Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Writer Tag: Survey for Writers

Answering Bea's The Writer Tag survey! Check out her answers on The Dalaga Project.


1. What type of writing do you do?




Fiction. Novellas mostly. Short stories sometimes.

2. What genres and/or topics do you write about?

Romance for YA, NA, and adults. The comfort zone is New Adult and Contemporary, although I did try my hand at fantasy for a two-year period.

3. How long have you been writing?

Since I was eleven, when I started attempting to write stories featuring teens. I don't really remember being interested in it before that time.

4. Are you published?


Yes, my romance/chick lit novellas are published/distributed in the Philippines by Summit Media. I also publish them myself.

5. What was the first story you ever wrote?

It's a lot like Sweet Valley Twins. Later I learned that what I was doing was actually "fanfic."

6. Why do you write?

I like doing it, and various elements are coming together so that it can keep happening.

7. How do you find time to write?

I have a daughter (and no yaya) so I have to BOOK the time to write. Daughter's naptimes have become a solid 2-hour window to do it. I also ask relatives and the husband to babysit.

8. When and where are the best times to write?

It might not be the best time, but it's my only time - 4 PM to 7 PM. Coincides with daughter's nap, any other work is often done, and I can usually get someone to watch her. Over time I've trained myself to be ready to write during this period.

9. Favorite food/drinks while writing?

Tea, coffee, and recently tried a margarita (while writing a steamy scene) and THAT was effective.

10. Your writing playlist?

I have some go-to writing music, but I also try to keep a project-specific playlist. Here's one for my latest, Georgia Lost and Found on Spotify.

11. What do family/friends/loved ones think of you writing?

My husband is my biggest fan. He will shamelessly brag about stuff I do to anyone. Family and friends are supportive, but not all of them are really into this. They're glad they know someone who is though.

12. Parts of writing you enjoy the most?

Knowing that I'm writing the last scene. Also, writing the scene that inspired the story in the first place.

13. Parts of writing you find challenging?

There's a stretch somewhere in the middle when I inevitably HATE everything, HATE every decision I've made, and wish I could start over. Getting past that is the most difficult.

14. What do you use to write with and on?


What I use evolves depending on where I write and how much time I have. There are books (Queen of the Clueless and Icon of the Indecisive, for example) that I wrote on an iPad. The earlier ones were on a desktop. Now I have notebooks and start everything longhand, old school, and then I straighten it out on a Google Doc on my next writing session.

15. How do you overcome writers block?

If it's a block in the middle of a story, I just write a crap scene to go through the motions. Usually just the exercise of it unlocks something awesome.

16. How do you motivate yourself to write?

You know what? I actually don't have to anymore. It would be different maybe if it wasn't such a big part of my days and weeks.

17. Authors who inspire you as a writer?

Sheri Cobb South, who wrote the best Sweet Dreams novels, in my opinion. (No, it's FACT.) Neil Gaiman. I've added Rainbow Rowell to that list now.

18. Books that inspire you as a writer?

There are a few, but the one that personally lit up my imagination again: SMOKE AND MIRRORS, the short story collection by Neil Gaiman. There's a story there called "Snow, Glass, Apples" which is a retelling of Snow White and after it I was just YES, LET'S DO THIS WRITING THING AGAIN AND TRY TO DO IT RIGHT, BITCHES.

19. Best advice you’ve gotten as a writer?

No one actually said this, but comments over time have led me to learn: IT'S OKAY TO LINGER. It's not a race (even if you have a deadline). Take a deep breath, enjoy it, and let the characters enjoy it too.

20. Writing goals this year?


Finish a music-themed chick lit short that'll be part of an awesome collection. Write a novel mostly set in New Orleans and Texas. Finish and release Scambitious 2, because I put that on hold and there are just two scenes left for me to write! Sorry, Scambitious 2.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Guest post by #buqosteamyreads author Kali Ragilles: A story, an island, and serendipity

Author Kali Ragilles is taking over the blog today!

Having been brought up by forward-thinking parents, I've never been skittish about writing anything sexy --- or even anything that pushes the boundaries of normal. Except werewolves. I draw the line when it involves someone, or something, remotely resembles my pet dog. Anyway, my parents have always encouraged me to write, and simply avoided reading the steamy stuff, more for their own sake than mine.

The thing is, I never really considered publishing anything. I was contented showing my husband (and occasionally, my mom) the stuff I wrote. Even with all these platforms making self-publishing easy, I couldn't find any reason to show everyone my work. Then Mina made this announcement for #BuqoSteamyReads.

I just had to give it a shot.

I did, and I ended up with a steamy romance novella. Unfortunately, I only found out about the deadline for the final draft two weeks before it was due. I didn't think it was enough time to clean up the mess I called a manuscript. People would be paying to read my story, and I wanted to make sure it was worth their money.

