September 6, 2012

The Sword and the Pen: Elysa Hendricks

The Sword and the Pen

Elysa, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Let's talk about your book, The Sword and the Pen.

Genre: Contemporary Fantasy Romance
Buy links:
The Sword and the Pen
Star Crash
Star Raiders
Publisher: Elysa Hendricks
Cover artist: Joleene Naylor
Length: 72,000
Heat rating: PG-13

The Sword and the Pen

When his fantasy becomes reality, reclusive author Brandon Davis learns how to live.
Blurb: 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.
What are your main characters' names?
Brandon Alexander Davis
Serilda D'Lar
Brandon - 35
Serilda - 30
Brandon - fantasy novelist
Serilda - rebel warrior


At first Brandon thought the shriek was an electronic whine that came from his computer. Panic threatened. When was the last time he'd backed up his files? It had been during that bad electrical storm three months ago when he'd almost lost everything, the same time his writing troubles began. Fortunately the freak power surge from a lightning strike only fried his monitor; his CPU hadn't been harmed. He should have learned from the experience, but writer's block had driven him past rational thought. The idea of losing what little work he'd managed to accomplish these last few weeks made him choke in fear. He scrambled to hit Save.
"Hell, no! Roark doesn't deserve a chance to defend himself. And even if he did, I'm not stupid enough to give him the opportunity to skewer me. That's something Donoval the Honorable would do."
At the sound of the familiar yet condemning voice behind him, Brandon whirled. He slipped off his chair and landed hard on his tailbone. Pain shot up his spine and blurred his vision.
"What? How did you get in here? And who the hell are you?" He stared up at the woman and gulped. The sword in her hand pointed straight at his heart.
"You know damned well who I am."
The woman didn't sound happy-- and didn't look sane. She loomed over him. Her attire, a short, tight leather skirt, a leather bra, and knee-high boots left a lot of skin exposed to his view. The smell of leather, fresh air and warm woman teased his nostrils.
"What are you?" She poked him in the arm with the tip of her sword.
"Ow!" He scooted back, nearly under his desk.
"Warrior? Priest? Sorcerer?" She crouched down to rest on her heels, and stared at him. The position put her full breasts nearly in his face. "Definitely not a warrior." She pinched his arm. "You have muscle, but not enough to wield a sword in battle. No courage, either. Priest? Unlikely. They don't fear the sword. Only their god makes them cower. Wizard? Perhaps, but not one of any power, or else I'd be at your feet. So…you're the wizard's assistant most likely." As if satisfied with her conclusion, she rose to her feet.
"Get up. I'll not harm you. I wish to speak to your master. He and I have business to discuss."
Brandon eyed the woman warily. Though her speech and clothing were odd, she sounded and looked extremely familiar. Why? Was she a crazy fan he'd somehow communicated with before?
To be honest, she bore a striking resemblance to Serilda, if shorter. She was five feet seven or eight inches, rather than six feet, and she was less buxom and had softer features than the character he'd ultimately developed. Actually, this woman was more like how he'd envisioned Serilda originally, when he'd introduced her in Donoval's second book: an extremely feminine woman forced to survive in a harsh world by denying her nature. Hillary had convinced him that in her own books Serilda needed to be stronger and have more sex appeal, hence the height and the bigger chest. The change hadn't sat well with him, but the public-- men and women-- loved her, and the books had hit all the bestseller lists. As a result, he had a thriving series, a pending movie deal and cash in his once empty bank account. Success was hard to argue with.
