Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Review - Nevermore by Kelly Creagh


This is the book that I've hinted at in a few recent posts as to how gripping and amazing it is. And finally the reveal. I was lucky to get an ARC from a contest run from YALITCHAT and I am so glad I've now discovered this debut book by author Kelly Creagh. She is now officially on my "to watch" list for upcoming books. Here's my review I posted to Goodreads:

"Similiar read to Twilight in that I couldn't put it down, but similiarities stop there. Great read - and amazing characters that pulled me in right from the start. The story is unique and something I have never seen before. Amazing debut novel and I can't wait for book two!"
To read the review online, click here.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Marketing Tool - Kindle for the Web

This looks really useful - Kindle for the Web. I just saw some information pop up in my email about this. I haven't implemented it yet for my book, but I'm putting it on the "To Do" list.

Kindle for the Web allows you to embed samples of kindle titles on your website or browser. Nice!

If you want more information, go here.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Review - Down The Low Road by Terin Tashi Miller

I finished reading Down The Low Road by Terin Tashi Miller. You can read my review below or you can go to the Goodreads website and view it there along with an excerpt of the novel here. Earlier in the year,  I also interviewed Terin Tashi Miller and you can view the interview here.

Down The Low Road by Terin Tashi Miller is a novel of twists and turns as journalist John Colson & photographer Robert Frazier maneuver through India to cover the story of a war-hero accused of killing his neighbors. The story starts in the thick of Hindu & Moslem conflict and reveals a world few outside of India could imagine. This book is a great read right to the end both in storytelling and in a development of transporting readers to the streets of India. Loved the imagery like “Frazier drew attention like the dung fuel drying on the alley walls drew flies,” and “It was a city where families still lived in thousand-year-old buildings, where occasionally the silence of sleep is interrupted by the slow-motion collapse of such builidings, and the morning starts early with the sound of construction in which bricks from the pile of rubble left behind by such buildings are used for new structures.”

Can’t wait to read the next book!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Book Treasures

There is nothing better than finding a book that totally sucks you in, and makes you want to squeeze in another five minutes of reading eventhough your lunch break is over in two minutes. I find those kind of books are really rare. I mean, yes, I read a lot of good books, but few that hold me so tightly that I feel like I'm living the book.

But when you find that treasure of a story, it is pure heaven, and then its hell once the last page turns and the story is over. Because its so sad to part with the characters, and sad to say goodbye.

I'm reading such a book right now, and I am hooked. I'll tell you more about the book and the author once I finish. But let me tell you...IT'S REALLY GOOD!

So which books have you read that you couldn't put down?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Rick Riordan - Live Webcast

The Heroes of Olympus, Book One: The Lost HeroIf you are a Rick Riordan fan, or have kids that are fans, or even if you're just curious to see a live webcast event (and envision yourself giving one in the future with your fabulous book) then you should register for this upcoming event. It's happening on October 12th at 7:00pm Eastern (6pm Central, 5pm Mountain, 4pm Pacific). The event is a live launch of book one, The Lost Hero, in Rick's new serious Heroes of Olympus. Register for the event on the Heroes of Olympus website.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Contest Alert - Narrative 30 Below Story Contest

Narrative magazine has announced it is again offering it's 30 Below Story Contest. Here's a blurb about it, "Once each year we call especially on young writers, visual artists, photographers, performers, and filmmakers, between eighteen and thirty years old, to tell us a story. We’re interested in narrative in the many forms it takes: the word and the image, the traditional and the innovative, the true and the imaginary."

For more information: Narrative 30 Below

Contest deadline is: October 29, 2010

Good luck!

Authenticity in Acting & Writing

Back in college, when I studied theater & acting,  an important lesson was taught by the instructors - how to react on stage as if you were in the moment, without anticipating the lines of your fellow actors. If you showed anticipation in waiting for the lines, or showed your emotion too early, then the acting was unauthentic and not believable by the audience. The same came be said for writing a novel. If your characters always anticipate what's coming next and are ready to handle every situation, then there's no drama and no believability. Readers will stop reading. Characters need to be thrown curve balls, they need to be sideswiped, and their reactions need to be true. How would a real person react to a similiar situation?

I was reading a story today, and was in awe of how the writer built in some really great moments of authentic interaction between characters. It made me totally buy-in to the story and to the characters, and from the first pages I knew I'd be hooked. I trusted the writer and somehow knew she would continue to surprise me with more moments - authentic, believable moments.