My solution? Write another story. But this time, shorter. I targeted a word count that the workshop originally called for --- 5,000 words of steamy romance. I pushed myself to finish it, and thankfully, I completed a 10,000-word short story. My editor, Chris Mariano, helped pull off what could have been an otherwise impossible writing feat for me.

From my manuscript's storyline, I came up with a prelude, Passion Within The Stone Walls. It told the story of Paige de Guia, the childhood friend of the novella's heroine. I needed a PR agent in the series, and Paige was perfect for the part. But the hardest was the setting. Where could I put Paige and Sean's group together without finding out they both knew my novella's heroine?

I didn't have to ponder long. My husband had been bugging me to organize the photo archive in my hard drive, and it just so happened the first photo album I opened gave me the answer to my setting problem.

Batanes.


In my past life, I was a travel blogger (and no, I will not tell you what my blog name was). Batanes, particularly its island of Sabtang, was one of the places I swore I would return to. But, life happened. I figured I could at least revisit the island through my fictional characters, and somehow relive the experience when a place actually made me want to retire at the tender age of twenty-five.


Since the story is fiction, I took the liberty of ignoring a few updates on real-life details (last I heard, electricity in Sabtang now goes out earlier instead of at midnight). But the island remains the same peaceful and enchanting. I tried my best to capture in words the awe I felt during my own visit to the island, but I don't think I could ever do justice to the beautiful province that is Batanes. You need to go there to see for yourself.

Still need convincing? Perhaps Paige can persuade you. Get Passion Within The Stone Walls from Buqo.ph :)


Kali Ragilles is a twenty-something writer living in Manila, Philippines with her husband and their pet dog. She loves watching romantic comedies and eating french fries. Follow her on Twitter @AuthorKali (http://www.twitter.com/AuthorKali), like her page on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kali-Ragilles/676478679071528), or visit kaliragilles.com to contact Kali and sign up for her mailing list.


Passion Within the Stone Walls is part of the Passion #buqosteamyreads bundle. Get it on buqo for iOS and Android, or at buqo.ph.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Guest post by #buqosteamyreads author Suzette de Borja: Steamy Romance 101

Today author Suzette de Borja takes over the blog!

I have devoured hundreds of contemporary, adult romances since I got my first taste of them courtesy of Mills and Boon way back in high school. They were and still are my guilty pleasure. Nothing compares to curling up with a romance novel and falling in love with gorgeous, sexy, alpha male heroes to keep you company on a rainy day, heck, even on a sunny day! I absolutely loved how they would all be tough and confident at the beginning and then become undone by the clueless, quirky, unaffected, virginal (most often) heroine in the story. And the groveling, by the hero, towards the end when he realizes there is no other woman in the world for him? That gets me everytime.

Writing a romance was another thing altogether. My fledgling attempts started in adolescence when my best friend and I would together in longhand write a story about our biggest crush in the planet at that time (he was a member of an all male pop group−I refuse to name said pop group for fear of revealing my age) and just realized recently that what we were doing years ago was writing fan fiction!

Fast forward to the present and the demands of a career and family have put creative pursuits on hold. But the thing is, like a romance story heroine, I have never forgotten my first love−writing.  It is the happiest of reunions, indeed.

 How To Write A Steamy Romance 101

1. Take the plunge and sign up for a writing workshop helmed by the inspirational and ever supportive Mina V. Esguerra 
2. Tap some words on the keyboard, stare blankly into space and decide you need some inspiration by perusing all those gorgeous, drool inducing abs posted on co-authors’ Twitter accounts
3. Munch some chips and drink soda in between writing (you do need those extra calories as writing fuel) 
4. Ponder on deep topics brought up in the workshop like  the anatomical feasibility, desirability and likelihood of having sex with a T. Rex (yes, as in dinosaur)
5. Panic as deadline looms and word count has stalled
6. Spend days coming up with a pen name for assuming your secret identity
7. Obsess over fictional characters who are taking over your waking state and refusing to follow directions  from you (who have complete control of the delete key, by the way) 
8. Flex atrophied writing muscles and write, write, write
9. Buckle up for labor pains of birthing a story
10. Overcome shame

Suzette de Borja has not recovered from the childhood trauma of not qualifying  for a spelling bee contest during her elementary days. When not engaged in an internal debate over the merits of a vegan vs. Paleolithic diet, she is often found in front of a hand held gadget or laptop trying not to be socially (media) awkward on the internet. She lives in an urban jungle with her husband and child  who is convinced she is half−girl, half−unicorn.   

