First Draft Done! Yay me!

I think I’ve confessed here before that for me the hard part of writing is the first draft. Other writers say the same occasionally, but it’s my impression that the majority find editing and revising the hard part and spewing out the story in the first place is exciting, thrilling, whatever. I like creating the stories in my mind, but getting them written is tortuous. I’m the Queen of Procrastination over that part. Once I get that far, I love to tweak, revise, pick, and edit. So it is with great delight I say I have the first draft done on the current romance. I know I’m going to rewrite one chapter, but that’s child’s play. Hah!

However, during my many stalls in the process, I worked on cover and description, and I’m putting them here for everyone’s entertainment. Keep in mind editing, revising, proofing, etc., mean at least a month and maybe two before I can publish. I’m open for feedback and suggestions on title and description, but I have to tell you, I’m so in love with this cover anyone who wants to tell me it’s not up to snuff, pay a professional, etc., etc., is wasting her breath.  (Hi, Regan. 😉 Howya doing?)

Blg CvrHere’s the description:

Deborah Sutton barely remembers the conflict between her family and the Van Cleves. Her mother died that summer, her Cousin Caleb killed her father, and Deborah and her sisters had to come live with her mother’s family. Nothing else mattered to seven-year-old Deborah back then. Still, she knows what Webster Van Cleve did. He tried to steal her family’s land. The Van Cleves are criminal, corrupt, and greedy.

Trey Van Cleve remembers the feud with the Suttons all too well. Trey saw bloody bodies hanging from the roof of his home, fled fire in the night, and held his mother’s icy hand as they boarded a train taking them away from Hubbell, Kansas, and home. Finding out his father’s greed started the land war and caused the murders and misery drove Trey from home long ago. Now, after years of aimless drifting, Trey has returned to Kansas, hoping to make peace with his family.

Deborah and Trey meet one night when both are hiding from their troubles in a small park behind the town hall. Each is intrigued by a stranger who is no more than a friendly voice in the dark. Each returns to the same park, hoping for another encounter. Each is appalled to learn the identity of the other. How can a Sutton befriend a Van Cleve? How can a Van Cleve love a Sutton? Deborah and Trey are going to find out.

Yay, yippee. Dance, dance.

~Ellen

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27 Responses to First Draft Done! Yay me!

  1. Congratulations! I am so excited for you (and me as a reader!) 🙂

  2. Eee gads, Regina, that has to be the fastest comment ever posted. Thanks. ~E

  3. Angie says:

    I am so excited for this! I love your writing.

    My title suggestions is ‘Love Thy Neighbor.’

    Ooops…I just noticed you’ve already named it. Scratch that. LOL

  4. Regina says:

    Haha! I did pause to forward the blog post on to friends before I posted. 😀

  5. Anonymous says:

    Can’t wait for it!

  6. Barbara Wadman says:

    Ellen, Love the cover!! Having been to a museum featuring clothes from days gone by the dress on the cover appears to be authentic for the time. How wonderful to see something appropriate to the story and not some half naked woman and man on the cover! Waiting anxiously for the story to be published.

  7. Thanks, Angie and Anon. Angie, what your comment tells me is the title doesn’t stand out enough, which I knew. I’ve tried every color under the sun for it, and since it goes from the dark green grass to her light skirt, nothing works both left and right. What I need is to learn to use software that will put a contrasting outline on letters. The Sing My Name cover really needs that too, so maybe this time I’ll figure it out.

    Barbara – Yes! For someone like me it always boils down to whether I can find appropriate stock photos on the sites that license them. Guess how many photos of Apaches there are for a book like Dancing? Yup, you got it. 0. Finding that photo of the woman was a gift. It is time period appropriate, and it’s so beautiful it almost makes you think corsets and all that stuff would be worth it.

    I figure the books with naked chests and heaving bosoms leave a reader expecting hotter books than mine, so even if I could find some like that that were vaguely western, they’d be misleading. ~Ellen

  8. mesadallas says:

    The cover is breathtaking, Ellen and the story sounds fantastic! Can’t wait to read it.

