Monday, September 30, 2013

Young and Scambitious (A short story)

Young and Scambitious (A short story)
Who is Elizabeth Madrid, exactly? She's Manila's latest It Girl--stylish, staple of the club scene, new best friend of famous-for-being-famous Chrysalis Magnolia. She's also a jewelry clan heiress, a former model, an Ivy Leaguer... except no one actually knew of her until last year. Shouldn't her new society friends be more suspicious? Especially "BFF" Chrysalis, who reportedly already lost an expensive ring to a friend who turned out to be a thief? 
Get it on Amazon.

I just did this because it's fun. It's a departure in several ways from the stuff I usually write, and is inspired by a recent Sherlock Holmes/Arsene Lupin reading binge. Because it's another one of those experiments I do every now and then, I wanted to make it as easy as possible for my readers to try it. So I released it free on Amazon Kindle for the first five days, and it will remain at $0.99 until I'm allowed to make it free yet again.

If you choose to get it, thank you! Hope you enjoy it!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

#romanceclass talk at UP Diliman

So when Dr. Lorie Santos asked how much time I needed for my presentation, I said, "Twenty minutes." And then I talked nonstop for more than an hour. Whoops!

I talked to her English 198 (Reading the Romance Novel: Critical Approaches) class and said stuff about:
- My books (in order of publication)
- How I wandered into self-publishing and digital publishing
- That annoying thing about being years ahead of a trend or years behind it
- Becoming a "hybrid author" - self published and also traditionally published
- How #romanceclass happened, and what I asked people to do
- Why they shouldn't write arranged marriage/falling for gay best friend/death ending stories (but there are exceptions)
- Short description of each published #romanceclass novel
- Ebooks, how many of them read them, bought them, how much would they pay for them, and why this is important if they plan to be writers/authors

Despite blabbering for over an hour, I forgot to say stuff about:
- My 3 types of love interests in romance
- The different plot structures and tropes (because while I made #romanceclass stick to the monomyth, that's not the only way to go) 
And man oh man I really wanted to blabber on about that. Oh well.

I did get to answer questions though, like:
- Do you think research is important in writing a romance novel? Yes, because it's fun, and also since I've written more than five books, I've run out of careers/locations/other things I've actually done or know well. 
- What about your books has made them sell well internationally? They haven't yet, actually. Even though most of my ebook sales are likely international, I don't think my books have become "mainstream" yet. More work needs to be done.
- How do you get inspiration to write romance novels? Other people. I like to think that I write "RPF." I start with an idea based on something real, but then I write a middle and ending that deviates from canon.
- In dialogue, do you make women more indirect with what they say, and men more direct? No, because I think there are people who speak their minds and people who don't. It's not a sex/gender thing, but a character thing. I've had guy characters who are indirect or in denial, and girl characters who are direct and to the point.
- How do you write "kilig"? I don't know. I have an idea, but sometimes what works for me doesn't work for you.

I really appreciate the opportunity to talk to readers about this. This was a fun afternoon. (Yes this is what is fun for me.) And then I was given cake and a copy of Jane Austen's Emma from Dr. Paolo Manalo! (Who reads my books, he admitted as much right there.) Just awesome. :)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Challenging the writer vs Challenging the reader

I must mention right now, at the beginning, that this isn't really a problem. It's a thing, one of those situations that I am fortunate to ever even encounter. If this post could fit into a tweet, the hashtag would be #somewhatprolificwriterproblems. Which aren't really problems.

But anyway. When my fiction writing career started, I was doing Chick Lit and Contemporary Romance. I wrote five books in that category/genre. Then I thought, I should push myself a bit and experiment -- I'll do a YA-style Fantasy series. And ended up writing the Interim Goddess of Love trilogy for two years.

While that was fun, and rewarding, I realized that not everyone was going to be into that. It's one thing to start writing YA and then grow into older categories over the years, as my readers grow too, but another thing to go from this age to a younger bracket. And then not come up with anything for my main audience for two years, something I was made aware of when someone told me to "write about twenty-somethings again."

