Category Archives: Writing

WIW: Clouded, part 5

The first few weeks at Clouded go great.  Jonathan teaches me how to use Quickbooks to enter and pay bills, and create invoices.  Learning how to determine which of the nine companies each bill or invoice should be attached to is the hardest part of the job.  Jonathan doesn’t seem to have a firm grasp on it either, I get the feeling that if he doesn’t know for sure, he guesses.

Laura’s official title is Office Manager, but she is really Seth’s personal assistant. She was the first employee he hired when Sylvie started to taste huge success and has been working with him for nearly ten years. She’s short, shorter than me even, so she can’t be more than about five feet tall.  She’s got flawless skin and beautiful  long, thick black hair that hangs down to the middle of her back, for which she credits her Korean heritage.  I’ve been jealous of her hair since the first time I met her when I interviewed for my internship.  She comes in with it wet most mornings.  It dries stick straight, shiny and beautiful looking, regardless of how humid it is outside. She tells me my first day that whoever is the first one in each morning has to start the coffee.  Most of the time, that will be me.

“I don’t drink coffee,” I tell her.  I’ve tried, but never developed a taste for it.  I often think that if I did drink coffee I’d have an easier time keeping up with my schedule.

“It doesn’t matter whether you drink it or not.  The person who turns off the alarm starts the coffee.” The look on her face tells me that this isn’t open for discussion, so I pay close attention as she shows me how Seth likes it made.

Jonathan is twenty two, just six months older than me.  He and Seth never talk about how they met, or how Jonathan came to work at Clouded, but Laura once hinted that Seth offered the job as a favor to Jonathan’s father. She never said why. Jonathan’s baby face, short brown hair that sticks up in the back no matter how many times he tries to smooth it down with his hand, and the button down shirts tucked into chinos that he wears everyday make him look like a little boy dressed up for church.  He married his high school sweet heart two weeks after they graduated and has a three-year-old son who looks exactly like him.  Jonathan was hired as the in-house accountant for all of the Clouded companies but he had started doing some of the day-to-day artist management almost immediately.

Eventually he took over management of TheBrass, a band from California that makes marching band music sound cool. There are thirteen guys between the ages of 18 and 27.  They have a full brass section that compliments the typical drums/bass/guitar/piano lineup of most rock bands.  The key to their success is their drum line.  In the middle of their concerts the music stops, they each strap on a drum, and perform some of the most amazing sequences I have ever heard. TheBrass has been one of my favorite bands for the last three years.  As an intern I had hoped I would get to meet at least one of the members, but they are stationed in California and rarely visit Nashville.

He also helps out with the last three singer-songwriters leftover from the Sylvie days.  Working with young songwriters was her forte, and Seth let most of them go when he re-incorportated and began to focus on bands like Revolver and TheBrass.  Those left: Peter Jones, Ashley Johnson, and a rapper called, Blue Jay, have all had success as songwriters, but none are content. They want to be performers themselves.  Seth keeps them on because they have potential and they don’t require a huge amount of attention. Josh and Jonathan each pitch in whenever there is work to be done that can’t be delegated to an intern.

I don’t see Seth very much.  He spends most of his days in meetings with record labels and booking agents. Usually he’s in the office only an hour or so, barking orders at Laura and periodically asking other employees for updates.  He spends most of his in-office time with Jonathan.  I assume they’re talking about Shreds.

I end up sitting at the reception desk.  Nicole, who had been the receptionist, had been let go right after Christmas, but no on will say why.  When I try to ask about it, I get vague answers and the subject is quickly changed.





What I’m writing: Double dose

I missed last week, so I’m giving you a double dose this week. Enjoy, and please send me your comments or suggestions! (this is still very much a work in progress.)

If you missed the first two installments, start here.

“There she is!” Kelly, the front desk manager, sings as I walk through the front door of the hotel.  Ethan dropped me off, which is the only reason I’m coming in through the glass and marble foyer that receives our guests.  Normally employees park in the lot at the back of the hotel and enter through the back door into a dark hallway with hospital-taupe colored linoleum on the floors and the walls.  Kelly presses the button hidden underneath the marble desk she’s standing behind and I push through the always-locked door into an unlit hallway the width of the desk.  I know that if I let the door fully close behind me before I open the one in front of me it will become totally black, I will barely have enough room to turn around and I will have a claustrophobia-induced panic attack.

