where can people learn more about your books?

Pat Bertram author of Daughter Am I

I have a website — http://patbertram.com — where I post important information, including the first chapters of each of my books, but the best way to keep up with me, my writing, and my life on a daily basis is by way of Bertram’s Blog. http://ptbertram.wordpress.com

All my books are available both in print and in ebook format. You can get them online at Second Wind Publishing, Amazon, B&N and Smashwords. Smashwords is great! The books are available in all ebook formats, including palm reading devices, and you can download the first 20-30% free!

Promoting your Book – Create Interest in Your Book with Character Interviews and Videos

Your book is out, one of several hundred thousand released this year. Now that it’s out, how do you attract attention to it? 

You do pretty near everything you can think of to get it in front of potential readers and buyers. Here’s John Kremer’s website. He wrote the book on book marketing. He can fix you up with thousands of ideas.

Here are a couple of things I’ve used that were fun for me and my readers: The Character Interview and Casting Video. I’ll give examples of both.

Have you done a Character Interview?  That’s you pretending to be one of the characters in your book and interviewing yourself. To get an idea of what I’m talking about, check my friend Pat Bertram’s blog. She offers a number of questions you can “ask” your character and will post your response to her questions. It’s a fun writing exercise. As you get into the character’s voice, you may find the answers to the questions surprise you. You can do the interview in Pat’s format or your own.

Once you’ve got the interview, post it everywhere. You can offer it to Pat Bertram. And post it on your own blog or website. (You do have one or both of those, don’t you? They’re a necessary part of an author’s tool kit. Start one right away. Here’s a good article on starting a blog. Popular sites include LiveJournal, Blogger, WordPress.com, Xanga, Tumblr and Webs. These sites feature templates that don’t require much technical know-how.) Create links from the social media to your interview. Post it on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, LinkedIn and all the rest.

The idea is to get people involved with your characters. Let them know how these “people” think and feel, live and breathe. I’ll give you an example in a minute.

Increase reader interest with Character Interviews: I was cruising YouTube a while back and I found that fans of one of my favorite authors, Diana Gabaldon, had created videos “casting” famous actors and actresses as various characters in her books. When your fans do this for you, you’ve got something going! Diana now features a video illustrating how she would cast her characters on her website. Here it is: The Outlander Casting Video. It’s really cool, too, especially if you’re a fan.

You can do this for your own book! The magic of YouTube and the various services helping us technologically-impaired people create videos can allow you to create vids of your own characters, just like Diana Gabaldon’s The Outlander Casting Video. Or better. For free or almost free.

I use Animoto.com to create videos for my books. You load images, add text, select music from their library or your own, push a button and Voila! Animoto’s computers create a classy custom video for you. You can remix, change music, text, anything. The service is very reasonable. It’s easy. I like it.  You can embed, export or download these vids directly to social media sites like YouTube. (I personally like the video quality available on Animoto.com better than that of YouTube. But YouTube is the place to post for lots of views.) Other such services are also available, the field is growing.

When I was doing videos for my earlier books, such as Stepping Off the Edge and Numenon, I had my own photos and artwork, so I didn’t have to worry about royalties or copyrights. Take a look at the videos linked above to see what you can do with the Animoto.com format. I remastered these recently, using Photoshop effects on the images and changing the music. I think you’ll be impressed with what’s possible. The effects when the computer mixes the photos and music are amazing. (The snakes on the Numenon video were in our back yard. Ew.)

When I did the video for The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy, I had no such luck. I had to buy images from royalty free suppliers to produce the video. Most of the images for the video were purchased from 123rf.com. My book designer recommended 123rf.com as being an economical  source for very good images. They were:  Check the book’s video  and the Character Video I’ll show you in a minute. Great images for all sorts of characters.

HERE WE GO––TO ILLUSTRATE THESE IDEAS  (AND AS A BIT OF BLATANT SELF-PROMOTION) WE HAVE:

THE PEOPLE AND PLACES OF THE ANGEL & THE BROWN-EYED BOY

Use this link if the video doesn’t show up here.

The idea is to make it alive. This is pretty lively, methinks.

