Posts tagged: suspense

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 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.

Where can people learn more about your books?

Pat Bertram author of Daughter Am I

I have a website — — 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.

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!

How Contests Can Promote Your Novels & Extend Your Shelf Life

The River by Cheryl Kay Tardif

The River by Cheryl Kaye Tardif

From Sandy Nathan: We have a great treat today. Cheryl Kaye Tardif, author of The River, Divine Intervention, and Whale Song, is our guest blogger. Cheryl shares with us ways that contests––not the kind you enter, but the type you create––can enhance your novel’s visibility and sales. Great tips from a real pro.

Here’s Cheryl:

As a writer, you can enter contests for just about every aspect of writing, from postcard/flash fiction to short stories to poetry to novels to non-fiction. But what about holding your own contests for your readers? It’s a great way to keep them engaged and to promote your work.

Over the years I’ve witnessed many ingenious contests held by authors and I’ve learned some things along the way. People don’t really want to just ‘enter’ a contest, they want to participate, interact, be part of the action. If a contest asks them to do more than submit their name, they tend to take more of an
interest. So make your contest entertaining and interactive!

Divine Intervention by Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Divine Intervention by Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Here are some examples that might help you create your own contests:

I’ve held 2 main contests for future novels that have been quite successful and a lot of fun for everyone involved: my ‘Create a Corpse Contest’, where entrants send in a name (could be fictional or their high school bully or boss or ex-friend) and I “kill off” the character in a novel. Trust me, it’s not only amusing, it’s very therapeutic!

And my ‘Become a Character Contest’, where entrants submit their own name and their character gets to live but might be a good guy/gal or a bad one. Part of the incentive for people to enter is that they get to choose a character’s name. The other part is that they usually get a signed copy after the book is published and a mention (name or initials) on my acknowledgment page.

How exciting is that?

I’ve also held contests on Twitter. Here’s a great way to get your name out, get people re-tweeting for you and create some excitement. I asked other authors to sponsor the prizes. In exchange, I promoted them on my contest page on my website. One of the most important things I learned from Twitter is
everything is automatic. Get their attention now and get them interacting by asking for a reply. My winners usually had to reply with: “Pick me!” The first correct reply won.

Landelot's Lady (Cover for Lancelot's Lady is a mock cover for the author's inspiration only and will not be the published cover.)

Lancelot's Lady (Cover for Lancelot's Lady is a mock cover for the author's inspiration only and will not be the published cover.)

Recently I entered the “America’s Next Best Celler Contest” on The prize is a decent advance and a publishing contract with Dorchester Publishing. My new novel in progress, Lancelot’s Lady, is currently #1 Most Popular (and I need more votes). To make things more exciting for my readers and fans, I decided to throw in my own contest. “Create a Corpse” is now open for entries and the lucky ‘corpse’ will become a character in Lancelot’s Lady. You can find the rules at: Cheryl’s deadly ‘Create a Corpse Contest’

These are just a few of the contests I’ve held over the years, each one helping me promote my novels or my name, creating interactivity with my readers and allowing me to extend my own “shelf life” as an author. You can pump new life back into your career or into an older novel by doing something innovative and creative. Where you go with it is up to your imagination. Promotion is hard work, but it should be fun too!

Cheryl Kaye Tardif, Author of The River, Divine Intervention and Whale Song

Cheryl Kaye Tardif, Author of The River, Divine Intervention and Whale Song

Cheryl Kaye Tardif, Suspense Author

© 2009 Cheryl Kaye Tardif
Author of The River, Divine Intervention and Whale Song

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