Category Archives: Free fiction – mine

2012: for the present, this category will consist of the free fiction I publish on this blog for the enlightenment and possibly entertainment of visitors
Future: some day these may be collected and published

Writing a DRABBLE got me banned

A pair of small empty canvas sneakers between two sets of lower legs with sneakers; the word NO is in a yellow circle and the word BANNED is below.BANNED – FOR WRITING FICTION?

New milestone: my writing got me banned permanently on a site.

The reaction to a fictional drabble (100-words) was swift and disproportionate.

I was writing for FREE for a site which publishes a drabble a day (or none if they don’t have any they like). The reason: because, if they included your drabble on their newsletter, they would, by way of payment for your work, put up a link to your books.

Writers shouldn’t write for free, should they?

IF they choose to, and have a reason which makes business sense to them, now.

It’s fair enough: I write something you can choose to use, you give me a tiny bit of promotion by

1) letting me publish a sample of my work (NOT my book, just my writing), and

2) providing a link a newsletter reader can choose to click on to my Product Page on Amazon, where, as it happens, I have one single book up – 167,000 words of fiction (see that – I can write at more than one length!)

Drabbles? Is that like a haiku for prose?

Drabbles are an interesting story form. You get exactly 100 words and are supposed to tell a complete story, beginning, middle, and end, in that space. Obviously, you get little room for backstory or description, and editing a short story down to an even hundred word is an art in itself. I have written a few fiction ones before, and a whole book of non-fictional drabbles on Wattpad (64 at last count, I believe, mostly about the process of writing, editing, and publishing a novel).

Back to being banned, please!

I submitted some drabbles to the site as time permitted; the first five were, in due course, published.

Then I realized I had two available there which had not been published, and that the daily newsletter had been appearing for a while with no drabble in it, either.

So I thought it reasonable to go investigate; sometimes software somewhere between the site and your home computer resets, and the defaults need to be changed.

I was totally surprised when I attempted to log into the site and received the message:

Totally barred for unprofessional behavior

or was it?

Permanently banned for unprofessional behavior

(didn’t get screen shot; can’t now)

Excuse me? Huh? I hadn’t done any behavior at the site for a while, much less anything I considered unprofessional – all I did was post a few drabbles a while back for their consideration (no obligation – they warn you at the beginning that your drabbles may not be posted – I was fine with that when I started submitting a few, after noticing what other writers had created with their 100 words). These drabbles were in the site’s SUBMISSION queue, posted to my account while waiting to see if they would be published or used.

Pause: If I had been informed at this stage that something was unsuitable, I would have removed or changed it. You can hardly afford, when sending work anywhere, even for free, to get upset if it isn’t published.

What do you do when something like that happens out of the blue?

Through a back channel, and assuming something technical had gone wrong somewhere along the line with them, and expecting an apology!, I cautiously sent the email:

I went to the site this morning intending to post another drabble, to find that I have been permanently barred for ‘unprofessional behavior.’

This mystifies me – the only behavior I’ve committed at the site has been to post a few drabbles, some of which have been published in the daily newsletter.

Would you please tell me what my next step should be? I would at least like to retrieve the unpublished ones – or see a list of them.

I’m assuming this is a mistake. If not, could you please let me know what I’ve done, so I don’t do it again?

No answer came over a several day period; I assumed the person I had written to was busy (it had happened before that I didn’t get a response, prompt or otherwise).


CAUTION

Before I do this next bit, PLEASE NOTICE I AM NOT NAMING NAMES! I’m making the information vague ON PURPOSE: I believe this site and every other has the right to control what they publish, to remove contents and comments they find objectionable (as I have at my site), and to not be publicly indicted for their behavior because of it. In fact, I consider TROLLING and FLAME WARS very unprofessional, and do not participate.

In addition, brain fog and extremely limited energy and awake time due to CFS, make it really not worth my while. I actually assumed I had missed something important in this whole event simply because I didn’t read something or understand it right.

So why post at all?

BECAUSE it is MY first banning anywhere for writing FICTION, and I choose to write about the experience on my own blog. That’s what writer’s blogs are for. It may even serve as a cautionary tale for other newbies.

If someone I know very well wants the information, I will be happy to supply it; I have warned some writers already. PRIVATELY.


When you got no response, what did you do next?

Next step, try the front channel. I sent the following email to the site directly:

Dear XXX site:

I had been happily supplying drabbles; you published four or five of mine for the daily newsletter.

Then drabbles didn’t appear for a while, when I knew I had two left that hadn’t been used.

I went to your site to find I’ve been ‘permanently banned for unprofessional behavior.’

Since I’ve done nothing on the site, much less anything that might be considered unprofessional in my book, I’d appreciate it if you’d take a look.

If I did do something you objected to, would you please let me know what it was? So I don’t do it again?

Really clueless here – no idea of what I did. They had even actually published a somewhat similar drabble of mine before.

