Pride’s Children: PURGATORY Finalist in 2016 UK Wishing Shelf Award

2016 WSA Finalist Logo BW

Pride’s Children is a 2016 Finalist for UK Wishing Shelf Award.

I’m thrilled.

Thanks to British Children’s Book Author Billy Bob Buttons, who initiated the Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards for children’s and adults’ books.

There are few Awards designed specifically for indies, and most other awards don’t allow indies to apply or put onerous requirements on them (such as publishing other authors as well as themselves in their imprints).

The WSA doesn’t – and you also get to be read by a London and a Stockholm group of readers, and get their feedback – a lovely side benefit.

What about traditional awards?

Most are not open to indies. Period.

Most are also pricey to apply to – the publishers pick which of their ‘sure things’ should be submitted.

Traditional publishers are also very rigid in their requirements for application deadlines, geared toward their very long process of getting a book out. From the time final approval for an accepted book is given, through editing, and galleys, and getting into the publisher’s catalog for the season, can be over a year. Part of that year will fall within the deadlines for the traditional awards, which will accept galleys or advance reader copies in lieu of the finished product.

How is the Wishing Shelf Award different?

Instead, WSA has a rolling three-year application period which makes far more sense for self-publishers – allowing time for proper editing and formatting, and figuring out the ‘ropes’ of publishing.

Authors can wait to see how a book is doing, or re-edit and try again.

In addition, real readers are involved in the process, which started with children’s books being evaluated by real children in schools. The feedback provided by the readers is a valuable part of the submission.

There are no country limitations, either, a  plus in the digital age.

When are the winners announced?

That’s the only part that bothers me: April Fool’s Day in the US.

Cross your fingers with me.

If you liked Pride’s Children, spread the word

easy-xmas-pc

A SALE TO END 2016

If you’ve always wanted to try Pride’s Children – now is the time.

If you’ve read Kary’s story, and wanted to recommend it – now is the time.

If you want to give it to a friend – now is the time.

If you’ve hesitated because it’s long, and you’re not sure, and it seemed too big a commitment – now is the time.

The latest reviews have been amazing

Sam Umek said,

The characters feel like real people that you meet everyday

…One reviewer complained about the length, but I found it too short. I am used to reading BIG books. Alicia has written a book that is spellbinding and you don’t want the story to end.

Pat Patterson, a self-identified ‘simple man, a Southern redneck,’ said,

This book was a feast, and I am quietly stepping into the line for the next one

…Kary is CLEARLY a hero, by any criteria you want to apply apart from armed combat, and she is the center of the book.

…I found myself turning page after page, and DEVOURING the words, licking my lips figuratively at how delicious they were, and thinking: SHE CAN’T KEEP THIS UP! There is no way she can continue to let me walk around and see and hear and feel what the characters are experiencing; except she did.

A Top Reviewer, I am told, said that Pride’s Children was the best 0.99 novel she’d ever read.

If all you want is to know when Prides’ Children: NETHERWORLD comes out

The easiest way is to Follow me on Amazon – you will be notified ONLY when a new book is available.

I plan to write more here about the books, and some followers may prefer to not have that background; if you are not interested in the extra material, unsubscribe from this site, and Follow on Amazon.


Thanks to Stencil for holiday images and the ability to make quick images that look professional, to illustrate posts. If I needed more than a few images a month, I’d get the paid version in a flash.

Especially thanks to those who have written reviews since Pride’s Children came out – I am reliably informed it is doing quite well in that department (27 reviews, 24 of them positive!)

Pride’s Children: PURGATORY – Kindle Countdown Deal

Publication Cover PC B1

FALL QUARTER KINDLE COUNTDOWN DEAL 2016

If you liked Pride’s Children: PURGATORY, the ebook is on sale in the US and UK until Oct. 18 and 19 respectively, for 0.99.

Amazon US – http://amzn.com/B017AZLTLG

Amazon UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B017AZLTLG


Please recommend it to your friends who would like it, as I go forth renewed by time off with family, and hope to get NETHERWORLD finished sooner rather than later.

PC is up to 25 reviews (including 3 critical ones!), and I would dearly love more so I will be accepted by some of the promotional ebook newsletters. You can also vote reviews up or down if you like or dislike them. I am delighted to hear whatever a reviewer has to say, though I can’t promise the slightest deviation from the track that has been laid down to finish the trilogy – I’m that stubborn.

I love seeing how each reader finds a different book.


My entire life is about to change again: the last chick is leaving the nest, probably for good now, and my time will be divided between finding a permanent home for the rest of our life (gulp!), and writing.

The former task includes getting a house ready for sale. If you’ve done it, you know what that means. If not, I don’t think I can explain what disrupting your entire system – even for a long-term benefit eventually – does to a writer.

But I think time for me to write will increase – it’s been a long, hard haul to get to this point, and family always comes first. (But if it could wait until after 2PM to knock on my door, I would be forever grateful.)