Please visit her online at:
Facebook.com/SuzettedeBorja
Twitter.com/SuzettedeBorja
suzettedeborja@gmail.com


The Best Friend Hookup is part of the Sizzling #buqosteamyreads bundle. Get it on buqo for iOS and Android, or at buqo.ph.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Copyright is an author's right (right?)

I keep talking about copyright lately. On Twitter and Wattpad and Facebook. I just feel that I should, because I've been lucky about the publishing deals I made early on. Those deals by default let me keep copyright of my work.

Keeping copyright of my own story means I still have control over the story, and the characters. Maybe there are other companies who are now able to print books or release digital versions or make movies and such, but those are things that can be done based on contracts signed by me, because I am still the owner of the story and the characters. If something happens to me, my family will continue to receive what it earns, if it continues to earn money, and they can also decide what happens to my stories, how to make my work live on and help them for longer.

Apparently, many other young authors don't have it like that. Many of them sign over not just the print or digital rights but all rights to their story entirely, in exchange for a few thousand pesos, a few print copies, a chance at earning a small percentage for each book sold.

Let me just say: A publishing offer is a good thing. It's good news. But not all offers are the same. What happens when a publisher decides not to print your books anymore? Or if your work becomes so popular that you can't write fast enough for the fans, and they hire new writers to write the stories instead? What if the company that now owns copyright wants to change your story, because they don't agree with how you want it to end?

"But I'll still be credited as the author," some people have told me. Yes, you will still be "credited" but you will have no say in what happens. When a business decides what happens to your story, that is what will happen. Because they own it now.

This situation is still OK too. There are authors who write stories and just want them out there, and don't want to have to worry about what happens to it. THAT'S OK, if YOU'RE OK with it.

But if you're like me, and you wrote those stories from inspiration, from passion, and you wrote them not because someone paid you to but because you WANTED to tell these stories, then maybe you should consider keeping your basic right to determine the present and future of these stories. If they will continue to be sold. If there will be sequels or spin-offs. Who ends up with whom. Who dies.

But this is me. Maybe you're not like this. That's OK. But if you are, and you care about these things, please know that YOU DON'T HAVE TO AGREE to a contract that you're not comfortable with. There are publishers who negotiate. If they want your story enough, they will do that. If they don't want to negotiate, then maybe it's time to ask yourself if it's worth it, to give your "baby" to someone who won't even try to give you terms that make you feel safe.

If you've thought about this but decided to sell your copyright anyway, that's OK too. Sometimes you can decide to do that. Just know that keeping copyright is always an option, and maybe one day you'll write a story that you'll treasure enough that you'll WANT to fight for the right to keep it. And I hope you remember this post.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Q&A with #buqosteamyreads author Adelaide Penne

Taking over the blog today is Adelaide Penne, author of Finding Mr. Write. Here's a Q&A!

1) How did you come up with the story?
I did a bit of an informal 'interview' with a friend who got back with an ex after a year (and who are still together after four years!) and in talking to her, I finally realized that there are some instances when getting back together with an ex was okay.

But Finding Mr. Write is not based on their story. It's purely fictional. :)

2) Who was your inspiration/peg for Clark and Marcia?
I actually based Clark's physique off Henry Cavill. I have always seen Superman as manly and that chest is just amazing. As for their personalities and his, ehem, job, that was just something I thought of and made me laugh. Hopefully it will make you laugh, too.

As for Marcia, I have always enjoyed strong, independent characters, but I don't have one specific person on whom I based her on.

3) How was it like writing something this steamy?
This was my first time to write something this steamy, so there was a lot of squirming and blushing involved. Thankfully, our #buqosteamyreads on Twitter was very active, and the other authors were very helpful in providing inspiration!

4) What was the hardest part in writing Finding Mr. Write?
I met with several challenges! First, I had to figure out a good reason any former couple could overcome to get back together again. Second, I had to get out of my comfort zone to amp up the steam. Third, I wanted to set my story apart and make sure Finding Mr. Write actually had a tangible story, and that their love scene had a reason for happening. Fourth, I had to find beta readers and revise my story. I had to be critical during revisions to make sure I could spot the weak points that others might not have noticed.

5) As an indie and new author, what challenges did you have or foresee, publishing-wise?
Since 'steamy' reads by Filipino authors is a new category for Filipino readers, that's already one challenge our class had. Thankfully, Mina V. Esguerra, along with Buqo, paved the way for several smut-minded, I mean eager [ ;) ] aspiring/current authors to be motivated to finish and publish a book.

Aside from that, publishing-wise, I don't have the support of experts in the publishing industry and I don't know how well-received my story, or this category, will be. Furthermore, marketing is something that's out of my purview, and as a new author, that is always a bit hard. However, this whole experience is a welcome challenge, and so far it has been an enjoyable ride.

