Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Out in January 2014: Stories from Luna East Arts Academy, volume 1 (YA/English)

I'm happy to share that the first #romanceclass YA anthology will be out in paperback in January. Yay!

During one of the #romanceclass monthly meetups, the authors present started talking about what they could do next, after trying to write their romance novellas. And we started talking about our love for YA, which is how a lot of us started reading and writing.

So now we have Luna East Arts Academy, an ongoing project where participating authors contribute a YA romance/coming-of-age story set in high school. Volume 1 contains the following stories:

Be Creative by Stella Torres
Senpai's #1 Fan by Anne Plaza
Love Lies A'Bleeding by Alyssa Ashley Lucas
Picture Me Naked by D. R. Lee
Something Real by Miles Tan
Wouldn't Change A Thing by Jayen San Diego
You Are the Apple of My Eye by Addie Lynn Co
The Letter by M. Protacio-De Guzman
Where Do We Go From Here by Jen Carpio
The Rumor About Me by Kristel S. Villar
He Loves Me...Not? by Athena Claire Duenas
Sitting in a Tree by Chrissie Peria
Yours Is the First Face That I Saw by Ron Lim
Fifty-Two Weeks by Mina V. Esguerra 

What is Luna East, exactly?
A fictional Metro Manila high school that we’ve created as the setting for new YA fiction. Luna East is a co-ed non-sectarian private school, somewhere in the metro, a bit upscale but with a growing percentage of scholarship students. The school likes to focus on its arts education, but they have sports teams (Go, Wolves!), beauty pageants, and other things that private schools in the metro have. 

Basic rules of #LunaEast:
Luna East Arts Academy is a shared setting for our YA stories. 
Stories must be set in the present time or recent past.
Any characters in the story will become part of the “universe” and can be used by the other writers in their stories (informing the original author of your plans would be polite).
Who can write a Luna East story? Right now, we are fine with ANYONE writing stories set in Luna East, but to be part of the paperback compilation (and therefore being CANON) your story must be reviewed and checked for continuity against the other stories.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Author Year 2013

Released this year:
Queen of the Clueless (Interim Goddess of Love #2)
Summit editions of Love Your Frenemies, Interim Goddess of Love, and Queen of the Clueless

Wrote and released:
Extraordinary (short story prequel to Anti Dynasty)
Icon of the Indecisive (Interim Goddess of Love #3)
Young and Scambitious (short story)
Fifty-Two Weeks (short story, contribution to Luna East YA compilation)
Welcome to Envy Park
Playing Autumn

Started writing/outlining:
Iris Moving On
Properly Scandalous (Scambitious 2)
Anti Dynasty
My Muse Apollo

YAY. I will not put pressure on myself to finish anything new right now and will just enjoy the holidays. I wish everyone a happy and stress-free couple of weeks! :D

PS. Tune in on Thursday, Dec 26 at 7:30 PM. I've got a podcast with Tania Arpa and our first guest is author Kate Evangelista!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

In Over Her Head: Excerpt + Giveaway

It's such an honor to have been part of this book's journey! Author Anne Plaza worked on this book during #romanceclass, and I was watching out for this novella from outline stage on. Why? Because Anne had ideas for this book, even before she set out to write it. And then the characters kind of took over. Which just goes to show that you can plan a story all you want, but if you create characters that are real enough, they just might end up telling you what they want. And those are great characters to have.

Book description
All she wants is to get even...

Erika Apostol's quiet and unassuming life gets disrupted when she learns that Richard Javier, the very same person who broke her heart many years ago, is now back in the country. Her world is turned upside down as old feelings she thought were buried resurface to haunt her once more.

Determined to give Richard a dose of his own medicine, Erika finds herself involved in an outrageous plan devised by her friends. They enlist the help of Jerome Gonzales, an attractive and charismatic DJ (with a playboy reputation), to pose as her significant other.

As the plan goes in full swing, Erika discovers Richard's jealous side, and that there's something more to Jerome than meets the eye. Will this grand charade work out the way it should, or will she be left with nothing in the end?