What I have so far – and I’m cagey because my process is extremely erratic, and I won’t make promises I can’t keep – has gone, ultimately, better than expected. Not in speed, but in satisfaction from tackling the new challenges and resolving them.

‘Good’ will be decided by readers. But I have to finish it first.

Themes, casting for Pride’s Children, 2007

Some background

In the summer of 2007, while Pride’s Children was under development, and I had an initial rough draft based on the original Dramatica storyform, life handed me an opportunity, and I grabbed it.

My daughter and three of her friends had been offered an internship at LaSalle University after they won, as homeschoolers, an important science competition. The prize was offered and supposedly won (the university probably expected it to be won by some high school group at an actual school), but the four of us mothers who were the homeschooling parents had to do a lot of pushing and prodding to get the internship to happen.

Finally we came to an agreement: the school would let us live in the dorms during the summer (they were empty), and arrange some daily time at one of their science labs, and there would eventually be a paper presented by the professor and having the girls’ names on it, at the American Chemical Society meeting. I leave off the ACS details and the prof’s name because they never fulfilled that part, despite all our phone calls and emails after the internship ended.

Three weeks were chosen for this internship, and I claimed the right to be the parent chaperone. We would drive down to Philadelphia on Sunday night (one Monday because of the 4th holiday), settle into the dorm, the girls would have their internship during the week, and I’d drive us home Friday afternoon.

They had a ball.

What did you do with YOUR time, Alicia?

I had unbroken time to think. And I used it to do the Grand Reorganization of the plot for all three volumes of the story.

Structure, structure, structure.

Every impossible plot step and twist to turn the implausible story of Andrew and Kary and Bianca into an inevitable and utterly believable end was locked down during those three weeks, in as tangible a form as I was capable of.

Everything that had to happen was examined with a microscope, prodded, probed, and declared viable – or eliminated.

Pride’s Children, the full trilogy, runs on a business management principle: the critical path, which I have modified for my own purposes to mean that each plot step must be the shortest and tightest way to the next, in an unbroken chain from beginning to end. Nothing happens without it being an absolute necessity (in my mind and my story).

Theme and casting notes, please.

From notebook post-LaSalle:


My book is my statement, my mission to the world:

Family matters
Love is based on trust
Children matter – and must be protected
Beliefs are important
Beliefs lead to action
Right beliefs lead to right action
Dignity matters
Good will prevail
Life throws stuff at you
How you handle it is who you are
You can’t stay married to someone who doesn’t want you
Some people are objectively better than others
Evil exists – and can’t be excused
Love transcends age

But at least Firefly reminded me of my capacity for intense love: of a character. Of an actor. Of a story. [read more]

Andrew: a young Rutger Hauer
Kary: Michelle Pfeiffer
Bianca: a young Demi Moore
Michael: Adam Baldwin as Jayne Cobb – big, tall, smarter than he looks, not as smart by far as he thinks he is.

Comparison to Laura Hillenbrand there, too – if she can do Seabiscuit, I can do PC.


That’s it. The short list – though there are many other themes I could and did add. Loyalty, integrity, the meaning and importance of work, what is unforgivable, what we owe our adult children and the memory of the children we have lost, friendship, Catholic guilt and what it means to accept your responsibilities…

Even hummingbirds.

Everything I love.

 

Preaching to the choir: keep writers sane

A man standing on a rock in sihouette in front of a sunset, with the words: Acknowledging Alicia's Angels, by Alicia Butcher Ehrhardtt

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE CHOIR

August 22, 2016 at 12:42 PM

My dearest choir:

I think I’m going to name you Alicia’s Angels.

I don’t know exactly how you arrange it among yourselves, but it seems that every time I get discouraged, something pops up:

  • A sale of two paper copies on Amazon
  • Someone reading a few pages on Kindle Unlimited
  • An unexpected review on a blog
  • Another review on Amazon
  • Comments on the blog posts
  • A request for an electronic Review Copy
  • A lovely email with kind words
  • Someone replying to a blog post in a way that shows they got what I meant exactly right
  • An ebook sale
  • The promise of a review
  • Watching how someone on KU reads the whole book in a day or two
  • A reply to my comment somewhere else that carries more understanding than expected
  • An offer of an interview on someone’s blog (which I will respond to when I can – honest!)
  • A kind and accepting response when I think someone might like Pride’s Children, and I offer an electronic Review Copy
  • Hearing other people’s successes
  • Almost forgot: tweeting Pride’s Children for me!

At this stage – newly published author with one book up – sometimes called the ‘dribble’ stage, these notices from other humans keep me sane. I’m not writing in a vacuum. Someone out there likes my writing, and takes the time to say so.

And it keeps me both writing – and connected to the outside world.

For writers who don’t get out much, the connection is vital.

