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.