So throw your characters under the bus once in awhile, and see how they'll react. It might just make for a great twist in your story, one that will hook readers to keep reading.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Webinar - Where To Find Book Buyers

This looks like a great webinar for anyone who has a book published or soon to be published and wants to SELL-SELL-SELL more books. It's a free webinar by Brian Jud who always puts on a very informative presentation.

The webinar is going to be held on Tuesday September 21 @ 4:00 (1 hr) Eastern Time. Here's the link for more information & to sign-up: Webinar

Here's a blurb about the webinar:

Where to find people who can buy thousands of your books - with no returns

"Selling books is a matter of numbers. The more people you contact, the more books you can sell. Unfortunately, many authors miss out on potential sales because they don't know where to find the names of people who can buy in large quantities, with no returns. In this webinar you will learn where to find the names of people willing and able to buy your books. Do you think there is nowhere to sell your books? There is, if you know where. Sign up today and discover new markets and people that you probably never considered as prospects before. Then watch your sales grow."*
                *from a promotional email from Brian Jud about the webinar

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Marketing Tool - Kirkus Discoveries

Did you know that "The Kirkus Discoveries program gives independently published authors a chance to obtain an unbiased, professional review of their work, written in the same format as a traditional Kirkus review?" (as quoted from their website).

During the #YALITCHAT on twitter last night, the topic of discussion was MOJO for your book: marketing, promotion, sales, etc. And then I found an email in my inbox this morning from Kirkus Discoveries and thought it fit in nicely with last night's topic.

Here's another quote from their website: "Book reviews are an essential and valuable tool for promoting books to literary agents, traditional publishing houses, booksellers and, most importantly, potential readers."

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Two More Books/Authors of Influence

Last week, I blogged about the Top Ten Books That Have Influenced Me, and over the weekend a couple of offshoots to that post came to me while I was thinking about it. I've learned two additional lessons from some key books/authors that I wanted to add here.

Eragon (Inheritance)The first is that I love the book Eragon by Christopher Paolini (in fact the entire series is phenomenal). But the real lesson I learned from this is, How Not to Turn a Book Into A Movie. Have you seen the movie? It is not just a bad representation of the book, it's a bad movie on it's own. The edits are choppy and the real essence of the story is just not there. It's a shame because it could have been an amazing movie. But, the ironic part is that the author probably had no say in how the movie was actually created. You win some, you lose some?

The Truth About Forever
And then on to Sarah Dessen - I am so happy that I started reading her books. What I've learned from her is how an author's voice can carry from one book to another when not writing a series. As long as you find a few strong traits to differentiate your main characters in each novel, your voice can be the same and the novel doesn't feel like a rehashing, and she has carried that over many, many YA novels.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Get RECKLESS Tour and live streaming event

Today kicks off Cornelia Funke's Get RECKLESS Tour with a live streaming event.  You can watch at:

Here's a blurb about the event from the website:
"This event is not to be missed as Cornelia takes the stage to perform a dramatic reading from her anticipated new novel, Reckless, with acclaimed stage actor Elliot Hill. Following the reading, you will witness a rare conversation between Cornelia and Reckless co-creator Lionel Wigram, executive producer of the Harry Potter movies and producer/co-writer of the Sherlock Holmes film. Together they will pull back the curtain on the creative process and give fans an intimate look at how the world of Reckless came into being. The event will also include an interactive audience Q&A session and a live musical performance by special guest, Adam Watts, who will sing an exclusive song inspired by Reckless. Storytelling, film and music combine in this unprecedented event sure to spark the imaginations of fans young and old!"

Monday, September 13, 2010

Word Counts

Whenever I see a new post on "word counts" I find myself gravitating to it to research if my current manuscript is still within acceptable guidelines. Well a new post came out on 9/12/10 entitled, "Word Counts for Children's Books" on the Literary Rambles blog, and it does a good job of listing words counts within the Children's genre.

Another good post on the subject was from earlier in the year at The Swivet titled, On word counts and novel length. And over at The Guide to Literary Agents, there's a post Word Count for Novels and Children's Books: The Definitive Post.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sept 11th Anniversary

I was living in NYC when the September 11th Attack happened. It is a time that I will never forget as long as I live. I worked only a few blocks from the location of the attack and for months I had daily reminders of what happened. Ultimately my husband and I moved out of the city, but we never moved too far.