The response was swift and abrupt:

[Short pause here: because the sender of a letter/email owns the copyright to the words, while I could show a friend the actual email, I may not publish it exactly as is, and it doesn’t come under the concept of Fair Use. So I’m going to paraphrase it, and try to be accurate, but you’ll have to trust me on the content. Of course, the owner of the copyright – the sender – would have to own up to it and make a big deal of it if I did publish exactly what I received – but I’m well read in copyright law, and not about to give that a chance, since I’m trying not to identify the person, but only write as to how this affected me, okay? Also, too bad, because there was a lovely typo.]

It’s not professional to request help, dislike the help offered, and write about murdering the person who offered the advice.

[I didn’t request the kind of unsolicited advice the drabble was writing about; it was sent by a marketing firm without being asked for or wanted. Especially not wanted. And the number of writers who have use an incident that happened to them to choose their next murder victim in their stories is Legion, to the point where it’s a meme for beginning writers (I did it myself when I started) to get rid of some hostility that way. It’s FICTION, folks. What else do you call The Silence of the Lambs or Misery?]

This is rubbish.

[The opinion of the site owner is valid on their site. It was an intense drabble, and it took me an hour to get it to say exactly what I wanted it to say, with no room to qualify or maneuver. I have the feeling I hit a nerve somewhere, but have no idea WHAT nerve, unless the responder has had unpleasant experiences – and how would I know that?]

It’s a permanent banning so don’t bother me again.

[Not bloody likely. Excuse me for asking when you provided no information at all, and I didn’t think that much of your site anyway, nyah, nyah, nyah!]

I asked a writer friend whose response was, “Banned for fiction? That’s absurd.”

What should the response have been to my original email?

Any one of the following, singly or in sequential emails (if I was insistent), would have been the professional response of a site open to the public. And remember, the drabble was never published by them. It was in their SUBMISSION queue. Something like:

Your drabble does not suit us at the present time.

We don’t think drabble X can be rewritten to be appropriate for our readers, so we have deleted it.

Your drabbles are too dark; please don’t send us any more. We don’t think we are the right publisher for them.

We find your work too disturbing for our site. Please do not send us more. And we don’t think we want to associate with your work. Thank you for your previous submissions. We have closed your account. Please do not open another account.

In other words, just about any formal rejection you’d get from a publisher after submitting, oh, say, Carrie. Or Hannibal. Or Cujo. Or any slasher thriller or novel with Jack the Ripper in it.

What next?

Nothing, really. No action is necessary on anyone’s part, least of all mine. I know where I’m not wanted, and would not return even with a very good quality formal apology (which I’m not likely to get). The drabbles are mine (those were the terms – they merely requested you not post them elsewhere until they had been used on the site – IF they were used on the site). I always intended to publish them myself later.

I’ve put them on a new drabbles page; note that the drabble You Do What You Have To Do has a similar punchline and was published on the site (without ‘advice being offered’ by the victim, of course – which should make it worse, not better, as the results were applied without provocation).

I will put these on MY site, under MY control, from now on – it’s easier. I have apparently thin skin, probably too thin for indie, and it bothered me. I have now written the bother out, and it’s a closed matter as far as I’m concerned.


That all said, I don’t think it’s a bad thing for a writer to consider her words before putting them out into the wide world. Words have power – words can hurt.

Have you any experiences of being banned? With or without provocation? How did you react? (Not talking here to those who make a habit of being deliberately confrontational to get attention – you know who you are.)


Thanks to Stencil for the ability to make images for posts.

And, if you like the non-fiction and/or short fiction, consider purchasing and/or reading the long fiction – see sidebar. They’re written by the same person.

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Amazon PRIME plus a Kindle equals a free book a month

Jan 2016 free bookFREE MONTHLY BOOK BORROW FOR KINDLE, FIRE OWNERS with PRIME

January 2016 is almost over – have you borrowed your free book this month? There’s a snowstorm on its way where I live (NJ), and you should make sure your Kindle or Fire device is charged up – and loaded with books – so you will have something to do if all else fails.

You do it FROM the Kindle; it’s on the list of options on the starting pages.

Many people have Prime – the benefits are significant even if all you do is order from them several times a year.

Many people either don’t know – or don’t remember – that one of the Prime benefits for people who own ‘a Kindle, a Fire tablet, or a Fire phone’ is the FREE ability to borrow a book from the Kindle Owners Lending Library (KOLL) once a month – and keep it until they finish it. (Not Kindle apps 😦 – it’s their way of making the devices even more attractive.)

Any book in a storm (if the publisher agrees)

The book’s publisher has to have put it into Kindle Unlimited (KU) for you to be able to borrow it (I have put Pride’s Children: PURGATORY in KU); the author will get paid for pages read out of the Amazon fund for that.

Books priced right make their authors about the same for a borrow as a sale – and it doesn’t cost you a penny.

READ A BOOK – ANY BOOK – (even mine).

And don’t forget to do it again EVERY month.