I shrug, not trusting myself to speak. Suddenly the entire scenario feels like something out of a cheesy movie: tiny, blinking lights peppering the ink-black sky, the night breeze sending a fresh wave of goose bumps on my skin, and Jerome’s presence making my senses go haywire.
“Sorry, I don’t have a jacket with me, so I hope this would do.”
I don’t realize I’ve been rubbing my arms and Jerome must have taken that to mean that I’m getting cold. He pulls me close to his side and I can feel the warmth emanating from his solid body.
What the hell is happening?
I can barely move a muscle, much less breathe, at the closeness we’re sharing. I know we’ve done this several times before, but they were all for show when Richard’s around to mess with. But this time, there’s no Richard, no acting, no nothing. Just me and him, inhaling cigarette smoke while killing time.
I struggle to get some small talk going, but I find myself at a total loss for words. Jerome doesn’t seem to mind the lack of conversation and is just content with us burning our lungs away and…cuddling.
I try to shift my weight to my other side, but he pulls me a bit closer. “We don’t really need to do this. No one’s watching.” I don’t realize I say those words until they’re out of my mouth. I look furtively at Jerome’s expression.
“So you’ll know that I’m not doing this for show either.”
I frown slightly. “Do what?”
And the next thing I know, he’s kissing me. But that’s not what’s shocking at all.
It’s that I kiss him back.
Anne Plaza has a degree in Psychology, but has actively pursued a career in writing in her previous work as a reporter and online editor. She currently works in the field of marketing communications and spends most of her time writing fiction (while not on the lookout for the nearest cupcake and cronut store).  Aside from writing, she loves to read contemporary romance, young adult, fantasy, and historical fiction. She also collects stamps and postcards, and loves everything about cats. Anne is based in Quezon City, Philippines. In Over Her Head is her first published work in English.

Blog  Twitter  Facebook  Email: anneplaza@gmail.com

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Holiday Giveaway: All of my books in print!

Who wants books? Here, have all my books in print!

Not in photo: The upcoming paperback for Playing Autumn, my first international release. But that'll be part of the prize pack too! And I will ship it free to the winner to a Philippine address.

To join, answer:
Who's your favorite guy? (via blog comment or a post on your own blog/social media)
Bonus question: Which main character reminded you of yourself, or a friend? (post on your own blog/social media)

More details here on Rafflecopter:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy holidays! Thank you so much for making my year as an author the most awesome one yet.

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Real Score: Excerpt + Giveaway

Welcome to my stop on The Real Score's blog tour! If this novella seems familiar to you, visitor of this blog, it's probably because you know that Kesh Tanglao is one of the #romanceclass finishers. I must say though that if you read this book you'll know that Kesh merely needed a schedule and a little push--the story, the book, the feels...she had it in her all along. Check out the excerpts below and join the giveaway to enjoy more of the book!

Caitlin's friendship with Marcus, the de facto frontman of the world's biggest boy band Gezellig, has long been an object of scrutiny by almost everyone--their friends and families, the media, and his fans--ever since they "went public" a couple of years back. Who wouldn't be interested? She was a nobody, catapulted into the limelight of his fame when he struck an unusual friendship with her.

To both Caitlin and Marcus, what they have is a "perfect little thing." But then something comes along and threatens it. 

In a no-holds-barred interview, will they finally be forced to settle the score?

“Is there any chance you’d want to stay?”
I gripped the handle of the door. “Stay?” I said softly without turning.
I heard some shuffling of footsteps and then I felt him standing behind me. He playfully poked me on the shoulder to face him, and I did, finally letting go of the handle.
“Stay,” he urged again.
“You have a show later, Marcus. Shouldn’t you be sleeping by now?”
Marcus shrugged. “I couldn’t even if I tried. I’m too…wired.”
I smirked. “Tea is supposed to relax you, not make you jumpy,” I commented, and he wrinkled his nose. “I don’t think it’s the tea.”
Marcus fixed me a stare. “It’s you.”
“Ha,” I said, shaking my head, struggling to hide my smile.
“I’ll get us room service.”
“You’re bribing me with food. After I had a buffet. Are you kidding me?”
He opened his hands in front of him. “I was hoping the company was enough.”
A tiny, very unsure voice in my head said: Be spontaneous?
And despite the louder voice screaming “no,” I relented, sighing and flopping back down on the couch. “Fine.”
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Kesh Tanglao is a full-time market researcher. When she’s not crunching numbers, she spends most of her free time watching TV shows, listening to music, and reading. Also a self-proclaimed fangirl, she likes cheering for her favorite sports teams and supporting her favorite artists. The Real Score is her first published novella.

