Draft Cover and Blurb for Without Words

I think I’ve explained in that past that I can’t do a final cover for a book until all revisions and proofing are done and the formatting for the paperback is done since the number of pages in the paperback affects the size of the cover. However, I’ve been playing around with images trying to find something I think will work for Without Words, and the cover below is what I’ve come up with so far.

As usual, there are surprises. Merging the two stock photos I decided on is harder than I expected—and the photo of the guy on the horse that looked like a silhouette with only traces of this and that to show it was actually a photo when I downloaded the small free version and looked at it on my desktop is very much a photo with details of the guy showing when seen in a larger size and better resolution on my laptop. I probably can darken the image before using it if I decide to, but for right now have left it.

So here is the draft cover:

Without Words coverI also have a draft of the story summary now:

Bounty hunter Bret Sterling kills Rufus Petty, thief and murderer, less than ten feet away from a frightened, half-starved woman. Rufus should have surrendered. The woman should have kin to help her. But Rufus went down shooting, and the woman has no one. Bret figures by the time he finds a safe place to leave Hassie Petty, he’ll earn the five hundred dollar reward several times over.

Hassie doesn’t mourn Rufus, but the loss of the ten dollars he promised her for supplies is a different matter. The bounty hunter gives her nothing, takes everything, ties the body on one horse and orders her on another. Afraid if she defies him, he’ll tie her down tighter than Rufus, Hassie mounts up and follows the icy-eyed killer.

Mismatched in every way, the sterling man and petty woman travel the West together, hunting thieves, deserters, and murderers. Wary traveling companions, friends and partners, lovers, Bret and Hassie must decide what they want, what they need, and the price they’re willing to pay for love.

The final draft is out to beta readers right now, so it will depend on what I get back from them and how extensive revisions are how soon everything can be done and the book published, but I’m getting close.

~ Ellen


13 Responses to Draft Cover and Blurb for Without Words

  1. Gypsy says:

    I found myself smiling as I read the summary. I am jealous of the beta readers. What a thrill to be one of the first to read your work.
    Thanks for ALL your hard work. I will buy it as soon as it is released.

  2. Rosheen says:

    First yes I am looking forward to reading this book 🙂 . Second and just MHO I like the cover and the dark silhouette of the horse and rider (intended or not) though I would suggest thinking about making the woman’s stock photo slightly smaller just for perspective (not that you were wanting opinions). Again hanging out for your next book . Cheers

  3. DallasE says:

    Oh boy. Am I ever looking forward to this one. It sounds SO very good. Like Gypsy said, I will buy it as soon as it’s released.

  4. Thanks, ladies. Rosheen, I think you’re right she needs to be smaller. Making her smaller is easy, the problem is “inventing” enough foreground that isn’t in the original picture to compensate for that because to make her smaller, means making the whole thing smaller.

    Yes, I intended the man to be a dark silhouette–much darker than he looks here, so what I need to decide is whether to darken him to what I originally thought I had or leave him as is.

    I’m all for any comments, suggestions anyone has on cover or blurb.

    ~ Ellen

  5. June says:

    Can’t wait. I am with Gypsy, o to be a beta reader. Love the name Hassie Petty.

  6. Lori says:

    I’m truly looking forward to your new release. I love the cover design. I enjoy how the silhouette forms allows us to envision your characters in our own imaginations. I must admit I like the little extra detailing in Bret’s image. It gives just enough information yet keeps him mysterious.

  7. Maddy Barone says:

    So excited to know we’re getting closer to a new release! Personally, I like the idea of making him darker. I think it would make him a little more mysterious and menacing. Surely Hassie’s first impression was of a mysterious and menancing man. (maybe?)I’m not sure she needs to be smaller. Could you instead move her over closer to the edge of the cover? Maybe that wouldn’t help you with the foreground inventing. At any rate, chalk me up as one who can’t wait to read it!

  8. I did experiment with making Hassie smaller last night and do think it improves the perspective. She did end up closer to the edge of the cover, and I don’t think I like what that does to the balance, but fitting the two of them into the narrow space available is a challenge so that’s still up in the air.

    Darkening Bret to a silhouette didn’t make me happy. I have to go out this p.m., but decided tonight I’ll run an experiment and darken him by degrees and do several versions between what’s on the sample cover in this post and a total silhouette and try to decide.

    The cover wouldn’t show them in the first meeting. Yes, he scares her badly that time, and for quite a while after. Bret is a tough guy with a temper, but I never found anything that would represent her as she would have appeared at the first meeting on any of the photo sites. This cover represents things much further along when she’s no longer afraid of him.

    People put photos up to sell on the sites where you can get a license to use them, but you can’t believe some of what they do. For starters, the people often spoil everything with campy poses they must think are sexy or unique or something. Then you search something like “Victorian dress” and get photos of women in mini-skirts. Very annoying.

    ~ Ellen

    P.S. The draft I sent out came to 107,000 words in case anyone wonders.

  9. Maddy Barone says:

    I can only imagine how hard it must be to find an image with the proper clothing. The cover for Into the Light is marvelous. The hat and dress in that looked just about perfect for the time period.

  10. Rhonda says:

    Hi Ellen…I especially liked the hard edge (mysterious) silhouette images on your first books — especially Eyes of Silver… Sing My Name and Beautiful Bad Man. I liked how the cover created more questions than answers and that it was so bold. So, my question is, have you tried making black silhouettes of the two images you’ve chosen for the cover — but, making both images a bit smaller and a bit more separation between the two of them. Thought the silhouettes were a great choice as a ‘signature’ cover.
    If you go with the hard edge silhouettes, throw a little yellow or orange into the grasses to pop the blue and green background.
    Good luck!
    Can’t wait for your new book to be released.
    Love your stories and your people.

  11. McD says:

    I agree with the other ladies, it just needs a little tinkering to get the size and perspective right, but I like it. Also, I think the bit of detail (and not just black silhouette) of the H adds to it.

  12. Hmm. I swear I did another comment here, and it’s missing. I remember mentioning how the image of the woman in the marvelous dress for Light was such a terrific find. The couple on the Bad Man cover was also. The cover I’ve never been happy with is Dancing, and one of the specialty sites now actually has images that could make the kind of cover I always wanted for it. I just need to make time to do it.

    Anyway, so far my tinkering proves to me I prefer Bret as he is in the sample cover – with that much detail showing. I didn’t like darker. The horse didn’t darken as much as the man and the whole thing looked weird. I have a smaller Hassie now, but it brought in darker clouds, which affects the happy look of her somehow, so I’m struggling with that. It’s always something.

    I do like the silhouettes myself because they don’t force you to look at a Fabio when you envision (and the author described) a Sam Elliott, but the totally dark ones only work IMO against a sunset which would really give you a silhouette. The couple on Bad Man were a real photo and do show some detail as opposed to being totally black like say the Sing ones.

    Have only heard from 3 of 5 beta readers, so I have time to drive myself nuts with the covers for a few more days.

    ~ Ellen

  13. Sharon says:

    I am so excited that you have a new book coming out! I haven’t been on your website for a while. I love all your covers so far. This one is good too but I think she definitely needs to be lower on the page. She kind of looks like she is floating above the ground and slightly out of proportion to hero. Anyway, I can hardly wait. Still looking forward to Beau and Roddy’s stories also!

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