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.”
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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?