Monday, December 31, 2012

Reflecting Back - Projecting Forward

I am so happy to count my blessings on this last day of 2012, welcoming another birthday and another amazing year. I am blessed with amazing family and friends, an awesome husband & son, great opportunities, good health, and a lot to look forward to.
 

2012 has been an interesting year. Events like Hurricane Sandy and the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, as well as seeing my cat injured and nearly unable to walk, have reminded me about the priorities of life. Luckily, my cat has been slowly bouncing back, but people affected by the hurricane and the shootings have bigger obstacles to overcome. It's all a reminder of how fragile life is, and how important it is to love those we care about every day.
 
"Felix" Photo by: Michelle Reynoso
My writing, both on the blog and in my manuscript, has been less consistant this year, although I believe I've picked up some important elements that will help propel my writing forward. I've already started applying these things to my current manuscript, but I think the real improvements will be seen in 2013.
 
 
I've watched my son grow in parallel with the developments of the world. Things are so different now than they were when I was growing up. It leaves me wondering how much the world will continue to change. It leaves me hoping we can affect change, so the world will become a better place, not a harder, crueler place. It's hard to imagine what a single person can do to affect changes in the world, but deep down I also know that one person CAN affect change. All we need to do is make the effort.
 
My wish for the new year is that each of us finds our purpose, our "thing", that something that will affect positive changes (in however small a part).
 

I wish everyone a Happy New Year! May we all see the fruition of our hopes and dreams in 2013.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Let's Launch...Forbidden Forest by Tenaya Jayne




Title: The Legends of Regia: Forbidden Forest

Author: Tenaya Jayne

Pages: 236

Genre: YA Fantasy Romance

Book Blurb:
Born in shame. Cast from society. Shape Shifter/Elf hybrid, Forest must fight for any respect she can get. Targeted in her youth by a vampire noble who placed an illegal slave mark on her, she is forced to obey him, no matter what.

Slipping the grip of her master and abandoning the prejudice of Regia, her native world, Forest takes a job on Earth, guarding the portal, using her skills as a warrior to enforce Regia's laws. Now, called home for a black ops mission, Forest must put aside her own prejudice to transport the vampire prince, Syrus, through enemy territory in a time of war.

Prince Syrus, mage and master of the Blood Kata, wants Forest more than he's ever wanted anything. In spite of their mutual mistrust, their attraction cannot be denied. Through the danger of their mission, and the secrets they both keep, it doesn't matter what they feel. Forest is forbidden.

Excerpt:
Forest pressed her back against the cool concrete wall, wanting to remain aloof from the entity of the crowd. She chose her position in the shadows, out of the paths of the roving, multi-colored spotlights. She closed her eyes and enjoyed the feeling of the undulating human pheromones flying around on the air. At the beginning of every shift, she allowed herself a few minutes of this alien/human experience, though she didn't fully comprehend the combination of dancing, drinking, and ear-breaking sound waves. They loved it, however, and never seemed to deviate from the recipe.



These were the people she was sworn to protect. She had developed a light affection for the human race and considered them a benign, if not slightly silly, bunch of creatures. Her religious passion for her job was rooted in hatred of that which harmed the humans, not a superhero tendency to protect the weak.

Forest opened her eyes and focused all her senses to sniff out the illegal suckers that tried to sneak through the portal. She was in the zone tonight, and not for the first time did she feel that hers was the best job in existence. It was a shame she couldn’t legally kill suckers in her native world.

Over the next two hours, Forest didn’t move from the wall. She monitored the light traffic through the portal: two shifters and one elf, each of which nodded to her respectfully as they passed. Yawn. The shifters left the club to enjoy the delights of Austin’s nightlife elsewhere.


The elf would have been breaking Regia’s law had he left the club, but he dutifully seated himself at the bar and ordered a fuzzy navel. He wore a plaid, porkpie hat, pulled down over the tops of his pointed ears. Forest didn’t know him personally, but she had seen him in here before. The bartender surveyed him with narrowed eyes as the elf nervously tugged his hat down further and ordered a few more girly cocktails.



Intent on making sure that not one sucker was able to sneak past her, Forest was blindsided by the drunk bubba who had been trying to catch her eye for the last twenty minutes. He had finally decided to stagger over to hit on her.