A CHARACTER INTERVIEW FROM THE ANGEL & THE BROWN-EYED BOY, an award-winning novel by Sandy Nathan
A two sentence synopsis of the book: Tomorrow morning, a nuclear holocaust will destroy the planet. Two people carry the keys to survival: a teenage boy and an intergalactic traveler.

Here’s an “interview” I did with a character from The Angel, Sam Baahuhd. I turned this into a short story. Sam’s being interviewed by a TV station of his time. The people doing the interview have their own story. The year is 2199.

What does Sam Baahuhd look like? This is as close as I could get. It’s impossible to convey how masculine Sam is, or how hunky.

Sam Baahuhd,

Sam Baahuhd, headman of the village at Piermont Manor, c. 2197

Here’s what the station’s advertising says about the following interview:

WNYC’S STAR REPORTER MEREDITH CARLISLE INTERVIEWS VILLAGE HEADMAN SAM BAAHUHD.

Join Meredith at Piermont Manor in the Hamptons! Our favorite investigator visits one of the poorest areas in America and one the USA’s greatest and oldest stately homes. Tune in at 3 PM for a view of life in the 22nd century.

WNYC––NEW YORK CITY’S ONLY NETWORK

At the shoot on the estate:

“Meredith, I don’t like it here,” my stylist says, backcombing my hair furiously. I sit at my dressing table on the estate’s lawn. I’m Meredith Carlisle. But everyone knows that.

“Did you see all the trees driving out here? Weird,” he whispers.

“It was very weird.” I turn to the rest of the crew. “Everyone: This is the country. They have trees in the country. We’ll do the show and get back to New York.”

“They don’t have that in the country,” Alfred, the director, points at the stone mansion stretching as far as we can see.  “I’ve been trying to figure out how to get it all on camera.”

I stare at the enormous structure. The mansion is like a wedding cake made of granite. Breathtaking. “We’re at Piermont Manor. It was constructed in the 1800s, four hundred years ago. Nobody gets in here. We had to agree to interview this idiot to be allowed in. Who is he? Sam who?

My crew edges toward the van. They’re freaked out by the acres of lawn and all the trees. The lack of skyscrapers. I take control.

“Alfred, where is the man we’re supposed to interview?”

“I asked those guys over there,” Alfred points to a group of very large men standing on the other side of the lawn. He cowers a bit.

“What did they say?” My crew’s undue nervousness is irritating.

The whites of Alfred’s eyes glint in the sunlight. “I don’t know what they said. They speak a foreign language.”

“Great. Why didn’t anyone find that out? Alyssa, you’re the production manager. Do we have a translator?”

“No, Meredith. I’ll try to find one.” Alyssa looks around helplessly.

“Oh, wait. Someone’s coming.” My jaw drops. I can’t stop looking at him. He’s the same as the mansion. Breathtaking. A huge man. Shoulders like forever. That chest. He strides out forcefully. Something wafts from him. Manliness.

My jaw drops farther as he gets closer. Also, my nostrils twitch. He’s dirty. It’s real dirt, not something applied by the makeup department. He appears to be sweating copiously. He takes off his hat. His graying hair is matted where the hat’s brow band pressed it tight.

“Hello there?” I extend my hand, despite my disgust at his grimy paw. “You must be Mr. . . “ I search for Alyssa and she mouths the pronunciation. “Baaaaah-huuhd.”

“Mr. Baaaaah-huuuhd.” I smile broadly.

“Ma name i’ Sam Baahuhd. A’m th’ headm’n o’ th’ vil’ an’ o’ersee’er o’ th’ big house.” He nods at the mansion.

“Oh,” I say. “Who?”

He repeats what he said.

“Do you have anyone who speaks English? I don’t speak your language.” He’s very appealing close up, if filthy.  My heart flutters.

“Ah fergot tha’ yer not o’ th’ Hamptons. Been out here s’ long, we got our own way o’ talkin’. Ah’ll pretend yer th’ hooch man out at Jamayuh. Ah always speak proper English when ah’m w’ him. Canna make a deal otherwise. Can ye understand me?”

“Yes, Mr. . . .”

“Baahuhd. Ye say i’ like this, with th’ air comin’ from here.” He presses my belly, forcing the breath out of me. I feel faint. Something comes off of him, like a force. It’s wonderful.

