Monthly Archives: February 2014

Saving grace: the Reader Love file for writers

Why do we write?

Writing is a solitary occupation. Even in a group or at a workshop, if there is time for writing, it’s going to be time during which people aren’t supposed to speak to each other, or read each other’s work-in-progress, or surf the internet… just write. Alone. Silently except for the typing fingers.

I am subject to periods of wondering why I’m bothering to spend my limited functional time writing a novel.

It’s not that there are lots of thing I want to do, it’s that there are lots of things I SHOULD do. Continue reading

Feeding patterns to the human brain makes fiction plausible

A few notes on patterns in reading and writing fiction

Human brains are hard-wired to look for patterns in their input: being able to classify incoming phenomena quickly into categories means the brain can use easier rules to deal with the new input, which is easier than having to always deal with things that haven’t been seen before.

In helping a child clean her room, it helps to sort into piles or boxes: socks in this drawer, dolls into the two bins under the bed, shoes in the closet. From a couple hundred random objects on the floor – almost impossible to get under control – to a neat subset of things which have places in groups is easier for a brain – and a child – to learn. It feels right – it IS right – because the brain prefers the simpler system of a few categories to the complicated work of keeping track of many more individual items.

Fooling brains with patterns Continue reading

Pride’s Children – new sunset cover

PC 2nd gen cover

I have been playing with

1) a couple of gorgeous photos taken by a friend of a friend, Jon Gwinn,

2) PowerPoint, and

3) the instructions generously provided and illustrated by William King in his post on ebook cover design. Continue reading

Added PRIDE’S CHILDREN – Chapter 11, Scene 1

This week’s post begins Chapter 11, with Scene 1 (1.11.1). Chapter 10’s scenes will be consolidated on the Chapter 10 page (one of these days – I’m writing new stuff, so the old processing sometimes gets left for another day). When the Table of Contents is updated, the  scenes won’t have individual links. Clear as mud?

It has stopped snowing, temporarily? But there are huge mounds of icy snow everywhere (though I think the solar panels finally dropped their snow load, and we’re producing electricity again – it drops all at once with a loud sound – mini-avalanche on the front path). And it’s cold again, so who knows?

Additional beta readers welcome – contact me if you’d like to participate (and get to read things earlier).

Feedback welcome. Thanks!

PRIDE’S CHILDREN Table of Contents

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PRIDE’S CHILDREN, Chapter 11, Scene 1


Copyright by Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt 2013-2014.

Too much writing syndrome

What’s up with the low blog count?

I am a victim of my own success.

I have been getting up, arranging my life just right (protein shake, vitamin B1, naps, block the internet with Freedom), and settling in to actually work on Pride’s Children.

What does this mean in American money?

With the Net blocked, all the energy which used to be dissipated in reading, sometimes commenting on, other people’s blogs (thanks, guys, for the wealth of information our there), gets directed: Continue reading

Added PRIDE’S CHILDREN – Chapter 10, Scene 5

This week’s post ends Chapter 10, with Scene 5 (1.10.5).

It’s snowing. Again. Apparently this isn’t even the snowiest winter since I’ve lived in New Jersey, but it feels like it. As you get older, getting the white stuff off the walks and driveway becomes a major life decision. But is IS purty.

Additional beta readers welcome – contact me if you’d like to participate (and get to read things earlier).

Feedback welcome. Thanks!

PRIDE’S CHILDREN Table of Contents

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PRIDE’S CHILDREN, Chapter 10, Scene 5


Copyright by Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt 2013-2014.

Update: vitamin B1 and benfotiamine to help write

The basics: I am still using vitamin B1 and benfotiamine to help me write.

Previous information on B1, energy, and writing

For those following along (use ‘B1’ in the search box), this is an update on what I’m using NOW.

My regular routine is to take my FIRST DOSE of B1: 1500 mg. of Solgar Super Potency vitamin B1 and 450 mg. of Source Naturals Benfotiamine (benfotiamine is the fat-soluble version of B1) first thing in the morning with breakfast (usually a protein shake).

Then I wait for my brain to turn on. My brain on waking is in better shape if I get a good night’s sleep (duh!), but no matter what I do, I can’t seem to get it to work very well first thing in the morning. Continue reading

Added PRIDE’S CHILDREN – Chapter 10, Scene 4

This week’s post continues Chapter 10, with Scene 4 (1.10.4).

As I look out the window, I remember that previous NJ winters have produced this much snow, many times – I remember back in the early 1980s when we’d first moved in wading through knee-deep snow to walk to the corner, and turning back because there was nowhere we could go from there – but with the attention on climate change, this feels different: it’s the first winter we’ve had a pipe freeze! Now, if I can only remember to let the water drip tonight in the affected bathroom…

Additional beta readers welcome – contact me if you’d like to participate (and get to read things earlier).

Feedback welcome. Thanks!

PRIDE’S CHILDREN Table of Contents

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PRIDE’S CHILDREN, Chapter 10, Scene 4


Copyright by Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt 2013-2014.

Facing the truth: writing is a choice

Stolen time

Yet all the time I spend writing is, in fact, stolen from somewhere else. Something else that needed my attention.

By virtue of being ill, especially after almost a quarter of a century (Eeks!), I am behind. In everything. Continue reading

Never start reading a book in the middle – or do you?

Everything you need is missing?

I just had the worst experience: I accidentally got pulled into reading my own book, Pride’s Children, in an arbitrary spot.

To backtrack: I’m being serialized on VentureGalleries.com (as well as on TuesdaySerial.com and my own blog – Pride’s Children tab). Every week on VentureGalleries, a new 1000-1200 word chunk is put up three times a week (MWF) for those who are reading serials in convenient pieces, say, on a phone or tablet.

This is the wave of the future, but PC wasn’t written that way, so Caleb Pirtle is carving up the full chapters I’ve sent him (and doing a good job of it, too), and creating a title for that segment, which he then tweets.

All that’s left is the writing – or is it?

I hadn’t realized until I got an email today which indicates I’ve been featured – that it is a very bad idea to jump into a story in the middle. Continue reading

Mental dialysis, brain fog, preemptive rest – writing with ME/CFS

A tantalizing thought: a possible mechanism to explain how and why taking a nap clears out the brain of a PWC (Person with CFS – ie, me) so she can think – and write.

I have often wondered how a standard technique for us PWCs – resting after, and even before, energy is required – works. For me that energy translates to the possibility of writing: without a working brain, attempts to write, fiction especially, come to naught. I just can’t do it.

I can read – which is where surfing the web for SOMETHING interesting to read to keep me from going mad comes from. But I can’t write, and if I CAN write, it is usually not creative fiction. Continue reading

Added PRIDE’S CHILDREN – Chapter 10, Scene 3

I spent a lot of time today shoveling snow, clearing the driveway. A nice neighbor snow-blowered our sidewalk yesterday, and the plow buried half of it again, so that had to be redone.

I didn’t miss this posting – but I’m lucky I remembered: my brain is mush.

OTOH, I found out I can do a really good job shoveling – from a seated position on my little orange garden cart. Who knew?

This week’s post continues with Chapter 10, Scene 3 (1.10.3).

Feedback welcome. Thanks!

Still looking for more beta readers; if interested, email me at abehrhardt [at] gmail.

PRIDE’S CHILDREN Table of Contents

Previous chapter: Chapter 9

PRIDE’S CHILDREN, Chapter 10, Scene 3  [Andrew]


Copyright by Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt 2013.