Happy Anniversary Eyes!

Today is the first anniversary of the date I published Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold on Amazon and Smashwords. In honor of the anniversay, I have put a 6,000-word short story called Rachel’s Eyes on my website as a free download. I’m going to upload it to Smashwords also, and SW will convert it to an ePub for those of you who need that format. For those who prefer the convenience of having Amazon send something directly to Kindle, I’m also uploading to Amazon, where I have to price it at $.99 (indies don’t get to post freebies there), but as you know, it will take a few days to show up there.

Sorry, you paper fanatics, but I did post a pdf file and this is short (22 pages in the same pdf format I would use if publishing a paperback), and you could always start down the path to ebooks by downloading Kindle for PC. 🙂

Here’s the [current] blurb:  “Rachel’s Eyes features characters from the author’s western historical romance novel, Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold. Rachel Miles Ross has shunned her former best friend, Anne Wells Bennett, since the day of Anne’s marriage to half-breed Cord Bennett. Yet when Rachel’s life crumbles around her, Anne is the one she  turns to for help. Anne can give sympathy, but Cord is the one whose help Rachel really needs. Will he help a woman he considers an unworthy friend and first-class snob?”

My thought is that if readers like this story, I may work on a few more for other characters of Eyes, so let me know what you think — and if short stories or even novellas aren’t your cup of tea or if you don’t care for this particular one, please let me know. If enough readers like this, I will work on more, but if not, it would be better to know and not divert from new novels.

One way or the other, I’m happy to celebrate Eyes‘ first birthday. Even though it’s been out there for a year, it still receives new reviews pretty regularly, and I receive emails from new readers who have just discovered the book, who hurry to buy Sing too, and who are kind enough to take the time to tell me they enjoyed my work.




15 Responses to Happy Anniversary Eyes!

  1. McD says:

    Firstly, congratulations Ellen on your first year as a published author. And secondly, for your short story allowing us to catch up with Cord and Anne. It’s short but sweet.

    Very much looking forward to the end of this year when you’ll have your next historical western romance for us.
    Any hints yet as to what the story may be?

  2. Thanks, McD. I’m not going to mention the short story in any of the Have You Published… threads on Amazon and elsewhere until it shows up as available on at least Smashwords, but I will do that soon.

    When I went to do this, I thought – I’ll just whip out a short story. Silly me. Shorts may be “whippier” than novels, but all the same factors are still there, including first readers, revisions, proofing, and putting the story into all the various formats. Somehow formatting for this, that and the next thing always seems to introduce a stray character here and there or delete one somewhere else.

    Finally, there’s the joy of looking at hundreds if not of thousands of images trying to envision how they’d look as a cover and the fact that you never find what you set out to find in the stock images available. I am pretty pleased with the end result this time although it’s quite different from the novel covers.

    I already gave away more about the next romance in that thread about the reason a naked male chest would be suitable for it than I meant to. Let’s just say for now that I think those who are happiest with tough, tough, hard heroes and kick-ass heroines may bronze this one. ~Ellen

  3. McD says:


    Ha! Just my type of read then. Really, really looking forward to it now.

  4. Paige says:

    Ellen, thank you for this short story. I didn’t want Eyes to end and you have found a way for us to keep peeping in on the lives of Anne and Cord.

    I’m so happy to know that Anne and Cord have a son. It was so touching to read how Cord interacts with Tyler. You can tell he really loves his son and is a good father.
    I’m glad to see that the love and passion is still going strong between Anne and Cord.

    BTW, I just love it when all those sexy Bennett brothers get together. There a lot of testosterone in the room.

    Thanks so much for this wonderful story. You just made my day. I can’t wait for the next story.

  5. Hi Paige – Thanks! I’ll put you down in the plus column. I never thought of it as there being a lot of testerone in the room when the Bennett brothers get together, but you’re spot on.

    For this story, I rounded up a couple of readers who had not read Eyes. Even though I believe the only people who will read it will be fans of Eyes, I wanted to be sure that if some short story reader stumbled across it on Amazon or Smashwords and downloaded it, they would have a story that could stand on its own without the background in the book. One of those readers came back and told me Cord was “hot.” That surprised me because I didn’t get a “romancey” description of him into the story. I’d like to think that she wasn’t just patting me on the head and that his essence came across strongly enough to make her really think that.

    The other surprise for me was how easy it was to revisit the Bennetts. Since Matt Slade of Sing is so very different, and since I’ve been working on the mystery, which is different in every way, I thought to go back to the Bennetts I’d need to reread parts of Eyes and work on recreating those characters and that world. Nope. The Bennetts were right there in their own special place in my mind when I looked.


  6. Paige says:

    I loved the part with Cord, Frank and Luke sneaking around Randal’s house. I could just picture those three sexy Bennett men walking down that dark street on a cold frosty night.

