Confession, Changes, and…a Ghost

Confession. Like most people, I really hate admitting I’ve gotten myself into a sorry mess, but it’s high time to confess here that I have. This has been a rough year for me for reasons I’m not going to go into except for one at the end of this post. Suffice it to say that every time I even thought about writing anything, much less anything romantic, my mind veered off in another direction as if greased.

Strangely, that attitude didn’t affect story ideas. All my life I’ve daydreamed stories as a way of self-entertainment, or maybe escapism, which would explain why it didn’t stop this year. Eventually my mind started hopping like a flea from one idea to another and at that point, I outlined some of them.

For me, however, the hard part of writing is the first draft, and I had the very opposite of an urge to actually settle down and write any of those stories I outlined.

So—I’m not going to have a new book this year. I had to admit that to myself some months ago, but a tiny stirring of the urge to write has finally come to life, and in the interest of getting something done this year, I started on one of my follow-on novella ideas. This one is the story of Jamie Lenahan and Caroline Tindell from Into the Light.

This is an embarrassing admission in another way because I once told a reader who emailed me, that, no, I’d never write a story for Jamie. Those of you who have gone back and forth with me since we started on the thread in the Amazon Romance forum back in 2010 probably already know my successful prediction rate is 0.

If I say a book will be done in June, it’s probably not going to be done until at least September. If I say I won’t write that, odds are, yes, sooner or later I will. I remember telling readers I saw no more stories in the Eyes characters. Now, in addition to Rachel’s Eyes and Luke’s Eyes, I have outlines for 3 more. I remember telling someone I considered Robert Wells irredeemable, and I’d never write his story, but his story is now one of those 3.

If you’re thinking you’ll never believe a word I say about writing, that’s probably smart of you. I really do try not to make predictions because I know my own pathetic record. It’s like a sense of direction—I simply don’t have one and can get lost in my own backyard.

My last confession is that I still have a bit of hop-around-itis going on. So here I am working on the romance novella, and I also signed up for NaNoWriMo. That stands for National Novel Writing Month (I think), and you sign up and commit to writing 50,000 words in a month. Hoping to bring out my dormant competitive streak, I signed up and committed to writing 50,000 words in November—of Rottweiler Railroad. Wish me luck. I’m going to need it.

With that warning, on to Changes. One of my many failed predictions or stances or whatever you want to call it is that I’d never publish anything short again and would save shorter works to put out in a collection. Everyone on my mailing list received a download link for the novella Luke’s Eyes when it was first finished, and I’ve continued sending the link to new subscribers. My intention was that when I had something new I’d switch and send that instead and keep LE for a collection of Eyes follow-ons.

For several reasons I’ve changed my mind. Once this new novella is finished, I’m going to switch the mailing list to it and publish Luke’s Eyes. And from now on I’m not going to ever leave one story going to the mailing list for so long before publishing it. If you are now smiling to yourself and thinking, hmm, that’s a prediction, and I bet she never does it, well, we’ll see. Sooner or later I have to break my losing streak.

Finally, my ghost. She lurks in my heart, in my head, in my house. In eleven and a half years there was never one day I didn’t think, I am so lucky to have this dog.

8-week head

Eight weeks old, the puppy I flew to Michigan for. When I got home, I told a friend, “I am besotted with this puppy.”



Two years old. About this time I started referring to her as The Most Beautiful Rottweiler in the World. I was joking, of course—at least I wanted anyone who heard me to think so.

With cart

Five years old, first High in Test carting performance. I never got over the awe that she would do such things for me.


My ghost.

Wildhaven’s Schara Gambit

August 14, 2003—April 23, 2015

18 Responses to Confession, Changes, and…a Ghost

  1. Rhonda says:

    O Ellen, sweet and good thoughts to you.

  2. Sharon says:

    Beautiful Ghost.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Dear Ellen,
    Be kind to yourself. You are always worth the wait. I will simply reread my favorites….again.
    Best Wishes,

  4. says:

    Hello, somehow I missed the download link for Luke’s Eyes. Can I still get it? Thanks so much!



  5. Sharon says:

    I agree. Your books are worth waiting for. I just finished reading Sing again for the ???? time. Read the afterward also. Love all of them.