I wrote this on the 1 year anniversary of the terroist attack on the World Trade Center. It's an annual traditional that I repost this on the blog, and I feel compelled to post it again in honor of this years anniversary. May we never forget...

photo credit: Michelle Reynoso

Can You Believe

Can you believe,
It’s been a year?
A year of tears,
A year of fear.
A selfish enemy took so much,
An ignorant enemy gave us much more.
Precious lives of many are gone,
Lives of so many more carry on.
We’ve gained a greater understanding,
Of freedom, love, and compassion.
It’s sad to say that tragedy alone,
Has the ability to set that tone.
We’ve cried tears together,
Remembered together,
And now we must heal and move on together.
Never Forget 9/11/01, Flags of freedom wave on.

                                                                                                                  photo credit: Michelle Reynoso

Friday, September 10, 2010

My Top Ten Foods

It's Friday, so to end this week's top ten lists, how about a fun one.

My Top Ten Things to Eat

1. Cheese - just about any kind you can think off, my favs are Goat Cheese, Cheddar Cheese, fresh Mozzarella, & Havarti

2. Chocolate - yep, mostly dark or milk chocolates. Some chocolates make me sneeze!

3. Peanut Butter - chocolate & peanut butter are the best!

4. Ice - it's a given, I'm always chomping on ice particularly while I write.

5. Bread - love a loaf of fresh bread from the oven with melted butter

6. Chocolate Chip Cookies (homemade, fresh out of the oven)

7. Fried Eggplant

8. Breakfast at a diner (bacon, eggs, potatoes, toast, & OJ)

9. Ice Cream (peanut butter mixed with vanilla ice cream is pure heaven)

10. Grilled Cheese Sandwich with homemade pea soup

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Top Ten Online Social Media/Marketing Resources - That I Use

Today's top ten list is...

The Top Ten Online Social Media/Marketing Resources - That I Use

1. Blogspot (the home of this blog - My Writing Life:

Facebook For Dummies2. Facebook (I like the "fan page" feature and the fact that it can be separate from my personal facebook site: Fan page)

3. Twitter - I love the chats, and the ability to follow industry professionals that otherwise would be inaccessible. My twitter handle is michcarlky. My favorite chat hashtags include: #kidlitchat, #YALITCHAT, #amwriting, #nanowrimo,

4. - (websites - I started with one of their templates and then tweaked the design to meet my needs. If you're curious to see what I did with it, here's a link to my website:

5. - great resource to organize submissions/search listings for book publishers, magazines, contests, literary agents, greeting card publishers, screenwriting markets, playwriting markets, conferences, newspapers, online publications, syndicates, and organizations.
2011 Writer's Market

6. Writers Digest Community - This is a great place to network in special interest groups specific to writers. My page

7. Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) - A must membership for anyone involved in children's books (including young adult). Networking, conferences, grants & awards. Here's my member profile.

8. Google Analytics - Ever wonder how many people visit your website? This is the tool you need to answer that question. It also helps you understand how people hear about you, which pages are the most popular on your website, etc. 

Do You?9. Amazon - List e-books and have your information listed on an author page. Here's a link to my e-book, Do You?

10. Yahoo  - for customized email (

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Top Ten Things Around Me While Writing

Top ten week continues...
Top Ten Things Around Me While Writing

1. Cup of coffee (light, extra sweet, and preferably flavored) or Chai Tea Latte

2. Dictionary

3. Thesaurus  (I'm in love with the Visual Thesaurus online!)

4. Chapter note cards - I have these pinned up on my writing board with details from each chapter
5. Story Outline - I have this handy for easy reference for smooth chapter transitions, plot arches, and story structure.
6. Cup of Ice - and the cup is constantly refilled. I enjoy eating something crunchy while writing and ice is better than chips!

7. Books that Inspire Me - I am frequently referring to books I've read, checking to see how other authors have approached plot & structure.
8. Laptop/Manuscript - I alternate between my laptop and a constantly updated hard copy of my manuscript, depending on my mood & location I decide which to work on.
9. Earplugs - These are essential if I'm writing at home when the television or radio are on. Sometimes I need pure silence to focus on what I'm working on.

10. Instrumental Music - Most times I write in silence, but lately I've also found inspiration from instrumental music or a nature CD.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

My Top Ten Books of Influence

This is going to be top ten week, and today's list is:

Top Ten Books that have Influenced Me
(in no particular order)

The Stand By Stephen King1. The Stand (by Stephen King) -  As a young reader, in middle school and into high school, I was drawn into the world and the characters that were in this story. It influenced my reading meter, gauging books by how they grab me and hold me  and also how long the story stays with me. This book is one that I often think about even today, some 25 or so years later.

