Melissa Wathington has had over 20 years in the writing industry. A college graduate with both an AA and BA in Journalism, she has worked as layout editor and content editor for three college newspapers, as well as two county papers. Soap Opera Digest and Soap Opera Weekly have featured her writing and she's done numerous freelance editing jobs. She served as editor in chief for two national magazines, Street and Ultimate Black Hair, was a book reviewer for over 4 years at The Romance Readers Connection and has had numerous short stories and two books self-published under the pseudonym, Elissa Scott Kyle.
In 2007, Melissa, along with partner and fellow author Rae Lori opened up Lavender Isis Publishing, a print and e-book publisher which served over 20 authors. Some of their biggest sellers included "A Wild Love" by Rose Paisley, "The Red Storm" by Zinnia Hope and "Love to Behold" by Sammie Ward. Although they closed their doors in summer of 2008, the company is still well known and highly respected in the e-publishing community.
Melissa is now writing full time, seeking representation for her work. She does freelance editing, nanny duties and runs the Homebound Hugs website, a site for homebound kids. Her faith also plays a big part in her life and she looks forward to doing some motivational speaking to those dealing with disabilities.
How did you start out your writing career?
I’ve been writing since I was in elementary school. My biggest passion has been books since I learned how to read so I think it was a natural progression to go from reading them to writing them.
What did you learn while writing these books?
These six short stories cover such a large range of topis and were written over a span of time so, it’s hard to pinpint. But, what they showed me, and what I hope other people get from them, is that love is the most important thing we have in our lives and we need to honor and protect that love. And show it. Not enough people show how much they care, and then lose their opportunity. Always make love your first priority.
What did you hope to accomplish with these books?
These stories will be available in one book, in an anthology this November (Love Bytes). I really wanted people to get an idea of my heart and what matters to me, with these stories. I hoped I accomplished that and I really hope readers look for my future works because they liked what they read.
Which character did you have the most fun writing about?
Out of all of my short stories, I’d have to say my favorite character(s) are Krystal from Sister Lost, Sister Found and Jordan from The Heart Never Lies. Krystal had a lot of heart and I really felt for her. That story is the hardest for me to read now because I have nieces who are twins and I can’t think of one without the other. They hadn’t been born yet when I wrote the story, oddly enough. And Jordan tickles me. He’s very persistant and very smooth. He spoke to me a lot and I found him interesting. If I hadn’t written it from her point of view, you’d know a lot more about his personality....maybe I should write a sequel from his viewpoint!
What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
The amount of work that goes into the “after” process. Marketing is hard work and you really have to know what you’re doing to get maximum exposure. Being self published, this step is crucial because it could mean the difference of having 10 sales or 1000. It’s also not an easy thing for me to talk about myself and I hate to seem like I’m “selling” all the time. That’s been one of the most difficult parts about this career for me.
What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?
I love the beginning stages of developing a story, when an idea blossoms into a full arc and characters start taking shape. That’s the most exciting for me. The part I hate the most is crafting the end. Because I was brought up on soap operas, I love ongoing stories; it’s very hard for me to properly end a story. I usually end up leaving a few open doors so if I have more to write later, I can.
What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?
Write as often as you can and finish your projects before moving onto the next. This piece of advice would’ve been so helpful and I might not have the dozen or so unfinished short stories sitting on my computer. LOL
Don’t try to achieve perfection. Write your best and go from there. Writing is an ongoing process, a trade you continually grow in. The more you read, the better you write—at least that’s what I believe and so, the learning never really ends.
Take bold steps to achieve your dreams. You’ll never achieve any of your dreams if you don’t at least try. And by trying, you have to start somewhere. I wish I hadn’t let fear get the best of me. There are definitely some things I would’ve done earlier, like spending more time on my craft and submitting my manuscript to a few NY publishers. However, it’s never too late so I’m making my moves now.
Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?
DON’T expect to become a bestselling author overnight, if at all. The vast number of people out there who believe they’ve written the next NY Times Bestseller threatens to swamp the market with books that are poorly constructed and poorly written. Due to the new avenues opening up for writers in self publishing with Kindle and Barnes & Noble, everyone and their mama thinks they can write a book. Therefore, it makes it much harder for people to find quality writing from real writers—those who live and breathe writing. Not all self published authors will be Amanda Hocking.
DO love writing. Be all about the craft and make sure it’s your passion. You have to WANT to write more than anything else to be really successful because being a writer is a lot of work. Work that requires skill. Everyone has a voice but not everyone knows how to use it.
What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
I think most non-writers think writing a book is equivalent to the kind of writing you did while in school. They believe it’s easy and doesn’t take much skill. I also think many non-writers don’t understand the amount of time and work that goes into being a writer. When someone hears an author writes full time, they usually believe that person is home all day, watching tv, relaxing, and having fun while spending maybe a few hours writing. They don’t understand the research, work, or amount of sweat it takes to be a full time writer. It is not an easy job, don’t be fooled.
