Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Comic Con NYC 2014 - An Overview in Pictures

Comic Con NYC 2014 - An Overview in Pictures

ComicCon excitement started in the days leading up to ticket sales. I was hoping I'd be one of the lucky ones that was able to secure tickets; I was a Comic Con newbie after all and with all the talk on social media about how hard it was to get tickets, I was worried. The day tickets went on sale, I was on the website five minutes before sales started, and tried to secure tickets the second the clock moved into the active sales window. It took almost 10 minutes of getting bumped before I got on the wait list, and then another 40 minutes on hold in the sales queue (fingers crossed that I wouldn't get bumped from here) before I finally got to checkout with tickets in hand. Success!

Then the tickets came in the mail in September. 

And then it was finally time for ComicCon, and can I say it was all worth it - what a blast! Being a ComicCon newbie meant I missed the panels because they were booked before I made the lines, and I didn't even get down to the autograph area (my feet were begging for a break by the end of the day), and still I had a great time. So, I wanted to share a few pictures from my day at ComicCon, share with you a small peek into what I saw. 

Welcome to the One And Only New York ComicCon 2014

The Official NYCC brochure

Transformers in the house!

Binge-watching Breaking Bad so this display caught my eye.

The cosplay did not disappoint - there were some great costumes on display.

Gandalf in the house!

And we even caught up with some wrestlers (my son's favorite part of the day).

*All Pictures copyright Michelle Reynoso 2014 - cannot be reproduced without written permission

Thursday, September 11, 2014

September 11, 2001-The Attack on the Twin Towers – New York, NY

The morning of September 11, 2001 started like any other day; little did any of us know that it would be a day that changed our country. I was ironing clothes, preparing to leave for work. I lived in uptown Manhattan with my husband and cat, and worked in lower Manhattan, only a few-minutes-walk from the World Trade Center.

News of the first plane hitting the North Tower (WTC 1) was on the news channels – I watched it as I ironed. My husband called – he was looking at the smoking tower from the top of the building where he worked in mid-town. Everyone was glued to the television, listening to the radio, or had their eyes trained upwards looking at the smoking tower. There were a lot of theories circulating, lots of speculation both in the news and among everyday people as to what was going on. No one really knew. Then the 2nd plane hit. It became evident that this was not an accident, it was a terrorist attack.

My husband saw the second plane hit from where he stood. More rumors started to fly about additional attacks - some people thought they heard that the white house had been hit, others correctly identified the Pentagon. In a disaster situation, it’s often hard to disseminate reality from fiction, and this was never clearer than during the first hours of 9-11. Phone lines still worked at this point, albeit it took a few tries to get through. I talked with my supervisor, and it was agreed that everyone should stay home and not come to work until we knew what was going on. I was still in communication with my husband, and he said his job was also considering letting them leave, so he’d be gathering his things and heading to the subway once they gave word. Then the buildings started collapsing, and all seeming normalcy was suddenly thrown into chaos. Subway service was halted. All traffic including public transportation was frozen to lower Manhattan. Bridges and tunnels were closed. People were advised to walk, and if they didn't know where to go, they were advised to just walk north.  My husband went north - he walked and took the bus when he could; I drove down from Washington Heights to 63rd Street, the furthest I was allowed to travel downtown with a vehicle. I tried to call my husband – I called and called and called – my attempts were met with either a busy signal or a recorded message that told me all circuits were busy. I parked and waited. And waited. And waited. The waiting was the worst. I started worrying. I kept trying to call, and finally one short call went through and the breath I'd been holding in my chest was released. My husband was close.He would meet me where I was parked. All I could do was wait some more.  I watched the throngs of people who passed, the fear and panic on their faces. I watched the people who had walked up from downtown Manhattan, their clothes covered in soot, business suits ripped and torn, faces & hair caked with a grayish powder…the pulverized remnants of everything that had been in the towers. Once I saw my husband coming down the sidewalk, tears streamed down my face; everything I'd held in all day finally came out in one emotional exhale. 

