The most important tip that is stored in my brain came from the ‘Queen of Romance and Suspense’ Nora Roberts. She stated you can’t edit a blank page. So put you rump in the chair and type away.
Me, I’ve applied my time management courses I took throughout my accounting that help make me successful in my job. I start everyday with a list and number them from the most important to the least. This way I know I’m getting the deadline items off the list which removes the stress. Most days I cross out all items.
The next thing I do after I’ve been through my manuscript several times, is turn it over to a critique partner. I value their opinions and advice. In the long run I’m still the one who makes the final decision on it before I submit. But I’ve got to tell you, I do take their advice most times.
After the critique partners, I hire an editor to comb though the manuscript and they too make edits/suggests. I know this is an expense, but in the end it helps me to present a professional manuscript for sale. Some writers need more help with content, others with line/copy edits. You know your weaknesses as do I. I go for the line/copy edits.
The last thing I recommend is when the manuscript has been put through all the above steps, put it aside for awhile. Some writers put it aside for months, others for weeks. The time period is up to you. After a few weeks/months take it out and re-read it. You’ll be surprised how many errors, rewrites or corrections you want to make.
Most of all, I suggest you learn to love each step in the process. It will show in your manuscript. Good Luck.
With her head down, she sat at her machine, waiting on the supervisor to come back—to unlock the machine so she could play again. More than anything, she needed to win. A hand landed on her shoulder, startling her. Jerking away, Kyra turned to see who belonged to the hand. Crap, not the supervisor. Joe Dillion, not exactly the person I want to see right now.
“How’s it going?” Her host sat down next to her.
“Not good,” she whined.
“I’m sorry to hear it. You know you have a payment due soon?”
Double crapola. “Yes, I know.”
“Why don’t you leave the machine for a while? Come have something to eat with me?”
What could he be up to, she wonder?
“Why? Kyra, let’s discuss your loan payment over dinner, explore your options.”
What options? There weren’t any. All week she racked her brain trying to find a solution to the mess. Though a quiet guy, Joe scared her. Deep inside, she understood he could destroy her. Not a person she’d want to cross.
“Kyra, please, no one’s going to touch your machine. Maybe a break will change your luck?”
“What the hell. I could eat,” Kyra hissed. Something had to change.
“How about a steak?”
They got up at the same time, bumping into each other. Joe sat back down, let Kyra get up first. He followed her as she headed to the Trenton Steak House. Joe grabbed her arm and pointed to the private elevator that went directly to the entrance to the Whale Room. She looked at him. He smiled.
“What’s up, Joe?”
“I think you need a real break Kyra, so we’ll head up.”
Curiosity got the better of her, but she figured she’d find out what he was up to in good time. Then the fear hit her. Maybe she shouldn’t leave the floor with him. She owed the casino seventy-five thousand dollars. Behind on her payments, she spent three grand tonight trying to win her next payment. Stupid—how could I be so stupid? I should’ve made a partial payment with the three grand instead of gambling tonight.. They wouldn’t beat up her up, would they? Tasting the bile as it violently pushed up from her stomach, scorching a path to her throat. Kyra couldn’t control the tears that flooded into her eyes when she started to choke.
“Are you all right, Kyra?”
“I don’t want to leave the public floor, Joe.” Kyra’s hands shook along with her entire body. Unable to control her voice as it cracked, her mind searching for an escape.
“I have a deal for you but I can’t discuss it in an open area. We’ll discuss it upstairs, over dinner.” He smiled.
Oh yeah, she thought, the farmer leading the cow to the slaughter. “What kind of deal?”
“We’ll discuss it upstairs,” he repeated firmly.
“You’re not going to break my legs or anything, are you?” she half-heartily joked.
“No such thing, Kyra. Relax.” Now’s the time too really worry, she thought. Just like the “trust me” phrase, it gave her the willies.
* * * *
Joe Dillon studied Kyra as they rode up in the elevator. To look at her, you’d never guess she’d lost control of her life. He liked her curves, her lips, and the wild, curly red hair. Shorter than he, she stood about five feet four inches—he didn’t like looking up at a woman. Too many women today were taller than he. He looked into her green, green eyes, his mind taking off in all directions. Not now, Joe. Kyra’s not worth the trouble. He knew she had a son—her divorce a by-product of gambling. The boss told him this morning she was losing custody of her son. What woman gambles to the point of losing her child? Joe thought about the deal he’d be offering her, dragging her down even further. He pushed the guilt from his mind. Not my fucking problem. Kyra did this to herself. If I ever caught Camile gambling, I’d break her legs. Joe saw what gambling did to families. Too much heartache for too little reward, he mused.
Joe thought of the deal he’d lay on the table for her—two choices—wondering which one she’d choose. Neither was pleasant. I’m only the messenger. That’s how he justified his work. Blinded by greed, these people put themselves in this position with their gambling addictions.
* * * *
She needed to remember the hosts were sharks. Their jobs were simple. They had to get you to put your money into the machines. They didn’t care where it came from, as long as you put it into the machine. Nor did they care if it destroyed your life. They got paid by their successes. Kyra guessed she was one of Joe’s successes because her life was in ruins.
“Okay.” Taking a deep breath as she stepped into the elevator, Kyra gave him a sideward glance as he pressed the button for thirty-six.
The elevator stopped and the doors glided open smoothly. Kyra had heard the rumors about this floor. Had always been curious to see it. The other gamblers in the private rooms talked about this floor, but you only got to go up here if you were invited, or if you were what they called a Whale. A Whale: a person who spent big bucks. Not thousands, but hundreds of thousands, even millions—the casinos catered to them. What they asked for, they got: wine, song, and women. The Whales mingled with the casino owners and the big-name entertainers who performed at the casinos. The owners were their hosts.
Kyra stepped off the elevator, taking in her surroundings with a keen eye. The Monet on the wall, the oriental carpets, fine bone china and lead crystal wine glasses on the tables. Big money, she thought. If she could only get a tiny bit of it, she could survive—straighten out her life.
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