Friday, March 8, 2013

First-look Friday 3/8/13

This is the book I think I'll be pitching at the huge Writer's Digest conference I'm attending in April. I can't wait - it's going to be incredible and will provide me with some really great feedback, inspiration and information for making this a full-time, fulfilling career. Exciting? Seems too mild of a word for it, really...

This is my first time making my content publicly available. I'd say be nice, but the reality of it is, nice doesn't make one a better writer. So have at it. Use the (virtual) red pen and tell me if you want to know what comes next!

Chapter One

At some point, her wine glass had emptied itself.
Emma Perkins gave it a small frown. It had been doing that all night, but she refused to be bothered by it. She just refilled it from the bottle that was sitting obediently next to her on the small table on her tiny little terrace.
She squinted at the bottle. It was mostly empty - when did that happen? She must've swigged - er, sipped - more than she thought. She couldn't bring herself to care, though. She hadn't had a night off in forever. Who was anyone to judge her for indulging a bit? Certainly no one of her acquaintance. It wasn't like she even had any friends, much less a social life. She didn't have time for any of that; her clients had enough of those to keep her busy for years. She put every ounce of herself into being a great publicist; she could smooth over any situation her clients found themselves in. And the last one was quite the situation, seeing as her biggest (and most famous) client was photographed with someone other than her equally-famous husband.
As far as Emma Perkins (one of many publicists for Price Publicity) was concerned, it didn't matter who the man in the photographs was. But as far as Emma Perkins (engaged to the man in those same photographs) was concerned, it mattered very much indeed.
Looking out over the crowded street below, she closed her eyes briefly. She loved working in New York City, but she absolutely hated living in it. She could never escape the constant noise, people, congestion. It was a never-ending barrage of busy lives, all colliding in a few square miles. But she had to live there; she had to be available to meet her clients at all times. Little things like cheating on one's husband - or fiancée - never happened during regular business hours.
She took another swig of wine as her phone rang.
"’Lo?" she answered, peering into the wine glass.
"Emma - we have a crisis."
Emma took another swallow of her wine before answering her assistant. Her tongue felt a little fuzzy. "Alicia, I'm not working tonight."
"Are you drunk?" she asked. Emma could almost see her assistant's brow furrow, as if she couldn't possibly fathom the prim-and-proper Emma Perkins getting drunk. By herself.
On a Wednesday night.
"Nah,” Emma pffted.
"Oh my God. You are drunk."
"Why are you calling me, Alicia?"
"Because you need to be in the office tomorrow morning at seven. I was checking my email --"
"You really do work too much," Emma interrupted.
"So says the pot to the kettle," she scoffed. "Listen, a hi-pri came into your inbox almost an hour ago. We've all been waiting for your response."
Emma's fuzzy brain tried to snap to attention at the mention of a high priority email, but it just wasn't working right. "A hi-pri? From Joshua?" Her boss was a nice guy. He'd understand if she didn’t answer right away. She took another large sip.
"Um, no," Alicia replied. "It's from Mr. Price."
Emma stood up quickly, choking on her wine. Putting a hand over her eyes to stop the spinning, she managed, "Mr. Price, as in, Mr. Price, the owner?"
"That's the one." She could almost see Alicia nodding. She continued, "Em, you need to stop drinking and get yourself together. Mr. Price wants to see you and Joshua in his office at 7:30am. This new client - he demanded you and you only. He’s refusing to deal with anyone else...even Mr. Price."
"Oh God."
Mr. Price hated when clients refused to deal with him directly. Especially big clients. And if they requested someone not in the top-tier of management...her life would be hell to pay if she didn't show up to that meeting. "Alicia, respond to that email. I will be there. Tell them I'm with a client right now or something."
"Just sent it," Alicia replied. "I'll meet you outside the office at 6:30."
"Okay," Emma replied with a sigh, ruefully pouring her wine into the plastic potted palm on the terrace. "I hope I'm not hungover tomorrow."
"Here's what you're going to do. Tonight, take two aspirin and drink an entire glass of water before you go to bed. Trust me on this," Alicia said knowingly. "In the morning, you're going to drink a small glass of orange juice. No coffee."
"Trust me, Emma. This is my Monday morning routine."
"I'm glad I don't live your life," Emma grumbled.
Alicia laughed. "No you aren't. But do what I say, I promise it works. Keep it simple, right?"
Emma smiled a little. That was her mantra for her clients - keep everything simple. Simple press releases, simple statements.
If only real life worked like that.
"Good night, Alicia. I'll see you in the morning."
"G'night. Say hi to Ben for me."
And just like that, Emma's smile disappeared. She hung up the phone and slumped back down in her chair. She couldn't take even one night off from her crazy career. It always came first; everyone always needed something from her. She shrugged her shoulders. She didn't need anything from anyone. She was a strong, independent career woman on her way to the top. It felt good to be on top of her game. When she threw Ben out of their tiny apartment on the Upper West Side a couple of weeks ago, it felt freeing. His stuff - which was actually not as much as she would've thought - followed him into the hall. He was screaming at her, telling her that her lack of attention forced him to look elsewhere, that her career came before he did. That she'd be sorry she kicked him out.
She blinked back her tears. It didn't matter that she didn't have any friends or family anymore. She had an important meeting to get to in the morning about some hot-shot client. She gathered up her wine bottle, glass and phone purposefully, but paused for a moment. She looked up at the sky, wishing she could see the stars; but in the city, all she ever saw was the kind of star who demanded more and more of her.
Her phone buzzed with a text from Alicia, reminding her to take the aspirin. Emma put silly thoughts about the night sky out of her mind and, heading inside the empty apartment, tried to ignore the loneliness that threatened to overwhelm her.