To write good titles channel a newspaperman

PRIDE’S CHILDREN IS RIPPED FROM THE HEADLINES

Part of the background of the novel I’m working so hard to get ready for publication is my fascination with celebrities, a tiny but life-long sideline of mine: in Mexico growing up, we read HOLA – which told you everything going on with anyone who was anyone, including the royal houses of Europe.

In the States, as an adult, I indulge this by reading People and similar magazines – at the dentist/doctor’s office. There is so much repetition, that once you have a good base, keeping up isn’t as hard as you think – you just tuck each new bit (which will probably recapitulate everything that ever happen in the celeb’s life) into your matrix of ‘data,’ and come back to it in a couple of months.

Life is a Soap Opera

I may have mentioned at some point that I have serialized Pride’s Children, Book 1, on several sites – to make connections in the online indie world, meet people, get new readers and their feedback.

One of these sites is VentureGalleries, and one of the two guys who runs it, Caleb Pritle, III, has been putting up chunks several times a week.

He chooses a 1000-1200 piece at a time, adds an episode title, and puts it up on the site.

He has the most outrageous episode titles, but the interesting thing to me has been that every one of them is lifted from somewhere in the episode.

When in the world did I write THAT?

The episodes aren’t quite scenes – his choice of divisions is to give serial readers a predictable size and approximate time-length piece, to be read on things like mobile phones.

So, for the fun of it, I’m going to go through the episodes he’s put up, and list them with their titles, and you’ll see what I mean.

One important bit: Caleb is an old newspaperman (I mean ‘experienced,’ not ‘agèd,’ when I say ‘old’) – and headlines have to grab. And he has a sensationalist turn of mind anyway – check out some of his books.

I honestly can’t remember writing some of these gems (the titles), but they are always IN the episode.

I’ve learned a lot about titles and grabbing attention from reading what he has been doing with my own words.

Thanks, Caleb!

Some ‘interesting’ episode titles:

3 – To hell with safe choices. She was going for…

6 – Did he have an affair with his co-star?

13 – Whatever the cost, her beauty was worth it.

14 – Love them, leave them, you never get to keep them.

24 – He liked living in the lap of luxury.

27 – It might be better posting an armed guard.

35 – For a writer, she was woefully inarticulate.

47 – She was jail bait, a child playing dress-up.

68 – Seeking sanctuary in the middle of the night.

74 – He sulked away like the coward he was.

86 – A woman who doesn’t gossip is a rare…

93 – Sincere flattery almost always worked.

99 – Sex changed everything and could never be undone.

109 – She had planned to expend her sexual tension.

116 – Why had she revealed her sordid secret?

128 – Would they fight a duel over a movie role?

136 – Hell’s deadline for tips was midnight.

144 – Was her mother sleeping around with movie stars?

152 – The most erotic thing a woman could do for a man.

158 – Why did she pray for the unborn baby to die.

163 – Was he on his way to hell?

He’s not done yet, so there will be more for me to shake my head at

They have ebooks and regular books and blog posts – always something going on.

This isn’t the full list – it’s not all posted there yet – but I can remember shaking my head at his ability to turn my simple words into lurid headlines when a particularly good one came across my desk.

How do you title your work, and what grabs your attention?

Thanks to Quozio.com for the ability to make quotes.

The fun of watching live readers

chinchilla sitting on a hand

Gizzy – silent reader?

A LIVE READER IS A SPECIAL PLEASURE TO A WRITER

I am very, very honored lately by a phenomenon I had noticed, but not paid particular attention to, until I finished writing Book 1 of Pride’s Children: watching someone get hooked on my writing.

It starts on here or on Wattpad. I notice my stats go up – I’m getting more views than normal, and the list of posts visited on my blog takes on a pattern.

Here on the blog, I notice the sequence of chapters and scenes, one right after another.

On Wattpad (where I had been posting a scene twice a week), because of time constraints (it takes time to format and post a scene), I have a notice after Chapter 14, Scene 7:

If you like Pride’s Children, the whole story is up on my blog – link. Please tell me if it is inconvenient for you as a reader to switch to my blog, and I’ll reconsider posting the remainder here on Wattpad.

The special position of serials and live writing

So a reader knows I haven’t abandoned the story.

Every reader of a live serial knows that there is always a possibility the author won’t finish.

That gut feeling is balanced by knowing the work is available as soon as possible. It’s a trade-off. Many people, burned once too many times, refuse to read until the serial is finished. I don’t blame them – I’ve started reading several, only to find the author has other things to do, for whatever reason, and stopped, for now or for good, before I could finish reading.

Live writing (okay, I thought I had enough of a buffer. Hehe) was MY choice.

Readers owe writers nothing; writers owe readers…?

Until a book is published and available for sale, writers owe readers nothing. George RR Martin doesn’t ‘owe’ his readers the rest of his saga, even though they (Geek and Sundry on Youtube, Write, George, write like the wind) seem to think so, and are especially persuasive.

