The first taste of Pride’s Children: LIMBO


OCTOBER 23, 2006, cont’d


Schadenfreude: knickers in a twist—publicly?

By D. Liebja Hunter

…There is remarkably little gossip about the love story of the century: how a disabled older writer came between the rising Irish actor of his generation and the reigning Hollywood princess who is the mother of his twin daughters.

The one direct observer who might have been able to comment, listed as ‘Assistant to Mr. O’Connell’ in the credits of Elson Storr’s Opium – and a potential source of many other intriguing bits such as the breakup of the Storr-Shaughnessy ten-year childless marriage – Narendra Tagore (scion of one of India’s multi-generational acting families and a distant relative of Literature Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore) said, when contacted for this article, that although he remembered that Dr. Ashe was on set for a number of weeks, and that he had met and dined with Ms. Doyle, he could not recall much interaction between the trio, who had known each other since the set of Incident at Bunker Hill. He remarked only, “Everyone worked many long hours.”

Ms. Doyle, Tagore commented, had been deep in conversation several times with director Elson Storr on set. She continued on to the Czech Republic to film the eponymous Lewis Carroll biopic Dodgson, which Mr. O’Connell joined several months later as lead – another film set about which tight-lipped Czech production company executives would not comment, citing privacy concerns…

The New Yorker


Happy to announce the new beginning – LIMBO is on its way, and this is the very first epigraph, the Prothalamion (prologue), a continuation of the article purporting to know ‘the truth’.How much does the article’s author know?

Read – to compare your conclusions with theirs.

Follow Pride’s Children – to find out what new pieces are coming, when LIMBO is finished, and sales announcements first.



Pride’s Children: NETHERWORLD reviews are 5*

Don’t fear reading the unfinished overarching story

The story you’re considering reading may not end with the current book. Is that reason not to start it?

Not if the JOURNEY is as good as the DESTINATION.

Dorothy L. Sayers is my mentor here. In Strong Poison, her jaded detective, Lord Peter Wimsey falls hard for the woman in the dock at the Old Bailey, Harriet Vane, accused of poisoning her lover.

It took THREE more novels, with TWO irrelevant ones mixed in, before Peter and Harriet finally find peace in each other.

Were readers more patient back then?

I think they had fewer options.

They re-read old favorites, read books aloud to each other, lined up as we do to buy the latest book from a favorite author the minute it was available.

And read serialized stories on broadsheets, sometimes literally pasted to a wall.

They also probably read in smaller chunks – work early the next day would have kept some readers from letting the new story pull them in way past their bedtimes.

Mostly, though, fewer options: no libraries for everyone, no TV, no movies yet, and no streaming anything.

How was it for the writers back ‘then’?

Especially the many writers who were slow, like me?

Being able to write is a gift. One which has to be developed, of course, and that stops most people from starting such a foolish project.

But I think I may be like those writers – much slower at producing new stories and getting them through the process than we moderns in general. Who can write a novel, upload it from their computer to Amazon directly, do their own cover and everything else, and have it ready for market in an astoundingly short time.

You write from what you are

No one really cares – and shouldn’t – how long it takes to produce a book they like. Once the book is published, that’s irrelevant: it didn’t exist, and now it does.

Just watched adorable Sandra Bullock (and some guy) in a movie called The Lost City, in which she plays a Romance writer getting a little tired of the rat race and the book tours and the hamminess of her costar (the one who comes to her presentations, if beloved by the fans, and breaks every woman’s heart in the room). To the annoyance of our Romance writer trying to make sure she can get the purple-sequinned jumpsuit back to the rental company unharmed.

If life is like that for your average Romance writer, I’m in the wrong category. Darn.

Hollywood has a certain fascination with writers

And a certain hilarious take (ask any of us) on what it is like to actually go through the process of writing and publishing one. From the amount of time spent completely on interior work, to the state of our bodies while we’re writing (to support, however we can, keeping that body writing little black marks on a page) and after, to the whole process of how we may get paid – you have to watch movies with your screens down and no filters because IF you write, the movie version is a huge joke.

Mainly because it take forever to do it right, and a movie only has a couple of hours running time, and less than that attention span of its viewers.