  9. Rosheen says:

    Go Ellen! Happy dance! Do like the cover and as always look forward to reading your new book. I really like your story telling style and the great editing. Keep celebrating! 😉 Rosheen

  10. June Breed says:

    Love it already. Can’t wait! Leave everything else and just crack on with finishing the book.

  11. Rosheen says:

    Ps Ellen after reading some of the comments, after posting my first comment, I spoke to my partner who does photography and utilises photoshop. He said it was a tough issue for this cover and suggested lightening the grass near the title may help, not sure if the shading is part of the stock photo or not. Hope that helps but good to see your name is clear, large and on top (noted from a previous post) 🙂 good luck

  12. McD says:

    I LOVE the cover, Ellen!! And the title as well. Although I fully expect that to change!
    Congrats on finishing your first draft. Looking forward to the release of your new title….whatever it may be. 🙂

  13. Lori-Ann says:

    Congratulations. The summary sounds fantastic. I’m excited to read the story of the next generation of Suttons and Van Cleves. Must admit that I also anxiously await a visit with Cal and Nora too. I want to meet the baby.
    Great concept to use the children, who were minor characters in BBM, as the jump off for the next novel. Keeps it very fresh yet familiar.

  14. Oooh! I can’t wait! I love the cover and the title! Dont change a thing. I have just read Eyes and Sing my Name for the forth and second time. Your books are by far my favorite and I am eager to read another. I named my youngest son Cord after Eyes and everyone that hears his name wants to know where I came up with that name. I of course give you credit and recommend they read Eyes. While I am waiting for the new book I think I will reread Beautiful Bad Man.

  15. reganwalker says:

    Ellen, must say I like THIS cover! I’m sure I’ll like the book as much as I have your others, too.

  16. Thanks, everyone.

    Mesadallas – I like that “breathtaking.”

    June – Schara and Story say – “What!? Wait a minute, we’re everything else and you’d better not leave us.” (Story made it through puppy kindergarten mid-draft.)

    Rosheen – The cover is 3 photos, the woman, the background, and the horse and buggy. I like the colors of the background and don’t want to make the grass look unnatural, so it’s the color of the title I’ll be messing with if anything. As I said, maybe it’s time I learned fancier things to do with fonts.

    McD – I’m getting fond of the title too, so unless someone comes up with a particular slant that I worried would be triggered, it’s probably going to stay.

    Lori-Ann – Norah and Cal are pretty prominent supporting characters in this, and you learn about their children, but their children aren’t really characters except one in a very minor way.

    Five Shadows Sewing (great screen name) – Naming a child after a book character has to be one of the greatest compliments. I’ve never known anyone with that name, although there was a guy who called in to radio shows in this area who gave that name.

    Regan – Another yay! Passed the acid test. Hope you do like more than the cover in the end, of course.

    ~Ellen

  17. June Breed says:

    The cover is fantastic but you do need to do something about the title. It needs to stand out more. I don’t know how to do it though.

  18. June – I agree. I’ve just downloaded software that supposedly does what I think it needs. We’ll see. I have a month or two to figure it out after all. ~Ellen

  19. Morgan says:

    Beyond ecstatic that you have a new book soon(er than later!) to be released! I feel that BBM was just released. Has this been your quickest turnaround time?
    “Do not judge a book by it’s cover.” Did we not learn that in elementary school !? Unfortunately, first impressions are vital and engrained in human nature. And fortunately for you, your book covers are always strikingly classy. I love that you continued your signature silhouette effect, but added the twist with the beautiful woman. Of course you want your title to stand out without sacrificing the rest…you will figure it out with no doubt. The title is catching as well. However, at this point for me, you can have a plain brown cover and I will read each and every one of your books !
    Congratulations on getting through to the first draft…you describe it as torturous. How can the birth of something be so torturous yet yield such extreme delight and excitement from so many others?! Quite a perplexing dyad! Thank you for what you go through to produce your stories. The end result creates happiness and pleasure for so many! Your talent is immeasurable!