Writers have no more control over the real world than anyone else.

Even popular writers may find a publisher 1) having the rights to the rest of the books in a series, and 2) refusing to execute those rights. Ouch!

If you know only half the readers you need to survive will buy the next book, you may end up abandoning those readers.

What does the reader owe the writer?

Absolutely nothing.

There is, especially right now and for this book, no ‘contract with the reader’ made by anyone who chooses to read a few words of the story.

None.

I, the writer, hoped to heck I’d get to this point, promised MYSELF I’d get to this point, have promised MYSELF I’ll get to Book 3 and write The End.

But readers have not made ANY promises to ME, implied or explicit. Nor should they.

Context: finishing Book 1 of Pride’s Children

But, until I had actually finished (even if there are two more books planned, plotted, outlined to the last detail, and in rough draft form), I might have been on that same list of author interruptus. For all I knew, as I slogged along for all those years, I might be incapable of finishing.

Or force majeur might have kept me from finishing. Things HAPPEN.

The pleasure of the through reader staring on the blog

But now that I AM done, I get to enjoy my readers more.

It warms the cockles of my heart.

The pattern starts showing: I may not catch the beginning, or a reader may have been here all along, reading weekly, but now the Scene pages get viewed in succession over a day or two, until I get another hit on Chapter 20, Scene 6 (End of Book 1).

Whew. Another one made it safely to To Be Continued.

The pleasure of the Wattpad reader

I notice a different pattern: if it is a Wattpadder, Chapter 14, Scene 8 shows up on my list of views, and I know ONE more reader there has made the leap, clicked on my link, and done the hard part: moving to a new venue.

Since Wattpadders read on mobiles, this requires effort. It also usually means they read the first almost-14 chapters on Wattpad – which is a kick all by itself: I am not a undemanding writer.

The through reader is better than chocolate

These readers tend not to skip or skim. If they read at all, they get immersed (several have been wonderful enough to let me know).

It is an honor to be taken seriously like that.

I DON’T NEED ANY REACTION TO BE HAPPY: seeing the pattern complete makes me squee.

The reader who makes it through silently, like my chinchilla Gizzy (if she read), is welcome.

One in ten or so takes the additional step of letting me know what their reaction is, and those comments and emails are balm to the twitchy writer’s soul while doing all these OTHER tasks necessary to make a book salable.

My request of the through reader is different

EVERY response that comes, even simply reading to the end, is welcome. Readers owe me nothing. I repeat: nothing. I grew up in the time when you didn’t even realize the writer might still be alive!

Additional possible reactions: Like. (Or vote on Wattpad.) Eventually, consider buying (though they’ve already read the story, so at this point I don’t anticipate that). If Book 1 is for sale, a review on Amazon will be welcome (I promise I’ll put a link out when that’s true, and I’m trying my darndest to make it happen asap).

But MY preferred form of response, whatever else you do, Gentle Through Reader, is that you take a moment, think very hard, and see if there is ONE person you would recommend Pride’s Children, Book 1, to (dangling preposition and all) – and get them started on Chapter 1.

If you’ve done that – and that explains why I’m getting more through readers – my humble thanks to you.

And if you read the whole thing, your vote on the prologue – keep, rewrite, delete – is welcome any time, too.

Plus, of course, we’re always open for comments.

Progress of a sort toward publication

THE FALLOW PERIODS MAY BE INCREDIBLY PRODUCTIVE

I realized I haven’t written much on the blog recently, but it is NOT because I’ve run out of things I want to write about here, but because I have been so incredibly busy since writing ‘To Be Continued‘ at the end of the last scene of Chapter 20 in Pride’s Children.

I have 50 unfinished posts in one or another states of disarray! If you think my blog posts are all over the place, you should see the ideas files they are eventually pulled from to be cleaned up and thrown up here for public consumption.

I can’t afford to give them the creative energy I need right now to get ready for publication.

What I know – and what I’ve put off

Writing I know how to do. I proved it to myself by finishing Book 1, and being happy with the results (pending final editing tweaks).

I’ve made lists and abortive starts, and stored bookmarks and bought books – all for the OTHER part, the getting ready for publication and actually throwing it up there for people to find on Amazon, etc., part.

Now I’m reading and absorbing all that.

What has been going on chez Ehrhardt is that the reality of what I was putting off is HUGE.

And every one of those postponed list items takes the daily energy that I used to pour into the writing (which I can’t wait to get back to).

For a slow writer like me, there is a bittersweetness to the fact that I’m forcing myself to do a whole bunch of one-of-a-kind items with a steep learning curve – and I won’t use those skills I’m developing for a very long time after I finish getting Pride’s Children Book 1 published. So I’m learning things I will then forget to some extent before I need them again. And the world of computers and software moves into the future at light speed while I’m trying to master today.

But they have to be done – by me or someone else I pay – before publication is possible.