“Baahuhd. I see. Well, we’re set up for the interview,” I indicate a couple of club chairs set on the mansion’s front terrace. “Any chance of us getting a peek inside?”

“Nah. Jeremy’s got ‘er wired up. Get any closer ‘n’ ye are an’ ye’ll nah go nowhere again.” He smiles, showing surprisingly white teeth.

“It’s electrified?”

“Yeah. An’ more. D’ ye know Jeremy Egerton?” I shake my head. “He’s the lady’s son, Mrs. Veronica Egerton. Ye know of her?”

“Oh, yes. Veronica Edgarton is famous. And rich. And beautiful. She’s the general’s . . .”

“Aye. She owns th’ big house an’ the village an’ all th’ rest around here. An’ me, too.”

“She owns you?”

“Might as well. Ye know why yer here t’day?”

“Yes. To interview you.” My cheeks tremble from smiling so much.

“Nah. Yer here because Jeremy Egerton sent word to let ye in.” He looks me in the eye. It’s terrifying, though thrilling.  “If Jeremy hadn’t tol’ me to let ye in, ye woulda been chased back to th’ city th’ minute you set foot on this place. That was three hours ago, out on th’ road. Jus’ so we get straight on it.”

“Certainly, Mr. Baah . . .”

“Baahuhd.” He walks to one of the chairs and sits down. “OK. Le’s get this goin.’ Ah got work to do. What ‘er yer questions?”

“I thought that the natives of the Hamptons didn’t like to be asked questions.”

“We don’. Usually, we shoot before we get t’ askin’ questions. But ah figured this was a chance t’ say some things we don’ get t’ say.”

“And what’s that?”

“That we’re not animals. We’re in th’ Hamptons because we was born here, jus’ like ye were born in th’ city. Weren’t our fault. Weren’t our fault that we don’ have schools an’ have to work like we do. Weren’t our fault that we got nothin’.

“We risk our lives seein’ that the lady keeps that,” he tosses his head toward the mansion. “An’ we get very little thanks fer our trouble.”

“You risk your lives?”

“Yeah, lass. Th’ Hamptons is a dangerous place. We get th’ people who run away from th’ cities. Th’ people escape from th’ torture camps––there’s one o’er at Jamayuh, th’ next town down. We got the hooch runners an’ them that deal in the weed and mushrooms. An’ th feds. All of them is dangerous, an all of them want this place.” He smiles. “Coupla times a year, they come t’ get it.” The smile broadens. “Ain’t got it yet.”

“You fight to keep the estate for Mrs. Edgarton?” I’m shocked, but I shouldn’t be. The Hamptons are like the Wild West once was.

“I got plugged three times so far. Not countin’ the nicks.” He rubs his chest where he’s been shot. “Ah’m scarred up lak an ol’ bear. It’s war out here. Jus’ like in the cities.”

“We don’t have war. What are you talking about?”

“Whad’ya think th’ smoke runnin’ along the horizon is? There’s a war.”

“There’s no war. If there were, the government would have told us about it. President Charles says everything is fine.”

He nods his head and smirks. “When ye drove in, did ye happen t’ see big round bowls cut out o’ th’ ground,” he uses his hands to indicate large depressions, “all lined with cement? An’ wi’ long pointy things stickin’ out of ‘em, aimed at the sky?”

“Yes. They’re all over the place. President Charles said they’re satellite dishes to help our screen reception.”

“No, lass. They’re atomics. An’ they’re set to go off t’morrow morning. Early. All over th’ world.” He’s looking at me steadily. He’s so magnetic I almost believe . . .

No! I can’t believe what he’s suggesting. The president would lie? There’s going to be an atomic war? That’s treasonous. We’re in the Great Peace. Everyone knows that. A niggling thought about my daughter’s third grade teacher disappearing comes up. No, she took a leave of absence.

“I’m not going to listen to this.” I turn to Alfred. “Pack up, we’re going back.”

“No,” Sam says just a little bit louder than normal. Everyone freezes and looks at him. “Yer gonna get ev’ry thing ah say, an’ yer gonna play it on the tellie today. Tha’s why Jeremy let ye’ come out here. You gotta tell the people wha’t happenin’.”