  20. Hi Morgan – Thanks for the vote of confidence. I hope the new book doesn’t disappoint.

    Yes, this has been my quickest to get one book out after another since the beginning (I published 3 in 2010, but 2 of them had been finished for sometime before I discovered Amazon’s KDP publishing).

    Probably no one here is interested, but what happened is that in the places haunted by indie authors, it’s common wisdom that you need to get new books out often. Some of them — well some of them manage new books so often it’s stunning, and while they claim quality doesn’t suffer, I confess to not having read many of them to find out for myself since many are in different genres than what I like. (Even the “romances” tend to be erotica or at least erotic romance.)

    I also don’t have the driving want-to-be-the-next-James-Patterson ambition of some of these folks, which makes a difference. I’m more a quality of life person and have no intention of sitting typing like a mad woman all day every day.

    However, I have been impressed by this simple math – write 1,000 words a day, and you have 365,000 words a year, which would be maybe 4 books. The problem for me is that when I’m done with a book, I don’t ship it off to editors and have others doing covers, etc., but do it all myself. So when a book is “done,” there’s still one or two months’ work doing those other things, and I find I can’t write a new one while I’m still working on the old.

    In spite of all that, I decided to see if I could do 3 books this year. I can already tell that’s probably not happening, but I’m still determine to get at least 2 out. Whether or not that happens, we’ll all get find out between now and December 31st.

    ~Ellen

  21. MerviR says:

    Great news! I can’t wait to get to read the book and wonderful to get a peak on Norah’s and Cal’s future after BBM. I like the cover, too.

    Mervi

  22. Morgan says:

    I did not realize that you did your own covers until now. A couple of years ago when I discovered Eyes that was the first thing I noticed…the cover AND the title. In fact, when I reviewed Eyes on Amazon I had written how much I liked your cover and title – not cliche or corny like a lot of historical romances :)! Your covers really align with the story too. Great job…cannot believe you did not start to write sooner than you did and on your own (and not as a bet!) as you truly are talented! Quality over quantity – I think you are on the right mindset with that!

    I would actually love to see one of your books made into a movie!!

  23. Lori-Ann says:

    Thanks to this thread I am re-reading BBM for Lord knows what time.

    I’ll add my two cents to the cover discussion. I do like this cover. It’s lovely to look at and does make you curious about the story and what the girl is looking for or at. I have to admit though that I do love your “shadow format style” from Eyes and Sing. They drew you in but left it up to us to envision each character. Of course, to be fair, reading your books on my Kindle means I don’t benefit from color covers.

    I agree with Morgan that I’d love to see at least one of your books made into a movie. Do you ever speculate about which actor/actress you’d like to see as your characters. I can’t help but picture Daniel Craig as Caleb. I know his eyes are the wrong color but he can play the BBM so well.

    I’m so excited to read Into the Light, Deborah was definitely one of the characters i wanted to see in the future. And Like I’ve already said, can’t wait to see Caleb and Norah and the children.

  24. Gwen says:

    I can’t wait! I check Amazon obsessively for a new book by you. Your stories are so good. I know that sounds simple but it’s just the way it is for me. I have read them over and over! I don’t do that to any other authors. Your writing is in a class of it’s own and I can’t wait to see what you do w/ this story. I like the title and love the cover, but it’s the story I can’t wait for!!!

  25. Hi Gwen – Thanks so much for the compliments. Did you sign up for notification of new books over at the right on the blog? That would save you from checking and checking.

    I hope to get a new post up in the next day or so with an excerpt and update to everyone as to where things are.

    ~Ellen

  26. Oh, and Lori-Ann – Thanks for the kind words about my covers, since I get a lot of negative feedback about them too. Covers are so subjective. I see threads in my favorite forums where authors ask for feedback on covers, and I look at the covers of those who are loudest in giving advice and think – really?

    No, I don’t speculate about movies, maybe because I’m not much of a movie-goer myself and from the few books I’ve loved that were turned into movies, I’ve thought (with the single exception of Hunt for Red October) the movie was sadly deficient. And I’m sure I’d hate whoever they cast for my characters. ~Ellen

  27. Anonymous says:

    Love the cover! Impatiently waiting!!

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