Collaboration isn’t possible for me right now

The more I think about having to interact with other people over control of my work, the less able I am to let someone else do it for me. Because the interaction itself will suck the energy out of me, and I will have no control of that timing with someone else. That is the reality of the CFS and the damaged brain.

It makes it very difficult to collaborate, say, with a cover designer. I had a brief experience of it on Wattpad where a very lovely designer did a new cover for Too Late (if you haven’t read it, it’s a prequel of sorts to Pride’s Children, here, Wattpad version including cover here). The amount of energy it took from me was unbelievable: I came to a complete brain-fogged stop for days, just trying to get my ideas across, because she was normal and had lots of ideas of her own. But she was doing me a favor, and so I had to work with her right then, while she was focusing on MY cover.

My profound gratitude to the friends I’ve made online

This inability to collaborate is not the same as not getting help: I have had wonderful email conversations with people who have read Pride’s Children, or who have created wonderful blog posts about how to do something.

This help – an answer to a question at the right time, an example of how they did something I’m just now learning, feedback about an attempt of mine – is the most amazing thing ever.

I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to pay back the support, or even pass it on to other writers following, so it is disinterested and pure help. It has been the kind of help that my Mother would say, ‘got you into Heaven with your boots on.’

I’m not naming names here – though some of them will be very obvious if you check out the comments in some past posts – because I don’t want them inundated with requests for the kind of help they have given me unprompted. You know who you are, guys, and I love you for it.

But it’s one thing to accept offered help, and another to pay for work done. It’s the latter I can’t see myself doing, no matter HOW good the person is at his or her job. Because of ME.

So for now, while I LEARN what it is I might be asking someone else to do for me, it is DIY for me.

The current short list of overwhelming tasks being slowly mastered:

Book Description. Or cover copy, or back cover copy, or blurb. The words which go in the Amazon description box telling you what the book is ‘about.’ Where you get to summarize, extract, create your own best advertising, in your own (gulp!) words, that will make a reader decide YOUR story might be something they would read.

A reader’s NEXT ‘first impression’ (after cover, title, words under the picture on Amazon, and whatever led them to the place where they’re thinking about it in the first place). The words ‘above the fold’ on the page for the book BEFORE the reader clicks Show More or Add to Cart or even Look Inside!. To be followed, if Show More is clicked, by the rest of the description.

I’ve known forever that the descriptions I have up as placeholders on various sites, including this one, are inadequate. Cringe-worthy even. All over the place. Writing a hundred-word ‘description’ of a 150K word novel is by definition impossible. [For practice, try writing what Gone With the Wind in about in a hundred words. Good luck.]

I’m finally working on it, and have been fortunate to get help, real help, from several writers. Meanwhile, every reader who goes through one of these placeholders is still getting an inadequate version. And I’m not going to change that for now.

Elevator pitch. The short version of everything. Would you believe, that I, like many new authors, choke every time someone asks me, ‘What is your book about?’ or ‘What are you writing?’

I’ll be brave: here is the current version:

“I’ve always been fascinated by how celebrities choose who to marry. Pride’s Children is about a reclusive best-selling writer who is irresistibly drawn to an Irish megastar, and thinks she’s safe because she will never see him again. To complicate matters, a beautiful young actress has already decided that she and the actor will make the ultimate Hollywood Power Couple.

“Book 1 tells the story of the development of a beautiful relationship – that can go nowhere.”

It takes 23 seconds to say the first part, and 29 for the whole.

It’s not finished.

I haven’t actually used it verbally on anyone yet.

I am trying to memorize it – and I feel like an idiot saying it. So? If I can’t open my big mouth and tell an interested (or polite?) listener what my book is about, I’m wasting an opportunity that will never return.

Think writing the book description is hard? Try accomplishing the same goals – to get someone to seriously consider your book – in less than 30 seconds.

Then be sure to whip out a card with all the information on it, and hand it over.

I’m sure this little acting performance will get more polished. I’m also pretty sure I’ll always have stage fright about it.

Cover. The all-important visual first hook for many people. Again, the placeholders are barely that – but allowed me to write first, and finish enough so that I know what I’m TRYING to do: evoke an emotional response (or at least not quash one) in a potential reader.

In my opinion, good covers do this, and meh covers don’t, while bad covers actively discourage me from reading your book.

I believe half the interest in The Goldfinch or the Fifty Shades books is due to their covers. That’s how important cover design is.

One way is to let someone do it. That’s how traditionally-published authors usually have to go. It’s taken out of their hands, and the web is rife with those traditional authors who dare speak out complaining about said covers. The ones who daren’t must be legion.

It’s one of the joys and pains of self-publishing that you get final approval of your cover.

And note carefully that writers are usually not also graphic designers. This is balanced by knowing our own book in a way no one else can. Me, I’m learning Pixelmator slowly and with the help of a wonderful video course I play over and over. And I’m making progress – with more of that aforementioned help.

