Monday, April 1, 2013

Excerpt from Rhythm of Love

Rhythm of Love is a novel by Maria De Angeles, a romance writer whose short stories were published on the website Oysters and Chocolate. She has also self-published a collection of short stories, titled Decadent Tales. Keep up with this busy author on Facebook and Twitter.

Her most recent work, Rhythm of Love narrates a romance that takes place in the music industry. It is available for Amazon Kindle, and an excerpt from the novel appears below.


Niko had known what he was doing when he hired Amber. Two weeks into working, Amber realized that her work history had trained her for this particular job. Her role was not so different from the one she had played at the liquor distributor. With the difference that her expense account was bigger and she had access to more VIP treatment, she was still getting paid to socialize with clients. The main difference was that now the clients were DJs, publicists and the like who should be kept content to boost the fame of Nostra Records' artists.

Of course it wasn't all fun and games. The downside of working for a small label was that she really had three jobs. She did marketing, some talent scouting and as Niko had promised she had to put in office hours. At times she began to feel like his personal assistant as well because as he'd begun to say, “No one gets the job done like you.” It was a compliment to her overachiever nature but it also meant she would need to haggle for a higher salary once the time was right. Which would hopefully be after she landed Santos and Cortes a contract. For the time being, she was busy promoting the existing talent pool at Nostra. Within a few weeks a challenge arose when she tried to get a DJ at one of the two most popular Latin stations to give one of their artists airtime.

"Sorry babe, our airtime is limited this week," DJ Rey announced to her flatly, turning down the Yankees baseball tickets Niko had suggested she send over.

"You've got to have something," Amber pressed, knowing that "no" was not an option in Niko's book. Especially not when he had lucked out on scoring Luna, a young Latina Italian American songstress. Her catchy song had been watched by throngs of teenagers on YouTube and had been the most downloaded song of the week. She had chosen Nostra records over the top labels for the "family" charm of their small staff. Her only competition was a young country singer who had decided to release a song in Spanish to cash in on the Latin market. Niko and Luna's manager wouldn't be thrilled if the country singer got more airtime than her.

"I'm going to be upfront with you," DJ Rey revealed. "I already have tickets to this game. You're not offering me anything that the other representation won't give so I don't really have a good reason to give you priority."

"Other than the fact that the song's in demand by every high school kid and tween out there?" He was a DJ, wasn't it his job to play music people wanted to hear? Couldn't he just sell the tickets or give them to his friends?

Rey laughed, "That's not how it works mami. You give me something and I find slots for your artist."

Suddenly a grimy feeling crept into Amber. Was he asking her to bribe him to play the music? "I'll have to get back to you." She tried to hide her nervousness and hung up the phone. After some thought, she brought up the dilemma to Niko.

"Work something out with him. You speak the same language."

"Just because we both speak Spanish doesn't mean I can convince him to do something," Amber huffed. "It doesn't work that way."

Niko laughed, "Whoa that's not what I meant at all. You're the same age range. Same generation, same lingo, you'd understand him better than me. I'm sure you can figure out what he'd want."

"Oh. Well in that case, that's ageist," she joked, realizing she’d been too quick to get defensive. There was a pause as his words sank in. "Umm isn't that basically bribery? Figuring out what he wants and then giving it to him?"

"If you want to look at it that way. It's how this business works. If we don't do it, someone else will. Take care of it." He turned his attention back to his desk, which was his way of saying there was nothing left to discuss.

As Amber walked back to her office it suddenly sank in that this was a little different from her old job. Or was it? Her old clients bought the products because they were good and in demand and she was simply giving them incentives to keep buying. Now she had a product that was very much in demand but it was being refused airtime because she had to give a higher incentive. Was it different or was it the same thing done in a different order?

"Is this really how it works?" she asked Bianca in the cafeteria over her third cup of coffee. It was one of the days Bianca had come in to help her father with work.

"As far as I know, yes. I guess it sucks because artists get heard for having someone with connections backing them up not for their talent but there's not a lot we can do about it. Most people are more discreet about it though. I'm surprised Rey had the guts to put it like that. You must seem trustworthy to him."

"Suddenly I get why so much terrible music is popular," Amber thought aloud.

"Look at it this way. Daddy wants to work with talented people as much as you do." Bianca noticed that Amber was giving her a cynical look. "Okay I know what you're thinking. Luna's music isn't exactly a masterpiece but teens like that sort of thing. My point is there are more talented artists out there and they deserve to be heard. If we don't play the game and try to top our competitors then we'll never make it far enough to stay in the business and give those artists an opportunity."

Like Cortes and Santos, Amber thought. Her heart always held onto the feeling that the world needed to hear Cortes' music. "I get you."

"We can't change the way things are, we can only change the way we react to them."

"And my reaction should be to buy Rey," Amber scoffed.

"Where's that competitive overachiever I know?" Bianca prodded. "You'll find a way." She winked at her.

Amber downed her coffee and used the caffeine rush to dive back into negotiations. Rey answered his phone so smugly she almost hung up on him. "Tell me amorcito."

"I'm not psychic," she retorted.

"You got fuego girl," he teased. Yes, her attitude was organically laced with fire.

"I'll tell you what I want. You work with Mi Gente, maybe you know some of those models to get me a date with."

"Rey," she whispered into the phone spilling fine honey, "You know with your charms you'll be able to get yourself a date with one of the models. What I can do is get them to host a party with VIP treatment and open bar for you." She wasn't bluffing. With her liquor contacts she could set up the party and the bar would be happy to pay a model for the guest appearance if she had a liquor sponsor.

"Tato, but I want compromising pictures of her and me in Mi Gente."

Amber laughed, "Deal." It would be cake to get her editor to okay it. They lived for that type of garbage.

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