Sunday, February 27, 2011

Highlights from LYF's first week

It's been a busy and happy week for Love Your Frenemies.

It was reviewed by Tina (One More Page), Lee (From Page One), Chachic's Book Nook, and dementedchris via Smashwords. It's now on Goodreads and Shelfari.

Not bad for a "launch" with a marketing budget of zero. :) I also got a few requests for a paperback version of Love Your Frenemies -- the answer is yes, there will be, but not soon. May take months, because the paperback process includes shipping proofs from the US to Manila and that takes weeks.

Other fun things:

If you haven't read Fairy Tale Fail yet -- Chachic's Book Nook is hosting a giveaway of it. It's an international giveaway and runs until March 11.

Thanks to Charmie, Joyce, Irene, Vhienfaye, Raissa, Ula and Georgette for visiting the Facebook page this month!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Love Your Frenemies

Love Your Frenemies

Kimmy Domingo was the kind of girl everyone hated and envied -- until her fiancé dumped her a week before their wedding. Soon after, she quit her job, hopped on a plane, and just hid from everyone who knew her. A year later and she's back in Manila to be maid of honor at a wedding she can't miss.

Kimmy's home because she's ready to start over, but she also knows that some people at that wedding were responsible for the mess her life turned out to be. The first step to recovery? Cutting off the ones who caused her troubles to begin with: her best friend and her first love.

Buy it now from Amazon ($0.99 US, $2.99 Asia-Pacific) and Smashwords ($0.99 anywhere)!

You don't need a Kindle to read this! Just install any of Amazon's free Kindle apps on your device of choice (PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android phone, Blackberry, Windows Phone 7) and you're ready to go. Smashwords has an HTML version that allows you to read the book on any web browser!

Just to get a few things out of the way:
- If you're reading this and think the name of the lead character is familiar, yes, it is because she is that bitch from my first novel.
- You can go ahead and read it even if you haven't read My Imaginary Ex. (Different time, mostly different people.)

I will be sending free copies of this to people who bought Fairy Tale Fail when it was $1.89 US ($3.89 Asia-Pacific). If this is you, send me an email, maybe with a proof of purchase if we've never interacted before, and tell me which email address to gift it to and which format you prefer it in!

The cover was designed by my husband, Michael A.R. Co. That lovely (in my opinion) background color is something we call "chocolate-box red."

Glad that I'm finally getting this book out. :) With this, I close two personal writing challenges, and can now concentrate on whatever's next. This is for you, my Evil Stepsisters.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Updating assumptions, it's all right to be wrong

Some assumptions I had about my ebook experiment in April 2010, and where they stand now.

1. I will do this just to get my name and work out there, because who really makes money off their writing?

February 2011: Wrong, apparently. I actually can make money out of this, if I'm willing to work on getting more titles out and communicating with the readers.

2. My audience for the ebook will be Filipino-Americans, more than anyone else, because who else would be interested in stories set in the Philippines?

February 2011: Wrong again. I can't tell based on sales alone, but the reviews, responses and feedback I get have come from all over and not really from a particular cultural community. (Although I do suspect that the audience is mostly women.)

3. I don't need to release a paperback version, because why would someone spend more when they can already get the same thing for less than 50 pesos?

February 2011: Not necessarily wrong. FTF ebook has outsold FTF paperback by such a wide margin that the comparison isn't even fair. But the effort put into having a paperback version is still worth it because there are a few hardcore paper lovers out there who would spring for it, and they shouldn't be ignored. And CreateSpace has at least made the process easy, and I didn't have to spend so much having a few dozen copies printed.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The languages we speak

From Elaine Yeung's review of No Strings Attached: "In addition, it is quite hard to picture a Filipino setting where all the characters speak in perfectly straight English."

Elaine brings up an excellent point, which I wanted to blog about, in case an international reader wanders over.