I pull the door in front of me open quickly and walk into what we call the “back office.”  It is a room about six by eight feet with a computer and combination printer/copy machine along one wall.  The opposite wall has a counter with a set cabinets underneath it.  Hanging on the wall above the counter is a series of square wooden boxes the size of post-office boxes.  Each of the employees is assigned one of these cubbies for their personal items. I toss my keys into mine.  My backpack gets dropped on the floor next to the counter.  Only on third shift am I allowed to keep it lying on the floor.  When I work the evening shift I have to keep it in the locker room. I pull my name tag out of my cubby, attach it to my uniform jacket, and go out to the front desk.

“Where’s Daniel?” I ask, not seeing my co-worker who was supposed to be finishing out the evening shift.

“I had him take his bank up already.  When he gets down here you can go get yours, then I’m out.”

On cue, Daniel walks around the corner followed by Simon, one of the overnight security guards.  He smiles.  “Hey sweetie, you ready?”

“Yep.  Let’s go,” I say, pushing my way out the door and following him to the elevator.  The money was stored in the business office of the hotel on the fourth floor.  Each front desk person kept their own “bank” an envelope of six hundred dollars, in a safety deposit box.  The money had to be deposited and retrieved by two people, at least one from security, so I had gotten to know all those guys very quickly.  When the elevator door closes Simon steps in front of me, backing me against the wall.  He puts one arm on each side of my head and leans down.

“How are you?” he asks nonchalantly, as if our faces are not just inches apart.  I look at his lips.  I can’t talk.  I’m afraid if I open my mouth I’ll try to kiss him.

Simon’s tall, incredibly hansom, and very married.  He was working my very first shift at the hotel and I made the mistake of asking Tilly, one of the other front desk agents if he was single.  Instead of just telling me, Tilly said, “Why?  Do you think he’s cuuuuuute?  Do you want to kiiiiiiiissssss him?  Hey, Simon!  New girl here thinks your hot.” I learned very quickly that working in a building full of beds made people act like seventh grade sex-ed students. My face had gotten so red I could feel it in my ears. He milked it for several days, flirting just to see how quickly he could make my face go red. I was very disappointed when I found out he was married.  Even though we had been working together for months now, I still could hardly look at him without feeling the color rise in my cheeks.

I duck out from under his arm and laugh as I shuffled to the other side of our three-foot cage. “I’m good.  How are you?”

“I’m good,” he says, making his voice lower than normal so that it sounded gravelly.  It was like someone had given him a list of everything that turns me on and he was checking each off.  He puts his arm around me as we step off the elevator. He pulls me close, and my stomach flips as he rests his hand on it.

“Simon!” I say, pulling away.  He laughs at my red face as he unlocks the office door and leads me to the safe.

“How’s Ethan?”

“How’s your wife?”

We stare at each other for a moment, an unspoken challenge passing between us.  We let it go, like we always do, and get my money out of the safe.  He stays on the other side of the elevator on the ride down.



“Good Morning!” Sarah-Joe says brightly as I open the door.  When I am lucky, she is just getting in the shower as I came home from third shift at the hotel.  When I’m not, she is snoozing her alarm every nine minutes for the entire hour I have to nap between work and school.  Today she is making breakfast. “Want some coffee?”

“No thanks, I’m going to try to get a little sleep before class.”  I kick my shoes off in the little kitchen, using my foot to push them off to the side, close to the washing machine.  “I’m going to wear those to school, so I’ll pick them up then,” I say, trying to fend off her instinct to pick them up for me.  She does it anyway, following me into my room with them in her hand.

“No problem, I know how tired you are,” she says, placing them on the shoe rack behind my door.  I stripped off my uniform and crawl into bed in my underwear and bra.

“Brad and I are making dinner tonight.  He’s bringing Anthony.  Remember, I told you about him, he plays in the guitar in that band…”

I nod my head, mumbling to indicate that I know who she is talking about.  I keep my eyes closed, partially because I really am that tired, and partially because I want her to take the hint.

Sarah-Joe is a Music Business major at Belmont University with me, and, as far as roommates go, she’s okay.  She resents that I don’t have to study more than a few hours a week to maintain my 4.0 GPA.  I resent that she doesn’t have to work to afford her wardrobe.

