Empire of the Damned: The Systematic Undoing of Chloe McDonald
Chloe McDonald must do whatever it takes to break the glass ceiling at Deutchen Bond Advertising. But first she must break her self-imposed limitations, expectations, and stereotype to realize, she was the only one holding herself back. And then break out of jail.
Ten years in the making, Chloe McDonald is just about to get a big promotion. Proud she’s done it by simply doing the hard work, Chloe has spent her career forging the façade of a tough New Yorker that can steel herself for any corporate storm while constructing a body of work to take her to the top.
A week before the big pitch that will seal her promotion, her fiancé breaks off their engagement without explanation. Chloe’s façade begins to disintegrate; collapsing, and the career she worked so hard to build is on the brink of ruin. Just when she hits bottom, wallowing in self pity, the floor falls even further and she finds herself in jail on charges ranging from assault and kidnapping to racial discrimination.
The truth is, Chloe McDonald is a terminal good girl, unwilling to break rules. No good deed goes unpunished and she finds herself in court, out of a job, and under her domineering mother’s roof. Finally, when she is stripped of her façade fully, she can stop wallowing in the “Why me?” mentality and instead ask, “Why not me?” to turn her devastating personal, professional, and legal state of affairs into her biggest success to date.
Empire of the Damned: The Systematic Undoing of Chloe McDonald
Everything’s Great! (And other lies I tell my mother.)
Love. Loss. And Louis Vuitton
Branded: Confessions of a Charlatan
Women’s upmarket fiction
We’re all damaged
Finding the comedy in the pain of loss of love, career and self respect.
Finding one’s self in the crush and rush of NYC to find a foothold, a community, and a sense of home.
A rising star on Madison Avenue is posed to be anointed the first female creative director at a five-star old-school boutique, but when her fiancé breaks the engagement days before her mentor dies at work, and the big pitch that will cinch her promotion, she must find her way through the cut-throat agency gauntlet alone.
Being nice and being taken vs. taking care of business.
Everyone can hear Chloe coming from a mile away. It’s not uncommon for her male counterparts to steal her work, her best team members, or her taxi. She doesn’t seem to care, she’s a team player. And she’s really talented. However, her partner decides she’s a little too good and sets out to set her back when a position opens up that she will most likely get, but he really wants. The office, the salary, the bonuses, and the cachet are much more important than his integrity and a game well, and fairly, played. Unfortunately, Chloe doesn’t realize she’s being played until it’s almost too late. Blake would much rather lose the account at Chloe’s expense than lose to a promotion.
Secondary Conflict: Social Environment
Chloe’s façade is cracking and she’s falling apart, for all eyes to see. The more her resolve is damaged by her former fiancé, her work, and her bizarre arrest, the more she begins to lose her tough exterior. Her clothes are held together by safety pins and staples, she breaks out in hives, and she ends up with a face frozen in a scowl after getting a bad Botox treatment that was supposed to give her self confidence. Where once everything Chloe touched turned to gold, it’s all turning gray and she is scrambling to turn her luck around and get back to the life she thought she wanted.
Who can resist falling in love with The City, when leaves turn golden, gloriously falling in Central Park. Rooftop parties with friends as the sun sets are imprinted on your heart. Rockefeller Center is dressed in her holiday finest. Charity galas and awards dinners fuel the passion to keep working late into the evening and on into early morning. City lights twinkle like a child’s eyes in wonder at a magical table set for a fantastic feast.
Taxis blare. They blame each other for the clogged arteries of Mid-town. Sirens howl back. Sixth Avenue: Disney, Starbucks, M&Ms and American Girl shops are introduced by flowers, park benches, and picnic tables in the middle of Times Square. Gone are the seedy hawkers urging lonely men, aching teens and wide-eyed tourists down the dank basement steps of worn out movie palaces. Now a showplace, 42nd Street has been transformed.
Anxious tourists, noses pointed the Empire State Building—sighing, and giddy. Veteran New Yorkers are obligated to suppress those same feelings. Yet layers of grey settle onto crisp, once-white shirts. What’s this smog doing to your lungs? You wonder why everyone smokes in Manhattan when the rest of the country has quit?
You can't ever retire and still pay rent. May as well live hard. Fast. Free.
Work! Cobble together a brilliant punchline built on a tight strategy and wrap it around a target market with a big red bow—all while balancing a team of naysayers on your shoulders ready to stab each idea in it’s precious beating heart, happy to watch it bleed out. Brilliance is mandatory.
City lights blink one more time and buildings grow dark just after midnight. Even the nocturnal cleaning crews have turned in their dust rags and heaping trash bags, now. Eyes grow weary as the thudding at the base of your skull pounds harder, the deeper you think.
It’s 5 am and someone calls Pack's Deli for coffee and egg sandwiches. Then it's 6 am and you practice the pitch. Then it’s 7 and you salvage your day-old hair, dig in your drawer for deodorant and toothbrush and pull out a crisp white shirt tied in a neat square and tissue paper by the Chinese laundry downstairs; you must be client-ready. Spit-shined and glimmering you are ready introduce your latest brain-child.
Close your eyes, take a deep breath and drift to your childhood: the sweet fragrance of Orange Blossoms, the rhythm of waves cuddling you into an afternoon nap. Wake to the warm afternoon sunshine. Your grandmother in her garden, hanging shirts on the line, whitened with the juice of a lemon you picked from her tree. Calm, clean, fresh.
That’s not your memory, it’s mine. I can make you yearn for it. I am an adman.