Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Guest - Elysa Hendricks

Good morning all! I'm taking a break from working on my own mss and what better way than to work on this blog with Elysa Hendricks. You got to love a gal whose bio reads:  Elysa Hendricks is 5'6" tall. She has curly hair and brown eyes. She's an author, a wife, a mother and a daughter. Everything else is subject to change without notice. She's offering a giveaway so read on to see how to qualify.


When a reader asks me where I get my ideas for the books I write, I say something funny like: "Oh, I have an idea tree growing in my backyard. Once I year I harvest the ideas and store them in my attic to ripen." That usually gets a laugh. If I get a deer-in-the-headlights look, I remind them I'm a writer of fiction, a teller of tall tales. So what did they expect me to say? Stephen King told people he dug his ideas up in the backyard. Of course, he writes horror not romance, so I guess digging things up is appropriate.

The truth is I find ideas for stories everywhere. Everything I see, hear, taste, feel, or smell can spark a story idea.  A snatch of conversation overheard while standing in a grocery store checkout line, reading about a new scientific breakthrough, hearing about a love letter delivered fifty years late, the smell of barbeque on a warm summer night, walking hand-in-hand with my husband through our neighborhood, the sight of two strangers kissing on a street corner or arguing over dinner in a fancy restaurant all trigger What If in my imagination.

And I haven't even mentioned my biggest source of inspiration - novels, TV shows and movies. Though I write mostly in the many sub-genres of romance, I'm a voracious reader of all genres of fiction from romance to horror, mainstream contemporary to historical, mystery to science fiction. Every book I read adds to my knowledge and feeds my muse. Like a squirrel she gathers bits and pieces from every book: an interesting character trait, a fascinating local, a new word. Then she uses them to season the raw ideas I plucked from my tree.

My husband is a big fan of science fiction, but doesn't care for reading, so we watch a lot of TV and movies. Like with books my muse is constantly on the prowl for more ideas.

The Twilight Zone series is one of his favorites and mine. Several of my books draw their beginnings from specific episodes. STAR CRASH was partially inspired by Roddy McDowall's People Are Alike All Over episode. And poses the question, what would it be like to be the star attraction in an alien zoo? Just to stir things up a bit STAR CRASH also incorporates a bit of Star Trek and Planet of the Apes.

THE SWORD AND THE PEN grew out of a combination of  the TV show Xena The Warrior Princess meets the movie Stranger Than Fiction, with a touch of the book InkHeart as well as a dab of Keenan Wynn's Twilight Zone episode A World Of His Own. If you're a writer I highly recommend you watch this episode.

Even my shorter contemporary romances have been inspired by real life issues and events. After a visit to the HAHS - Hooved Animal Humane Society  center in northern Illinois I set my book THE BABY RACE on a horse rescue ranch. And COUNTERFEIT LOVE was inspired in part by the Drew Barrymore movie Never Been kissed as well as my son who even though he's twenty-eight still looks like a teenager.

I love to take themes and ideas from different sources mix them together then add my own unique twist to create something new, and I hope interesting and exciting for my readers.

The world is filled with stories both true and fictional waiting to be told. More stories than I could possibly write, which is why I'm glad there are so many talented authors in the world. Because even if I can't write all the stories I still want to read them.

I'd love to hear about what inspires you to write or about what you like to read.

As a special Thank You to everyone who comments I'd like to offer you a chance to read my contemporary small town romance COUNTERFEIT LOVE. Just email me at: and I'll send you a Smashwords Coupon Code to download an ecopy.


When Planet of the Apes meets Star Trek what's a girl to do?

After recon pilot Cora Daniels crash lands on an alien planet she finds herself a prisoner of the Flock: a race of birdlike humanoids. Trapped in their zoo she discovers they intend her to mate. To breed. To be part of their human herd.

She's placed in a cage with a man - a powerful, virile man, but not just any man - Alexander. Was he her lost love, who'd disappeared so long ago? Here he was: naked, glistening, a warrior trained by the Flock to fight for their amusement. How could the brilliant man, the tender lover she remember have become this animal born to dominate and destroy? Was he a pawn of the Flock or would their flight to freedom be a long-sought reunion?

Cora paced the perimeter of the room, her need for release growing with every step. Earth drug companies would pay dearly for whatever the hell aphrodisiac the Flock used on her. Only the sense that she was being watched kept her from touching herself and relieving the increasing ache.

What did it matter? At this rate, she’d ravage whatever abomination entered the room.