Kesh is on Twitter Facebook 8tracks

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

#romanceclass at #filreadercon

To recap: In January 2013, we started a (free) class about writing contemporary romance novellas.
By the official end of the course (June), 14 authors had finished their draft manuscripts. (Batch 1 Batch 2)
In September, 5 of the books had been indie published by the authors, and we sold them at our very first book fair.

And now it's December, and we just participated in our second event as an exhibitor, at the Filipino ReaderCon. 8 books had been indie-published by that time, so the table got a little crowded. (Also, I had published a few more books since then. But they're technically not part of #romanceclass.)

@jayensandiego on Instagram
We're also still selling digital versions of the books at P50 each. We figured that since we as indie publishers can't get the cost of our print books down to that price, we might as well offer an alternative. And then if you love the book that much (and I'm confident that this will happen!) you will actually not blink as you pay P300-P350 for the print edition. I've seen it happen. It's not often, because P300 is no amount to sneeze at, but when it does happen, everything's worth it.

@dementedchris on Instagram
Your friendly neighborhood #romanceclass. From left to right: Chris Mariano author of Cover (Story) Girl, Stella Torres author of Save the Cake, Anne Plaza author of In Over Her Head, Tina, Jayen San Diego author of Just A Little Rain, Ron, and me.

We will be at BLTX on Saturday, December 14, Lopez Museum Ortigas to sell more romance! Drop by and say hi.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Our Anton, That Guy

So this guy was a challenge to write. But you know me, I'm always up for a personal writing challenge.

That Kind of Guy's story is based on not a few conversations I've had with friends about why women, even those who are so smart about other things, fall for "bad boys." Players. Guys who are, based on history and common sense, heartbreakers. And trust me, when conversations are about love, everyone is an expert: "We think we can fix them." "We're compensating for having to be good girls all our lives." "He just knows what women want." "They're just hotter."

The difficulty with this book wasn't with the character, by the way. Anton (oh Anton) has been in more of my books than any other character I think, always in the background, if you hadn't noticed. I knew who he was so well, and was excited about finally getting to his story. But then there was the matter of Anton's writer becoming a mother, and writing his story while also adjusting to caring for an infant. This was not easy.

Good thing other people believed in this and pushed our progress along. Ines Yao, Abi Goy, Aurora Suarez, Koko Ko and people at Summit Books whose names and faces I should know (but I don't, because I'm not hanging around there as often as I probably should!).

So in 2012 we had this, Anton's book, out in every bookstore, and I realized that I had thrown the challenge out to the readers: Would you, sensible smart Filipina, believe this guy? He's such a player. Has always been. He could be lying to you right now. Why trust him even? Especially when you have someone like Harry (nice, historically faithful, historically harmless) in your life, as we all do?

Watching the reviews and reaction to this has been fascinating, and I can't say who's right (because everyone is an expert). But I've read every post about it that I could find, and I've learned a lot about how the people who've read this book view love, and trust, and forgiveness, and change.

This weekend, That Kind of Guy won the 2013 Filipino Readers' Choice Award for Chick Lit. Thank you to every person who bought, considered buying, read, lent, borrowed, reviewed, talked about, asked about, and voted for this book. What this tells me is that writing challenges are so worth taking on, because people are ready for it. Yes, even in "Chick Lit." Especially in Chick Lit.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Playing Autumn, my new book, part of the ROCK GODS OF ROMANCE bundle

It seems like I've been posting new release days so often this year (a happy problem), and I hope you can all bear with another one.

Playing Autumn is my first international release, and it's part of the Rock Gods of Romance ebook bundle. The entire set is $0.99 for a limited time (if you Amazon Kindle account is set to US), so hey, if you ever wanted to get me a present for the holidays, this is all you need to buy. Less than P50!

