My name is Dana Ellington, and I’m a story-teller. I’ve been telling stories since 1974, when as the “new kid on the block,” I had to find a way to explain my British accent and precocious nature. You see, I’m an Air Force Brat, and by the time we took up residency in what was to be my home for the next 30 years, I came complete with a birthplace in Germany, had lived in three different cities in the States, and spent preschool and the first half of first grade in England. I’d had no memorable experience with American culture.
You can imagine my difficulties being a Black kid with a foreign accent in my first predominantly Black, inner city school. The bullying started within hours of my being introduced to the class. I learned fairly quickly that I could deflect some of the teasing by telling these exotic stories about my life. I sold them on the idea that I was African – they didn’t believe the truth that I was born in Germany and had lived in England. As far as they were concerned, Black people only existed in Africa, so I went with it. It stopped them from picking on me about my hair, my skin tone, my accent, and all the other things that set me apart. But as life would have it, time brought my truth to light and the bullying took on new heights. So much so, my storytelling stopped and I turned to reading for escape.
But the storyteller in me didn’t go away entirely. My stories had to be told, so I began writing. At twelve, I wrote a short story all about a girl who was recruited to save an entire planet from an alien invasion. That summer, at camp, I turned that story into a play which I produced, and stared in. We performed it for the parents at our end of summer extravaganza and earned a standing ovation. My inner storyteller was reborn. I would go on to write almost daily in a journal for the next 31 years – poems, bits and pieces of stories, and the ever dramatic details of my day-to-day life. All the broken hearts, infatuations that went unfulfilled, and the bullying that turned to physical and sexual abuse, that lead to self-loathing and issues with alcohol. My stories were dark, desperate things, but I lived them with fierce determination.
Fast forward to 2007. I was a single woman, with a teen-aged daughter, scratching out a living 1500 miles from where I’d grown up. I don’t remember what sparked it, but I got the idea that it was time to share my stories with the world again. I was driven to see my writing in book form. I poured through my hard drive and my journals and pulled together a bunch of sexual fantasies I’d written. I figured erotica would be easy to sell so, my first book, Satin Sheet Memoirs, Vol. 1 was born. I self-published, had fifty copies printed and promptly did everything I knew to do to get my stories out into the world.
That first foray into self-publishing taught me I didn’t know much about writing or publishing, so I did what anyone who wants to be good at something does; I went back to school for a Master of Arts in Professional Writing. Pulling from all that I was learning, I produced my second book; my novella, Let There Be Life. A fictional recounting of life after my divorce.
Another life event would soon find its way into my writing. Since my mid thirties, I’d been losing my hair. By 2008 I was wearing wigs because there was no other way to cover the loss. As far as my self-worth was concerned, losing my natural hair dropped my value down to that of a counterfeit three dollar bill. I was on the verge of giving up the fight and my desire to continue putting words to page.
Then, my Muse brought me Charise, the leading lady of Hello Diva. Of course, she’s a writer who came from a childhood filled with bullying and abuse, who is also losing her hair. She is on the verge of giving up when things take a sudden turn in her career and her look. She sells her first novel to a big name publisher, then gets this fabulous weave. This was to be my first full length novel. I wrote the first draft in 30 days and six months later, held the self-published book in my hands. I could have stopped there having achieved a life goal of becoming a published novelist.
But you know how life works, que the dramatic music and enter, a leading man. Yes, I met someone, New Year’s day, 2011. I wish I could tell you that it was love at first sight and that he and I are blissfully together to this day, but that wouldn’t make for a good story, now would it? I won’t bore you with the details, suffice it to say that when it was all said and done and he’d gone on to see other people, I was an emotional wreck. I had all the feels, as my daughter’s generation puts it but no satisfying outlet to express them. My Muse to the rescue – my next full length novel, Breaking Point was born. Published in the fall of 2013, it was the second time I wrote and published a novel in six months.
My writing process has slowed somewhat as my skills and knowledge of what it takes to write quality fiction, have increased. I’m also working at growing two other businesses which can take up a lot of my creative time. But not to fear, my love for writing has not diminished. 2017 saw the release of Aphrodite’s Twin, my second collection of short stories. And as of the writing of this bio, I have three drafts in progress, three more relaxing on my hard drive and countless snippets of inspiration lying about waiting to be developed.
So please, join the book club and let’s stay in touch!