  7. mesadallas says:

    Thank you for the treat, Ellen. I really enjoyed the story and I’m sure most fans of eyes will too once they hear about it.

    You know, this short story could serve as an introduction to a complete novel about Rachel. I can’t help but wonder if she will ever find a better man than her abusive husband or if her husband will stay out of her life or come back in some way to cause her more grief. Don’t remember if you ever mentioned her age, but I would love to see her paired with a now older Beau from Sing. The two of these emotionally abused peoplefinding each other could make for a pretty interesting story- and it would tie the two books together.

  8. mesadallas says:

    Oh, Yes! Loved the cover!

  9. Thanks for mentioning the cover, mesadallas. I was pretty pleased with myself for finding eyes that fit in the clouds and getting them in there and there’s something about the look of that bay horse all the way to the right that I just plain liked.

    However, I’m afraid I’m sticking to my original contention that I see no more novels in the Eyes characters.

    Part of my need for more realism than what one sees in a lot of romance precludes going further with Rachel. In my mind she’s Anne’s age, which would be 32 at the time of this story. First of all, in any age it wouldn’t be easy to find a guy to marry a woman with 5 children (remember she hints she’s pg again in the story). But even more of a stopper is the fact she’s still married, and one of the things I’ve found irritating in some western romances is a story line that assumes divorce in the nineteenth century was maybe more difficult than now, but not that much more difficult. Oh, yes, it was. It was often impossible even in the early twentieth century, and the stigma was overwhelming. So the only way for Rachel to become unmarried and available would be to kill Randal off, and he’s now gone to where no one may ever know what does or doesn’t happen to him. My belief about Rachel is that she will be content to have a free and peaceful life raising her children from here on out. She was never happy with married life if you remember.

    As to Beau Taney, I have the kernel of an idea about his story. His woman is named Angelica, and she’s British, and her life before she meets Beau would make Rachel’s look like a walk in the park. ~Ellen

  10. mesadallas says:

    Then I can’t wait to meet her because I must confess I’m quite taken with Beau!

  11. Laurie Osborne says:

    Put me on the list of positive responses to the story. I wouldn’t have minded a longer novella-length narrative, but the short story worked very well I thought. I thought that the logic of it also fit well with the brief characterization of Rachel and Randal’s marriage in the novel — and I also liked Cord’s self awareness about his own impulses and insights into Frank’s need to show that dark side of himself from time to time. Altogether very satisfying — thanks so much, Ellen, for both the first novel and the follow up short story.

  12. @ mesadallas – The only problem with Beau’s story is it’s a ways down the line. I don’t know how it is for others, but for me, once I have a story down in my mind in good detail, it wants out. Maybe people who wrote for traditional publishers for years can tell themselves. Well, the publisher wants this one now, and push something ahead in the queue, so to speak, but for me it’s still from the gut. The stories themselves dictate their own order.

    On top of that, because of the kernels of ideas I have for their stories, Roddy is going to come first. I even set that up a little, at least in my own mind, at the end of Sing, giving Roddy cause to reevaluate what might be possible in his own life because of what he sees in Matt and Sarah, particularly Sarah. So, Roddy’s story first, then Beau.

    @ Laurie – Thanks for the feedback and specific detail. I admit when I started that story I hoped for something in the 10,000-word range, but when I set out what I wanted to show, it just didn’t need that many words, and I’m not very good at padding. Maybe the next idea will be more complicated and work out to more.


  13. mesadallas says:

    I’m looking forward to getting reaquanted with Roddy and I agree with you 100 per cent about not rushing your stories. I think when authors rush stories for whatever reason it can really weaken their writing. Don’t rush your stories- they will come when they come and that’s one reason that I like your books- no publishers contracts and deadlines makes for good, solid writing. Heck, it took Margaret Mitchell ten years to complete Gone With the Wind- but I hope I won’t have to wait THAT long to read Beau’s story.

  14. Bethp says:

    I enjoyed meeting up again with Cord and Anne, however I have to admit that I’m greedy. When I read, I want to be able to immerse myself in a world for a good length of time, and a novella just doesn’t the depth of story that I prefer. Having said that, I look forward to your next story, regardless of length !!!!

  15. Welcome, Beth – I admit to preferring long works myself in general. But since I don’t see any more novels in the Bennetts, short is going to be it, and I was surprised how much I enjoyed going back into the Bennetts’ lives and spending some time there. A reader gave me an idea for another one of these shorter works – to base another one around John and Virginia Stone. Those characters hadn’t even occurred to me. There’s certainly a lot of potential for conflict there, so once my next mystery is out, I’m going to see what I can come up with.

    For long, the next romance novel will fit the bill because I can’t seem to come up with nice, short story ideas. AAR mentioned Outlander in the Sing review, and while I’m nowhere near that kind of output per book, Sing was at least double some of the drawing room romances I’ve tried lately.


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