The hard part of NETHERWORLD is finished

NETHERWORLD NOW EXISTS

It’s a funny thing about books.

They start out not existing – an idea, notes, thoughts, bits of characterization are not a book (ask anyone who writes).

And then, for me, such a long time goes by before all the organization and notes start to take on form, even though I tell people that Pride’s Children was vouchsafed to me as a unit, with basically all of the major plot points, and the three main characters, and some of the setting coming as a finished story, one I would have read if it had been available.

But that day in 2000 is over twenty years in the past, and, though I’ve worked on the tangible form continuously, it’s been slow going.

PURGATORY was proof

of principle, of the ability to create something that wasn’t there, of the ability to learn how to write, somehow, to the standards of the vast reading background of writers good and bad and in between.

I did that – in late 2015.

I learned every single step in the process between idea and having an ebook and print book available for sale on Amazon. Every speck of that is me.

I had support. And mentoring when I asked for it. The internet is wonderfully supportive for writers who ask questions nicely and have done the work.

I found my cover mentor – J.M. Ney-Grimm – and my beta reader – Rachel Roy Gavris – online, on writer’s sites. I am eternally grateful for their advice and help.

The second book is another kind of proof

The world is full of people who had a very hard time creating the second book. It’s a cliche in traditional publishing: writer debuts to acclaim (the book was written over many years, or in school) – and cannot seem to write another (time pressures, deadlines, expectations). It even has a name: ‘the sophomore slump.’

And now NETHERWORLD exists

The complete story, from a continuation of the faux New Yorker article that begins it, through epigraphs and chapter titles, to ‘TO BE CONCLUDED’ at the very end of Chapter 40, promising the end of the story, the third book of the trilogy, as soon as I can write it (you don’t want to see the very rough draft).

Its cover is in my head. I have a title and cover for the third book, but am not sure I’m ready to commit, so I’ll call ‘LIMBO (& PARADISE?)’ or just ‘LIMBO’ a working title, and see how it goes.

I have a very long list of steps to take for NETHERWORLD, and it’s a little daunting how little I remember from last time, and how the publishing parts may have changed in the interim so I will have to start from scratch on some things.

The good part? Since I work only in finished scenes, and my beta reader processes each chapter as I finish it, the text is final. The editing and proofing is done as I go, and is not a long task ahead of me fraught with potential pitfalls, but a finished chore.

The years of writing, moving cross-country and fitting into a new community, getting back to writing – are finished, too. This is it – our forever home. I may even eventually get plants on the balcony (the writing has been more important up until now).

There is a lot of work to do

This post is part of girding my writing loins to do all those missing steps, from registering a final copy with the Library of Congress, through learning the new Pixelmator version to turn the cover in my head into one on the page, to figuring out again how to run the text from Scrivener through Word to Amazon, this time adding a hard cover version for both books because it is available, and exploring Large Print.

I did the obvious: I’ve contacted various companies for help with formatting and covers – which I would rather pay for than do – but I haven’t found one yet that will do it my way. After several months of looking, I give up. I’m too persnickety, too opinionated, and not the least interested in them putting my second book through one of their templates. And have been told that the covers proposed wouldn’t be similar and they can’t use my fonts.

I should have expected that – but I did have hopes I might be able to get someone else to do the hard work part, and now I don’t. It will, again, take me less time, and cause me less stress, not to try to get other people to do what I want.

It’s entirely MY fault.

So be it.

At least I can say that, when you get one of my books, it’s all me. For whatever it’s worth.

ARCs out into the world

I don’t know when I will have NETHERWORLD available as an ARC for those who are willing to CONSIDER writing reviews, but it’s high on the list.

I have signed up for BookSprout to manage the review copies and reviews – if interested, check it out; it’s set up for a campaign for PURGATORY right now, and I hope some people will read and review it in preparation for reading and reviewing NETHERWORLD. Accounts are free, of course, for readers.

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I just thought you’d like to know.

Should mention here that the time between final text and publication is typically 18-24 MONTHS for traditionally-published novels; I doubt it will take me more than 3.

Updates will be here.

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What can I do for you?

A STORY WHICH WILL MAKE YOU THINK AND FEEL.

Entertainment which will fill a large number of hours.

My best writing.

Not to stop until the story is exactly what I want it to be.

Because there won’t be that many from me – I am too slow.

What do other authors promise you?

Aside from their books, other authors seem to be promising more and more these days:

Their presence in person at a conference on a panel.

Their Instagrams.

Their Tik Tok or Book Tok videos.

Their FaceBook pages.

Their bookmarks and book plates and tote bags and the ability to purchase artwork of your favorite characters and cosplay costumes and…

Even their voice on your answering machine (go to Cameo and search).

I would if I could but I can’t so I won’t.

Self-published AND traditionally published authors are having to do more marketing and merchandising and promotion – to stand out in a world where everything flashes and glitters and moves.

Each new thing I can’t do bemuses me more.

I see the rationale – and I’m now farther behind in ‘doing what I should’ than I was when I started writing.

But what do you really need from your books?

To be dragged away to a same/different universe where you can live another life/lives and come back having been someone else for a long while.