So I'm sharing this now, if you're a writer who wound up on this blog. It's something you might hear from your readers too. Do you write the things you want to write that might take you away from your comfort zone (and risk having your readers go "no thanks I'm not into that!")? Do you stay within that comfort zone, when it might mean that your readership never grows beyond what it is now?

Ha! I don't have the answer to that yet. What I do know is that this is what will happen soon:

- At the end of this month, I will release a short story on Amazon (Young and Scambitious), through KDP Select, so it will be free on its first week. I wanted this story to be free because it's yet another experiment, something I did for myself actually, something that appeals to me as a reader.
- Next month (or whenever the cover design and editing powers see fit), I will release Welcome to Envy Park, my new novella. It's contemporary, and chick lit, about twenty-somethings. Again! But I've done it in a slightly different way, and maybe only people who've read all my other stuff will notice the difference. It's something we can talk about when it's finally out. Oh, and this book will be offered FREE to people who are currently in Singapore. Comment or email minavesguerra at gmail if you want it!

Busy year I'm having! It's fun, probably the most fun I've had at work since, well, ever. You should all try it. :)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A different view of the Manila International Book Fair

This wasn't my first time at the Manila International Book Fair as a reader/fan of books/book buyer, but it was my first time as an "author."

At the Summit Media signing booth, Sept 14, 5 to 7 pm.

The signing thing is apparently a low-maintenance gig. You're led to a table, people line up with copies of your book, you sign. And when you're done, you give way to the next person on sked. It was a fun experience that I was glad I could share with my husband and daughter. (This probably means nothing to a toddler, but she got to run around and stare at the people who chatted with me.)

I talk about being an indie publisher a lot but I actually am both -- I digitally publish some of my books, and a traditional publisher has Philippine print rights for most of them. And this is one big (maybe the biggest?) benefit of going with a traditional publisher like Summit. Your book is in so many places, all over the country, and they'll give you time to sign books in the biggest book fair of the year. I feel fortunate, and a bit out of my league, but I'll take it. :)

Talking to the Mariano sisters at the National Book Store booth. (via NBS on Facebook)

At the last minute I offered a freebie to people who showed up at my signings -- free digital copies of Welcome to Envy Park, my next chick lit book, when it comes out this year. I ended up getting more than fifty email addresses to send the book to. Not bad!

For perspective: Signing line for international authors Melissa Dela Cruz, Alyson Noel, and Margaret Stohl. One day maybe!

Thank you again (and again and again) to Summit Media, National Book Store, and everyone who showed up and said hi. Freebies soon! :)

Friday, September 13, 2013

My signing skeds at the Manila International Book Fair

I will be at the Manila International Book Fair (SMX Mall of Asia) on September 14, Saturday. Drop by the Summit Media booth at 5 to 7 pm, and the National Book Store booth at 7 to 8 pm.

You can have any of my books signed. :) Also!

The first to say "I'm Team Robbie" gets a gift from me.
Everyone who visits the booth for signing (and leaves their contact info) will get a free ebook edition of my next chick lit novel, Welcome to Envy Park.

See you at the book fair!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

[Vintage Love] Excerpt Reveal + Giveaway

Welcome to my Vintage Love stop in the Hello+Vintage Love blog tour (organized by Book Junkie Blog Tours)! In case anything about Vintage Love looks familiar, it's because I've featured Agay Llanera's book before -- as one of the novellas completed during #romanceclass

26-year-old Crissy Lopez’s life is in dire need of a makeover. Her wardrobe revolves around ratty shirts and beat-up sneaks; her grueling schedule as a TV Executive leaves no room for a social life; and worst of all, she’s still hung up on the Evil Ex who left her five years ago.

When her fashionable grand-aunt passes away and leaves behind a roomful of vintage stuff, the Shy Stylista inside Crissy gradually resurfaces. Soon, she feels like she's making progress -- with a budding lovelife to boot! But the grim ghost of her past catches up with her, threatening to push her back into depression. To finally move on, Crissy learns that walking away is not enough. This time, she needs to take a leap of faith.

