Who the Hell is Elizabeth Donald?

mug shot
Elizabeth Donald started on a twisted path to writing when her mother took away the Berenstein Bears books and gave her a box full of old Nancy Drew hardbacks. Nancy eventually gave way to Scarlett O'Hara and the heroines of Kathleen E. Woodiwiss bodice-rippers, until "Star Trek: The Next Generation" premiered in 1986 and science fiction claimed a new victim - er, fan.

Her first published work was a two-sentence essay in the Westfield (Mass.) Evening News titled "Why My Mom is the Greatest." It won first place in the paper's Mother's Day contest when Elizabeth was ten.

At age 12, she discovered Stephen King. This explains a lot.

At age 17, she wrote a novella titled "Sanctuary" for her senior English project. It was ninety pages long, had more plot holes than "Plan 9 From Outer Space" and owed a great deal to every science fiction movie in the latter half of the 20th century. She got an A and declared it finished.

College began at the University of Memphis, where she studied theater (somehow she thought that was more practical than writing) and made several attempts at playwriting and poetry that were mercifully buried at sea before they could get loose and hurt somebody. None of these appeared in print beyond workshop offprints. 

In college, however, she decided to revise "Sanctuary" into a novel, reflecting all that she had learned about storytelling and the complexities of human nature. It grew to about 120 pages. She printed it at Kinko's, gave copies to a few friends and declared it finished.

Some people are built to be writers. Others get to have long, happy lives and have lucrative, fulfilling careers. Elizabeth stopped fighting the writing bug in 1996, quit theater and transferred to the University of Tennessee at Martin to study journalism. The student newspaper had the misguided notion to hire her as op/ed editor and reporter, launching her into a newspaper career. Someday, she will forgive them.

The Scarlet Letters began at UTM, with regular columns on whatever bothered her that week, and continued on an irregular basis until 1999, when the Scarlet Letters webzine began. It went to a weekly basis in 2000, for all six loyal readers, until increased focus on fiction writing put Scarlet Letters on hiatus in 2003. Now, Elizabeth spouts off on her blog, The Literary Underworld.

Elizabeth has worked for a number of daily newspapers foolish enough to hire her for education, political, environmental and civic beat reporting. She has won several journalism awards and is famous for writing much too long. Currently, Elizabeth works for the News-Democrat, an Illinois newspaper that continues to give her a paycheck despite this fiction craziness. In 2007, the News-Democrat began publishing her pop-culture rants as a weekly column and daily blog titled CultureGeek.

<>Elizabeth's short stories have won awards and been published in magazines and ezines as diverse as The Murder Hole, Distinctive Fiction, Thirteen Stories and the former Del Rey Books workshop site as a featured selection. Most recently, a horror short story titled "Silent" appeared in the Canadian litmag Thirteen Stories and was reprinted in Aoife's Kiss Magazine in March 2007. "Wonderland," which appeared in the SETTING SUNS collection, won the Darrell Award in 2006.

In addition to the columns and articles that regularly appeared in daily newspapers from Tennessee to Illinois, Elizabeth's essays have appeared in publications as diverse as Panorama Magazine and the 2002 Special Review Assessment for New Jersey high-school students and placed in the Writer's Digest Writing Competition. She is a frequent guest lecturer on journalism ethics and writing at universities and organizations.

Elizabeth's first novel was published in 2004 by Ellora's Cave Books: NOCTURNAL URGES , an erotic vampire mystery that went on to win the 2004 Darrell Award and was a finalist for the 2004 Prism Award. The sequel, A MORE PERFECT UNION, came out in late 2005 and was a finalist for  the 2005 Darrell Award before both were transferred to Cerridwen Press. The first two books were released in a single paperback titled NOCTURNE in 2006, and ABADDON came out in 2007.

Meanwhile, New Babel Books published SETTING SUNS, an anthology of twilight terror comprised of Elizabeth's short stories. Some were written years ago, and others are new stories written just for this volume. Elizabeth continued her erotica work with TANDEM, a novella released as an ebook from Ellora's Cave  and included in the anthology SULTRY SUMMER FUN.

And there's more on the way...

What, more questions? Check out the FAQ.