Our bedrooms are separate, but we share all of the living space in the duplex we rent.  She’s from Mississippi and is a true southern bell.  Her parents pay all of her bills, including her credit card.  They even deposit spending money into her bank account each week.  She’s constantly inviting me out with her friends, even though she knows I have to work and that I don’t have a lot of money. She doesn’t understand what it’s like to make a budget and stick to it.  When her bank account is low, she calls her father.  When my bank account is low, I try to get extra shifts at the hotel.

“So you’ll be here?  I really think you will like Anthony.” She’s moved farther into the room now, her voice is coming from somewhere near the foot of my bed.  I open one eye and see that she is looking through my closet.

“I’ve got plans with Ethan tonight.” Instead of thinking about Ethan, my mind flashes back to the elevator and Daniel. I feel a pang of guilt, even though nothing happened. In a half-asleep daze, I wonder if he’s happily married.  He never talks about his wife.  Maybe they’re separated. I can’t believe I’m thinking these things.  I have Ethan.  I love Ethan.  Right?

“Oh, too bad,” Sarah-Joe’s voice snaps me back to reality. “You sure are spending a lot of time with Ethan.  How’s that going?” She’s still looking in my closet, oblivious to the fact that I want to sleep.

“It’s good.  Do you want to borrow some clothes, or…” I let my voice trail off, once again hoping she’ll get the hint.  I’m raised up on my elbow now, watching her.  The coffee pop beeps in the kitchen.

“Oh!  Coffee’s done.  Do you want some?”  She turns around and acts shocked to see me nearly naked in bed.  “Oh, Addie!  Are you tired?”

“A little bit.  I’m going to sleep for about an hour before class.”

“Brad is on his way over.  Do you want to put some clothes on?”

“Not really.  Just don’t bring him in here.”  I turn over, closing my eyes again and pulling my comforter up over my shoulder.  “Please shut the light off when you go out.”

“Alright…” she lets her voice trail off.  “You know, I’m glad things are going well with Ethan, but don’t you think he’s a little old for you?”  I don’t answer or acknowledge that I’ve heard her. I know it won’t matter. Sarah-Joe is a master at the art of passive-aggressiveness. “You’ve been spending an awful lot of time together.  I really think you’ll like Anthony.  We’ll make some extra food just in case you change your mind.  Six o’clock.”

She finally leaves my room, graciously shutting the light off as she closes the door.  Ten minutes later Brad pulls up in his old car with no muffler.  He rings the doorbell twice before she unlocks the door for him, then they talk and laugh for a few minutes before I hear her “remember” I’m home.  “Sssshhhh!  Addie worked all night.”

“Sorry Addie!” he yells.

I open my eyes, looking at the clock.  Fifteen minutes left to sleep. I close them again and immediately fall back to sleep.  When my alarm goes off I stumble across the room to shut it off, then into the bathroom, barely opening my eyes.

“Addison!  Brad’s still here!” Sarah-Joe shrieks from the dining room table where her and Brad are sipping coffee in full view of the doors to my bedroom and the bathroom.

“Sorry,” I mumble, knowing we’re going to have to have a talk about walking around in my underwear later.



Clouded #2

If you missed last week’s post, check it out here.

Clouded #2

“So tell me about it,” Ethan says, taking a swig of his beer.

I smile, sipping my coffee.  The exhilaration of having a job has hit me, and even though I’m still waking up, I’m almost giddy. We’re at the Special, the pub down the street from Ethan’s house.  We’ve been dating for almost six months, but most of our dates are like this: me on my way to work, him taking a break to grab a meal before going back to work. He works as a valet at the hotel, supplementing the income he makes as an artist manager.  The first time we went out I was planning to ask if he would hire me as an intern.  Instead, we ended up making out in the car.

It’s a beautiful day for January, and we’re sitting outside.  The sun is bright and reflects off the natural blond highlights in his brown hair.  His eyes shine behind his glasses with the thick red rims. I used to hate those glasses, but I’m getting used to them now.  They’re a little too Elton John for my taste.  He’s wearing valet uniform: black dress pants and white button down shirt.  He’ll probably change into shorts an a band t-shirt when he gets home.  I’ve got my work uniform on too, a black pencil skirt and blue button down blouse.

“The interview was weird.  It wasn’t really an interview even.  They knew they were going to offer me the job.”

