For the moment, I am between assignments on @Upwork.
I have had several people tell me they would like me to work for them, but nobody has made me an any genuine offer of work.
One of the people works for http://auratoday.com/?page_id=4. Strange as it may be, this offer came from my recent work as a #romance #writer. This is a genre I'd never considered writing until this month.
This will give me the time to attempt to catch up on my backlog of stories; I haven't decided what I'll do with them yet. I may try to sell some as ghosting ideas, or I may try to boost my rep as a writer by selling in my name.
The picture on the post is by my friend Evelyn Steward, Evelyn is a very good writer in her own style.
This is a sample of a romance I'm writing at the moment.
Anne Oliver sat at her desk, looking out from the office window she could view the skyscrapers in Medville. Being a best-selling historical fiction writer gave her some privileges in her career, but she knew you can't buy happiness. Anne had her share of detractors and critics in her early years and those knocks still bore the scars on her confidence.
Fortune had favored Anne, at the point of giving up writing, she entered one final writing contest out of desperation. The prize was a prestigious contract with a top publishing house, although she'd never written historical fiction before - she gained her reputation writing Gothic Romances - she decided with nothing to lose to have a go. Much to her surprise, although she didn't win the contest, her entry so impressed the judges they offered her a contract.
Anne's best friend is her agent, Paula Clark. Paula got offered the job of a publicist at a new firm in Medville and was on the lookout for new writers to impress her bosses. Being a fan of Anne's writing, Paula asked Anne if she would like to be her client for the firm.
Not sure what to make of the newcomer to the scene, the bosses at MedHis Press were a little dubious about Paula's choice of her friend as a client, but they decided to give Anne the chance to prove herself, and they never looked back, as her stature grew so did the firm. Now MedHis is one of the most famous publishers in Medville.
Anne has a deluxe apartment in one of the richest areas of the city, filled with her awards and cases full of her books but her heart was not in the city. She had been brought up in Medville, but she longed for the days when her family visited their lodge in the mountains. Her career meant she had little time for such luxuries as time off, and being a writer, even if she took the occasional day off work she was still thinking of story lines. Often, Anne wondered what it would be like to be able to relax her mind and just enjoy life.
From her office, Anne could see all the neon signs flashing their endless messages for merchandise, and the latest shows and films. The high life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be she thought, I spend my days writing about the lives and loves of my readers heroes and heroines, and rarely get the opportunity to enjoy the gains of my work. Perhaps, after the next release, I’ll take a week off to visit the lodge.
As if to remind her of her obligation to the reality of life, the phone on the desk rang, she picked the receiver up and replied, “Anne Oliver, how may I help you?”
The voice on the other end was the familiar voice of her friend, Paula, “Hi, Anne, how are you fixed for dinner tonight?”
Anne thought for a while and checked her diary. Paula usually kept track of Anne's meetings, but sometimes Anne booked one, or two, without telling her friend. It was her way of having a little freedom, and Paula accepted the way Anne did things. Anne took a glance at her calendar, and then said, "I'm free tonight, Paula, what's on your mind?"
Paula flicked through the book of addresses in front of her, and then replied, “I was thinking we could have a drink and a meal to discuss a new proposal that was put to me, to put to you.”
Anne glanced at the rooftops of the buildings in her view, lost in thought for a minute, and then replied, "Yeah, I'm okay with that idea. Shall we say 8:00 at the Freemont Parlour Lounge."
Paula gently smiled, and replied, "8:00 it is.
Anne sighed, "I know, Paula, I thought, this time, I might be able to take some time off; I feel jaded, and I worry that my tiredness will affect my writing, and the sales will fall drastically. I don't want to disappoint my readers."
Paula giggled, and then said, “Anne, have you ever let the readers down?”
Anne thought for a moment, and the replied, “Not as far as I can recall, but there’s always a first time, Paula.”
Paula smoothed her skirt, and replied, "I can tell you, your books are selling better than ever, we have mass pre-orders for your next book, and only you know when it will be out. I know you like to keep things close to your chest, but a little warning would be nice. That way we can book some promotional tours to coincide with the launch before you say it - I know you don't like signings, Anne. So, we're okay for tonight, 8:00 at the Freemont, be there, or be square," Paula quipped as she put the phone in her office down.
