Sunday, May 27, 2012

[VIDEO] Completely Poetic - Title: Glass Heart

Dear Readers, I'm trying something different today.

I've recently taken an interest in recorded readings. This piece is a remake of a series I began a couple years ago called, Completely Poetic, a darker more poetry-like series. The other series I had was called Completely Fictitious, filled with comedic shorts.

Since I couldn't upload just an audio, I had to "create" a video. The video includes timed clippings of the piece.

Anyhow, I hope you like it! It was certainly fun to record and create (and at times frustrating), but it was a creative challenge that I enjoyed.

I used the iMovie application on my iBook. If you're curious about the process, let me know.


Completely Poetic: Entry II – Theme: Glass Heart

I'm losing everything it seems. Today, I lose my heart. 

In the darkness of my bedroom, the loneliness begins to feed the pain, and the pain begins to feed the fear. My sobs start slow at first, until they are hard and frantic, and I am  choking from my own desperate gasps, my mouth stuck in an expression of immeasurable torment.

The weight of this new loss blows me outward, like a dynamite ignited in the hollow cave of my chest. And I retreat into the blackness of my mind where it is raining. The cold rain turns into hail, like an angry lover pounding me with his bone-crushing fists.

I welcome the cold, needing to be numb, and hoping for the strength that it will bring. I'm laying on the ground naked, resting on my side, clasping my knees like a lonely, orphaned child...waiting. Waiting for her. 

A whisper echoes through the shadows and I shudder. A voice that is my own, but not. Two blinks and I'm staring into a familiar set of dark eyes set deep in a face identical to mine.

She lays there as I do, unfazed by the hail now turned into icy pin-pricks of silver rain. I watch the drops slash across her face, dripping down her cheeks as if she too is crying. But her stoic expression reveals her true nature: she is not crying, she will never cry. She doesn’t know how to.

“Please don’t take it away…please…” I whisper, my voice carrying the weight of my need.

Dark eyes scan my face; still expressionless, still unmoved by my pain. 

Five heartbeats before she speaks, her pale lips parting. “You fool…” A thousand thunderous booms shake the night, and I press my palms over my ears until it feels like I'll crush in my skull.

Shivering harder now. Teeth chattering, my face as cold as marble. “Please…” I say again.

She shakes her head just once, her ink-black hair plastered to the sides of her pale face. “You won’t survive like this.”

“But I need it!”

Vacant eyes narrow, stabbing into my flesh swift and deep, once, twice, twenty. “You have it and yet you nearly drown in the grief it brings. It makes you weak.”


But even as I shout, I know she is right.

“Let me and I can take away your pain,” she whispers, then more harshly, "Your attempts to sound courageous are for naught. There is no one to hear you but me. Your whimpers cannot deafen what your heart is begging from me--to help you--save you."

I shut my eyes until they hurt, feeling my body shrinking beneath the dark truth I am too much of a coward to face. I need what only her callousness can give. Peace.

Icy fingers crawl up my shoulder like long spidery limbs and I shrink back only to feel them return, ever patient, pulling me into an embrace. There is no comfort in her touch, just limbs, bones, flesh that have never known the smile and kiss of the sun, that have never felt the pulsing heat of passion. She doesn’t know what it means to comfort, only what it means to take away. And tonight I'm asking her to take away the pain. 

Her touch is like a drug, coating me with numbness. I let in what only she--the darkness--can give.

And soon, a cool emptiness fills me. Seeps into my veins, every pore, every tissue until for the first time my lungs breathe, expand, without the ache of grief.

She swallows all of it, filling in the bruises and still bleeding wounds, leaving behind a languid calmness that settles deep into my belly. The tautness of my face smoothes away to a become the face that mimics hers.

The last of the heat within me is snuffed like a weak flame; the remaining pieces of my tattered heart iced and frozen.

“There is no comfort to find in tears. There is no one there to pull you from the pit of despair should you fall. We cannot fall…” she whispers from within me.