                As Mr. Price left the office, Emma spun around and threw her hands on her hips. “So you’re telling me that a multi-millionaire – who no one’s ever even heard of  - has simply ‘decided’ that he wants me as his personal PR rep?” she asked skeptically, her head tilted slightly and her eyebrow raised. “I know there’s quiet money all over the place. But someone who claims to be this wealthy – from a tiny little island known for its sheep and green hills? To not be known at all?” She shook her head. “It doesn’t add up.”
                Her boss shrugged. “There are plenty of eccentric folks out there,” he replied. “And he specifically requested that you be the one to assist him.”
                Emma rolled her eyes. “You mean demanded. But I still don’t get why. I’m not the top publicist here.” At Joshua’s shrug, she sighed. It was well-known that their wealthiest clients wanted what they wanted, and that was that. “So you want me to meet with him tonight, take him to dinner, see what this is all about?”
                Joshua shrugged again, signing something on his desk and barely looking up. “Well, yes. The only other information I have is that he plans to check out the auction.”
                Emma didn’t see how that was important; Christie’s was having a special auction that many of the firm’s clients were attending.  A large collection of pristine, very rare, and very expensive medieval artifacts had been placed for auction by an anonymous source. Her firm – whose clientele ranged from celebrity to American pseudo-royalty – was managing a significant number of clients who wanted to fly in without notice from overseas to view the pieces in person. She was dying to see those artifacts; she loved anything and everything that was medieval. And Irish...she felt a shiver go down her spine at the thought of the accent. She loved the Irish accent –
To distract herself, she asked, “What do we know about him? What does he do?”
                It was Joshua’s turn to laugh. “I have no idea. Probably investments; he was fuzzy on the details. But as Mr. Price just told us, he was crystal clear on the fact that he wanted you as his rep, and instruction once he gets here.”
                Emma didn’t understand why he had focused in on her, but she welcomed the distraction. “Well, I don’t have any Irish clients,” Emma finally capitulated with a small smile, picking up the very slim manila envelope labeled Aidan MacWilliam.
                “You do now.”


  1. I only wish I could keep reading! Already want to meet this Aidan MacWilliam and see what he's up to!

  2. I am already hooked! I can tell this is very carefully crafted and I love the words and style it is written in! More more!