To keep up MY end of the arrangement, I have a certain fascination with movies, actors, scripts, and all their processes (I watched Ron Howard and the filming of a bit of A Beautiful Mind on the Princeton U. campus, and my writing partner and I and our youngest auditioned for it) and have used a lot of what I learned in the Pride’s Children trilogy.

What keeps writers writing?

Sales are nice but somewhat remote.

Admiration by friends and family is often a pipe dream – though they may consent to accepting a free copy. They know you too well as an actual human, like them, and they couldn’t spend weeks or months or years working on the same story, so there’s something vaguely illicit about you doing it.

I’ll tell you: REVIEWS.

Reviews are tangible. You can (and should – they may disappear) make a copy in a safe place, because you’re going to do a little retrospective when the writing isn’t going as well as you would like (the roof has a leak, there’s a pandemic, kids need help with science projects, the dog ate…).

When you go re-read your stored reviews, you will find that the readers who like what you write, and were able to take the time and chose to write a few wonderful sentences of appreciation have a huge capacity to remind you that all is well in your writing world. The value of the good ones perdures and doesn’t fade with time or reflection.

They save your bacon when you wonder if the whole gig is worth the agony.

Review writers – whether they create fiction or not – are tinged with gold dust when your words touch them, and they respond by writing words that will touch you back.

I will post the reviews – reviews are mainly for other readers – as they come out, and maybe a reviewer will sound so much like the potential reader that the barrier to reading is minimized and the new reader MUST have the recommended book.

All you have to do to become a writer (which includes reviews) is to sit at a writing place and open a vein (i.e., tell the writer what you liked and maybe a bit of why). It’s far more public than reading – and a gift to the shyer readers who are wondering whether to read this writer’s book.

Amazon removed the ability to comment on reviews (too many heated arguments? trolls?), so reviewers don’t have to worry about that side of writing. A reader can either click Helpful – or not click it on a review, and that’s the extent of the interaction with other readers. But your personal take on a book may be the one which helps another reader make that decision.

If you write a few words from your heart, I will read them and use that as fuel – for the third book in the trilogy/the end of the story. It may help make this final book faster!


So far readers have left six 5* reviews or ratings. Phew! I was a bit worried about what they would think of NETHERWORLD‘s last several chapters (and don’t peek – they won’t necessarily make the best sense if you skip). And let me know what YOU think.

My gratitude to Stencil for the ability to create graphics with text.


Another quick request: if there’s anything this site needs to make your enjoyment of the books better, let me know.


2023 Sale Pride’s Children PURGATORY and NETHERWORLD


Maybe not candy, but definitely sweet entertainment?

Reading for a new ereader?

KINDLE COUNTDOWN SALE – starting Jan. 12 US (8am PDT) and UK (8am GMT)

Pride’s Children: PURGATORY – “A flawless literary gem…” Indies Today reviewer Jennifer Jackson; awarded 2021 Best Contemporary novel by Indies Today


Pride’s Children: NETHERWORLD – “5* “A seductive reflection on ambition, desire and tortured journeys…” Indies Today reviewer Jennifer Jackson

will be available in a Kindle Countdown Deal starting at 0.99, and going back to their regular price of 9.99 (US) and 8.57 (UK) by the end of the Countdowns.


or, if you prefer a free Advance Reader Copy (ARC):

Please join BookSprout, download a copy, and review between January 12 and March 12. The membership is free, the books are available by name in the Other Fiction category, reviews may be posted on Amazon and or Goodreads to satisfy the review requirement – and be kind enough to make me happy to find new readers.

PLEASE select ‘Past releases’ to see my books – or they won’t show at BookSprout!


You can’t say I didn’t make it easy to get around to books you meant to read!

So I can head into finishing the trilogy with LIMBO in a lovely frame of mind. Thanks!


