Happy Holiday

Actually, to heck with the PC version. Merry Christmas, everybody, and thanks for your support, purchases of my books, conversations, reviews, and comments.

For anyone wondering where things stand as the year draws to a close, I did get a first proof copy of the paperback of Sing My Name, and sure enough found reasons there needs to be a second proof copy. I expected to open the box and find myself holding something outstandingly orange, but I didn’t. Somehow the Create Space printing process turned the title on the front cover and spine from true orange to peachy, and it didn’t show against that sunset very well at all. The palette of the software I used for the cover does include a more intense orange, so I redid the cover with that and sent it off again. Of course, since that gave me an excuse, I reread the whole book and tweaked some things inside too.

Without the holiday I’d probably have the new proof next Monday or Tuesday. As it is, I have no idea but think my estimate of the book being available in early January is still reasonable.

Also, tonight I did send the banner and excerpt to Red Adept. After changing my mind on the excerpt several times a day these last days, this is what I sent. (I’m sure I used to be more decisive. Probably this whole thing is another unwelcome sign of age.)

Matt got up. He moved not toward the center table, but to the counter, reached around and picked up the coffee pot as if he’d been doing it every day for years. The sound of his walk sent a shiver all the way down Sarah’s spine. His spurs hissed with each step.

Rooted to the floor of the doorway, Sarah watched as silently as everyone else. Matt walked up to the table, shoved the toe of one boot onto the seat of a chair, and rested the forearm holding the coffee pot on his thigh.

The brother Thompson sat in the chair Matt chose, and when Matt’s boot toe prodded into the brother’s leg, he squirmed angrily half off the chair.

“You know, I’ve been sittin’ over there, listenin’ to you folks,” Matt said, his drawl so thick he sounded like a stranger. “It must be a fine thing to be used to all those fancy places way back East, but you fellows are overlookin’ some of the advantages of a friendly little town. Say a nice lady like Mrs. Hammond gets some behind in her work? Well, somebody ups and volunteers to help her out. Like now. You fellows need some more coffee, and Mrs. Hammond’s got other things to do, and so here I am volunteerin’ to get your coffee. Of course, I’m not so pretty as her—and not so graceful either.”

With his last words, Matt poured coffee into the brother’s cup from a height of at least three feet above the table. The hot liquid splashed everywhere, fat drops burning the man’s face, and staining his snowy white shirt and dove gray suit.

“Why you son of a…!”

“Well, that sure was clumsy of me. I’ll get the hang of it in a minute here.” Matt turned towards the other man who had touched Sarah, but the pot sailed right over the man’s coffee cup even as Matt tipped it to pour, and kept tipping. The pot turned upside down, the lid fell off, and the contents spilled right into the man’s lap.

He shrieked, falling backwards screaming, pulling vainly at his trousers, trying to get cloth soaked with almost scalding liquid off his skin. Finally, one of the others threw first one and then a second glass of water at the man’s groin, and the sound faded to a whimper.

“I’m going to kill that….”

Banker Thompson grabbed his brother by the arm and whispered furiously in his ear. The two men helped the one on the floor stand and all four hurried towards the door. “All right, let’s just get out of here.”

Mesmerized by the scene, Sarah had lost track of Matt. She was as surprised as anyone to see him leaning casually against the frame of the door to the street. The further surprise was that for just a moment she saw him not as Matt, the man she knew and loved, the father of her child, but as others saw him.

A white shirt emphasized his deep tan, as the fitted cowhide vest and Levis emphasized the trimness of his waist and hips. Lean and leggy, every inch of him looked as tough as rawhide. The black patch and absence of his left eye made the stare from his right icier. The scars accentuated the harsh lines of his face and tight line of his mouth. Braver men than these bullies would pause at the sight. Sarah swallowed hard.

Matt’s tone, however, was not particularly threatening, unless of course, you hadn’t long ago come to love the deep, gravelly sound. “I guess I’m not much of a waitress, am I? I suppose this means I’m not going to get a pat on the ass, or my chest rubbed either. But you know, I would have figured gents like you, used to those fancy places back East, never would leave a restaurant without paying. Make a habit of that, do you?”

Their backs were towards her, and Sarah could only imagine their expressions. Banker Thompson returned to the table and threw down a few bills, then started for the door again. Matt didn’t move.

“And I suppose in those fancy places fellows like you never walk out without leaving a smart sum extra on the table for the waitress,” Matt said. “I figure no matter what happens, you want to make sure everybody knows how generous you are. Am I wrong about that?”

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12 Responses to Happy Holiday

  1. mesadallas says:

    The banner looks great. I’ll look forward to seeing Sing in paperback.

  2. Kristie says:

    Merry Christmas to you, Ellen! Excerpt looks good and good luck with the paper back…

  3. mesadallas says:

    Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas yesterday. I spent the day at my son’s house. Santa was very good to me this year! I recieved the pair of white Durango cowgirl boots I have been hinting at for the past three months. In addition to this, My husband decided to make good on his promise to teach me to improve my horsemanship skills. He made contact with a woman who needs help with her five horses- she has too many to give them all the saddle time they need. We will be going out to ride each Saturday. We went today and met her and the horses. I am so excited! Can’t wait for this coming Saturday!

  4. Hey, mesadallas – Congrats on the boots and the horsey arrangements. Your husband really sounds like one of the good guys.

    My best present was the arrival on Christmas Eve of the second proof of Sing in the mail. That means in spite of my cheap self only paying for economy shipping, I got the thing less than a week after ordering it. Of course Create Space is closed until tomorrow, but I went ahead and approved the proof so it’s just a matter of time until it starts showing up on Amazon.

    When I did the other books, I really wanted the smaller sizes. They seemed more like a “real” paperback to me. However, because of the length of Sing and because the more pages the more expensive the book has to be, I went to 9 x 6 for this book, and to my surprise I like it better. It’s more like a hard cover size and quite nice. The page count is actually a couple less than Eyes, which is long, but not as long as Sing (118,000 words vs. 134,000), so the change in size was very worthwhile and the price doesn’t have to be higher or the font smaller.

    The orange still isn’t as orange as I thought it would be, but it’s better. I think I might even like this cover better, but maybe that’s just the effect of it being new and different. ~Ellen

  5. mesadallas says:

    Great news, Ellen!That really was fast! I wondered why the paperback of Eyes was larger than a standard paperback- now I know.

  6. McD says:

    Hope everyone had a great Christmas.
    Glad to see you’ve got ‘Sing’ in print Ellen.
    You’ve had quite a busy and successful year with three books out and all very well-received.
    I know your next project is the cozy mystery. Just remember you’ve got a lot of historical western fans eagerly awaiting your next book as well. No pressure or anything.
    Hope you have been able to grab some down-time and enjoy the holidays.

  7. Paige says:

    I hope you had a great Christmas. The banner looks great.

  8. Kristie says:

    Congrats Ellen on another 5 star review on amazon!

  9. Hi, Kristie – you are more on the ball than I am. I even was at the product page today to look at something else and didn’t notice, although I would have soon. See my post today for more good news. ~Ellen

  10. Kristie says:

    A friend received a kindle for Christmas and I was helping her set it up this afternoon. I showed her how to buy books with one click and get samples. I noticed the new review when I was putting samples of Sing, Eyes and a few other favorites of mine on it. I promise I’m not stalking! Lol!

  11. It’s nice to have passionate fans, and if a stalker ever develops, well, I live with Rottweilers. ~Ellen

  12. Now that I’m paying attention – Eyes also got another 5-star review today. Mustn’t neglect my middle child. In fact I hope to Heaven Sing will have anything like the staying power of Eyes over time. ~Ellen

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