I made a deliberate decision when I prepared my very first manuscript for publication that I would write it mostly in English. In reality, middle-class twenty-something women living and working in Metro Manila would be at least bilingual, speaking Filipino and English (or "Taglish") with ease at home, at work, with friends. But this doesn't yet capture exactly how we speak -- I know people who speak Bisaya, Ilonggo, and other regional languages at home. The slang I speak with close friends can be hard to understand, and I know because I have to translate sometimes for my husband later, even though we heard the exact same thing at dinner.

It's difficult to get that absolutely note-perfect, for me. International readers would notice that I do have the stray Tagalog word here and there, though, because I chose to retain some "untranslatables." Maybe it provides a hint of local color to some, but it doesn't do justice to the way we actually do use our native languages. I really just use them to avoid a more awkward English translation, so I say "kuya" rather than "older guy who isn't related to me but could be older brother also" or "bulalo" instead of "beef bone marrow soup."

The decision to go mostly-English has to do with a lot of things, but first of these is that if I did it any other way, I wouldn't be able to finish anything. I've tried, and the pressure to "get it right" just kills every draft, every time. So, kudos to writers who can craft characters and give them the right slang and language and make it sound real.

The upside of my earlier decision? The stories produced in this way found an international audience. I wonder if it's possible to have both (the correctly-represented languages AND the international audience) but since I haven't successfully finished an attempt, I don't personally know.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sneak peek: Love Your Frenemies

An excerpt from the latest book project, soon available on Amazon and Smashwords.


Those who wanted to see Kimberly Domingo get hers had a lot of good stuff to choose from in the weeks and months that followed my non-wedding.

It started when I found out -- through a phone call in the early afternoon, to my cellphone, which I had taken while sitting at my workstation. It wasn't an office with a door, and my cubicle walls looked and felt like plastic reinforced by a layer of thin carpet. Yeah, no soundproofing when I started raising my voice.

"You're kidding me, right?" I tried to whisper, but as my former fiancé firmly explained to me that the wedding wouldn't be happening, my voice started to get loud and shrill. "What about the caterer?"

"We won't get our deposit back, but at least we haven't paid them in full yet."

"But my lola's already on her way!" Eighty-five years old and as we were speaking, flying in from California.

"I'm really sorry, Kimmy. But we really can't do this."

"You know what we can do? We can just shut up for a second and think about this. What happened?"

He was calm as he explained to me what his decision was, and what needed to be done. He had an answer for everything I threw at him: he was prepared to call all the companies we had booked to announce the cancellation, as well as all the guests, and was even offering to pay for a few things that I had advanced from my own account. And that I would have the money by Monday.

"Shit, Zack, I don't fucking care about the money right now! What the hell happened?"

I can't remember exactly what he said. I was in a rage, and when the phone call ended I was suddenly aware that I was in my place of work, and everyone probably heard that.

I don't remember the rest of that day. My mother told me that I came home late, but by then she already knew, because Zack had contacted her with his apologies. I have a vague memory of not wanting to go to work the next day. I remember crying into her lap, wiping tears onto the floral-patterned fabric of her nightgown, first with loud, angry sobs, and then hiccupping like a child. I had never felt like that before, ever.

Humiliated. That was the word.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Let's not forget email

The last post was full of shoutouts to people who talked about my books on the internet. I try to round those up and link as often as I can, especially now that I've admitted that I'm out there reading them too. :)

Now I'd like to devote some space to thank those who've emailed me directly recently, for one reason or another. Through them I've learned that:

- Ruel De Vera (hi, Ruey!) has read at least two reviews of my books for his class. I wonder if he has identified me as author from the last name and the choice of genre. (ie CHEESE)

- It is possible to meet "a Dante" in Boracay, if Dante were a Geneva-based Italian/British banker and REAL.

- I talk a LOT about college in my books, despite the characters all being in their twenties. It's like I have a college fascination or something.

- Atom Araullo is someone's idea of "a Dante." Not the guy I modeled the character on, but that is brilliant.

- Though I never named the church where the Ellie and Don scene happened, I did base it on a real one, and someone got it right.

Also, I was asked if I have ever written about me. No, never. I write about other people. Not that my own life is blah. It's quite nice, actually.