Indies Today 5* NETHERWORLD review

“A seductive reflection on ambition, desire and tortured journeys…”

“Americans don’t have royalty… We have rich people. Business and tech genii. And we have Hollywood, which will have to do.” Book 2 in Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt’s sweeping Pride’s Children series, Netherworld, pulls readers back into Hollywood’s kaleidoscopic underbelly as we catch up with Bianca, Andrew, and Kary. Bianca, a go-getter in every sense of the word, refuses to be held back by convention. Determined to claim her rightful spot among the elite, she will stop at nothing to get everything she wants. Among those wanted things are an award-worthy directorial debut, unchallenged respect, and Andrew O’Connell. Discernment, however, is not one of Andrew’s more dominant qualities. If the tabloids are to be believed, his temper often gets the better of him and women are his weakness, but he works harder than anyone in Hollywood, making him the man of the hour. Kary is neck-deep in edits as she finishes her first science-fiction novel, copes with an unrelenting illness, and tamps down unwelcomed emotions for Andrew. But when Andrew calls on Kary for help, even her persistent medical condition can’t keep her from reentering Andrew’s exhausting circle. With separate goals, morals and priorities, the three will have to figure out an equitable arrangement because their paths continue to cross, partly by happenstance, but mostly by design.

“In Hollywood, where skin is the currency and everyone is looking to collect their pound of flesh, relationships aren’t always what they look like on the cover of a flashy magazine. Netherworld takes advantage of every opportunity to exploit and expose what goes on behind closed doors. The narration moves at the speed of thought, making it a gratifying challenge to get inside the head of each character, and agile readers will be rewarded with an intoxicating story that tugs the heart in many directions. A masterclass in character-driven novelism, Netherworld showcases three complex characters, building fissures of depth within them and giving each their own moment in the spotlight. An unlikely favorite is Bianca Doyle, a calculating woman who proves to be so much more than the vapid ingenue she seems to be. For those who love getting absorbed in the worlds of writing or filmmaking, Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt expertly guides readers on a deep dive into these fields, replete with all the melodrama and manipulations the scenes demand. So realistic are the conversations and situations that you’ll forget you’re reading a novel and instead believe you’re enjoying a cup of coffee with Kary at her Sanctuary. A seductive reflection on ambition, desire and tortured journeys, Netherworld is an honest look at finding love in a complicated world.”

What are Editorial Reviews?

FIRST, Editorial reviews are a different category from Customer reviews on Amazon, because there are two main differences: Editorial reviews are PAID for – by the publisher, usually (possibly more common before all the purse-tightening) OR by the author.


SECOND, Editorial reviews are provided by a professional in the business. Commonly known are reviews from newspapers and magazines such as The New York Times and organizations in the review BUSINESS, such as Kirkus (which have their own publications, and have realized there is money to be made from self-published authors, whom they now cater to at the cost of $495.00 last time I checked).

Reviews from professional sources are NEVER guaranteed. How this is enforced, I have no idea. Are reviewers influenced by publishers who spend advertising revenue with them? I have no idea.

What do you do with Editorial Reviews?

Because Editorial Reviews are a different beast, Amazon has a separate section where they can be posted on the book’s Amazon product page, before the customer reviews. If you are an SPA, you do it yourself (there’s that odd self-praising conundrum we face); I believe you can also do it IF your publisher won’t pay for the editorial review but will allow you to do so for the book they publish for you (haven’t checked, since that’s not my situation).

Ms. Jackson’s complimentary review is now ensconced on the ebook and paperback pages for NETHERWORLD on Amazon (for some odd reason you have to do this separately for each format; these are identical).

I don’t know what the standards are for self-publishing (SP) PAID reviews, but there is often an option to refuse to have the review published if is completely unsatisfactory to the author, and otherwise authors may quote appropriate phrases but the complete review is also published by the organization.

Is there room for misquoting? Yes – most readers won’t go look at the source UNLESS they happen to become disenchanted with the book – but deliberate misquoting is frowned upon.

To keep their SP customer base coming back, these reviews usually have SOMETHING quotable that is positive.

I haven’t checked, but assume the organization can refuse to produce a review for various reasons. “If you can’t say SOMETHING nice, don’t say anything at all.”

IMPORTANT: what next?

What do you do after you’ve received a review like this? Say THANKS! Professionally, politely, through proper channels, because you have been given a gift, and gifts must be acknowledged.

So I did. I hope she sees it – I don’t know if the organization forwards emails – or thanks – to its reviewers. Anything more personal than proper channels is asking to make a relationship more personal which should remain professional, for the future. The editorial reviewer is not your fan or reader, and shouldn’t be: it’s a job. And one in which the reviewer shouldn’t be unduly influenced.