Anne looked at her watch and thought It’s 11:00, I could do with a coffee break, my back hurts, and the walk to the canteen will ease the pain. She put the phone down and walked across to the door to the outer office.
As she opened the door, her secretary, June Prince, handed her a file, and asked, “Are you going to be out for long, you have an 11:20 appointment with John Clark, Miss Oliver?”
Anne smiled and then replied, "No, Janet, I'm only going to get a coffee in the canteen. I'll be back in ten minutes." Anne took the file from her secretary and walked to the elevator. Her office at MedHis was plush, but she had always been a simple girl at heart. Her heart was never fully in the cold world of industry, and commerce. She longed for peace and the calm of her family's lodge in the mountains. There was no doubt in her mind, signing the contract five years ago was the best choice she'd made, but she still thought Is this what I have become? Has money become so important that I've lost my personality?
She was still thinking about the problem when the doors opened, and in walked Del Lambert, head of Historical Fiction for MedHis. "Hey, Anne, how is the new book coming?" he asked as she looked at her folder.
Anne’s mind blanked for a moment, before she replied, “Hi, Del, I think the book is coming on well, but I am not sure of my plot.”
He smiled, as he pushed the button to the floor, he was going to, and then replied, "With your style, Anne, I'm sure you'll be onto another winner. I don't know how you writers think up your plots, but I'm glad you're on our team."
She leant on the back of the carriage, and then commented, "Thinking up the plot is the easy part, the problem comes when I try to transfer my thoughts to words on a laptop. I am not doing well this week. I think I'll take few days off after our staff meeting tomorrow, Del."
The carriage slowed, and came to a stop, as the doors opened, Del remarked, "I can't say I blame you, Anne. You've been working hard for a long time, and a rest will do you good."
The elevator reached the canteen, and Anne got out. Behind her, the soft swish of the door and the flashing light indicated the elevator was continuing its never-ending routine, just like me, she thought. Anne walked to the canteen, her mind was half on her work, and a half of what Paula wanted to talk about at their meeting, She was sitting having her coffee, when her cell phone beeped, She looked at the caller ID, and then replied, "What's up, June? I won't be long; I just need a short break because I think I have a migraine coming on."
June’s formal but relaxed voice replied, “Miss Oliver, Paula called to say if you have some time, can you see her?”
Anne turned the cup on the table, and pondered What is so important that it can’t wait until tonight? Then, she snapped back to the present, and replied to June’s question, “I have a cancelled appointment, don’t I, June? I’ll see her then.”
Across the phone, Anne could hear June rifling through the diary for the day, then June replied, "Yes, Mr.Connor cancelled the meeting at 4:30. I'll call Paula, and tell her the time you'll be over, see you soon, Miss Oliver."
Anne sat sipping her coffee, and thinking about the message, What could Paula want to see me for so urgently?We're meeting tonight; surely it could have waited a few hours.She returned to her office for the meeting with Mr Clark; there was nothing spectacular to the meeting, it was their monthly sales report, as yet there hadn't been a bad month, but Anne knew one would come sooner or later.
During work hours, Anne’s and Paula’s paths rarely crossed. They’d both come down to buy a baguette, but never at the same time, some days, Anne would work through her lunch and get a meal on her home.
The afternoon meetings passed without incident, and then came the time to see Paula, “I’m going to see Paula. I’ll go straight home afterwards, so once you’ve finished the current job, you can close for the day, June.”
Although she was a fair boss, Anne was a hard driven person, and time off was rare, June smiled, and then replied, “Thank you, Miss Oliver. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Anne left her office, on her way to Paula’s office three floors up, she called to say she was on her way. Paula’s reply was shocking, “Hi, Anne, what do you mean? I never phoned your office. If I’d wanted to talk to you, I could have waited a few hours, until our dinner date. As you’re on the way, you may as well come.”
The elevator doors opened, and a puzzled Paula greeted her friend, “I don’t know who called your office, but they did me a favour, Anne.”