If you could be a character from any book you've read, who would you be?
I used to want to be Jo from Little Women because she was so strong and confident. And she fell in love with that dashing professor. : ) But, now I think I would either choose to be any one of the ladies who end up with a Westmoreland man in Brenda Jackson's series (because they are ALL seriously HOT!) or I'd be Bernadine Brown from Beverly Jenkins' Blessings series because she is helping to foster children and do all kinds of inspirational things with the blessings God gave her.
When you're not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?
I spend way too much time with social media like Facebook and Twitter. I am a big fan of Korean pop music, as well as music in general, so I always have it on. I spend a lot of time with my teenage nieces and I like designing websites.
What do you do to interact with your readers?
I love to hear from my readers! Besides email, and my site, where I always reply to comments and questions, I also have a FB page, called The Story Corner with author Melissa Wathington. I try to maintain communication with my readers; I’ve even done a few chats. But, I would like them to know I am running a special Summer Lovin’ Giveaway, where the prizes are a Target gift card, personalized patriotic t-shirt and a gift certificate to the book vendor of their choice. For more details, visit http://wix.com/melissaw/summerlovin.
Our theme for this month is FREELANCING. What type of freelancing have you done and any advice for someone interested in breaking into freelancing?
I consider myself a freelance writer and most of the writing I’ve done over the past 8 years I’ve considered “freelancing”. I wrote book reviews for a few years and I’ve also done a few articles for different sites. You have to have a good grip on time and your schedule to be a freelancer. I’m not the world’s most organized person but I can stay on schedule if I make one. It’s important to set realistic goals and constantly work at them. Staying on task is my hardest job because I have so much going on healthwise but I do my best. Start with smaller jobs before you try to conquer a big one. It will help grow your confidence and give you a good reputation. There are all kinds of sites that promote freelancing opportunities but beware of any sites that may ask you for money before they will pay you. That’s never a good sign.
Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?
I know I love my family and I’d do anything for them. And I live to honor God and spread His message. Those two things I know for sure.
Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?
My next release is a full length novella called Prescription For Love, about two people struggling to find peace in their lives and how their burgeoning relationship helps and/or hurts them in finding that peace. Publication date is set for October 2011. For good measure, here’s an excerpt!
"Oh, I came in to tell you guys we have a car accident victim being brought in. Male, mid to late 20's, semi-conscious. ETA 3 minutes"
Stacey looked over at Mario. "Now we have excitement, when we're supposed to go home in a half-hour!"
Quickly rising, they followed Judy out of the room, Stacey getting extra things out of the storage room, while Mario paged the doctor on call. They were ready and waiting when the loud scream of the ambulance siren announced its arrival. The automatic doors swung open, the wind blew papers from the desk and leaves followed. The attendants rushed in, pushing the gurney carrying the large frame of the patient. Stacey was momentarily stunned by the mere physical presence of the stranger, unconscious or not. He barely fit on the gurney, his feet dangling off the end and his wide shoulders outsized the narrow berth of the mattress. The attendants said they had been unable to find any identification on his person. They assumed it was somewhere in the wreckage of his Jeep.
Everyone quickly jumped into action as they moved him from the gurney to a flat bed, hooked him up to an IV, and made a quick survey of his vitals. The man's white button-down shirt was ripped and torn, and streaked with red. Stacey worked around everyone else, cutting the shirt from his body, silently assessing the man. The first most important task was to find the origin of bleeding. His tanned skin appeared slightly ashen from the trauma. He was at least six foot two, if not taller, weighing over two hundred pounds and Stacey found it difficult working around his frame to remove the tattered clothing.
His face compelled her gaze, as she took in the firm curve of his lips and the strong contours of his face, making his features seem as if they had been carved from stone. He wasn't conventionally handsome, but there was a sense of strength and virility that exuded, causing Stacey to want to continue looking. But she couldn't. She had to get the clothes off of him.
A jolt of warmth shot through her as her hand brushed the firmness of his stomach and she was appalled at her response. Glancing quickly at his face, she found his eyes still closed and feeling foolish, continued her work. She had a job to do so she had to stay focused. She didn't have the time to admire the overwhelming masculinity of the man. She finally found the source of the bleeding on his back and notified the doctor. It appeared some jagged metal had ripped into his skin, leaving a wound that, despite not looking deep, was bleeding steadily. Grabbing some sterile gauze, she pressed it firmly to staunch the blood flow. The stranger unexpectedly stirred, grimacing with pain.
"Sshh…it's okay," Stacey whispered, trying to calm him. For some reason, she felt a strange pull to this man and wanted to do everything she could to make him comfortable.
