Friday, April 15, 2011

April Feature #5

Author Melissa Wathington is my special guest today.

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,  and was a book reviewer for over 4 years at The Romance Readers Connection.  She currently has four short story ebooks published through Lady Leo Publishing and one full length novel self-published under the pseudonym, Elissa Kyle, available at iUniverse. Melissa is now writing full time, seeking representation for her work.  Her faith also plays a big part in her life and she looks forward to doing some motivational speaking to those dealing with disabilities.

I know you will enjoy reading this excerpt from her inspirational book, Sister Lost, Sister Found:

Not really noticeable in the dimness, I leaned over the railing, my fingers wrapped tightly around the cold gray steel.  I wore my black suede coat purposefully to help me blend in with the night sky.  Not that anyone was here— I was completely alone.   Sighing, I knew there was nothing left to do but this.  Otherwise, I’d have to wake up to the aching existence I called life one more day.  Giving up had never been an option until now.  I wanted the pain to stop. 
          How did I end up here?  What happened to my life?  It had been stolen from me in mere seconds and there was no going back.  Placing one foot on the rung of the railing, I leaned forward, looking down at the water.  How would it feel?  Not like my heated pool at home that was certain.  I didn’t really know how to swim, floating was the best I could do.  Water signified peace and tranquility to me so it seemed like the right place.  The specifics of the deed hadn’t seemed so important when I started out.  Again I glanced down, watching the rhythmic movement of the waves.  Not so tranquil right now.  Swallowing hard, I leaned my head against the grating of the bridge.
Wouldn’t everyone be shocked to see me now?  Krystal Johnson, the popular, successful television journalist from the nation’s top rated news magazine standing all alone on a bridge that stretched out for two full miles contemplating such an irrevocable move.  Why, they would ask.  From the outside it seemed I had everything most people wanted—fame, money, and success.  A spacious mansion, a gold Jaguar, and Versace originals pouring out of my closet and it didn’t matter.  None of it meant anything to me.  Wealth and material possessions were trappings.   Trappings I desperately wanted to get out from under.
Sure, there had been a time when “Krystal Johnson” was the best dressed, most together sister out there.  With my cocoa brown almond shaped eyes and wide smile, I used my looks to my advantage.   I knew how to command attention, whether it was with a toss of my waist length ebony hair or the swing of my generous hips as I walked.   Talk about working a room, I did it with finesse and loved every minute of it.  I often made every man in a room do a double take.
            Having developed a thick skin making the way up the ladder in my field, I possessed a tenacity and desire to succeed that pushed me farther than I ever thought I’d go in the field.  The people involved in the dramas I found myself reporting about often commented that I was sensitive to their needs and compassionate— the ability to get straight to the heart of each story is what mattered to me.   It’s those qualities that earned me the reputation of being “the journalist with a heart.”  Indeed a rarity on the news front, I worked hard to create a niche that brought the viewers in.    They followed my swift rise to stardom faithfully from the early days at KJBC handling local news to #1 anchor of the nationally syndicated Newsline Live.   The journey took less than five years and no one was more surprised about it than me. 
People stopped me on the streets all the time, surprised to see me out among them.  “Aren’t you Krystal Johnson from Live?” they asked and I’d smile, signing an autograph or two.  Of course, I went to the doctors and grocery shopping; I had to eat, didn’t I?  Being in the spotlight took some adjustment but I tried to be as understanding as I could be.  After all, this was what I opened myself up for: swimming in a public fish bowl with everyone peeking in. 
Feeling the breeze rise off of the river, I couldn’t seem to recall the last time a request from a fan made me feel proud or satisfied with the work I was doing.  Interviewing children who had murdered their parents or covering the burning of African American churches in the South left a sick feeling in my stomach and a sour taste in my mouth.  The world was turning into such a violent, cruel place that reporting on it depressed me further.  My boss suggested I take a month long vacation and my boyfriend James was pressing me to go to Hawaii with him.  But, neither idea sounded appealing to be honest.  All I wanted was to be left alone. 
It was when I was alone, the thoughts kept me company.  They haunted me until I no longer had the strength to fight them, the voices speaking to me, whispering in my ear.  I knew what I had to do.  Stopping the pain became the only thing I cared about; stopping the horrible ache of missing my sister, which I did, unbearably.
Never in my life was Karla not around.  Having been born only two minutes earlier, Karla was the ultimate big sister, a combination of protector and best friend.  An unbeatable team we were—Karla and Krystal or K&K, as our friends tagged us growing up.   Identical in looks, we often fooled people. Though there were a select few who knew us apart if they spied the tiny crescent shaped burn on the side of Karla’s face near her hairline.  When we were fourteen, I accidentally branded her with a curling iron, trying to make her hair curl like old school Mariah Carey. 
We did everything as one, from living together to working together.  Karla served as head writer and associate producer of Live and made sure the well oiled machine performed flawlessly each and every day.   Our choice to both pursue media related fields didn’t come as a surprise and we worked well side by side, with Karla writing behind the scenes and me in front of the cameras, bringing the work to life.  Like many twins, we were such a unit. We’d often finish each other’s sentences.    I was the energetic, impulsive, go-get em’ girl, while Karla was more steadfast and analytical, approaching each new experience with caution.    The bond between us was absolute and complete—completely unbreakable.  Or so we thought. 


Melissa said...

Thank you, Chicki for featuring me today. I will be around to answer any questions or comments so please ask away! : ) Be blessed!

beverly said...

Melissa. You are a great writer. Hope you have fun with Chiki and her peeps today. Keep striving.

LaShaunda said...


Congrats on the new book. How come this is the first I'm hearing of this? I can't promote you if I don't know :)

You know I have a spot for you whenever you're ready for an interview.

Melissa said...

Miss Bev, thank you so much for the compliment. You will never understand how much that means! Love you!

LaShaunda, I actually was a "new writer" on Sormag last year, I think, while I was under LLP. As soon as I have my stories back up for sale, I will contact you, promise! I'll have a release schedule up on my site sometime next week...Thanks for stopping in!

robynmonique said...

I just want to say "Congratulations" to my child hood friend Melissa for being featured on Mrs.Chicki Browns blog today. Melissa and I have been friends for over thirty years and I am so proud of her. Melissa keep persevering and I know with God's strength and guidance you will reach the ultimate goal. LOVE YOU!

Cheri Paris Edwards said...

Hi Melissa! Thanks for the invite. The excerpt is compelling. I have a soft spot for sister stories. Enjoy your tour visitors today and I hope your sales soar! ~Cheri

Melissa said...

Hey Robin, thanks for coming by! You know how much you mean to me....can't believe how long it's been since we were in St. Marks together. I miss you guys but hopefully I'll be seeing you in May!

Cheri, thanks for the encouraging words. I really appreciate your support!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by and read my excerpt. Hope you will look for the re-release of SISTER LOST, SISTER FOUND this summer! Thanks to you, Chicki for the time today! Blessings!

Rae Lori said...

What an awesome spotlight! Congrats Lis! I'm so proud of you and your accomplishments. I can't wait to see what new goodies you'll be putting out in the future! I know they will be excellent. :-)

Big huggs!