Dear Indies Today:

Please convey my thanks to Jennifer Jackson, reviewer extraordinaire, for the beautifully written – and 100% accurate – review she created for Pride’s Children: NETHERWORLD.

In a day when editorial reviews make a huge impact on the discoverability and marketability of new novels, this one warmed my heart. More than anything else, I love that she understands what I’m trying to write, and why these characters.

Many thanks.

Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt


If this sounds like your kind of fiction, Pride’s Children: PURGATORY and Pride’s Children: NETHERWORLD are available at Amazon. (as soon as I have the bandwidth of energy, I’ll figure out how to do a universal link for each)

And a Prequel short story, Pride’s Children: TOO LATE, is available on this blog.


Pride’s Children is WARM Psychological Literary Fiction

PSYCHOLOGICAL = happens on the inside of a human’s mind

Though into every life some of those people must fall!

I was checking through the pages for both Pride’s Children novels (so far), PURGATORY and NETHERWORLD, on their Amazon pages, and found the following earlier today:

Pride’s Children: PURGATORY – #753 in Psychological Literary Fiction

Pride’s Children: NETHERWORLD – #660 in Psychological Literary Fiction

It made me think, because I set up that particular category with the following comment from reviewer David Rose in mind:

“…I cannot recommend this book, this trilogy, highly enough – but not to everyone. This is a book for readers who appreciate literary fiction and a very deeply developed romance with a thoughtful debate on ethics. I believe the pace and the delayed gratification will frustrate many modern romance readers who look for fast-burning romance, titillation, and simple love stories. However, if you are a reader who will appreciate a modern ‘Jane Eyre’, this trilogy is for you…”

D. Rose, PURGATORY review (used by permission)

The LITERARY FICTION, psychological, subcategory was coopted by the dark guys

We don’t need ‘psychological’ to represent negative human emotions only; we already have thrillers and ‘noir’ and ‘twisted’ and some really gory stuff.

The category, on Amazon as I just checked, was full of a slew of a majority of novels which would take you to a deep hole with little redemption even mentioned.

Plus a smattering of dark-ish stuff that doesn’t fit other categories, including disturbing works by many authors such as Jodi Picoult, and Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky.

Literary fiction is already by definition interested in more than the obvious, but where I see a possibility for exploring, and learning, and changing, many of these books have already made up their minds: it’s a dark place out there, BEWARE!

I’d like to allow for the full spectrum of human behavior

Humans make decisions for all kinds of reasons, change their minds, deal with consequences, make DIFFERENT choices, and have to correct course even when it’s hard.

In a category of books for sale, the balance is lopsided (which is cute in rabbit ears, less so in human behavior).

Positive, not forced or applied from outside, but because writers don’t only choose the knotty problems (or aren’t only rewarded for showing the grotty side of life), but because there is a core of resonance in most humans for the positive, good, meaningful experiences, even when they are not easy to acquire.

That’s what I’m interested in exploring through the characters in Pride’s Children – because Pride can be a deadly sin – or a warm human emotion.

Coming with me?


Don’t miss the UK Countdown Deal for NETHERWORLD

S A L E!

For my UK readers who said they were waiting for the next book:

The price of the Pride’s Children: NETHERWORLD ebook is slated to be its lowest price (£2.99) for a long time starting MONDAY, October 24, 2022 in the UK, at 8am.

If you have an account, this is the time to acquire your copy of NETHERWORLD!

If you choose to review NETHERWORLD, buying a copy allows you to be listed as a ‘verified purchase,’ which carries a higher weight in the algorithms than just leaving a review after reading an ARC. Win/win.

If you have been waiting, now’s the time, and Oct. 24 is the first and least expensive day. The price goes up daily until it’s back at its permanent price, £8.87.

Or you can still join Booksprout – and get an ARC to review.


Thank you!

Can’t wait to hear what you have to say. That’s the part I’m really looking forward to.

Will try to take a shorter time to give you the final volume of the story. I’ve already started writing.


FICTION must be sold on its own merits

So many possible future paths!

Not the author’s, except in very special cases.

This is true of biographies and autobiographies and memoirs, too – unless you’re a celebrity whose fans will buy anything you produce, just to have a complete set.