“That’s great!” He grabs my hand across the table, playing with my fingers.

“What are you going to be doing?” he asks.

“I don’t really know. They didn’t really say.  Assisting Jonathan I guess.”

“What’s he do again?”

“Well, he was managing TheBrass. But he and Seth are starting a new company, and he’s going to be running it. I’ll be helping him with the accounting stuff.”

“For the new company, or for Clouded?”

“I don’t know.  All of it maybe.  There are nine companies that Seth operates.”

“Really?  How?  They’re not that big are they?”

I sip my coffee, then start twirling my hair around my finger.  “There around twenty or so employees.  Eight interns last semester.”

“But what all do they do?”

I sigh, frustrated that Ethan doesn’t know more about where I interned.  We’ve talked about it a million times.  “They manage.  And they’ve got the publishing thing.  And,” now I have to think.  How are there nine companies?  As an intern I spent a lot of time filing.  Endless hours stuck in the storage closet with cabinets tagged with color coded stickers to signify which business’ information they housed. I start counting them out on my fingers.  “There’s the management company.  Then there’s the publishing company.  Record label, booking agency.  Then there’s the business management side of it, and, of course, the main “Clouded” company.”

“What’s the difference between that and the management company?”

“I don’t know for sure.  I think that when Sylvie left Seth had to start a new company in order to fully dissolve the partnership.  All of her royalty checks still come to the main company though.”  Sylvie was Seth’s first artist.  They called her “A tomboy with an angel’s voice.”  She was just sixteen years old when a song she wrote was used as the main theme to a hit movie and her career took off.  She spent two years living the life: new cars, world tours, platinum record sales.  Then one day, she quit.  She didn’t want to do it anymore.

“Whatever happened to her anyway?” Ethan asks, munching on a fry.  He and Sylvie had been in school together briefly, when she went to Belmont University while on hiatus from touring.  She didn’t stay more than a semester though.

“I don’t know.  I know she was mentoring singer/songwriters for a while.  That was the whole basis of Clouded: getting songs placed in movies and on TV.  She would scout the talent, Seth would manage them.  She kind of gravitated toward the younger crowd, people around her own age.  Seth started doing business management for them because they were too young to take care of their own money. Did you know he set Revolver up with a 401K when the youngest guy was only 13 years old?”

“Who’s Revolver again?”

I narrow my eyes.  He’s teasing me, and I’m just not in the mood.  Revolver has been my favorite band since  high school.  During my senior year I wrote to their record label and asked how I could get into the music industry.  I never wanted to sing or be in the spotlight- I always wanted to be on the inside.  I wanted to help get the songs out.  They told me I should move to Nashville, go to Belmont and intern like crazy.  So I did.  The internship at Clouded was my third.  The first two had been at record labels.

Ethan laughed, squeezing my hand. We’re quiet for a while, him eating, me thinking about the night coming up.  I’ll be at the hotel from 11:00 pm to 8:00 am.  I’ve got a test in my Music Law class tomorrow at 8:30. I hope I’ll have time to study during work.  I should.  The hotel is relatively slow this week, no big conventions.

“Wait,” Ethan says, looking up from his hamburger.  “That’s only six.  I thought you said there were nine companies?”

I’m surprised he noticed.  I didn’t think he was listening very closely.  “Shreds is the other one that Seth owns.  Then there is Revolver and TheBrass.  We do all of their accounting stuff too.”

He nods.  “I wish everyone I worked with had business managers.  But I’d never want to do it for them.

Between Ethan and my teachers, I’m constantly hearing about how un-responsible artists are, how they need someone to manage their money for them.  But having a manager and a business manager be the same person…there are many who think it’s a conflict of interest, just because it’s so much power.  The manager does everything: coordinates all performances with the booking agent, all recording with the label, everything.  When a manager takes over the business management too, he’s got absolute power over both the artist’s schedule and money. When the business manager is a separate person, they can at least watch the financial side of things, be a second set of eyes.

“Who does Seth book now?” Ethan asks.

“I think just Revolver and TheBrass.  I think.”

“So what does everyone else there do?”

“Synchs.  They all work for the label and the publishing company.”  Seth’s empire was built from the money Sylvie made from her success in the movies, and it is the basis of his business.  He signs young songwriters to publishing deals, promising to get their songs placement in TV and movies.  If they’re performers and don’t have a deal with a record label, he records them on his label.  When that happens, he gets a share of both the publishing and the recording fees. Generally, though, most of the songwriters at Clouded just write.  Most never make a full length album.

