A new milestone

I’ve hit a new milestone.

Finally.

I’ve finally hit a milestone I never thought I would.

A full request.

I’ve sent out I don’t even know how many queries in my years of query writing. Probably close to a hundred. I’ve received just as many rejections. Maybe a handful of partial requests. No fulls requests from agents.

5 published books with 2 small presses.

My first legit awesome agent full request came in this morning!!!

I’m doing a quick read through now before I send it in.

This is a big milestone for me.

It’s for Ever After: The Crimson Cloak. I’ve nearly given up on this particular project. I was ready to toss it to the self-publishing Gods  and say please love it. Then….one agent said I’m intrigued. I’m intrigued. There’s a glimmer of hope yet! It’s not time to toss in the towel!

I’ve always heard it only takes one yes. One. Could this one spectacular lady be my one yes? Could this be it?

I’m giddy inside. I’m excited, anxious, and hoping she is intrigued by the last 262 pages.

Off I go to finish reading through the manuscript for the millionth time. I’m not sure what else I can do to it. I just want to catch any little thing I can. I’m so OMIGOSH!

 

Here’s a small teaser from Ever After.

 

Chapter One

 

The woman emerged from the tree line watching the young girl in the only lit window in the old house. She stood silent, waiting. Her years of searching had finally come to an end.

“What if she remembers?” the large wolf asked, sitting next to the woman. His tail swishing around his body.

“She never will,” the woman replied, watching the girl through small lit window in the silent house across the yard.

“You don’t know that. There is a cure for every curse. Even yours.” He stood and prowled the tree line.

“Errow, stop. The girl has gone this long with no knowledge of the truth.”

“Forgive me if I’m nervous about our plans being ruined.”

The woman’s black cloak billowed in the wind as the snow swirled around her. “Have no fear, my loyal servant. I have plans for her.”

“What?” he asked.

“Don’t worry about it.”

The woman turned and vanished into the woods, gripping a red cloak in her hands. Her plan was in motion. Soon the young queen would be dead and the throne really would be hers.

****

I sat at my desk going through my resume for the hundredth time. I rubbed my eyes, yawning. It it’s not perfect now it never will be.

Wet hair clung to the nape of my neck water slowly trickled down my back. I shoved resume back in binder and tossed it on my bed and stared into my vanity mirror. My normally blonde hair was dark and matted to my head, my pale skin looked sickly, and my blue eyes were glazed over.

Mornings are not kind to me.

I scanned the vast sea of hair products and pulled out three. I was going with the big guns. We were going full-on curls. As my curling iron warmed up I looked back into the mirror. I gasped at the sight of my mother.

I turned and smiled at her. “You scared me!”

“Sorry, dear. Are you leaving soon?”

“Yeah.”

“What time do you have to be there?”

“The interview is set for ten.”

“Do you want to eat before you go?” she asked, pulling the shawl around her shoulders tighter.

“No. My stomach is in knots. If I eat I’ll end up throwing up everywhere,” I said, smiling lightly at my mother.

“If you’re sure.” She looked so sad. Her eyes were downcast and her mouth turned down at the ends. The sound of her shuffling along the hallway echoed through our empty house.

I turned back to my mirror and picked up my hair dryer. If I was going to make it on time I’d actually have to get started on doing something. My thick hair took forever to dry, and even longer to curl. Once the mess was finally dried I stood, depositing my towel on the floor, and rummaged through my dresser for something that would make everything perky under the business suit. I finished up my hair and make-up as fast as I could. The minutes ticked down rather quickly.

“I’ll have to stop by Mrs. Kilmore’s on the way home with you,” I whispered, tucking the photos in my briefcase.

“Are you driving into town?” mom called up.

“No, mom. I’m going to park at one of those park-and-rides and take a bus in.”

“Do you need money?” she asked, riffling through her purse as I entered the kitchen .

“I’ll be fine, mom. I have a few dollars and my card. Thanks though.” I hugged her and kissed her wrinkling forehead.

“Don’t be late, Len.”

“I won’t.”

“And be careful.” She pursed her lips and wrinkled her forehead even more.

“I’m always careful.”

“I know just be extra careful. That job of yours worries me.”

