Thursday, July 30, 2015

Feature 3L Publishing Author -- Syndee Hendricks, Step Aside, Get Out of Your Own Way

1.        Why did you decide to write Step Aside, Get Out of Your Own Way?

While facilitating workshops, I found many participants were not able to afford coaching to improve their lives and then go on to fulfill their life's purpose.  I wanted to offer some of my coaching and tools to them and anyone who wanted to improve their lives for the price of a book.
2.        What was your greatest challenge in writing the book?
Writing the book was the easiest part of the process.  It’s in the details to creating the book that was challenging and time consuming!  I’m so fortunate to have had a seasoned professional publisher who was able to meet the challenges.
3.        How did you find 3L Publishing and why did you decide to work with them?
I had known Bo Bradley previously and found Michelle Gamble-Risley through her.  When I finished the Table of Contents, I began shopping for a publisher.  After interviewing three different companies, I selected 3L Publishing because of their competitive price structure, the incredible offerings, and my intuition was guiding me to them.
4.        What is your advice to first-time authors to make the experience as positive as possible?
For those who struggle with the beginning process, hire a writing coach to get you started.  As many have said, the first step to any goal is always the most difficult!  Your book will never be written until you take that first step … the world is waiting to hear from you!  Then, of course, find a publisher who is compatible with you and your goals.
5.        Who is your favorite author?

Without question my favorite author is Earl Nightingale.  He has been called the father of positive motivation and is responsible for the positive direction and passion in my life.  I “met” him through his writings as a teenager through my first job.  He continues to mentor me through his words.

6.        You have psychic gifts, how did you discover those abilities?
Interestingly enough, I thought everyone just "knew" things.  While out on an afternoon girls’ day, two lifelong friends and I went to a farm wife’s home for a "reading".  I had not had that experience before that sunny day at the farm!  She told me that I was psychic and continued on to tell me many other things no one else could have possibly known — and she told me what was to come.  Though fascinated, I had a very demanding management position that evolved into decades of my long career working in 18 states.  During that career, through a close friend, I met a woman who would become a dear friend.  Marilyn was a retired history teacher, who was psychic and worked as a reader in a bookstore in Atlanta, where I was living at the time.  Marilyn gave me her tarot cards and said, “Read for me.”  I told her that I did not know how to do that.  She asked me a second time to read for her, which I did.  That was my first official “intuitive reading”.  She knew before I did that I was gifted enough to be able to help people through intuitive readings.
Nearly 20 years after that day, and after I came in off the road and had my brick-and-mortar experience, I started a coaching and consulting business.  Two years into it, I decided it was time to investigate those intuitive gifts.  My friend Marilyn has passed away, but I still feel her presence helping me.  To ensure I was offering value to my coaching and consulting clients, I visited several "Intuitives" to inquire about my value to my clients and what training did I need.  After three of them told me I did not need any training, I just needed to add that to my business.  And, of course, now the book and Trilogy of Workbooks.
7.        What is your passion in life?
My passion is clearly stated in my mission statement, which is: 
Syndee Hendricks Personal:  Gratitude, Love, Health, and Happiness are the priorities in life that give special meaning to my journey in this lifetime.  Faith fueled by hope is the conduit that ignites the way into the light to assist others to find their way.
Syndee Hendricks Professional:  My passion is to inspire the possibilities with each person with whom I connect, and assist them in achieving those possibilities so that they can re-invent themselves to live the life they envision.                 
8.        Which would you rather be stuck on -- desert island in the Bermuda Triangle or yacht in the Antarctic?
If I had a choice, I would summer on the yacht so I could enjoy the Antarctic beauty and watch wales, and winter on the Bermuda Triangle desert island!  If I had to choose only one, it would have to be the island, which would probably take me to other unknown places ;-)
9.        What do people not know about you?
I wanted to be an artist growing up as I began drawing at a very young age.  In high school and college, I did freelance art work to help support myself.  I decided on a business degree since I knew I would struggle making a living as an artist.  My goal has always been to return to my art in retirement … someday …
10.     Which do you prefer -- handwriting a note or typing on a computer?
I love to write written copy, and have been told by many that my handwriting is beautiful—very “scripty”.  However, I was timed in college at over 200 words per minute on their IBM Selectric typewriter.  Therefore, for lengthy work, I use the computer for time-saving.
Buy a copy on Amazon (click here)
Buy a copy on 3L Publishing's website (click here)

Monday, July 27, 2015

California Girl Chronicles: Brea's Big Break -- Chapter 4

Kindle Version (click here) - $2.99
Print Version (click here) - 14.95


I rose bright and early, grabbed some coffee from the pot and headed out the door with the goal of getting Kale alone before anyone came to the office. He worked out very early in his private gym at the office, so I planned to catch him then. I soon found myself walking straight down the hall to the gym connected to his office. I swung open the door and there was my insanely attractive man without a shirt on, working on the weights that build the upper back muscles. He was sweaty and glistened in the light. His eyes grew large when I walked in. The attraction was electric. I walked around the rowing machine straight toward him and stopped dead. No greetings were uttered, just silence. For a moment, we stared at each other. He released the weights, grabbed the white towel from around his neck and wiped his moist forehead and face.