Shameless and continuous self-promotion – becoming ‘that author’ – is bad, so I watch my steps in public. I mention PC, as you’re supposed to do, when it comes up naturally in conversation. I hand out one of my artisanal business cards (with cover and contact information, and yes, the required link to Amazon), but only when appropriate. I don’t talk about it (much) unless asked – so easy to slip over the line and become ‘the bore.’

It isn’t a major problem – I don’t get out much – but every time I see an example of ‘bad author behavior,’ I add it to the list of things not to do.

I’ll figure out the thing to do, one of these days, and we’ll move on to the drip stage, and then the small stream stage…

Meanwhile, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Alicia

 

Worldwide sale means thirteen Kindle marketplaces

Pride’s Children is on sale at ALL worldwide Amazon Kindle marketplaces April 26 to May 1, 2016 – 0.99 everywhere.

liebjabberings

worldwide

IT DOESN’T MEAN WHAT YOU THINK IT MEANS* – sale details below

Okay; I promised myself this one when my brain-fogged brain figured out that Kindle Countdown Deals are only available for the UK and the US: have a sale EVERYONE who has access to a Kindle or Fire device (or app) can take advantage of.

Amazon is not to blame; country regulations are to blame. At some point in the future, maybe France’s arcane regulations will allow online Countdown sales; don’t hold your breath – the French (or should I say the French government, for good or ill) have all kinds of regulations designed to keep prices for books high, digital books out of the marketplace, and bookstores in business.

It’s their country – their laws and rules and taxes.

The only time it’s my problem is when I wanted to hold a Kindle Countdown Deal for Pride’s Children…

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Pride’s Children’s on its way: reviews starting

 

I’M WORKING ON BOOK 2, I PROMISE.

Even I want to find out exactly how Kary and Bianca and Andrew…

Meanwhile, I leave you lovely reviews on Amazon, 6 so far, by those hardy souls who have finished reading, and taken fingers to keyboards. There are a few on Goodreads, too, if you look me up, and one on Amazon UK (Colm was kind enough to put it on the UK and US websites).

I need to reach something like 25 so that I can advertise on BookBub, should I choose to go that way. It’s expensive, but their ROI (return on investment) is good (according to their own advertising, so there’s that).

I am content for reaction to roll in slowly as long as it doesn’t come to a complete halt, but new books have that long uphill slog to become better known, and mine has the same hill to face as any other: Discoverability. The two ads I ran with the Kindle Countdown generated one or two sales – maybe one of those buyers will review.

The biggest problem I see with sales is not the low rate of return (all newbies get that unless they have a big publisher doing a lot of pushing, or are on Oprah), but that the buyer often doesn’t read what she or he has bought, precisely because it was a bargain. Catch-22 is the name for that phenomenon, because they wouldn’t purchase it at all at full price because they don’t know the author.

Technically, the buyer can read it later. Practically, new bargains often push the impulse buy lower on the stack. I’ve observed this behavior in myself, and I am not unique. I have all kinds of books I thought I’d try, and/or I thought I’d buy to give the author(s) a boost when they had a launch of special deal, sitting on my Kindle or in my Amazon queue.

There is no solution to a Catch-22 except to bypass the whole thing.

DO WHAT ‘THEY’ SAY – GET MOVING ON THE NEXT BOOK

As I said, I never expected huge movement at the beginning – I expect to be treated based on merit, and with the normal discovery speed – so I am putting my BIC* and continuing down the path of revising and polishing the (very) rough draft of Books 2 and 3.

QUESTION: Will I be writing in public again?

That I haven’t decided, but the inclination is not to try to post things as I work. It takes time away from writing.

My main reason for doing it the first time was to enter the conversation about writing and publishing early, and to get a feel for the market.

What resulted was 1) me making a lot of writer friends – in other genres – on places such as Wattpad, and 2) getting a tiny band of followers, some of whom had enough faith in me, an unknown, to follow along from week to week (hoping I would finish the thing they had committed their time to).

I’ve discovered about half the blog readers did NOT read along, for many different reasons, one of which had to be that fear I wouldn’t finish for some reason. The internet is littered with half-finished novels, and novels that were a good start but never got the polish, so I don’t blame anyone.

Now that I know I CAN finish, and that I have developed a reasonable set of publishing skills, I think a better use of my time will be to work straight through rather than taking time to post, especially every week.

If you have a strong opinion on that, please chime in on the comments.

WILL I BLOG? AND IF SO, WHAT ABOUT?

It turns out that I like rambling on about the writing journey, the chinchilla, life in general, and CFS, so I will blog about those as the spirit moves me. Those posts will be at my writing blog.

A FAVOR: if you have a question you would like me to answer ABOUT Book 1 – send me an email at [abehrhardt (at) gmail (dot) com], and I’ll be delighted to answer.

Happy reading – whatever your fancy takes you to. It’s all good.

 

*Butt in chair