Buy: Amazon  Smashwords
Follow: Twitter  Author Website

Here's an excerpt -- read on and join the giveaway after!
For the first time, after a really long time, I took a long, hard look at my full-length reflection.  Underneath the hair awkwardly growing out of a year-old layered bob, dark circles under the eyes, and stubborn flab that had accumulated in the middle area, I tried tracing my old self five years and ten pounds ago.

Who was I before all this happened?

I remembered taking pride in how I looked, scouring department stores to regularly update my wardrobe and blowing off my allowance on occasional shopping sprees in designer stores.

I remembered regular visits to the neighborhood salon for my regular trims and nail care.
I was never a gym rat like Bea, but I did enjoy working up a sweat—whether it was a quick round of volleyball, swimming, or badminton. I even joined 5K runs just for the fun of it.

Mama Maring used to tell me that taking pains with your appearance is a form of public service. “You give people something nice to look at—at the same time, you feel good about yourself!”

Seeing all those people fawning over her clothes and accessories at the rummage sale made me realize that Mama’s fashion investments were still paying off—they were still nice to look at, and those who bought them felt good about their purchases. I wanted to feel the same way, so I had gathered all the leftover accessories and brought them home. I vowed to wear a piece of Mama’s history every day.

But I had also brought one more item with me from the rummage sale. I looked across the room, where Mama’s polka-dot dress stared back at me, as if contemplating its new owner. I unhooked it from its hanger, and held it up to my body. Like I said, it was a thin-dress. It would take a while for my figure to catch up.

Leo constantly told me that, in order to succeed, you had to visualize success. You had to “claim those goals” before they could truly be yours. So in the process of reclaiming myself, I would start with this dress—claiming that it would eventually look good on me.

About Agay Llanera
Agay Llanera is a freelance writer for television and video, and a published writer of children’s books. She is a member of KUTING, a private, non-stock, non-profit organization, which aims to be the Philippines’ foremost writers’ organization for children. Email her at

Buy: Amazon  Smashwords
Follow: Twitter  Author Website

Monday, September 9, 2013

Selling some romance

I tried something new the past weekend. I got a table at a book fair, and sold books.

Mike and Chris manning the table!

We were at AKLATAN, a Filipino book fair organized by Visprint. I split a table with some authors from #romanceclass, and we actually tried to sell ebooks. Ebooks! Who does that at a book fair?

All of these books are self-published, and have (or will have) print editions. But while we could sell the ebooks for P50, the print books are P300 to P350. That's a huge gap between prices, and that is the cost of paper! The print books look pretty though.

My loot from Aklatan! 

A few things I learned from this selling experience:
  • Even though we had to explain that we were selling ebooks, we didn't have to explain that much. I mean, people knew what ebooks were. It was mostly a "which format/which device" kind of deal. 
  • People bought ebooks. We actually sold ebooks! In the Philippines! People bought ebooks by first-time authors!
  • It's good for an author to participate in the selling of her book, even just for an event like this one. I got to see how people act, how they linger and touch things, and what makes them decide to finally pay up.
Thank you, Aklatan, for giving us the opportunity to try this. And thank you, everyone who dropped by, bought something, asked questions, and took pictures!

The ebook bundles we sold at Aklatan are still available!

Interim Goddess of Love - complete trilogy bundle = P200
Interim Goddess of Love (epub, mobi, html)
Queen of the Clueless (epub, mobi, html)
Icon of the Indecisive (epub, mobi, html)
+ Your name in the acknowledgements of the Summit edition!

#romanceclass bundle = P200
All's Fair in Blog and War by Chrissie Peria (epub, mobi, PDF, html)
Cover (Story) Girl by Chris Mariano (epub, mobi, PDF, html)
Save the Cake by Stella Torres (epub, mobi, PDF, html)
The Real Score by Kesh Tanglao (epub, mobi, PDF, html)
Vintage Love by Agay Lllanera (epub, mobi, PDF, html)

More books have been added to the #romanceclass bundle! Go to the #romanceclass ebook bundle page.