You need something that will stick with you long after you close the book.

You need a story.

You need characters you care about living something that makes you want to go with them.

You want surprises, and implausibles turned into possibles, and to know that sometimes the good guys win.

You want something that will drag you back down into its depths if you are foolish enough to open it and start reading (I’ve tried to ‘study’ GWTW a number of times, to see how Margaret Mitchell does it, only to find myself immersed in the story and reading for hours again).

You want something that is uniquely your experience crafted out of the author’s half on the page, because care was given to making sure you are a participant and not an observer.

You want to find YOUR authors, the ones who do this to you.

If you’re my kind of reader – and I hope you are.

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Five scenes to finish NETHERWORLD.

But they have to be perfect.

Hang in there – I’m working on it.

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Chapter 38 – Be careful what you ask for

The more common quote is ‘Be careful what you wish for – you might get it.’

I have used ‘ask’ for a very specific reason, and this is one of those quotations that are attributed to many in its different varieties, but are not attributable in a particular form to a written source.

A bit of meaningless numerology that amused me: Chapter 38 came in at 8,819 words, but when I went to add that to my running total, I got 177,777 words, and it made me think of a car’s odometer rolling over.

As I said, easily amused.

Each of the novels is twenty chapters, and, as I have numbered them consecutively from Book 1, Pride’s Children: PURGATORY, you can see I’m two chapters – six scenes – short of the end of NETHERWORLD, and even I’m getting excited to write the final form of these scenes.

The end is both a satisfying conclusion to this part of the story, and the beginning of the final part, and has its own theme.

PURGATORY’s theme was friendship, especially the rarer kind of friendship between a man and a woman.

Booksprout.co will be managing my Advanced Reader Copies

I’m trying something new for this year: letting Booksprout get involved in the process of obtaining more reviews for the novels, and, I hope, providing me access to some reviewers I wouldn’t otherwise have any way of contacting.

It’s a trial basis, and may not be the best way to get new reviewers, since that depends on their database including readers for mainstream fiction, but it also will make it a bit more convenient for me in getting the ARCs to reviewers and in listing the results. I’ve been doing that all by hand, one lovely reviewer at a time, and it takes time, time I don’t mind, but time I could use doing the only job no one can take on for me – writing.

Up until now my approach has been to find readers whose reviews indicate they like similar books, and to craft individual letters. I love the results, and have met many people I now consider friends online (not the wrong kind of friends, Amazon!).

But word of mouth is slow because I’m slow, and only adds reviews when I have a bit of extra time that I can’t use for the writing directly.

We’ll see how it goes, and I’m still here and will handle any requests or problems personally, so that won’t change.

The reason I have non-writing time

these last two days is that, as one of the throng of the immunocompromised, I got my 4th shot, and second booster, of the Moderna vaccine – and yesterday was flu-like, but today I have a sore upper arm (not bad) and a general feeling of not being at the top of my usual game, so I’ve been doing a few other tasks.

Can’t wait to get back to 39.1.

All I’ve been contending with is reviewers who don’t accept self-published work but phrase it differently. I told one such – who may or may not change their mind – that self-published books hold up half the sky (probably a bigger proportion of TOTAL books).

I will update NETHERWORLD’s Table of Contents.

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Flying too close to the sun

Chapter 37 is finished, at 9,274 words for the chapter, 168,958 words total.

NETHERWORLD covers Chapters 21 through 40 in this story.

Since I work only in finished scenes, this means there are only ten scenes left in Pride’s Children: NETHERWORLD, and I’m getting excited – the last nine are scenes I’ve been looking forward to writing since 2000.

The title of this post is the title of the chapter.

Remember what happened when Icarus did it? Thought so.

I’ve updated the Table of Contents.

I have the cover worked out in my head after some serious thinking about how the three volumes will work together, and, as a bonus, have the idea of the third volume’s cover also percolating but basically decided. The covers will be posted as I get them close to finished.

And the minute all this is published, I will go to the following morning in the story and plunge right into Book #3 of the trilogy – the one that will end the whole story. I hope it will go faster than the 15 and 7 years of the first two.

Advance Reader Copies for reviewers

If you reviewed PURGATORY, I will write to you to see if you would like an electronic ARC of NETHERWORLD to read and review.

If you would like to review NETHERWORLD, but haven’t reviewed PURGATORY, feel free to contact me. I think it’s best to read PURGATORY before reading NETHERWORLD, as the latter starts just a few days after the first one, but they do stand alone even though they share the same main characters, and many secondary ones.

ARCs are extremely close to the finished product; I prefer not to send out unfinished work!

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Prayers and good wishes gratefully accepted.

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PURGATORY awarded Best Contemporary novel 2021

Indies Today have just released their awards for the year 2021 books, and Pride’s Children PURGATORY has been named the Best Contemporary Book. (see new shiny badge!)

My thanks to the judges for their consideration, and I hope many more readers will take the trip with Kary, Andrew, and Bianca through the intersection between Hollywood and the world of writing, especially now that publication is getting very close for the second book in the trilogy, NETHERWORLD.

Again, a big thank you to Jennifer Jackson for her wonderful review. (click on badge!)