Despite the trampy clothing and hard scowl, she was attractive. Short reddish blonde curls framed an elfin face. Dark lashes fringed large, cat-like green eyes. Sun-kissed skin covered high cheekbones, and her lips, though currently set in a hard line, were full and red.
"I said get up!" She grabbed his arm and hauled him to his feet.
He was surprised that, when he stood, he topped her by a good six inches and probably outweighed her by sixty pounds. That size difference gave him a bit of confidence, but the nasty-looking sword she held with such self-assurance negated it. One could never trust the actions of a crazy person.
"Who are you?" She looked him up and down then seemed to dismiss him.
He pulled himself to his full height and stared down at her. "Brandon Alexander Davis. This is my home."
Star Raiders
Unimpressed, she laughed. "Brandon? What kind of name is that? Bran is what I eat to ease my bowels."
Heat crept up Brandon's neck. Being compared to a laxative made him angry, which helped push fear away. "Who the hell are you? And what are you doing here in that ridiculous costume?"
"Who I am and" -- she paused, and two spots of color stained her cheeks-- "what I wear is a matter I will discuss with your master. Where is he? Has he run to hide from me? It will do him no good. I'm determined to find him and solve this."
"I don't have a master. I live here alone." Damn! Why had he told her that? He eased back from the lunatic toward the phone. Could he hit speed dial for 911 before she skewered him? Then what? Even if he succeeded, it would take the police a good fifteen to twenty minutes to reach his isolated home. Could he wrest the sword away from her before then?
His size would be an advantage, but even standing at ease, the woman radiated strength and skill. The odds seemed against him. To win he'd have to hit her-- hard-- and he doubted he could bring himself to do so. The lessons of chivalry his grandmother had taught were too deeply ingrained. In that way, he and Donoval were of one mind. No matter how greatly provoked, men didn't hit women.
Although, the thought of wrestling with this woman was appealing.
"No master? Do not lie to me." The lunatic's fingers flexed around the hilt of her sword.
"Why would I lie?" he snapped. "It's obvious your beef is with someone else. If I knew who and where he was, why would I protect him?"
"Because you're a coward. A powerful sorcerer inspires fear if not loyalty in his minions. But you should fear me more than him," she warned.
"There is no him! I'm the only one here. And I'm not a coward." Being called one triggered something inside him. Having phobias about crowds, insects and small furry animals didn't make him a coward. Not really.
She gave him a thoughtful look. "Is it possible? Are you the one?"
"The one what?"
She ignored his question and studied him. Her intense perusal made him squirm.
"Why didn't I see the resemblance?" she murmured.
"What resemblance?" He didn't like the turn of this conversation. Come to think of it, he hadn't liked the original direction, either.
"To Donoval. You are him-- in form at least." A bit of fear crossed her features, though anger quickly erased it. "I'm loath to believe it, but you are the wizard. Did you construct me so you could play God in my world? Does it give you pleasure to toy with me?"
"What the hell are you talking about? Play God? I'm just a writer trying to make a living. I write stories for people to read and enjoy. It's just entertainment."