Soon, I’ll SHOW you what I mean. Meanwhile, my head is exploding. But it’s all good, and I even created a font from my own handwriting (being tweaked). I have purchased my first image (of which I will use only parts), obtained the rights to another from a friend I will be happy to compensate if we sell more than 50 copies. But talk about ‘creative discomfort’ and the pre-learning tantrum. Sheesh!

Rights. To use the tiny bits I want from the King James Version of the Bible. From Cambridge University (who manage the permissions for the British Crown, who have granted themselves rights in perpetuity). Why? Because even though they don’t normally pursue violators, I won’t publish something I know I don’t have the rights to. And I want to sell worldwide, including Great Britain. And the punishment for copyright infringement in print is the theoretical recall of all the printed copies (or large fines) – an d all kinds of legal hassles.

I want to use these bits. I believe they fit the book. I believe I’m not being disrespectful (their opinion may vary). But I’m also capable of writing something entirely my own if they refuse permission. Which would be THEIR right.

I’m on tenterhooks, waiting, and it already took a month to get an initial response – and nothing since. Really. And even if you publish traditionally, and they assist (if they do) in getting rights, it is STILL the author’s responsibility.

[And yep, I obtained the rights to the cover images I will be using (see Covers, above). In writing.]

Copyright registration. Yup, did that BEFORE I published the final scene here on the blog.

Why? Because it is important to note that if you don’t, you may be able to win statutory damages from an infringer – but not punitive ones. Punitive damages require a registered copyright. For a book like Pride’s Children, it’s worth it to me.

Online registration is doable, though not perfect (I still don’t understand a few things). But because I had copyrighted the play I wrote (Tangled Webs), I already had an account, and had been through the system, and part of the pain was minimized. Another one of those things I don’t do every day.

All the rest. The fabulous TO DO list.

It is getting longer, but I’ve made decisions, and there is an order to the whole.

My intention is to get everything ready, but launch quietly and softly because I am still learning the ropes, and may have to take things down and redo parts as I go.

The one thing that is good is that I don’t expect major rewrites anywhere in the book itself. That part is due for minor tweaking only. I’m happy with the content, and I could not possibly attain the required fever pitch again for those scenes. What you have read here is basically it – the story won’t change in the tidying.

Mostly I have editing things to do like making sure the phones and answering machine in Kary’s house are self-consistent, and Andrew’s accent makes sense in how it waxes and wanes. What I call the ‘whole book’ edits. Which is probably why many people haven’t noticed these little deficiencies.

Consider yourself updated.

And I have gotten a few words out on the blog.

Pray for me – I have chosen a path and now must tread it.

It is fun. Honest. Now that I’ve finally switched over completely from writing, and know that I won’t get back to writing until it’s done, I have accepted that and moved on.

I’m hoping it doesn’t take forever, and that God and the universe are not laughing at me because of my plans, and that I live to finish the trilogy (if it’s up to me).

But I’m happy, content, and working hard in my own way.

Though I may not blog quite as much as during the writing. For now.

Thanks again to supporters and helpers. I couldn’t do this without you.

Good wishes much appreciated here.

 

Added PRIDE’S CHILDREN – Chapter 20, Scene 6 – END Book 1

This week’s post finishes the last chapter of Book 1, Chapter 20, with Scene 6 (1.20.6).

It has been a long process to get this book finished, and posted here every week.

I am grateful to all of you who read along – and for those of you who wanted to read it as a whole, here it is.

After I figure out what I’m doing next to get this actually published, I will post.

There is a round of necessary whole-book edits, but I don’t expect them to be major (pray for me!).

It is my intent to provide electronic Advance Reader Copies (eARC) for those who request them, but I have to master some formatting first. Today I wrestled with the whole in one huge file for the copyright office – enough for one day.

I’ll keep you posted.

Thanks for the continued amazing support – and the friendships I made in the process. It has enriched me in so many ways.

PLEASE comment!

PRIDE’S CHILDREN Table of Contents

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PRIDE’S CHILDREN, Chapter 20, Scene 6  [Kary]

Thanks to Quozio for the quote software.


Copyright by Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt 2013-2015.

Added PRIDE’S CHILDREN – Chapter 20, Scene 5

This week’s post continues the last chapter of Book 1, Chapter 20, with Scene 5 (1.20.5). (Next-to-last scene for Book 1.)

I wrote, last week, “No snow any more, warm weather, and I even went out for a short walk yesterday.” I haven’t gone for a walk since.

We had a late snowstorm – 3-4″ of fluffy new stuff – I missed going to a concert because it was supposed to freeze on the roads. Aargh!

Enough! It is now officially spring here, and the weather is all over the place – it will be 60 later in the week and something horrible over night. My head hurts.

I have 20.5 for you, barely dry in the ink from coming back from the beta reader, bless her soul (thanks, Rachel) for the rush (somebody has to see these things before I let them out into the world).

I will not drive myself crazy – but I also like where everything is going (said as a writer, not a reader), and I’ve known this for literally a decade, so I can’t run away now, can I?