[Hello] Excerpt Reveal + Giveaway

Welcome to the my Hello stop on the Hello+Vintage Love blog tour (organized by Book Junkie Blog Tours)! Hello is a new book by Filipino author Addie Lynn Co.

What if The One actually walks up to you and even says hello, would you greet back or turn your back unknowingly that you have actually met? Would you know when you’ve actually met?

Serendipity is a funny thing that brings a tinge of bittersweet bliss to anyone who is fortunate to experience it. Hello is a trilogy that explores how serendipitous life can sometimes be.

Definitely, Maybe is a story of how fate plays with two people as they meet each decade hoping that maybe this time around, they can finally be together.

Almost Mismatch tells how two people so right for each other be so wrong and no matter how much they try to suppress their feelings, true love will not stop at anything. What is meant to be will be.

Finally, Dinner Date portrays how two people’s search for love could take them to different places and people only to lead them back to where they started.

The world is just like a huge maze that no matter what direction one walks to, there will always be one final destination. There seems to be an invisible string that is handcuffed to two people on each end and unsuspectingly pulls these two people destined for each other back together no matter how long it takes.

Buy: Amazon  Smashwords  Barnes & Noble  Kobo  Paperback
Follow: Facebook Wattpad Author Website

Read an excerpt from Hello right now -- and don't forget to join the giveaway!
After the biggest fight Tyler had with Kelly, there was nothing else he could do but to go to Kelly’s parents’ home and apologize to her. He knew how great Kelly was and that he does not deserve her.
When Tyler reached the house of Kelly’s parents, he felt hesitant for a moment. He was not even sure if he was still welcome to their house for hurting Kelly so much.

He stared at the doorbell thinking if he should ring it or not.

“Hey there!” Tyler heard a familiar voice. When he turned around, he saw a spitting image of Kelly. The twins were both petit and always had long black hair. But Kelly had her hair cut into a bob with a little side bangs to separate her from her twin sister. She has always been living in the shadow of her twin sister because she just liked to keep her image simple. She does not apply makeup on her face except on special occasions unlike her twin sister who always looked gorgeous.

Oh how he wished it was Kelly, but it was only Keri, Kelly’s twin sister.

“Hey, Keri! Long time no hear!” Tyler greeted. Keri laughed. “Yeah! Long time no hear for you because you see my face every day in my twin sister.” Keri said.

“Is Kelly home?” Tyler asked.

“No, she just went out. What’s with the two of you? First, you don’t show up in the dinner dates that she sets up for both of you; sometimes, you even come home drunk. You’ve only been married for three weeks, and now you’re getting an annulment? Why don’t you try to patch things up first?” Keri suggested to Tyler.

“I really envy what you and Kelly have when you just got married. You would be whispering to each other’s ears and laughing at your inside jokes like no one else is around. And the way you stare at each other—priceless. There’s this certain glow in your faces and sparkles in your eyes. I definitely felt like you really loved each other. Whatever happened to that?”Keri asked.

“I do not really know. Kelly is really easy to talk to and she really listens to what you say. We usually share the same humor and all but every time I realize I was getting too happy and comfortable with her, it’s like something is stopping me from all that. It just hits me that I could be happier if only I was sharing this laughter with the one I really love.” He was gathering the courage to actually make a confession.

Tyler stared at Keri for a long time, then, said, “You know, I have a confession to make. I think this is the right time…” Keri sat on the steps of the front porch of the house.

“Really? What is it?” Keri asked as Tyler sat beside her.

“I think I’m in love with you…” Tyler confessed.

What Tyler confessed came as a shock to Keri.

About Addie Lynn Co
Addie grew up reading Sweet Valley High books and Nancy Drew mystery books. She finished a degree in Communication Arts and really wanted to pursue a career in filmmaking but due to high production costs of a film, she opted to tell her stories through her novels. Being the hopeless romantic that she was, she will stop at nothing to share her passion with everyone and hopes that she could infect others with it. She’s a daydreamer by day and an author by night. 
Buy: Amazon  Smashwords  Barnes & Noble  Kobo  Paperback
Follow: Facebook Wattpad Author Website

Friday, September 6, 2013

2013 Summit Chick Lit Fest

That was amazing. Seriously.