What is the most important thing you do for your career now, as compared to when you first started writing?
I've been writing for over twenty years (yes, I started when I was merely a babe in arms) and I've watched the publishing industry change and grow in directions I never thought possible, at speeds I couldn't imagine. Everything about the industry is different except for the most important aspect - the writing. The most important thing I did when I started my career is the same as what I do now - I write. In the end, nothing I do matters if I haven't written the story.
What websites do you visit daily?
I don't visit many websites, but I do spend more time than I should on Facebook and reading email. I do enjoy the Romance Lives Forever blog. I love reading the excerpts and interviews, but I have to limit myself. My TBR pile is already at dangerous levels and I'm so far behind I'll be dead years before I finish reading them all.
What do you enjoy most about life?
I like people. Though I'm content to spend time with myself and my imaginary friends, I love being around other people - friends and family. I think my theme song should be "I Like Life" from the movie Scrooge.
If you could give the younger version of yourself advice what would it be?
Don't be so afraid of making a mistake, of writing less than perfect prose. Take more chances. Experiment. Write more. And eat more chocolate.
Do you have a muse? Describe this person, please.
My muse lives in the attic of my mind. She finds the basement much too dark and damp for her refined tastes. She's a bit flighty little girl, a bit cranky old woman and full of energy and enthusiasm. She has the attention span of a goldfish - about 3 seconds - and is easily distracted by shiny objects. She loves to laugh and play. When I'm writing she sits on my shoulder and whispers ideas in my ear. She changes her appearance to suit her mood. One day she's a fairy, the next a vampire. Sometimes she's a cat, sometimes she's a cowboy. She and my inner critic are arch enemies. They can't be in the same room at the same time without getting into a cat fight.
What does "balance" mean to you as a writer?
Balance? I'm not sure what that is. I don't have enough coordination either physically or mentally to be "balanced." I can't ride a bicycle or balance my life. I do set priorities. Sometimes family, friends and home life are on top, other times I let my writing life take precedence. But I've never been able to find a way to balance the teeter-totter of the two.
Do things your family or friends do ever end up in a book?
Everything I've ever heard, seen, done, or experienced eventually finds its way into my writing in one form or another. I don't think I've ever taken a friend or family member and morphed them into a character in one of my books, but bits and pieces of them show up.
What are some jobs you've done before (or while) you were a writer?
Star Crash
Let's see I was a commercial casualty insurance underwriter. I worked in various retail stores. I ran a cleaning service. I had a home daycare centers. My husband and I owned and operated a video store and did home delivery long before Netflix thought of it. And I still work part time for a wholesale text book company and go out at the end of the college terms to buy back used text books from the students.
What kind of books do you read when taking a break from your own writing?
I read just about everything from historicals to futuristics, from horror to inspirational, YA to mainstream. Though I have a soft spot for fantasy romance, if it's a good story I don't discriminate by genre.
What do you think is the future of epublishing?
The ebook revolution has been a long time coming. My book first book, a western historical romance Rawhide Surrender was published in 1999 by one of the first epublishers - Hard Shell Word Factory. Back then ebooks were a tough sell. eBook readers were few and far between, expensive, and didn't have the capacity or ease of use of the newer versions. I still have my old Rocket Book ereader. I've since reclaimed my rights to Rawhide Surrender and have re-released the book as Her Wild Texas Heart.
I think epublishing is one of the best things to happen for authors and for readers. The opportunities are both exciting and scary. I received a Kindle Touch for Christmas and love the ease of purchasing books and having them at my fingertips. I'm not about to give up on print, but I like having both options.
Imagine you get to go on a dream vacation, but you have only one hour to pack and leave, and it starts as soon as you finish this interview. What will you take with you and where will you go?
Since I'm going to somewhere warm with sandy beaches and crystal clear water, I'll be packing my swimsuit and sandals and sunscreen. Other than that I'll need my Kindle, laptop and toothbrush. Oh, and I'd take my hubby.
What is your favorite holiday and why?
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love the food, the getting together with family and friends without the pressure of gift giving. It's a time to relax and reflect on all the good things in your lives.
Where were you at midnight, on December 31st when the new century started?
My hubby is an IT guy for a major corporation, so on 12-31-99 we along with all the other computer guys were having a party at the company office. The executives wanted to be sure Y2K2 didn't crash their systems, so all the IT people had to come in to work. Hubby knew nothing bad was going to happen, because he and the other guys had already checked everything out and fixed the problem. Still, the company brought in pizza and we had an impromptu New Year's Eve party. Not terribly exciting, but my motto is "real" life has always been: Boring is good. Excitement is vastly overrated.
What do you like to do when you're bored?
Bored? What's that? I won't say I never get bored, but it happens so rarely that I can't recall the last time. Even if I don't have anything to do, a book to read, a movie or TV show to watch, the characters who live in my head keep me well entertained. Sometimes I wish I could shut them up and let me be bored for a few minutes.
If your life became a movie, who would you want to play you?
You mean my life isn't already a movie? Hmm, Sandra Bullock comes to mind. Anyone but Kristen Stewart. Maybe Jack Black.
If you were a color, what color would you be?
Since my "real" life is totally vanilla, bland, boring I guess my color would be a warm, creamy beige. My fantasy life, however, is a phantasmagoria of colors - pinks, blues, reds, greens, purples and oranges - neon, of course.