“Hey babe, you’re too beautiful to look so lonely. How’s ‘bout I buy you a drink?”

“How’s ‘bout I call you a cab instead?” Forest mimicked his drawl.



“Only if you share it with me, Darlin.” He leaned in closer, and Forest’s throat began to sting from the noxious fume of booze mixed with his natural musk.



“While I appreciate the offer, Jethro, It seems only right to inform you that I’m not actually attractive at all. If you leaned in a little closer, you’d see that you’ve fallen victim to the effect of beer goggles. A hag like me can’t take advantage of a stud like you.”



As he leaned in, Forest instantly enlarged her nose, pockmarked her skin, evaporated her front teeth, and added a large black mole with a long hair sprouting from it for good measure.



“You’re no hag, baby! You’re the sexiest little thing in…I…uh… ” He stumbled backward. “Good grief! Sorry, sorry…” he stammered, retreating. “I’ve gotta quit drinking,” he mumbled as he turned away.



Forest chuckled to herself once he absorbed back into the crowd. Being a shape shifter sometimes had unusual perks.



About Tenaya Jayne:
Hello. My name's Tenaya and I'm an addict. I mean author. When I was growing up, writing was just something I played at from time to time. I knew I wanted to be a writer, but I was one of those people who could never finish anything. When my eldest son was diagnosed with Autism, I began to write seriously. Writing became a necessity for me in the midst of my heartbreak. It was either that or take up drinking. I 'm thankful I chose writing as my escape because I discovered it truly is my thing. I want to be swept away when I read. That's what I want my books to do for you.The main goal of my writing is to entertain you. I want to help you escape everyday life for a little while. I hope you enjoy my stories as much as I enjoy sharing them with you!



I have a wonderful husband and two beautiful sons. I'm an advocate for Autism awareness, and women trapped in abusive relationships. I try to always look on the bright side and help others do so too. I've lived many places but I currently reside in Missouri. I love reading, indie and foreign films, gardening, and moody music.



Author Links:
Purchase on Amazon
Website
Book Trailer

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

NaNoWriMo 2012

I've participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) for six years now. I've completed it twice. Some years have been more successful than others. This year, I'm hoping to make it to the end, and have a substantial first draft ready for major revisions. 

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If you're not familiar with the event, National Novel Writing Month is an event where writers across the world all vow to write 50,000 words between November 1-30. They work to craft a complete book, a story with a beginning, middle, and end. Those who complete the 50,000 words, win. Sounds easy, but when was the last time you sat down and wrote a whole book...in one month! It's a daunting task, but a great exercise in letting creativity flow, limiting editing, and just cranking out a book. For me, it has proven to be a great tool in keeping me focused on crafting first drafts, that I then go on to rewrite, revise, and polish in the months that follow.

Here's the link to my page for anyone who is interesting in buddying-up during the event, or for those who just want to follow what I'm working on: http://www.nanowrimo.org/en/participants/michcarl

To learn more about NaNoWriMo, you can visit the website at http://www.nanowrimo.org/.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Crimson Crown


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There are some stories that stay with you long after you read them, and the Seven Realms Series by Cinda Williams Chima is one such story, which makes today extra special. Today, the next installment of the series, The Crimson Crown (book four) releases to the world! I can't wait to pick up my copy and find out where this story is headed.


You can learn more about The Crimson Crown on Cinda Williams Chima's website.


If you're curious, I've listed links below to my reviews of the three previous books in the series.
The Gray Wolf Throne
The Exiled Queen
The Demon King

Other titles by Cinda Williams Chima that I've read & reviewed:
The Wizard Heir
The Warrior Heir

Friday, October 12, 2012

Let's Launch...THE MODIFIED by C.A. Kunz


Today is release day for the new trilogy by the amazing author duo C.A. Kunz called The Modified!
Along with the release they are doing an international giveaway of one e-book or paperback copy of The Modified, one signed swag pack, one foam core mounted poster of the book's cover and either a $25.00 Amazon Gift Card or a $25.oo Barnes and Noble Gift Card!!