Buy from: Amazon  Barnes&Noble

Description from Amazon

Lose yourself in a wildly passionate, swooningly romantic and enthralling joyride with the Rock Gods of Romance Boxed Set, which features stories of all heat levels from NYT bestselling author Ava Lore and Marian Tee, USA Today bestselling author Liliana Rhodes, and Amazon bestselling authors Caitlyn Duffy, K.T. Fisher, and Mina V. Esguerra.

With this collection, all your secret fantasies and daydreams will come to life in the arms of the sweetest and sexiest rock stars you'll ever find in romance novels.

Hometown Hook-Up by Caitlyn Duffy: Brice Norris' new-found fame as lead singer of the rock band Sigma is suffocating him when he returns to West Hollywood after the band's first world tour. He feels like he's being pulled in a million directions by managers and agents, and can't find a way to block out the trappings of fame--the girls who want to spend time with him, the cocktails, and the paparazzi--long enough to start working on the band's second album. On a spur-of-the-moment trip home to Massachusetts to visit his parents, his chance encounter with his former high school crush, Meredith, reignites not only his attraction to her, but his passion for music.

Record, Rewind by Ava Lore: The last person in the world Cassie Bell wants to see is Damien Colton, the lead singer of the blazing hot band, The Hollow Men, and her secret high school crush.

But when she and Damien meets at the hotel where she cleans rooms for a living, it seems fate has brought them back together. And when they find themselves locked in the hotel's rooftop, it seems fate likes to play a good prank.

Can Cassie ever overcome her shyness and confess to Damien the torch she's carried for years, or has time changed them both too dramatically for them to ever have a second chance?

Playing Autumn by Mina V. Esguerra: "Hot Piano Girl" Haley and rock star Oliver officially meet on a plane ride back to Houston, where they're both serving as mentors at a music festival for young artists. Unofficially? Haley has been a fan of Oliver's since she was ten (and he was twelve), when she saw him on a TV talent show. And Oliver's had her in his head since he saw her performing covers of his songs online. His career has hit rock bottom, and hers has stalled before even starting. Will an autumn weekend in their hometown give them exactly what they need?

The Ballad of Jude by Liliana Rhodes: Zoey Ackerman had no idea a summer job would lead to her helping create one of the biggest rock bands in the world. But when her boyfriend, Silverlight's drummer Jude Morrison goes on tour, can their love survive the temptations of sex, drugs and rock n roll?

The Rockstar I've Loved for So Long by Marian Tee: Dylan Charbonneau, the rockstar 18-year-old Bree Wyle has been in love with since forever, wants to belong to her. That should make her deliriously happy...if only he hasn't made clear he also belongs to the millions of girls who love him, too.

Heat by K.T. Fisher: When Lacey's best friend, Roxie takes her out for her birthday they meet two sexy men. Not knowing that they are rock stars. They end the night at the girls apartment, where Cole and Mason find out just how close the best friends can be. Lacey and Roxie have no idea the guys are in a famous rock band, they're just two gorgeous men to them. Even as Cole and Lacey find themselves drawn to each other, Cole doesn't want to tell Lacey that he's a rock star. Can Lacey be with Cole when she finds out the man she thought she was falling for has been lying to her all along?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Don't Forget the Soap: Excerpt + Giveaway

This is a book I first read because I was helping to put it up on the Amazon Kindle Store, and it was definitely a case of work not seeming at all like work! Claire is a driven, intelligent, caring mom/daughter/wife/sister/friend/executive/woman of the world, and guess what? I admire fabulous women, and I think we should read more about them.

About Don't Forget the Soap

At the center of many good stories – inspiring, entertaining, admittedly corny – is Marie Claire Lim Moore. Ask her about the time she and her family sat down with former Philippine President Corazon Aquino. Or the time she built houses in Mexico alongside former American President Jimmy Carter. Equally engaging are her every day experiences and perspective on life. You will be interested to hear what she thinks is a relationship “deal breaker” or why Christmas should be regulated or why kids shouldn’t say, “I’m bored.”

Don’t Forget the Soap is a collection of anecdotes from different points in Claire’s life: stories from the tight-knit Filipino community in Vancouver mix with memories of her move to New York, experiences at Yale and travels as a young executive. Underlying this narrative is the story of a global citizen who does not want to forget the fundamental values that come along with the “immigrant experience” as she and her husband raise their children in the increasingly glitzy expat bubble of Singapore. Her parents continue to remain a big influence in her life and her mother’s reminders a grounding force. These stories will warm the heart and resonate with people of any culture.

