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 books 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!

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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.

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

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Advertisement

2023 Sale Pride’s Children PURGATORY and NETHERWORLD

LIKE CANDY?

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

and

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.

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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!

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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!

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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 Amazon.co.uk 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.

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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.

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Don’t miss US Kindle Countdown Deal for NETHERWORLD

Sale! TOMORROW!

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 Amazon.com 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.]

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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.

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Review NETHERWORLD as one of the first

What say the readers?

HOW TO REVIEW NETHERWORLD

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.

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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!

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The NETHERWORLD ebook is up at Amazon

Andrew O'Connell stares at the Taj Mahal, rose-colored in the dawn's light
NETHERWORLD ebook is live!

It has been a bit of an odyssey, as the book was finished in March – but cover and formatting were only finalized late last night, and Amazon accepted it in about an hour – record time!

I’ve set up a Kindle Countdown Deal for NETHERWORLD on Oct 19-26, starting at $2.99 and going back to $9.99 by the end, and it is in Kindle Unlimited for those with the KU service. They require that the book’s price not be changed for 30 days before a Countdown – so we have to wait until it’s been published that long.

Meanwhile, it is already available for the hard-core reader. I also set up a Countdown for PURGATORY, to start Sep 21-28, if you haven’t read it.

Good for Christmas presents.

The print version had an unacceptable flaw: on ONE page, the text touched the gutter margin; it is being corrected. ONE page. Picky, picky, Amazon. I like that bots and algorithms can maintain quality – a human would be bored to tears examining every one of 540 pages for minute errors; a computer does it quickly and without errors caused by ennui.

As soon as I have that tiny correction, up goes the paperback; hardcovers for both books will be available as soon as I can make the appropriate cover for PURGATORY (I already have the one for NETHERWORLD).

What can I tell you about NETHERWORLD I haven’t already?

It starts only hours after PURGATORY ends, back on Night Talk in New York City with our late night talk show hostess Dana Lewiston. Will she get some juicy revelations out of Andrew O’Connell, last minute guest?

And what was he doing in Boston that morning?

And what’s with the pigeons?

Dana has a secret, too.

And there is a waltz, and a festive treat. Why?

The fun process of getting editorial and customer reviews has begun

I will be out for some medical stuff for about two weeks – not much will happen until all that is over – we ME/CFS types have such a small amount of energy that appointments and such wipe us out, and we dare not push because the crash could make us permanently worse.

So the part I enjoy, after the book is finished, will be paused (the main reason for this post).

I can’t wait to get to Book 3 of the Trilogy

Life keeps interfering, but

  1. I have a VERY rough draft (which I hope no one ever sees), and
  2. Writing has begun (I couldn’t help myself)
  3. I already have a good idea what I want for the cover!

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You are up-to-date for now – and I’m excited to finally have something to offer readers.

Don’t rush – unless you can’t wait. Oct. 19 will have a Kindle Countdown Deal at a very good price for my doorstopper volume.

Don’t say I never tell you anything!

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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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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.

A new marketing book to practice

Secrets to Effective Author Marketing: It's More Than

AUTHORS HAVE TO LEARN MARKETING

I’m reading a new book, Secrets to Effective Author Marketing, Maggie McVay Lynch, from Windtree Press.

It’s subtitled:

It’s More Than “Buy My Book”

I do not know the author, but it came in a bundle from a marketing author (among MANY other things) I DO know (not personally – from her website and a few replies she’s made to the odd comment I’ve made after one of her blog posts), Kris Rusch.

Kris has been extremely generous with her advice on her blog, so I figured the books in the bundle (including her new one, Creating Your Author Brand) would definitely be worth the investment.

I’m not selling you these books

Just telling you where I got the idea that is stuck in my head: how to follow the ideas in Secrets, and not just let them remain ideas in an ebook I’ve read and finished with.

Because the very first chapter struck up a resonance, and my first thought was, “How do I implement this?”

Two quick quotes should suffice:

If you can make a list of the experiences (emotions) your reader feels when reading your book( s) then you are most of the way to understanding what VALUE you have to sell.