A Thousand Splendid Suns2. A Thousand Splendid Suns (by Khaled Hosseini) - From the post I did about it in August, "The magic is in the words, in the author's ability to transport us to a world rife with struggle and survival. It's a combination of beautiful writing, an amazing story, no holds-barred storytelling, and history of a country torn apart by war - gripping, wrenching, and honest. This is the kind of book that can change people..." Here's a link to the post: My #1 Favorite Book - A Thousand Splendid Suns

Twilight (The Twilight Saga)3. Twilight (by Stephenie Myer) - This is the book that launched my interest in both young adult (YA) literature, and guided me to understand that my own writing was best suited for the young adult market. For this, I am eternally grateful to this book and the entire series. I also admit that reading these books was a great guilty pleasure!
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Book 1) (Hardcover)
4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (by J.K. Rowling) - From this short, unassuming story sprang an amazing adventure that held readers (including me) through 7 books, movies, and even a theme park. And to hear J.K. Rowling's story adds an even larger element: the rags to riches story of the author. There's a great lesson in not just sustaining a story over such a length of time, but cultivating an adventure that got even better with each new book.

Jane Eyre (Classic Edition with Illustrations)5. Jane Eyre (by Charlotte Bronte) - The first book that truly made me cry. I cared so much about these characters that I felt like I lived their story while they endured through the pages. A true masterpiece in character development!

The Hunger Games6. The Hunger Games/Catching Fire (by Suzanne Collins) - There was a lot of talk about these books, and many times when things are hyped so big, there's room for a let down, but this series has proven that when something is good, it's just plain good. These books are filled with images of war, government oppression, loss, and the consequences of decisions. There's a great lesson there - write the best books possible, with the instensity needed to tell the story honestly, and readers will read it.

The Sword of Truth, Boxed Set I, Books 1-3: Wizard's First Rule, Blood of the Fold ,Stone of Tears7. The Sword of Truth Series (by Terry Goodkind) - I am most impressed with Terry Goodkind's ability to tie up every loose end in his stories, and even more impressed in that he does it sometimes in later books when lesser authors would have dismissed those details. He also writes from a place of honesty; he doesn't pull back on his writing - he's honest, and raw.

The Celestine Prophecy8. The Celestine Prophecy (by James Redfield) - I read this book every year. It's a story with a message, and it's done in such a clever way that every time I read the book, I get something new from it. It is not easy to intertwine a message into a story that doesn't make the reader feel like he/she is being preached to, but instead enlightenend.

The Lovely Bones9. The Lovely Bones (by Alice Sebold) - This book opened my eyes to writing voice & point of view more than any other - imagine, the book is written from the perspective of a murdered girl coming to terms with death and life as she views it from heaven. It's heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time.

The Lord of the Rings10. The Lord of the Rings (by J.R.R. Tolkien) - The world that J.R.R. Tolkien built in this epic tale is so beyond anything I ever read before, and has become the basis for so many offshoots by other authors too innumerable to mention. And the mastering is in the details, those little nuggets that help a reader picture every part of the world inhabited by the characters.

Friday, September 03, 2010

A Reading Weekend - Mockingjay

Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games)
I know I'm a bit behind the curve but I'm hoping to start reading Mockingjay this weekend. I've been really careful not to frequent websites that might give spoiler alerts. And now that the long weekend is here, I should be able to fit in a nice chunk of reading. District 12 here I come...

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Yesterday - Inspired to Write

Yesterday was a great day for writing. On my way home, my mind was thoroughly engrossed in the story of my current manuscript. I was running through some of the dialogue between two of the main characters, dialogue that led up to a first kiss scene. By the time I pulled into the parking lot of my apartment building, all I wanted to do was run upstairs and write. So I did. And I wrote for six solid hours. And I probably could have written for a few more hours if my eyes weren't so exhausted from staring at the laptop for so long. Not only were the words flowing faster than I could write them, but once I stepped back and read through what I wrote it was obviously written from inspiration, and it was good (which isn't always the prognosis after a read through).

And now, I hope for even more inspiration today as I tackle another section of the manuscript that screams for a rewrite. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Event Alert - BookFest @ Bank Street

This looks like an interesting event for anyone in the NYC area who is interested in books for kids through young adult.

BookFest @ Bank Street

Here's a description of the event:
BookFest @ Bank Street is an event devoted to the celebration, discovery, and discussion of books for children and teens. This event, designed for adults, features luminaries from the children's literature community. Authors, illustrators, editors, reviewers, and scholars will take part in panel discussions and breakout sessions.

When & Where:
Saturday, October 30, 2010 9:30 am - 3:00 pm @ Bank Street College (Upper West Side of Manhattan)

For more information, click the links below:
Schedule of events