Author Bio

My name is Dana Ellington Myles, and I’m a story-teller. I’ve been telling stories since 1974, when my family moved to Denver.  I’m an Air Force Brat, and by the time we took up residency in the MileHi, 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 landed in the Gateway to the West with a British accent, and 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, we moved to a different part of town and I found myself in a different school.  The bullying began anew, and I had to tell different stories. Unfortunately, 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. We got 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 teenaged daughter, scratching out a living 1500 miles from where I’d grown up. I’d run away from Denver to Atlanta two years before. 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 had a BA in English, for goodness sakes but career-wise, I hadn’t done much in the field since I’d graduated. Save for the year I wrote theater reviews for a community paper, or the couple of writing contests I’d entered, my stories had been confined to my journals. For whatever reasons though, in 2007 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.

2nd Print Satin Sheets Vol 1 Book Cover - 05 05 10Now, just about all of the pieces in that collection tell stories of a woman who wants desperately to be WITH a man. After two unsettling readings (at bachelor parties no doubt) I realized all the women in those stories were aspects of me. I was living a tale of the lonely woman searching for love.  My experience with self-publishing awakened a desire to live a different story.

So, after realizing I didn’t know much about the craft of writing coupled with the latest crappy relationship I was in falling apart, I took some time to do a little soul-searching.  I went back to school to study the craft (resulting in earning my Master’s degree 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 how things had gone since my divorce in 2000.Book Cover design

At this point, I’d like to explain something about my writing process. I hear voices in my head. Sometimes it’s my characters repeating chunks of dialog, other times, it’s the different personalities I share this body with – you can laugh, most people do, but the voices are as much a part of my day as breathing or writing. I’ve gotten used to them, but there was one in particular that started speaking quite loudly after Let There Be Life was done.  That voice was my Divinity. I don’t subscribe to any particular religion but I do believe in a higher power.  God, Goddess, Allah, whatever you want to call it.  My Divinity is God within me and She works with my Muse to bring me the lessons I’m supposed to be learning. Case in point, Hello Diva, my first full length novel.

Self-esteem, acceptance, self-worth were all things I was struggling with. I knew I had to build my self-esteem up in order to change the way my story was being lived. I’d begun the process while writing Let There Be Life but I was far from having made the transition completely.  You see, there was this little thing that kept me caught in the “two steps forward, one step back cha-cha”.  I was losing my hair.  Now, you know what hair means to Black women. I’ll spare you the rhetoric and sum it up with what it meant to me. At a time when I was struggling to look myself in the mirror and see my worth, there was this balding patch spreading across my head like fire through a dry forest. 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.

 

Front Book CoverInstead, my Divinity and my Muse got together and 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.  As I was writing the pivotal scene in the story – where she discovers a fundamental truth about the power of self-love –  I started thinking it was probably what a lot of women needed to hear.  Hello Diva hit the streets in 2010, and in promoting it I changed. I stopped stressing over what was going on under the wigs; I stopped equating my hair loss to my self-worth and I stopped worrying so much over what others might think. That one book and I can now stand in front of an audience and say, yeah, it’s fake, but what’s underneath is one of the  real-est women you will ever meet.

But you know how life works, two steps forward, one step back. There were still lessons to be learned. Que the dramatic music and bring on a new leading man. Yes, I met a man, New Year’s day, 2011. I wish I could tell you that it was love and that he and I are blissfully together to this day, but that wouldn’t make for a good story, now would it? Up until him, I’d thought I had a fairly solid hold on my feelings. By hold, I mean, I believed I didn’t have any.  I had channeled my feelings for so long into my writing that I had convinced myself they only existed on paper. I didn’t cry, didn’t “love”, didn’t trust, I didn’t FEEL. Then he came along. 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. I’m sure menopause played a part as well, but what it boiled down to was in 2012, I suffered an emotional breakdown.  And the book, Breaking Point was born.sample front cover 1

Published in the fall of 2013, it brought me from a place of emotional overload, to discovering what my Divinity revealed to be my purpose. You see, the reasons I’ve gone through all I’ve gone through were to fuel my writing which in turn, helps me process my self-worth, which then gives me the confidence to share my writing, WHICH then reaches women who may be struggling to recognize their self-worth. They read my stories and see that they’re not alone; that what they’re going through is a normal part of growing up and they’re worth the effort, hard work, highs and lows, we go through in the process. Granted, here in my late 40’s, I may be considered a little late to the game, but never the less, I’m here now. I’m on a mission to help as many people as I can who may be traveling this journey as well.

I am determined, through my writing, to stand in all my crazy glory: an independent, self-published author, who finally realizes, in my truth – I am a story worthy of being told.

 

I don't know, I think I look kind of insane.

 

 

21 thoughts on “Author Bio

  1. How do I get a copy of the first book? and put me on the waiting list for the second. I also would like to offer me sales services to get more sales on the first book ? Let me know how I can help the worlds next greatest female author of the 21st century.