An amuse bouche from the Netherworld

I fought with WordPress’ formatting in the current theme (Twenty Eleven), so that I could post the Table of Contents and the beginning of Pride’s Children: NETHERWORLD.

It is possible to read this scene (though it might make a bit more sense otherwise) without having read PURGATORY; there are no major spoilers.

I would still recommend reading the first book first, especially since it’s 0.99* (and worldwide equivalents) in ebook until January 20, 2022, but I’m not the reading police, and each book stands alone reasonably well.

Plus you can see my writing style.

And have a bit more of Andrew’s snark.

And I don’t have Book #2 finished yet, and y’all know I’m slow if well-intentioned.

It will remind previous readers of the beginning of Book #1 – as we’re back on Night Talk with Dana the shark.

Watch the NETHERWORLD tab – under construction.

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*An easy way to keep a writer motivated, and now an inexpensive stocking stuffer.

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NetGalley reviewers please review Pride’s Children

You can see the book on NetGalley here.

I’m trying a new (to me) promotional company, BooksGoSocial, and have Pride’s Children: PURGATORY on NetGalley for the next month through BGS.

If you are a NetGalley reviewer, I would love more reviews – the link to requesting the book is here.

Pride’s Children: NETHERWORLD is coming along, and I’m successfully reloading so many pieces of the process back into my brain, while continuing to look for reviews.

Amazon and/or Facebook ads will come along when I figure out how to market a non-genre, mainstream contemporary novel – and have the time to monitor and fine-tune the ads. Fiction first, selling after, so all help gratefully accepted in telling all your friends.


If you are a NetGalley reviewer, of course, you get the books free of charge, and it’s fun to participate in the early marketing. All reviewers must give their honest opinion – and have no connection to the author or book (except via notices such as this one).

THANKS!

Alicia


 

Encourage the writer 0.99 spring sale

Pink background. Test: Structure in a story is like plumbing in a skyscraper: necessary. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

Also necessary for writers who are temporarily still bogged down in the minutiae of moving, is encouragement.

Until further notice – until I’m enough settled to finish NETHERWORLD, the second book in the Pride’s Children trilogy – if you have someone to whom you would recommend it, now is the time to send them a gift email for Pride’s Children:PURGATORY – for a buck.

It couldn’t possibly hurt.

Nor could it possibly hurt to remind them that reviews are also a very good thing readers do for writers.

Pride’s Children has a heroine with ME/CFS

Snail on yellow flower. Text: May royalties for ME/CFS. Diversity in fiction must include disabled and chronically-ill characters. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

AS A MAIN CHARACTER, NOT SIDEKICK


And I’m donating ALL my royalties from sales, and page reads on KU (Kindle Unlimited), for the month of May 2018 to #MEAction‘s fundraiser.


And for heaven’s sake, not one who commits suicide or dies of cancer, thus tidying herself out of the way of normal characters!

But one who lives, breathes, and functions as well as possible – given one of the burdens of being a human: not having everything functioning in tip-top shape OR being reachable by diet and exercise.

Why fiction?

Because fiction creates EMPATHY. Fiction is the only way, short of having the disease, that you can experience what it is really like, how every decision in your life is affected, and how your hopes and aspirations and goals come crashing down when you become disabled.

Why now?

Because May is ME Awareness Month, and many activities are being planned, including the #MillionsMissing demonstrations where we are represented by our shoes – because they can leave home and we can’t in many cases.

It is hard to advocate for yourself and a disease you battle daily – when you have so little energy you don’t manage to brush your teeth some days.

#MEAction is raising funds to fight for people with ME/CFS (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), a major devastating and debilitating disease which has been ridiculed and ignored by the medical profession for more than the past three decades, and is getting attention now because people with ME/CFS and their allies are demanding it.


If you read Pride’s Children: PURGATORY, and can’t wait for NETHERWORLD, check out the Patreon and become a patron – it’s the only way to get more before this very slow writer with ME/CFS publishes Book 2. And eventually Book 3.

And yes, I’m writing as fast as I can.

 

One way to read Pride’s Children for free: KOLL

LEARN SOMETHING NEW EVERY DAY: Kindle Owner’s Lending Library

And a PRIME membership.

Just figured this out (we’ve had a Prime membership for years):

Go to the product page (link above). IF you have a Prime membership AND own an actual Kindle device, you may borrow a Kindle edition book for FREE every month – and Pride’s Children qualifies. Just select borrow for free next to the Prime symbol to the right of the book cover. Duh, Alicia!

Rankings for books and authors INCLUDE borrows, so if you like, you can read the final, cleaned up published version of Pride’s Children: PURGATORY (Book 1) at no cost to you! And I get credit.

I’m sure everybody else but me knows this, and I probably did at one point (when I was just a reader), but it NEVER OCCURRED TO ME that MY book would qualify.

Did you know this about Prime? Do you use it? You can borrow, yup, do the math, twelve books a year. IF they are available in KOLL and you own a Kindle device. And the publisher has made the book available.

My excuse: brain fog. Ay, ay, ay – what a head! ¡Qué cabeza!

Cross posted at liebjabberings.wordpress.com