“A nuclear war starting tomorrow? The government would have told us.” I’m shaken. For some crazy reason, I believe him and know that I’ll do what he says. “What will we do? Where can we go?”

“Yer gonna go back an’ show ‘er on th’ tellie,” he says to the others. Then he turns that million volt gaze on me. “Fer ye, there may be a way out. Yer a pretty thing. Ye could be one ‘a’ ma wives.” His smile is mesmerizing.

“Wives?” The idea seems worth considering.

“Ah got four. Ye’d be ma fifth, but we gotta big house. The stable, yon.” He points to a barn.

Fifth wife to  . . . His dirty hands make up my mind. “No. I’ve already got one ex-husband. I don’t need to be married.” I regret the words as I say them. There’s something about him.

“OK. Ye’ll take th’ camera back t’ the city an’ play ‘er today. Ye need t’ tell the people to . . . to run. Or t’ stand. They’ll die, either way. But they d’serve a warnin’. Tis only fair.

“Tha’s what ah got t’ say. Now git. Ah’m done wi’ ye.”

I watch his back as he heads toward the stable. Broad shoulders. Easy gait. Powerful.

I feel drawn to him. No. I made the right choice. We have to get out of here.

“We’ve got the van packed, Meredith.” I hop in as it pulls away from the mansion.

 

“You know we can’t play what we got,” Alfred says as we jolt down the rutted road. “It’s treasonous. Everyone knows that the Great Peace is baloney. We’re in a war. But it’s covered up. This will blow the cover. The feds will kill us.”

“Yes, we can. Sam said to,” I’ll do what Sam told me to do no matter what. “We have to give people a warning.”

“Why, Meredith? There aren’t enough bomb shelters in the world to save everyone. We’re going to die.”

And then it sinks in. If what Sam said is true, we’ll die tomorrow.

I should have taken his offer. He wasn’t scared about what’s coming. He must have a shelter or something. “Turn around! We need to get back to the Piermont estate.”

The van shudders to a stop.

“What’s that?” There’s something in front of us. A vehicle across the road. Another vehicle pulls up behind us. Black figures are moving toward our van.

“What is it, Alfred?”

“They’re feds.”

“Open the door,” a black-clad commando yells. “Give me the cameras.” We give them to him.

“I’m Meredith Carlisle of WNYC. Those cameras are the property . . .”

“I don’t care who you are.” He uses some very rude language, and tosses something in the van, slamming the door. It clatters on the floor. I see a digital timer counting down.

“No!”

 

After the explosion, the commandos gather near the flaming remains of the van. “We got the treasonous materials. Should we look at them?”

“Nah. The president said everything is all right. That’s good enough for me.”

 

Sandy Nathan, Award-winning Author

There you go, guys, a couple of things to do to promote your books. Have fun with them, and let me know how they work.

All the best,

Sandy Nathan
Winner of seventeen national awards

Sandy’s  books are: (Click link for more information. All links below go to Kindle editions.)
The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy
Numenon: A Tale of Mysticism & Money

Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could

Stepping Off the Edge: Learning & Living Spiritual Practice

Two sequels to The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy are in production with an early 2012 release date planned. If you liked  The Angel you’ll love Lady Grace and Sam & Emily.


 

 

 

 

 

 

The Magic of Social Networking by Pat Bertram

Pat Bertram

Pat Bertram

TODAY’S GUEST BLOGGER IS PAT BERTRAM. Pat is the author of four acclaimed novels and a master of using social media to promote one’s books and career. Pat demystifies on-line book marketing and presents an array of social media tools for her fellow writers. Be sure and follow the links to her blogs and the resources in the article below. These lead to practical, easy to use information to make you a social media pro.  Pat’s easy, conversational style brings out the social in social media.

I absolutely LOVE Pat’s attitude. She plunges into an area that leaves so many of us confused and overwhelmed and makes it fun!

Sandy Nathan
Your Shelf Life.com

* * * * *

Writing a book was hard. Editing it was harder, and finding a publisher even harder. Waiting for it to be released after acceptance was murderous, and now promoting the book is . . .