“So Seth does everything Revolver and TheBrass?” Ethan asks, his eyebrows raised.

“Not anymore.  They both have their own label deals now. He used to do everything for Revolver, though.  They were so young when they started working with him, he just kind of took them under his wing and built them up.”

“Humph,” Ethan says, taking a big bite of his burger.

“What?” I ask, sensing that there is something that he’s not saying.

“Nothing.  I mean,” he wipes his mouth, finishes chewing, and takes a sip of his Coke.  “I mean, it’s just a lot.  To not have more people involved with.  He’s got his hand in all of the cookie jars.”

“What are you saying?”  I cross my arms and lean back in my chair.

“Nothing.  Sorry.  I didn’t mean to imply…” he lets his voice trail off, knowing he’s made me mad.  “I’m just saying.  I’ve seen situations like that end badly, that’s all.  I’m not accusing… Why did Sylvie leave again?”

“I don’t know.  She just didn’t want to be in the industry anymore I guess.”

He nods.  “Well, anyway, I am happy for you.  This will be great experience.”


What I’m writing: Clouded

(drum roll, announcer voice)

Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages, welcome to the unveiling of…..Amanda’s first novel!

(applause, screams and cheers)

Well, this isn’t quite my first novel, it’s really my second. But my first needs a lot of work. So I’m going to start this column with scenes from this book.  It’s currently in its second draft and I feel like I have a pretty good idea of the revisions that need to be made in the third draft, but I would love your feedback! Going from the beginning, so today is…the first scene. No set up needed.

(This is a little nerve wracking….)

Clouded, by Amanda Moon

I whisper a prayer and push open the door to Clouded, Incorporated.  There is no one at the reception desk yet, but I can hear the sounds of people starting their morning routines all around me.  Chairs scrape against the floor, computers ding as they wake up, doors open and close.  Someone is putting dishes away in the kitchen, I hear the plates and cups as they clink against each other.  

It has been three weeks since I was last here right before Christmas vacation. I feel awkward standing in the entryway and I’m not sure if I should go find Laura, the office manager myself, or if I should wait until Nicole is back at the reception desk and check in. I recognize many of the people walking around, but those that see me either don’t know who I am and don’t want to stop and find out, or don’t realize I’m no longer an intern.

“Oh, Addie, good, you’re here,” Laura says as she run-walks from the kitchen toward the corner office carrying a steaming cup of coffee.  “Head into the conference room, we’ll be right there.”

The office door is closed behind her before I have a chance to respond.  The office she just entered is Seth Mitchell’s, the president and CEO of Clouded.  It’s in the front corner of the building, and I get nervous just looking at the door.  He built this empire from the ground up.  My goal is to get the opportunity to learn from him.

The office is a two story modern-brick building.  The wide, iron and wood stairway to the second floor loft is just to the right of the reception desk.  Behind me, tinted windows stretch from the floor to the roofline, making the building feel even taller than it really is.  The layout of both floors is essentially the same, a large common area in the middle with cubicles and general work spaces surrounded by offices.  The corners of the building are reserved for the larger rooms.  The back corners of the first floor are the conference room and a listening room, the front corners are Seth’s office and the reception area.  The second floor has a kitchen and a break area in the back corners.

I had interned at Clouded for six months, leaving just before Christmas with the promise of great recommendations if I found anything to apply for, but no leads on any job possibilities.  Then, last week, Laura had called, told me they were hiring, and asked if I could come in for an interview.  There were no details, no explanation of what had changed in the last four weeks that necessitated a new employee. 

I smile at the interns as I make my way past the cubicles to the conference room. By interning, we committed to work, without pay, for the company for at least one thirteen week semester, hoping to gain experience and make connections that will one day lead to a job in the music industry. I notice my old cubicle is empty, the large #6 is still hanging on the wall.  It was there to remind me and everyone around me what number I was.

“It’s just easier than trying to learn everyone’s name.  You understand, interns come and go so quickly in this business…” Laura had told her on the first day of the internship. 

