Please welcome my friend and newly published author, Verdi Mathis. Verdi was one of my very first critique partners and I absolutely loved her book. She's got shining talent and I highly recommend her book. I hope you'll make her feel loved so ask her a lot of questions or leave a comment. 1) Please share with us your path to being published. (How long did you write before your first book was published? How many books did you write before the first was published? Who was your first publisher? What was the name of your first book?) My path to being published spans almost twenty years. I started writing Love's Web, when my oldest son (now 19) was in pampers. I knew nothing at all about writing. I just knew I wanted to write a book. Tell a story. So, I enrolled in some professional writing classes and got a published author as a mentor. We corresponded through snail mail. It was a self-paced course, so I zoomed through the lessons. Of course, now, there are so many free tips and pointers on the internet that a new writer wouldn't have to pay to get the instruction, but, it helped me. As for how many books I've written...I have two completed and one WIP. Love's Web is my debut novel. The next installment is Answered Prayers. It's complete, but I'm putting the finishing touches on it, before I submit it. My publishers is Cacoethes Publishing House. I found them through MySpace! 2) What are your best promotion tips for other writers? What works best for you? I don't know that I have any good tips, but I will say this, never give up! If you know that your story is good, that you've got something to say, or that you've got really interesting and compelling characters, then keep plugging away until you find your voice and a publisher. There are so many talented, yet, struggling writers out there. They've submitted their manuscript and keep getting rejections. I know. I've been there, and probably will be again. Don't give up. There is a place out there for your writing. Join writer's groups. There are a lot of free networking sites for writers: Edit Red, Writer's Cafe, The Next Big Writer, Linked In, Twitter, etc., Join them all. Network with other writers, agents, editors and publishers, and pretty soon, you'll find your niche. And, maybe even your publisher. :-) 3) What is your guiltiest pleasure(s)? Honestly? LOL For most people, it's probably a food. For me, it's T.V. I know. That's so sad. What can I say? I have no life. LOL My favorite T.V. show is Law & Order. I watch all the TNT reruns, and never miss the new episodes. Of course, I liked it better when Jesse L. Martin was on it, but, it's still pretty good. 4) What is your favorite season of the year and why? Well, I suffer from allergies in the Spring and Fall, so they're out. My favorite holiday is the fourth of July, but I hate being hot, so summer is out. So, by process of elimination, it has to be Winter. LOL I don't necessarily like being cold, but I do love snow. Making snowmen and snowball fights and cuddling up watching movies and drinking hot chocolate. Ah. Besides, there are so many more fun and naughty ways to warm up, aside from hot chocolate. wink-wink 5) What is your best advice for pre-published and newly published writers? Depending on where you are pre-publishing wise, start promoting now! Don't wait for the book to be released before you start promoting it. You have to generate a buzz for your book early. If possible, get ARC's and galleys made so you can send them out for pre-release reviews. Definitely send out press releases. Talk to your local book store owners to see about arranging book signings. Get yourself some giveaway items: bookmarks, flyers, ink pens, magnets. Anything that you can leave at bookstores, or coffee shops. I always try to leave a few ink pens behind, when I go places. You never know where they may end up. Also, get yourself a web presence. A website is nice, but they can be costly. There are many places on the web where you can establish a presence. If you can't afford a website just yet, you can get a MySpace page. I think MySpace is my favorite. I'm still trying to figure out Facebook. Excerpt of Love's Web:
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
“You’re a woman of many talents, I see.”
“Oh, that’s nothing. You should see me when I really cut loose.” She bounced up the stairs toward him. “What are you doing here? I thought you’d be halfway home by now.”
“I’m on my way. I wanted to make sure you were okay.”
“Everything’s fine,” she said, unlocking the door of her apartment building. “Or as fine as it’s going to be. Want to come up?”
“No. I don’t want to get you into any more trouble.”
“Do I look worried?”
He followed her upstairs.
“Have a seat. Can I get you something to drink? Soda? Water? Coffee?” She laughed at the expression on his face. “Don’t sweat it, Thorne. Michael and I have been on an emotional roller coaster for some time now.”
She motioned for him to sit on the black leather sofa. Dropping her shoes beside the dining room table, she entered her small kitchen, grabbing two cans of Pepsi from the refrigerator. She popped open one of the twelve-ounce cans and gulped half of it before returning to the living room and placing it on a wicker leaf on the coffee table.
She handed Thorne the other can and sat opposite him in her recliner. “I’m a mess,” she said, wiggling her toes. Her polished toenails peeked through the rips and tears in her sheer white pantyhose.
