More progress

Okay, everyone, I’m a little farther down the road here and would be happy to hear from anyone and everyone again. You may remember that mesadallas mentioned a thread on western romance over at Amazon’s Meet Our Authors forum, a place I had been avoiding. After that mention I did go take a look. It tends to be more a bunch of authors chatting than people mentioning their books much, but there’s a little of that too. Anyway, someone asked about WIPs (works in progress) the other day and I mentioned mine and the cover dilemma and what I got was that everyone there liked Apache Hearts but they were sure Wild Apache Hearts was an improvement and the way to go.

I’m sure they’re right. As a title for a romance Wild Apache Hearts would hit the spot. The problem, however, is all I could think was — but that’s not me, that’s not my book. For some reason that exchange galvanized me and got me in gear. So if I can remember how to do it I’m putting a mock up on my proposed cover for the new book over to the right here. The figures are from downloaded free samples of the images and would be more clear in a final cover. I confess the new title pleases me, although if everyone tells me it’s too cute by half maybe I could be unconvinced. Then again….

Remember this is the first paragraph of the description:

After escaping robbers intent on murder, Katherine Grant says, “I jumped from the fryingpan into the fire. Before long I’ll be dancing on the coals.” The highwaymen were the fryingpan; the handsome young Apache who saved her from them was the fire; and the coals? Gaetan.

I’m waiting on one more beta reader to finish and report in and having to sit on my hands to stop myself from beginning to revise according to what the others have said already. So that’s progress, right?



18 Responses to More progress

  1. mesadallas says:

    The title is perfect. I love it! it’s unique, it has a good rythmic flow and it is just the right name for your book. It very much says “your book,” Ellen. And you know what? I really knew you’d come up with something that was perfect all on your own.

    I think the colors of the cover are wonderful. The are attractive and draw the reader’s attention, Plus the hue of red with black and white look very Native American.- especially with the border. Love the Indian on the horse but I’m not that crazy about the figure of the woman. I know this is a woman, but the cut-out is rather difficult to see close up. It looks a little stiff and unrealistic the way the knees are bent and her hands are up over her head. It’s a little difficult to tell if she is trying to stop the horse, surrender, or get picked up by the rider- but then again my eyes for small things aren’t as good as they used to be .

    Overall- It’s looks pretty darn good.

  2. Hey, mesadallas, thanks. I’m not as happy with the woman’s figure as I could be either, but needless to say finding a figure that fits is hard. And of course on my PC slow, sooo slooow. I’ll try to get to the library for a few hours again this week. On their high speed connection I can zip through a thousand images in the time it takes to do 100 at home.

    I actually got a mobile broadband connection for my netbook, and while I don’t get great service here at home, it is faster, but of course everything comes up on the teeny weeny netbook screen, which also has limitations. (If I try to view images full screen, they have no heads, which I suppose puts them right in with current cover trends, but it’s not one I like.) So the library next week, or even tomorrow although they open late and close early on Sunday. Even if I don’t find anything better for the woman, I’m much, much happier with both title and cover than I have been.


  3. mesadallas says:

    Yes, you have good reason to be happy and so will your readers. Dancing on Coals is truly a wonderful novel.

  4. txbookworm says:

    Great News!…finally, a title that fits the Ellen O’Connell we all know and love. Apache Hearts fell so short of living up to Eyes, and Sing…Do not know where that burst of inspiration came from but I think you hit gold!

    Love the cover, the colors but the originality of the title. Cannot wait!

  5. Tiffany says:

    I LOVE the title! I’m a long-time lurker but this is my first comment…I didn’t like Apache Hearts at all but as so many others have said, the title doesn’t really matter when it comes to your books. I like the cover art but not quite as much as the covers of Sing and Eyes. Have you tried using a sunset background behind the silhouettes, just to see what it looks like? If you need help choosing images, I know those of us with faster connections wouldn’t mind searching for you…just tell us where to look!

  6. Thanks, ladies. I’m glad to see you de-lurking.

    @txbookworm – I think knowing that “Wild Apache Hearts” is really a very good traditional romance title and that it’s so not me scared me into it, which is pretty funny when you think of it.

    @Tiffany – I started out trying sunsets (and sunrises and every other kind of Arizona scenery) again, but it didn’t work for me this time for some reason. I am going to look for a better female figure, but to be honest I’m pretty smitten with the guy. There’s a scene in the book where the hero comes racing out of the dark toward the heroine. She does wave her arms at him hoping he’ll see her light colored shirt, and he picks her up without slowing down. If I could pay some hotshot artist to depict a scene for the cover, that’s the one I’d use. Yet the fact it happens in the dark would also make it difficult to depict. I know dark covers are in style but I really don’t like them.

    If any of you have ever had the experience of standing in a pasture in the dark and calling a horse (or horses), it is, at least to me, a singularly awe-inspiring thing. At first there’s nothing, but you get a sense of movement out in the dark, then you start to hear the hooves, then as they get close the sound is like thunder but it’s bearing down on you. It’s hard not to turn and run, and then finally the big shadow is right there.


  7. McD says:

    Ellen that last paragraph describing the horse bearing down on you in the darkness is very evocative. I’d like to experience it for myself.