“Brea?” He looked at me and waited.

“How are you?” I asked.

He stood there with a strangely intense look on his face. I stepped toward him, and he stepped back. Electricity pulsated between us. I moved forward again, and he moved back again. We then stood in a sort of Western stand off, each of us ready to draw our emotional weapons.

“Good,” he finally answered, his deep blue-green eyes fixed on mine.

In a rare bold mood, I turned and shut the door I had walked through to give us privacy. I turned back around to find Kale’s eyes fixed on my body. Again, silence fell between us. The desire was a fierce urge on both sides as the stares continued.

“Why’d you do that?” he asked in a way that almost dared me to make a move.

“I want to know if you miss me.”

Eyes fixed on mine, he flatly replied, “Every day.” He just stared at me with his intense, focused eyes.

I shifted in shock at the admission and asked, “You do?”

I moved toward him very slowly, waiting to see signs to stop. I soon found myself within inches of his body. He was aroused – and he wasn’t doing anything to rebuff my advances. I slowly but steadily rose up on my tiptoes to reach his tulip-shaped mouth. Our lips brushed at first ever so gently and then Kale grabbed me by the waist in one swift action and pulled me upward so we were pressed together. We kissed so passionately. I had never kissed anyone so deeply and for so long. We kept kissing, and then Kale nudged me away with the same quickness.

“What do you want?” He turned away and grabbed his shirt.

I touched my now empty lips completely perplexed. What did that mean? Was he ready to forgive me or not? “I — I don’t understand.”

“What?” he asked in a vacant way.

“The — the script notes,” I stumbled. “Why so many? Are you going to fire me?”

Kale, who now wore a white racer-back tank top, softened his expression. He looked at me with those magnificent eyes. “No, the financiers wanted changes,” he said quietly as he kept his gaze fixed on mine. “It’s normal, sweetheart. Don’t worry.”

He had used his “sweetheart” endearment with me. I felt a surge of hope. I worked up my courage and walked back toward him. We kept our eyes on each other. He allowed me very close again. I reached up and stroked his rough cheek and then whispered in his ear, “Forgive me.”

Kale grabbed me by each wrist and gently, but firmly pulled me forward. He made sure we were inches away from each other. I could feel his warm breath, eclipsed in desire – the same desire I felt just moments ago. We continued to stare at each other, and then Kale gently pushed me away so we were no longer touching. He looked down. I wasn’t sure if he felt sad, mad or just beaten somehow. I felt an uncontrollable urge to cry, and the tears crept up and spilled over my lids onto my cheeks – this just set Kale off.

“Now you’re going to cry?” he asked in a firm, even voice. He looked away, grabbed a water bottle and took a swig.

I wiped away the tears. “No,” I replied.

Kale took another swig and said, “But you are.” He turned so I could not see his face. “Please don’t cry,” he softly pleaded.

I wiped away my tears and sighed. I decided to steel myself up and get a hold of my reeling emotions. I turned and opened the door. Just as it swung open I saw Monica about to walk in. Our eyes met. She looked startled by the look on my face.

“I’ll have the changes to you by noon,” I said and rushed away.

I could see her walk in the door to Kale and shut it behind her. I imagined her dropping the files she held and rushing into his arms. I had a terrible vision of them fucking right there on the weight seat. I quickly vanquished that terrible thought, but still the expression on her face was revealing. She was surprised and worried at the same time. It was at that moment that I suspected they had become lovers. Kale couldn’t forgive me.

I returned to my office and plunged into the rewrites, determined to drown my pain in my work. Later, I headed out for lunch. I raced right out into the main building, jumped on the elevator, and smacked into a dark-haired, chisel-cheeked guy who was just getting off of the elevator. He was about 6 feet 1 inch and very well-built with broad, muscular shoulders. We hit each other straight on, and I fell backward right into the wall. He immediately grabbed me to help.

“Oh — sorry, darling,” he said sweetly and politely. 

I stood up and smiled brightly at him. “It’s okay.”

His eyebrow arched a little, and he fixed his gaze right on me. “Damn, girl, you’re fine,” he said in such an earnest way. “You here for the auditions, too?”

“No, I don’t act,” I replied.

“Maybe you should,” he grinned. “My name’s Johnny.”

“Brea,” I replied, and I shook his outstretched hand and an electrical charge went straight between us. “What’s the audition?” I asked.

“For some movie, California Girl something,” he said.

“Oh, that’s my movie. I wrote it. What part?”

“Drew something or other,” he replied.

I found myself chuckling. He was a good fit. “You’d make a great Drew,” I replied. “Good luck.”

Johnny stared at me for a moment, nodded and went on his way. Man, this project was loaded with nothing but temptation. I pressed the elevator button and left.

Later that night, my old friend Lance invited me to drinks at the Roosevelt Hotel. I hadn’t seen Lance in weeks, and our relationship had mellowed to the occasional text message. I wondered if he had started seeing someone new, but realized it wasn’t my concern. I had no designs on him, and I wanted his attachment to me to fade. It seemed like it had, which is why I had agreed to drinks. When I arrived at the bar, I spotted him out on the terrace on one of the wicker loveseats with solid pewter-colored cushions. He waved at me and motioned to come out.