Daughter I Am by Pat Bertram

Daughter I Am by Pat Bertram

Ha! Bet you thought I was going to say it was hardest of all — most authors find promoting to be an arduous task, but not me. I enjoy it. What’s not to like? I get to meet wonderful people and have wonderful conversations. I get to write articles about anything I want and post them all over the internet. I get to . . . well, those two points are enough. Or should be.

Goethe wrote, “What you can do, or dream you can, begin it; boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” So, gather a bit of boldness and begin. Join sites like Facebook and Goodreads. Add friends. Take the time to get to know people by commenting on your new friends’ content, by sharing with links to some of your new friends’ articles and content. And bit by bit the magic happens.

Let me share some of the magic that has happened to me.

I was a recent guest on Dellani Oakes BlogTalk radio show, “What’s Write for Me”. Being a bit nervous, I posted articles asking for advice on both Gather and Facebook, and I received the most wonderful tips and suggestions. So when I screwed up, it was my own fault. (I stammered a bit, used too many “actually”s but overall I did okay. The worst thing was when I said, “my books are good, but everyone says that, ‘my books are good,’ so it really doesn’t mean anything.” I meant that all authors say it, so it means nothing. But it comes out completely different when you hear it because you don’t hear the quotation marks. Ah, well, all part of the learning process, and that learning process is part of the magic of boldness.)

I had the privilege of meeting Bruce DeSilva on Facebook before he became a bestselling novelist. He introduced me (virtually speaking) to his wonderful wife, the poet Patricia Smith. Or is it his wife, the wonderful poet Patricia Smith? Either way, a remarkable experience.

I managed to impress award-winning ad exec Marshall Karp with the way I promoted his stop at Bertram’s Blog during his blog tour. Still don’t know how I did that. I just thought I was having fun.

I had the honor of hosting Michael Palmer’s very first guest appearance on a blog. How magical is that?

More Deaths Than One by Pat Bertram

More Deaths Than One by Pat Bertram

Am I bragging? Maybe, but the truth is, I am honored to have met these people and to have shared a moment of their lives. But it would never have happened if I hadn’t created a presence on Facebook and various other social networking sites.

Creating that online presence is part of the magic. This is one time and place where you can be the person you always wanted to be. What image do you want to portray? Witty, wise, intelligent, forward thinking, funny? Down-to-earth, optimistic, casual, youthful, enthusiastic? Helpful, creative, disciplined, worldly, romantic? By acting as if you are that person, you become it. This online persona is not a fabrication, it is the better part of you, the bold part, the magical part.

You might be shy in real life, but on the internet you can be as social as you care to be, and that is the key to social networking: being social. Spamming people with mass emails is not social. Nor is setting up a profile and expecting it to run itself. You need to add friends and take time to get to know them. Update your status frequently (people love to know what you are doing, and what you are eating). Include interesting links so your new friends seek you out. Reward those who post great content by leaving a comment or participating in their discussions. You need to take an interest in them. It’s up to you. You can treat book promotion as an arduous task, or you can be bold, give a bit of yourself, and perhaps create magic.

(If you don’t know how to get to know people on Facebook, start by joining the Suspense/Thriller Writers group. It’s an active group, and you don’t need to be a thriller writer to join, because in the end, we all try to write suspensefully.)

For more information on Book Promotion, see Book Marketing Floozy.

A Spark of Heavenly Fire by Pat Bertram

A Spark of Heavenly Fire by Pat Bertram

Pat Bertram is a native of Colorado. When the traditional publishers stopped publishing her favorite type of book — character and story driven novels that can’t easily be slotted into a genre — she decided to write her own. Second Wind Publishing liked her style and published three of Bertram’s books: Daughter Am I, More Deaths Than One, and A Spark of Heavenly Fire. Her fourth novel, Light Bringer, is scheduled for release in March, 2011. Bertram blogs about writing and the writing life at http://ptbertram.wordpress.com and is the moderator of two online discussion groups that help both new and experienced authors further develop their craft: No Whine, Just Champagne on Gather.com and Suspense/ThrillerWriters on Facebook. Her website is Pat Bertram’s Website.

Ringbinder theme by Themocracy