  8. DallasE says:

    I really like that name. Looking at the cover, I think for me the problem with the female is that she looks modern. Is it because she’s wearing pants? Does she wear pants in the book?

    Oh boy, really looking forward to this one!

  9. mesadallas says:

    Ellen, I’m not an artsy person or much good with computers. I couldn’t even begin to know how to put a cover together but I think Dallas has a point about putting the female in a dress for a historical- unles you are writing about a Calamity Jane character. Even though the rider says historical the female looks modern. At first glance some readers might mistake historical for contemparary. Even though the rider is a larger figure my eyes went directly to the female as the position of her body is what drew my first attention.

  10. @McD – You’d have to find someone with horses that come when they’re called (mine did because I always called them for food). Or, of course, someone who would ride a horse at you in the dark at a run. The chances of getting run over would probably be higher with the human guiding the horse than with the horse on its own. 🙂 I never even got knocked into, but it always made my heart quicken.

    @DallasE and mesadallas – yes, in the book she’s wearing pants in that scene and in fact she’s wearing pants that fit tight across the hips. I also thought how a dress would say “historical” better. So while that female figure doesn’t make any of us happy, it’s actually pretty accurate for what’s in that scene – her in pants and with her arms up. I wanted to find a figure that had arms up or out as if pleading also for reasons I’m not giving away at this point. I suppose the big pubs have covers that don’t fit the story or characters all the time, and I could use a woman in a dress just to evoke the period. However, the problem is the same – I didn’t find any women in dresses that fit the scene either. I didn’t find many images in profile to start with, and I don’t want a woman just standing there – she’s actively desperate to connect with him and get on that horse.

    If anyone is like Tiffany and wants to try looking, the sites I’ve used for royalty free images are,, and There are others but I can’t think of them offhand. You can put in search terms like “female silhouette,” and you get something like 100,000 images 50 per page, better ones first and fading to less and less female silhouettey, but even at the beginning there are always inappropriate things mixed in the results. I think both the images I used are from Fotalia. All the sites carry a lot of the same things.


  11. Marcia Montoya says:

    Yes….progress. BUT you are the one who has to be happy with the end result. I like Apache Hearts better than Wild Apache Hearts……Then thought Forbidden Apache Hearts…..You have worked so long and so hard on this book and I can’t wait to read it, but in the end YOU are the one who has to be happy with it.
    Marcia Montoya

  12. Hi Marcia – Actually I like “forbidden” better than “wild,” but in the end I admit to wanting to avoid titles with trigger words that get used so much in romances. That’s probably both good and bad in that those trigger words serve a purpose of helping the reader recognize the kind of book they’re looking for, but even so….

    And of course I have to be happy with it in the end, which means there are certain things I could get stubborn about changing, but I’m not going to be happy if the book doesn’t attract readers and make those readers it attracts happy, so that’s a balancing act too. It won’t be long now before I find out how I’ve done.


  13. MerviR says:

    I like the new title “Dancing on Coals”. From what I’ve undestood so far about the descriptions of the story, I think it is very accurate. I also like the color of the cover and the border. I agree with the others that the female figure is a little bit off, like she doesn’t really belong to the scene with the rider, but it doesn’t bother me too much.

    I have to say that I appreciate accuracy in the book cover pictures. It always frustrates me a little when the hero and heroine have wrong hair color and lenght etc. With romance book covers that seems to be the case more often than not.

    Hope there won’t be too many corrections or comments from the beta readers so the book will be published quickly. I can’t wait to get to read it.

  14. txbookworm says:

    Your comment on being happy with the cover if it doesn’t attract readers…sit back and listen…you could name it Banana Puddin’ and we would still scramble for it…as long as it has ‘Ellen O’Connell’ as author, we will line up to buy!

  15. Anonymous says:

    As soon as I read the title DANCING ON COALS, I really liked it, and the cover……but I also liked DANCING ON THE COALS. These struck me like SING MY NAME did….Whatever you decide to name it, I just can’t wait to read it!
    Marcia Montoya

  16. Thanks for the kind words, ladies. The thing is, of course, that I want to have a chance at attracting readers who haven’t ever read one of my books before with this one and for them to like it enough to go back and get the other 2. So while I really, really appreciate you Banana Puddin’ folks, I want to create more of you. 🙂

    My last beta reader reported in today, so now it’s a matter of sifting through opinions that don’t always match and deciding what to tweak and what not to. It’s another step making me closer to the day I can upload to Amazon, Create Space, and Smashwords. I’m going to go through B&N’s PubIt directly this time instead of letting SW distribute to B&N because I think I can put out a better quality ebook that way. I know the SW converter isn’t putting out a work of art at some of these sites and once this book is done am going to have to go back and update what I submitted to SW originally to comply with their newer protocols. Maybe I’ll submit the older books directly to B&N too. Will have to look at them on that site. The problem is resubmitting will lose their current reviews.


  17. Laurie Osborne says:

    Great title!

  18. Marcia Montoya says:

    Whatever you write I will keep recommending them to everyone I know, and I so hope you keep writing books from back in the day!
    An ardent fan
    Marcia Montoya

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