“I can handle a few disgruntled husbands, mom.” She kissed my cheek as I grabbed my bag and ran out the door.

“A young woman shouldn’t do such dangerous work.” She tusked, shaking her head.

“It’s alright.” I pulled out a large, black Taser and waved it mid-air as I ran out the door. “I have this!”

I sped down the highway to the closest park-and-ride. I did one last mirror check before leaving the comfort of my car. The curls I had been so meticulous about were flat, my lipstick quickly faded, and it was only nine am. I caught a glimpse of blue and black in my rearview mirror as a bus pulled up to the stop.

Shit it’s early!

Slamming my car door shut I ran across the street hoping that the driver would be nice enough to not shut the doors in my face.

“Morning.” I smiled at the curmudgeonly man.

“Hmph.”

Not my fault you’re ten minutes early, jerk.

I bit my lip and searched the packed bus. Spotting an empty seat towards the back I made a beeline for the coveted area. I slid in next to the window and closed my eyes letting my cheek rest against the cold window. Snowy days always seemed to make the windows of the Port Authority buses colder than normal, and it felt so good against my warm skin. Music blared through my headphones, unable to block out the chatter of the people around me. My heart pounded in my chest and my breathing was ragged. My nerves were getting the best of me as I headed to the interview with one of Pittsburgh’s leading legal ladies. It was already pure luck that Belinda Hexe even called me. Being a mere first year law student should have weighed heavily against me. The only legal experience I had was as a PI, and I took extreme liberties with technicalities of meanings of some of the laws.

She called though. I dug through my oversized purse for a hair clip completely giving up on it looking presentable down. I fussed with a few stray strands that escaped my grasp when the bus lurched forward suddenly. I could hear the brakes squeal as the driver tried to stop from hitting something. My body was thrown forward, but I managed to grab a metal pole in front of me before my head smacked into it. The hair clip slipped out of my hand and bounced under a seat in front of me. My loose hair swung around into my face as I braced for impact. My knees smashed into the plastic seat in front of me and shouts of surprise rang out through the crowded bus as people fell to the dirty floor. I watched from my seat, unable to squeeze past the large woman who sat next to me, as they struggled to get up; confused and somewhat angry. Towards the front a toddler began to wail. My heart wrenched for her. A woman, who I assumed was her mother, gently bounced the child up and down on her knee while smoothing the girl’s hair. Her lips moved, the corners of her mouth twitched up, and could I could only guess what she said to soothe her child.

“What the hell, man!” a teenager shouted, using a steel pole to hoist himself up.

“Sorry, folks. Something ran out in front of the bus,” the driver said.

“What was it?” a tall and lanky woman who had very curly, brown hair and wore shorts on the freezing winter day asked.

“It looked like a really big dog.” The driver stood on his perch and looked out the windows.

“Why didn’t you run it over?” someone from the front of the bus asked angrily.

“I’m not running animals over. Is everyone okay?” He sat down shaking his head.

“Yeah,” most people grumbled.

A few weren’t happy at all. They shot him dirty looks, and loudly complained that they wanted his drivers I.D. number and his supervisor’s line; while someone else actually threatened a lawsuit.

Hadn’t they ever heard of an accident? I thought to myself; astounded that they didn’t realize he may have prevented an accident, saving them a trip to the hospital and some pain.

I looked out the window and down the alley searching for the animal. I didn’t see any running around. In fact nothing appeared out of the ordinary; just the usual downtown Pittsburgh lunch crowd, appearing unstartled by the bus’s sudden screeching brakes. Nobody seemed to have seen the animal either. I supposed it could have been some stray dog trying not to get squashed by the big tires. Directly in front of me a woman with over bleached hair, a too short skirt, and well-worn boots picked at scabs on her cheeks while rocking back and forth muttering something to herself. She had a red hood pulled down over her eyes, but I could see her lips moving a mile a minute. She turned her head to look at me. I finally had a clear view of her face.  Her eyes were sunken in and purple and her face an ashen white. I wondered why the woman looked how she did. I watched her for a few minutes with a bit of pity, but quickly diverted my stare back out the window.

“Hey. Hey, you. Girl,” she called.

Too late; she saw me looking at her.

