Tag Archives: free fiction

I knew what to do a year ago

SKILLS NOT USED GET RUSTY

I spent my working time today gathering everything I have in the way of text for the short story, a prequel to Pride’s Children, that I’m getting ready to publish on Amazon.

And panicking.

When I did the ebook formatting for PC: PURGATORY, I spent so much time tweaking Scrivener’s Compile function, to get everything to look just right, that I worried I’d never get the details out of my head.

And yet here, a bit over a year later, I can’t remember ANY of it.

Somehow, wisely, I left breadcrumbs for myself

Because it is something I send to people who request it (after they read my post on structure), I took the trouble to clean up the Novel With Parts template that I use, which is just Scrivener’s template of the same name, but with many areas prefilled or suggested.

And with the same Compile setup that I used to produce the novel’s epub file.

But it is not a short story template (reminder to self: produce one), and a 167K novel needs more parts and sections than a 1.5k short story.

But it has been extraordinarily difficult to remember why those parts were there, how I figured out the headers and footers and front and back matter, and making the decisions to delete what I don’t need.

I am nervous because I’ve never published a short story on Amazon

and it is very short.

Even with some fill-in bits, it is very short. Even if I tell people right up front that it’s short, I have this feeling of impostor syndrome.

And yet, there are no words I would add to it. It is the right length for what it tells, and a critical bit to understand Andrew. It took months to get right, to make spare, to give both a flavor of his mind and an account of an important happening which has changed him.

It’s free on Wattpad and on my blog, but some people haven’t read it here (please do so if you like). And I will have the temerity to set its price at 0.99, which, by coincidence, is the amount I’m charging today for the whole of Pride’s Children: PURGATORY.

Pricing messes with my mind. Since I also do it differently from many indies, I can’t follow easy guidelines. I want the story on Amazon for anyone who would like their own copy in a Kindle file with a cover. This authoring thing is weird.

I’ll figure it out. The next short story will be easier. It isn’t brain surgery. It’s just a little story.


Too Late: coming soon. If it hadn’t been for the shenanigans in Washington, I’d be finished.

Will I ever feel as if I know what I’m doing?

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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.

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.

Added PRIDE’S CHILDREN – Chapter 18, Scene 5

This week’s post finishes Chapter 18, with Scene 5 (1.18.5).

Coughing is actually physical exercise – or has the same effect on me: it uses up physical energy. When it goes on and on you wonder what life was like before. I know there are plenty of people much sicker for much longer; that’s not it – into every life some of this falls. And I know that in the grand scheme of things, one little novel (okay, one monstrously long novel in three parts) is unimportant. But I would prefer not coughing, thankyouverymuch.

If there is a next time – and I definitely plan for one – maybe it is better to have even more than 40 scenes in a buffer before I begin posting! I don’t know yet how I’ll handle Book 2, though the initial plan was to just keep going. Maybe a month’s break to fine-tune the plotting.

I apologize for dragging the 12 faithful followers (you know who you are) into a serial with a slow writer at the helm. I’m cheerful about it, and will try to speed up once the ribs don’t hurt and the brain isn’t quite as mushy, but it do make ‘er harder.

PRIDE’S CHILDREN Table of Contents

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PRIDE’S CHILDREN, Chapter 18, Scene 5  [Andrew]

Thanks to Quozio for the quote software.


Copyright by Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt 2013-2015.