As I approached, I noticed he was mildly sweaty in a sexy kind of way and looked bright and happy to see me, but a little tired. He stood up and his green eyes sparkled as he leaned over in all of his tall glory and hugged me long and close. Since I was unattached, I didn’t care. I let him press against me, and he became aroused. All greetings aside, we sat quietly down very close to each other. He told me he had been promoted to managing supervisor at the electrical plant. He started talking about hydraulics until I’m sure my eyes glazed over in boredom. The waitress brought out a bottle of Merlot for us to share, and he obliged and poured me a glass. We then did the requisite cheers and both sat back.

“How’s the script coming?” he suddenly asked.

“Hard,” I replied. “Lots of rewrites. Maybe I’m not cut out for this,” I admitted.

“Giving up so soon?” he asked with a look of concern.

“No, just tired. Speaking of … you look a little tired too,” I said.

Lance contemplated the glass for a moment. “I got diagnosed with lymphoma,” he said quietly.

“What?” I yelped with concern.

“Yep, not the bad kind, but I don’t think there is a ‘good’ kind,” he said. “Man, I don’t know what’s worse: the fucking disease or the doctor’s appointments.”

It occurred to me that he wasn’t seeing someone else – he was preoccupied with doctor’s appointments. I sat back in shock and asked, “You okay?”

He said he was okay, but that the treatment was rough. They were doing a course of radiation for now, which had just started. I listened and all of a sudden I burst into tears. I’m not sure if it was the combination of Kale’s rejection and the bad news or if I just needed to cry. I felt terrible crying in front of my sick friend. Lance frowned at me and suddenly pulled me very close. We hugged for the longest time. I sat back, and he leaned over and deeply kissed me. I didn’t know how to feel about this. I allowed the kissing to continue, and then we both sat back and each took some sips of wine. I felt a strange sort of peacefulness.

“If I were to go tomorrow, I think I would be all right,” said Lance, breaking the silence. “I’ve done what I wanted. Isn’t that the most important thing? I mean, I’m not finished by any means, but you know, it’s cool.”

I was startled by this admission. I reflected briefly on my own short life. I didn’t think I could be that practical. I had not yet done what I wanted. I wasn’t even sure if I felt happy or not. I know in that moment with Lance, I felt glad to be there with him. I felt blessed to give him a brief moment of escape from his illness.

Then I leaned in very close to him and whispered, “Take me to your house.”

Lance grinned and nodded at me. He tossed money on the table, and we headed for his new car, a white Toyota Camry. We didn’t talk on the ride back. I held his hand in support and occasionally broke the grip and ran my fingertips up his arm. Before we even got out of the car, he was completely turned on. We walked arm-in-arm upstairs to his apartment where he used his key to open the door. He then gently swung me around and pushed me inward as he kissed me. As we breached the entrance, he kicked the door closed with the heel of his blue-and-black Sketcher and allowed his hands to move down my back and then forward to run across my breasts. I sucked in air totally caught off guard by his caress. It had been a while since I had been with anyone. I melted a bit and relaxed. I was letting off more than just sexual tension. The stress of the day was slowly rising off my shoulders, relieved by the alcohol that moved through my system.

Lance stood straight up and our eyes met. He took my blue blouse and swiftly and effectively unbuttoned it down the front. He then undid my bra and allowed it to drop to the floor. He reached for the ends of his own shirt, pulled it up and over his head and threw it to the floor. He then undid his pants and dropped them to reveal he had gone commando. His cock stood erect. I dropped to my knees and began to suck on him. My mouth moved forward and backward, and he moaned. He gently touched the top of my head.

“Yeah,” he cried in a very un-Lance-like manner.

I was surprised by my typically nonverbal lover and decided to please him to the end. I figured a sick guy gets to have his way. After all, what if he got sicker and couldn’t partake in sexual activities for a while? I thought I would make this one to remember so I sucked harder, determined for this to be his best blow job ever. He moaned as I ran my tongue up and down his shaft, and then plunged my mouth fully back over him. He was rock hard, and I was certain he might cum when he grabbed me and pulled me up.

He yanked me into his arms and carried me quickly to bed where he gently laid me back. My legs hung forward off of the bed, and he used his own leg to ease them apart so he could penetrate me. He slowly lowered his weight onto my body, and, as he entered, he let go of a deep moan that sounded more like relief. He leaned into me, kissed and sucked on my breast hard and fast. I was gripped in tension and lust. He began to fuck me with more vigor, then leaned forward and kissed me passionately on the lips. He was rhythmically fucking me with passionate intensity, and I reached around and grabbed his firm ass. My arousal went way up. He had a great, firm ass. I pushed him into me and began to rub on him. The tension built, and it felt so great. He moaned a little, and I knew he was about to cum, which turned me on even more. I gasped, and he moaned. We came together, and he grunted as I screamed. Then we both fell away from each other, breathing heavily.