6) Do you have any other upcoming steamy works?
In creating a story, I don't force the plot. Instead, I collect ideas, and when I have something concrete, I write it down. I have a planned sequel - I'm not yet sure how long it will be - but I haven't started it yet. And yes, it will be about Ensyang :)

7) Would you ever date an ex?
That is debatable, and it would probably need - oh look there's a rainbow!

8) Say something about yourself.
I'm a 20-something aspiring author who loves to read, sing, and work (gasp, yes). I love earning my own money to fund my travels, retirement (haha), and chocolate and book addiction. On an ordinary day, I can be found in my personal library/office, working, blogging, or watching movies. On weekends, I am either learning something new, eating, drinking mocha frappucino, out with friends, shopping, or traipsing around in an entirely different city.

Like Marcia, I love technology and I have awesome friends. Unlike Marcia, I don't turn heads, I don't have a Clark in my life, and I can only dream to be that rich.

-------------------------------------

Social media links:

Twitter: @adelaidepenne


Finding Mr. Write is part of the Sizzling #buqosteamyreads bundle. Get it on buqo for iOS and Android, or at buqo.ph.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Guest post by #buqosteamyreads author Mia del Socorro: What It Was Like to Write Steamy Scenes


Taking over the blog for today: Mia del Socorro, author of Love Under Cover, a #buqosteamyreads story

Sumali ako sa steamyreads seminar quite by accident (o destiny ba?) because I was quite eager to join other writers who I hoped would get me back on stream after I found myself experiencing dryness as I approached what I thought were the closing chapters of a novel I began to write more than a year ago.

When I started writing the novel, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself writing again after a long, long period of absolute aridity insofar as fiction writing is concerned.  And I felt so happy and fulfilled.  Until I found myself stalled again.  Was I going to stop short of completion?  Was I going to bail out somehow?  So I signed up to join the group, despite the intimidating name it had given to itself, “steamyreads seminar.” 

Why should I be afraid, I told myself.  I’m a mature, married woman, quite advanced in years, with four grown children to boot.

The seminar was quite an eye opener for me.  Quite obviously, I was the oldest.  Many of the participants were younger than my youngest son.  And I saw a glimpse of the world my children live in today. 

To start with, I am not a romance novel reader.  In fact, the last complete novel I read was probably “The Joy Luck Club”, several decades ago, and I don’t think you’d classify that as a romance novel.

When I was a teenager myself, I wrote romantic short stories, quite advanced and intensely disturbing for that time.  Now, in the steamyreads seminar, I found myself almost infantile and ignorant, out of my depth it seemed, in terms not only of knowledgeability and inner poise not only about sexual matters but also of an even more basic view of life and of the world.  This world.  The world of the here and now. The world of the so-called millenials.

Thankfully, I did not have a problem thinking of a storyline for the trope I was assigned to do.  In less than two weeks, I was able to come up with my first draft, which included what I thought was a satisfying sex scene which I gave a heat level rating of 3.

I wanted to get editorial assistance but found myself having to deal with several pressing domestic emergencies so I didn’t have time to explore options.  So I showed my story to a seventy-nine year old aunt, a published writer herself, but not of fiction works.  I also enclosed Mina’s description of the heat levels we were supposed to incorporate in our stories.

My aunt shocked me when she said I had an interesting story line but that my heat level was definitely ZERO.  I was in a quandary.  Do I raise the ante, and by that I meant the heat level of my story, or do I just bail out?

Ultimately, I decided to take on the challenge.  I am a professional, I told myself, and I should regard this as a commissioned work.  I have to meet my “client’s” expectations.  I have to fulfil my TOR. BUT – I will never do it again.  Hindi na ako uulit.

With that resolve, I was able to come up with an expanded sex scene that I think anybody would say should pass for a heat level 3.  And I do like it.  I am proud of what I came up with.  In fact, I’m beginning to rethink my novel and wondering if I shouldn’t add more spice to my almost finished novel. 


I’m still thinking.

Love Under Cover is part of the Passion #buqosteamyreads bundle. Get it on buqo for iOS and Android, or at buqo.ph.

#buqosteamyreads! Get them for your Apple or Android device


They're here! Steamy adult romances, in English, by Filipino authors. Each story will be available exclusively on the buqo ebook store for one year, at $0.99 or P45 each. Get the buqo app on iOS or the Google Play Store, and then buy from the app, or through the buqo.ph site.

For a limited time though, you'll be able to get all of the stories (including a bonus one from me) for just P225 (less than $5)  if you get the bundles. Stock up on your steamy reads for the summer! 

I just tested this out by buying all the bundles, and while the Android and buqo.ph credit card payment gateway seems to be down right now, the bank deposit options seem available. And iTunes in-app purchases definitely work. 

If you've purchased and read a #buqosteamyreads story, let me know! Let's make some authors happy!