Non-fiction is sold on the author’s competence in the field of the BOOK. Would you buy a trail guide from a guy who claims he never sets foot outdoors?

Before you know authors through their fiction

you will buy their fiction only on a recommendation from a good friend, a trusted vetter, or the biggie: how the book grabs you when you give it a few seconds of your time.

An author is someone who has learned – in my case, taught herself – how to access some of the streams of being human, and more importantly than just dipping into them for personal enjoyment, has learned to turn that exposure into stories for other people, for those who don’t have the time or the desire to spend part of their life on the process, but still want the results.

Think. Of a story by Flannery O’Connor. Of what it cost her to write (she died of the complications of lupus at THIRTY-NINE). But all you have to do is find or buy a copy, and you get everything she worked for delivered to your lap! You cannot ever pay her for those hours of labor, but you can enjoy the fruit of her labor, and be transported to the world she wrote about, visit it for a time (it’s kind of scary) and leave it behind.

Whatever input you allow your brain will change you

You can’t avoid it, any more than you can avoid learning at least something from the experiences LIFE puts in your path.

So you have to ask: How do I want to allow myself to be changed? How can I process something which turns out to be negative or toxic for me? Is there input that will do more than entertain, but will allow me to gain understanding or develop empathy? What am I watching/reading – and is it doing what I want?

What will the Pride’s Children trilogy do to me?

It will entertain you.

But it will also make you question how you see friendship, love, commitment, marriage, work, childrearing, and the relationship between the sexes. And a big extra: What are your preconceptions about disability, chronic illness, and the effect of having them on society. One point of view, mine.

But I hope it makes you think what your point of view might be, and whether it’s the right one for you.

And I’d love to hear what you conclude.


Don’t miss US Kindle Countdown Deal for NETHERWORLD


For my readers who said they were waiting for the next book:

The price of the Pride’s Children: NETHERWORLD ebook is slated to be its lowest price ($2.99) for a long time starting WEDNESDAY, October 19, 2022 in the US.

If you have an account, this is the time to acquire your copy of NETHERWORLD!

If you choose to review NETHERWORLD, buying a copy allows you to be listed as a ‘verified purchase,’ which carries a higher weight in the algorithms than just leaving a review after reading an ARC. Win/win.

If you have been waiting, now’s the time, and Oct. 19 is the first and least expensive day. The price goes up daily until it’s back at its permanent price, $9.99.

[It will be Oct. 24 for the Amazon UK site. I’ll send out a reminder, too.]


Thank you!

Can’t wait to hear what you have to say. That’s the part I’m really looking forward to.

Will try to take a shorter time to give you the rest of the story. I’ve already started writing.


My reach has exceeded my grasp


Modesty and lack of bragging were bred into my generation by our parents.

But if you write indie, you’re going to be in charge of your own publicity and marketing, and that means doing everything a publisher does for one of their favored authors – up to and including suggesting their authors’ work to the various prize committees who choose the award winners.

Bit of an incestuous circle process, but some competitions that are meant for traditionally published authors actually don’t bar indies from applying.

Whether or not said indies are truly given a blind reading, so there is no bias – assuming the judges MIGHT be biased against SPAs – you’ll just have to trust them if you want your book considered.

If you don’t submit your book for an award

there is very little chance, astronomically small, that you might win that prize.

There is usually an entry fee, often substantial, always non-trivial, and indies have tight budgets: it takes a lot of sales at, say, $2.99 on Amazon and with the 70% royalties option, to cover a $75 entry fee – about 36 sales.

Plus you have to be very sure that your book, considered fairly, is the kind of book which might win that award – or you’re just throwing money down a hole.

And that’s where an honest look at your own work, by yourself or via the reviews people have left, and where you have to decide who is astounded at your writing ability and who is being nice or supportive.

The types of books which have won the award in question in previous years

may help to decide if yours is worth the investment.

You must be prepared to lose.

I’ve just applied for an award I think Pride’s Children: NETHERWORLD could conceivably win. It would be a real coup for an indie. And no, unless I win or even get long-listed, I’m not going to name the award – because it’s exactly that reach the Browning quote talks about.

And I’m not that brave.