Here's an excerpt from her book (don't forget to join the awesome giveaway at the end of the post!):

Excerpt 4: Mom Moment
When I first started working at Citibank in New York there was a cleaning lady who would come by everyday around 5 pm to empty the trash. She had a very warm demeanor, and I was always happy to engage her in conversation at the end of the day. Her name was Maria, and she was from the Dominican Republic. At one point I asked if I could practice my Spanish with her, and she was delighted. It was great for me as my language skills hadn’t been put into practice much since I studied abroad in college. Through our exchanges I learned she had a son and daughter in high school. I shared with her pictures of my family from our recent trip to the Philippines.
When I got promoted my boss finally managed to secure an office for me, which was not an easy task given the internal politics and lack of space. It was kind of a makeshift office with a hodgepodge of furniture including an old desk, mismatched chairs, a broken file cabinet and a wobbly conference table but I didn't care. As long as it had a door I felt like I had made it to the big league. On the first morning in my new digs, I opened the door to find what looked like a completely new office. The desk was sparkling, the conference table looked new, the chairs all matched and the broken file cabinet had been removed. The entire day everyone who walked by congratulated me on my promotion and asked how in the world I got my office in such shape. I had no idea. Maybe the maintenance guys realized someone was moving in and cleaned everything up? No way, everyone highly doubted it. 
Then 5 pm came around and Maria stopped by to collect my trash. She had this proud grin on her face and said, “Te gusta?” So Maria was behind it! I got up to thank her profusely. I couldn’t believe she had gone through such trouble. “De nada. De nada. Un placer,” she said and then proceeded to explain that it was the least she could do after everything I had done for her. Everything I had done for her? What would that be? I started to wonder if she mistook me for another person but no, she was referring to the fact that I would take time to say hello everyday when she came to clean my work space. It turned out that this gesture alone made all the difference when everyone else rushed past her or didn’t say word. “Before you moved to this floor I could have been invisible,” she explained. “Now I enjoy coming to work.” It was one of the first times in my adult life when I felt like I was turning into my mother. And it was a good feeling.
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Marie Claire Lim Moore is a Filipina-Canadian-American working mother and author of Don't Forget the Soap. After spending the early part of her childhood in Vancouver, Claire moved to New York City and attended the United Nations International School. She went on to study at Yale, climb the corporate ladder at Citi and travel around the world. She met her husband, Alex, while working in Sao Paulo, Brazil and they married in Manila, Philippines shortly before moving to Singapore. Now Mom to Carlos and Isabel, Claire also manages the Global Client business for Citi in Asia. She enjoys juggling career and family and likes to throw in community and politics for fun by campaigning for US political candidates, fundraising for organizations that advance the role of women in business and promoting foreign direct investment in the Philippines. She is also a guest contributor at Sassy Mama Singapore. 

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/MarieClaireLM

This blog tour was organized by Dia at Book Junkie Blog Tours!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Culture: Too much, or not enough?

I was on NALitChat's audio show this month to talk about culture and diversity in New Adult Lit, with authors David Arney, E.J. Wesley, Kat Vancil, Amy Evans, and Victoria Smith. It sounds like serious business (and it was, in parts) but it was also a lot of fun, and an hour is apparently not enough time to exhaust the topic. I'm so glad that I was given the chance to share what it's like for me, as a Filipino author writing in English. Some things I want to bring up again, and with more words:

Does a book "have to be" diverse/culture-sensitive?
I'm not someone who says a book "has to be" anything. I've experienced this throughout my life ("you have to write in Filipino", "you have to write about the poor", "you have to write what's popular"). There's nothing wrong with what they want. I don't know how it affects you, but that to me is just a formula for NOT FINISHING ANYTHING.

That said, you may have noticed that my books have a LOT of Filipinos in them. I've taken the time (in recent books) to point out when someone isn't Filipino, or is Filipino and something else, just to illustrate that yes even in Manila there's a variety of cultures one might encounter professionally, socially, etc. I've also learned that some readers will see this as too much culture, or not enough.