Photo credit: Michelle Reynoso
In the days that followed, it was heart wrenching to see all the pictures of people who were missing posted on the sides of buildings; to watch the coverage of the search for so many missing people and to see so few rescues. I reached out to friends. We shared stories. We shared theories. We shared sadness. I discovered friends who narrowly escaped the tower collapse, others who saw the planes hit the towers as they circled the airport to land, and others who lost loved ones there. Those days were some of the scariest and darkest days I have experienced in my lifetime. 

I will never forget what happened on 9-11-01. I hope none of us do. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Joy of Seeing the Physical Manifestation of a Favorite Book

Can I tell you...I LOVED my trip to Orlando, and the highlight of the trip was visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure. There's something magical about experiencing a favorite book in physical form, and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is truly a magical adventure. The second you walk through the gates to the village, it feels SO real. I found myself looking (and photographing) every detail. I didn't want to miss anything. Yes, I went to Olivanders (and picked a wand - I chose McGonagall's wand, or should I say, it chose me), and order a Butterbeer - yum! My family walked into Honeydukes and our mouth's dropped open (heaven). 

It's not just the atmosphere (you feel like you're transported to what J.K. Rowling saw when she wrote the books, it's also the people who work in this part of the theme park, they are true Potter fans as well. My husband had a ten minute conversation (in Pottereze), discussing wizards and Hogwarts, and all manner of wizarding news as if it were really happening. 

It was the closest thing to having the book series come to life. 

If you are a Harry Potter fan, I truly recommend the trip. And keep in mind that a new section (Diagon Alley) will be opening soon (I tried to sneak a peak but they had it concealed well when I was there). The park is popular and will be even-more-so once Diagon Alley is open. Me, I can't wait to go back. Time to start planning the next trip. In the meantime, here are a few shots from my visit to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter: 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Reading & Rating

There are books that are well written, others that are less so, but they all have value if they make me feel something. A book's purpose is to take the reader (me) on a journey, and if it does that, then bravo.

In all my years as an avid reader, there are only two books that I've read for pleasure that I could not finish; only two. I will not name the two, but even those two have value. I keep them both visible on my bookshelf; reminders of where I don't want my own books to be.

Most books are three to four star books - these are the ones that are publicized, read, and talked about. Mostly mainstream of varying genres. They are enjoyable, but often lack a full package to make them great. The three star books are usually less memorable. Four star books, on the other hand, are great reads, and I often refer to sections of them when I'm doing my own writing, but the holy grail of my library are the five-star reads. These are the books that haunt me, the ones that stay with me for days, weeks, and months. These are the ones that I read with an awed perspective, I read these as a writer and admire the talent. These are the books that bring me to tears or evoke a laugh, maybe even make me want to scream while I'm reading.

I'm involved in two books right now. I say involved because sometimes a book can feel like a relationship; reading it is like dating;  the five-star reads become a marriage. Of the two books I'm reading, one is a three-star read and one is a five-star read. The three-star read is cliche in many ways, in it's writing, flat characters, and dialogue, and yet there's still something there that propels me to finish it. I still feel connected and I have to finish the story. I feel something when I'm reading it, so I continue.The five-star read made me cry this morning; I was whimpering and balling like a child. And it felt good. Crazy, right? These are the books I live for. A five-star read is a treasure, and I love it when I uncover one that's fit to where it's label.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Story Treasures

There are so many stories to tell; stories written on scraps of paper, filed for the future. Stories, like treasures hidden and waiting to be excavated, their value immeasurable until they are found, cleaned-up, and polished. Finding the time to flesh out each of those stories is a challenge, balancing writing and life.

When I started writing many years ago, I had the worry that maybe I only had one good idea. Now, I have many more ideas than I could ever develop. I write them down, trying to capture the essence of the idea as it comes to me, hoping it's enough to inspire me when the time comes to explore it further.

On of my goals for 2014 is to finish the two works-in-progress that currently occupy my "writing time", and move on to one of those hidden treasures in my filing cabinet.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Black Friday was Book Friday

Not only was last Friday "Black Friday" but it was also Book Friday, as dubbed by Hawaii Content Marketing (HICM). I was fortunate to be invited to participate in the Non-Fiction portion of the program, where I was able to talk about Non-Fiction writing and my books, "Do You?" and the upcoming disaster preparedness guide, "Ordinary People - Everyday Prep".