It's the first time for me to be part of a "signing" type thing and I wasn't sure what to expect but I must say, it was a wonderful day. I felt the love!

Thank you, Summit Books and National Bookstore. I will give all of you hugs, I will.

Next up: AKLATAN Book Fair at Alphaland Southgate (tomorrow, Sept 7!) and the Manila International Book Fair (Saturday, September 14!)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

[All's Fair in Blog and War] Excerpt Reveal + Giveaway

Welcome to my post for All's Fair in Blog and War! I'm so happy that author Chrissie Peria joined my online #romanceclass -- and wrote this book while at it.

Five Cuevas @5travels Three guesses to where I'm going next. Starts with an M. Ends with a U. Has a lechon named after it. #travel

Twenty-something travel blogger Five thinks she has hit the jackpot when she gets invited to glittering Macau for an all-expense-paid bloggers tour. Think majestic old churches, sparkling casinos, exhilarating bungee jumps, and the world's most unforgettable egg tarts. The trip is practically perfect, except for one little glitch. She gets assigned to be travel buddies with Jesse, the world's most infuriating photo blogger, and it's definitely war at first sight.

Will Five let Jesse turn her dream vacation into a total nightmare? Or will falling in love be on the itinerary?

Buy: Amazon Smashwords

This book's got traveling, blogging, food and Macau. Things I care about, haha! Read an excerpt from the book. And don't forget to join the giveaway!
"WHAT WAS THAT?" I couldn't help blurting out as the plane lurched scarily. The flight attendants had just finished clearing our food trays, and I was just about to settle down for a nap when that horrible feeling of falling from a great height startled me from my drowsy, stuffed state.
"Turbulence," Jesse replied, teeth clenched. 
Echoing him, the airplane's paging system came to life. "Ladies and gentlemen, the captain has switched on the fasten seatbelt sign. We are now going through an area of turbulence. We ask all passengers to please remain seated with your seatbelts fastened. Thank you." 
This wasn't the first time a plane I was riding ran into some rough winds, but this was the worst. It felt like we were falling a couple of storeys and were being shook from side-to-side. I struggled hard not to panic as the turbulence seemed to worsen. During a particularly rough tumble though, I found myself shrieking and grabbing the armrest. It took two minutes more for the turbulence to end, but it felt like an eternity. "You okay?" I heard Jesse ask. 
"Yeah," I replied weakly. Only then did I realize that I wasn't clutching the arm rest but his hand. "Oh, sorry," I apologized, retracting my hand quickly. He smiled kindly before flexing his fingers. 
"Not a problem. It was a horrible patch," he said before gesturing to my lap. "You want to tidy up first?" 
Only then did I realize that my shirt had a sickly orange stain that was slowly threatening to spread. There were also random orange splashes everywhere. The back of the seat in front of me. The wall beside me. The little drop-down table.  Everywhere but the empty cup of leftover orange soda resting in the cup holder. 
"Holy shit," I cussed when I realized what caused the mess. I quickly apologized then rose to make for the restroom. Jesse stood at the same time, blocking my path. I almost snapped at him, too, until he exited the aisle to make way for me. Then, he held the overhead bin open, helping me reach for my suitcase so I can fish a fresh shirt out. When I was done, he took the suitcase from my hands and shooed me off to the restroom, telling me he'd take care of returning it. 
It was difficult changing in the tiny airplane restroom, so I felt victorious once I was done. Still, I knew that a mess was still waiting for me in my seat. A mess that wasn't there when I got back.
"I got you a new drink," Jesse explained when I returned. He didn't just get rid of the old paper cup and wiped down all the stains; he even got me a new drink from the flight attendant. 
"Thanks," I smiled in surprise. That was unexpected.  "You didn't have to but it's much appreciated."
"I wasn't sure what you were having, but I assumed you were having orange juice and not orange soda. I mean, who drinks orange soda anyway? It's all artificial flavoring and sugar," he added patronizingly, before slumping into his seat and slipping on the headphones for the plane's entertainment system. I did the same, picking out channel 6, OPM's Greatest Hits - 1990s, from the station list. 
Just like that, we were strangers again, minding our own business, but somehow the air between us was a little bit friendlier. Sure, he wasn't the kind of person I usually hung out with. He was still annoyingly arrogant and self-assured. But I appreciated the unsolicited kindness that he showed me. Maybe we could be friends after all, this Jesse and I. 
Join the GIVEAWAY -- awesome prizes await!

