Author Pat Bertram Talks About Consistency

I am very happy to welcome the talented Pat Bertram to the Den today for a stop on her whirlwind blog tour for her latest book, Daughter Am I.
  Hopefully you won’t have any trouble viewing the cover here. 🙂 

A little bit about the book:

When twenty-five-year-old Mary learns she inherited a farm from her recently 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. Along the way she accumulates a crew of feisty octogenarians–former gangsters and friends of her grandfather. She meets and falls in love with Tim Olson, whose grand-father shared a deadly secret with her great-grandfather. Now Mary and Tim must stay one step ahead of the killer who is desperate to dig up that secret.

“A delightful treasure-hunting tale of finding one’s self in a most unlikely way.” –– Publisher’s Weekly

I’m currently in the middle of Pat’s second novel A Spark of Heavenly Fire and am enjoying the read thoroughly.  I mean, it has a deadly disease (I’m a sucker for plagues), romance and suspense.  What else do I need?  The fact that it’s a well-written page turner is also a plus, of course!  Pat doesn’t waste any time getting to the action and her narrative skills are superb.  

 A little about A Spark of Heavenly Fire just ’cause I like it so much:

In quarantined Colorado, where hundreds of thousands of people are dying from an unstoppable disease called the red death, insomniac Kate Cummings struggles to find the courage to live and to love. Her new love, investigative reporter Greg Pullman, is determined to discover the truth behind the red death until the cost — Kate’s life — becomes more than he can pay.

“Bertram’s characters are heartbreaking and real. I love Kate. Absolutely love her.” –Rachael Wollet, freelance editor

Some good stuff here, yes? Yes!   

And now, please welcome Pat Bertram to Zhadi’s Den as she talks a little about the importance of consistency in writing!  If you need me, I’ll be curled up in the corner reading more of A Spark of Heavenly Fire…


“Consistency makes a good pumpkin pie — you don’t want globules of pumpkin ruining the texture of the smooth filling. And consistency makes a good story — you certainly don’t want globules of untruth ruining the texture of your readers’ belief. I admit I’m stretching for a seasonal analogy, but still, the point is that readers will forgive a writer anything except inconsistencies that make them stop and think, “I don’t believe that.”


I started reading a fictionalized version of Princess Di’s accident — according to the author, she didn’t die, but was given a new identity and is living in Texas. Let’s forget that this book is inconsistent with my reading habits. I do not read books about celebrities — this one just fell into my lap and I was desperate for something to read. Let’s forget that this story is inconsistent with what we’ve been told about the accident, because perhaps the author can somehow reconcile his reality with ours, though I will never know. The internal inconsistencies — the inconsistencies that the author himself created — made it impossible for me to finish.


Supposedly, the man who created the post-accident life for Diana also spirited away the Shah of Iran. According to the author, the Shah lived fifteen years beyond his supposed death in 1980. The operation was so secret and so successful that no one knew about it. But . . . It took only this one very high profile achievement to assure a solid client base. Word travels quickly in the very elite circles of power. Now the demand for his services is always in excess of his ability to produce.


What?????? If no one knew that the Shah survived his death, how could word travel? And if word did travel, how could such high profile clients remain “dead,” especially since most of them were hiding from those in the elite circles of power?


It’s almost impossible to keep inconsistencies from slipping into a story, which is why self-editing, though vital, cannot be the final editing process. We see consistency, because we see what we meant to say. Others only see the inconsistency. I am grateful to one of my editors for finding this particular inconsistency in Daughter Am I. The editor wrote, It’s not clear here whether or not Mary completely removed her shirt. If she did, when she stood up and ran to the bathroom, then turned around and had the conversation with Tim, she’d have been completely topless. Given their feelings for each other, and their state of undress, it seems unlikely they would have been able to have such a lengthy conversation without biology taking over sooner.


Oops. I completely missed that. Mary took off her shirt so Tim could massage her sore back, and when the massage turned heated, Mary (engaged to someone else) runs from her feelings and hides in the bathroom. Inadvertently, I had her brazenly opening the bathroom door, standing half-naked, and starting a casual conversation — not at all what my poor innocent Mary would have done. After traveling halfway across the country in the company of seven old gangsters (well, six gangsters and one aged ex-night hall dancer) she’s lost most of her naiveté, but still, she would not have flaunted her naked breasts.


Naked breasts may pale in comparison with undead princesses, but the inconsistency could have dammed the flow of the story for discerning readers. So, the moral of this tale is, if you remove your heroine’s shirt or other apparel, make sure you remember her state of undress.”


Pat Bertram is a native of Colorado and a lifelong resident. 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. Daughter Am I is Bertram’s third novel to be published by Second Wind Publishing, LLC. Also available are More Deaths Than One and A Spark of Heavenly Fire.  To follow the rest of Pat’s blog tour as well as read the previous tour posts, go here.