Please Fill in the Blanks

I love pizza with an olive oil base, feta cheese and sundried tomatoes.
I'm always ready for visiting with friends and family.
When I'm alone, I talk to my fictional characters.
You'd never be able to tell, but I'm a really boring person.
If I had a halo it would be held up by my horns.
If I could fly I'd spend all my time in the sky watching the world.
I can never ride a motorcycle because I have absolutely no sense of balance or physical coordination.

My Current Books

Star Raiders
Star Crash
The Sword and the Pen
This Heart For Hire
Her Wild Texas Heart
The Baby Race
Counterfeit Love

Books Coming Soon

Tango In Paradise
Dark Star Dawning
The Nine Lives of Thomas Cash Riley
Elysa Hendricks

Find Me Here



  1. Thanks so much for having me here to visit today. I just re-read my post and found myself cringing at the typos I made. Forgive me. I edit my books much more carefully. :-)

  2. Reading the Sword and the Pen now! Super read!!

  3. Deborah,

    Thanks so much. I'm so pleased you're enjoying the story.

  4. Elysa, I rarely change things in an interview unless I know for certain it's wrong -- but let me know of anything you want changed and I'll fix it. ^_^

  5. Deborah, how cool that you were able to be here while reading the book. Thanks for commenting.

  6. The excerpt from the Sword and the Pen was very interesting! Rather than inventing my character into her "real life world." I felt I was told what to write when I did "Immortal Relations." Will I ever meet my "dream" women? I guess only time will tell.

  7. Great interview, Elysa and Kayelle!

    Love the premise for The Sword and the Pen. Can't wait to read it!

  8. Thank you Vamp Writer. You should come do a character interview with us!

    Lynda, sincere thanks. ^_^ Elysa did a great job.

  9. And no one mentioned the great cover! As always you are such an entertains "boring" person!

  10. Thanks Carol Ann! I do love the cover and I'm glad you don't find my writing boring. :-)

  11. Carol Ann, I'm glad you mentioned the cover. I was going to ask about that.

  12. Kayelle,

    What did you want to know about the cover?

  13. I'd like to know your technique for the "blurred" portions around his arms and what program you use. I have Photoshop, and would like to be able to do something like that. I'm sure it's not really a blur -- but I can't figure it out and you know how it is when you can't deduce something. LOL

  14. Though I found the photo, the cover was created by Joleene Naylor, so you'd have to ask her how she managed the effects. :-)Joleene is super nice. I'm sure if you asked she'd explain the process.

  15. You? A boring person, Elysa? I don't believe it for a second!

  16. Very cool! I love how epublishing is giving more writers a voice. It's great to network with others through blogs and websites. I've found the writing community incredibly helpful and supportive. And of course the in-person encounters with RWA :)

  17. Sandra Lea Rice9/07/2012 11:14 AM

    I really enjoyed reading the section from The Sword and The Pen and your answers to the questions. Elysa, no one could ever call you boring. No, never.

  18. I don't mind being considered boring as long as my writing isn't. :-) For "real" life my motto is: Boring is good. Excitement is vastly overrated.

  19. Stephsco - you said it! I hung out with writing friends at DragonCon recently. It was wonderful. I talk to folks all day online. It's good to have friends in this community -- wherever you find them.

    Sandra Lea - I agree. She's sure livened up RLF for the past couple of days!

    How true, Elysa. "Adventure is what you wish you were having when you're safe at home," isn't that the old saying? It holds true for excitement too I bet. ^_^

  20. Enjoyed the interview, Elysa. Particularly your perspective on e-books. I had no idea they even existed in the 1990s.

  21. Liane,

    E-books have been around a lot longer than people believe. I e-published with Hard Shell Word Factory back in 1999, but they'd been in business since the early to mid-90's. Back then e-readers weren't easily available and they were expensive. Generally e-books had to be read on your computer, which is something most people don't want to do. It was a really hard sell. I had to print up a pamphlet explaining what an e-book was and how to read it. :-)

    I'm totally loving the e-book revolution. The piracy that comes along with it - not so much. :-)


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