A subtle snick of sound and the enticing aroma of warm male flesh told her she was no longer alone. The fear that wouldn’t come to her aid before now blossomed in her. She knew that she should look up, should brace herself for an attack, but she couldn’t make herself move. When she found herself quaking like an untried virgin, anger usurped her fear. She sprang up and turned to face whatever the Flock had sent her.

Shock froze her.

“Alexander,” she whispered.


If your fantasy became reality, what would you do?

It was time. After penning ten popular sword-and-sorcery novels, Brandon Alexander Davis was ready to move on. Ready to stop hiding in his fictional world. Ready to start living a real life. There was just one problem: as he plotted the noble death of Serilda D'Lar, his fictional creation, complete with mile-long sword, skimpy leather outfit and badass attitude, appeared in his study.

Was she nothing more than a crazy fan, or had Brandon finally cracked?

This warrior woman whom he knew so well, so strong yet vulnerable, was both fantasy and reality. She was an invitation to rediscover all he once knew--that life is an incredible, magical journey and, for love, any man can be a hero.


Ten years ago a student's unfounded accusation of sexual misconduct drove Jared Blake out of his hometown, forced him to give up teaching, and destroyed his marriage. Now he's back in town to raise his daughter and return to the classroom. The last thing he expects - or needs - is an attraction to a stunningly pretty student in his algebra class, Maggie McCade.

To ferret out a computer hacker and further her dream of starting a high tech security firm of her own, twenty-nine-year-old Maggie McCade descends into high school hell by posing as a math-challenged senior. The last thing she expects - or needs - is to fall in love with her teacher.


Race Reed doesn’t want a wife, but to save his ranch he needs a baby. To gain custody of her stepsister, Claire Jensen needs a husband, but she wants love. Wants and needs are bound to clash when they run The Baby Race.

Race Reed reserves his love and attention for the abused horses he cares for on his ranch. Because his mother changed husbands as often as she changed clothes, doesn’t believe in wedded bliss. Now to save his ranch he needs the money his paternal grandmother is offering as a marriage incentive. The bizarre contest she’s set up between him and his two cousins to produce her first great-grandchild is another matter. His only option – cheat in The Baby Race.

Claire Jensen wants two things out of life, home and family. During her younger years she never questioned her father’s nomadic lifestyle as he hunted for treasure, but as she grew older she longed to put down roots. When her father remarried and gave Claire a stepmother and baby stepsister, she’d thought her prayers were answered. Instead, she took over the parental role to her stepsister as her father and stepmother continued to search the world for treasure. In every way that matters, the six-year-old is Claire’s daughter. When Claire’s father and stepmother are killed on their latest quest for treasure, without a steady job, husband or home, Claire is about to lose custody of her young stepsister. Her only option – run the The Baby Race.

-- Lynda Again
    That's it for today. Hope you all enjoyed Elysa's visit and follow the instructions for her giveaway.

    Have a Blessed Day!


Elysa said...

Hi Lynda,

Thanks so much for having here to visit today! I look forward to giving away LOTS of copies of COUNTERFEIT LOVE.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Congrats on the new novel, Elysa!
I like what you said about "digging up ideas in the garden." Ideas for novels are all around us. Living is the best resource.


Jacqueline Seewald
DEATH LEGACY--romantic suspense
TEA LEAVES AND TAROT CARDS--paranormal romance--request them at your local library!

Marcia James said...

Great blog post, Elysa! It's always fun to learn how other authors find inspiration. -- Marcia ;-)

Terry Spear said...

Elysa, I need to pick up one of those trees! :)

Elysa said...


When it flowers I'll be sure and send you some seeds. :-)

But in the meantime, I've read your books and I think you have your own "inspiration" tree already. :-)

Karen McCullough said...

I think it was Harlan Ellison who used to say he got his ideas from an "idea factory in Schenectady." I always tell people I don't have any trouble coming up with ideas. It's finding the time to plot and write the stories using those ideas that gives me trouble.

Carol Ann said...

Fun post, Elysa, and I enjoyed reading about all your books. Hmm. An idea tree...sounds good to me. Maybe I need to come up with a pat answer that will make people smile instead of the old tried and true...oh, everywhere...newspapers, tv, real life...

hotcha12 said...


bn100 said...

All these books sound good.


Anonymous said...

I like the idea of an 'idea tree' I'll have to remember that in the future.
Blurbs were interesting.
panthers.ravens@yahoo dot com