  2. Thx very much with the follow! I write erotica too. I look forward to finding out more about you and wish you lots of luck with your books. Are you on Twitter? I’d advise using it. x

    1. I am a future EX-Pat who wishes very much to spend an extended holiday in the UK soon so I’m glad to have found your blog. The more information the better. And yep, I’m on Twitter though I really have no idea how to use it to my advantage, lol. I’m Satin Sheet Diva on Twitter as well. Thanks for stopping by and hope you enjoy your visit :-).

      1. Satin Sheet Diva is a great monicker! I will check you out on Twitter : ) The thing to do on Twitter, in my opinion, is to take a genuine interest in the souls you find on there, good bonds are two way as they are throughout the rest of your life. And there is so much great info on there if you are a writer, too. Use the keyword search to get you started. x

  3. As a Native American, I am fascinated how you sought out an African American author to connect with. I myself am seeking out other Native American authors as well. I recently was talking to an elder of my Mohican tribe about other Mohican women’s stories in print. She surprisingly gave me a list of three women. I value her input. I am also reading “Messengers of The Wind: Native American Women Tell Their Life Stories” edited by Jane Katz to learn how to better tell my story in my memoir. Here’s to your continued success!

    Buffy

    1. Thanks Buffy. My mom was an avid reader and she made sure to tell us about Black authors (men and women) whom she enjoyed reading. It just so happened that Zane (the author I’m referring to in the post) is the only Black woman I know of who has a lucrative career writing erotica – a genre I originally thought would be my ticket to publishing fame and fortune. Funny though, after the one erotica collection I wrote, I found I’m okay at it, but it isn’t where my heart lies.

      I think as people, it’s natural to want to see examples of success that most closely resemble us and our surroundings,heritage, ethnicity, whatever. Those are your guide posts, kindred spirits. They give us that, “if they can do it, so can I” motivation. Not to mention the lessons we learn as writers, in this case, from people within our worlds who speak with our same perspective – culture instills perspective and we share it across time lines, across generations, regardless of circumstances. We then as individuals within that culture bring our unique voice and story telling style.

      Sorry, lol. Your comment sparked quite the discussion in my head; a potentially fun discussion for a guest blog event. :-).

      Anyway, thanks for stopping by; let’s keep in touch and be sure to come back and visit the blog. Continued success to you as well :-).

  4. I am nominating you for the One Lovely Blogger Award.

    You are fearless and you inspire me to follow my dreams.

    I’ve blogged about your nomination award: http://lindajoycecontemplates.wordpress.com/2012/11/15/one-lovely-blog-award-nomination/

    The Rules: One Lovely Blogger Award:
    ■Thank the blogger who nominated you.
    ■Tell 7 things about yourself.
    ■Post the One Lovely Blogger Award picture in your post.
    ■Nominate 15 other blogs for this award and notify them of their nomination.

    Go forth and inpsire others, too.

    Smiles,

    Linda Joyce

  5. First, I commend you on daring to share your story. It takes courage first and foremost to send your truth out into the blogosphere. Second, you have a fantastic way of telling your story. Having read this piece about you, I’m even more curious to get to know the writer you! I believe it’s never too late to get going on becoming a better version of yourself. Too many of us, especially persons of color, are willing to give up before the truth of who they are and what they can become is revealed. My journey to owning and telling my stories, my photography, and my music began in earnest a little more than a year ago as i made a major shift away from negativity and ‘back to the real me’. One of the things I’ve learned is following your truth and your Muse(s) might take you over rough, rocky pathways, but the gifts received along the way are worth it.

    Best of luck and life to you, Dana. I look forward to reading more of your work!

    K’lee

    1. Can’t believe I’m this late in responding to your comment. smh Anyway, THANK YOU for the kind words. I hope that as you’ve read my posts so far that you’ve not been disappointed :-). I’m a work in progress which means more books and posts are definitely on the way. Continued lessons and blessings as you travel your journey – your photography is amazing and a reflection of your stunning spirit. :-).

      1. No worries on timing of response. I appreciate people who dare to bare their souls with the intention of teaching others. There is no higher calling in my obzervashun.
        Glad you like my work. I too am learning to trust my creative spirit. The more I do, the better I tend to feel.

  6. Since you’ve lived in Britain and want to come back, I’ll start by saying that I’m an American living and blogging in Britain. It’s an amazing country, and I love it. A woman I know here also moved schools a lot–all within the UK–and because having the “wrong” accent led to her being bullied, she learned to pick up accents almost instantaneously. (Accents–marking region, nation, and class–seem to carry a huge amount of importance here.) Since she’s white and the schools were primarily white, that was enough for her to fit in, but it had a down side. She’ll sometimes echo an accent she hears, without meaning to. She did it once with the headteacher in her school, who had a distinctive–probably downright odd–accent, and who thought she was making fun of her.

    Oops.

    1. I developed that ability as well, but sadly, the only other “strong” accent I came in contact with was that of the American South. Needless to say, I can’t do any other accents now without it running ‘south’, lol.

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