”Judy, page Dr. Carpenter. He needs a surgeon. Now!" ordered Dr. Crinson, the attending physician on call. Stacey had worked alongside him before and knew him as a competent man who was finishing up his residency in Emergency medicine. His talent in assessing situations quickly had earned him a good reputation and he realized this patient was in critical condition and needed to be stabilized immediately. "We need to type and cross him, get a SMA7, CBC, urinalysis and a dip."
Performing a quick abdominal exam, he found a tender spot on the lower left abdomen.
"We're also going to need an APG, DPL, and x-rays of the chest and extremities. I don't like the sound of his breathing. Come on, move it! "
The movement in the room seemed frantic yet controlled. Everyone ran around, doing what they could to help keep the patient stable as Stacey continued to keep pressure on his wound. Both Mario and Judy offered to switch places with her but Stacey declined, unwilling to leave his side. Sometimes she had a hard time separating her emotions from her work but it was that compassion and caring which helped make her one of the head nurses at University General.
Suddenly the stranger's eyes opened and he looked directly at Stacey. His searing, desperate gaze held her immobile in a state of surprise, her breathing suddenly erratic. She couldn’t fathom what was going on in his mind as his coffee colored eyes continued to fixate on her so intensely. He appeared disoriented, slightly frowning and confused but when she finally found her voice to speak, his gaze softened and his lips turned up slightly.
"Hey, I'm glad to see you're awake. Do you know where you are?" she asked softly.
They could not be sure how much trauma he sustained to his head in the crash. Memory loss was common and she needed to judge how much he remembered.
He frowned slightly, and then his eyes widened as he tried to answer her but couldn’t. Stacey sensed his distress and patted his arm in an effort to keep him calm.
"Don't worry about it. You're in a hospital and receiving the best care you could get. Can you tell me your name?" She was relieved when he shook his head in the affirmative.
"Jarrod..." The voice was deep and raspy, sending chills down her spine.
"Jarrod....King..." He paused, trying to take a breath when his eyes suddenly rolled up in the back of his head and he passed out. Stacey went cold as his blood pressure began to fall.
Before she knew it, they were wheeling him away. He needed surgery immediately to repair the internal injuries he suffered, but she felt surprisingly bereft and emotionally drained. Stacey let Judy know the patient's name so his family could be contacted and began cleaning up the cubicle, trying to calm her racing pulse. Looking over at the clock, she saw it was just a quarter to twelve. Only fifteen minutes had passed—funny, it seemed like much longer.
How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
Readers can contact me through email- firstname.lastname@example.org
My website — http://melissawathington.net/
My FB page — http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Story-Corner-with-author-Melissa-Wathington/189255451168
MySpace — (Which is going to be deleted soon...) http://www.myspace.com/melissasmagicalportal
A KNIGHT’S ILLUSION
After facing the loss of her parents and her first love, Lisette Adams meets Dr. William Conover and finally feels as if her life is turning around. When devastating secrets come out, she must find the courage to find where her heart really belongs.
SHADOW OF LOVE
Danae Collins never thought "happily ever after" would happen for her, but she couldn't deny God's saving grace and his ability to turn all her challenges into triumphs. Now, she's head over heels in love and confident in her future as an author and Gabe Lewis' wife. However, joy turns to heartbreak when someone from Gabe's past surfaces with shocking revelations. Will Danae's strong faith and Gabe's devotion to her be enough to hold them together or will their future together be destroyed?
SISTER LOST, SISTER FOUND
The loss of a sibling is hard to take but never more so when it's your twin. After losing her sister in a tragic car accident, Krystal Johnson finds herself heartbroken and on the edge of making an impossible, irreversible decision. Life without Karla doesn’t seem to be worth living until a compassionate stranger reminds Krystal of the true importance of faith and family.
THE RIGHT CHOICE
Having to stroll down memory lane was not on Jessica Allen's to do list when she attended Alexander's going away bash. Will run in with her ex cause her to shut down permanently or can she finally move on to a new future? He's waiting to see if she makes the right choice....
COMING IN AUGUST
MIRACLE OF THE SEASON
In the midst of getting ready for a busy holiday season with a planned family reunion, Sheryl Williams becomes concerned over daughter Briana’s mood swings. Ever since baby James was adopted into the family, Briana’s been plagued with bad dreams, and Sheryl - convinced it has to do with Briana’s history in foster care - is determined to find out what happened. However, when the truth is finally uncovered, will it give the Williams’ the peace they are looking for or destroy their family for good?
THE HEART NEVER LIES
As an unlikely couple crosses over from friendship to love, they find their true destiny Monique Wurlin should’ve been used to the unexpected happening in her life but the unbelievably hot kiss between her and her best friend Jordan rocked her world. Could she ever steer their friendship back to where it was or was it time to trust her heart?
All stories are/will be available at Amazon Kindle, B&N, and Apple and will be available through Kobo. You can also get different formats (like PDF or RTF) at Smashwords.
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