If you can sell the value of your book as an experience then you have set a good foundation for marketing.

I am a writer. I create an experience for a reader, deliberately and with malice aforethought… I mean, on purpose.

I have that experience very much in mind (it’s one of my writing prompts for each and every scene) when I write a scene, but it had never occurred to me that I need to do the same thing when marketing.

Because marketing and writing have always been separate jobs, and the marketing has only become a big job for the writer this century, with the explosion of indie writing. Used to be your publisher did the marketing stuff, sent you (if you were so lucky) on a book tour you hoped would open in each bookstore with them having received a big box filled with your brand-new hardcovers.

People in the publishers marketing department wrote the ads, dealt with the media, found reviewers, marketed you and your book.

And I picked that up in my reading.

You can still see it in author bios that use the third person to speak of the author. It’s a lot awkward to do when you’re your own marketing department and copywriter.

It does put the writer into the nitty gritty commerce side of things (Ben Franklin printed and hawked his books), in effect, singing your own praise. More awkwardness.

It occurred to me, though, that I don’t have to – because I have a bunch of, ahem, perceptive reviews, and I can point to them as an external measure of how I possibly hit someone in the gut.

Without too much further ado: What did you feel?

Let me quote (and attribute) some of the reviews that address the question in Maggie’s book as to what emotions readers felt while reading Pride’s Children: PURGATORY – in their own words.

“This novel moved me to anger, compassion, exasperation, understanding and tears. All of these and more. The ending, for example, is something I will never forget. ” Colm Herron

“The author examines what makes us human–our generosity and pettiness, our passions and rationality, our sin and integrity. It’s a journey into heart and soul.” William J. Cook

“You are taken behind the scenes, literally, of the making of a Hollywood movie, and introduced to …wait for it…Penny the dessert girl. It’s the interaction of the big stars with HER that spoke to me the most about the incredibly fine line ALL of them have to walk to retain their privacy, and yet be courteous persons of integrity.

Oh, I loved this book. I did not expect to, and I’m a little bit afraid that I need to check and see if my estrogen/testosterone balance has been maintained.” Pat Patterson

“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. The characters feel like real people that you meet everyday. A character who has lost her career, living with a chronic illness and still finding love and understanding. I will be reading it again and again.” Sam Umek

“Sometimes – rarely – I have no earthly idea why one of Ehrhardt’s characters has a particular reaction or says a particular thing. Sometimes I catch on later, sometimes I don’t. Either way, I read on. Because I don’t have to “get” everything every time. Because I’m trespassing and eavesdropping on another psyche, and it feels natural that I wouldn’t invariably understand.” Marian Allen

“My only complaint is that the ending I’m looking for will have to wait for the next book in the series because this ending is heart wrenching without the continuation.” Cris Goodwin

“And finally it’s a novel about taking risks when your body suffers from a chronic illness. In other words, this is a novel about being human.” A.C. Flory

“I feel Kary’s exhaustion as she copes with the day to day of her chronic illness.” Sue Gately

“Pride’s Children is a contemporary novel, brilliantly written and filled with the raw emotion of characters who smile when necessary, love when necessary, drink far too excessively, and are quite willing to betray anyone who stands in their way. Hearts bleed. Hearts break. Tears flow. Greed runs deep. And pride always goes before the fall.” Caleb Pirtle, III

I’d love to know if you had the same reaction.

Now, how to make potential readers want that experience

I like my cover, and it speaks to me of the yearning that is so much a part of Pride’s Children: wanting what everyone wants, allowing oneself to want.

In this excerpt from Chapter 9, which to me says it all (see underlined section), Kary speaks to her much loved Aunt Ruth:


She dialed Aunt Ruth’s number by heart.

“Kary! What a wonderful surprise! I thought of you this weekend.”

“You can call me, too, you know.”

“I don’t like disturbing you while you write.”

“If I answer the phone, I’m not writing.”

“That’s what you always say when I disturb you.”

“People first. Especially you.” Capturing words next, above everything else.

“How is the writing going, my dear?”

“Very well. The new story is coming almost faster than I can capture it.” Their formal jousting, as ritualized as a quadrille. She exhaled. I haven’t committed—yet.