  6. McD says:

    Ellen, I’m sure your fans will wait for you to be ready to write again. You’ve had a hard year with the loss of your beloved pet.

    I rarely cry ever. Not in real life and not when I read fiction. And as much as I love your books and the emotions they bring, not even they have made me tear up. But when it comes to animals, I’m a goner. Know that I cried for your loss when I read about Schara.

  7. June says:

    I am so sorry for your loss Ellen.

  8. Barbara Wadman says:

    Ellen, What a beautiful dog! I can understand this being a difficult year with her loss. If this has caused difficulties in your writing I am sure all of us understand. As your books are always worth the wait I am sure all your readers will still be here when your next book is published.

  9. DallasE says:

    She was a beauty. We lost our last two cats this year; one in March and the last in June. I understand what you are saying about the ghost. Take care Ellen, we’ll be here when you can get past the mourning. We always have re-reads, lol.

  10. Mary says:

    I’m really sorry for your loss – you maybe don’t like cats but when my Mysty died after 14 too short years, I and the rest of the family were bereft, even my husband who professes to dislike cats. I still miss her and have her picture in the study. Like when you lose anyone you love though you learn to live with it. Your lovely dog will always be in your heart. Glad you feel you can start moving forward again- take heart and good luck with the writing- like the rest of your fans I look forward to your next book and hope you enjoy the process when you get immersed in it.

  11. Kathy says:

    I have never see a more beautiful Rottweiler. Sorry about the loss of your girl.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I am so sorry for your loss!! Our four-legged family members are every bit as beloved as our two-legged ones! Having lost a few myself, I know how your heart can ache. Take care of yourself Ellen! When you are ready we’ll all be here waiting. You are one of my favorite authors and I know whenever and whatever you publish will have been well worth the wait.

  13. Thanks, everyone.

    McD, as you know I do cry easily. I embarrassed myself yesterday when I went to the library to use their wifi connection to upload those pictures.

    Mary, I do like cats. I lost my last cat, Toes, before I got either of my young dogs and decided keeping cats in a house overrun by Rotties, sometimes young active ones and sometimes rescues of unknown backgrounds, was too much. In the part of Rottweiler Railroad I’ve already written I describe something that actually happened to one of my cats with a rescue, and it was scary. Toes was polydactyl and a darling. As my sister once said, “Toes has charisma!” I have been truly blessed with the cats, dogs, and horses I’ve had in my life, but I think the dog people are right when they talk about a “heart” dog. Schara was mine.

    Paige, if you join my mailing list (link at the side here), I send you a link to download Luke’s Eyes. If you’re already a member and didn’t receive the link for some reason, email me, and I’ll send it. What you download will be essentially what I’m going to publish. The published version is going to have only a few tweaks here and there and a lot more proofreading. 🙂 It will also be available only on Amazon and through Kindle Unlimited.

    One of the reasons I’m going to change what I do with the shorter works is reviews I see here and there admitting the reviewer downloaded from a pirate site. Since it’s free at this point anyway, that’s not really stealing, still it annoys me someone would go to that length rather than simply sign up for the mailing list. It’s not as if you couldn’t join, receive the link, and unsubscribe. Interestingly, I don’t think anyone has ever done that.


  14. Mary Higginson says:

    Ellen, sorry to tag an unrelated question on here but am currently re reading and re loving Without Words and although I have an idea what an ‘owlhoot’ is but can you tell me? I looked it up but no definition shows.
    Hope work is going well and that you are feeling better.

  15. Hi Mary – Like grub for food, owlhoot or owl hoot was slang used in that time and place for outlaw.


  16. Mary Higginson says:

    Thanks Ellen, I had it wrong – was thinking it meant idiot – we have grub for food here…still used as slang. Quite a few slang words are common but just the odd one gets me.

  17. Marcia Montoya says:

    Dear Ellen
    You have such a great fan base and following.
    We all, in some way, can share in your pain with this loss. A few weeks ago, we lost out 16 year old minpin. Had her since she was 5 weeks old. This past April, we lost our chihuahua which we adopted, and rescued him. He was so abused. We were blessed to have him 6 years. It still hurts but the memories are with us. Feel better dear Ellen
    Marcia Montoya

  18. Marcia – I’m so sorry. Losing two so close would be even harder to take. However, I’m also envious – 16!


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