I sat up on my elbows and brightly smiled at him. “If I were the last girl you fucked, would it be worth it?”

Lance let out a great laugh and replied, “Absolutely!”

He grabbed me and pulled me into a kiss. He then looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Thank you.”

I nodded and said, “You’re welcome … stud!” and reached around and slapped his ass. We both laughed at that joke.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Insider Secrets to Successfully Writing and Marketing Sales-Worthy Screenplay: $99

Location: Red Lion Inn, Sacramento
Address: 500 Leisure Lane
Date: August 20, 2015
Time: 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Want to write a marketable screenplay? Have you already written a screenplay but can’t seem to sell it? Join Scott D. Roberts as he teaches the Insider Secrets to Successfully Writing a Sales-Worthy Screenplay.

In this 3-hour workshop you’ll learn 10 Key Tips to

·  How to write an enticing log line
·  What is the “acceptable” structure to Act 1, Act 2/second part of Act 2, and Act 3?
·  Why does exciting “pacing” make or break a script?
·  What is the value of storyboarding?
·  The importance of writing scenes on 40 index cards
·  How to use the “Pacing Breakdown” as your pitch guide
·  How to utilize your storyboard to write your script
·  Do’s and Don't’s and bad habits to avoid
·  Why you’re not finished when you think you’re finished
·  How to get your script read with the right people

Awarding-winning author Scott D. Roberts, whose critically acclaimed thriller Vengeance is Now ( was published in 2013, takes the helm as 3L Publishing’s new President. After working on various 3L Publishing projects since 2012, Scott D. Roberts officially accepted a partnership as President of 3L Publishing effective in January 2015.

Roberts brings years of experience working in the creative arts and publishing. He has already worked as editor, book coach and collaborator on numerous 3L Publishing projects, including the critically acclaimed and top-selling Dropped-Off Dog (A Mostly-True “Tail”) by Catherine Lagorio, 10 Powerful Women, and dozens of other custom published or private projects.

Roberts’ own writing career has been impressive. He is the author of the award-winning novel, Vengeance Is Now (VIN), which is the first story in the Tate Holloway series. VIN placed as a finalist in the Indie Excellence Awards and was twice-named “Best in New Fiction” for 2013 by the critics. Roberts was also voted as one of the 50 Great Writers You Should Read by the Author’s Show.
He’s also the writer, producer, and co-director of the award-winning documentary, Gas Hole, narrated by Peter Gallagher and is preparing to film Gas Hole 2 in 2015. He’s written over 50 screenplays and TV shows during a career that spans over 20 years and has had his projects optioned and/or developed by New Line, Warner Brothers, Paramount, MGM, EUE/Screen Gems and Columbia. He is excited to release his second book Hidden Agenda in summer 2015 and looks forward to more stories involving the heroic but flawed character of Tate Holloway.

As 3L Publishing’s president and creative visionary, he will be expanding book trailer and video production, overseeing print and digital publishing (eBooks), developing and acquiring manuscripts for traditional publishing, and working on the expansion of the fiction catalog. Roberts is an excellent book coach and collaborator and looks forward to working even closer with the authors to make their dreams come true.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

3L Publishing Makes a Book Deal with Stephen Marinaro

3L Publishing is proud to announce the signing of Stephen Marinaro, known to millions around the world as "TheSalonGuy™," to a book deal. His yet "untitled" book will be released in the Summer of 2016 and will chronicle the rise of his empire to inspire and motivate entrepreneurs to chase their dreams.

With 20-plus years of experience as a hairstylist and media personality, Stephen Marinaro, TheSalonGuy™, focuses on bringing fashion, beauty, inspiration, and entertainment to millions of people. Whether he is offering style advice or chatting with stars on the red carpet, Stephen lives by his values of professionalism, respect, and passion for his work.

Stephen reaches his millions of followers through television, internet and radio. His highly viewed YouTube channel, ( features styling tutorials, motivational tools, and special-event coverage. His channel just broke 21 million views, and is currently averaging 1.5 million views per month. Stephen is currently signed with CDS, the 9th largest YouTube Network in the world.

I am beyond flattered and thankful that 3L Publishing recognized me not only as a hard working entrepreneur but for wanting me to share my story with the world,” said Marinaro. “This is a dream come true, and I'm very excited to be working with 3L.”

Stephen has been featured and seen on Style Network, TMZ Live, GMA Live as well as in print magazines. Stephen also was a radio host for his own show "In The Chair". Stephen has conducted interviews with celebrities such as Sophia Vergara, James Franco, Steve Buscemi, Terrence Jenkins, Pamela Anderson, Daisy Fuentes, Michelle Rodriguez, Dita Von Teese, Nick Cannon, Frederic Fekkai, Kelly Cutrone, Thomas Jane, Chaske Spencer, Megan Hilty, Alyssa Milano, Doris Roberts, Ed Asner, Regis Philbin, Jon Voight, Jenna Dewan-Tatum and many others.