Comments gratefully accepted.

PRIDE’S CHILDREN Table of Contents

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PRIDE’S CHILDREN, Chapter 20, Scene 5  [Andrew]

Thanks to Quozio for the quote software.


Copyright by Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt 2013-2015.

Added PRIDE’S CHILDREN – Chapter 20, Scene 4

This week’s post continues the last chapter of Book 1, Chapter 20, with Scene 4 (1.20.4).

No snow any more, warm weather, and I even went out for a short walk yesterday.

I have been working all day on a tax problem – aargh! I wanted to write, I’m ready to write, and I couldn’t take the time. Tax problem is, however, almost finished, so I should be able to write most of 20.5 tomorrow (yeah, the buffer is non-existent at this point).

Don’t worry – I won’t drive myself nuts – but Book ! is almost finished, and my brain keeps leaping ahead to Book 2.

I had a fun thing today – two new binge readers (hi, whoever you are, and welcome) who read the whole of Book 1. Amazing – and put a smile on my face. I would LOVE to hear from them, and hear what they thought.

PRIDE’S CHILDREN Table of Contents

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PRIDE’S CHILDREN, Chapter 20, Scene 4  [Bianca]

Thanks to Quozio for the quote software.


Copyright by Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt 2013-2015.

Added PRIDE’S CHILDREN – Chapter 20, Scene 3

This week’s post continues the last chapter of Book 1, Chapter 20, with Scene 3 (1.20.3).

This is NJ. We have lots of snow on the ground, but today’s high temperature was 54°F. Yup.

The snow slid off the solar panels sometime in the last couple of days, leaving them clean and sparkly (the snow grabs onto the dust). We are making our own electricity again.

My darling beta reader Rachel graciously read ahead again – I’m barely keeping ahead of my Tuesday serializing – and I’m partway through 20.5! One after that, and we will be writing To Be Continued – and taking a bit of a breather.

When I remember I started with a buffer of forty scenes before I posted the first one, and up to yesterday had a buffer of 0 scenes, you’ll realize how slow a writer I am. I had hope to post a scene every week/writer a new one every week. Ha!

OTOH, they get so much better with the slow percolating, and the subconscious keeps throwing up stuff to connect in, so I guess it’s necessary stewing time. I’m way too close to it – don’t trust my own judgment any more. It’s up to you guys.

PRIDE’S CHILDREN Table of Contents

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PRIDE’S CHILDREN, Chapter 20, Scene 3  [Kary]

Thanks to Quozio for the quote software.


Copyright by Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt 2013-2015.

Added PRIDE’S CHILDREN – Chapter 20, Scene 2

This week’s post continues the last chapter of Book 1, Chapter 20, with Scene 2 (1.20.2).

Winter is hanging on, into March.

I took the car to the shop this afternoon, and drove back hours later in falling snow and slush on the roads and everyone in NJ driving very carefully. It makes everyone’s commute longer.

It seems these days everything keeps me from writing, and yet, the writing continues. Carefully selecting and editing and thinking ahead to the next part, while closing this one down, makes for a lot of time to do each of these last scenes in Book 1.

The writing demands to be followed to the bitter end of where the Muse is taking it; I just go along for the ride. I can’t make it deviate an iota from where it wants to go.

I think that is good.

I am now working with no buffer. Sacrifices of goats welcome. If I can just stay no less healthy than I am normally. Colds are circulating everywhere, in this household and my assistants and the grocery store and church…

Pride is a sin for a reason, so I’m not going to worry if I can’t post each week – worry gets in the way of writing. I can’t control what happens any more than you can.

Stay well.

PRIDE’S CHILDREN Table of Contents

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PRIDE’S CHILDREN, Chapter 20, Scene 1  [Kary]

Thanks to Quozio for the quote software.


Copyright by Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt 2013-2015.

Added PRIDE’S CHILDREN – Chapter 20, Scene 1

This week’s post begins the last chapter of Book 1, Chapter 20 (1.20.1).

We have water dripping through the upstairs pipes – some of them froze, but we got them thawed – and running water doesn’t freeze as quickly. Since when is New Jersey getting weather in teens, single digits – and below?

I’ve left the house twice in two weeks. Cold outside, writing within. The husband and the new snowblower have been taking care of the show with aplomb – and without me. I love it.

Please feel welcome to comment. It really helps.

The epigraphs are not completely finished, but I’m not exactly sure what I want.

PRIDE’S CHILDREN Table of Contents

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PRIDE’S CHILDREN, Chapter 20, Scene 1  [Kary]

Thanks to Quozio for the quote software.


Copyright by Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt 2013-2015.

Added PRIDE’S CHILDREN – Chapter 19, Scene 4

This week’s post finishes Chapter 19 (1.19.4).

Writing is hard, close to the end, because there are so many things to not forget, but at least I cannot be accused of wasting time cleaning house! Apparently, some writers find the necessity of cleaning the whole house from top to bottom makes it impossible to finish manuscripts.