“I didn’t mean to cause you all this trouble.”
“I’m talking about my feet.” She wiggled her toes again. “My pantyhose are ripped from A to Z, and I’m sweating like a pig.” She reached for her soda can and ran it across her damp forehead.
Thorne stared at her wiggling toes in a daze.
“Is something wrong?” she asked.
He reached for a wicker leaf and placed his soda can, unopened, on top of it. Then he sat back on the sofa and stared off toward the window. Absently, he stroked his chin with his thumb and forefinger.
“Earth to Thorne?”
He looked at her. “Sorry,” he said. “My mind was somewhere else.” He glanced toward the artificial philodendron hanging from the ceiling by the window. “May I ask you something?”
“How did he get into your apartment last night?”
She licked her lips. “Michael?” She swallowed a lump. “He has keys.”
“But you broke up with him.”
He didn’t have to overstate the obvious. “Michael and I have been together for five years. I have keys to his place too.”
“But you broke up with him,” he repeated.
“What business is if of yours, anyway?”
“Why are you snapping at me?” he asked.
She bit back her blistering reply. “I apologize.” She took a long swig of soda.
“May I ask you another question?”
Her hand froze with the can to her lips. Slowly, she replaced the can on the wicker leaf. “What?”
“Are you still in love with him?”
What kind of question was that? Of course she loved Michael. They’d been through too much.
“You’ve said yourself you’ve been on an emotional roller coaster. But you’ve also been together a long time. He still has keys to your place, and you’ve got keys to his.”
Michael had been the only man in her life for five long years. She couldn’t just throw their relationship away. She pushed herself back in the recliner. “I don’t know,” she said softly. Honestly. “Why?”
He reached for her hand. His voice held her in a trance. “Ever since the day you knocked the wind out of me, I’ve been attracted to you.” The corners of his mouth twitched and quirked into a lopsided grin. “I wanted to know where I stood.” He released her hand. “Now I know. I don’t want to complicate things for you. For either of us.”
Ding. The warning bell signaled the beginning of round one in the battle of her conscience. Her heartbeat hammered in her ears. Michael. Thorne. Thorne. Michael. “Thorne,” she said, her voice wavering, her heart on her sleeve. “I . . . I am attracted to you. You’ve got to know that.”
He stood, pulling her to her feet. His dark gaze bore into hers as he cupped her face, resting his forehead against hers. She closed her eyes, reveling in the magnetism. “Where do we go from here?” he whispered.
She didn’t want to open her eyes, afraid her feelings would shine through. “I—” His warm lips silenced her response. Soft and probing, his tongue nudged her lips apart. She moved closer to him. His hands slipped from her face, down her arms, and around her waist. With reckless abandon, she wound her arms around his neck. One after another, wet kisses trailed along her jaw, her cheek, and her earlobe. Feathery kisses caressed her eyelids and the tip of her nose before recapturing her mouth. She gave herself freely to the passion of his kiss, as a cloud of confusion tugged at her heart. Ding-ding-ding-ding.
What am I doing? He kissed the hollow of her throat. Stop, you fool. Felt her beating pulse. She belongs to someone else. Nibbled her earlobe. Her warm breath puffed in his ear. His hands traveled over the curves of her hips, then he released the middle buttons of her blouse and slipped his hand inside. His fingers traced the contour of her bra. “Jenee’.” He wanted to tear off the offending garment, to roam his hands over her breasts, over her body. “What are you doing to me, woman? I just met you.”
She wasn’t free. Her heart belonged to someone else. She had to figure that out before he could lay claim to her. As much as he wanted her, he wouldn’t be second. With hesitation, he removed his hand from her breast. Nuzzling her closer, he rested his forehead against hers. “Look at me.”
Her lashes lifted obediently. Golden-flecked eyes brimming with unspent passion gazed up into his. He saw her vulnerability, and regret laced his words.
“I’m not Michael,” he said. “Don’t get us confused.”
Clutching the front of her blouse, she turned her back to him, refastening her buttons. “I know who you are. You didn’t have to say that.” Once again, she’d allowed her emotions to run rampant with him, and once again, he’d thrown it back in her face. He probably thought she was an easy lay.
Over her shoulder, she watched him walk toward the door. The rhythmic swing of his arms made her crave his embrace, and a new wave of humiliation washed over her. She squared her shoulders. “Thorne.” She turned around. “I don’t usually go around falling into any willing man’s arms.”
He flashed a half-cocked grin. “I know. You’re too stubborn.” He winked and reached for the doorknob.