Things change as you go along

Having PURGATORY named 2021 Best Contemporary novel by Indies Today has emboldened me to seek other awards, because, after how tough on me physically this year has been, I could use a win.

My writing matured between the time I started writing a mystery (1995), and the time I had the idea for Pride’s Children, and acquired polish from then to when I published PURGATORY in 2015.

There were many nice words in the reviews the first book received, and some of those reviews were embarrassingly good.


I hope NETHERWORLD is as good as or better than PURGATORY; I think it goes places the first novel in the trilogy wasn’t ready for, and has a powerful ending, but that’s me. It hasn’t received enough reviews yet for me to tell if only my beta reader and I like that ending, or if it’s going to be a game changer.

But then I remind myself that I bought myself an Airwheel S8 as my own 70th birthday present (as my mobility device), because I told myself I would regret it the rest of my life if I didn’t even try – and I’ve had the pleasure of being bionic (and showing off at all occasions – I’m such a ham) for over three years now, and I was right about being able to use a bicycle on a hoverboard to get around.


Andrea del Sarto – a few more quotes:

By Robert Browning

…Speak as they please, what does the mountain care?

Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp,

Or what’s a heaven for?…

…At any rate ’tis easy, all of it!

No sketches first, no studies, that’s long past:

I do what many dream of, all their lives,

—Dream? strive to do, and agonize to do,

And fail in doing…

…Pouring his soul, with kings and popes to see,

Reaching, that heaven might so replenish him…

…Had you, with these the same, but brought a mind!

Some women do so. Had the mouth there urged

“God and the glory! never care for gain.

“The present by the future, what is that?

“Live for fame… I might have done it for you…

[Thanks to the Poetry Foundation for the text.]


I’ll post anything that comes from these submissions, but I am so glad I made them.


Review NETHERWORLD as one of the first

What say the readers?


Booksprout – a place to get ARCs:

If you would like an ebook ARC, I would appreciate if you would trundle over to Booksprout, create a free reader/reviewer account, search for Netherworld, and download the ARC. You then read, post the review at Amazon, and tell Booksprout (a new UK company which I’m trying out for this book) you’ve done so. Fast and easy – and a big help to me because I don’t have to supervise the process while I’m recovering from some stuff.

Anyone can join Booksprout.

Wait for the October 19 DEAL

If you have followed this blog, you get informed of sales. My first Kindle Countdown Deal starts October 19, 2022, and allows you to buy the book starting at a mere $2.99. Go to the US site on that date and until the countdown is over a week later.

I’m sorry that the Countdown is only available in the US, but that is all Amazon allows.

Over the course of a week, the price will slowly rise to the list price, $9.99, so the earlier you buy, the lower the price you pay.

Buy the book NOW because you can’t wait and don’t want to fuss with the review site

Go to your own Amazon site (the US site is here), and pay full price in your country (I believe going to the US site from a different country will redirect you to you country’s site instead).

Wait a while until I’m better and fully functional again

which is going to take a while. Then contact me at abehrhardt at gmail, and request an electronic ARC.

You should mention in your review that the review is voluntary and not in exchange for anything.

Posting your review

To finish this process you need to be able to post reviews at Amazon, and that usually requires that you have bought things on Amazon, a minimum of $50 worth over the previous year. We buy so much stuff there that it isn’t a problem, but some people don’t, and won’t be able to post.

If you can’t post on Amazon, post somewhere – on your blog, on Goodreads, etc. – and just send me a link so I know where it is. Thanks!

Don’t worry about royalties

I price my books so a full price sale in any format pays me about $6. This is the 70% royalty Amazon offers self-published authors.

What format you prefer – and how much more it costs – depends on Amazon’s costs – and is fixed; paperbacks cost more because of the physical costs of printing and mailing; ebooks are relatively inexpensive because they’re easily delivered to you in bits via the internet.

But my royalty is the same.

Ditto Kindle Unlimited

where I earn about the same royalty if you download the book AND read the whole thing. You have to have the paid KU subscription, and it counts pages.


So there you have it – how to read Pride’s Children: NETHERWORLD and leave a review – in several different forms.

Especially because it will be a while before I can do much actual marketing.

And I am looking forward to every single review.

Thank you!