More snow tonight; not as much as Boston is getting, but I can’t remember when I left the house last. Now that DH has the snowblower, he doesn’t need me to help, and it’s done in a quarter of the time it used to take the two of us. Or less. Yay, industrial revolution.

Same request as last week: please let me know if this scene is too much.

PRIDE’S CHILDREN Table of Contents

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PRIDE’S CHILDREN, Chapter 19, Scene 4  [Andrew]

Thanks to Quozio for the quote software.


Copyright by Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt 2013-2015.

Added PRIDE’S CHILDREN – Chapter 19, Scene 3

This week’s post continues Chapter 19 (1.19.3).

Coughing even less – but not yet gone. 40 days. Wow.

I’m starting to wonder if I’m sabotaging myself! But we continue, and the hard parts are coming nicely, and another chunk finally got written this morning.

I have found out something odd: that when something is very close to you, the fiction and the reality overlap in a  disconcerting way. I guess I should have expected it, and I did, but not in today’s writing piece, in this physical way.

NJ is again NOT covered in snow – but we were very icy, and had to chop ice off the windshield to see out. Going out is dicey and slippery. The thin layer of black ice is treacherous, and the driveway apron seemed a lot farther down to the street than it should be.

One very large personal knot has started resolving, and that always helps – some things in life ARE more important than writing, at least in crisis mode. And I can do one or the other, but rarely both.

Please let me know if this scene is too much.

PRIDE’S CHILDREN Table of Contents

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PRIDE’S CHILDREN, Chapter 19, Scene 3  [Kary]

Thanks to Quozio for the quote software.


Copyright by Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt 2013-2015.

Added PRIDE’S CHILDREN – Chapter 19, Scene 2

This week’s post continues Chapter 19 (1.19.2).

The coughing is less – but not yet gone. Still there – much less intensity. It is COLD today in NJ (and don’t laugh at me, those of you who live on the Great Lakes or in Canada or Finland or Minnesota or…). Well below freezing – everything that got rained on is icing up.

Some of the brainpower is returning, but I’m still losing most of the afternoon, and all the evening, but I don’t care because I’m writing in the mornings.

NJ is NOT covered in snow – the last forecast was a total dud, at least in our neighborhood (we’re at the notch in NJ’s left side, and the rain/ice/snow line moves around a LOT).

Once I got into Chapter 20, the last chapter, I found that I could breathe again, which is good – if nothing else happens, I can probably keep posting a scene a week until I write ‘To be continued’ and take a bit of a breather to get this properly finished and out on Amazon. Wheee!

Never fear – I know what happens next.

I think. OTOH…

Just kidding. The advantage of being an extreme plotter/Dramatica plotter is that I don’t know exactly how we’re going, but I do know exactly where. And I can relax and enjoy/sweat the writing. It halves the problems. Sort of. I still wrestle with the terminology, and the other plotting pieces, and all of the writing parts EVERY SCENE. Which is as it should be – that’s my job.

Thanks for reading along, those of you who have been. And, it won’t be long, those of you who have wanted to wait until you were sure this newbie writer was actually going to finish Book 1. Unfortunately, if you’re waiting for the whole thing, well, I’m faster now, but it’s going to be a while. But I STILL know where we’re going (hope that isn’t in the category of ‘famous last words’).

I haven’t been able to write much of anything part of the time recently, so I’m delighted to announce that this post came out of the fingertips with relative ease. Phew! Was wondering if I’d lost it.

PRIDE’S CHILDREN Table of Contents

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PRIDE’S CHILDREN, Chapter 19, Scene 2  [Andrew]

Thanks to Quozio for the quote software.


Copyright by Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt 2013-2015.

Added PRIDE’S CHILDREN – Chapter 19, Scene 1

This week’s post begins Chapter 19 (1.19.1).

The coughing is less – but not yet gone. Amazing tenacity for whatever it is. Begone, already!

I begin the ‘getting to the end’ part of Book 1. I am now working without a net – there may be pauses. I hope not – now that I’m feeling a bit better, the second neuron I have seems to be coming back online. I tell people I have two neurons, one for breathing and the other one for everything else.

But we are so far behind where I planned to be at this point…

NJ is covered in snow – but a lot less than had been forecast, so there is some possibility of leaving the property, should I have any reason to. DH bought a SNOWBLOWER in September – and my part in the annual drama – of going out there to move some of it out of the way so he didn’t have to do the whole thing – may have come to an end. For which I am grateful. I will not have to find out if my leg braces fit in my winter hiking boots (though they probably do).

Wish we could ship some of the white stuff to the mountains in the West which need it. Task for Amazon?

PRIDE’S CHILDREN Table of Contents

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PRIDE’S CHILDREN, Chapter 19, Scene 1  [Kary]

Thanks to Quozio for the quote software.


Copyright by Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt 2013-2015.