I peak inside the few office doors that are open as I walk by.  Each has the same glass and metal desk: ultra modern and minimalistic, a physical reminder that, when you are doing your job well, the artist will be the only one that is noticed. Some walls have gold and platinum record plaques, others have concert posters.  I used to think you could judge a person’s success by what was on the wall.  Really, the only thing you can learn is their decorating style and how much they like to brag.

In the conference room I choose a seat in the middle of the table and pull my coat tighter around me.  I remember from interning that a flaw in the building’s ductwork prevents the room from receiving any heat when the door is closed.  Nicole is supposed to check to be sure it’s open whenever there isn’t a meeting, but judging by the temperature it must have been closed all night.  The walls are lined with gold and platinum records from artists I worked with at Clouded, many of whom I’d been a fan of since long before I’d moved to Nashville. The comfortable leather conference chair and the cold, quiet of the room subdue my nerves.  The exhaustion that I have been battling the entire morning takes over and I have to fight the urge to lay my head down on the table and go to sleep. Besides interning, and taking a full load of classes at Belmont University, I a full time job at the front desk of a swanky downtown- Nashville hotel.  Twice a week I overnight, from 11:00 pm to 8:00 am.  the other three nights I work the evening shift from 3:00-12:00. I hadn’t known I’d be working the overnight shift when I agreed to the interview.  By the time I had my work schedule I was afraid I would look undedicated or irresponsible if I had tried to change the appointment.  I’m debating whether to go to the kitchen for a soda when Laura walks in, followed closely by Josh and Jonathan. The three of them greet me and choose seats on the opposite side of the table.  I’m worried I might be overdressed .

Laura is the office manager of Clouded, and was the first employee Seth ever hired. Her long black hair was hanging straight down her back, not quite dry, leaving moisture spots on the shoulders of the red cardigan sweater she was wearing.  Josh and Jonathan are two of the managers at Clouded.  They spend their days coordinating the lives of the bands they work with, everything from personal appearances to recording schedules. Jonathan is wearing his typical uniform of khaki pants and a plaid button down shirt. Josh’s outfit is the same thing he wears every day: jeans and a ringer-t. I had been torn when picking out my clothes for the interview.  After interning, I knew the office was very casual and that most people wore jeans every day, but I had always been taught that you dress up for interviews, so I chose a simple black dress and flat shoes.  

“How are you doing?  Did you have a good Christmas?” Laura asks, taking a sip from her coffee cup.  It’s a different cup than I had seen her with when she went into Seth’s office. 

“I did. “I stayed here, but it was nice.”  

“Oh, it’s too bad you didn’t get to go home! I know you would have liked to see your family!”  

I nod. She’s right, I would have loved to go home.  But I couldn’t get the time off from the hotel, and I’m trying to save as much money as possible.  I’m considering how much of this to explain when the door opens again.

“Great, you’re here!” Laura says as Seth walks in.  Immediately I’m happy I chose the dress.  Seth is dressed in a impeccably tailored gray pinstriped suit with sea-glass green shirt underneath.  His brown hair, slightly long, is just starting to curl along the nape of his neck and above his ears.  It looks at once perfectly messy and perfectly styled.  His eyes, the exact color of his shirt, do a quick scan of the room.  He overlooks me completely, making me feel even more nervous. My hands began to sweat despite the temperature of the room. I glance at Laura and she smiles in what I know is meant to be a look of reassurance, but it doesn’t reach her eyes. 

“Number Six,” Seth says glancing quickly at me and choosing a seat at the head of the table.  My heart sinks.  I hate being referred to as a number.  I had made it my goal to make Seth learn my name before I was done with my internship.  I guess I failed.

If my face registers my disappointment, Seth doesn’t notice.  He nods Jonathan. “Jonathan is taking over Shreds.  He’s going to need some help with the accounting stuff here while he gets that up and going.  The pay is $10 an hour.  How’s that sound?”

He has a file in his hands and starts flipping through the papers, not looking at me.  I wonder if the file has anything to do with me. Maybe it’s my resume?  I glance at Laura and Jonathan for some sort of clue and get nothing.

 “What is Shreds?” I ask, directing the question somewhere between Seth and Jonathan since no one is looking directly at me.

Seth rolls his eyes, looking at Jonathan.  I feel completely lost.

“We didn’t get a chance to talk about that, did we?” Laura says, overly cheery, absorbing all of Seth’s attitude and turning it into vocal sunshine.  

