Award-winning Writer of Poetry and Fiction

Archive for May, 2013

Writer’s Voice 2013!

“The Writer’s Voice” is a multi-blog, multi-agent contest hosted by Cupid of Cupid’s Literary Connection, Brenda Drake of Brenda Drake Writes, Monica B.W. of Love YA, and Krista Van Dolzer of Mother. Write. (Repeat.) I’ve won the Rafflecopter lottery to submit my query and first 250 words to the contest. Should be fun!

Query for The New Eden Chronicles:

Mana Aquino and Eve Thomas have no business speaking to one another. In New Eden, unauthorized contact between non-natives and citizens is punishable by death—but execution is the least of their worries.

Nineteen-year-old Mana is desperate to destroy the bishop who murdered his sister and who treats all non-natives like slaves. Nine years ago, when his parents won the lottery to leave the Ghostlands and work in New Eden, he had no idea it would lead to the deaths of everyone he loved.

Eve dreads her seventeenth birthday, when she must choose between marriage, joining the sisterhood, or government service in a far-flung settlement. Haunted by a freakish photographic memory and the strange tics that accompany it, Eve’s life in paradise becomes even more ugly when her little brother shows signs of a genetic disorder that’s been killing local children. Because interference with nature is a sin, treatment is forbidden.

Then Mana stumbles on the secret of Eve’s memory and makes a bold offer: he’ll bring illegal medical treatment to her brother, if she’ll serve as his human camera, gathering information that could bring down the bishop in a world where technology is sacrilege.

Though Eve hates having to trust a non-native, Mana is her only hope. If she accepts his offer, she’ll place her entire family in jeopardy and become entangled in an uprising that could leave New Eden in ruins. If she says no, her brother is as good as dead.

Neither one expects to need the other for long—or plans to fall for the enemy.

Told by Eve and Mana, THE NEW EDEN CHRONICLES is complete at 118,000 words. This dystopian romantic thriller combines the quiet intelligence of Matched with the Romeo-and-Juliet tension of Under the Never Sky.

I hold an M.A. in creative writing from Syracuse University and have published a book of poetry that won the 2007 Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award. My poems have appeared in numerous journals, such as Cream City Review, Gargoyle, Poet Lore, Puerto del Sol, and the Sonora Review. I’ve also published several reviews of children’s books in The New York Times.

First 250 Words:

Theresa’s a kicker. Mama and I struggle to keep her down so the medics can find a vein and fill a vial with her blood. I feel like a monster, wrestling a seven-year-old while her hot-poker screams skewer the space between my ears. But once the needle’s in, the thrashing subsides and her hazel eyes glaze over. The thin red stream shooting up into the glass is beautiful. As we let her go, I tap the back of the chair four times so the results will be negative. Theresa stumbles to her feet and stalks off. In a few minutes, she’ll be bragging to everyone about her ordeal.

Just 12, Sarah would rather die than act like a baby. She practically jumps into the chair, though her arm quivers. She closes her eyes and turns away, her lips mashed together as the needle finds its mark. When the medic caps the full vial, she beams in that self-satisfied way she’s adopted. Four-year-old Rachel doesn’t understand enough to be afraid. We promise sweet treats and a new dress for her ragdoll if she’ll behave and it works like a charm. In his cradle nearby, David sleeps through the commotion, too young to be tested. Because I’m 16, I’m past the danger zone. To my siblings’ disappointment, there’s no big sharp needle for me.

Josh’s blood is the last to be collected. His calm amazes me. Instead of looking away or crying, like most 10-year-olds would, he watches the medics with curiosity.


Thanks to the Bethesda Lit Festival

Somehow, I won second place in both the poetry and the essay categories in the 2013 Bethesda Literary Festival contests. That was a nice surprise and I really enjoyed ready my pieces at the festival. The Bethesda Magazine will publish the winning entries on their website soon. My essay, Breeder’s Ball, explores secondary infertility and young egg envy. My poem, Wear This Song, is below:

Wear This Song

–for Con Burch

In a music video by Beth Orton, the song she sings
is a dress you put on and dance in down the dirty city street,
that you pass to neighbors and strangers, women and men,
that you wrap around children, and that you force
onto anyone foolish enough to refuse it.
The song is thin and red with white flowers. It swings
and shimmers. It flips. When Orton takes it off,
she’s clothed only in a slip but
she has to share the dress, to see
how it fits the large ladies bumping, and the old man
smoking, and the guy with the huge muscles and the tattoos
as he skateboards over pavement, the silky notes flapping
like wings behind his back.