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The Underground Princess: The Balderdash Saga

The Underground Princess: The Balderdash Saga

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The Underground Princess: The Balderdash Saga

174 pages
1 hour
Oct 23, 2014


Not all fairytales are about beautiful princesses and dashing princes. Some are about the corpses living below our very feet....

Reviewer Tyler Quevedo says of "The Balderdash Saga" series: "I originally read the story on my own first, not sure how dark the subject matter would be for young children with a story about an undead princess, but quickly my mind was put to ease as the story progressed. It covers all sorts of great topics that I value in a good story for children (and adults): Morality, Integrity, Loyalty, adventure, a small dash of romance, and most of all imagination. The vocabulary wasn't too difficult for the kids, and yet there were still occasional words along the way that needed explanation, further broadening their horizons as future book connoisseurs. ... If you're looking for a short read with great life lessons and core values for a budding adult, I'd recommend this book!"

Princess Scarlet is on a journey to find true love, but a malevolent force, Maleer, is in the process of dethroning her father, King Hurlock. Maleer intends to rule the underground kingdom of Balderdash, build an army, and break through the ground to invade the land of the living.

As Scarlet runs out of options to save those that matter most, she is forced to make decisions that will determine the fate of her entire kingdom.

From Mother Daughter Book Reviews: "The Underground Princess is a fabulous and unique book that completely took me by surprise. It features exceptional writing, relatable characters, and a very clever plot with underlying messages about loyalty, courage, beauty, and love. I highly recommend this book to children ages 6 to 12 as a great read-aloud book or for those interested in reading something with a touch of macabre. This one is definitely a candidate for a Hidden Gem Award by MDBR in the future!"

FINALIST: Readers' Favorite Book Awards 2015 -- Children: Fable

AWARDED: Awesome Indies-Approved

Evolved Publishing presents the first book in "The Balderdash Saga," a series of lower grade fairytales with an always fun, slightly dark edge. [DRM-Free]

Meet many friends, and a couple foes, on your visit to Balderdash. Whether you're searching for true love with Scarlet the Kindhearted Princess, or fighting for honor with Roland the Pirate Knight or Hurlock the Warrior King, there is something for every reader within this coffin tale.

Stories by J.W. Zulauf:

  • The Balderdash Saga, Book 1: The Underground Princess
  • The Balderdash Saga, Book 2: The Prince's Plight
  • The Balderdash Saga, Book 3: The Shaman's Salvation
  • Hurlock the Warrior King - A Balderdash Saga Short Story
  • Roland the Pirate Knight - A Balderdash Saga Short Story
  • Scarlet the Kindhearted Princess - A Balderdash Saga Short Story
  • The Balderdash Saga - Special Edition - A Balderdash Saga Short Story Collection
  • Kingdom in Chains, Book 1: Kingdom in Chains

More Great Books for Kids 6-11 from Evolved Publishing:

  • Drowning in Fear by Majanka Verstraete
  • Fright Train by Majanka Verstraete
  • Grave Error by Majanka Verstraete
  • House of Horrors by Majanka Verstraete
  • The Clumsy Magician by Majanka Verstraete
  • The Doll Maker by Majanka Verstraete

Oct 23, 2014

About the author

I would love to say that from the second I could use my fingers, I began to write, but I can’t. Sure there were times through my life when writing surfaced and fell away, but the truth is, I couldn’t even read all that well through most of my teens. Then one day, my father gave me a copy of The Stand by Stephen King, and even though it took me a year to finish, I did it. This experience changed my life. From that point, I strove to become the best reader and writer I could be. I was driven by an unbelievable passion to become a writer, and here I am. I truly started from the bottom and worked hard to become who I am now. I am a believer in the words. Reading saved my life. Writing made my life.

Related to The Underground Princess

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The Underground Princess - J.W. Zulauf





The Balderdash Saga – Book 1

Second Edition © 2015 J. W. Zulauf

Original Copyright © 2014 J. W. Zulauf

Cover Art & Illustrations Copyright © 2014 Luke Spooner


ISBN (EPUB Version): 1622533313

ISBN-13 (EPUB Version): 978-1-62253-331-2


Editors: Deb Hartwell & Stevie Mikayne

Senior Editor: Lane Diamond


eBook License Notes:

You may not use, reproduce or transmit in any manner, any part of this book without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations used in critical articles and reviews, or in accordance with federal Fair Use laws. All rights are reserved.

This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only; it may not be resold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, please return to your eBook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.



This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, or the author has used them fictitiously.

Books by J. W. Zulauf

The Balderdash Saga (Lower Grade Chapter Books)

Book 1: The Underground Princess

Book 2: The Prince’s Plight

Book 3: The Shaman’s Salvation


The Balderdash Saga (Lower Grade Short Stories)

Roland the Pirate Knight

Hurlock the Warrior King

Scarlet the Kindhearted Princess

The Balderdash Saga – Special Edition (4 Short Stories in 1 Book)


Kingdom in Chains (YA Fantasy Novels)

Book 1: Kingdom in Chains




What Others Are Saying about The Balderdash Saga:


The Underground Princess:

"This fabulous book completely took me by surprise. When I read the book summary I thought to myself, ‘Oh dear, a zombie book for middle grade.’ But, this book is nothing like what I expected. This book features brilliant writing from the author, believable and relatable characters (yes, even though they are ‘dead’), and a clever yet simple plot. The story uses basic themes pulled from classic fairy tales (e.g., girl wants to fall in love, evil person trying to rule the world, girl finds true love, etc.); but, the twist of having dead (and decaying) characters living in an underground world provides unique and innovative scenarios which resulted in the creation of a riveting and original story.