“Yes?” I asked.

“Do, do, you have a smoke?”

“No, sorry,” I replied, trying not to stare at her.

“Liar,” she accused narrowing her eyes.

“Excuse me?” I asked.

“You’re a liar. Everyone smokes!” Her voice rose enough to make a few people stop talking and watch us.

“I’m sorry, lady, but I really don’t smoke.”

“You just don’t want to share.” Her lip quivered and drew back over her yellow, rotting teeth.

I recoiled a bit at the sight. “You can think what you want, but I honestly don’t smoke. It makes you smell gross and stains your teeth.”

“So?” She gave me a nasty look, and turned her attentions to the business man sitting next to her.

As the bus rounded another corner I stood; trying to squeeze between the large, protruding stomach of the woman seated next to me and the plastic seat it pushed against. Once I freed myself I shoved my way through the throng of people who clung to straps on the bars above their heads to the front. The horrendous mixture of body odor, dirty feet, swamp ass, and coffee breath smacked me in the face like a sack full of week-old shit.

I hate taking the bus. I should have sucked it up and parked in a damn garage down here. A Volvo is definitely more comfortable than what I just went through.I shook my head.

Stealthily, I slid my hand to my nose and choked down the vomit while trying to hold my breath. It turned out to be a difficult task. My poor lungs were on fire by the time I stepped onto the sidewalk. I gulped down the fresher air, thankful to be away from the death chamber called bus. While the city had come a long way from its steel mill roots of a hundred years ago, somehow I think Pittsburgh never lost the slight smoggy stench that still lingered in the air. I would never trade the familiar smell for any other place in the world. I blew out a puff of breath that floated toward the sky. As I followed my breathy puff of vapor up with my eyes, I saw the looming PPG towers. One couldn’t help but notice them. They hovered over Market Square like a pride of lions protecting their cubs. No matter how many times I’ve seen them, or lived here, I was always left in awe of the magnificence. A shiver ran down my spine, but I trudged on to One PPG Place.

Crossing the square, I couldn’t help but look up at the big spires that were perched atop of the gargantuan glass buildings. The snow seemed to dance in and out of them, angrily swirling around like the Black Swan. A massive gust of wind blew in behind me as I entered the building, causing the doors to slam against the walls. I stopped and looked around the expansive lobby. Large orange-red columns stood on either side of a huge mahogany desk which one guard seemed to be able to take care of. He huddled behind it with his feet up and a newspaper in his hands. He dropped it at the sound of the thick, glass doors slamming; jumped up; and stared at me.

I could feel my cheeks beginning to burn. “I need Belinda Hexe,” I muttered, looking around me.

“Excuse me?” asked the guard. The scarce bit of white hair he had was combed over the bald spot on the top of his head, and his rotund belly challenged the buttons on his uniform shirt. He arched his eyebrows at me and pursed his thin lips together.

“I need to see Belinda Hexe. She is expecting me,” I half-smiled at the man, but quickly bit my lip when I met his glare.

“Thirty-ninth floor,” he replied flatly not taking his eyes off me.

“Oh, okay. Thanks.” My cheeks flushed and my nut-job status was sealed with him at least. “And I’m sorry about the doors. That wind. Sheesh.”

“Sure, kid,” he muttered.

I began to shuffle past the man, but paused. “Uh, so do I have to sign in or anything?”

He looked up at me with his old, grey eyes and rolled them so far back in his head I thought I would see his optic nerves.

“Guess not,” I muttered, “Is there an office or suite number?”

“Thirty-ninth floor,” he reiterated.

“The entire thirty-ninth floor?”

“The entire thirty-ninth floor.”

“Great,” I said, shuffling on my way.

The row of elevators stood, looming, against one wall. They seemed so cold and unwelcoming. I tentatively pushed the up button and waited in silence. The lonely ding of the elevator resounded through the desolate waiting area. A few men in suits hurriedly filed out of the small container. They were all busy on cell phones either talking or emailing. I pushed past them and stood in the tiny compartment. The only button on the very top row was thirty-nine.

I pushed it and waited as the awful elevator music started. My heart pounded even harder. One short ride and I would be with the legal titan.

 

 

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