Chrissie's first trip to Macau was in the summer of 2010. Like her main character, she fell in love there. Unlike her main character, she didn't fall in love with a guy; she fell in love with egg tarts.

An advertising copywriter in her past life, she now spends most of her time writing, taking photos, cooking and babysitting. She tweets about food and writerly things as @kitchencow. For thoughts longer than 140 characters, she blogs on She still plays with dolls and she thinks that bacon is the answer.

This is her first novella.

Buy the book: Amazon Smashwords

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

[Well Played] Excerpt Reveal + Giveaway

Welcome to today's stop on the Well Played + All's Fair in Blog and War blog tour! 

   Patrice Reyes is starting her junior year at the University and she's convinced it's going to be the best semester ever. For starters, it looks like this is the year her team will win the regional football (soccer, for you Yanks) championships. Her subjects are looking good, and there's even a chance she might finally get somewhere with her rock star crush. But a new classmate—arrogant, cold Math nerd ( 'nuff said)—is seriously throwing off her groove. Will she ever get rid of him and have the awesome semester she deserves? Or is there truth to never judging (Math) books by their cover?

Well Played, written by my friend Katrina Ramos Atienza, happens to be a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice set in the Philippines. How modern? And set in the Philippines how? Check out the excerpt below to see -- and don't forget to join the giveaway!
His gaze seemed to search her face. "And that point is?"
"Is that we're completely different."
He remained silent, but his expression was incredulous. 
"You're Mr. Analytical Applied Math who hardly speaks and doesn't dance and hates football and looks down on the arts students," she said hurriedly.
Paul's composure was unruffled. "And if I were to go by your argument, I would state the opposite: you are Ms. Illogical Communications major who blurts out whatever comes to mind, makes a fool of herself on the dance floor, would kill over a simple thing like football and resents the science students." 
She swallowed a lump in her throat. "Fair enough," she said, struggling to contain her shock. "I never really doubted that was what you thought of me."
"But then you'd be wrong," said Paul quietly.
"But you just said—"
"What I said was modeled on your argument. I simply took your words and said the opposite, so as to illustrate my point."
"And your point is?" She leaned forward, challenging him.
"I don't think of you that way at all."
"Huh," scoffed Patrice. "And how do you think of me?"
Paul suddenly leaned back, seemingly irritated. The waiter arrived with their baked macaroni, but the tension on the table remained. 
"I think of you very differently," he finally said, in a very soft, strange tone of voice that Patrice strained to hear.
Join the GIVEAWAY to win these awesome prizes!
3 Swag Bags (from Author Katrina Ramos Atienza) containing 1 medium, gray Well Played shirt + 2 Pride & Prejudice Bookmarks + Think Free Bag Tag!
3 Swag Bags (From Author Chrissie Peria) containing 1 paperback copy of All's Fair in Blog & War, 1 unique trinket, 1 pocket journal, ebook voucher, postcard and bookmarks!

Katrina Ramos Atienza, born and bred in Manila, Philippines, has been writing all her life. She's worked in the fields of PR and corporate communications while blogging, freelancing and writing fiction. Four chick lit novels (Pink Shoes, 2006; The Hagette, 2006; If the Shoe Fits, 2008 and Shoes Off, 2010) are available in paperback in the Philippines, while her earlier short fiction works have been published in Philippine publications and collected in the Growing Up Filipino II anthology. Well Played (2013) is her first independently published novel. She graduated from the University of the Philippines at Los BaƱos and is married with two kids.