Anne smiled, and then said, “Oh, why’s that?”
Paula took her friend by the arm and led her into the office after they'd gone in, she closed the door, and said, "I was going to call you. I've heard a rumour the firm is expanding and is need of an overseas buyer. Dave and Mel are thinking of asking us to meet a new client next month. This meeting could be an important contract deal, Anne."
Anne walked over to the window that looked out on the snowy mountains of the region, and thought I'd give anything to take a break now, I'm so tired, I can't think straight. Then, she turned back to Paula, and said, “I suppose this meeting will involve a flight.”
Paula giggled, and then replied, “I know how you feel about flying, but you said you enjoyed the last flight you took, and that was a long flight.”
Anne paused in her thoughts as she thought of the trip, and then replied, "I'd have enjoyed it more if the man next to me hadn't been watching that boring film. I could relax to read, and after not feeling well before the flight, it wasn't a good start to the trip. Can't we take the coach? I'd feel easier in my mind."
Paula patted her friend on the shoulder, and commented, "A three-hour flight against a two-day coach trip, I don't think that's a question to ask, Anne. We'll be up and over before you realise we've taken off, don't worry about the flight."
Anne smiled, and then replied, “Okay, you win. I suppose I can spare the time in my schedule, although I was hoping to take a break and go out to the lodge for a few days.”
Paula took a short walk across to her desk, and after sitting down she said, “Take a seat, and we can discuss what’s going on. Mark, and Del want us to butter up this new client. They think he’s a big spender with lots of connections in the trade, if we pull this off it will mean a ten percent increase in sales per annum, and a corresponding bonus for us. You can take the well-earned vacation when we get back, with the knowledge of a job well done.”
The discussion closed, and Anne left Paula to sort out the appointments for the forthcoming weeks .When she left the office, Anne mused I wonder who made the phone call, if it wasn’t Paula? as she took the elevator to the firm’s car park in the basement of the building. Anne always parked her car as near the door to the elevator as she could, she never liked being alone down there, for some reason she felt claustrophobic in the car park.
The lights were never reliable at the best of times, but tonight they seemed to be more unreliable than usual, or was that her imagination going wild after the mystery caller? The shadows appeared to be deeper, and she thought she could see movement in them.
Walking quickly to her car, Anne got in and drove out of the carpark at speed. She didn’t stop until she reached the highway junction. She slowed down, and pulled into the sidewalk, and then she switched the engine off and trying to keep a clear head, she thought through the events of the afternoon, but nothing made sense.
That evening, the friends met in the lounge of the Freemont Parlour, after ordering some drinks they went to the table that Paula had booked for their meal. Paula had Acciughe sotto sale del Mar Ligure- a dish of mixed seafoods from the Genoa region; while Anne had the pork dish Mortadella Bologna from the Bologna region.
After dinner, as they were having a cocktail, Anne remarked, “I am taking an early break this year. I usually go to the lodge for Christmas, but I want to make a change this year, I’m going up for a summer vacation too. The way I feel at the moment, I need the break to recharge my batteries, for some reason I feel more tired than usual.”
Paula finished her drink, and after wiping her mouth, she remarked, “I think that’s because you’re worried about the next book. I don’t think you have a thing to worry about, your books sell themselves now. When we first joined up, I could understand your trepidation, but now, there’s no need to feel wary, Anne.”
Anne smiled, and then replied, “Thank you, Paula, you are my biggest supporter. I don’t know what I’d do without you. I haven’t seen the stream at the bottom of the hill in flow since I was tiny, usually it’s frozen when I visit the lodge. I’ve been told by the neighbors, the stream is nice to sit by and just relax by and listen to nature in all its beauty. I think that calmness is what I am looking for in my life.”
Paula sat musing over an idea for a while, not sure if she should say anything. Her mind was made up, when Anne asked her, “I can see you’re thinking of asking me something,Paula, why not go ahead and ask.”
She fiddled with her napkin for a minute, and then commented, “I was just thinking, you almost sound as though you are thinking of moving out to the lodge, on a permanent basis, Anne.”