He has also interviewed cast members of several hit shows on networks that include Style, Bravo, MTV, NBC, ABC, and HBO. He also covers red carpet and fashion events that include the Oscars, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. He has worked with top brands such as Dior, L'Oreal, Paul Mitchell, Zang Toi, Rachel Roy, Salon Centric, OK! TV, DePasquale, Nike Communications, The Art of Shaving, Beauty Press, Rock Your Hair, Malan Breton, Ted Gibson and many more. 

Whether Stephen is working in front of the camera or behind the scenes, one thing is certain: TheSalonGuy™ brings a unique blend of creativity, experience and enthusiasm to every project. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

New Release - Passenger from Greece: Read the Best Plane Crash Scene

Now on Sale Exclusively on the 3L Publishing Website.

Chapter 1

Olivia Reid clutched the counter of the galley with both hands as the aircraft lurched and shook. She had experienced turbulence during her two years as a flight attendant, but this felt ominous—as if the plane would fall apart at any moment. Was her overactive imagination at work again? She steadied herself, stepped out of the galley, and checked down the aisle for any trouble. Except for two passengers staring back at her, their faces flushed with dwindling fear, all seemed well.
Returning to her chores, Olivia peeked through the porthole of the galley door on South Air’s Flight 223 as it headed to Bogota, Colombia, from JFK International. The warm sunlight on her face immediately calmed her. She hated clear air turbulence—all you got were sudden jolts with no warning from the cockpit.
She grabbed two bags of regular and decaffeinated coffee from a drawer below the counter, filled both coffeepots, and listened as hot liquid trickled down through the ground coffee. Its rich aroma wafted through the air, and anticipation of the new destination she was about to explore filled her. One more of many.
Olivia walked to the entrance of the tourist class cabin and looked toward the aft galley. Good, the girls in the back are walking through the aisle with plastic bags to collect trash; soon they’ll be cleaning up the galley. Then, through the growl of the engines, she heard raised voices. They were coming from an elegant middle-aged woman in 8A, who busied herself lecturing the teenage girl sitting next to her. The young girl kept trying to speak.
“But, Mom . . . Mom, you’re not listening to me.” The woman paid no attention to her daughter’s protests; she kept talking at the top of her lungs and gesturing antagonistically with her hands. The teenage girl eventually relented, rolled her eyes, and let her mother rant on. The other passengers nearby glared at the woman as if to say “shut the hell up.”
Olivia cringed. My God, that reminds me of my mother. Her mother, Miss Birdie, was the most domineering person she knew, and she had decided to remove herself from maternal control as soon as she became an adult, and cast aside all family pressures, establish her own identity, travel the world—maybe she would even date someone from another part of the Earth. Olivia now passionately pursued her dream, flying to destinations that ranged from Port of Spain in Trinidad to Tel Aviv in Israel. Liberation had become her mantra.
As she poured a cup of coffee for a passenger sitting in 4A, Olivia thought how much she missed her grandmother, Sedith, who had raised her from when she was four years old at
Twickenham, the old sugarcane plantation in Jamaica that had been passed down through the generations. Then another thought disturbed Olivia’s peace; her mother had returned to Jamaica from England when Olivia was only eight, bringing with her a stronghold that both choked and stifled her.
But life is exciting now. Sharing the New York City crash pad with six flight attendants from different countries is an adventure all its own, Olivia thought as she balanced the tray loaded with cups, spoons, and cream and sugar in one hand and hefted the coffeepot in the other.
“Would you like a cup of coffee before we land, sir?” she asked the passenger in row 5.
“No thanks. But, I would like to know your name,” he said staring up at her with the most enchanting hazel eyes she had ever seen. She blushed as he seemed to drink in her appearance. Olivia was decked out in her navy-blue flight attendant pantsuit, black pumps, and a blue-and-beige silk scarf tied smartly around her collar. She wore her long wavy black hair parted down the middle and had it pulled back into an ample braid that flowed down her back. She proudly displayed the new pin on her jacket, which showed that after a recent promotion she was now an ISM—an International Service Manager.
“Olivia,” she responded.
“Niko Kostas, Olivia. Are you Brazilian?”
“Jamaican,” she answered. “Where are you from?”
 Olivia’s eyes quickly took in his smooth olive complexion and the silky dark-brown hair that hung loosely on his broad shoulders. His lean, muscular body boasted a pair of light khaki pants and matching shirt, which was open in front. Underneath, a black silk T-shirt hugged his chest and flaunted his taut stomach.
He wore light-brown leather loafers and no socks; sleek short hairs wandered up his ankles. He was one gorgeous, exotic man.
“I’m from Greece, and you’re the most stunning woman I’ve ever seen,” he complimented.
Blood rushed to her face under his intense gaze.
“What are you?” he asked.
“I’m an ISM,” she said while pointing to her name tag.
“No,” he laughed, “what ethnicity?”