What do you mean, not enough culture?
Because ebook buying hasn't taken off that much yet in the Philippines, it means most of my ebook sales come from OUTSIDE of the Philippines. And because I'm up front in my author bio and book descriptions that these stories are set in the Philippines, it's reasonable to expect that I get readers trying my books because they want to learn more about my country. But then they get a story about a young woman falling in love and finding a job in the city, and maybe it's not the kind of "culture" they were expecting to see. Stories are affected by their setting, and certain cultural quirks will influence that. How much though?

I try to have my covers designed and my book descriptions written so that they don't advertise an exaggerated "cultural experience" if there isn't any, but readers will have their thoughts and ideas about a topic, and they will decide (with or without my help) whether my book meets those expectations or falls short. There's a reason though that my books are still categorized in CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE, and not, say, SOCIAL SCIENCES. 

That said, I find it fascinating that other authors feel some pressure to remove traces of "culture" and others aren't "cultural" enough. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

When so much is going on

Three things:

1. Please continue to donate time/money/expertise for Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda relief. (Philippine Red Cross, Authors for the Philippines)

2. Wattpad was sweet enough to send an email saying that one of my stories was kicking ass. Not as much as others! But I'll take it. :)

3. It sounds crazy but I will have another book out in December. It's called Playing Autumn and it's an international release, published as part of the Rock Gods of Romance ebook bundle. (Wattpad preview here.) Watch out for it, while I bite my nails anxiously.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Queen of the Clueless Summit edition: Cover reveal + Giveaway! [PH only]

In bookstores this month! The Summit edition of Queen of the Clueless (Interim Goddess of Love #2).
Things are not right at Ford River College. 

Stuff has been mysteriously disappearing and the dean cannot get to the bottom of it. Hannah hates how security is tightening around campus because it seems they're targeting the kids who are under scholarship--students like her.

When she figures out who is doing it, she tries to find a way to fix things. She is the temporary Goddess of Love after all. But when he can actually control her and make her say and do things she'd never intended to do in the first place, she has to get the other gods involved:

THE SUN GOD: the love of her life, the stickler for rules, the one who will never return her feelings
THE GOD OF THE SEA: the rule breaker, the one who takes her under his wing to learn things the Sun God wouldn't approve of, the hottie
THE GODDESS OF THE MOON: the one who totally disapproves of Hannah being goddess of anything, the most popular girl on campus

But when Hannah realizes she has to do things on her own, will she finally realize that being the Interim Goddess of Love is something she can't handle after all? Or will she finally prove that she is indeed worthy?
I'm giving away 5 copies of the Summit edition of Queen of the Clueless! Includes free shipping anywhere in the Philippines. 
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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Giving the "Welcome to Envy Park" ebook as a gift

"Your ebook is so cheap. How can I buy two?" said my friend the other day.

Why thank you! (And this is why we're friends.) It might not be wise to buy two personal copies of the ebook from the same place, but it is possible to buy another -- and give it as a gift to another friend.

So if you received Welcome to Envy Park free, or if you enjoyed it, or maybe you're just a really good friend of an author haha, do consider giving it as a gift to friends who might like it. There are "Give as Gift" links on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords, and those'll cover pretty much every ebook-reading gadget out there.

Thank you! I hope the friend you gift it to thinks you're awesome. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Sharing this: Philippine International Literary Festival - POPtastik Pinoy!

Oh, a bookish event! Found out about this from our friends at the Filipinas Heritage Library.  

Press Release: Filipino writers will discuss folk and popular literature as shown in komiks, TV, and film as the National Book Development Board (NBDB), Filipinas Heritage Library (FHL), and Ayala Museum hold POPtastik Pinoy! this November.

The event is part of the 4th Philippine International Literary Festival. Titled Text and the City, the LitFest will take place in the major universities in Metro Manila from November 11-14 and culminating at the Ayala Museum on November 15, from 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Promotional activities will also be held at the Makati Ayala Malls from November 17 to 24.