“What is it, dear?”

“You know me too well, Aunt Ruth. More of the same, I’m afraid.”

“I knew there was a reason to worry. Are you ready to talk?”

Am I ready to talk? Anyone else would push, demand. “No, but I need to.” I should have thought this out, decided where to start— She ran her fingers through her hair, tugged, impatient with herself. “Remember the last time we talked?”

“Stop me if I’m crazy. I’m getting senile in my old age.” She hesitated. “Is it the same man?”

Kary visualized Ruth in her favorite armchair, taking a moment to think before speaking: losing marbles was not a family trait. “Here I thought I was keeping you from worrying. Yes. The same man.”

“Ah. The actor, then. Andrew Connor, or something?”

Am I this horribly transparent to everyone? “It’s complicated.” So, uncomplicate it. “You always get it. O’Connell. He’s a house guest. Part of the time. They’re filming his next movie in town.” See? Was that so hard? “I’ve been invited to watch them film Wednesday afternoon.”

“He’s disturbing your peace.”

Aunt Ruth radar. “Not intentionally. He’s been the perfect guest. But…” Get it all out at once, like an afterbirth. “But yes. Just by existing. The reality is overwhelming…”

“It always is, dear. Good and bad. He is young, for a man. And healthy, isn’t he? They take up so much more space than you think, all that vitality.” Ruth hesitated again. “You are sure…?”

Bless her. “Nothing. Don’t worry.” Lord, the temptation. Enough fascination to pull her hand into his fire. But no, nothing there. “If I were younger.” And beautiful. Beauty deserves beauty. If I weren’t sick.

“A cat is allowed to look at the Queen, Kary.”

“A cat is not allowed to want to be Queen.”

“Better not to want?”

“Better not to want.” It hurt. In the background she heard sounds of people approaching Ruth, asking if she was ready to go in to dinner. Salvation. Kary let out all the air she had been holding in.

“I can eat later—”

“No. Don’t. I just wanted—” needed “—someone to talk to. You’re my someone.”

“I love you, Kary.”

“I know.” It was done. “Now go get your dinner. I’ll call you when it’s over. Promise.”

“Promise accepted.”

The very last part. He certainly needed no more publicity. “You won’t tell anyone.”

“You have to ask?”

And that’s why I love you.


So how do I use this?

The answer seems to me to be to use the book description, somehow, to speak directly to a new reader. To include the combination of wanting someone very badly, but having the sense and the integrity not to reach for him, because it is not in his best interest.

This is not an original idea – it was buried in my subconscious when I read Jane Eyre as a child. I’ve transmogrified it – to suit my story. But I aim for the same quality – and for the reader to see that the decision (it’s not in his best interest) has enough arbitrariness to it that there just might be room for another ending than the one Kary is – with the omnipresence of a censorious society which declares the imperfect not human (or not human enough) – sure she must choose.

My next job is to figure out how the heck to get that into the first paragraph of the book description, above the fold (i.e., what’s visible without scrolling on the book’s Amazon page).

And be cocky enough to reach out for the reader’s viscera from the first words.

Maybe Maggie’s book will help me figure it out.

What was your emotional experience? Every reader creates a unique universe in his or her head.


If you like your writers to consider your emotional experience – which takes a lot more work than just telling you a story – consider purchasing or borrowing Pride’s Children: PURGATORY (if you haven’t) or becoming a patron to support Book 2, NETHERWORLD.

Pride’s Children summer 2016 sale KCD

paw-ad-7616-hi-res

Summer reading sale until June 30 – Kindle Countdown Deal US & UK. 0.99!

For new followers and readers – and I’m still looking for reviewers (contact me for electronic Review Copies). Please recommend me to your reading friends.

Pride’s Children is up to 20 reviews now on Amazon.com

Do yourself a favor – if at all doubtful, check out the negative as well as the positive reviews; no book is for everyone, and I’d rather you not be disappointed.

I’m up to my ears in writing Book 2 at the same time as I’m trying to do some promotion for Book 1; if anything, I’m even busier than when I was writing and then publishing.