“Oh,” she answered with a chuckle. “I’m a mix of white, black, and East Indian.”
“Wow, what an exotic blend. Can you imagine the beautiful babies we’ll make together?” He flashed her a roguish smile.
“I beg your pardon—I plan to be married before I even think about having children, thank you very much.”
His eyes twinkled. “In that case, we better get to know each other right away.”
Flabbergasted, Olivia muttered something unintelligible and quickly moved on to the other passengers.
“Have dinner with me tonight in Bogota?” he called out.
What an arrogant, self-absorbed jerk, she thought as she headed back to the galley, not wanting him to see her flushed face. Maria Gonzalez joined her a moment later.
“Everything okay in the back?” Olivia asked.
“All except for a couple of passengers complaining about the turbulence,” Maria answered. “But we settled them down. Funny what a free cocktail can do.”
“Good, I’m not in the mood for any excitement today.” Olivia finished stowing the coffee and turned with a smile. “Come on, let’s catch up. You worked Europe and Tel Aviv all last month and we barely saw each other at the crash pad.”
“Great idea—let’s get out of this galley,” Maria said.
Maria was a spirited twenty-two-year-old Latina with a strong tropical flavor, and they had met and connected during training two years earlier. Olivia looked at her Puerto Rican friend and thought how beautiful she was—and what a big heart she had.
But there was a conflicted aura about her, and she sometimes expressed dread when she had to visit Puerto Rico to see her parents. When Olivia tried to get her to open up, her reply was always, “Someday—when the time is right.”
As they sat together on the front jump seat they shared during takeoff, Olivia said, “I just got back from spending time in Jamaica with my family.”
“Oh my God, how is that amazing grandmother of yours?”
“Sedith is wonderful,” she said.
“Is she still telling those great stories about the old sugarcane plantation? What’s it called again—Twicktham?” Maria asked.
“That’s close, girl. It’s Twickenham,” Olivia said. “Clinton and I had a great time. She nurtured us with good food and lots of love. And her stories—she keeps me centered.” Olivia smiled as she thought of her grandmother and her brother Clinton, who was now an FBI agent living in Los Angeles. “It was amazing spending time with two of my closest friends. Much needed. How was your trip to Puerto Rico? Is your family—?”
The phone on the wall above their heads shrilled. Olivia grabbed it. “Hello?”
“This is Captain Jackson. Get the other flight attendants together and come to the cockpit immediately.”
Uneasiness crawled up her spine. “Something is wrong, Maria. The Captain wants us in the cockpit, now.” She stood and gestured with her hand to the two flight attendants sitting on the aft jump seat. After they hurried to the front of the aircraft, she opened the cockpit door and all four of them quietly filed in.
First Officer Stewart was frantically flipping switches up, then down. The back of his neck was flushed red under his short-cropped brown hair. There was another jolt—followed by a more violent vibration. The aircraft’s floor felt as if it was about to give way beneath them. Olivia grabbed the back of the first officer’s chair, her heart leaping to her throat. Maria desperately held back tears. Amy and Francesca, the other flight attendants, clung to each other, their eyes bulging with trepidation.
At the controls, Captain Jackson turned around to face them.
The captain’s face was red, and the hair on his head was mussed and grayer than she remembered. Two deep lines furrowed his brow. “Ladies, prepare both galleys and all passengers for an emergency landing.” His carefully chosen words struck Olivia with dread. The other flight attendants stood around her, transfixed.
“We’ve lost engine one, and we’re expecting a dual engine flameout with loss of power in both engines. We need to land at the basin of the Orinoco River, about thirty miles from Bogota.
The good news—help is already on the way. The bad news—it’s a swamp with some of the largest crocs and anacondas this side of the world.”
Olivia breathed in deeply and shuddered as she struggled to maintain composure. She was about to die. They were about to die. She pursed her lips tightly so the others would not see them quivering. I must keep it together—I will not panic—we will survive this. I promised my grandmother I would help her pay the taxes on Twickenham now that Bartley, her no-good husband, has disappeared. Keep it together, Olivia.
Her thoughts were interrupted by Captain Jackson. “This is critical, so listen carefully: As soon as you get survivors off the plane, move them to drier ground immediately—no delays. It’s the only way to survive the swamp waiting for us below.”
The captain looked quickly at each of them, his jaw tight. His countenance softened, but the line between his brows grew deeper.
“Go on . . . and be brave!”
Pushing down panic, Olivia and her fellow flight attendants rushed to stow trays, coffeepots, and dishes. They fastened all latches in the galleys and above the passenger seats. If she survived, it would be on her to help all wounded passengers and keep them calm. After all, she was now the ISM.
The first-class passengers were restless. Niko Kostas was staring at her, a calm yet questioning look on his face. The obnoxious woman in Seat 4A stared at her, her lips shaking; her baby-blue eyes widened as the aircraft began to vibrate. Hands extended above her head, the woman began jerking up and down as she frantically tugged at the bell above her seat. Amy and Francesca forced a terror-stricken passenger back into his seat in the tourist-class cabin. The aircraft began to shake violently.