The November 15 event is a whole day series of talks which will cover the following topics: “Folklore in Pop Literature (komiks, graphic novels, novels, short stories, and TV);” “Kuwentuhan on Komiks;” and “Writing in Different Genres.” Among the panel discussants and moderators are comic artists Manix Abrera, Noel Pascual, AJ Bernardo, Karen Francisco, and Budjette Tan; novelists Eros Atalia, Luna Sicat Cleto, and Edgar Samar; scriptwriter Suzette Doctolero; fictionists Sarge Lacuesta and Yvette Tan; journalists Ruel de Vera and Kristine Fonacier; and Prof. Patrick Campos.

Celebrated writers Tony Perez and Rolando Tolentino will open the POPtastik Pinoy! program of activities with talks of writing and the city. Korean-American writer Krys Lee will then discuss her short story compilation Drifting House. Lee will be joined by Sarge Lacuesta, Andrea Pasion-Flores, and Kristine Fonacier for a flash fiction writing masterclass, “City Fiction 100,” while other pocket lectures are being held in the Ayala Museum function rooms.

From 5:00 pm, writer and educator Isagani R. Cruz will hold another seminar on “How to write a book” for professional and amateur writers. Garitony Nicolas will also share his experience of publishing his own books with the help of Central Books, the first publisher-on-demand in the Philippines.

The LitFest will stretch to the following week at the Ayala Malls. On November 17, a marathon of GMA films will be held at the New Glorietta Activity Center, along with a mini fair for indie komiks creators and sellers and small or independent publishers. The public can also view GMA 7 telefantasya costumes at Ground Floor Greenbelt 3 from November 18 to 24.

POPtastik Pinoy! is supported by Ayala Malls, GMA Network, Brother Philippines Inc., Intercontinental Hotel, the Book Development Association of the Philippines (BDAP), the Korea Copyright Commission (KCC), Fully Booked, and McDonald’s. For inquiries, contact Verne Ahyong at the Ayala Museum at 759-8288 local 46 or ahyong.vy@ayalafoundation.org. To register, call Marj Villaflores at 759-8288 local 25, or email litfest@filipinaslibrary.org.ph.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Steamy Reads, a special edition of #romanceclass

Save the date! From January 18 to February 15, 2014, I will be running a free, short-story edition of #romanceclass. We will be writing 5,000(ish)-word short stories, and they'll be about love, romance, and possibly some steam.

This class is sponsored by buqo, and it could mean a digital distribution deal for your story!

Most of the work in class will be facilitated online, but there are three face-to-face classes (January 18, Feb 1 and Feb 15) at the buqo office in Mandaluyong City that I hope you can attend. We're not requiring it, but you'll miss a lot if you don't get to go.

If you want to be able to write and finish a romance-themed short story in a month, and see it published too, do sign up here: bit.ly/SteamyReads. (You have to be 18 and over to join though! Mature themes kasi.)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Filipino Friday: Kids and Books

What were your favorite books as a kid? Do you still read children’s books? If you would give a book to your younger self, what would it be?

My hands-down favorite is Childcraft volume 3, Children Everywhere! It's the one with short stories from different countries. My favorite stories from it:

The book I'd give to my younger self is this:
Friends gave this book to our daughter as a gift, and it's one of the first books she really, really liked. We'd read it to her, and she would say, "Again!" If we happened to quote a line from the story (because we eventually memorized it), she'd perk up and ask us to read the book again. She has since moved on to The Hungry Caterpillar and Dear Zoo, but this holds a special place in my heart now, and I think the younger me would have liked it too.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Guardians of Tradition Blog Tour: Excerpt + Giveaway

Welcome to my stop in the Guardians of Tradition blog tour! This was organized by Dia at Book Junkie Blog Tours. Don't forget to join the GIVEAWAY after the excerpt!

I'm so happy to share with you this special book for children. It's written by the late Mae Astrid Tobias (I am a friend of the family), and illustrated by Rommel Joson (I've worked with him too, via Studio Dialogo and Summit Books). Guardians of Tradition celebrates the indigenous artists of the Philippines and makes sure that children (and adults too!) know about what they do and how important they are. Here's an excerpt from the book:

Lang Dulay of Lake Sebu, South Cotabato has been weaving t’nalak since she was twelve years old. T’nalak is what the T’boli call the three-colored cloth made from fine abaca fiber. The three colors of the t’nalak represent the three places where the T’boli believe the soul goes when one dies. Hitem (black) is for people who died because of natural causes. Hulo (red) for those who died violently like by a bullet or a blade. Bukay (white) is for those who take taken their lives and those whose deaths were untimely.