16 thoughts on “Author Pat Bertram Talks About Consistency

  1. Mistakes such as this can happen to the most seasoned author. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle could never decide if Dr. Watson had been wounded in the shoulder (A Study In Scarlet) or in the leg (The Sign Of Four).
    I guess that’s where editors (and proof readers) come in. Thanks for sharing this, Pat. And thanks to Dana for luring me to read your latest book. (With all the time you give to promote your fellow authors, your name ought to be Dana, the Generous.) You are a true friend. 🙂

  2. Jack! Trust you to be the first visitor today! So happy to see you and thank you for supporting Pat in her tour! And great point about the Sherlock Holmes stories…

  3. Hi Dana and Pat. Dana, I can second your thoughts about A Spark of Heavenly Fire. It’s a fine book which kept me turning the pages right to the end. But as writers, it’s very easy to lose a detail that may jump out at the reader. So beta readers and editors offer the chance of catching these snafus before they hit the printed page.

  4. Looks like another fun read, Pat! Dana, I loved Spark of Heavenly Fire. Have fun with it! And I have to watch for the same kinds of inconsistencies. I use spreadsheets to keep track of which side of the face the scar is on, and whether it’s the left or right arm that gets injured! But so far, I’ve never lost track of naked conversations!

  5. Pingback: West Of Mars — Win A Book! » Blog Archive » Guest Blogger: Pat Bertram

  6. Kat, I’m loving it so far… I’ve also started keeping notes on eye color, hair, etc., ’cause I do the same thing… I love the naked conversation story. heheheh… From innocent woman to naughty temptress in one gaff! Good thing you caught it, Pat!

  7. I actually caught an inconsistency in a book a friend had written. I didn’t say anything ’cause it had been out a few years now and I doubt I was the only one who’d caught it.

    Just dropping in to say hi and thanks for the e-mail, Pat. I’ve got this posted at Win a Book. Dana, if we can help you promote anything, drop us a line.

  8. Pat, it is a full time task keeping up with the details. I must admit that those sorts of things rip me right out of the stream and I end up going back to see if I missed something while reading. Seeing as I do tend to gobble rather than savor when reading this is not an unknown phenomena, but when it isn’t me I get in a bit of a snit. Proofreaders, buddies, any other set of eyes are invaluable. When you’ve stared at something for so long it is easy to miss.

    The premise sounds awesome Pat. Definitely on my To-Be-Read list. With Christmas around the corner I start making a booklist for friends and family. It eliminates the dreaded What-the-heck-were-you-thinking presents.

    Thanks for the interview Dana.

  9. Hi, James! nice to see you here at the Den! My worst mistake was changing eye color on a character within two paragraphs of each other…

    Susan, thanks for stopping by and for the heads up on the Win A Book link!

    Vivian, my lovely! Thank you for supporting Pat and visiting the Den! I think I’m gonna get everyone books this year for Christmas… it’s a great way to support friends and make friends/family happy!

  10. Jack, I enjoyed your Sherlock Holmes story. To me, the moral is that if you make mistakes, be sure to become so well known those mistakes become legendary. I agree with you about Dana’s generosity.

    Thank you for being a part of my tour, Dana. It’s a joy to be here.

    James, Kat, Dana — how cool to sit here listening to you discuss my books. Makes me feel like a real author!

    I make notes of everything, now. I keep timelines (sort of an after-the-fact outline) and I keep a list of names otherwise I end up with too many names that sound the same. I list the alphabet and beside each letter I put a first or last name. Even so, I ended up with Rastelli and Ritarelli in Daughter Am I. Good thing an editor caught that!

    Susan, I am pleased that you are posting links to my tour. Perhaps you will get more people sending guest blog and giveaway links.

    Vivian, the worst for me is when I only think I caught an inconsistency, but it niggles so much I have to go back and look to see if I was right. Sure ruins the story. Thank you for visiting me here in Zhadi’s Den. So nice to see so many friends!

  11. Pingback: Plagiarism? « Bertram’s Blog

  12. Thank God for editors! Mine caught the fact that my hero was removing his shirt twice. Kinda hard to do once it’s already off… 🙂

    You should always have at least one other set of eyes looking at a story, and preferably someone who hasn’t read it before.

  13. Well, Pat, you certainly get our attention with this example! In more modern books, she might have done it…you must have done a great job of creating this character so that it was picked up. I just added my thoughts on one of the questions on GoodReads and talked about my concern for continuity…

    Good article!

  14. I think you can overlook minor inconsistencies because goofs happen, even with proper editing. However major inconsistencies just bug me; that’s sloppy writing.

  15. I am sooo embarrassed that I am just now getting over here to comment. I just finished galley proofs, and…yeah, I know of what you speak. My editor was wonderful at picking up inconsistencies, but I still managed to find mistakes that I’d made (and I was the only one who would know the difference).

  16. Just stopping by to see if anyone came to visit, and I’m glad I did. Nice to see all of you here! It seems as if every time I went through one of my books I found mistakes, but I’m hoping the inconsistencies have been eradicated.

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