"A word about the illustrations... the book features roughly one illustration (by Luke Spooner) per chapter and for a middle grade audience; that is definitely a good thing! Because the book features characters who are in various states of decay, I felt that it was not only appropriate to include images of the characters but advantageous so that children’s imaginations would not lead them to something more frightening than what is depicted in the story. While the illustrations are creepy, they are not frightening so I felt the illustrator did a good job in depicting various scenes and characters in such a way to not give children nightmares.

"My Bottom Line: The Underground Princess is a fabulous and unique book that completely took me by surprise. It features exceptional writing, relatable characters, and a very clever plot with underlying messages about loyalty, courage, beauty, and love. I highly recommend this book to children ages 6 to 12 as a great read-aloud book or for those interested in reading something with a touch of macabre. This one is definitely a candidate for a Hidden Gem Award by MDBR in the future!" ~ Renee at Mother Daughter Book Reviews


The Underground Princess:

"I found the writing itself to be superb, and the illustrations and overall quality of the book (I have the paperback edition) are first-rate!

"Some parents may think the subject matter is too dark, but don’t be fooled. Although it deals with corpses, the author skillfully creates a rich fantasy world filled with so many fun characters that your little reader (as was the case with my nine-year-old daughter) will soon forget the princess and her pals are corpses at all.

"As a parent, I really appreciated the positive messages embedded in the story (acceptance, the importance of responsibility, being kind to one another, etc.) and I was also particularly impressed with how the author introduces some challenging words without bogging down the text or, worse yet, intimidating the young readers the book is geared toward. He has done a fine job here, and it’s obvious he is deeply invested in not only encouraging kids to read, but maximizing their enjoyment of the experience as well!

Though my daughter is still reading this book, she looks forward each night to reading the next chapter, and I look forward to buying the forthcoming books in the series. ~ Dale L. Elster


We’re pleased to offer you not one, but two Special Sneak Previews at the end of this book.


In the first preview, you’ll enjoy the First 3 Chapters of J.W. Zulauf’s THE PRINCE’S PLIGHT, the second book in this critically-acclaimed The Balderdash Saga series. Just click on the link below the image to get your sneak peek.

Special Sneak Preview: THE PRINCE’S PLIGHT by J.W. Zulauf




THE BALDERDASH SAGA Series at Evolved Publishing

In the second preview, you’ll enjoy the First 3 Chapters of Majanka Verstraete’s THE DOLL MAKER, the first book in the Weirdville series of lower-grade spooky-fun adventures. Just click on the link below the image to get your sneak peek.

Special Sneak Preview: THE DOLL MAKER by Majanka Verstraete




WEIRDVILLE Series at Evolved Publishing


For Lucy.

Table of Contents

Title Page


Books by J.W. Zulauf



Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Interview with the Author

Special Sneak Preview: THE PRINCE’S PLIGHT


About the Author

About the Illustrator

What’s Next?

More from J.W. Zulauf

More from Evolved Publishing

Special Sneak Preview: THE DOLL MAKER

And they stood by each other’s side in love for the rest of their lives, Princess Scarlet said. She snapped an old, dusty book shut and drank the rest of her Preservation Potion, grimacing at the acrid taste.

Scarlet hated drinking the horrible concoction each morning, but she did so to avoid withering back into the corpse she was prior to her resurrection.

After setting the book and empty vial down, Scarlet jumped in front of a tall mirror and flourished herself into a bow. Her crimson hair kissed her pale shoulders as it waved back and forth. She drew closer to her reflection, examining her amber eyes. Her thin lips curled down into a frown.

The characters in her books always appeared so perfect, so beautiful, but in the mirror, a sallow, pale girl peered back at her.

Scarlet glanced at her owl, Screech, and smiled. The owl perched atop a bedpost, watching with misshapen eyes. His gray feathers stuck out in ruffled patches, like he had flown straight out of a tornado.

Screech was the first gift she’d received from her father, King Hurlock. He had found the owl’s corpse at the base of a tree in the graveyard above their kingdom, Balderdash.

Doesn’t love sound so wonderful, Screech? They’re always holding hands, kissing, and standing next to each other!

"Hoot." Screech tilted his head.

Oh, what do you know? Scarlet ran to the window. What am I going to find being cooped up with you, anyway? I need to be down there celebrating the Renaissance of the Revived. She clenched her fists at her sides. I was resurrected, too. I want to celebrate alongside everyone else in the kingdom!

Music rolled up the castle walls, accompanied by laughter and singing.

After listening for a moment, Scarlet decided to confront her father and demand he allow her to join the festivities. She scooped up the book and left her chamber. She stormed down the hall and burst into the throne room.

King Hurlock dwarfed Scarlet by almost four heads. He wore a long, gray beard, matching the length and color of his hair. His eyes gleamed a bright cloudy blue, bookended by crow’s feet clawing out from the corners. When he smiled, his teeth looked like tombstones. Strangest of all were the swords, knives, and arrows poking from his back, suggesting that he’d been betrayed in his prior life.

The weapons made it difficult for Scarlet to embrace him, but the apothecaries—the kingdom’s healers and potion makers—refused to remove them, unsure of the outcome. The

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