“Shreds is,” Jonathan says, leaning forward and folding his hands on the table, “our full-service merchandising company.  We are giving all of our artists the ability to maximize their peripheral profits by cutting out the middleman.  We will be the designer, the manufacturer, and the distributor for all of their merchandising needs, from CDs to t-shirts to lunch boxes.” He glances quickly at Josh, who is smirking, watching his coffee like it might start to do tricks.  I can tell he wants to laugh out loud.  Is he laughing at me, or at Jonathan’s sales pitch? 

Seth is nodding his head in agreement with everything Jonathan says, giving the impression that this has been rehearsed.  Jonathan continues, “I need you to help me get the stuff done here, so I can focus on what I’m doing over there.” 

Everyone is looking at me now.  I’m weighing several questions in my head, such as “Where is over there?,” “What exactly will I be doing?,” and “What are the hours?” Before I can decide which one to ask Seth has pushed his chair away from the table and looks ready to leave.  I calculate quickly and say the most enthusiastically neutral thing I can think of.  “Sounds great!” 

“So,” Laura asks, “You’re accepting?”

Am I accepting?  I don’t even really understand the job yet.  What does helping with the accounting stuff entail?  Seth’s standing now, obviously ready to go.  Any job in the music industry is better than nothing, so I dive in. “Absolutely.”

It’s the right answer, everyone is nodding and smiling.  I feel like it’s okay to ask some of the more necessary questions now.  “What are the hours?  When do I start?

“Let’s start out with ten to fifteen a week or so,” Seth says.  “You can work it out, but we’ve got to stay within the budget.” He gives Jonathan a meaningful look, then walks out the door.

“You can set your own hours,” Laura says.  “But they need to be regular.  I need to know when you’re going to be here.”  I watch her eyes follow Seth out the door.  She looks worried, and I wonder what is going on.

“Yeah, me too,” Josh says. He laughs out loud, unable to hold it in anymore.  I had almost forgotten he was there.  I look at him, and his eyes tell me that he doesn’t understand why he was included with the interview any more than I do “That was fun,” he says, standing up and shaking my hand. “Welcome aboard.”  

“Seriously,” Jonathan says, “We’re glad you accepted!”

He pats me on the back and walks out with Josh.  I see them go into Jonathan’s office and close the door.  Seth’s door is also closed when Laura and I come out of conference room.  I see her face cloud over again when she at his door.

“Should I ask Jonathan about my hours?” I ask standing awkwardly outside of the conference room.  I’m not sure if I should move towards Laura’s office on the left or Jonathan’s office on the right, and it’s obvious that Laura is dealing with something else in her head.

“No, that’s fine,” she sighs and walks to her office.  “I need to do your paperwork anyway.  Can you start tomorrow?”  She sits down and begins shuffling through a drawer, periodically pulling papers out of the file folders and stacking them on her desk.

“No, I have school and work tomorrow.”

“Oh.  Okay. I didn’t realize you were still working.” We didn’t discuss the fact that I was still working at the hotel.  Laura looks a bit annoyed at the thought that I might be considering anything more important than Clouded. 

“Only for now,” I say quickly. “I am still at the hotel.  But if this ever becomes full time, I can quit. It’s just at night anyway. I have classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but my mornings are wide open Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  I can be here whenever you need those days.”

“9:00 on Friday?”

“Sure.  How’s 9-2, Monday, Wednesday and Friday?”

 “Perfect,” Laura says, handing over the stack of papers she had accumulated on her desk.  “Fill these out.  I’ll see you on Friday.”

Pintersting this week

If you haven’t joined Pinterest yet, do it now. And just know that you are going to lose a good hour or two (or five) on the site each day.

While purusing the other night, I started seeing all of these images that seemed to go well with Home, the book I’m currently working on. So I grabbed them and started a new board. I realized that I can use Pinterest to create vision boards. (Yes, maybe I’m a little slow sometimes. Don’t judge.)

Here’s the thing: I love the idea of vision boards, but hate making them. The magazines I have on hand are either ones I don’t want to tear up or, if I want to tear them up, it’s because there is nothing left in them I want. Plus, vision boards are all about pictures. I get most of my pictures online. And I hate the mess of cutting, tearing, gluing, etc. This is perfect for me! So I started grabbing pictures for my book. I’ve only done Ashley, but I’d like to do one for each of the main characters and one for the book as a whole.