Book Blurb:
What would you sacrifice to save the one’s you love? To save the one who holds your heart? To save the world?Kenley Grayson is all too familiar with these questions. After Earth is thrust into its first intergalactic war with an unknown race called the Bringers, our military forces begin to suffer heavy losses. Desperate for a solution, the Allied Federation issues a worldwide draft for every able seventeen-year-old to enlist. As Kenley turns seventeen, she finds herself thrown into the very war that took her older brother’s life. This year’s draft is a little different than in the past though. A new program, known as the Magnus Project, has been introduced, and only the best and brightest qualify. Kenley is amongst a select few whom are chosen to join this elite group of soldiers, and as a part of this project, undergoes a modification procedure that leaves her and her peers endowed with powers beyond their wildest dreams. As Earth continues in its struggle against the Bringers, Kenley is transported to a high-tech training facility, the Magnus Academy, to prepare for the major battle that lies ahead. It’s here that she meets the California heartthrob, and son of a legendary war hero, Landon Shaw. As unexpected feelings toward Landon begin to develop, Kenley wonders if this is the right time or place for romance to bloom, especially when those feelings start to interfere with her training. With the weight of the world on her shoulders, Kenley is constantly reminded of how important she and the rest of the Magnus cadets are to the fate of humanity. She is one of the Modified, Earth’s last line of defense against utter destruction.  

 

About C.A. Kunz
The mom and son author duo, C.A. Kunz, thoroughly enjoys writing about things that go bump in the night and futuristic action-packed romances while drinking massive amounts of English breakfast tea and Starbucks coffee. To find out more about this duo and their books visit their blog, or find them on Facebook and Twitter!   Purchase links: AmazonBarnes and NobleSmashwords  Our Links: C.A. Kunz’s BlogC.A. Kunz’s Facebook PageC.A. Kunz's Twitter Page  Giveaway:
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Monday, October 01, 2012

MR PRINTSHOP is Open for Business

My shop on Etsy, MR Printshop, is now open-for-business. The shop features select photographs from my collection, available for purchase.


If you follow the shop, you'll have the inside scoop to new pictures as they are added.

Here's a small sampling of some of the photographs that are currently featured on the site.

Two Acorns - 16 X 20 Fine Art Photograph - Nature

Worn Barn - 8 X 10 Fine Art Photograph

Two Seasons Treeline Collection - Two 16 X 20 Fine Art Photographs - Nature - Landscape

Camp Fire - 8 X 10 Fine Art Photograph

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September 11th - Still We Remember

Eleven years have past since the attack on the World Trade Center. Still, the memories are fresh. I lived in Manhattan when it happened, and worked only a few blocks from the scene.

I know many people affected by that day. Some friends lost loved ones; others witnessed the tragedy and the ensuing aftermath.

At the one-year anniversary I wrote the poem below, and it has become an annual tradition to post it here on the blog. The picture, I took when I first arrived in NYC, many years before the attack I took place.

My heart goes out to those who grieve today.
I hope we never forget.


Photo credit: Michelle Reynoso

 

Can You Believe

by: Michelle Reynoso


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.

Friday, August 17, 2012

BOOK REVIEW - Pandemonium

My thoughts on Pandemonium (Sequel to Delirium)  by Lauren Oliver


It doesn't happen often, but when it does it is pure heaven...reading two great books at once. Last night I posted my review of City of Bones which I absolutely loved, and today I've also finished Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver. Another knockout favorite! I loved Lauren Oliver's first book in the series, Delirium, and you can see my review here: Delirum review.
 
Pandemonium continues where Delirium left off, in a dystopian world where love is forbidden. Actually it's considered a disease, and everyone is "cured" of the disease as teenagers - it's mandated by the government. The majority of society are lobotomized adults with little emotion, prearranged marriages, and fixed lives. 

Lena has escaped the structured society for the wilds, where people live free, seemingly under the radar, until the government launches another raid to destroy them. Freedom comes at a cost, and the Lena must struggle to survive in the elements with her band of new friends. She is also haunted by memories of Alex. That is until she meets Julian, who is the son of the face of the government. He is everything she is fighting against. But maybe he's not exactly as he seems to the cured world. 

I won't give away the plot completely, so let's leave it at that.

This is another action-packed, fast read by Lauren Oliver, and my only criticism is, that just as with the first book, this one leaves readers hanging yet again, like a season finale in book form. Why do we have to wait until 2013 for the next installment?!  It's hard, but we will, because readers want to know how it all ends. Can't wait!

Another highly recommended read for fans of YA Dystopian stories with romance and action.