Captain Jackson’s calm and somber voice reverberated through the plane. “Ladies and gentlemen, the flight attendants are preparing the cabin for an emergency landing. We’re losing power in both engines and need to land now. Help is on the way and should get to us soon. It’s critical that you stay as calm as possible and do everything your flight attendants instruct you to do.”
“Oh my God, we’re going down—we’re going to die!” the passenger in seat 4A screamed.
“Jesus in heaven, help us,” yelled a passenger sitting in an aisle seat in the front row of the aft cabin, her fists tight and shaking. The airplane made a horrible grinding noise as it lurched forward. More screams, prayers, panic, tears, and questions filled the cabin as Olivia screamed instructions over the din. There was a dreadful, interminable silence as everyone froze with shock. Then the plan lurched and began a steep descent.
“Fasten your seat belts immediately,” Maria ordered, bringing an urgent end to the silence.
“Keep your heads down—grab your knees. Hold on for dear life!” Olivia yelled as the plane vibrated so uncontrollably, everyone shook in their seats.
Adrenaline rushing, Olivia checked one last time to make sure everyone was braced for the landing and spotted the strange sight of a man in seat 5A sitting calmly amid the mayhem. It was Niko Kostas. Suddenly, a thin gray smoke invaded the fuselage.
“Oh God,” Olivia whispered to Maria. Then she felt Captain Jackson beginning to perform his miracle. She glanced over to seat 5A; Kostas still sat calmly upright, and now he was staring out the window.
She screamed at him. “Get down and brace yourself, now!”
This time, he acquiesced.
Olivia shut her eyes as Flight 223 lost altitude and embarked on a torturous descent.
             She knew that engine number two was gone, and she felt as if the aircraft had become a huge imposing glider. There was an eerie silence during what seemed an eternity.
Maria maintained a death grip on her right hand, and they locked arms tightly as they both chanted, “We must stay calm . . . stay calm . . . we must stay calm.”
Olivia’s body shook—it was all she could do not to pee in her pants and scream uncontrollably. She heard screams, moans, and cries for God as the aircraft touched down, slamming the ground violently. A deafening explosion punished her ears, followed by more horrible loud grinding noises. Olivia imagined the pilots struggling to bring the aircraft to a stop.
She wished she could see outside, but the porthole was way above her head, and rising from the jump seat was a bad idea.
From the sounds around her, she imagined they were plowing through trees and charging through marshlands. She quietly prayed.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil . . .”
Maria joined her. “For thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me . . . surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life . . .”
Cold sweat meandered down Olivia’s armpits and under her breasts, and she bristled. She felt Maria trembling next to her. Flight 223 moved erratically through dirt and lush vegetation, and Olivia had a sinking feeling that it would never stop.
As they got to “in the house of the Lord, forever, amen,” Olivia lifted her head from the braced position and cringed with disbelief at the sight before her. Jagged light streamed in from the ceiling of the aircraft. The back half of the plane’s fuselage trailed behind the rest of the aircraft at an angle, with sparks and smoke creating a hellish scene. Passengers in the seats behind the fuselage’s crack howled, their faces red with terror. They clutched their seat belts, hair askew and bodies vibrating as the plane sped frantically ahead. One passenger was slumped over, and his head dangled lifelessly—Olivia could tell that his neck was broken.
She glanced at the faces of the two flight attendants strapped to the aft jump seat. Her colleagues were howling too, their faces contorted with horror and pain.
The seats in the back of the plane vanished as the aircraft broke into two pieces and passengers in the back were sucked into a hole of blasphemous fire. The only thing missing was the brimstone Parson Mitchell used to preach about in Sedith’s old country church. Olivia clutched the edge of the jump seat, waiting for her heart to stop pounding. She shook as what was left of the aircraft sped ahead, the gaping hole in front of her splattered with crimson and gray as if from a boiling cauldron of blood and ashes. Olivia’s flesh stung as the salty sea wind blew sand and ashes violently into her face. Who would have thought that sand could be so fierce and scathing?
Olivia’s body was glued to the back of the jump seat as the plane came to a grinding halt. She grimaced with pain—the seat belt must have sliced her gut, but she couldn’t worry about that now. Oh God, she thought, I’m alive. Now I must get everyone ready to evacuate.
A dense silence filled the air. A folded baby stroller fell from the overhead bin over seat 10C, and passengers were frozen in their seats, grimacing with shock and fear. Olivia’s insides quivered with relief and dread.
Okay, so you thought you were fearless when you ran through the bushes of Twickenham as a child? Let’s see what you’re made of now, Olivia thought as what was left of the plane hissed and groaned into position on the swampland.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