Then, this morning, I was looking at my Google Reader and my mentor talked about this very thing. And she quite literally wrote the book on vision boarding your novel.

This got me thinking…could I maybe possibly make a vision board for me too? Gasp! I might actually enjoy this.

*The link back for the photo doesn’t work. If it’s yours, please email me at amandamichellemoon dot com and I’d be happy to give you credit and a back link!


What I’m writing

Book photo for sale here:

I’m going to experiment a little bit with sharing a snippet of what I’m writing with you. Experiment as in: I promise I’ll do it, I’m still working out exactly what I’ll share. I’d like to hear from you: what do you want to see? Fiction? Non-fiction? Whatever? Any length thoughts? I’m thinking right now that if I do fiction, I’ll do a complete scene, but not whole chapters at a time, since that would just get overwhelming. Check out my writing page and let me know what’s tickling your fancy.

Photo for sale here.

DIY Treadmill Desk | Suddenly Frugal Blog

Have you heard about the walking workstations or stand up desks or whatever they’re called? Basically, it’s something to get you off your duff while you’re working.

I love the idea- especially now that I’m working for myself. I find that, because I love my work so much, I spend a lot more time doing it. This means a lot more time bent over a computer or a necklace or a Pilates client and less time standing up, wandering to my friend’s offices and walking to and from meetings.

I don’t have a treadmill yet, so I would need to get one of those first. I also like the idea of getting a set of pedals to stick underneath a desk to ride bike.

What do you think? Would you like a workout workstation?

DIY Treadmill Desk | Suddenly Frugal Blog.

Narrowing my focus

I am a daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend, Pilates instructor, jewelry designer, author, cook, musician, painter, illustrator, yogi, barista, cashier, etc., etc., etc,. yada, yada, yada, the list can go on and on. I hold a bajillion different rolls, and, benethe them, sub-rolls (not in the sub-sandwich sense) and even some of those can be broken down into sub-sub-rolls. . For example, as an author, I write:

  • Fiction
    • Short stories
    • Novels
  • Non fiction
    • Health
    • Memoir
    • Self-help
    • Creative
    • Craft
  • Freelance
    • Blogging
    • Business/Corporate Writing
    • Content generation
    • Feature articles
    • Catalog copy
  • Children’s stories

I’m sure if I thought about it longer I could even come up with more.

Unfortunately, I can’t be perfect at all of my rolls. Heck, I probably can’t even perfect one of them. But, I can become darn good at some of them. And I’m realizing that to do that, I need to let some of the others go. So, for now, I’m choosing one to cross off the list. Well, actually, the sub-list. I’m going to back-burner the children’s writing I’ve been working on. It’s been nagging me, not because it wanted to be completed, but because it’s been one of those items on the “to-do” list that never gets crossed off. I’m done moving it from list to list to list. Today, for now, I’m removing it. Along with that, I’m unsubscribing from the children’s-market focused writing and illustrating blogs I’m currently subscribed to. I just don’t have time to digest everything, and I’ve got to make some room.

That’s not to say I’ll never come back to the Children’s world. Heck, I’ve got two kids, so, minimally, I’ll continue creating stories for them. It just means that, for now, my writing muscles are training for a different kind of sport. It’s like putting football on hold to focus on baseball. Just like Bo Jackson, I’ll be back. But even he couldn’t play both sports at the same time.

Question for writers about setting

I need some help. The book I’m currently working on is set in Anytown, USA, meaning: there is nothing special about this place and it doesn’t have any bearing on the story. Except that there is a garden. This garden is almost a supporting character and is obviously effected by changes in the weather and the seasons. Do I need to pick a real state to put this? Or can I just give enough clues about the weather than I can keep the location vague? Opinions please…

AdviceToWriters – HOME – Be Ruthless About Protecting Writing Days

From AdviceToWriters – HOME – Be Ruthless About Protecting Writing Days:

Be ruthless about protecting writing days, i.e., do not cave in to endless requests to have “essential” and “long overdue” meetings on those days. The funny thing is that, although writing has been my actual job for several years now, I still seem to have to fight for time in which to do it. Some people do not seem to grasp that I still have to sit down in peace and write the books, apparently believing that they pop up like mushrooms without my connivance. I must therefore guard the time allotted to writing as a Hungarian Horntail guards its firstborn egg.