I nod. We cannot fall. 

Exhaustion takes me then. But it is as if sleep never comes. As if the darkness consuming my subconscious, simply bleeds into the white walls of  my room. 

My mind circles around the knowledge that I shouldn't be okay, that I should be dreaming, but am not.

I forget how to cry. Forget what it feels to care…My heart is there, but not. Now it's just a hardened block of glass. And the coldness follows me, a price I must pay for my new condition.

She did what I asked, made my heart into glass, beautiful but untouchable.

Ironically it is now a heart more fragile than the one that had once pulsed with life.

So now I wait for my true heart to return. For I am a captive. A captive to this Glass Heart.  

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Querying - Part 3 - Pace Yourself

Your query will change. Over and over again. This is the reason why we're so strongly advised to pace ourselves, sending out no more than five queries a week.

Why? Because you're going to go to bed and just as you shut your eyes, thinking you'll be dreaming happy dreams of a future book contract, you'll realize...Damn, I should have added/removed that bit in my query. Good luck trying to sleep after that.

Not only that, but you'll run into things, querying tips along the way (because you're in that mindset, and anything query related will jump out at you, begging for a moment of your time).

I sent out my first five queries for this week and have promised myself to send out no more until next Monday. Believe me, it's hard. The compulsion to shoot off a few more to my nice long list of reputable agents is so strong, I truly feel like giving in...just one more, I tell myself.

Well, just this morning on my drive to work, I realized that there were key elements of the heart of the story that needed to be added. And just yesterday I'd read in one of Nathan Bransford query tips post that specificity is crucial. Make sure you include the highest stakes, and that it's clear what your characters are up against. For email queries, include the first 10 pages in the body of the email (no attachments), even if they don't ask for it. The area, where you can ignore the submission guideline to provide query only.

Here are the tips in quick read format:

  1. Include:  [Agent name], [genre], [personalized tidbit about agent], [title], [word count], [protagonist name], [description of protagonist], [setting], [complicating incident], [verb], [villain], [protagonist's quest], [protagonist's goal], [author's credits (optional)], [your name] (see Bransford's post for more info)
  2. Be specific, leave out any vagueness. It only makes your book sound like any other book (see what I deleted from my query below).  
  3. Include whether you are submitting simultaneously or not
  4. Email queries: include the first ten pages in the body of the email (no attachments)

So here's attempt number three. Small changes, but with such limited opportunity to capture someone's interest, every little inch/twitch/detail helps. Hope this helps you in your querying journey!


Dear Ms Agent::
Because you represent [x,y,z] and because [personalized information about the agent], I feel that VIOLET STORM might be of interest to you.

Aeva Storm has just won the most gripping championship victory in Fila history when she is struck by lightning. After seeing her incredible skills and athleticism, Behr Absilim believes that Aeva is exactly what he’s been searching for the perfect instrument in fulfilling his plans to unmake the City of Light. Behr is the genius behind human Modifications, the technology that’s given new life to the vaincre-diseased plaguing the City-bloods. In secret, Behr steals Aeva’s body and surgically alters her, turning her into a nearly immortal weapon of death.

Using her family as leverage, Behr manipulates Aeva into assassinating the Monarch, ruler of the City of Light. To make things worse, Aeva isn’t Behr’s only secret creation; equally magnificent and deadly pawns are just waiting to be unleashed upon the city. Aeva must now decide between saving the lives of everyone she loves and dooming the fate of thousands, or fighting back and risk losing everything.

At 93,000 words, written in present tense and first person point-of-view, VIOLET STORM is set in the far future after a catastrophic event nearly wipes out the human population. The story is full of action, romance, deception and surprising twists.

VIOLET STORM is my debut novel, and is being submitted simultaneously. I would be thrilled if you would consider it for representation. Below are the first ten pages for your review. Thank you very much for your time, and I hope to hear from you soon.

Best wishes,
Anna Soliveres