California Girl Chronicles: Brea's Big Break - Chapter 3


That night, I went home tired. Denise wasn’t home, as was mostly the case these days. She and her boss spent most nights together, leaving the apartment partially paid for by her but virtually vacant. She kept some of her clothes here still, but it was all for appearances. She had set up camp at her boss’ home in Calabasas. I was fine with it. I was working late and fully consumed in my professional life. I didn’t want any distractions, and Denise was – if anything else good for distractions. She was either getting dressed to leave or talking about her latest work drama that was heightened by the affair with her boss. I mostly listened and laughed at the dramatic subterfuge she managed to conjure up.

I was eating some leftover lasagna when a knock came to my door. I wasn’t expecting anyone, so I was surprised to find Letty standing there when I opened the door. She had dyed her hair purple and was wearing chic white sunglasses that were a throwback to ’80 retro Raybans.

“Letty!” I cried as she sprung on me so that we fell backward into my apartment onto the sage green carpet.

She laughed uproariously and straddled me as I fell onto my back. She pretended to slap me for a moment and then got up. “Doll face!” she cried with enthusiasm. “Let’s get out of here! You look bored.”

I started laughing. She wasn’t my boss anymore, as I had said goodbye to what Kale had called “bikini hell” a little over two months ago. Letty, in true style and form, wore a jean mini-skirt with a pink T-shirt that said “Up Yours!” which clashed with her purple hair. She looked appropriately chic and rebellious all at once.

I agreed to go to the local dive bar and hang out. I pulled on a simple pair of jeans, platform sandals and my own familiar T-shirt with my least favorite but still sentimental phrase on it: “Love My Coconuts.” I wore it to honor Letty, who I had not seen in months.

About 30 minutes later, we found ourselves sitting on barstools, eating stale tiny pretzels and drinking shots of Patron. I had two shots and that was quite enough to catch a zing of a buzz. Letty had three shots, and she was drunk and happy. She giggled her way through the conversation, which eventually led to questions about Drew’s fate. She said he quit the day after I left.

“Whore!” she crowed. “He left me! It’s all your fault.” She laughed. She threw a pretzel and hit my forehead.

I began laughing. “Sorry! But you didn’t lose much,” I replied and threw a pretzel back.

“Oh, fuck him,” she cried. “You know he told me he fucked you … twice!” she started cackling.

In the past, this announcement would have made me angry. Now, I was just disgusted and not surprised. “I see, he kissed and told,” I replied.

Letty leaned in with a grin. “I fucked him once in the back room,” she admitted and laughed. “It was okay,” she added.

“Supply closets,” I muttered in disgust. “Well, he fucked many,” I said as I lifted my glass. “Cheers!”

Letty obliged back, and our glasses made a “clink” as they purposefully collided. Letty settled down a moment and became thoughtful. “I think he really loved you, Brea.”

I glanced over at her and considered that suggestion. “Maybe,” I replied. “He hurt me though, and that’s enough of that.”

“Hey, I got a part in a skincare commercial,” she announced with pride. “It’s national with lines,” she added.

I nodded. “That’s really great! Good for you.”

Later that evening, Letty and I parted ways. We made no future plans to see each other, but somehow I suspected it wouldn’t be long. She mentioned that she was considering a job at the San Diego store and might move, but then she was flighty so I wasn’t sure if she was serious. She seemed to be tinkering with the idea. She said her on-again, off-again boyfriend Rocco had moved, but that she wasn’t sure she should follow. Since I was in no position to preach about moving for boyfriends, I refrained from giving her any advice.

I returned to the apartment to find the door ajar. I grabbed my cell phone to call 911 and peered in the door to see if anyone was there or something was disturbed. Upon a quick inspection everything appeared fine. I nervously crept and looked first in the two bedrooms that were directly across from each other and then the bathroom. No one was there. I began to wonder if I had left the door open on accident when I turned and was stunned to see Curtis standing in the doorway. My heart jumped up, and I grabbed and yanked the door fully open. It was nearly 9:00 p.m.

“Curtis!” I yelled. “What are you doing here?”

Curtis stepped forward and looked around. “You all right?”

“Jesus! Fine! What do you need?” I snapped at him.

Curtis extended another folder loaded with papers. My eyes nearly popped out of my head – more notes! “Kale asked me to drop these off so you could look them over before our production meeting in the morning.”

I grabbed the stack and barked, “Since when are you a messenger?”

“I’m not,” he stepped completely in and smiled at me. “I wanted to see you.”

“Does Kale know that?” I sniped.

“No,” he replied and then, made another move toward me. “Do you want to go for drinks?”

“No, I just came back,” I replied and softened a bit as I realized I was yelling at one of my bosses, who for all intents and purposes really hadn’t done anything to deserve the barking. After all, he didn’t break into my apartment. And for all I knew, I had left that door ajar.

“Look, I’m harmless,” he suddenly offered. “I just like you. Let’s go out and relax. I’ll tell you what’s going on.”

I stood upright and straight and mulled it over. I did want to know what was going on. Why was I getting almost a complete rewrite of the script? Should I be worried? Curtis seemed to be offering me somewhat of an olive branch. Then I became concerned about his obvious pursuit and the ramifications, so I quickly shook my head.

“No, really, I’m tired,” I said. “Is that okay with you?”

Curtis nodded. “I get it.”

He stepped into the hallway, turned and said, “See you tomorrow.”

My heart was still racing. I wondered what was going on. I looked at the new stack of notes and sighed. I read a few and realized some of them conflicted with the last batch. Who was I supposed to follow? Too many chefs in the kitchen would make my job harder. I quickly decided to sit down with Kale in the morning and feel out the situation. I was all too aware that I was new at this, and I heard the stories about endless rewrites and scripts sitting with renewed options that never ended and studios never produced the films. I also feared they would shut down the entire project or replace me if I couldn’t cut it. I was so consumed with worry that I didn’t sleep well that night.