The T’boli weavers, like Lang Dulay, get the designs for their t’nalak from their dreams. They believe that when Fu Dalu, the spirit of the abaca, shows them the design in their dreams, they must immediately weave it into cloth or else they might fall ill and soon forget the pattern. Sometimes, the designs are passed on from generation to generation, from grandmother to grandchild. Lang Dulay knows a hundred designs like the bulinglangit (clouds), the bangkiring (hair bangs), and the kabangi (butterfly).

When Lang Dulay became a Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan awardee, she was able to build a traditional long house where she teaches younger women how to weave.


Suggested activity:

The T’boli get their ideas for t’nalak designs from their dreams. Dreams are good sources of ideas for stories, poems, and drawings. Why don’t you try to keep a dream journal? Get a small notebook and a pen. Keep it near your bed. Every morning when you wake up, write down or sketch what you remember from your dream the previous night.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Guardians of Tradition
Who are the indigenous and folk artists of the Philippines? Guardians of Tradition is full of facts about 11 of Philippine master weavers, folk musicians, performing artists, mat weavers and metal smiths whose talents and skills have earned them the title Manlilikha ng Bayan. Designed to help children recognize native Filipino ingenuity and creativity, the book includes fun activities to promote appreciation for culture and arts. Guardians of Tradition has a fun and colorful design that appeals to young readers.

For the duration of the Guardians of Tradition Blog Tour, Guardians of Tradition is available at discounted prize at the Adarna showroom in Scout Torillo corner Scout Fernandez Streets, Barangay Sacred Heart, Quezon City 1103 Philippines (Trunkline: (632) 352-6765, Fax: (632) 352-6765 local 125, Email Address: adarnahouse@adarna.com.ph)
Goodreads  Adarna Order Form  Adarna House  NCCA

About Mae Astrid Tobias
MAE ASTRID TOBIAS (1979-2009) was a Palanca-award winning author of children's books. In addition to Guardians of Tradition, her books include Blue Bananas (Crucible), Bayong ng Kuting (Lampara Books), My Forest Friends (Haribon), Bakawan (Adarna Books) and two books retelling the Ifugao traditional chant, hudhud. These are Halikpon: A Retelling of an Ancient Ifugao Chant and Pumbakhayon: An Origin Myth of the Ifugao Hudhud. Both are finalists for children’s literature and best design in the 2006 National Book Awards of the Manila Critics Circle.

She also spent several years in the field of children’s television. She served as the Manila Bureau Manager of Kabataan News Network, a project of UNICEF and Probe Media Foundation that trains young people nationwide how to produce their own broadcast quality documentaries. She also also wrote episodes for children shows like Sirit!, and ABS-CBN and Eskuwela ng Bayan, as well as worked for Philippine Junior Inquirer and Shell Foundation. She was a member of Kuwentista ng mga Tsikiting  (KUTING), an organization of Filipino writers for children.

About Rommel Joson
ROMMEL JOSON is a painter and an illustrator. He graduated magna cum laude and College Valedictorian from the University of Philippines College of Fine Arts. He was also a Merit Scholar and a recipient of the Dean's Awards for Visual Awards from the Ateneo de Manila University, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management. He worked in the advertising industry for several years before devoting his time fully to painting and illustration. He has received awards and citations for painting, illustration, comics, and design from various organizations such as the Philippine Board of Books for Young People (Honorable Mention), the Shell National Art Competition (3rd Place Oil/Acrylic Category), the Neil Gaiman/Fully Booked Graphic Fiction Competition (3rd Place in the Graphic Fiction category), the Adobo Design Awards (Silver) and the Philippine Araw Awards (Silver in Art Direction) and the Metrobank Art and Design Excellence Competition (Semifinalist in Oil). He is currently an active member of Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan (Ang INK).

About the Photographer
RENATO S. RASTROLLO, is a photographer, graphic artist, book and exhibit designer. He earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts major in Advertising from the Philippine Women’s University. With over 25 years of experience in the field of documentary photography, his works have appeared in national and international publications. Presently, he is a culture and arts officer  at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.