HICM created the event as a "Marathon of Author Twitterviews & Book Talk", giving authors a chance to discuss the genres and writing topics we love.

The event ran all day. Here's the 1 hour Non-Fiction chat from Storify, in case you missed it.

And while you're at it, make sure to check out the Cyber-Monday sale of "Do You?" on Amazon - free for two days only (12-2-13 & 12-3-13): http://ow.ly/rmGNk

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Greetings


Happy Thanksgiving from my house to yours. 

As you spend time with family and friends, may you realize how blessed you are in this life. Take stock in all you have. Live, love, laugh, and cherish every moment.   

Free Vintage Thanksgiving Clip Art
Credit: Graphics Fairy http://thegraphicsfairy.com/free-vintage-thanksgiving-clip-art/

Monday, August 26, 2013

You Are Already Missed - Felix

It is with a heavy heart that I share this post with you. On Saturday, Felix left this world to be with the angels, and I lost an important part of my life. 

Felix was the most loving, intuitive, and compassionate soul I have ever met - it just so happened that his soul was housed in the body of a cat.

Felix was six months old when we first brought him home. My husband and I had decided on a spontaneous trip to the shelter. We hadn't intended to bring a pet home that day, and had discussed visiting with the dogs to give them some attention. We never made it to the see the dogs.  Felix made sure of that. He was a bundle of love, from the moment I picked him up and out of the cage, he cuddled himself in my arms and purred like a fine car tuned-up and ready to race. He placed his paw gently on the side of my face and leaned in to brush his cheek to mine. I was sold. We adopted him on the spot.

Felix earned his spot as an important member of the family every day since that first day. He comforted my husband when his Dad had a quadruple bypass, somehow knowing that he needed the support. A paw on my husband's leg at just the right moment was all it took. On another ocassion, Felix  rescued one of our fish who had flopped out of the tank and onto the floor. Most cats would have devoured the fish instead of coming to it's rescue, but not Felix. And when my son was born, the fear was that Felix might get jealous. We weren't sure how he would react to a baby in the house. He surprised us again, and after getting over the initial transition of no longer being an "only child", Felix became my son's protector. If the baby cried, Felix came to get us to ensure that he got what he needed - a bottle, diaper change, or what not.

On many occasions, Felix became a contributor to my writing as well. He'd sit beside my laptop as I typed away, the best kind of writing company - quiet and intent as I read my work outloud. There were a few times when he'd walk across the keyboard and add his own touch to my manuscript. He preferred when I wrote in silence, not liking the Loon Wilderness CD I'd often play, shaking his ears as if the sound of it hurt.

In the past few weeks, Felix was feeling his age. He turned 17 this month, and his body was giving out. After injuring his front leg, he just couldn't recover. When he no longer continued his usual routine of putting the family to bed - my son first, then me, and then my husband - we had an inkling that something wasn't right. When he stopped eating, we knew the end was near. And on Saturday, Felix waited for us to return, waited for his family to be by his side, and then he left us very peacefully.

It is hard to write this, and I have tears in my eyes as I do. For those of you who met Felix, you know how special he was. The stories above only bring to life a small portion of what made him so special.

So, I end with a message to Felix: You are already missed. You completed our home, and without you there is an emptiness here. Rest in peace my dear friend, may we meet again some day in the hereafter.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Book Review - Memoirs of a Geisha



Book Review - Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

This book has claimed the spot as my second all-time favorite book to date. Memoirs of a Geisha is a story about a young girl named Sayuri who is sold by her father to a geisha house, ripped from her home, her dying mother, and her sister. The tale is so intricately woven that the reader feels like a silent observer, watching Sayuri as she traverses the life of a maid, to a geisha apprentice, to a geisha, and finally to her life after WWII, leaving the life of geisha behind.
Arthur Golden is a master at developing the characters he’s created, giving them life on the page, so much so that many people believed this book to be a real-life memoir of a real geisha, when in fact it is a work of fiction. The story is beautifully written, the historical and cultural details are exquisitely interlaced throughout, and still the author keeps the book paced for a fast read. The true work of genius!
If you haven’t read this book, I HIGHLY recommend reading it.

Goodreads Review